part 5 - CREATING A NEW STORY

The Tale Of Two Believers

Martha, Martha. Thou art careful and troubled about many things. But one thing is needful. And Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10: 41, 42

Martha And Mary

Martha & Mary

Remember the story of Martha and Mary?

They were sisters and close friends of Jesus. Martha was most likely the older of the two and was practical, efficient, and hospitable. Her steadfast dedication to service was a defining aspect of her character.

We’re told she was distracted by “much serving” and became worried, troubled, and openly frustrated with her sister because she wasn’t helping her and doing what she wanted and thought she should be doing. 

In her desire to control the situation and others’ actions, Martha judged their motives. She felt unsupported, her actions driven by a need to “do the right thing” and “follow the rules.” She aimed to please those she served but felt trapped in her circumstances.

Contrasting Martha’s actions, Mary made a notable choice. She focused on Jesus, opting for “that good part,” which cannot be taken from her.

A Genuine Experience

Mary sat at the feet of her "Wise Teacher" and listened and learned.

She was looking through a different lens than her sister and cherished “true education” and “true service” more than anything else.

She was humble, felt conviction, wanted a genuine experience, sought authentic connections, and showed loyal dedication.

She did not look for recognition or compensation.

She focused on the things of substance. The things that could never be taken away. The things that mattered.

I decided to study this topic further and took notes.

Who's Right?

I’d like to recognize that even though Jesus brought Martha’s attention to “busyness” into the open and commended Mary for her “devotion,” both women were pious and loved Christ, and He loved them.

The story of Martha and Mary is not about who was right or wrong, or who was superior. It’s about understanding their unique life journeys, the reasons behind their actions, and the circumstances that led them to where they were.

Here are some intriguing insights about Martha and Mary.

Notes On Martha—Mary

The Action Taker and The Contemplator

  • Quick, eager, alert, and full of natural energy.
  • Possessed practical skills and good sense.
  • Had a loyal heart and was always looking out for others.
  • In all her “busyness,” she overlooked the most important thing.
  • Worried and troubled by many things.
  • Cared about what others thought, a people pleaser.
  • Felt a need to control others and circumstances.
  • A bit disconnected from those around her.
  • Lived a busy life devoted to externals and form.
  • Meek, humble, possesses a gentle spirit.
  • Concentrated on the things of substance.
  • Gave herself to the pursuit of eternal things.
  • Understood the need for instruction as the one needful thing.
  • Chose to build on the good part that could not be taken from her.
  • Went directly to God to have her needs met.
  • Went to the Direct Source of all knowledge and wisdom to learn.

True Transformation

As I pondered this subject and the concept of Martha and Mary, I began to think about my journey.

I realized how much my journey had changed and transformed me and how I had been Martha, devoted to doing the good and the right thing.

But inside, I longed to be Mary and wondered if I’d ever be.

Contemplating the trials and tribulations God guided me through, I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude. His hand has safely led me to the other side, where I stand today. This journey has not only transformed my life but also my mission. I have reached a place where I now appreciate the importance of overcoming the trauma and survival patterns that no longer serve me, establishing a deep connection with God, and fostering healthy relationships and social interactions with proper boundaries.

And it wouldn’t happen just because I wanted it to or because I knew something nobody else did. No. It would happen when I fully understood the most critical part of the journey.

Submission to a genuine transformation, with God at the helm. The part that always eluded me.

The piece of the picture that would develop the Mary in me.

The slice of understanding that would make God’s Unconditional Love (Hesed) truly understood and felt and help me to recover, heal, and share my story.

The Tale Of Two Believers

Using the “Martha and Mary pattern,” I decided to illustrate a concept we'll now call “Martha Lynn and Mary Jo.”

I did this to demonstrate the “two archetypes,” namely the “wounded believer” and the “seeker,” to illustrate the shared experiences among the scattered flock of God’s people who are healing from religious trauma.

The “wounded believer” is not just a concept but a deeply personal journey. It’s a path I’ve walked, one marked by the scars of religious trauma and the slow, steady process of healing.

The “seeker,” on the other hand, is a fellow traveler who, like me, is on a spiritual journey, seeking a deeper connection with God.

This understanding not only provides a framework for discussion and reflection but shines a light on the immense potential for growth, maturation, and expansion inherent in the healing journey from religious trauma.

By sharing my personal story, I hope to strike a chord with you and others. We all yearn for an authentic connection and a deeper understanding of God. This narrative is a steadfast guidepost, marking our road to recovery from misguided religion and education and making that genuine connection with God possible.

