Our response

Do we have clean hands and a pure heart?

Reflections based on Psalm 24:1–10.

Technically I am still on leave as my kids aren’t back to school until Monday, but I wanted to sneak in another devotional so here it is 🙂 Spending time considering God’s holiness – and how we are called to be holy too – is a great way to start the New Year. This psalm affirms that God is totally sovereign, but when we consider David’s comments about who is allowed into God’s holy place, we can be stopped in our tracks, much as Isaiah was. If we are honest, who in this world has clean hands and a pure heart? Who has never lied or allowed a false idol to be a part of their lives? 

These verses can be extremely sobering, which is only right, as we need to assess ourselves honestly. This psalm was probably used in corporate worship – I have read that verses 7–10 were used as a re-enactment. The people would call for the temple gates to be opened up, and the priests inside would ask ‘Who is this King of glory’. The group outside would answer ‘The Lord strong and mighty’ etc. Verses 9–10 repeated the process before the temple gates were swung open. All of this symbolised the people’s desire to be in God’s presence. Do we have this desire, and are we willing to humble ourselves before our holy God?

Meditation: Why not meditate on this psalm and consider your heart response this weekend?

Full of praise

Reflections based on 1 Samuel 2:1–11.

Hannah’s prayer is like a song of praise. She talks about how holy God is, but also how He has been her Rock. She celebrates the fact that it is God who is sovereignly in control of what happens, and how He has been in charge since the time He set the world in motion. But just think about the context of this prayer for a moment. Hannah had endured many years of being barren, and being taunted by her husband’s other wife who had children. In the temple, as she poured out her sorrow to God, the priest thought she was drunk! But she had continued to be faithful — and so was God. 

When she had her son Samuel, she remembered the promise she had made to God to dedicate him to His service (see 1 Samuel 1:11). She set him apart by dedicating him at the temple and leaving him there with the priest. Imagine that — giving up the one thing you had been desperate for for years. But her prayer, from today’s reading, is uttered as she leaves her son there. I find that both incredible and very challenging. Somehow, Hannah understood God’s holiness and sovereignty, understood that He orchestrated events throughout history. She had humbled herself before Him and rested in the knowledge that she could trust Him. While she had undergone considerable personal pain over the years, she had seen events with a wider perspective — and God honoured that. Hannah would go on to have more children, and was also able to watch her son grow up ‘set apart’ to be a prophet in Israel, in the service of kings. Is there something you need to trust God for today?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, how humbling to be reminded how Hannah, even when she had given up someone so precious, focused on Your holiness and faithfulness. Help me to learn from her example. Amen. 

I know this post hasn’t happened on the usual Wednesday of the week – my apologies. I will also be taking a break from posting over the Christmas break. So I just wanted to say have a wonderful Christmas, and Happy New Year!

A vision of our holy God

Photo by Felix Mittermeier on Unsplash

Reflections based on Revelation 4:1–11.

These verses in Revelation were given as a vision of heaven’s throne room to John. The rich, descriptive language gives us a sense of opulence and majesty. Much has been made of the symbolism; for example, the 24 elders are said to represent all of God’s redeemed people (as there were 12 tribes of Israel in the Old Testament and 12 disciples in the New Testament). The four living creatures are symbols of God’s character. Before the throne is ‘a sea of glass’. Commentators speak of how rare glass was in New Testament times so this highlights the magnificence of God. 

Whatever can be deduced from the symbolism, what is clear is that the vision is depicting God’s awesomeness and holiness. The living creatures are constantly declaring His holiness; the phrase they use repeats the word ‘holy’ not just twice but three times. The Hebrew word ‘holy’ (qadosh) means ‘separate’ or ‘set apart’ and was used to describe the ‘otherness’ of God. I think the repetition shows us how vital an understanding of His holiness is. When we think of Him, it is not another attribute, such as love, compassion or gentleness – all the ones that we find safe and familiar – but holiness that should be uppermost in our minds.

The elders’ words remind us of how His holiness is partnered with glory, honour, power and authority. They recognise that all that is created has only been done so because it was His will. His power and authority are different to ours – infinitely greater. The elders are wearing crowns, so have the signs of authority themselves, but lay their crowns before the one that they know has an authority that far surpasses theirs. What a vision!

