Journey Pink: Michelle Viscuse

MichelleViscuseHeadshotToday I have special guest Michelle Viscuse, who blogs over at Journey Pink: The Journey of a Princess in Need of a King.

Like so many who experienced childhood sexual abuse, Michelle grappled with feeling barely tolerated by Jesus. She writes about her journey from spiritual pauper to extravagantly loved princess, so that others, like us, can realize our role in God’s creation as prized treasures.

It’s common for those who experienced childhood abuse to feel shunned by God. We know in our heads that Jesus loves the world, but that truth never quite sinks into our hearts. As Michelle puts it, “Some girls were precious in His sight – but not me.”
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Saint Valentine: Love and Injustice

We live in an unjust world. No one knows this better than St. Valentine, the man for whom the holiday we’re celebrating is named.rome-714658_1280

 

Legend has it the priest refused to obey Roman Emperor Claudias’ decree forbidding marriages. Claudias believed more men would be willing to join the army and go off to war if they remained single. Believing Claudias’ decree to be unjust, Valentine secretly officiated weddings anyway.
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Marriage: I still do!

I still do! In our fourteen years of marriage, Doug and I credit three things for our happiness:

 

  • Prayer—out loud, together. This helps us remember who the enemy is. (Hint: it’s not your spouse.)
  • Date nights—we have a standing date each week on the calendar. If someone asks us to do something during that time, we truthfully say we have a prior commitment scheduled.
  • Marriage conferences—conferences are my favorite! Attending one with my husband makes it even better. We always learn something helpful.

 

Last month we attended a simulcast I Still Do conference by Dennis Rainey’s Family Life Today. In his talk, Dennis noted that he and his wife Barbara had been married for forty years, but still had fights from time to time.

 

Even the best of friends have fights sometimes.
Even the best of friends have fights sometimes.

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Tale of Two Stories

I love to read. This week’s pick reminded me of a story I read two years ago. This is my tale of two stories–both well written, but two very different perspectives.

TrainEarly in January of 2014, when my own private hell broke loose in my mind, I was taking an advanced fiction writing course as a part of my bachelor’s degree requirements at Oregon State. As one of our assignments, we read “Train,” by Alice Munro.

I wrote this in my assignment: “I find in this story an interesting juxtaposition of a circular story that runs along the sides of a straight railroad track. Jackson is trying to run away, but his life keeps turning in circles, despite his horizontal trips up and down the railway train. The story essentially is about figuring out what Jackson is running away from and why.”
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God is Good!

Mount Hermon
Mount Hermon writers conference

Late in 2014, during a horrific year, God gave me this beautiful Psalm:

“I’m sure now I’ll see God’s goodness in the exuberant earth. Stay with God! Take heart. Don’t quit. I’ll say it again: Stay with God” (Psalm 27:13-14, The Message).

He knew I needed to be reminded that He is good. In the midst of my grief and human-ness, I had forgotten.
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A Fairytale Life

Recently, my husband and I took a long-awaited vacation to Disney World. If you’ve never been there, what they say is true—it really is the happiest place on earth.

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It’s not just a vacation; it’s a slip-from-reality trip to a magical land of pure joy. Three days without seeing litter, poverty, or having to think about maintenance of any kind. (Well, I did fix my hair and makeup, but other than that, I lived in a fairytale.)
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Culture crisis: What do we do about mass shootings?

Last year at this time, I stood over four graves, gazing at stones laid twenty-five years ago in the ground next to our grandparents’ and great-uncles’. Family members too young to remember what happened asked how it came to be that a woman thirty-four years old, and boys only 11, 10, and five years old had the same date of death.

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As I reflect on the shootings last week in Oregon and Arizona, I remember the horror of hearing how my four relatives were gunned down in their own home. Only three words summed up the senseless tragedy. “What a waste.”
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What 3 rare traits make a good friend?

I credit three things for all the healing I’ve experienced in the past year:

  • God pursues me. He reached down through the fog and told me that my story mattered to Him. Without Him, I don’t know to what depths of misery I’d have sunk.
  • The Holy Spirit has given me a fresh hunger for God’s Word, especially concerning His character. The more I know Him, the more I can trust Him.
  • Faithful friends, old and new, continue to express their love and appreciation for me. Their affirmations hold me up on those days when I sink back into performance-driven living instead of authentic relationship with my Creator Abba.

Choosing our friends well makes a huge difference in our healing process, especially coming to terms with our self-worth. The voices we listen to either lift us up or drag us down. Sometimes the healing process means letting go of toxic relationships, and sometimes it means less time in shallow friendships and investing more in valuable relationships.

These friends have walked miles with me, both literally and figuratively.
These friends have walked miles with me, both literally and figuratively.

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War Room: How a Beloved Child of God Goes to Prayer

 

It’s not often that I come out of a movie theater with deeper spiritual insight. This weekend I viewed War Room; the Holy Spirit spoke to me.

 

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Some critics implied that War Room addresses a straw man issue. Of course prayer changes things, they say. Reviewers claim no one would argue that God doesn’t want us to pray more fervently or that American Christians as a whole haven’t become apathetic. They may be right, but I needed to see the movie anyway.
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Can We Trust God With Our Story?

william-shakespeare-62936_1280“All the world’s a stage,” Shakespeare quipped. I can appreciate his enthusiasm for the theatre; I’ve been doing community theatre for about ten years, and I never get over the thrill of stepping onto the stage to put on a dazzling performance. There’s nothing like curtain call, the flash of the cameras and sound of applause.

Recently I realized I had created a stage-perfect life. My husband and I have a great marriage. We have beautiful daughters, and I had the fortune of being a homeschool mom until the youngest one graduated. My husband works for a national Christian radio host. We’ve been leaders in church. We have a nice house and lots of wonderful friends. Life was great.
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