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It’s Really Hard.

What God’s plan is: A journey of joyful discovery that begins where I am

In some ways I "knew" so much more then. God and I have been on a long journey together with many twists and turns. I believe I have come to a good place, and I hope to keep going because I am enjoying the journey more than ever. And I know I would not be where I am now without all the varied experiences I've had.

6 Things Christians Should Stop Saying To People Who Doubt | HuffPost

Even so, I often find myself wishing I could tell my younger self some things about how life really works, about what's real and true, and thereby dissolve some of the harmful preconceptions and assumptions I had way back then. That is a frustrating impossibility, but it's worth thinking about. So what would you tell your younger self?

Here, in hopes that it might be helpful to you on your own journey, are 52 things I wish I could tell my younger self:. Life is good. Not always, but mostly. And when it is not so good, be assured it will get better. It's a good thing that we don't know everything that's going to happen to us. If I had known all the pains and heartaches I would encounter in life, even amidst the joys and victories, it would surely have been too much to bear. If you tend to be shy, try your best to overcome it.

Take it a step at a time, but work at it. It is a gift to get to know new people, especially those who are different from you in some way, culturally, ethnically, religiously. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone may be painful for a time, but the benefits are everlasting. It may not be easy to stand up and speak out for what's important to you, but you will be amazed how empowering, and important, it can be.

Keep exercise, eating well, and healthy living in balance. Schedule rest and recreation regularly. The older you get, the more you'll understand why. Accept yourself as God made you. I spent too many years fighting this battle and it took a long time to surrender, and by that time it carried extremely painful ramifications. How I wish I could tell the young me that it is okay to be true to yourself. Because God does not make mistakes. You are not the only person in the world who feels this way, whatever "this way" is that you're feeling. See if you can connect with some others so you can support each other.

You are terrific just as you are. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't work on your rough edges and areas of ignorance and inexperience. You are on a journey, which means things will change. Even important things will change, sometimes shockingly. But it is a nevertheless a good journey, and it's worth every step. There is no one person in the whole world who is the one-and-only person God has selected for you to be with forever.

So don't waste time thinking you have to search for that one ideal person. Open yourself up, be patient, and it will all work out.

6 Things Christians Should Stop Saying To People Who Doubt

When you do connect deeply with one person, be serious about it. Work at it. Be open and honest with your significant other. It is a rare and wondrous thing to be in relationship, so make every effort to preserve and improve and deepen it.

But sometimes, for any number of reasons, it is time to move on, for your sake or theirs, or both. Recognize this. If you are alone, you won't always be, unless you don't make any effort otherwise. Make the effort. Your parents truly love you and want the best for you.

8 Things Your Pastor Will Never Tell You About the Bible

Listen to them. Trust them. Love them. Honor them. But realize you will soon be on your own, and that's a good thing. Stop watching so much TV. Read more. Although, young me, you did read an awful lot, so maybe you should get outside and play more. Work hard and carefully to figure out a career you will love. This will involve trying different things, new things.

I've had four primary and very different jobs in my life, and have enjoyed each one pretty much. Each one moved me forward into what was next. Try not to be so gullible. Trust, but verify -- with independent, objective sources, not mouthpieces for particular viewpoints or axes to grind. Children are a blessing and a joy. My heart is with you. Under Grace, Laura. Very insightful article. A marriage can be saved even if just one person can forgive, even though the other may choose to continue to live in sin. Forgiveness is done by grace. But trust has to be earned over a long period of time.

Great article. This happened to me over 22 years ago. Imagine living with THAT! Sir, is there really a completely innocent party in a divorce? As a 72 year old minister, I am very, very interested in your reply to help me understand this situation. Thanks for giving me an honest reply. God bless you! Yes, Bob. People come from all sorts of backgrounds and situations. If you want to narrow marriage and divorce to only those who were reared in church and their parents lived in a happy marriage, it would be easier to condemn divorce.

