As an extension of Exalted Valley Ministries, this blog serves to bear fruit for the vision to see every woman walk in her unique calling, unhindered by abusive relationships. It also serves to advance the mission, inspired by Isaiah 40:3-5, to equip each woman to Know, Grow, and Go.
When we know the truth about God, ourselves, and life, the crooked places are made straight. When we grow in that healing and liberating truth by applying it to our lives, the rough places are made smooth. We are then empowered and equipped to go share that truth as a voice crying in the wilderness, preparing a way for the Lord's will to advance. As a result, valleys are exalted and the Lord is glorified!
My prayer is that you will find these posts informative, encouraging, and empowering in the quest to identify, prevent, and recover from abuse.
Several values inform the vision and mission of Exalted Valley Ministries.
1. We have God assignments. There is something about a God assignment that won't let you rest until you've completed the task. While the Lord has empowered me to help others in various ways in this particular assignment, I can't shake the conviction that partial obedience is still disobedience. The assignment I have been given is not complete unless my ability to write is also used in His service.
My hope is that my example of sharing what has been received from the Lord will encourage others to let go of fear, trust God, and move forward in whatever assignment He has laid upon their hearts. My desire is not to shame or make anyone uncomfortable by sharing my experiences. My prayer is, however, that the enemy's plans to distort, distract, disable, and distinguish the believer's vision, voice, and victory would be annihilated.
2. Life is a stage. I believe life is God's stage on which He has the ability to reveal aspects of His character through us, our experiences, and our responses to them. We were created to bring glory to Him and, in so doing, to edify His kingdom. Before time began, God knew us, and He had good plans for our lives. Just as Eve and Adam spent time with God as His children before being presented to each other and blessed with the roles of wife and husband and keepers of the garden, such is the design for each of us. Roles nor circumstances could ever change a believer's status as a daughter of the King, fearfully and wonderfully made, a precious jewel, a temple for the Holy Spirit, and ordained before conception to fulfill a great purpose. My desire is that my faithfulness reflects His faithfulness, however faint my reflections may be.
How we respond to circumstances reveals what we believe about God. He is a Mighty Good Father, Strong, Loving, Compassionate, Wise, and Just. I want my life to reveal the truth about God and combat the lies and distortions of the enemy. I want the stage of my life to reflect the beautiful character of my God whether all is well or not so well; whether I am married or divorced; whether I have much or little; whether I am understood or mischaracterized. Inevitably, because we live in a fallen world, it means that to reveal His power, grace, and strength, I must go through the test that produces the testimony. I trust that He knows what is best and is always working everything together for my good.
3. An anointing must be honored. There is an anointing placed on all believers to set the captives free. Because the enemy is so crafty and so cunning, he has a laundry list of prisons waiting to entrap humanity. God gives us comfort so that we can comfort others in ALL of their troubles and help set prisoners free (2 Cor. 1:4). The reason we are equipped to comfort others in all ways is because we have been confronted in all ways. This is why everyone's voice matters and everyone's story matters. Though I would not wish my experiences with toxic relationships on anyone, and would choose to say no if I had a choice, I am thankful for the ability to empathize with suffering in way that may be challenging for others who have not had a similar experience. I am thankful that God counted me strong enough to endure the trials.
I trust that He not only knew every day of my life before time began, but He went ahead of me and provided for my good. He went ahead and provided for my growth, my deliverance, and my commitment to shine light in tremendously dark places. I am thankful that He is using what the enemy meant for evil for good, for the saving of many souls (Gen. 50:20) from the bondage of toxic relationships so that they are at liberty to fully walk in their calling. I'm not only thankful but thrilled to cooperate with God in this work because when this happens, God is glorified and His soon return is hastened.
4. Service to Him is an act of worship. The Lord says obedience is better than sacrifice and that the fruit of our love for Him is our service to Him. My faithfulness to the call to help set the captives free from the bondage and effects of abuse is kingdom work. Honoring God by partnering with Him to help bring His will from heaven to earth is an act of worship.
5. Darkness must be exposed. Along with every believer, I am called to expose darkness. I believe the Lord allowed me to survive my toxic and traumatic relationships so that I can help light someone else's path. In this way many can be spared unnecessary suffering.
6. All available resources need to be employed. Trauma from abuse is a scourge that impacts everyone in society. I agree with psychologist Diane Langberg, who shares in her book Suffering and the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores, that trauma and trauma recovery is the primary mission field of the church today. Of all of the assignments the Lord has given me to do over the years to help my community, abuse recovery has become the most important.