Prayer: Holy God, the elders and living creatures all responded to Your holiness with never ending worship. As I learn more about Your holiness, may that be my response too. Amen.


I am delighted to finally be resurrecting my devotional blog. I hope to do it weekly as before – let’s just see if I manage that!

Reflections based on 1 Peter 1:13–16.

I am excited to be exploring the theme of holiness with you for this next devotional series. I think it can often be a theme that is somewhat overlooked these days, but I believe it is very important to have a clear understanding of it, as it helps us to lead our lives well. Of course, the starting place for such a study has to be God.

Too often when we think of holiness our minds immediately turn to all the things we think we should be doing and know we arent. And yet, while that is where the 1 Peter passage starts, it all stems from the fact that God is holiness itself. Yes He does call us to be holy, and we do need to remember and not belittle that, but He does so because He is.

So let’s start by looking at the majestic holiness of God, as it is only when we truly understand His holiness that His call for holiness from us makes sense. His holiness far surpasses what human holiness can achieve because, in essence, it is the fact that He is God. What is incredible is that God Himself chose to find ways in which He could commune with His people – and offers us ways in which to partake of holiness for ourselves.

Prayer idea Take some time to thank God for choosing to come close to you and ask Him to reveal more about holiness as you engage with this new weekly blog series.

Getting real


Today I have the huge pleasure of introducing Catherine Parks as a guest blogger on the Unmasked: stories of authenticity blog series. Catherine has written a brilliant, challenging book called Real: the surprising secret to deeper relationships. In it, she describes how she discovered that repentance is the key to creating genuine, authentic relationships. She expands on an extract of the book below to share with us how she learned to cultivate the habit of repentance in her own life.

I’m not generally one to talk about the deep parts of myself – my fears, sins, or even triumphs. I naturally shrug off questions about myself, partly afraid to let others in, distrustful of my motives and heart, and partly because I’m not always aware of what’s really going on in my heart. But thankfully, the Lord has given me two dear friends who, over time, have learned to pull me out of myself. One of these friends moved to my town a few years ago, and we immediately started spending regular time together. After the first few occasions, I noticed that whenever we met up she would ask, “How’s your heart?”

To me, this was an awkward question, and a little strong coming from someone I hadn’t known that long. Not one to go too deep too quickly, I didn’t have a great answer. The first couple of times I just said, “Oh, good, I think. Yeah. Nothing much going on.” And then I turned it back on herand she told me some of the things she was struggling with. She eventually commented on how I was so laid back and must just not be dealing with much. She thought my marriage was perfect. She thought my kids must be angels.

It wasn’t so much that I was trying to hide some secret sin from her; I just didn’t really know how my heart was. But I didn’t want to give her the wrong idea about things, so eventually I started preparingon my way to meet her, trying to figure out what I would say when she asked me. I was motivated by her opinion of me.I wanted her to think I was reciprocating in the relationships, and that I didn’t think I was perfect. I was driven by pride and thinking too much of myself.

While my motivation was wrong, the effect was so good. I started actually examining my heart, praying for sin to be revealed, and then confessing it to another person.I had always analyzed everything around me, but tended to neglect my own heart.

The benefits of this friendship started to affect my other relationships.I was more open with my husband about my struggles because I was actually putting a name to them. I was quicker to admit failure and sin to other friends,particularly one who had waited for years for me to be more forthcoming and transparent. And because I had identified specific struggles, I was learning to recognize my temptations and to pray for help in the moment.

Vulnerability takes time and trust.I could trust my friend because I had spent time with her. I knew she cared about me. I knew she was on my team, helping me to fight my sin. And I saw her own willingness to be vulnerable,which paved the way for me to follow.

Yes, this takes time and trust – but it is worth it. Because ultimately, in relationship with other Spirit-filled, grace-loving believers, confession isn’t about judgment and guilt – it’s an opportunity to rejoice in the gospel together, side-by-side, praising the Savior whose sacrifice brings us the forgiveness and grace we all so desperately need.

Catherine Parks loves to help women build friendships around scripture. She has written for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Christianity Today. She lives in Nashville with her husband, two children and a cute mutt named Ollie.





