On her website today Sarah A. Hoyt asked the following:
Also, lest I forget, Valerie Richardson, wife of my friend and colleague Pat Richardson, wishes to guest blog some places to promote her book, Wounded. It is a Christian, non-fic, inspirational book, and I know some of – many of? – you have Christian/spiritual blogs, or blogs with a Christian/spiritual bend. If you wish to host Val, please ping her at firstname.lastname@example.org
So I emailed Valerie and let her know she could promote her book in a guest blog here. She accepted the invitation. Here’s what she says about herself:
Valerie Richardson is a Christ-follower from Kansas. She’s a wife, mother of 4 adult children and grandmother of 2 with hopes for more. She’s spent 14 years of her life as an educational Interpreter for the Deaf until God made it clear she needed to quit her job to start writing. Since then she’s spent her days working with students with severe disabilities and her evenings working on this book and the start of the next one. She loves to lead in youth camps in both her local and state Southern Baptist Convention, as well as working with students in her local congregation. On occasion she also likes to fashion herself a singer with a local praise and worship band where she lives. It’s her intention to serve God, her family and her church until He shuts her down.
And here is her guest blog:
Hi! The majority of you won’t know me but my name is Valerie Richardson and I wrote a book (my first) called “Wounded”. I wrote it, because I believe God called me to write it. Now I’m not some off the wall, crazy Jesus-Freak (well not yet anyway, it’s my desire to surrender it all to Him in a way that can only be called “out-there” and God is working with me on it…through the next book, but I digress). I’m a Christ-Follower, wife, mother, grandmother, youth leader, camp director, former Educational Interpreter for the Deaf who is now working with children with severe disabilities and in my spare time loves to sing with a local praise band. Yep, that’s right, just your average, everyday Jane. I’m not a counselor or great theologian, I’m just a girl/woman whom God brought through the fire so I could not only share the story God wrote in my life but the story others have shared with me over the years.
It’s a story about wounds, wounds dealt by other Christians and the church. God really spoke to me in a powerful way through the healing power of His word in scripture and through great pastors. When this journey began for me in April 2012 I was scared. God told me clearly I was supposed to leave my job of 14 years, the career I’d sacrificed so much for, and write. His handwriting was on the wall throughout the whole process and on more than one occasion I felt like Daniel in Babylon seeing God write the next step of the plan clearly in front of me or like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego as they stood before the fiery furnace, would I stand on this no matter what everyone else said? I stepped out on faith and followed. It’s been rough, the writing came easy, but everything else has been tough. Our finances, our family, our jobs, our health have all run into problems (you know that Satan guy loves to get us off track) but I can see God holding my hand, every step I’ve taken. I’m ready.
So here I am, and I’m telling you this story. Why?
Because the healing God has done in me can be done for you.
I was speaking at a Women’s Retreat recently and I asked the ladies there if any of them had ever been hurt by the church or by other Christians? Every person in the room raised their hands, including the woman leading the worship and those organizing and running the event. Every last person in that room had a hand in the air. Wounds dealt by other Christians are so prevalent most everyone has been touched by it, God knew it and Jesus dealt directly with it. If you read all of Matthew Chapter 18 you can see clearly the whole chapter deals directly with Christian discord. It starts out with the disciples arguing about who’s most important and Jesus deals with it directly through not only parables, but direct instruction on how to deal with problems among other Christians. The problem is we don’t follow His instructions. We do what feels natural for us to do. For lack of a better word, we sin. We sin in our hurt and our anger, thus perpetuating the sin, continuing the cycle of pain, often wounding others and building a wall between us and Christ. This wall, until it’s dealt with biblically, becomes the stepping stones for dissention in the church. When dissention happens, the ministry of the church is hampered, many times leading to splits which damage the reputation of the church and Christians in general for a long, long time. No matter how much we want to tell ourselves our actions or reactions aren’t hurting others, it’s not true. Everything we do for the good or the bad has an effect on the Body of Christ. We’re a family, no matter our denomination but especially in our local body of believers. We all need each other, we all matter, it’s important we deal with things before they get out of hand.
Wounding one another was never God’s intention. God’s intention was for the church to be a place of love and healing, but since it’s made up of fallen people things happen. It’s time to change the way we do things. It’s time to step out of our comfort zone and follow the bible. That’s what this book is about and it starts with my story. Here’s a small piece of it in an excerpt taken from the book.
“It was another long invitation. No one was coming forward so the pastor stepped down from the pulpit as he always did. I’m sure he was talking but I don’t remember what he said until he bent his head to pray. What he prayed is forever burned into my memory, because it was the turning point. I believed at the time, the pastor knew what was happening between me and the young man who was abusing me. I don’t know why I felt that way exactly; I guess as a kid I thought he had super powers or something. But what he said that morning confirmed in my soul the abuse I was suffering was my fault and he knew how bad I was. You have to remember I didn’t see it as abuse, I saw it as sin. I thought I had a dark stain all over me and it was my fault. It was the moment I believed God could no longer love me and He had abandoned me.
So the pastor stepped down from the pulpit and began by praying not to God but directly to Satan. He prayed and asked Satan to take several of the people in the congregation away. He called out the list name by name saying we had been sent by Satan to destroy the church. Among them were an older couple, members of the church for many, many years, who immediately stood up and left, a few other people of whom I don’t recall specifically because I was too busy watching this older couple I cared for walk out of the church. Somewhere in the mix, he called out two other names, my mother’s name and mine, and in that moment left me (in a spiritual sense) mortally wounded. Yes it was a 12 year-old girl and the mother she adored the pastor prayed for Satan to take away.”
There’s much more to this story both at the beginning and the end, I survived. God brought me through it, but not without deep wounds which I carried for many, many years. These wounds and many others I’d suffered since that time have left me scarred and my relationship with Christ suffered for it. It suffered because I didn’t deal with it biblically. I didn’t know how to, no one had ever told me. Not that I hadn’t heard through the many years I been in church about how to deal with church discipline, I had. But in all the years I had been in church I had never, ever seen anyone practice it. I’d seen church splits. I’d seen church ministries broken. I’d seen churches with long, full histories close their doors. I’d seen people, even in my own family, walk away from God and the church, never to darken the door of again. I’ve seen Satan run rampant through the lives of wounded Christians causing anger, hard-heartedness, cold countenance and dead spiritual lives because they refuse to deal with it.
What would happen if we not only believed God’s word fully, but lived it?
What would happen if we followed Jesus’ prescription for the hurting, wounded soul?
What would happen if we humbled ourselves before Him and the church, putting away our plastic exteriors and getting real with our sin and our need of a Savior?
What would happen if we reached out to our brothers and sisters in Christ telling them we’re sorry we’ve hurt them and seek to restore the relationship?
Could it be the prescription for the beginning of the healing of the Body of Christ, the church?
The thing is, it’s not just my story. There are many others. Other people who have shared their wounds and their stories have been told in one way or another in the book. But God has also shown me through His word and I’ve shared in this book, how we are supposed to deal with it. Not only how we need to heal the old wounds but how we can prevent others.
It’s my desire to see dead, lifeless churches come back to life through the resurrection power of Christ. The only way that will happen is if His people will humble themselves and pray.
It’s time…are you ready?
If you’re stuck in your wounds and needing help along the way or wonder what in the world I’m talking about pick up the book at Amazon for Kindle at…
or if you would like a paper copy
We’re still working on the version for Nook with Barnes and Noble.
You can follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/vrrichardson
Or hook up with me on Facebook at Valerie Morgan Richardson
I pray God will continue the good work He’s already started in you.
Valerie R. Richardson