After eight years of marriage, I filed for divorce. My husband's pornography addiction had led to an affair, then acting out with prostitutes. I was DONE. But God used a seemingly hopeless situation to bring us both into a real relationship with Jesus. He also redeemed our marriage. These are just some of the things I wish I had known or done when I first found out my husband was being unfaithful.
1. Don’t take the blame. You didn’t cause your husband to do this. There may be some things lacking on your part, but at the end of the day – he chose to sin against God. (James 1:13-15)
2. Don’t take it personally. He probably didn’t do this just to hurt you – he may be selfish or seeking to please himself. Get beyond your feelings of betrayal and don’t wallow in self-pity – it only makes it harder to get to the root issue. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
3. You must hold him responsible for his actions. Do not enable the behavior to continue, but seek to find out why it started in the first place, in a counseling or mentoring setting. If necessary, separate from him physically for while, until he takes ownership of his actions. (Ephesians 4:15)
4. Affirm your love for him. Tell him you love him and want to work through this together. Don’t threaten to divorce him; that only makes him want to hide the whole truth from you. (Romans 12:9-12)
5. Don’t shame him. We all have secret sins that need to be dealt with. Thank God that He brought this into the light so you can work on it together. Let your husband confess his sins to God and you. Only when he takes ownership of them, and repents can God change him. (1 John 1:8-9)
6. Do not become bitter or refuse to forgive. If your husband has asked for forgiveness, forgive him. This may not come immediately, but it must be dealt with quickly before bitterness, hatred or rage overtake you. Remember everything that God through Christ has forgiven you of. (Matthew 18:21-35)
7. Don’t try to retaliate or have a "pay-back" affair. It will only make matters worse and give him a reason (in his mind) to keep doing what he is doing. (Romans 12:17-21)
8. Get plugged into a women’s Bible study. There you can study the truth of God’s Word in-depth and apply it to your life. This is where you will gain your strength and the wisdom to move forward one step at a time. (Hebrews 4:12-13)
9. Pray for your husband. A great book to help you pray specifically for him is, “The Power of a Praying Wife” by Stormie O’Martian. This is one of the greatest things you can do to promote healing in your marriage. (James 5:16)
10. Be humble. Ask God and your husband if you have been disrespectful in any way. Your husband's greatest need is to feel respected by his wife. If he doesn’t, he may start to act in ways that make him feel respected or in control. A helpful book that explains the different needs of men and women is “Love and Respect” by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs. (Ephesians 5:33)
Remember: you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength! ~ Philippians 4:13
Barb shares her journey from victim to victor with humor and transparency. Although she was a victim of childhood sexual abuse, she refuses to be defined by what happened to her.
Christ came to bind the broken-hearted and set the captive free. As one whose heart was broken by abuse, then imprisoned by pain, Barb knows the path to Freedom holds many pitfalls. She hopes to take years off your journey. There are no quick fixes or worn-out clichés in her teaching, just creative word pictures and God’s truth. Her insights diffuse the fog of pain, and bring lasting hope that only comes from God.
“The only way out is through and the only way through is Jesus. All too often we look at our pain without knowing how to handle it. All that does is make it worse. You have to be able to swim before you jump into the ‘pool of pain.’”
Barb explores Satan’s tricks and traps, used against those who have been deeply hurt. She exposes shame and places it where it belongs – squarely on the abuser. She explains how abuse causes quirks and rules about life. She extracts Bible truths about who God is and who we are.
Barb has experienced the freedom that comes from running to Jesus. She has learned to live daily in the wonder of what Christ has done. Her joyful life testifies of God’s goodness to His daughters (and sons!)
As a new creation in Christ, YOU are a caterpillar transformed into a butterfly. Barb won’t help you be a better caterpillar—she will teach you how to fly! Be who God has created you to be: daily walk in His strength, work with His Power, and share in His healing.
As a child, I often heard my parents say, “When you become an adult you can do whatever you want.” How different my life would have been if I had been told instead: “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV)
In my workshop, I want to address the issue of masturbation—is it right or wrong? Biblically it is addressed as sensual (sexual) indulgence and or sensuality. This is a practice many believers have and do practice, along with pornography, and I want to dispel some wrong thinking on the matter.