I want to ignite a spark of hope for those ready to create a “New Story” on this pilgrimage, which highlights life-changing inspiration, motivation, and awareness, creating complete freedom from indoctrinated false beliefs and the trauma patterns that follow.

It’s a path filled with Unconditional Love, where we uncover the essence of salvation, establish authentic principles to live by, and grasp the techniques that Jesus employed with individuals.

The results of following this route will give you a genuine experience, authentic connections, true transformation, and a life lived with purpose.

HOWEVERit’s also a path challenged and sometimes dictated by multiple “flavors” (interpretations and practices) of Christianity.

The type of world that introduces the greatest and latest new theories, teachings, beliefs, programs, literature to distribute, and actions to perform, all promising to still your fears, prepare you for the impending crisis, and make you worthy to meet Jesus when He comes.

On a more serious note, you might find yourself in a highly structured environment with strict rules and expectations, which can sometimes feel overwhelming and oppressive.

Or, possibly, you’re a member of a church organization or group who isn’t seen, heard, understood, or supported, leaving you feeling isolated, suppressed, unworthy, and lonely.

THEREFORE… it’s crucial to establish a personal connection to the ULTIMATE SOURCE of knowledge, wisdom, and light (for yourself) to see, understand, and navigate the healing path.

It’s where you learn how to unravel the trauma, a process that involves acknowledging and understanding the past pain, instilling the truth by seeing who God truly is and isn’t, and creating a new narrative in which your authentic self takes the lead.

It is a place where you trust in God’s guiding and directing influence in your life, rest in the present moment, and discover your deepest heart’s desire.

In this realm, you’re not anonymous, unimportant, or unremarkable but a unique individual cherished and seen by God. In turn, you gain the ability to see others through His eyes.

It is where your God-given talents, gifts, and skills are recognized and celebrated, empowering you to create a meaningful life that changes the terrain around you.

And yes, a world where your healed trauma patterns become your greatest assets, ensuring your safe arrival at the final destination.

The Christian's Journey

(SMALL SIDE TRACK HERE)

I believe it takes a “Christian Soldier’s Journey,” or, in my case, a “Christian Soldadera’s Journey,” to reach the place where one is doing what one is truly meant to do and genuinely serving those one is intended to serve.

When writing about the journey of those “healing from religious trauma,” I can’t help but think about the “Soldaderas Women” of the Mexican Revolution and how they fought for what they truly believed. They actively secured their lands, houses, and families. 

These women went to war and fought alongside their men. They cooked and cared for the camps, administered medical treatment, rode horses, carried weapons, and led entire units into battle, some with children under their skirts.

While their jobs varied widely, they had one thing in common. They were courageous and earned deep respect in their supporting roles. They demonstrated perseverance and a fighting spirit. Through small deeds and large heroic acts, they impacted the entire revolution. Many victories were won because of the Soldaderas’ undaunted fearlessness.

As “Christian Soldiers and Soldaderas,” we may learn a lesson here. While we won’t be brandishing guns and knives, the battle for recovery does require fierceness, bravery, courage, and a persevering spirit.

It also requires a like-minded community, camaraderie, and banding together. Many of us can get pretty far by ourselves, but we can get much further and faster together.

“Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a shared vision and direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows ordinary people to attain extraordinary results.”  -Andrew Carnegie

How exciting!

In addition, looking at the bigger picture, experience proves we have much to gain as we learn from those who have gone before us.

“If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” –Sir Isaac Newton

I’m not going to lie to you. This is not an easy journey, nor is it a straight path.

But it is a satisfying adventure with the possibility of victory around every corner, especially when we travel it together, standing on the shoulders of giants!

The Two Types

Ok, back to our two “types”.

I named one “type,” Martha Lynn (the larger segment), and the other Mary Jo (the smaller segment).

Martha Lynn and Mary Jo represent “The Christian Soldiers/Soldaderas Journey” for those “healing from religious or spiritual trauma and abuse.”

It’s the tale of my journey from an insecure victim of false religious beliefs to an inspired, deeply connected overcomer.

But those are the endpoints.

It’s the stuff —the pain, the trauma, and the never-ending obstacles in the “messy middle” —that’s essential.

I’ve heard it said:

“Adults learn through massive trauma.” -David Buss (professor of psychology)

I agree.

I’ve also realized that life is a preparatory school that sometimes requires severe training.

“All who in this world render true service to God or man receive preparatory training in the school of sorrow. The weightier the trust and the higher the service, the closer is the test and the more severe the discipline.”  Education, p. 151.4, E.G. White

When I started my “Christian Soldaderas Journey,” I leaned towards the Martha Lynn “archetype.” There was no question about it.

My vision wasflawed.

