A Little Context For Me

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Reader's Question: What Are Your Thoughts On Déjà Vu? Or A Glitch In The Matrix

Reader's Question: What are your thoughts on déjà vu?

First of all, let’s establish this up front – there is no direct Biblical teaching for us to refer to on this topic. The term déjà vu is a French term meaning “already seen”, so pulling out your concordance will not help you on this one as the Bible was written well before the French language was even a thing. However, that does not mean that the Bible has nothing to say about it. It just means that we have to dig a little to find it. So grab hold as we explore this little glitch in the matrix because this is the longest answer to a question I have given yet.

Second, we need to distinguish between the three types of déjà vu that people are often referencing when they talk about this phenomena, or more precisely, we need to distinguish between the sources cited for the experience.

The first source people often credit is neural misfiring. They dismiss it as a glitch of the brain due to stress, fatigue, or some random event among neurons, which is one possible legitimate reason. The brain is highly complex and perfect functioning is reliant on many factors that can be thrown out of whack for a host of reasons. Personally, I have seem to have far more occurrences of déjà vu when I am overly tired, and I tend to attribute the majority of these during times of stress to this cause. However, that is not to say that I believe this is the only cause for it.

The second source many people cite is reincarnation, particularly when visiting place of historic significance either to themselves personally or in a grander scheme of things.  Many of the people I have talked to who have ascribed to a belief in reincarnation have told me that it was a déjà vu experience that first prompted first their curiosity in reincarnation and eventual acceptance of it as fact after investigating what they deemed to be corroborating accounts.

We need to be perfectly clear on this – there is no place for reincarnation within Christian theology. This is an issue that the Bible addresses with total clarity.

And just as it is appointed for man to die once,
 and after that comes judgement. 
Hebrew 9:27

However, this does not mean that we should dismiss anyone’s experience with déjà vu. When you think about it once you are out of high school, this is a rather weird thing to try and fake. To even admit that this occurs to you on a somewhat regular and reliable basis can be seen as admission of total weirdness, being out of touch with reality, and delusion. That, and I think it is rather rude to invalidate anyone’s experience as a lie or to deny the impact it has had on their lives.

Before we jump to the third reason, we need to examine what are some of the possible reasons why this occurs that do not affirm reincarnation. One theory is that somewhere inside of what is sometimes referred to as “junk DNA” the memories of our ancestors have been encoded and passed on to us, and that we somehow have a cellular memory of certain places. I do not know if this is correct or even possible, but I am open to the possibility. This theory violates no Scriptural teachings and is a rather cool reminder that God has an infinite imagination that we are just catching the merest glimpse of in this life.

A second theory is a little more sinister, and one that I believe does happen as I have experienced it. As I have mentioned before, I believe in a spiritual realm wherein both angels and demons reside. I believe in a cosmic battle for the hearts and minds of humanity. I believe that evil does not fight fair and it does not show itself in the light lest it be identified and rejected. The easiest way to describe this theory is simply to share my story.

I once lived in house that was built in 1840-something. The events that happened there would take up far more space than allotted for this blog post, but there was no denying that something spiritual was taking place and they were witnessed by more than just me. One of the events was the reoccurring sound of music, specifically a cello, violin, and piano. Guess who lived there before I did? If you guessed musicians who played these instruments and died long before I ever set foot on the property, you would be correct. Along with the music were many of what I call pseudo-memories, for lack of a better term, and when I would mention them, others who knew the family history of this house would confirm what I knew to be accurate.

During a trip back to Oklahoma, a friend showed up at my doorstep one morning telling me that he had a message for me that could not wait. He told me about how demons had been around since the dawn of time, how they had lived side by side with humans, watching our every move, listening in to our conversations, and collecting memories of their own. He then asked one very pointed question that I had never considered, “What if they are trying to pass off their memories as our memories, trying to get us to believe that we were the ones who experienced these things, and not them?”

Instantly, I knew that he had hit upon a truth. As if to further confirm the point, from that day forward every non-human thing that lived in that house turned hostile towards me, but those events are a tale for another day. As you may guess, this has led me to approach all experiences with déjà vu with caution and a healthy dose of skepticism concerning its origin which I think is a right and fitting response to any event of a spiritual nature.