Finding worth in Jesus

Anne le Tissier is a writer and speaker who has authored several books and has a passion to disciple Christians. Her latest book, The Mirror That Speaks Back, is centred around us finding our worth in Jesus, but is also deeply personal.

Firstly, I have known you as a regular contributor to magazines, often unpacking biblical texts, as well as a book writer. Has this always been your career, or did you have a different job? If the latter, what led you to pursue writing?

I pursued a career in investment banking after leaving school, but it was while taking a year out in my early twenties to travel the world and train with YWAM, that I first sensed God gently steering me into a new direction.

Travelling solo, my only company was a journal. I filled its pages, two lines of miniature writing to a space, sharing in intricate detail my experiences, what I felt God was teaching me, how I was feeling, etc. And that was how God ignited a desire to write. Mind you, it took another 14 years for my first book to be published.

You are extremely honest in this book: sharing personal experience of an eating disorder, abusive relationship and other difficulties. What led you to do that?

I’ve read a good number of teaching or self-help books, all of which have a part to play in helping people find healing from self-image issues. But when I was commissioned to write The Mirror That Speaks Back, I knew there was no point trying to duplicate what was already out there, not least, because I’m not qualified to.

I knew from the moment I prayed, God’s prompting to share my story. I’ll admit that wasn’t easy – I am by nature an extremely private person. So you can imagine my ‘wobbles’ while writing some of that story – I even suggested to my editor, close to publication, that a certain scene might be deleted (they quite rightly disagreed!). That said, I still left out great chunks of my story that were just too painful or inappropriate to put on the page.

The book is aimed particularly at women younger than you – why is that? Your publisher likens it to a letter written to such women – is that how you viewed the writing of it? And how differently did you approach writing this book to others you have written in the past?

I was specifically commissioned to write a book for younger women, which I admit, I didn’t find easy. It’s been a while since I was their age and it’s not my usual genre.

I developed a questionnaire to help me connect with the issues young women struggle with, and to hear their take on faith and life, from their cultural perspective. I sent it to a number of contacts who came my way, some of whom forwarded it on, and some who kindly arranged for me to visit their groups in person, where the girls/young women answered the questions face-to-face on the basis I kept them anonymous. I always went armed with a ‘thank you’ tin of homemade cake and they were all great fun as well as extremely honest with me, which I have to say, was a privilege. In fact, they even had to explain a few terms to me, like, ‘contouring’!  Other young women returned the questionnaire to me by email; again, on the basis I gave them a pseudonym. And there were a few who posted it back anonymously.

Interestingly, however, although the pressure comes through different formats (social media, for example), self-image issues today are much like those when I was young.

Consequently, my approach to writing the book was different to others I’ve written in that I tried to keep the sub-themes of each chapter as short and succinct as possible, plus, of course, I wove in young women’s responses into the text (anonymously).

But even as I was writing, I sensed the book had potential to speak into lives of older women too – and that has proved true, both from reviews and from readers who have contacted me; the eldest, age 86!

Why does body image have such a huge effect on our identity as women?

I’d like to say it’s part of today’s culture, but I looked into the history while researching Mirror, and it’s been around for centuries; longer even than when beauty was defined by a flawless white complexion, and women painted their faces with deadly poison (powdered lead). Just bring to mind images of ancient Egyptian women with their lithe figures, painted faces, stylised hair and banded gold jewellery, and you can see what a history we’ve inherited.

So here’s a short answer to a massive question. We all have an innate longing to be valued and loved, and if we can’t achieve that through some definition of success, intellectual capacity, level of income or the ability to conceive and birth children, some of us might look to our body to help us attain it. Too often, however, no matter how much we squeeze, starve, cut, nip, enlarge, reduce, paint or pierce our body, it is simply never enough: that source of worth we’ve relied on to feel good about ourselves or attractive to a man, washes off in the bath, grows septic with infection, gains weight with a holiday or long-term medication, disfigures with illness, or simply fades and wrinkles with age. And time after time we’re left feeling inadequate, unattractive, unwanted, incapable, ashamed and unworthy, all because we’re sourcing our identity from the wrong place.

You cover illness – both physical and mental – and what effect it can have on our sense of self. What did you own journey with illness teach you about your sense of self-worth, and what did you learn from the other women whose stories you include?

