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Pastor: Not Sure How to Respond to Suffering? Start Here.

I’m not a theologian, my expertise comes only from personal suffering (as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and a suicide attempt). But it seems to me that theology—at least the Western version of evangelical Christianity I’ve been steeped in—is as much about our views of self as it is our study of God. To […]

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Best of Messy Grace Mental Health Religious Recovery Self-help stress management The Struggle With Church

How to Trust God in the Midst of Adversity

“I can do all things through Christ Who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
I don’t think this verse is our promise from God that we can do anything we put our minds to. I think it is actually a verse of comfort from a guy who wrote it while chained in prison, encouraging the rest of us who are stuck in dire circumstances to keep trusting. I think this verse actually drives home the very crux of the Gospel of Grace: we can face all sorts of things and persevere through them, as long as we keep trusting in a faithful, changeless God.

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PODCAST: My Church Isn’t Safe. What Can I Do?

In episode 41 of Catching Your Breath: The Podcast, Steve Austin walks through the Bible with a look at church safety, plus a discussion on the characteristics of a safe church leader. This episode also includes stories and advice from real-life people who have been wounded by the church.Support the show via Patreon.Is your church […]

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Terminated by the Church: My Very Worst Day

“Besides, I shall perhaps obtain actual relief from writing. Today, for instance, I am particularly oppressed by one memory of a distant past. It came back vividly to my mind a few days ago, and has remained haunting me like an annoying tune that one cannot get rid of. And yet I must get rid […]

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Guest Blog – Worthy and Unashamed: Facing Mental Health Stigma in the Church Head-On

Unworthy.  It’s a word that I often use to describe myself….in my own head.  You see, I’m a Christian who has mental health issues. I have struggled with panic attacks, anxiety and depression for over 20 years. I’m also a licensed mental health counselor, college professor, worship leader, entrepreneur, wife, and mom.  If you were […]

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How a Simple Hug Changed My Life

“The best advice I’ve been given when I’d failed – was a hug.”-Bob Goff​I’ve loved giving hugs for as long as I can remember. My pre-school teacher, Mrs. Upton, first emphasized the power of a good hug. One day during circle time, she taught us how to give “bear hugs.” One at a time, we walked […]

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Why I’m Trying Out Church Again for the First Time

“I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships, so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside.”-Wm. Paul YoungDead InsideFor a while now, my Christian friends have laughed (or cringed) at my response to theological talk. I usually say something like, “I […]

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Jesus was a Zombie? The Death and Resurrection of My Faith

“Until and unless Christ is experienced as a living relationship between people, the Gospel remains largely an abstraction. Until Christ is passed on personally through faithfulness and forgiveness, through concrete bonds of union, I doubt whether he is passed on by words, sermons, institutions, or ideas.”-Richard RohrBRAAAAAAAINSI don’t talk to my kids about the Bible […]

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Why No One Really Cares What You Believe

“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practise the […]

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faith Religious Recovery Spirituality The Struggle With Church

Missing Jesus: The Death of My Childhood Faith

“Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back, everything is different…”- C.S. Lewis (Prince Caspian)“I’m struggling hardcore, missing Jesus,” That’s the text I sent to my buddy Michael, three days before Christmas. I’ve had to sit with the uncomfortable truth that exists in this story for the past couple of […]