02-10-2017

Fifty Shades Darker: Abuse at its heart

Because Fifty Shades Darker opens this weekend. Because abuse is the opposite of love. Because this is near & dear to my heart.

{A repost from when Fifty Shades of Gray movie opened in theaters.}

For two weeks now, as I watch ad after ad of 50 Shades trailers, I have been in a mood of outrage at our society.

How can we be outraged when Rihanna takes Chris Brown back and we watch a Super Bowl ad and say “oh, yes…domestic abuse is an atrocity.”

But then we turn a blind eye to a movie that at its heart embraces abuse, condones misuse of power, and degrades a woman’s self worth.

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What occurs in this movie is much more than just BDSM. What happens between the two characters is emotional manipulation, controlling another person’s thoughts, words, and deeds, threatening another person’s safety, and the list goes on and on.

At numerous many points in this book {just to name a few…the stalking, the threats, the inequality of power & control} I want to say “The worst thing about these books is…”

But perhaps, the worst part is the underlying effect when abuse embeds itself into one’s psyche.

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…the Grey Shade of Shame
while hiding black & blue bruises on our backs, afraid to undress at the gym for fear of being found out.

…the Grey Shade of Torture
while hearing “If you had done what I told you to, I wouldn’t need to whip you with this belt.”

…the Grey Shade of Fear
while hearing your abuser threaten to rape you.

When caustic comments are repeated day after day, situation after situation, year after year, they get under your skin, degrade your worth, and eventually they tear a woman down. They make her feel she deserves those beatings, she deserves being talked to as if she is a filthy human being.

Whether verbal,physical, or sexual…abuse is psychological.

It gets underneath your skin and affects how you view right & wrong.
It skews your beliefs until you don’t know what to be confident of anymore.

You take a controlling man who preys on a woman and batters her down
until nothing is left
but a stubble of who she used to be.

His actions make her not just FEEL but THINK that she wasn’t worthy of decent love from the beginning.

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Or, perhaps it is this that is the worst part…

For many supporters of this trilogy, they see the plot as being redemptive. For by the end of book 3, Ana has changed Christian to be a better man. Because of her, he is now a loving husband, a doting father.

Women, hear me loud and clear.
No woman has ever changed a man.
NEVER, EVER, EVER.

You love him for who he is. And if he happens to become better over time, that’s great. But at the end of the day…

You only have the power to change yourself.

So what message are we sending young ladies, teenagers, college bound girls….that they will be able to change a man? That their self esteem, their self worth doesn’t matter?

Young women…hear this…

There are awesome and wonderful men in this world who will cherish you, treasure you, and respect you and your wishes more than you ever thought possible. Trust your heart and your body to a man like that.

A man who gets his pleasure from hurting you, from controlling you, from knowing where you are every single second of the day…avoid those men like the plague. The man who makes you second guess yourself, makes you question what his true motives are…those are the ones to leave behind in the dust.

If someone can’t respect you for who you are, if someone has to undermine your value in order to make themselves feel more important – move on to bigger & brighter futures.

Because, you, you are worth SO MUCH MORE than being the object of someone’s issues with their own past.

Let them get help on their own. Let them figure out how to release the demons of their past. But you don’t need to stick around for them to do that.

Instead, find your worth in who you are…a beautiful, brilliant, talented, witty, funny, caring, loveable creation of God.

jessica

p.s…if this post has been touching to you, please forward to the young women in your life. Abuse happens more often that we realize, everywhere around us, even to men by women.

And if you are in an abusive relationship, there are people that want to help you. www.thehotline.org or 800.799.7233

01-23-2017

The #1 Lie Christians Say: God Doesn’t Give You More Than You Can Handle

I’m not a theologian. Never been to seminary. Just a girl who wants to have a deeper understanding of scripture.

When faced with grief, hard times, and just plain life – there’s one phrase shared in the Christian community that I detest.

“God won’t ever give you more than you can handle.”

I’m sure people mean well – not sure what to say when a friend is in the throes of seemingly insurmountable hardships.

But that phrase is actually not in scripture.

Yes, I Corinthians 10:13 does say God won’t let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. However, it doesn’t say hardship. It says temptation. And in my opinion, the word temptation means temptation to sin.

Without ill intent, we alter scripture to make it seem like God doesn’t allow hardship we can’t endure.

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Bible stories resound with God letting people experience tragedy, deprivation, poverty…the list goes on & on. Story after story it is HE who prevails them through the storms of life. Biblical stories actually don’t end well when people choose their own devices to make it through the hardships.

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If God didn’t give you more than you could handle on your own, why would you ever need Him?

We realize our dependence on Him when we have nothing left of our own resources to make it through the next moment.

It is not of my own striving, my own accord, my own will that has helped me through the mountains of life.
When I realize my brain, my body, my heart cannot adequately meet the need in front of me is when I turn to Christ the most.

It’s as small as realizing I can’t go a day without yelling at my kids without the Holy Spirit giving me self-control of my mouth.

It’s as big as realizing I can’t forgive heart wounds from trauma without the supernatural gift of forgiveness from Christ.

Part of Christianity is accepting the limitations of my own self. Of being willing to say I wasn’t meant to walk life’s journey alone.

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It is when I lean most heavily on Him that I thrive.
I’m not talking about thriving in the material sense of the word.
I’m talking about thriving in joy, peace, self control, contentedness.

As we are reminded in II Corinthians 12:9 –

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.

In my translation…

Christ’s grace is sufficient for you, for His power is made perfect in your weakness. 

When friends are facing hard times, instead of saying “God won’t give you more than you can handle”, we could instead encourage them that Christ will be the provider of what gets them through the journey.

jessica

 

 

12-24-2011

Child Like Magic

On Christmas Eve I am often surrounded by memories and I wonder what your memories are this evening.

My memories as a kid are simplistic…of a sleepless night anxiously awaiting Santa’s arrival, Christmas carols sung around a piano, the hilarious gift my ‘gran’ gave every year. And then I transition to memories more recent…the first Christmas spent with our son, to the now joy I experience as my two kids open up their Christmas Eve gift. But I also guess you may have some somber moments, like me, as the day passes…when you remember simpler times or remember people who are no longer by your side.

So what I wish for you and yours this Christmas is child like magic. The ability to see hope in our lives, to see the good in others, and to see the strength that comes from a warm embrace. I hope you look beyond a hectic day of going here and there to see the joy spent among friends and family. And as tomorrow dawns, I hope you are able to see all the blessings in your life and give thanks to God for the birth of His son. And if tomorrow dawns and it isn’t quite the situation you would ask for, I hope you are able to still give thanks to God for the wondrous reason we celebrate and to know that you are not alone. No matter your circumstances or where you are spending Christmas, you are forever in God’s loving embrace and I pray His peace will be with you tonight and tomorrow, as always.

May you have a joyous and memorable Christmas Eve and Christmas.

Love,
Jessica

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6