Some of what I learned from other women is included in the book, but as for my own sense of self with my health issues, the key thing I was reminded of was: Who is in control of my life; Who knows my first and last breath, Who determines my days, and Whose love and care for me through painful symptoms and anxious appointments, is of far greater value to me than what I can do or how I appear.

Why do you think we seem to measure success in how we compare to others? How can we combat that?

We’ve been comparing ourselves against others since the beginning of time; it must be a part of our fallen nature, instead of just comparing ourselves with God and pursuing His goals for us (remember Cain and Abel, Esau and Jacob… in fact, Satan tempted Eve to compare her wisdom with God’s, and look what that made her do!).

But making comparisons is a lose-lose conundrum. Compare and then feel better than others spawns ungodly pride and potentially feeds a brash ego; compare and then feel lesser than others and you start believing you’re worthless, a failure, unattractive… and/or you grow bitter and resentful and nurse a critical spirit.  But compare yourself only to the person God created you to be and the best of the potential He has called you to pursue, and you’ve got reason to get out of bed each day, reassurance when you fail that God is for you and will help you try again, and nothing short of immense gratitude when you hit your God-given goal.

The image used throughout the book is that of a mirror – that Jesus is the only one who offers us a mirror that reflects our true image – who we are meant to be, unlike the cultural mirrors that reflect back to us that we are not worthy. How did you come to understand the truth of Jesus’ mirror in your own life?

That happened over time as my personal relationship with God developed; as I rooted my heart and not just my head belief in His love. A fundamental key, however, was engaging with the Bible – not just reading it, but getting it right inside me where it’s living power could do its work; and then, responding to it.

Do you truly believe we can learn to be content in God in the midst of anything life throws at us? How do we do that if so?

It’s a tough one. I’m constantly challenged by the messages I put out there about God’s truth, and how a westernised view can be so different to someone who has lost home, family and work, say, in Syria. All I know is that Paul found contentment in all circumstances – and it doesn’t take much reading of the New Testament to learn just how awful and tough his life often was (shipwreck, stoning almost to death, 40 lashes, starving, homeless a lot of the time… I could go on!)

So contentment in God is a truth that needs to be taught, but also in today’s context, and I know from reading books and articles by individuals who have suffered immensely in countries where the Christian faith is persecuted, that they too learned that same spiritual contentment as Paul did, in the dire confines of prison.

I’ve certainly never suffered to those extremes, but this promise is for me too, and I’ve had to ‘learn’ it during seasons of life that I found disheartening, in times when God prompted me to make one choice when I’d have much preferred making another, when my physical health took an unexpected dive and the future was uncertain, and in periods of grief for loved ones.

As for the how, I can only pass on what I have learned from Paul:

‘I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ….I want to know Christ…’ Philippians 3:8,10

It’s that ‘knowing’ Jesus, and living out the belief that He truly is our everything, that we ‘learn to be content whatever the circumstances.’ Philippians 4:11

What are some of the real nuggets of wisdom you’ve discovered for truly reflecting Jesus rather than giving in to our vulnerabilities and inadequacies?

Self-assurance, inner poise, a quiet confidence, security, peace with oneself and with others. It’s awesome to be released from a withered way of living life, especially when you’ve endured it for many years; to be freed from a mental and emotional prison which has locked you up from Christ’s promise of ‘life to the full’ (John 10:10) in the darkness of fear and debilitation.

Dotted about the book are wonderful quotes from women celebrating the role models in their own life that have inspired them and helped them see past the shallowness of looks. How important do you think it is for us all to have those women who champion and encourage us?  

I think role models are a gift and inspiration provided we don’t idolise them ie provided we don’t set ourselves up to try to be their clone. Be inspired by characteristics you admire, but ask yourself how that might helpfully shape your own life within parameters of your own skills, experiences, opportunities, background etc.

What other writing projects do you have planned?

Aside of a set of Bible notes coming out next February (alongside yours) and a novel still looking for an agent, I am currently working on my next book, which is due out sometime next year…watch this space; too early to unveil the plot!

Anne is the author of a number of Christian books and has written a wide variety of Bible-study notes and magazine articles. She also speaks at conferences and in churches around the country, with a passion to disciple Christians in their ongoing walk with God.