I did not honor God with my body before I was married, or during the early years of marriage. Being exposed to porn at a young age gave me a false sense of entitlement and intimacy. I allowed myself to be deceived into thinking I was pure, just because I was not having sex. This thinking followed me into marriage. In the first years of marriage, it was just sex without true intimacy. I even used it as weapon to punish my husband. I withheld sex, which brought more temptation into our marriage. Painfully, I learned that I could make the choice, but I could not choose the consequences. Without God, all evil things are possible. I’m so glad that Jesus not only became my Savior, but also the Master of my life. It was only then that I learned about the true intimacy God intended me to have with my husband.
I pray that you will let me share with you what God has shown to me through these years, and how He healed me. The Lord wants to change and heal our thinking when it comes to Purity. With change and healing comes a wonderful changed life! Praise Be To Our God!
Cris was baptized as an infant and attended church all her life. If there is a job in the church, Cris has done it: Junior choir and acolyte, Youth groups (where she was saved at 13), church camps, usher, student evangelist, Bible study participant, nursery worker, Sunday School teacher, church secretary, Women’s ministry leader, event planner, Bible study teacher, VBS organizer, worship team, puppet ministry, pastor’s wife, speaker, lay counselor, counseling trainer and mentor, disaster relief worker and Bible study writer.
When she gathered the courage to ask her church for help with an abusive marriage of 20 years, they slandered her reputation and put her on “probation.” When she separated from her husband, she was fired from all her “church” jobs in disgrace. It felt like her legs had been cut off when she was forbidden from doing the things that gave her joy.
Cris explains, “There was no court of appeals with the church. They continued ruining my reputation and falsely accusing me of horrible deeds. One pastor told me, ‘Up until 20 minutes ago when you accused your husband of abuse, I thought you were one of the pillars of this church.’ My worst crime seemed to be that I was no longer trying to perform up to their standards. They couldn’t tolerate that, so I was punished and pushed out.”
She stopped going to church for a long time. Then God in His mercy drew her to a church where she heard the message of GRACE for the first time. It took 2 years of repetition to understand what grace really meant. Since then, she has practiced living daily in the hand of a loving, gentle God. He is gradually restoring all the ministries that were taken from her, improved. She is discovering that His mercies truly are new every morning.
If you have experienced deep hurts in the church, you are not alone. Many women have been shamed, rejected, removed from ministry and betrayed by “godly people.” But the church is still God’s Plan A- it is His only Bride. How can we live with that?
Cris shares how God can change your situation—maybe not fix the church but rise above the problem and walk worthy of your calling. (Col. 1:10) Speak truth, because it’s the only way the situation can change. Realize God is a God of grace and love. Find someone to walk with who doesn’t think you’re crazy, and who will pray for you. Remember who you are in God’s eyes. And keep forgiving.
One look at Glenda’s resume says that she knows what it’s like to live through change: she has been the owner of multiple businesses, an educator, a church staff member, an award-winning speaker, a television director, a wife, a mother, and an author. But you need to hear her speak to learn how God used all that change to mold her into an obedient child.
In 2009, Glenda combined her professional background in marketing, management, and communication, with her love of education and created College Advising and Planning Services, a full-service, faith-based educational consulting firm whose purpose is to focus, empower, and motivate students in the college planning process. She is one of only 300 Certified Educational Planners in the United States, demonstrating the highest level of competency in the field. Glenda wrote The Christian’s Guide to College Admissions.
Glenda serves as the Children’s Choir Director at Calvary Chapel, Albuquerque, where she directs the annual Christmas “Praise-entation,” with 150 kindergarten through fifth-grade children. Glenda leads the prayer ministry for a weekly community Bible Study. Glenda recently celebrated her 30th anniversary with her “Mr. Right,” who is an award-winning Green Builder. Glenda has two amazing daughters, and equally amazing son-in-laws.