My approachimmature.

Along the way, I discovered that Martha Lynn, despite her best efforts, couldn’t ascend to the mountain’s summit. The authentic Christian experience she yearned for always seemed to slip through her fingers, a constant source of frustration and longing.

UNTIL… she embraced change.

Transformed.

As Martha Lynn, when entrenched in the battle and crisis scenes, I discovered that I had a choice:

👉 I could either continue behaving as the Martha Lynn “archetype”…

(a choice that would require me to fight the “monsters” in perpetual crisis until I became sick, discouraged, and gave up altogether 😟),

…or I could address my underlying (likely false) belief systems and change my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

IN ORDER TO…

👉 Integrate a very different “archetype” represented by Mary Jo in the “Christian Soldaderas Journey.”

(Blending the various elements of both higher selves would grant me the skills, insight, and proficiency to experience a cohesive and harmonious paradigm shift 😊.)

The transformation itself wasn’t instant.

It wasn’t like flicking a light switch💡.

Click. Done.

Sadly, no.

Doesn’t work like that.

The only way to transform—to embrace Martha Lynn and Mary Jo’s higher, more lovely parts—was to choose the call to adventure, go on the journey, and enter the battle.

Experience the trauma of suffering.

Navigate obstacles.

Slay the “monsters.”

The “secret” 🤫 —the elixir I discovered and wanted to share…

-through my story,

-through my testimony,

-through my mission,

…would help the Martha Lynns of the world to navigate through the battle and crisis and emerge on the other side with the most cherished attributes of Mary Jo WITHOUT losing the character, personality, and sacred parts of Martha Lynn.

By now, you’ve probably discovered this isn’t only a story for those “healing from religious trauma.”

Nope.

These principles and concepts can be applied to all kinds of generational trauma patterns that may have roots in various types of physical, emotional, and even sexual abuse, including co-dependency, narcissistic abuse, and victim mentality.

The absolute truth is that any trauma can create trauma patterns that can keep us from moving forward in our lives, whether small or large. If we endure the “battle” to overcome and emerge victorious, our lives will be transformed forever.

At the same time, we will make a crucial impact on the lives of those around us when we heal and stop the cycle of abuse from reaching the next generation.

It’s the inner work. The deep transformation that matters. We get tumbled around. The rough edges get knocked off.

Then, the miracle happens.

We feel seen and can see.

We feel heard and can hear.

We have purpose and see purpose in others.

We emerge as a polished gemstone, a testament to our perseverance and understanding of how to cooperate with God.

We find the freedom and joy in using our natural gifts and talents for good.

We gain a clear perspective that guides our way.

WE CAN NOW BE USED and be effective.

But, of course, not everyone who attempts the journey will come out on the other side transformed. Many wannabe soldiers and soldaderas, most even, are not fully enrolled in the journey. They don’t see their way clearly to step onto the path or don’t care enough about the change required to transform, so they remain, Martha Lynn, conforming only on the outside and staying in the battle forever.

The Journey To Freedom

So, I returned to my notebook to document my own Martha (Martha Lynn) and Mary (Mary Jo) healing journey.

MARTHA LYNN, “The Action Taker and Wounded Believer,” represents the initial stage of the journey, where action is needed to disrupt the religious trauma patterns and begin to heal. Martha Lynn embodies the struggle and the first steps toward personal growth and healing.

👉 The Starting Point

INSECURE VICTIM OF FALSE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

A life influenced by the control of others created a need to control others herself and be in charge of her circumstances and outcomes, directed by an externally oriented, disconnected, and intuitively lacking Martha Lynn.

NOTE: Martha Lynn’s trust was misplaced, as she found herself loving and trusting in man more than God.

MARY JO, “The Contemplator and Seeker,” represents the final stage of the spiritual journey. Here, contemplation and acceptance pave the way for complete healing, and Mary Jo’s quest for an authentic spiritual experience culminates in a deep connection with God.

👉 The Ending Point

AN INSPIRED ADVOCATE FOR A MEANINGFUL, DEEPLY CONNECTED LIFE

A life influenced and directed by the newly transformed, inspired, motivated, aware, and genuinely free Mary Jo, mixed with a balance of the strengths, gifts, and skills of Martha Lynn.

NOTE: Mary Jo’s transformed life gave her the deep connection she longed for as she left Martha Lynn’s insecurities and fears behind.

And I learned something.

Meet Martha Lynn

Entering The Beginning Of Her Journey

Martha Lynn may represent you right now, if not entirely, a close enough match to make you uncomfortable.

While Martha Lynn was loyal, always serving others, and busy, she didn’t know how to choose “That Good Part.”

