Co-dependent Relationships—Are You In One?

Written by Karen Carlson

Chances are, you’ve heard the term ‘co-dependent’ or ‘co-dependency’ at one time or another—most people have.  Or ‘better’ yet, if you’ve been in a relationship where the both of you depended on one another to meet or satisfy certain emotional needs in unhealthy ways, then you, most likely, are familiar with the term.  According to Wikipedia, co-dependency is described as follows:  a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition, such as narcissism.  Both individuals can control and manipulate one another as a means to an end and one can place a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of the other.  Co-dependency can occur within family, work, friendship, peer and romantic relationships—sound familiar?  It does to me.  I was, at one time, in a co-dependent relationship, but was unaware of it; and it does feel wonderful to be free from that type of bondage—and it is bondage, pure and simple!  Co-dependency is unhealthy and not, at all, designed and reflective of God’s desire for anyone.

For those who are co-dependent in love-addicted relationships, for example, it is mentally exhausting since one or both partners wear themselves out as they willingly ignore all the red flags and embrace all the dysfunction.  Why?   Because one or both partners feel the relationship must be saved at all cost, even if it means more pain—as long as the pain is with the person they think they love or need, it’s accepted.  But pain without that person is simply not an option–there’s simply too much too lose.  If you find yourself in a ‘love’ relationship that you feel is a selfish, damaging, destructive, co-dependent one, the good news is:  You can break free and don’t have to live that way, nor should you!

Love Addicts:

Does this sound like anything you’ve, personally, experienced?

Love addicts will:

1:  spend an inordinate amount of time and attention towards their partners.  Because at least one of the partners is many times worshipped, the love addict will grow increasingly tolerant of inappropriate behaviors; and you might hear statements such as these:  “Well, he only hit me once and he said he was sorry.   Besides, it didn’t even leave a bruise!  I know he feels bad about what he did to me!” or “Ok, so he cheated on me.  I KNOW he won’t do it again!  He cried with me till 3:00 in the morning!  There’s no way he’d ever hurt me like that again!”

2:  desire to be cherished and treasured by their partners—love addicts are attracted to the power and hero-worship they feel towards their ‘destined soul-mate’.  Love addicts view their partner more from fantasy than from reality, but would probably never admit that.

3:  feel their own independence is of no importance—valuing ‘self’ is of little or no value.  If the relationship ends, love addicts can predictably go into hysteria and/or stalk or obsessively call or text their ex.  Looking for sympathy from others is a sure bet; and talking incessantly about being left behind and jilted can be the topic of conversation over and over and over again.   Some love addicts will become silent martyrs and contemplate suicide and even fantasize secretly that their estranged partner will somehow realize how much they care for the one they left and will choose to ‘rescue’ him or her from their emotional wreckage.

The bottom line is:  co-dependent people can be compared to a parasite and a host.  They each need one another to gain something for themselves.  It’s not a pretty picture since both parties are clinging to whatever it is they seek in the relationship, which could be power, recognition, sex, money, convenience, “love”, etc.    Often, one partner in a love-addicted relationship continues to surrender more and more to their more-controlling partner where the denial of reality and the acceptance of the other’s controlling nature become second nature.

What Does God Say?

Years ago when I was flailing in my own dysfunctional, co-dependent abyss, I believed in God but never turned to Him.  As a Christian, now, with eyes that can finally ‘see’, I thank God for what He put me through because it helps me to realize not only the shallowness of co-dependency but how far removed from God codependent relationships truly are.  And as I mentioned earlier, if you believe you’re in a co-dependent relationship, you do not have to live that way; and with God’s help, you can break free and heal.  So what does God say about all this?  Let’s find out—

1:  God Wants To Be First:

First and foremost, God hates it when we place anything or anyone ahead of Him or above Him.  When we choose to do that, the person, activity or thing that we chronically revere, admire, worship, think about, esteem (you get my point) becomes our god!    In a full-fledged, co-dependent relationship, God is somewhere else on one’s ‘need’ list—and that’s assuming God is on the list at all.  Co-dependents support sinful behavior; and the denial and idealization keep the blinders on.  As a result, the sinfulness of sin is totally ignored and along with that, God is often ignored as well.