Glenda is privileged to share life lessons with others through speaking, writing, music and teaching. She enjoys mentoring Christian women as God provides the opportunity.
My name is Overton 1478117. My first name is Hannah, but that 7-digit number has identified me for the past seven years in prison.
Years ago the Lord gave my husband Larry and me the desire to adopt, then he opened doors. At our church, we met a wonderful little boy named Andrew and fell in love with him. Andrew was a 4-year old foster child we felt compelled to adopt. He would be the sixth child in our “forever family," in addition to our five biological children. A few short months later tragedy struck and our world was turned upside down. Andrew went home to be with Jesus when he died from a condition that caused fatally high levels of sodium in his body. Our sorrow compounded when my husband and I were accused and charged with Andrew’s death.
On September 7, 2007 I was convicted of capital murder and sent to a maximum-security prison for “life without the possibility of parole” for a crime I didn't commit. This left Larry at home to care for our five children. I started questioning everything. If God loved me why would He allow this to happen? How can I make it through this? Without my family or my freedom, how does God want me to live? Is God enough?
Philippians 4:19 says, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” For seven years God proved to me—by His very nature—that He was enough! There is not a need that He cannot meet. I believed the only way I could be secure in that truth was by getting to know Him in a new way. Being in prison enabled me to spend more time with Him and learn more about Him. I finally understood what Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength."
After seven years in prison, I was miraculously exonerated and all charges were dropped! During my time in prison, God not only held me and my family in His hands but He also used this trial in mighty ways. God who works all things out for good has used my story to bring many strangers into relationship with Him. Although I am now home with my family, Hebrews 13:3 challenges us to “remember those in prison as if you were bound with them.” I will continue to minister to those behind the gates and remind everyone that this command is not only for those who have been there, but for ALL believers in Jesus! My heart’s desire is to share our story, to encourage those facing sorrow to always trust—God is faithful and He is enough.
Hannah and her husband continue to minister to those behind bars through Syndeo Ministries.
I was baptized as an infant, grew up attending church on Sunday’s, and was then chose to be baptized again at age 10. My fondest memories are of attending church summer camps and youth group activities during my middle school and early high school years. I always loved God but never knew what it meant to have a personal relationship with Him.
In high school, to hide my insecurities, I began drinking alcohol which made me feel more confident to fit in with the “in crowd.” I even smoked marijuana and loved how it made me laugh and feel relaxed. In my 20’s I lived the life of “little miss goody two shoes” by day and “partier - looking for love in all the wrong places” by night. Through all this, I had never forgotten God. I prayed to Him often and continued attending church on occasion but never read my bible. I was living a “double life” and I knew it!
The longer my life of disobedience continued the angrier and more anxious I became. When I was married and began having my children, I knew it was time for me to stop the partying life and start going to church regularly. I was merely attending church as I always had. Finally I realized that I needed more: I needed to be in God’s Word and spend time with Him daily so I could learn who He is and grow closer to Him.
God blessed me with a Christian friend who I could be real with and I confessed to her my struggles with anger and anxiety which I was too ashamed to speak about with anyone else. My friend invited me to attend the Bible study she was leading. At that study, God broke down my pride and gave me the courage to confess how anger and anxiety had damaged my relationships with my husband and my children. God has filled our hearts and our home with His love, forgiveness, and compassion. My heart's desire is to share God’s truth and shine His light in this dark world!