Her actions were not driven by direct inspiration. While she was busy serving others and tending to the externals and forms, her motivation was finite and self-serving.

While she longed to please God and those she was serving, she was disconnected and unaware of people’s actual needs or even her own real needs. She often found herself out of touch with her intuition (that still small voice) and, therefore, didn’t always make the best decisions.

Martha Lynn’s understanding of Godly Principles, The Plan of Salvation, and The Methods God Uses was seen through a filtered screen of her past traumas and incomplete database. Her relationships lacked genuine connection and authenticity. She was an expert on outward conformity but yearned for the inward transformation that would make her efforts toward her mission and purpose successful.

Meet Mary Jo

Emerging From The Journey On The Other Side

Mary Jo operates entirely differently than Martha Lynn.

She’s inspired and motivated by The Holy Spirit. She hears “the still small voice” directing her life and feels secure and safe. She has unraveled her own trauma story and is now aware of the things that have only been an unconscious blur in the past. This newfound awareness has set her free, and she now feels genuinely liberated.

Mary Jo has allowed God to heal her and transform her life. She understands God’s Unconditional Love for her and is satisfied. This deep connection to God fills her with a profound sense of spiritual longing and a child-like curiosity about Him.

Studying and teaching “The Principles” that govern her heart and mind and learning “His Methods,“ she now looks forward to spending time with God and is learning how to cooperate with Him.

Mary Jo no longer needs to control others, circumstances, or outcomes. She is free, so she can set others free. She safely trusts in God’s Providential Leading for her life. She has begun to use and develop her God-given talents, gifts, and skills in service to others and is succeeding in forming genuine connections. She naturally sees the needs of others because her own needs are met.

She understands her life purpose and calling now. She knows how to use her “life experiences” and “education in sorrows” as her lesson book. She cultivates a thankful heart and, in cooperation with God, has created a “New Story” for her life.

The End.

P.S. Not the end. It's just the beginning. The endpoints I constructed don't mean anything in the overall context of transformation.

It’s a lifelong journey.

An adventure.

A massive education.

In the process, our lives intersect.

We connect.

We heal together.

We serve together.

We share our life experiences.

We become lifelong friends for now and for eternity.

Debra Shafer

Why I Wrote This Story

When I looked back at my own experience over my lifetime, I learned something, and knew something.

Through my journey, I learned that even a tiny dose of perseverance, hope, and faith goes a long way. They have the power to transform your life, enabling you to craft a brand-new narrative with a happy ending.

Deep within, I always knew that one day, I would return to the starting point, the beginning of my journey, where the first spark of inspiration ignited. From there, I would extend my hand to those starting on their own paths, those taking their first steps.

I would be there, unwavering and ready to lend a hand, to cheer them on, to walk alongside them, and to guide their steps. I would strive to offer the necessary tools to make a significant difference in their journey, ensuring their progress, and helping them reach their destination with minimal obstacles.

I would be a “guide” of sorts, an escort, a chaperone, and a friendly face. I would develop a road map, an experience path to follow, and create an environment that allowed actual growth without judgment—somewhere they could find the answers they needed. 

Here, they would join others on the path, allowing them to find their own courage, strength, and perseverance.

I wanted to offer something to the small segment of those “healing from religious trauma” who are on a journey towards a more accessible, more straightforward, and more direct route to their true heart’s desire.

And in those moments when they stumble, I am committed to being there to provide encouragement and assure them that someone deeply cares about their journey and their safe arrival at the final destination.

After all, why should anyone have to walk a long, lonely path when they could walk it with others by their side, get to their destination faster, and enjoy the shared journey and fellowship of those who understand?

KEY CHAPTER TAKEAWAY #1

The most critical part of the journey is submission to a genuine transformation with God at the helm. 

KEY CHAPTER TAKEAWAY #2

A healing journey is a walk of inspiration, motivation, awareness, freedom, and hope for transformation.

This is an endeavor filled with unconditional love. It includes discovering the science of salvation, establishing true principles to live by, and understanding the methods and techniques that Jesus used with individuals.

KEY CHAPTER TAKEAWAY #3

Following the route of “healing from religious trauma” will give you a genuine experience, authentic connections, true transformation, and a life lived with purpose.

KEY CHAPTER TAKEAWAY #4

BUT… this path is challenged by various “flavors” of Christianity.

Therefore you must be connected to the TRUE SOURCE of all knowledge, wisdom, and light (for yourself) to see, understand, and navigate the healing path.

It’s where you learn how to unravel the trauma, instill the truth, and create a new story.

KEY CHAPTER TAKEAWAY #5

This is not an easy journey, nor is it a straight path.