The Bible tells us in Exodus 34:14:  “Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”   Exodus 20: 3-5 and Deuteronomy 5:7 say the same.  ‘Other gods’ can be chronic gambling, drinking, shopping, drugging, playing video games and even bulimia, anorexia etc.  Anything we chronically devote our time, thought and conduct to is our god; and we must be very aware of how easy it is to idolize inner thoughts and outward behaviors.   Co-dependency is all about ‘self’ and has no correlation with God.  There is no room for God in a totally self-centered existence where two people feed on one another for their immediate needs.

2:  God Expects Humility:

The heart of co-dependency involves selfish ambition.  Co-dependent ‘self ’willingly engages in sin to meet one another’s needs.  God reminds us that selfishness is not acceptable in His eyes.  Philippians 2: 3 states:  “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility…”

The first step towards recovery for co-dependents is to humble themselves before God and allow Him to nurture one’s damaged self and eventually realize that the only god one needs and should seek is ‘Yahweh’—the God of the Bible!   We must be open to God’s unfathomable and supernatural ability to heal us from the inside out.  Codependents must understand and fully believe that God will give them the strength to say ‘No!’ to those people in their lives that are toxic—toxic people who shred others emotionally, physically and spiritually.  None of us can be perfect, but we all have the choice to seek God’s intervention to help us heal and give us hope . . . Hope that whatever strength He gives us will carry us through our lives where positive change can occur and healthy relationships can flourish.

3:  God Opposes Enslavement To Others:

God wants us to humbly serve others out of love—real love—rather than out of bondage and enslavement. We are not to be controlled by another person’s behaviors or addictions or sin issues.  That kind of bondage equals dependence and addiction. Paul discusses this in Galatians 5:1:  “…not to be enslaved again to the yoke of bondage.”  In Hebrews 13:6 we are to be confident in God’s sheltering and grace:  “So we say with confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?’“   We must free ourselves from mere humans who should not be given permission to control us and minimize who we are as unique individuals. God must be our strength to overcome.

4:  God Wants Us To Trust Him, Not People:

In co-dependency, one is totally engulfed in attempting to please the other person; so much so, that immoral and even illegal situations will be fully tolerated for the sake of the other person’s approval.  A co-dependent will fear he might lose his partner to rejection and abandonment.   God makes it clear we are to place our trust in Him and not others.  His words in Proverbs 29:25 are clear:  “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoever puts his trust in the LORD shall be safe.”  When we place so much faith in someone to the point of fearing rejection, we are exactly where God does not want us to be!  God will give us peace, not the person who constantly takes and manipulates.

We can be confident that God wants us to be interdependent, not co-dependent.  God’s interdependency focuses on a marriage between husband and wife where each spouse fulfills each respective role as a divine gift, resulting in mutual benefits and healthy unity.  God’s emphasis concerning dependency is on service for one another in love and respect—not service for self.  We are to selflessly love one another and avoid and reject selfish ambition.  Co-dependency is the polar opposite of God’s will and purpose for our lives!

May you seek the Lord and rely on Him to break the chains of bondage on which codependency thrives!

Addictions—Are They Sinful?

Written by Karen Carlson


Hmm…so are addictions sinful?  Before we explore this question, let’s first provide a definition of the word ‘addiction’.  According to, it means:  ‘The enslavement to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation can cause severe trauma.’

I find it interesting that the definition used the word ‘enslavement’ since, biblically speaking, that is very accurate. And any enslavement that causes discomfort or dysfunction is not from God.  Whether sexual obsessions or chronic shopping due to never feeling you have enough to drug dependency, etc.—an addiction that controls you is dark, oppressive and spiritual in nature.  But we are all accountable since addictions begin because we allow them to.   And once the obsessions have embedded themselves in our psyche, we become a ‘paralyzed’ victim.    Wanting to rid ourselves of the addiction, though difficult, is another choice we can make, or not make.