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, 
but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, 
for many false prophets have gone into our world. 
By this you know the Spirit of God; 
every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, 
and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. 
This is the spirit of the antichrist, 
which you have heard was coming and now is in the world already. 
Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, 
for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 
They are from the world, therefore they speak from the world, 
and the world listens to them. We are from God. 
Who knows God listens to us; 
whoever is not from God does not listen to us. 
By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. 
1 John 4:1-6

The third source for déjà vu is little trickier, but something I think we need to make room for in our consideration. It is not infrequent for me to have dreams about an upcoming event or conversation. I am not sharing this out of any sense of pride or privilege, because it is not always an easy thing to grapple with nor was it something I sought out. I will also find myself have what I consider rather innocuous conversations with people I know and trust about sensitive but random issues. In the course of these conversations, I often find myself blurting out a new idea or perspective that I had not known was lying about the recesses of my mind, and I am stunned at having articulated it so well. (I would be remiss if I did not pause to acknowledge that I consider these moments nothing less than the guidance of the Holy Spirit because I am daily confronted with the fact that I am not that smart.)

I can usually set a clock by what will happen next – I will encounter a bizarre situation that there was no humanly possible way to prepare for, but I will know what to do because I have already experienced it on some level, either in dream or in that supposedly random conversation. Having been prepared for that moment, I can respond with wisdom and compassion for others that was the direct result of the dreams and conversations, and I have had the privilege of being able to speak the words that aided in their healing and growth. Something I would not have been able to do without preparation that moved me beyond my own concerns.

I want you to notice the difference here between these events. In the first event, at the haunted/possessed house, the emphasis was on me and what I perceived in the situation. The goal was for me to ponder what I knew, what special abilities I possessed, and what may have happened in my life. When I failed to accept the fraud as good or right, the result was a full out assault designed to produce fear in my heart and mind.  In the second event, it is not about me. In fact, it has almost absolutely nothing to do with me other than I was willing to move on what I had been shown in a previous instance. The outgrowth of those moments was to move the attention away from me and back to the Father who desires the best for his children, a Father who desires that we be whole and maturing individuals, and a Father who is willing to do the incredible on our behalf. It is just as likely and easier for him to utilize the talents of an ass as it is for him to include me in this moment. (Numbers 22).

In those times I have been reluctant to use what he has shared with me, I do not feel fear or intimidation. Instead, I am grieved that I missed out on a chance to be a part of what he is doing because that is my ultimate desire – to be where he is and doing what he is doing. It really is that simple, and please, do not ask me to give you a “prophetic word” or to tell your fortune. That is not how this works, and God’s revelations are not parlor tricks for anyone’s amusement or self-aggrandizement. Instead, I urge you to be seeking him for yourself, and be open to those times when he chooses to speak into your life.

There is a legitimate place in our faith for supernatural revelation and insight, but it is never anything to be taken lightly. And I do not believe that it is something anyone should seek out. Instead, we are to be seeking him. Not the glitz and the glamour that is often associated with the prophetic ministries, but him – Our God, Our Father, Our Redeemer, Our Jesus, and if you are only looking for what he can give you, you have missed the boat.

And in the last days it shall be, God declares, 
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and daughters shall prophesy, 
and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall see dreams; 
Act 2:17

But back to our discussion on déjà vu, I do not think that it is any accident that enemy tries to counterfeit what God is doing. I believe it is by design. What would be a more effective way to derail people in the search for God than to appeal to their sense of uniqueness and pride in their abilities? What greater tool does the enemy have then our own senses that can be turned against us, that can be used to distract us from the truth of God’s Word and love? Demonically inspired déjà vu is used for that purpose, and that purpose alone, to entice us to look for answers and meanings outside of Father’s desire for us. There is no hope, no vision for the future in it. It is locked in a dead past, and designed to keep our hearts and thoughts captive there – a time and place that we can never have any effect upon - so that we will never be effective ministers of God in this moment.

Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, 
but blessed is he who keeps the law. 
Proverbs 29:18

For I know the plans the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, 
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. 
Jeremiah 29:11

And that is why we have to be willing to test the spirits and we need to be immersing ourselves in God’s Word. God is never offended when we do as he commanded, when we step back and search out confirmation on these things from within the Scripture. That is precisely what he wants us to do, and I believe that he rejoices when we are obedient in handling these revelations with the care and respect that he has decreed we should have. His Word is the litmus test against which all spiritual events should be measured. For how else are we going to be able to tell the Spirit of Truth from the spirit of error?  And this is something we really need to get right.