God renews my heart and mind as I live in the light of these important truths:
1. God chose us to be His children before He even created us. He has given us His spiritual gifts of salvation, forgiveness, wisdom, and the power of His Holy Spirit to live according to His will for our lives. Let’s us receive His gifts and not let our anxiety and anger rob us of the abundant life He has planned for us. (Ephesians 1)
2. We are new creations in Christ Jesus. All our sin, anger and anxiety was nailed to the cross. We have the power of the Holy Spirit residing in us to overcome the power of our sins. (Romans 6, Colossians 2: 13-15)
3. We are being sanctified through Christ Jesus. We will never be perfect but thanks to Jesus we are no longer slaves to our anger and anxiety. We are followers of Christ Jesus and He is molding us and shaping us to be more like Him every day so that we may glorify Him. (Romans 6, 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12)
4. God has a purpose for each of our lives. However, we cannot live our lives without equipping ourselves with The Armor of God. (Ephesians 6:10-20)
Have you seen the AT&T commercial where the cute little girl makes us laugh with her line about how “if you like it, you want more”? That was totally me. Actually, I think we all “want more.” People are born to be passionate worshippers, but what we worship makes all the difference. For years, I lived as a prodigal—passionately seeking the wrong things, having experiences that only temporarily satisfied me. But I always wanted more. In trying to fill the void, I went from being a recreational drug and alcohol user (for 13 years) to a daily user of methamphetamine (for another 6 years).
“For my people have done two evil things: They have abandoned me--the fountain of living water. And they have dug for themselves cracked cisterns that can hold no water at all!” Jeremiah 2:13
For the last 4 years of my drug addiction, I regularly cried out for the Lord to deliver me. While it was a process, the Lord did not waste one iota of that time. As promised in Romans 8:28, He worked all things together for my good. I grew in the grace and knowledge of Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and during that time He changed me from the inside out and brought deep healing. Here are some of the radical truths that helped me:
13 years later one thing hasn’t changed: I still want more. But by His grace, I just want more of God.
Several years ago I was struggling with some anxiety about challenges in my life. I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t focus on daily tasks, and I was consumed with worry about the future. I had always been faithful to spend time with God in the morning, reading His word, meditating on Scripture and writing in my journal, but even that was feeling flat. I needed a way to regain control of my thoughts and to restore joy to my time alone with God.
As I sat at my desk one morning before dawn, doodling aimlessly and letting my thoughts wander while reading my Bible, I came across Psalm 108:1; “My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing, I will sing praises, even with my soul.” I remember having the thought, “I wonder what soul praise looks like?” On a whim, I typed the word “praise” into my internet search bar and started scanning through the images that popped up. I came across a picture of a flower that made me pause. It was a beautiful close-up photo of a fragile, bright pink blossom, unfurled in all its glory. As I studied the image, I thought about how this particular flower was exposing its innermost vulnerable part of itself to the sun for nourishment. And it clicked! Here was a picture of what it looked like to praise God with my soul! Baring my deepest self to His light, seeking the nourishment of the Son; trusting Him for my sustenance and radiating all the glory of His creation. I continued to stare at the picture, mesmerized. Then, slowly I began to write. I wrote and wrote that morning; inspired by the photo. Thus began my new approach to time with God!
As I employed this concept of using images in my quiet time, I began to spend more time with God; going deeper in His word and experiencing more intimacy in my prayers and meditations. I began to verbalize what the images were showing me through poetry, anagrams, writing my own psalms, etc. And God became more real to me, through the use of ALL my senses; sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell.
As I continued this process, it occurred to me that it was like sitting at a feast; a banquet that God had spread before me of which I was invited to partake. The story of Matthew 22 came to mind, where a king invited all his subjects to a wedding feast for his son, but no one would come. So he sent his servants out to find people. He told them, “go to the street corners and invite everyone you can find to come to the banquet,” (Matt 22:9). And I knew that this was what God was telling me to do. He wanted me to share the invitation to the banquet with everyone I knew; to teach this method to others.
And so, “Come to the Banquet” is an invitation to experience all that God has to offer us through our senses; to “taste and see that the Lord is good”. If you’re feeling like your relationship with God has been a little dry, and you long for a more vibrant, personal, intimate time with Him every day, then this workshop is for you!” Come to the banquet and discover what God has to say to you!
March of 2014 will always be seared in my heart and in my mind as the month that my unsettled heart finally found freedom and peace through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
At the age of 16, I had made one of those life-changing decisions that affected much of my life. I chose to have an abortion. That decision was not one I wanted, but one I felt I could not escape. The father was five years older than I was, an abusive predator. When he found out I was pregnant, he kicked my stomach repeatedly to try to get me to miscarry and when I didn’t he told me I would have an abortion. I agreed in fear he would kill me if I didn’t. I now know he had to get rid of the evidence that would put him in jail for statutory rape. He stole everything from me – my innocence and my childhood.