What Does God’s Word Say?

Let’s take a look at several Bible verses that can give us some clarifying insight on this very topic:

1 Corinthians 10:13

“…but with the temptation He will, also, provide a way for escape…”  Addictions are escapable; but we have to want to escape from their hold on us.  And notice how it says ‘He (God) will provide a way for escape.”  God is our beyond-human strength if we seek His intervention and  choose for Him to rescue us.

1 Peter 5:8

Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  Whether your addiction is a mistress or video gaming for hours on end or getting drunk every weekend, the Bible tells us to be ‘watchful’ and ‘sober-minded’ since Satan and his minions are literally waiting for the next victim that has become weakened, mentally and emotionally.  When we surrender to our weaknesses, our psyche is defenseless and we are instant prey for spiritual warfare and attacks.  We may think we are in control with our obsessions, but the exact opposite is true.  Becoming convinced we are in control is just another deception to keep our minds and bodies addicted to our poison of choice.

James 1:14,15

“…But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.  The desire, when it has conceived, gives birth to sin…”  It couldn’t be more clear, here, that even though we might be seduced, beckoned and tantalized, our ‘own desire’ will determine if we cave in, or not.  We have the ability to say no, we have the ability to turn our heads, we have the ability to just not go there.  But if we choose to go there, we are fully accountable for saying, ‘Yes, I’ll do that!” 

I think it’s important to point out here that to be tempted is not sinful; in fact, Jesus was tempted by Satan while in the wilderness.  The issue lies with what we do with that temptation.  Jesus quoted Holy Scripture every time Satan made any attempt to entice Jesus into succumbing to Satan’s persuasions.  Though Jesus was clearly tempted, He didn’t allow Himself to give in.

And perhaps the verse from James best answers the initial question:  “Are addictions sinful?”  When we become enslaved to anything, we are slaves to whatever obsession we have chosen.  That obsession becomes our god; so now, on top of the addiction, per se, we have committed a gross sin, in God’s eyes, in that the obsession of choice has become our god of choice.  That brings a couple other verses to mind:

Romans 6:16

“…you are slaves of the one whom you obey…”  In other words, if you obey your obsession and follow it and wallow in it and continually return to its hold on you, that obsession is your master—not you and not Yahweh, the God of the Bible.   You are the slave of whatever you succumb to on a regular basis.  It has you—you don’t have itIt is your master.

Exodus 20:3

Thou shalt have no other gods before Me…nor serve them…” Anything you hold up, hold onto, cling to or value higher than God, that activity or object IS your god, whether your realize that or not and whether you are willing to accept that or not.

Addictions Originate From A Dark World:

This is why God warns us to be ever-so-vigilant and keenly aware of our thoughts and desires, since distancing ourselves from Him can happen so easily to any one of us.  And the farther we distance ourselves from Him with our addictions, the deeper we embed ourselves in spiritual darkness.   And, if at some point, we begin to truly understand what God is warning us about, we start to realize that we’re not fighting the addictive drugs or the sensuous magazine covers or the starving-oneself-to-death anorexia—what we are truly battling is far more powerful and far more insidious.   We are fighting something we can’t see—spiritual forces that tempt us every single day to come into their world….and stay there.  What we do with those ‘invitations’ is our choice.   But isn’t it reassuring to know we have a God whose power usurps any other power known or unknown, seen or unseen.

Ephesians 6:12—“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against evil authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Death Of A Spouse—Leaning On Christ

Written by Karen Carlson


When death takes a spouse, the surviving husband or wife can be thrown into the depths of depression and a feeling that life has to come to an end for the survivor, as well.  There are some people, though, who possess a kind of strength that almost surpasses human understanding.

My uncle was happily married to his wife of Macey for 35 years.  They had the kind of relationship the rest of us would envy.   Even after 35 years of marriage, holding hands, kisses on the cheek, and sharing an on-going sense of humor with one another were everyday occurrences that set them apart from so many other couples I knew in my life.  People would marvel at their happiness.  Their marriage was truly a marriage made in Heaven, as the adage goes.