Married to Neil, Anne is also Granny to her daughter’s three young boys. To relax she loves to read, grow her own vegetables, hike the hills, and, when time allows, cook special meals for close friends. But she still dreams of becoming a bee-keeper!

You can follow Anne’s musings on Twitter @AnneLeTiss, Instagram @anneletissier, or take a look at her website: www.anneletissier.com


Learning to trust God for our children – again!

As soon as he came out of school my heart sank. His shoulders had dropped, and his whole demeanour oozed sadness…

That was back in July and became the start of an exceedingly difficult few months with our son, who is 9. We had been told that the two classes in his year group were going to be mixed up for the new academic year, but had been assured that friendship groups would be taken into consideration.

He had just found out that he didn’t have any of his three close friends in his class. And he was literally devastated.

What followed was weeks of crying himself to sleep and he ended that school year a different boy – less confident, no longer wanting to go back to school, questioning the point of prayer. His behaviour over the summer holidays we’ve just had was challenging in a way we’d not seen before too.

He really struggled to deal with the change emotionally – and we struggled to parent him through it at times.


As soon as we had heard that the classes were going to be mixed up, we had prayed – with, and for – our son. We had talked about new opportunities for friendships, and also reassured him that God was with him and that the Bible says: “we know that all things work together for good to them that love God” (Romans 8:28, KJV), which means we can trust God – whatever the outcome.

So when the news rocked him to the core, of course we started asking God why it had happened – because he was asking us and we didn’t have any simple answers. We also wondered whether we should complain, or simply trust that the right course of action had happened.

It was tricky navigating this whole aspect, because we’d said to our son he could trust God would hold him, and work things out in a way that would ensure God’s purposes for his life, and yet here he was faced with what he viewed as a truly negative turn of events.

I am quite an emotional person, and when something happens that either upsets my family, or me, I can find it hard to hear from God about it. So I did struggle and, in the end, simply asked God whether he would show me if it was right to talk to the school. An opportunity naturally arose, but it didn’t change the decision.


We prayed together the night before our son went back to school and his prayers revealed that he had grasped the understanding that he needed to give it a chance. While he was fairly resigned to the situation as he travelled into school, I think perhaps I found it more difficult waving him off than he did going in!

And in those first few days I saw God’s hand at work, for both my son and me. He was able to play with his friends at break and lunchtime, enjoyed being in a class with his new teacher and even came out one day saying that it was a nicer class overall!

On the first day, his teacher was on the gate when I dropped him off so I was able to chat to him. And the next day his teaching assistant was there. She has been with him for a few years, and was able to reassure me that she thought it was the best thing that could have happened to him. That his best friend, who has consistently been competition for him in a good way (they’ve helped motivate each other), had actually started becoming a distraction in the last year. So she felt it was good they had been split up.

I immediately felt flooded with peace when I heard this – and also felt a little nudge in my spirit. I had had an inkling that there may have been something like that behind the decision; whether that was simply my parental instinct or me hearing from God I can’t say for definite, but in that moment I certainly felt a confirmation that God has been looking out for our son all along.


Of course, I know the truth that God loves my kids even more than I do, and that part of my job as a parent is to learn to entrust them more and more to him, but I also know that is a work in progress and I don’t always get it right (and it’s easier said than done sometimes).

I’m so glad our son is settling into school well so far, but I know there will still be challenges ahead. While he may be throwing himself into tackling the new situation at school head on, his behaviour at home still isn’t great and we are navigating the whole ‘disciplining with lashings of grace’ right now.

But I am really grateful for the glimpse of seeing God at work in our son’s life – and I know I definitely needed the reminder to trust God with my kids (especially as the oldest one has just become a teenager! 😉 )




My experience of divorce – unmasked

I am delighted to welcome Kathey Batey to the Unmasked: stories of authenticity blog series today. For the last 12 years Kathey has worked with those going through divorce, as a mediator and by running support groups. But she has her own personal story, which she has bravely agreed to share here. The blog is long, but I’ve kept it long because I think her honesty will help others. 

