Over a year later, I still experience daily pain all over my body. Physical pain has followed me around for months like baby ducks following their mama. Pain has left me asking theological questions: How can I suffer well? How can I not give up hope for healing? I want to believe that God will use this season for his good. I want to believe that he has not forgotten about me. I want to cope and find comfort in the Creator of the universe instead of his created things like food, movies, and aspirin. But what do we do when those things are the only things that bring us a few seconds of relief?
Maybe you aren’t suffering with physical pain, but I bet you’re suffering from something. Maybe you are grieving the loss of a loved one. Maybe you’re struggling with depression. Maybe you feel stuck in addiction and chained to pornography. Maybe you are single and have sexual desires, and don’t know what to do with them. We all experience suffering.
I surveyed my friends on social media and asked them about suffering. I asked two questions: Do you suffer well? If so, how do you suffer well? The responses flooded into my inbox and comment section. Everyone is struggling. We must get out of isolation and share our pain with those around us. Their wisdom was so encouraging to me that I wanted to share it with you.
How do we suffer well? Let’s read their wise words:
Dr. Sandra Glahn invited me to write this 19 part series on rape culture for her blog, Aspire2.com. All 19 parts to the series are listed below. By the end of this series, I hope that you will be able to see examples of rape culture in your daily life, understand that these cultural narratives dominate media, and take steps to help change these dynamics.
Every 98 seconds an American is sexually assaulted. Women and girls experience sexual violence at higher rates than men and boys. Eighty-two percent of all juvenile victims are female, and ninety percent of adult rape victims are female. Sexual assault affects everyone around us, yet most of the perpetrators walk away. Out of 1,000 rapes, 995 perpetrators will not go to jail. Because of this fact and many other reasons which this series will cover, many people do not report crimes to the police. Only 230 out of every 1,000 sexual assaults are even reported to authorities. That means about three out of four go unreported.*
About the poet: Mitchell Rodgers is on staff at The Rock Community Church in Lakeland, FL working with youth and college students. He is the founder of Still Small Voice Ministry, firmly believing that God still speaks. He is working on his Masters of Divinity at Southeastern University, binge watches Netflix, and loves his wife Bailey! Tweet him @Mr_Rodgers8
5 Ways Parents and the Church Can Help Teens Live Pure Lives
Pornography and masturbation—two words we almost never hear from parents or the church, yet teens are asking questions about them. Children begin watching pornography at younger and younger ages, possibly around four or five years old. Porn becomes a child’s sex education. To help teens live pure lives, we must intentionally invest in their lives and talk about sexuality.
5 Ways Parents and the Church Can Help Teens Live Pure Lives:
1. Have open and honest conversations
One youth pastor shared, “When asking our youth whether their parents ever talked about sex, not one raised their hand.” Parents barely talk about sex past the one time “sex talk.” Talking about purity should be a continual conversation, not a one time talk.
In this episode of the Table Podcast at Dallas Theological Seminary, Dr. Darrell L. Bock, Jurrita Williams, Jan Edgar Langbein, and I, Joy Pedrow, discuss sexual abuse and the #MeToo movement. This is only the beginning of a conversation that needs to continue to our churches.
When this was filmed I had a sinus infection and double ear infections. Praise God for speaking through me despite the physical barriers!
Only God would know that this video, which we filmed months ago, would be needed for such a time as this.
I’ve struggled with body image issues for as long as I can remember. I fully believe that God loves me and that my husband loves me, but most days that is not enough. Today my friend Shannon Baker shares how she found healing from a broken body image. I pray you enjoy her beautiful words of authenticity and wisdom.
My friend kept pulling books out of her locker as if she hadn’t just crumpled up my body image. She had told me about her English essay. The assignment was to pick a friend and write about one of their prominent characteristics. She picked me, but she didn’t write about my blond hair, sharp mind, or trustworthiness as a friend. She wrote about my nose.
She kept talking, but I couldn’t breath. I knew my nose was large, but now realized that in my friend’s eyes it must be gargantuan. Why else would she write an essay about it? I shifted my backpack to the other shoulder and tried to look normal. I was too absorbed with the crashing realization about my nose to question whether a real friend would write such an essay and then tell me about it. Or, to question whether our shared crush on the same tall, track athlete had anything to do with it. (more…)
Today’s guest post shares a compelling testimony of a woman who struggled with anorexia and bulimia. She answers the question, “Can you really find freedom from anorexia And bulimia?” I love the power of our testimonies! I hope Katie’s story encourages you with the hope of Christ. (more…)
Unsurprisingly, many marriages end in divorce. When we hear about a couple that has been married for fifty years, we are shocked. What if this changed? What if divorce surprised us? What if being married fifty years was the norm?
Meet Dale and Carol. Dale and Carol recently celebrated fifty years of marriage. Send them some congratulations in the comments below!(more…)
Have you ever hurt someone unintentionally while you were trying to show them love?
Joy and I serve together with the children’s ministry at our church in Dallas. One Sunday, during story time, a child was tugging on Joy’s jeans, trying to rip them apart. I thought that the best thing I could do to love Joy well was to walk over, pick up the child, and have the child pester me instead, so that is what I did. Afterward, I was so proud of myself for doing the right thing and making Joy’s night better. (more…)