My Aunt Macey was a wonderful mother and had a vitality that would put any teenager to shame.  She gardened, taught full-time as an elementary teacher, played the piano and the violin and had a zest for life that few would have the stamina to emulate.  She was nothing short of amazing.

The Diagnosis:

My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer; and a biopsy indicated the cancer was a very aggressive form, yet the doctor still felt the prognosis was promising.  The oncologist, however, told my aunt that the tumor needed to be treated very forcefully and that a mastectomy would be the best possible option to increase the chances of continued good health.  Additional test results, including those for the lymph nodes looked good, though proactive chemotherapy was administered.  My aunt was a trooper and endured the chemotherapy with nothing less than a positivity in-spite of the fact there were days that were truly difficult.  My uncle was there for her every step of the way.  Once the treatments were finally over, my aunt and uncle felt the worst was finally behind them.  They had weathered the storm and life could go back to normal.  My aunt went back to work; she and her husband breathed a sigh of relief—life was good again.

A Year Later:

God can surprise us at times, and sometimes not make sense.  It was a year later that another tumor was discovered.  The doctors felt the cancer had not spread.  The tumor was removed and additional chemotherapy treatment was administered, yet again.   My aunt, at this point, acted scared for the first time I could ever recall.   This solidified fortress of a human being I referred to as my “Auntie”, was beginning to crumble and I could see it in her eyes.

The amazing thing, however, was the immense love my aunt and uncle continued to share with one another.  One of the immense blessings this couple had was the unconditional love and affection they continued to display for one another.  Their relationship didn’t weaken; in fact, by God’s grace, it became only stronger.  I think any of us know couples which, when faced with dire adversity, fall apart at the seams; and I totally get that.  For my aunt and uncle, however, their relationship gained even more potency—I would not have believed that had I not seen it for myself.

Interestingly, the loss of my aunt’s hair was far more traumatizing than the loss of her breast a year before.  She wore a wig and still looked beautiful to my entire family but I could see in my aunt’s eyes that she was beginning to give up.

The Passing:

My aunt became increasingly ill and in-spite of that, she rarely complained.  Yes, she was a fighter, but she was going downhill quickly.  My uncle had (and still has) a very personal relationship with Christ, but even his faith was beginning to waver a bit.  He would ask, “What is God doing here?”  and “Why is all this happening to us?” when my uncle started to question God’s reasoning, he told me it never lasted long because he knew, in-spite of the tremendous trials he and my aunt were going through, that God’s love was real and there was a purpose for this challenge—they just didn’t know what it was.

When my aunt died, my uncle, though devastated, had an inner strength I will never forget.  He told the rest of the family,“ I know I will never have the answers to my ‘Why?’ questions, but there is one thing I will refuse to do to God—I will refuse to be bitter with Him.  Instead of rejecting Him, I’ll run to Him; and not only that, I’ll fall into His arms.”  My uncle then opened his Bible and read one verse to all of us that he said helped him to understand that his understanding of God was designed to be beyond his capability of grasping.  He read Isaiah 55:8-9—“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, saith the Lord.  For as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”  My uncle then said, “I want to say one thing to the Lord.  I just feel compelled: “Lord, I’ve got a big hole inside of my heart.  Please fill it with your presence.”  That’s all he said. There wasn’t a dry eye in our living room when he shared that—even among family members that were not believers in Christ.  His selfless love for my Auntie and his spiritual strength and unyielding faith were especially riveting for all of us that day.   His inner peace and uncompromising trust in Christ impacted every family of our member, without exception.

If there’s one thing I know for sure, it’s this:  My uncle’s relationship with Auntie is simply on hiatus—he will see her again and be with her again; and the thing that keeps him going is his knowing Auntie will be waiting for him!

Psalms 118: 1, 13,14—

“Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good, his love endures forever.”

“I was pushed back and about to fall, but the Lord helped me.  The Lord is my strength…”

Can Even The Blessed Be Depressed?