I have been asked in numerous radio and television interviews about my personal story of divorce because I wrote the book series Suddenly Single and I have worked with hundreds of individuals and groups going through divorce. I skirt around my own story and try to “clean it up” as much as possible. I do this for a couple of reasons: one reason is to shield my children from the “grit” of the divorce, and another because my former spouse is deceased and I have no intention of dishonoring him. But in protecting or cleaning up my story, it doesn’t honestly relate to yours. I want to relate to you because chances are your story is ugly, hurtful and surreal to you. Mine is to me. I’m going unmasked, in the hopes it will relate to you and give you hope. Here is the unmasked version. I tell it only for you to know that you are not alone.

I stood in the kitchen and I asked God to hold me. It was the second time he left. Five days earlier, the day the divorce was supposed to be final, he asked if he could come back. He wanted our family back. I embraced the thought and I embraced him. He came back, to the same issues we had before. “You’re just not what I want”, he told me numerous times, I’m not sure how one responds to that statement, as if I could change my core self. I couldn’t, and at this point in my failing marriage where he was dissatisfied, unaccepting of me, being unable to meet his expectations, I wouldn’t. I had shut down years before because I felt I could do nothing right, so I retreated to that cave again. In that painful cave of hiding, God held me. 

 Satan was deceiving him and destroying our family. How could he buy into the lie there was something better, more exciting than what he had here? We had a family, three fabulous teenagers, who never rebelled and were a joy to watch grow and become adults. They were active in sports with great friends who made our home the gathering place for teens. We had reunions, church groups and church services on our ranch of eight acres, a pond in the middle of the property with fish and wildlife. The woods were filled with wildflowers of Trillium and Jack in the Pulpit. It was heaven on earth to me.  

I wasn’t the perfect wife. I was not his mother. She was the perfect housekeeper, the great cook. She never struggled with putting on extra pounds. Where is the maturity when we realize we are grown up and our spouses won’t be our parent? In all, my loving mother-in-law seemed the perfect wife and mother and I loved her dearly. She was very good to me. But she died of alcoholism, having been married to an alcoholic abusive partner. She didn’t know how to stand up for herself and she took her pain inward.

 In that kitchen where my soul plummeted to the bottom of the cave, God caught me. It wasn’t a superman swoop, but it was a sudden fullness and comfort in my heart that contrasted where I was at that moment and showed me I was not alone. I would need to depend on that Spirit in the days ahead. This was one of the many dramatic times in my divorce.

I remember to this day shortly after he left again, standing in the bathroom getting ready for work, listening to the song by Pam Thumb, “Life is hard, the world is cold, you’re barely young and then you’re old. Every fallen tear is always understood, life is hard, but God is good.” That song spoke my heart, life was hard and the world is cold. And I certainly had those tears, but God was so good to me. Flashback in that same bathroom when my husband came to the door once, and I slipped down my nightgown and he turned and walked away. Rejection is painful.


Rejection brings it’s own grief. I questioned everything while going through my divorce: my value as a woman, my value as a person, my value as a life. I could go into those unhealthy thoughts easily because of his perception of me was degrading during marriage and listening to the words of rejection can put you into a dark spiral. But time passed and perception was gained. I thank God for putting the voices and the people He did in my life to walk through this with me. They were not profound, deep, directive voices; they were co-workers, pastors, church friends with simple kindnesses, compassion and listening ears. They related to me, they normalised my trauma. This is why I feel so strongly about how the church ministers to those who are divorcing. It is because I saw where the church was there for me, and I also saw where they were absent for me in my deepest time of need.  

It is mind-boggling, yet necessary to make the mind shift that the person you trusted with your life for twenty years, confided life decisions and submitted your body and soul to, has become an unsafe person. I struggled with it, as those in my support groups do. It does something to your mind and sanity when you try to wrap your head around that fact; it is indescribable, ironic and adds anger to the betrayal of the moment. To hear lawyers, judges and strangers get into your personal business; habits, priorities and what seems your underwear drawer, send you reeling! One of the reasons I believe in group so much, is they can walk through the cruel legal process of divorce. You don’t know who is on your side or who is there to rack up hours of legal fees.  

It is surreal to look around your established home of twenty years of marriage and see all of your belongings and your life on the table for bargaining. It is so unsettling, disorienting and bewildering. I’m reminded of my own experience every time I hold mediations and watch people divide their lives into two piles.