Friday, December 18, 2015

One Of Those Days

So it is going to be one of those days. You know the days where all the reality that you have been shoving aside in order to keep functioning comes rushing past the dam you have so carefully constructed in your mind and heart? Yeah, one of those days.

Bills have come crashing in, people you thought you could count on fail you, and even the stupid computer won’t let me get through a single blog post without wanting to update despite the fact I have limited time to get this done. Oh, the agony of being me! Excuse me while I go rail against the world for a bit, while I lose sight of all the miraculous things that have happened over the past few weeks and months, while I forget all the monsters slain and moldering because there is a fresh wave on the horizon, and I don’t feel like picking up my sword one more time. Instead, I think I will look for a rock to climb under, if I can find one big enough and one not threatening to topple over and crush me.

On days like this I used to tell people that I should have stayed in bed, but with my luck the ceiling fan would fall on me. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised when one day the ceiling fan did, in fact, fall. Thankfully, it happened on day I did get out of bed so the damage was limited to a cloud of dust that covered my room. (And by the way, just to be honest, that “thankfully” was obligatory rather than heartfelt. I was rather irritated about the whole affair.)

I try to have the proper attitude. I really do. I suppose I must succeed on some level because people are always telling me how positive and encouraging I am. You’re welcome, glad to help, and that is wonderful. And I do mean it. I want to be an encourager. I make very intentional and carefully weighed decisions about what I say and what I share because encouraging one another is something I think we should all be actively striving to do. How could I expect less of myself than I would of others? So I put effort into being positive.

But sometimes, if we aren’t careful, that turns into hypocrisy. We become those people whose lives seem to scream, “Look at me! See me! I have it all together, why don’t you?” When the truth of the matter is they are falling apart inside and too scared to admit that today they just aren’t feeling it. Today, they just want the freedom to be down and frustrated with this life.

So today, I am frustrated. I am down. I am worn out and done in. Life is too big to be whooped, and I am the one taking a beating. And that is okay.

Notice that I didn’t say it is fun. I didn’t start doing a hallelujah dance or brush it off as inconsequential. My emotions matter. They have a purpose and value. God did not give them to me and then expect me to deny that they are real. He didn’t tell me that path to holiness is in denial of anything that isn’t all rainbow fuzzies and unicorn farts, and he didn’t say that I am sinful to acknowledging how I feel. And most importantly, he didn’t say that I was being unfaithful in feeling this way.

In an age of pop preachers and carefully coiffed TV evangelists who make their living with the promise of happiness, too many of us have started thinking that feeling anything other than a desire to give a gleaming smile to the world is nothing short of sin. It’s time that we get it straight – our sadness and frustration is not a betrayal of God, it is a demonstration of the fact that their shallow theology just won’t cut it in the real world.

But, but, but, we should rejoice in the Lord always! That is what it says in the Bible! You sow happiness and joy so that you can reap happiness and joy! Change your stinking thinking and your emotions will fall into line – oh, the protests I can hear as I type!

I have but one thing to say to all of that: “Jesus wept.

Now, tell me this, just how sinful was he being in that moment? Be very careful in how you answer that lest you be guilty of blaspheme.

We could dive deeper and read some of his biting remarks to the Pharisees and his disciples. We could stop and consider the Garden of Gethsemane. We could consider Isaiah 53:3.

He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. 

Emotions, even the big bad ugly ones, are not evil. They are not sinful. They just are. You don’t get to legislate them, and you don’t get to turn them off by becoming some spiritual creature who is above such things. Jesus didn’t, why do we think that we should have it better than him? To think such a thing is arrogance, and that is one emotion that the Bible does call sin.

So you own them. You look them in the eye, and see them for what they are. They are real. They are powerful, and they are tools for understanding ourselves and this world we inhabit. They do not define us, they do not get to rule us, but that does not mean they are without value or purpose. Acknowledging how we feel is the first step to authenticity and is an act of integrity and strength. When we gather them all up, take them to Father, and declare the truth of our experience, we are walking in faith and exhibiting hope in the knowledge that he is greater than anything that has hurt our hearts, but we cannot give to Father what we do not own.