The day he dropped me off at the doors of that abortion clinic, I knew I was making a horrible mistake. The most vivid thing I remember is the black trash bag taking away the pieces of my baby. That day, I too chose to live the rest of my life as trash. I became an alcoholic and went from man to man giving my body away to anyone who would have me. I was filled with rage and self-loathing.
I accepted the Lord Jesus as my Savior in 1986, and though I accepted His gracious forgiveness for all my sins, I refused to believe He could forgive me for the murder of my child.
I married an abusive man and stayed 20 years. I felt I deserved no better. I had five beautiful children and became a super Mom. I wanted to prove I could be an incredible mom to my living children since I had failed my first one so miserably. I finally divorced when his abuse turned toward our youngest child.
I met and dated a godly, wonderful man, Dan, a couple of years later, and it was through him that I started to feel God’s grace in my life. We got married and with his gentle prodding I attended an abortion recovery Bible Study in February of 2014. Through this study I learned of God’s forgiveness and grace for – yes – even my abortion. After a month, I finally let go of the pain, the guilt and the shame and now I can say I AM FREE of the condemnation and self-loathing.
My goal now is to lead other women, alongside with our Savior, to the freedom and hope waiting for them at the top of the mountain of pain and suffering. God has led my precious husband and me to start a ministry called Surrendered Hearts New Mexico to unite abortion recovery ministries and unite the women who suffer from that trauma. We must come together to make it clear that ABORTION IS NOT GOOD FOR WOMEN! There is forgiveness and grace waiting for all women—simply ask! God is waiting.
Do not read the next sentence: "You little rebel. I like you.”
There is something about a rebel that is attractive and alluring. Is it her power? Her confidence? Her unshakable attitude? Maybe all three! I reveled in rebellion. I loved feeling unstoppable and on top of my world. I could go anywhere and do anything; and I knew all the tricks to not get caught. Nothing would break me, or so I thought.
I gave my life to the Lord in my 20's. What I didn’t realize was that for me, my rebellious spirit didn’t go away after giving my life to Jesus. In fact, I didn’t even know I had one! Proverbs 5:6 says, “For she cares nothing about the path to life. She staggers down a crooked trail and doesn’t realize it.” Rebellion hides, festers, and decays your moral ground until gradually it ruins you completely.
So how could someone like me come to escape impending doomsday? Why on earth would I come into willful submission to God’s perfect law? I was a rule breaker. But now, I am completely addicted to being a doer of God’s word. What gave me the breath of life I needed to change?
The first change came when I gave my life to the Lord. I saw his perfect grace and love for me, and said yes! Then He gave me this crazy idea to get married! I can honestly say I was not marriage material! Marriage was no cakewalk. I was crazy in love and fiercely loyal, but my rebellious spirit consumed every good thing. I began loving my power more than my spouse. Submission was a loathed and foreign term. I chose me, more than I chose him. I also struggled with a negative mindset until finally both took their toll on our relationship.
One day in prayer, I found myself looking deep into my own darkness. There was no end to it. Blinded, I groped the floor for my soul. I was in pieces. My sin had finally caught up to me and I was lost. I cried out to God for help, as sincerely as I could. To my surprise, God gave me my greatest blessing – the gift of Faith! This was the missing link I had needed to start my journey of real faith.
One of my favorite passages of scripture reads, “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of His beloved Son” (Col. 1:13, NLT). Rebellion led me to a life filled with darkness. But the Grace of God rescued me and guided me into the eternal kingdom of Jesus Christ! Everyone has the opportunity to turn from her dark ways and seek the light. God meets us with outstretched arms no matter how rebellious we’ve been and He blesses us in our brokenness! We serve an amazing God, ladies!