Just when you think there is a moment of sanity or calm, things happen that sound like a soap opera, trashy episodes that you would watch in disgust, now come part of your story…

Sitting at the table with my daughter and my mother eating lunch, the phone rang. It was a woman, whose voice I did not recognize. She was brief and to the point of her purpose for the call. “I just wanted you to know, I’ve been sleeping with your husband the last six months.”

I had lived my life trying to be a woman and family of class. Raised in an alcoholic home, poverty was only because alcohol got more prominence than the children. My mother worked as a waitress to care and provide for us. My father bought drinks for his baseball team, his golf league or stole things to bring into the home. In contrast was mom, hard working, sacrificing everything for her family. I never went without because of mom. Dad, I understand more in hindsight, was a WWII vet, who had issues of his own to deal with after serving in the military and the atrocities he witnessed. He died when I was 13. Truth be told, he was my hero in many ways, but also a figure that terrified me.

On the way to a sporting event for one of my children, I went into Wal-Mart to pick up something for the kids, and was surprised to see him and the woman. I encountered her. This was my soap opera moment that I would never encourage people to carry out. Confrontation is dangerous in many ways.  At that time, I was naive and angry and I walked up to her and without emotion stated slowly, “You are a cheap imitation of me.” I waited for no reply. I left the premises. I was the wife, I was the honored one, the favored one in a holy position. I will not throw that away as I had been discarded. I will take claim of that God-ordained place.


Telling people you are divorcing is so difficult. You know there is no gentle way to say it. You know when you do you will cry when you start talking about it. Those feelings are normal and difficult to swallow (even though you try to swallow the tears). I chose only close friends and family first and then I was better able to speak it without the tears and later as stated fact.

 Years have passed, perspective has been gained – as I purposely and intentionally worked on my healing. Today, I hear the heartbreak of hundreds of people, men and women. When they are wide eyed in shock from the betrayal of their mate, I understand.When they feel their loss of value and ask the question, “Why wasn’t I worth fighting for?” I understand. You are, I was.

Satan is at work to destroy families, because he knows how vital they are to life. But God is the God of second chances. Jesus is our second chance. Now is time to see your value, and to discover the beautiful life God has for you. We are secure in him. Even in the most insecure times, we are secure in Him. He is whom you hold onto. He will guide you through. He will guide you and reveal to you things you never knew or understood. For many, it is the truth that sometimes the reason for divorce has nothing to do with you, sometimes spouses have issues you cannot fix nor be the answer to. It takes years to gain the perspective that helps you see your life clearly. Not saying years will ever make it right, but years make it clearer and more manageable.

My determination from that day he left the second time and since is: my story and my life will not end like this. I will not be the victim, even though so much was taken, wronged and a drastic contrast to the life we were living. What can you do with such trash, pain and injustice? You hand it over to God and say, “hold me, lead me, give me wisdom for the path I take.” God isn’t finished with you. The best is yet to be. Over the past twenty+ years God has been the greatest husband to me. He is the Provider, the Protector (even from myself), the Lover of my soul. Learn to know Him in this way.

This is part of my divorce unmasked; I could write a book…(Oh wait, I did!) on more of the details. It is real and it is messy. Just like your divorce. This is a painful, yet powerful time in your life. Use it wisely; it will make you or destroy you. I marvel at God’s patience and how He always shows up in my groups and in my life and takes the unmasked, messy moments and somehow restores and chooses to empower us through them.

Kathey Batey is the creator of Divorce Support Anonymous and author of the Suddenly Single book series published by David C. Cook. She is a domestic mediator and has held support groups for people going through divorce. Connect with her on FaceBook page Divorce Support Anonymous or her website www.DivorceSupportAnonymous.com


Prayer provides natural opportunity

Today I have the huge privilege of guest blogging on Like Minded Musings, as part of the 30 day, multi-contributor, Raising Godly Girls series. Not only that, the post is mainly written by my amazing daughter 🙂 Please do click the photo below to head across and check it out.


I also want to give you the opportunity to grab the ebook created from another blog series Lee Felix of Like Minded Musings organised (and which I was a part of). It’s particularly for parents of tweens (but great to get now if your children are younger – I can assure you it will be a great help in years to come!). Do click below if you would like to download it.