For me, today stinks. I don’t want to feel all of this, and I don’t want to deal with all the things that are frustrating me. I just don’t, and that is the truth as plainly as I know how to put it short of a few colorful metaphors. Eventually, I will get past it. I will be able to remember some of the greater truths of my life, and I will find the will to celebrate the good things Father has given me. I will be able to rest in the hope of his promises to me, but not right now. Not in this moment, because it would be a lie and a denial of how he created me. So I will throw my little pity party, I’ll invite Father over and serve him a cup of coffee if he likes, and whine a bit. He will listen, and he won’t patronize or toss Scripture at me. He will acknowledge my pain as valid, and invite me to give it all to him. And in that moment, I will begin to feel the joy of anticipation as I wonder what grand and marvelous thing he will create from my painful honesty.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Psalms 107 – Beating My Head Against A Wall

Oh, give thanks to the LORD for He is good, for his lovingkindness is everlasting. Psalm 107:2

It has taken me awhile to get this next post up because, wow, I have never encountered a word whose definition was so incredibly abstract that no one seems to know the definitive definition. The word in Hebrew is חֶסֶד translated above as “lovingkindness.” However, a quick look at how it is translated in other versions or even just different places in the same version of the Bible, you are going to find that the translators offer several different translations of the word: lovingkindness, enduring love, mercy, and faithfulness – I think that just about covers it.

Now, before anyone flies into a panic, let me just say that these are all good translations of the word. They are all valid, and they convey an aspect of the Hebrew word that is right and correct. The problem I was having with the word is the fact every time it has been translated into English we make this jump from a concrete action, the basis for Hebraic thought, into the abstract, and what can possibly be more abstract than love? Or kindness? Or even faithfulness, for that matter?

I have spent hours and days exhausting every Bible commentary, Hebrew dictionary, and tool I had in my personal library. I broke it down into the paleo-Hebrew components. I read pretty much every verse in the Bible where this word is used, and eventually, I turned to Google. From there I read article after article, some that pretty good, most fairly shallow, and even stumbled into a few that I am certain were nothing more than recipes for witchcraft. It was at this point that I had to admit, I was beating my head against the wall, and I did what any good Bible scholar does when they are stumped. I went to sleep.

As I was drifting off, I prayed the most righteous of prayers – “A little help would be nice.”

Ok, so maybe more of prayer with a touch of an attitude, but God knows my heart and I don’t have to worry about making it all pretty for him.

I had this really cool dream, which I can’t remember most of, but I do remember thinking I need to remember this because it is cool. The one thing I do remember is using tweezers to put pale blue stones into settings on a golden garment that was flung over His shoulder. (I told you it was cool.) The second thing I remember was that as I woke up and my feet hit the floor, I was mumbling to myself without being fully aware of what I was saying. When my yet-to-be-caffeinated mind finally grabbed onto the words, I heard myself saying, “It is all about keeping the right things in, and the wrong things out.”

This sent me scurrying to my notes, because Rule Number 32 of Biblical translation says, “Personal revelation never trumps what is written.” If you ever want to screw your theology up to the point that you need seven and a half miracles to straighten yourself out, start relying on the things you think God is telling you more than this Word he has given you.

So I went back to the verses where we can find this word.

And he said, “O LORD, God of my master Abraham please grant me success today and show steadfast love to my master Abraham.” Genesis 24:12

This was the prayer of Abraham’s servant as he searched for a bride for Isaac, Abraham’s son. So far so good, this prayer is all about keeping the right things in and the wrong things out. In other words, the definition given to me works, but once is never enough, so I moved on.

If I am alive, show me steadfast love of the LORD, that I may not die; and do not cut off your steadfast love from my house forever, when the LORD cuts off every one of the enemies of David from the face of the earth. 1 Samuel 20: 14, 15

Here it was used between Jonathan and David as they worked to preserve their friendship in the face of Saul’s wrath towards David. Again, the definition works. Jonathan knows that David would only be doing what was expected of him if he chose to kill all of Saul’s heirs as they had a perceived claim to the throne God had promised David. Jonathan asks that life be protected and death be denied entrance into their friendship.

