part 5 - the tale of two believers

The Tale Of Two Belivers

Choosing The Good Part

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 a practical, efficient, and hospitable person.

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

Martha felt the need to control the situation, and other people’s actions, as well as judge their motives. She felt like no one supported her. She was accustomed to “doing the right thing” and “following the rules.” She wanted to please those she was serving, but felt like a victim of her circumstances.

On the other hand, Mary, chose “that good part.”

A Genuine Experience Healing From Religious Trauma

A Genuine Experience

She 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 real conviction, wanted a genuine experience, sought out authentic connections, and she 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.

Healing From Religious Trauma

Who's Right?

I’d like to recognize at this point, even though Martha’s attention to “busy-ness” was brought into the open by Jesus, and Mary was commended for her “devotion,” both of these women were pious and loved Christ; and He them.

The story of Martha and Mary isn’t a comparison of right or wrong. Of one person being better than the other. It’s more of a recognition of where they were in their life experience. We don’t know why they showed these patterns and traits, or how they arrived at this place in their lives.

Here are a few things I discovered.

See the picture below of my notes...

Martha and Mary

True Transformation

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

I realized how much my own journey had changed and transformed me. How at one time I’d been a Martha going about thinking I was doing the good and the right thing.

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

True Transformation

I thought about how God had led me through many trials and tribulations, and I reflected on how He landed me safely on the other side, where I am today. I recognized how this journey not only transformed my personal life, but also my mission and purpose. I came to a place where I began to understand what it would take to have a deep sense of true connection to God, overcome the trauma and survival patterns that no longer served me, and enjoy 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 give me the ability to recover and heal, and then share my story with others.

Two Archetypes

The Tale Of Two Believers

Using the pattern of “Martha and Mary”, I decided to illustrate a concept, which we’ll now call, “Martha Lynn and Mary Jo”. (Names changed to protect the innocent!)

I did this to demonstrate the “two archetypes” that make up the broad majority of believers that go on a journey seeking a real connection to God, and want to heal and recover from religious trauma.

This idea emphasizes and reveals the growth, maturation, and expansion necessary in the experience of a person “healing from religious trauma.”

Why? So you can better understand, not only my own journey, but that of other people that are seeking a true connection, and a deeper sense of knowing God, while recovering from false religion and false education.

I want to clearly illuminate the pilgrimage of those wanting to create a “New Story” in their lives, and go on this journey of freedom from indoctrinated false belief systems, and the trauma patterns that followed.

It’s a walk of inspiration, motivation, awareness, freedom, and hope of real transformation. This is an endeavor filled with unconditional love. It includes a venture to discover the true science of salvation, establish true principles to live by, and understand the methods and techniques that Jesus used with individuals.

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

BUT… It’s also a path that’s challenged with various “flavors” of Christianity, too. The type of world that’s always introducing the “greatest and latest” new theories, teachings, beliefs, programs, literature to hand out, and actions to perform, that promises to “still” all your fears, prepare you for the impending crisis, and make you worthy to meet Jesus when He comes.

Therefore, it’s imperative to have a personal, direct connection to the SOURCE of all knowledge, wisdom, and light. Where you know the TRUTH for yourself and live by TRUE PRINCIPLES everyday. Where you have peace and trust in God’s Providential Leading in your life, and can rest in the present moment, knowing your individual purpose in this world.

In this world, you feel seen by God, and you’re able to see others through His eyes. It’s a place where your God-given talents, gifts, and skills are put to use creating a meaningful life that changes the terrain around you. And yes, a world where your established trauma patterns, when healed, become your greatest gifts.

The Christian's Journey

(SMALL SIDE TRACK HERE) I believe it takes a “Christian Soldier’s Journey” or in my case, “Christian Soldadera’s Journey” to come to the place where you are doing what you’re truly meant to do and are truly serving those you’re meant 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 to be right. They became active participants in securing their own lands, houses, and families.

These women went to war and fought right along side of their men. They cooked and cared for the camps, administered medical treatment, rode horses, carried weapons, and lead entire units into battle. Some with children under their skirts.

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

We as “Christian Soldiers and Soldaderas” 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 like-minded community, comradery, and a banding together. Many of us can get pretty far all by ourselves, but we can get much further, much faster, together.

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.

Andrew Carnegie

How exciting! In addition, looking at the bigger picture, experience proves we have much to gain as we learn from those that 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). 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 own journey. From then insecure victim of false religious beliefs to an inspired deeply connected overcomer.