But it is a satisfying adventure with the possibility of victory around every corner, especially when we travel it together, standing on the shoulders of giants! 

KEY CHAPTER TAKEAWAY #6

The only way to transform—to embrace Martha Lynn and Mary Jo’s higher, more lovely parts—was to choose the call to adventure, go on the journey, and enter the battle.

KEY CHAPTER TAKEAWAY #7

We will make a crucial impact on the lives of those around us when we heal and stop the cycle of abuse from reaching the next generation.

1. Two Sisters

Which aspects of Martha’s character do you see in yourself? Think about times when you’ve been busy, worried, or felt the need to control situations. How does this affect your relationships and your sense of fulfillment?

Which aspects of Mary’s character resonate with you? Consider moments when you’ve prioritized learning, spiritual growth, or deep connections over external achievements. How do these experiences shape your sense of purpose and inner peace?

2. Life Changes

Reflect on your journey and the changes you’ve experienced. What significant challenges have changed you, and how do you feel God has guided you through them? What old habits or behaviors no longer serve you, and how can you establish healthier boundaries and deeper connections? 

3. Healing & Seeking

Consider how past religious experiences, both positive and painful, have shaped your current relationship with God. Do you see yourself more as the “wounded believer,” healing from trauma, or the “seeker,” striving for a deeper connection? Write about a specific moment that impacted your faith and how you are working to create a new, meaningful narrative for yourself. How can you use these experiences to find healing, deepen your spiritual connection, and inspire others on their path?

4. Embracing Courage

Consider the idea of being a “Christian Soldier” or “Soldadera” in your personal journey. Reflect on the challenges you’ve faced that required courage, perseverance, and a fighting spirit. How have these experiences shaped your spiritual path and your connection with God? Think about the support system and community that have helped you along the way. How has camaraderie and learning from others impacted your healing journey?

5. The Messy Middle

Reflect on the concept of the “messy middle” in your own journey of healing and transformation. Think about a time when you faced significant pain, trauma, or obstacles. How did you navigate through this period, and what did you learn about yourself?

6. Martha Lynn & Mary Jo

Consider the idea of transforming from a “Martha Lynn” to a “Mary Jo.” What changes in your beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors have helped you grow? Write about a specific experience where you felt a shift in your journey. How did embracing change help you move forward, and what aspects of yourself did you discover or strengthen in the process?

7. Action & Contemplation

Reflect on the balance between the “action taker” and the “contemplator” in your spiritual journey. Identify a moment when you took significant action to disrupt negative patterns in your life. How did this action initiate your healing process? Think about how contemplation and seeking a deeper connection with God have contributed to your transformation. How do you balance action and contemplation in your daily life?

8. Your Personal Journey

Read the section “Meet Martha Lynn” and “Meet Mary Jo.” Be creative and create a before and after of your own heroic journey. Be honest with yourself. It’s ok if you don’t see a completed healing journey right now. Imagine what you want it to look like if it hasn’t already transpired in your experience.

What's Next?

I have a 3-PART MINI-COURSE I just finished.

Debra Shafer

It’s for people who want to re-frame their connection to God and understand what it means to unravel their religious trauma, instill the truth, and create a new story for their lives.

It’s designed for those who are becoming aware of the challenges they may face in connecting to God and others, especially after a lifetime of adhering to traditional religious practices. These challenges could include feelings of spiritual emptiness, a sense of disconnect, or difficulty finding a community that aligns with their evolving beliefs.

And it’s for those who desire to be free to experience a deep connection with God and His inexpressible Lovingkindness.

If that’s you, this might be exactly what you’re looking for.

The focus will be on finding a simple, direct, and clear path ahead that pinpoints where you are now, where you want to go, and exactly how to get there. This well-trodden, successful path will not only guide you but also empower you to replace tradition with truth, allowing you to take control of your spiritual journey and live a life that is truly aligned with your authentic self!

No matter where you are on your journey, this may be the pivotal moment that clears the obstacles on your path and provides a roadmap for you to pursue.

Rest assured, the tools and resources I provide, such as a roadmap to recovery, reflective exercises, and a supportive community, are not just designed to guide you to your destination but also to provide a safety net, ensuring you arrive on time and intact. Just as God is always on time, so are you right now. That’s why you’re here. You’re likely ready to heal, shed the trauma patterns that no longer serve you, and find your way home.

Ready to start your journey? Click the button, share your name and email, and I’ll personally guide you through our three-day mini-course. This invaluable adventure in your quest for spiritual healing is absolutely FREE for you right now, a gift to kick-start your transformation!