30 Days of Tween Parenting Encouragement Blog Party e-book

The spotlight

‘Authenticity involves transparency, which only happens through vulnerability.’ That is a quote from fellow author Jen Baker, who I am delighted to welcome onto the Unmasked: stories of authenticity blog series today.

As a child, I rarely left the bedroom without my (metaphorical) mask securely affixed to my face. Acting as the lead character in my own performance, I could switch between timidity and boldness at a moment’s notice – my personality dependent on the atmosphere of the others present. Terrified of being known, wearing a mask was the only way I knew to interact with the world around me.

The road to authenticity in my life took many turns, several detours and more than one ‘about face’ – thankfully stepping away from the path of self-destruction before I found myself tumbling over a cliff of no return.

I have a feeling some of you reading this can relate.

Perhaps you have worn a mask which said ‘I’m fine’, when in reality you were crying yourself to sleep at night.

Or a mask which declared ‘I trust the Lord’, when in reality you were self-medicating out of worry and despair.

Please don’t beat yourself up if you’ve been there (or are there) – we all have worn masks and spoken self-protective untruths at one time or another.

Yet I have learned that being fully known by the one who knows all things – is the most freeing, beautiful and empowering choice we can make in life. When we allow ourselves to be fully known in heaven, we free ourselves to live fully here on earth.

Below is an excerpt from my new book, The Power of a Promise, where I share the moment I felt the seed of purpose being planted deep within the soil of my heart. As a young person living in a world of self-imposed hypocrisy, it remains one of the most transparent – and honest – moments of my life.

It was a moment I’ll never forget.

Before I continue, it is important to mention that while growing up (and until my late thirties) I battled intense insecurity and fear – I mean, intense. Hiding behind my mother, refusing to hold eye contact, face turning bright red when anyone spoke to me, terrified to speak in class and always believing that I was being laughed at behind my back. I lived in a continual state of shame, fear and anxiety. It improved slightly after I became a Christian, but in reality I learned to cope with it, work around it or – most often – put a mask over it.

Despite my debilitating insecurity, I loved the stage. When I stepped onto a platform I came alive, because I could be anyone except Jen Baker – which was the greatest desire of my heart for the first twenty-five years of my life. This particular evening we were rehearsing our high-school play The Mousetrap, in which I had the lead female role. It was late, the school had closed hours before, and nearly everyone except the janitor had left the building. I had stayed behind to practise some lines, and that is when it happened.

The director stepped out of the auditorium, and I was preparing to leave when I glanced up to see a small circular spotlight at centre stage. It was just wide enough for one person to be seen. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Looking around to make sure nobody else was watching, I put my things down and rushed to the platform. I carefully, methodically, made my way to the centre of that light where I stood – just me, the spotlight and my imagined audience.

Time stood still. I wasn’t yet a Christian, but I felt something divine over that moment, to the point where I literally could not move. I looked out to the ‘audience’, took command of the atmosphere…and I decided right then and there: this was my destiny.

The seed took root.

Let me say again: We can only fully live our purpose when we freely know our creator. Over the ensuing years, as my relationship with my Saviour deepened, the masks slowly came down and my purpose gradually came forth.

It says in Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” We have been created to do good works, which God has already prepared for us. He has given us every gift we need, to carry out every plan He has. As every woman carries the seed of new life in her body, even as a little girl, so we come into the world with the seeds of our purpose simply waiting to be born.

If God were to put a spotlight on the centre of your dreams – what would He find? Where would you be standing? Remember, the Word says that God only has good gifts for us and where He leads is always toward peace and prosperity. He is a good God who is trustworthy and who always has our best future in the plans of His heart.

My prayer is that today you can believe again for the promises over your life to become alive with power, infused with purpose and unleashed in possibility.

No more hiding. No more shame. No more masks.

Instead, standing vulnerable within the security of God’s love and grace, you will step boldly into the spotlight of your future.

Jen Baker is a speaker, author and leader who loves seeing the Holy Spirit and the Word change lives and impact nations. Called from America to live in England, Jen has been a pastor, director and consultant working with the local church and several anti-trafficking charities. She has written five books, including her newly released The Power of a Promise, which can be ordered on her website at jenbaker.co.uk.