Written by Karen Carlson


What does it mean to be depressed?  It’s an overwhelming feeling of helplessness and hopelessness.  It’s almost as if one’s soul has been sucked out of one’s body because one doesn’t even feel human anymore.  One feels more like a robot, going through the motions each day with only one functioning emotion—utter, complete sadness that pierces the heart and every cell of one’s body.   The good news is, it can be overcome!

If You’re Depressed, You’re Not Alone:

According to the World Health Association, depression is the #2 leading disabler of people in the Western World.  Cardio-vascular disease takes the dubious rank of #1.  Take a look at some other sobering statistics concerning depression:

1:   At any given time, between 30-40 million people in the United States are clinically depressed

2:  15% of America’s population takes some form of anti-depressant

3:  Depression costs corporate America over $70 Billion each year due to corporate employees purchasing depression medication

4:  Depression can actually contribute to the onset of a heart attack

The statistics regarding depression are nothing short of staggering, and if you are going through a debilitating state of depression; you are not alone.    Anyone who has been through depression knows , all too well, that depression can’t be eliminated quickly or easily because it is complex; it is circumstantial; it involves people’s deep rooted emotions;  and it involves past history; but we need to think critically and biblically if we are going to make any headway with this very dark, incapacitating condition.

Depression Can, And Does, Pass:

Depression is a unique sadness; and as stated earlier, it is an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness and helplessness.  It is a battle of fatigue and exhaustion, many times, for no discernable reason.  Depression consumes one’s passion and zest for life—one almost becomes the walking dead—an empty shell, void of any positive emotion—a crushed spirit in a mental pit, void of light.

One cannot fully understand how depression feels unless one has been there.  I have been there; and thoughts of leaving this world were becoming numbingly appealing.   I am living proof it can be entirely defeated.  Not only that, but life can become even more joyful knowing ‘from where one came’.   When one has an actual reference point to compare where one has been to where one is now, the entire perspective changes; and feelings of being blessed become far more poignant, real and appreciated.  Yes, i can say, with absolute certainty, that depression can be utterly destroyed, but we must come to the realization that God can do for us what we cannot do on our own.  Our acknowledging that fact is vital.  Admitting we are helpless and in need of God’s intervention and God’s forgiveness is a huge step in the right direction–making the condition of depression ‘ripe’ for plucking and casting.

People Of The Bible Experienced Deep Depression:

It may surprise you to know that many great persons of biblical history battled depression, despondency and problems that absolutely overwhelmed them.  The prophet Jeremiah was called the “Weeping Prophet” due to his foreknowledge of the coming annihilation of Jerusalem; King David was in agony over God’s plan to take his infant son; God’s servant, Job, lost abundant herds of livestock and even his children and said he wished he had never been born; and the Prophet Elijah sat under a bush and prayed that he might die.  The sorrows of these people, due to their own circumstances, were immense; and they represent only a few examples of historic depression of biblical proportion!   Even Jesus, Himself, was referred to as ‘a man of sorrows’ and one of the shortest verses in the Bible is “Jesus wept”.  His continued sadness, over His unfaithful, disobedient people, is explicit in biblical text.  Also, one can assume when his cousin, John the Baptist, was beheaded, Jesus must have felt overwhelming grief–he went to a solitary place to be alone after hearing the tragic news.

Depressive, oppressive, continuous grief is real; it is all-consuming and it separates us from God.  There is, however, one thing unrelenting grief does not have to be—it does not have to be permanent!

All Things Are Possible Through Christ:

In the book of Ephesians, Jesus saw a paralyzed man, among others, by a pool in Jerusalem called Bethesda.  This outcast-of-a man was hoping for a miracle.  The man had been paralyzed for 38 years.  Jesus saw him and said, “Do you want to get well?”  Jesus was, in essence, saying “Are you willing to put yourself, just as you are, in my hands?  Are you ready for me to do for you what you are unable to do for yourself?”  Little did this lonely man know that God, in human form, was about to stir his life, both physically and spiritually.  As the riveting story goes, Jesus said, “Get up…and walk.”  At once, the man was cured and able to rise and walk away.