Many tragedies come from one or both trying to hang on to a bad marriage. Abuse to murder are the extremes. Any abusive marriage or divorce can be devastating to the children or family members. In so many divorces God was not in the marriage at the alter but hopefully comes into their life during their marriage. Some couples marriages last a lifetime without them believing in God. Finally, a happy Christian marriage is a blessing to all around them! Oh yes there is Bob.

Is there any recovery? Ten years ago I experienced an unexpected divorce. My wife of 22 years had an affair and demanded a divorce. I was in an associate Pastor position at the time and had been there three years. I was convinced that my ministry was over and done. My church loved my kids, one in high school and two adults at the time, and myself through the situation.

They even sent me for counseling and paid for it. They refused to let me go as a Pastor. I have now been there for thirteen years. Six years ago they celebrated my remarriage to an amazing Christian woman. Three years ago they called me to the lead Pastor position. My Pastor at the time told me that this would change my ministry. That was an understatement. God has opened doors I never dreamed would open. It has actually made me more relatable to those who are unchurched or have left the church for many reasons. Many are coming to faith and others are returning to the church.

If we say a person is no longer of use to God bc of divorce, we are saying that divorce is an unforgiveable sin. And that divorce is more powerful than the blood Jesus shed to forgive that sin.

Mike Todd - YTHX - Elevation Youth

I realize its a fragile subject!! For abused spouses, divorce is protection. One of the hardest things for me was losing a friendship with someone whom I had shared much of my story with, but who thought I needed to stay legally at any cost. My ex-husband showed no signs of true repentance, but the expectation was that I should have stayed no matter what it did to me. To stay legally married would have continued to give an abuser access to my life.

I needed more than just my own residence. I needed a legal end to the union. Im so sorry your friend did this to you. Just know God sees you, and He hears your cry. He loves you, sister. And He is the answer to healing the wound caused by your ex, and your friend. Thank you very much — spot on all points. I fought with everything I had to save my marriage, but it only takes one to break it up.

Thank God for my church family for their prayers, cards, visits and for being there when I needed them. A friend and I now facilitate a DivoreCare class at our church — I hope that my pain and subsequent healing can help others. Thank you for using the pain and scars to help others. It allows the pain to serve a higher calling. I designed my book as a supplement to DC bc many ppl wanted more. I am a featured expert on the DC dvds. Wonderful ministry Laura. I have lived with the stigma of divorce for years. I did not choose divorce he did. I have discovered that many church leaders eventually experince the divorce in the life of a child, or a close family member, and God uses this to help open their eyes to the legalism and calloused remarks.

Once they see the pain up close, it breaks the hard heart they have towards those divorced. Thank you so much for this, Laura. I too was blessed with a great church family to see me through. My hope was that counseling and tratment would lead to recomciliation, but he was never willing, so when I got a job out of state 9 years later I finally filed. For some of my friends and family, religious identity is a matter of heaven or hell.

When your religion has such stark eternal consequences, it makes sense that when you see a loved one doubting, your instinct is to find a way to bring that person back into the fold as quickly as possible. At first glance, phrases like these appear to give people permission to doubt. All bets are off. Some Christians respond to doubt by telling people to pray more, or read a specific Bible verse.

These spiritual practices help people who are already confident in their religion get closer to God. Often, doubters are familiar with all of these tactics. How can they sit in judgment over that? What makes them know me better than I know myself? This one hurts.


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They may have had good intentions, but the truth is, this kind of language hedges on abuse. When a seeker hears this, they hear an accusation that they have allowed the devil claim territory in their hearts. These kinds of comments are offensive because they reduce a spiritual journey that is often life-changing and transformative to something done merely as an act of rebellion.

Neither have anything to do with sin. Guess what? This journey is not about you. People who leave their childhood faith do not purposefully set out on this path to their family or friends, or cause any shame to their communities. It springs from a desire to seek the truth and to live honestly. Are your words and actions hurting or helping? They say they are doing what they are doing because they love us, but their actions are terribly inconsiderate and tone deaf to our own need.

Nearly everyone I reached out to told me that listening was the most important thing that their religious friends could do for them during their period of doubt. Lend a listening ear. Listen first. Love them by suspending your judgment and certainties. Love them by talking less and listening more.