Richelle’s passion is to help you attack and destroy the enemy’s power in your life. Kingdom warfare, engaging the enemy forces that destroy your peace and joy, is at the core of her life. 24 years in the Air Force trained her in military warfare; but today, her greatest weapons come from the Holy Spirit. She can show you defensive weapons like armor, tactics, knowing enemy strategies; and offensive tactics like Special Ops and Strategic Weapons. Because of her own traumatic experiences, her heart is to help hurting women heal and overcome, and experience the fullness of God’s blessings. She serves with three ministries at her church, Sagebrush Church. She is a humble worshipper and intercessor, a skilled teacher, a mentor and counselor for Christ, a woman after God's own heart.
I have suffered from depression and suicidal thinking since I was a teenager and didn’t really know why. I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression in my 20’s and continued treatment (including talk therapy and medication) on and off for the next 15 years. One psychiatrist gave me a “life sentence:” I would always suffer cyclical episodes of severe depression and would always be on medication. I thought I was doomed to live as a “lesser” Christian who didn’t get to have joy and peace because of my mental illness and troubled history.
Thankfully, that’s not how my story ends. And yours doesn’t have to, either.
I started biblical counseling six years ago and began a long, hard, but also wonderful, climb out of depression. Even better than being off all medication, I now live in the freedom Jesus Christ promised to us, His children. (Galatians 5:1) There is a way through the debilitating feelings of sadness and despair: God’s wisdom, encouragement, mercy, and love poured out through His Word. (Psalm 1:2-3)
There are many “on-ramps” to the freeway of depression, and whatever the cause may be, the Bible provides real hope for change and a new life of joy. The way out requires a willingness to see yourself and God differently and to take an honest look at where your “stinkin’ thinking” needs to change.
It is critical to understand:
1. Who you are in Christ—your value and position as a child of God. (Ephesians 1:3-10)
2. The power living inside you—the Holy Spirit, to change and live. (Ephesians 1:18-20)
3. The process of sanctification—God gently works out His plan in you. (Isaiah 61:1-3)
4. The role you play in God’s kingdom—to bless you and glorify Himself. (Ephesians 2:10)
I am so thankful that God is redeeming my life daily so I can help others see their way out of the darkness and into the hope that Jesus offers.
According to the Bible, anger, in itself, is not sin. It is an emotion we experience as part of our nature. Anger becomes dangerous when violent passion rises too quickly without us taking time to reflect on what is true. It becomes a sin when we dwell on the things that stimulated it and react inappropriately to the displeasure it creates within us.
Many years ago I made the decision to literally dwell in the cesspool of anger – anger towards myself for my sinful choice of abortion and anger towards those who I perceived to be the root of my problems. Crushing ocean depths of pain imploded me, while on the surface a hurricane of rage lashed out at others. I daily soaked in my brokenness of heart until every thought, word, and deed became saturated in the brine of bitterness. Tainted heart-water nourished a twisted weed that pushed its long roots deep into my soul and corrupted my entire life. My once bottled-up anger now escaped like pressure-cooker steam from every pore of my being. It eroded my personal relationships both inside and outside my family. I became obsessed to the point of being emotionally crippled, resentful, and depressed. I existed as the polar opposite to what Jesus was on the cross.
The Bible doesn’t teach us not to feel angry; rather it teaches us how to handle it. At such times, it helps to remember that the Spirit’s work in us is a process; that we must repeatedly turn from persistent attitudes and reactions that constantly rear their heads. If we dwell on the things that feed our anger, we give the devil a place to tread and eventually rest. Instead, we must continually turn over to God our biting sarcasm, quarreling, spite, and inclination to injure others.
God’s grace has the power to set us free from bondage to our internal turmoil and excess baggage that weighs us down. His grace enables us to walk freely in His forgiveness and everlasting love despite the emotional turmoil. We do not have to live in slavery to it.
While my sinful actions resulted in some unwanted consequences, my decision to repent and turn to the Father for abundant grace and mercy through the precious blood of Jesus has resulted in overflowing blessing that has allowed me to be healed and set free to walk in victory.
Coming from varied backgrounds, struggles and triumphs, our speakers want to encourage you that there is hope and victory in Jesus!