The whole point here is that no assignment is too big for God.  He created you and me; and He can fix anything that we have broken that comes His way.  Often times, God allows our life circumstances to get hopeless—yes, God allows it.  He allows our efforts to become fruitless and our knowledge and instincts to prove useless in order that we will see that it is He who works within–through us and for us–with His power.  He does this because He wants you, like the paralyzed man at the pool of Bethesda, to witness Him come through for you in your hopeless situation.    God wants you to come to know Him and trust Him in the way the He desires to be known by you.

If depression has you at rock bottom, remember one thing:  God will let you hit rock bottom to allow you to discover that He IS the rock at the bottom—“And that Rock was Christ” – 1 Corinthians 10:4.

If you lean on Christ, you will be changed!

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit”— Psalm 34:18

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”— Isaiah 41:10

May God bless you!

Your Marriage—Is God In It?

Written by Karen Carlson


Let’s face it, many marriages just don’t work out.  Even in Christian homes, the divorce rate is hovering at around 50%–a pretty sad statistic no matter how one looks at it.  Sometimes, a spouse simply has no choice but to leave a marriage since either infidelity or abuse in one form or another can be the final nail in the coffin, so to speak.  And no one should have to put up with such disrespect, especially if all indicators point to behaviors that will never change.

But then there are marriages that seem to just ‘drift’ due to willful negligence or apathy.   Nothing abusive has taken place, either emotionally or physically, but interests that were once shared and enjoyed are now separated by a chasm that is too wide to bridge.

Not to make light of the demise of so many marriages, but it has been said that there are three types of ‘rings’ involved with marriage— the engagement ring, the wedding ring and, for far too many, the suffering.   Then you’ll hear things like, “Don’t get married!  You two are doing so well, why throw a wrench into a good thing!?  Getting married will just jinx it!”  Some single couples truly believe their choice to remain single, and even have children together, is the better choice, somehow believing that being legally married will place a curse on their utopian relationship.  If believing a relationship that is viewed as ‘ideal’ will  become an ‘ordeal’ once marriage is added to the mix, then  something is very skewed in our thinking, which is why marriages absolutely must be viewed from a divine perspective.

Where Exactly Did The Idea Of Marriage Come From?

I’m so glad you asked…marriage is a divine notion; it is from God.   Marriage is, quite literally, a covenant designed by God in order to equip both partners to carry out their divine reason for being with one another in the first place.  Because marriage is a divine creation from a divine God, marriages simply must have a divine frame of reference in order to remain healthy, thriving and lasting.

If we go back to the very first indication of God’s desire for a man and woman to complement one another and serve one another, we have to go as far back as the Garden of Eden.   Without a divine frame of reference, humans—being the selfish, flawed creatures that we all are—will allow just about any entanglement in a marriage to become a tangled web-of-marriage that is no longer viable or desirable.

Ever Hear Of the “Law of First Mention”?

If you’ve never heard of the “Law of First Mention”, allow me to interject for just a moment to briefly mention what this means.   Many serious students of the Bible and every legitimate Bible scholar will tell  you that if you want to understand what God has to say about a particular subject and how He truly feels about it, all one has to do is analyze the first time a topic is brought up in the Bible.  How God presents something for the first time typically indicates how passionately He feels about it.  Everything that relates to that first incident will simply build upon it.   The “Law of First Mention” applies to marriage as well as other vital biblical subjects.  God is passionate about marriages that reflect His character and His plan.  When God is left out, other entities take His place.

The First Marriage Was Sheer Perfection:

Marriage begins in the book of Genesis where we find absolutely NO sin—zip, zilch, nil, nada!   The first marriage between Adam and Eve was embedded in an environment of pristine perfection.

The Bible tells us that after 5 days of mind-blowing creation including the heavens, the earth, the animals, the plants, we are clearly told a 6th day was reserved for a one-of-kind creation, so loved and so adored, it became the pinnacle of God’s entire plan— that being man.

God makes it clear that mankind was to be the zenith of His entire scope of living things.  God was intent on creating both male and female and they were to become one and they were to be blessed.  And being blessed in marriage meant man and woman were to fall in line with what God expected.