When my life was fainting away, I remembered the LORD, and my prayer came to you, into your holy temple. Those who pay regard to vain idols forsake their hope of steadfast love. But with a voice of thanksgiving I will sacrifice to you what I have vowed I will pay. Salvation belongs to the LORD. Jonah 2:7-9

This is the prayer of Jonah, and his capitulation to God’s call on his life. The statement he makes about how those who “pay regard to false idols forsake their hope of steadfast love” is interesting. Can we forsake the hope that the right things will be kept in and the wrongs things be kept out if we fail to remain faithful to our God? It certainly had to look that way to man who was on the verge of becoming fish vomit, but he is acknowledging that God is still there, responsive to his prayer, and God still has the power to act on his behalf, to save him.

Jeremiah speaks of God’s “everlasting love” in chapter 31 as he describes how God will change their mourning into joy, and again we see how even in the punishment of exile, God is protecting and purifying his people. In other words, he is keeping the right things in and forcing the wrong things out. Ezra identifies God’s “steadfast love” as the reason the king allowed him to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the city. He specifically states that God “put such a thing as this into the heart of the king, to beautify the house of the LORD God.” Did you get that? God put the right thing in the king’s heart to accomplish his purposes, and Ezra identifies the cause as God’s steadfast love. We could spend months going over the Psalms and all the ways the word is used there, but let’s just look at the one at hand.

In Psalm 107 alone, the writer uses the word חֶסֶד six times in verses 1, 8, 15, 21, 31, and 43. Four of those times it is used in a refrain:

Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works for the children of man!

The only variation of its usage occurs in verse one and in the final verse which states:

Whoever is wise, let him attend to these things, let them consider the steadfast love the LORD. 

If you go through Psalm 107 you will find that is a list of various examples of God’s steadfast love. Notice how concrete they are, and how they extend over every aspect of human existence. The examples pull from physical circumstance, the oppression of others, things we do to ourselves, the risks in work life, natural disasters, and spiritual battles. All of it pointing to God’s direct action to protect, to educate, to provide, and to deliver.

This is not a word that denotes some type of detached benevolence.  This is God stepping into the pages of history, in the realm of our existence so that we might know his love, so that we might experience his personal care. It is a picture of him surrounding us with a love that only allows the right things in and is actively working to keep the wrong things out. We are being shown that we are participants with him, receiving his faithfulness to move on our behalf as we respond in kind. There is nothing abstract about this concept, and nothing passive in his love. It is a vital force that inspires and empowers us to join with him in removing those things in our lives that do not honor him. We operate in חֶסֶד when embody God’s love through acts of kindness and mercy. When we invest of ourselves, become active participants in alleviating and suffering, when aid in another’s deliverance, and when we are willing to get our hands dirty so that another might know our Lord, we are helping expel the wrong things in this world and inviting in the right things in the form of God’s lovingkindness.

And his lovingkindness endures forever! It is everlasting! He will never cease to be the one standing between us and the world, us and our enemies, even when that enemy is ourselves. He was, is, and always will be that wall of protection around us, and he is inviting us to play a part in what he is doing in this world. For he desires that all may know him and experience his love, and what better way than for those of us who have received it to demonstrate its redeeming power than following the example of his work in our lives? In doing so we proclaim that his love will never run out, never be used up, and never wear thin, it is abundant and everlasting, overflowing out of our lives into the world as proof of its enduring nature. What more do need to be inspired to thank him?

To get in at the beginning of our look at Psalm 107 start here: O, Give Thanks To the LORD. The second in the series is Digging Deeper Psalm 107, third What's In A Name?, and fourth For He Is Good

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Reader’s Question: Should I Get A Divorce?

First of all, let me say, I hate getting this question. It ranks right up there with the second most dreaded question: should I marry this person? There is just too much responsibility involved! How am I supposed to know these things? Sure, I have an opinion. I have an opinion on literally everything, but whether or not you should listen to it, that’s another question entirely. Whether or not you should use it to plot out your life? I am not even certain I should be using it to plot out mine. So with all of that laid out on the table and kept clearly in mind, I will try to answer the question.

Obviously, I know a little more about this particular situation than I am sharing, because it really isn’t any of your business. Also while the particulars vary every time I am asked this one, my answer is always pretty much the same.

I am big believer in the “Three A’s” when it comes to reasons for Christians to divorce. If you are not familiar, they are adultery, abuse, and abandonment. On the surface these all seem like well-defined terms without much need for elaboration. However, it really isn’t as simple as it seems.