Abuse diminishes a person, and that trauma affects every part of a person's life, from the emotional to the physical and beyond, which in turn greatly impacts relationships. If trauma can be healed so individuals can stop bleeding on people who never cut them—or prevent them from turning on themselves—the world would be a better place. Whatever effort we can give to be conduits of healing so that more lives do not have to drown in the abyss of trauma, the better.
7. Faith comes by hearing. There is something powerful about hearing someone speak about their struggle or storm and how God healed, delivered, made a way, or somehow did the impossible. This certainly was a major influence on my decision to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior. We each have a story to share that can help someone on this journey called life and serve as a guidebook for one who is struggling.
8. The admonition of Titus 2 is to be taken seriously. Wisdom gained should be shared. Titus 2 admonishes the older, more seasoned women to minister to the younger women. It doesn't say this is restricted to only those who have a certain level of education or are married or possess any other perceived level of advantage. It is the wisdom gained from our own experiences that God expects us to share in a way that is edifying. He does not allow us to go through our storms just to get to the other side. Our journeys reveal His light in the darkness and His strength in weakness. Those who are younger and less mature must be given the opportunity to benefit from potentially life-saving wisdom.
9. Isolation must be overcome. Isolation makes it less likely a person will have the conversations they need to have. It is dangerous for a person to think they are the only one experiencing their storm because that is a lie. Those who cannot have those conversations need to be assured that someone empathizes with their situation, and electronic offerings like blogs help provide that.
10. Transparency leads to transformation. Let me first say here that your safety is the priority. Please pray for discernment and, as the Lord leads you, only share with people who are safe. I remember hearing a statement that "someone has to go first." This ministry raises its hand, along with others like it, to say, "Here I am, send me." It can be very difficult to talk about such sensitive topics, but if we do not share our experiences and how we survived and healed, we cooperate with the enemy's plan for our lives; we acquiesce to his stealing our vision, killing of our purpose, and destruction of our hope. Suffering people need to know that someone else has suffered as they have and that there is a better way available to them and a brighter day ahead of them.
11. Sharing produces healing. Revelation 12:11 says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of our testimony. There is something deeply cathartic about sharing how you needed God's help and then how He helped you. The burden of not being able to share, especially in the face of fear of rejection, reminds me of wisdom from Maya Angelou: “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” I believe this is especially true when a survivor is trying to recover from the effects of toxic relationships like intimate partner terrorism. I am absolutely convinced that trauma is a major tool of the enemy to silence strong women committed to God's service. When we share our stories, we not only help others heal but we also help ourselves heal.
12. You should provide answers you wish were provided to you. Gandhi said we must be the change we want to see in the world. Share your light so there are fewer dark spaces in which individuals lose time, effort, energy, and resources that could be in service to the fulfilment of their unique calling.
Brene Brown said:
“ONE DAY YOU WILL TELL
OF HOW YOU OVERCAME
WHAT YOU WENT THROUGH
AND IT WILL BE
SOMEONE ELSE’S SURVIVAL GUIDE.”
I like that. We must share what we wish we had known. For decades I prayerfully searched for answers to my pain, suffering, and confusion through so many resources: Christian books, Christian radio, the wisdom of elders, Christian counselors, and more. I gleaned wonderful insights, but it wasn't until I became separated after nearly 20 years of marriage that I began to discover the true nature of my past suffering. Oh, what a difference it would have made if I'd had the benefit of another's experience that looked like mine. I am determined by God's grace to be the lifeline someone else needs.
No one person or organization has all of the answers. Sharing your story matters because there is nothing new under the sun, and someone else is guaranteed to be experiencing a similar situation. Even the most God-focused young person has blind-spots that can be made clearer by mature believers who are willing to honestly share the truth about the twists and turns along life's journey.
13. Ours is a rescue mission. It has already been alluded to, but I feel it needs to be
emphatically stated: Believers partner with the Lord of the universe to rescue those who
The great controversy of all time continues to play out in our world, in which the enemy of our souls wars against God and the advancement of His kingdom. So many are trapped with no resources to light their way. We must do what we can and use all the resources we can, even if it matters to only one person. To the world you may be one person, but to that one person you may be the world.
14. We should tell of His wonderful goodness (Psalm 145:5-7). We are called to tell of the Lord's mighty acts. Like many others, I have story after story of how the Lord showed Himself to be the loving, compassionate, and strong Deliverer, Provider, and Comforter that He is, and I cannot keep His goodness to myself!
You Matter. Your Voice Matters. Your Story Matters. Your Valley Will Be Exalted, and Your Triumph Will Bring Glory to Him.