What Does God Expect In A Marriage?

God made it clear that a marriage is between a man and a woman, only—God said ‘Adam and Eve’, not ‘Adam and Steve’.   God goes on to say that marriage is intended to last a lifetime.  There was no escape clause written into the first marriage that ever allowed that relationship to break apart.  God’s design, also, stressed monogamy—God’s plan was one man and one woman for one another, exclusively; it was not to include sexual partners on the side and on the sly.  Any interest outside the marriage is not of God, nor part of His divine plan.

One can have a happy marriage or a miserable marriage dependent on whether both spouses choose to reflect God’s character and expectations.  It all goes back to what was mentioned earlier about how we must have a ‘divine frame of reference’.  Though God is in complete control, we still have free reign to utilize God’s fundamentals of what he deems a marriage should look like and feel like—or not.  When we deviate from God’s fundamentals, we begin to enter some very dark places.  And if anyone knows what happens to marriages once those dark places are chosen and visited, it’s God.   And He doesn’t want anyone to go there.    But if one rejects God’s marriage guidelines, God can allow that misguided journey to take place.  Then, once all the misery, dysfunction, torment and mayhem have occurred, one will, hopefully, begin to realize that God knew what He was talking about all along.

Sexual Abuse—From Hiding to Healing

Written by Karen Carlson


How would you react if you discovered, to your horror, that your child was sexually molested?  Before we delve into this scenario which seems to be far too prevalent in our society, we might want to refer to 1Corinthians 4:5 which says that when the Lord comes, He’ll bring light to what is hidden in the darkness. Too many families have unthinkable, painful secrets that have been swept under the rug.  Secrets that are so heart-wrenching, so heavy and so dark that hiding those secrets and preventing them from emerging into the open becomes a priority.

This is a true story about a family that kept a tragic secret hidden for 18 years.  The good news is, the darkness eventually came into the light and as God would have it, the family wrote a book concerning their terrible ordeal which was intended to, hopefully, help others in similar situations gain insight, strength, hope and healing.

The Family:

They were an all-American family—the husband was a successful medical doctor and highly-respected medical journalist, happily married with two children, a daughter and a son.   At the time this story began to unfold, it was 1993– the daughter was 6 and her brother was 4.  It was at this time that innocence within this home was completely shattered and robbed.  As the story develops, imagine in your mind’s eye that the daughter, Katie, has approached her mother who had just returned home from a meeting.  Katie had revealed comments to her mother about the male babysitter who had agreed to watch the children that day—comments that were odd but not immediately recognized as having red flags written all over them.  It wasn’t until the very vocal 4-year-old blurted out words and details that could only have come from the mouth of a child who had been subjected to sexual activity no child, at any age, should ever know.

When very young children are able to relay facts of a sexual nature, in detail, virtually any counselor or psychologist will proclaim that sexual descriptions from the mouths of babes are not, normally, figments of those children’s imaginations.  In this case, both children, independently of one another, confirmed what the other sibling had to say.   Both children had been sexually molested by the teenage boy who was the family’s part-time babysitter and was the son of a good friend.

The Next Step:

Katie’s father confronted the babysitter concerning all the stunning, numbing details.  The sitter reacted with extreme anger and rage; and it was then that the father felt, and knew in his heart, this young man was, truly, guilty of a most heinous, unthinkable crime.   As a family physician, the father was legally required to report the offense, which he did, but there was a nagging thought in his head:  We live in a very small town where everyone knows everyone.  How will we handle this?   Within a few days, investigators were convinced the children were telling the absolute truth.

The Denial:

When the father of the teenager was informed of the situation by Katie’s dad, he became extremely agitated and began to verbally attack both of Katie’s parents.  He didn’t believe, for a second, his own son could be even remotely capable of such an accusation.  The sitter’s father accused the children of makingthe entire story up; and even threatened to drag the doctor’s professional reputation through the gutteras well and see to it that the doctor’s children would become suspect in this small community as mean-spirited hellions who were wickedly imaginative.  Not only that, but the babysitter’s father went on to warn the doctor’s family that his defense attorney would call the children in as witnesses who would be subjected to aggressive questioning and grilling during any legal proceedings.  Dad and Mom were terrified!  What were they to do?