Adultery can encompass emotional affairs, addictions, pornography, and just about anything else where the one’s affection has been transferred to something else. Abuse does not have to involve physical violence, but can also include emotional, mental, spiritual, and sexual abuse. Abandonment can be more than one person physically leaving the marriage, and can also refer to those situations where one spouse has emotionally and mentally checked out of the marriage. Space does not allow me to be more specific, but I go into all of this in greater detail in Scandalous.

I am also a big believer that while these are perfectly legitimate reasons to seek a divorce, they do not require you to get a divorce. More than one marriage has not only survived infidelity, but has gone on to thrive as the two people committed to work through the issues that led to the act. I have also known those who have been abandoned who waited faithfully for God to restore their marriage to have their spouses return to them more in love and committed than ever before. I have also witnessed many in abusive situations that did not include physical or sexual violence stay and work with their spouse to save their marriages.

Now, let me be perfectly clear on this, no one should ever stay in a violent situation. We are called to be good stewards of what we have been given, this includes ourselves, and allowing abuse that puts you or your children in danger is not being a good steward. If you are experiencing this, get out and get out now. Once you are safe, if you still believe that there is hope for your marriage, seek the help of professionals to guide you through a reconciliation process that should include repentance on the part of the abuser, accountability for both parties, and a sustained demonstration of change. Do not think that you can do this on your own, or that one tearful apology means that everything is fine now. You need outside, objective help. Do not return until you both seek and receive it.

 So if all of these things are reasons you can get a divorce but do not mean you don’t have to get a divorce, then we still need an answer to the question and therein lies the rub. I don’t know. Your best friend doesn’t know, you parents don’t know, and even your pastor doesn’t know. The only person with that type of knowledge is you.

Here is what I do know:

Divorce isn’t a sin. God designed marriage as the perfect union between two people, a way in which we could combine strengths and overcome weakness within an environment dedicated to helping us mature in him. However, he also recognized that we aren’t perfect and the people we marry aren’t perfect. He knew that not everyone could withstand the rigors of marriage, and there are some who will actively destroy the gift he has given to them in the love of another person. So he designed an escape hatch that we call divorce.

Someone is screaming at their computer, but God hates divorce. Yes, yes, he does, but go back and read that passage you are shouting. It is found in Malachi 2:16. Notice what he does not say in that passage, he does not call it a sin. He says that the problem lies in the lack of love, in the failure to guard ones spirit, and in being faithless. All of these things are a problem with God no matter where they are manifest in our lives, but that is the key – our lives. We cannot control the decisions of another person including our spouse, and if they choose to dishonor the promise they made to us then we have no responsibility in that. We can only choose to control our response, and sometimes the best response is to get out of the way and give God a clean shot.

And while you have your Bibles out, you should also look up Jeremiah 3. Pay close attention to verse 8.

I also know divorce changes you. I know because I have been there. There is nothing pretty about it, even when you are getting out of a horrific situation. No matter how good freedom might be, you are still going to grieve. A dream is dying, there is no way to avoid it, and when our dreams die a part of who we are dies.

 The only real advice I can offer you is this:

Search your heart, know why you are contemplating this decision. If it is just because you think you will be happier free of your marriage, you are buying into a lie. If you are doing it because they changed, you need to realize that so did you, it is called life, and part of marriage is learning to navigate the changes together. If it is because you feel dissatisfied or discontent, then you need to take responsibility for your own emotions and stop placing unrealistic expectations on someone else.

Determine what you can live with – not today, but ten years down the road. Can you leave now and feel like you did everything in your power to heal your marriage? Will you be able to look back and say, I did my best and it was all I could do, and say it with a clean conscience? Because you will, even after my ex wrapped his hands around my throat and tried to strangle the life out of me, I asked myself that question knowing that divorce was the only option I had left.

Refuse to make any decision until you have peace. Notice what I did not say, I did not say happiness because the two are entirely different critters. Peace is that quiet assurance that wells up in our souls that allows us to rest. Happiness is fleeting and easily destroyed. Peace can look past the tears and know that despite the pain the decision is one that leads you to wholeness and healing.

No one can answer these questions, only you can do that, but until you know the answers I can love you, I can pray for you, and I can support you in the search. That is what real friends do, we don’t make the decision for you. We simply offer the tools and the safe place to use them.