Life As Usual:

The children’s mother would scrub Katie and her brother during bathtime as an attempt to “cleanse” her children of the filth they had been subjected to.  At the time, mental health professionals in their area encouraged both parents to refrain from talking about the incident with their children.  They suggested, “Just leave it alone.  The children are doing fine.  Dont rock the boat.”  Over-bathing her children and mentally covering the incident with a heaping helping of silence and a generous portion of denial would work for now.   And outwardly, for almost 20 years, Katie’s parents kept the darkness a secret, hoping that it would just go away.  For a while it seemed to.  For 18 years, life became overtly normal; life was ‘good’; life went on. That was until….

The Truth Rattles The Cage:

Katie was almost 24 years old when the entire incident ‘just came to her’ one day while she was listening to some of her favorite music.   It hit her like a brick, out of nowhere.  The dust-covered secret that was supposed to be forgotten and buried consumed her thoughts; and the graphic, painful memory of that horrible day, flooded her head like a tsunami.   Katie struggled with the memories and to her surprise, felt an irrepressible urge to share the incident with Jesus, for the very first time, in her journal.  Katie didn’t share her ‘revelation’ with her parents, but after several weeks had passed, Katie made the decision toshare what was in her mind with her best friend.  In-spite of the powerful images that kept playing in her head, Katie was still wondering if all this had really happened.  A part of her wanted to believe that since she and her family had managed to live their lives ‘normally’, that this incident had been all blown out of proportion.  Katie even toyed with the idea that perhaps, just perhaps, the event was something that never, ever took place.  Continued denial seemed so comforting.

With that being said, may I point out that the trauma of sexual abuse towards a child can follow that person throughout one’s adult life.  At times, the mind will suppress part of the details or even all of the details to the point where the entire incident is so blocked and so covered, it’s as if the person has no recollection of the incident at all.   The subconscious mind remembers everything and has all the details neatly stored away, while the conscious mind can go on with life as if all is normal and acceptable–thinking all is good in the world.  At times, certain triggers can open the floodgates and the internalized ugliness will pour forth, sometimes years or decades after the incident occurred.  This is what happened with Katie. Though with her, there were no apparent triggers—the suppressed thoughts just suddenly engulfed her.–but on with our story…

Katie, even now as a mature, young woman, was feeling very responsible for what had happened, even though, logically, she knew she was not to blame.   Katie finally did tell her parents and brother, some months later about her renewed memories and how they were haunting her.

Katie’s family was, and still is, a strong Christian family; and after some very successful Christian counseling, was able to finally come to grips with the demons that had been lurking in the recesses of their minds for 18 years–an entire family, agreeing to allow the demons to lie in wait, hoping they would never move to the forefront.

Katie’s father had this to say once the veil had been lifted and the darkness was forced to flee:  Secretsbecome a cesspool that ferments, regardless of how good ones intentions may be.   Its not until we have the courage to face our demons and expose them and wholly give our fears to God that we can even begin to think about healing.  We chose a very compassionate Christian counselor that a friend from churchhad recommended.  It was the best decision we could have possibly made.  By truly giving our pain and our fears and our trust to God for the first time in 18 years, and seeking the counsel of our therapist, we finally began to heal.  We cried and wept openly; and boy, did it feel good!  For 18 years my wife and I pretended that life was OK; but we were lying to ourselves, and worse yet, to our children.  But I can say with transparency and utter conviction, that life IS good now!  REALLY good!   The realization that we shouldhave turned to Christ in the first place is now 20/20 vision.  We, all of us, can shine light on dark secrets where hope and healing really do take place!

1 Corinthians 4:5 – “…the Lordwho will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the heart…”

Ephesians 5:13 – “But everything exposed by the light becomes visibleand everything that is illuminated becomes clear.