→ But those are the endpoints ←

It’s the stuff, and the pain, and the trauma, and the never ending obstacles that happened in “the messy middle,” that’s important.

I’ve heard it said:

“Adults learn through massive trauma.”

David Buss (professor of psychology)

I agree. I’ve also come to realize life is a preparatory school that sometimes requires severe training.

“All who in this world render true service to God or man receive a 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”. No question about it.

My vision wasflawed.

My approachimmature.

Along the way, I learned that Martha Lynn wasn’t capable of ascending to the summit of the mountain. Whatever having a true Christian experience represented to Martha Lynn, it always eluded her.

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 remain behaving as the Martha Lynn “archetype” (a choice that would require that I stay fighting the “monsters” in perpetual crisis until I became sick, discouraged and gave up altogether)…

OR…

I could transform into a very different “archetype”; represented as Mary Jo in the “Christian Soldaderas Journey”.

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 make the transformation – to embrace the higher, more lovely parts, of both Martha Lynn and Mary Jo – 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 Lynn’s 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 that 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 a root in various kinds of physical, emotional, and even sexual abuses, including co-dependency, narcissistic abuse, and victim mentality.

Because the real truth is, any kind of 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 come out victorious, our lives will be transformed forever.

At the same time, we will make a huge 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 a polished gemstone that understands how to cooperate with God.

We find the freedom to use our natural gifts and talents for good.

We see our lives clearly.

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 clear 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 remain in the battle forever.

The Journey To Freedom

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

The starting point → INSECURE VICTIM OF FALSE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS → a life influenced by the control of others which created a need to control others herself and be in charge of her own circumstances and outcomes, directed by an externally oriented, disconnected, and intuitively lacking Martha Lynn.

NOTE: Martha Lynn loved and trusted in man more than 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 truly 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 the insecurities and fears of Martha Lynn behind.

And I learned something.

“Action and contemplation are very close companions; they live together in one house on equal terms. Martha and Mary are sisters.“

Quote from Bernard of Clairvaus (1090 – 1153)

Meet Martha Lynn

Entering The Beginning Of Her Journey

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

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

She wasn’t coming from a place of direct inspiration. Even while she was busy serving others and taking care of 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 wasn’t aware of people’s true needs, or even of her own real needs. She often found herself out-of-touch with her own intuition (that still small voice) and therefore didn’t always make the best decisions.

Her understanding of Godly Principles, The Plan of Salvation, and The Methods God Uses, were seen through a filtered screen of her past traumas and incomplete database. Her relationships lacked true connection and authenticity. She was an expert on outward conformity, but lacked the inward transformation she longed for, so her efforts towards her mission and purpose were not very 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. She now feels truly free.

Mary Jo has allowed God to heal her and transform her life. She understands God’s Unconditional Love for her personally and is satisfied. This gives her a deep sense of connection to God and a child-like curiosity to know more about Him.

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

Mary Jo no longer feels a need 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 meeting with success in forming genuine connections. She naturally sees the needs in others because her own needs are met.

She understands her own 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 actually 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 went back and looked at my own experience over my lifetime I learned something, and I knew something.

I learned a little perseverance, hope, and faith goes a long way, and makes it possible to truly create a “New Story” with a happy ending.

And I intuitively knew one day I would come back to the starting point, the beginning of the path, the place where the first ever inspiration came to me that changed my life forever. From there I’d reach out to others that were just starting their own journey. Those just stepping onto the path.

I’d be present, available to offer assistance, cheer them on, stand by their side, and help direct their steps. I’d try my best to provide the necessary things that would make a difference in someone else’s progress, ensure their forward advancement, and help them arrive safely on the other side, with as little mishap as possible.

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

Here they would join together with others on the path making it possible to find their own courage, strength, and undying perseverance.

I wanted to offer something to the small segment of those “healing from religious trauma” that wanted an easier, clearer, and more direct route to their true heart’s desire. And just in case they stumbled along the way, I wanted to be there to provide encouragement, and let them know someone cared about the outcome and 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 fellowship of those that understand?

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 looks like to unravel their own religious trauma, instill the real truth, and create a new story for their lives.

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And for those who desire to be free to experience a deep connection with God and His inexpressible Loving-Kindness.

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

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No matter where you are on your journey, this may be the beginning of removing some of the obstacles that may be in the way, and give you a roadmap to pursue in the future.

I promise that the things I’m creating for you right now will help you get to your final destination on time and intact. God is never late. And neither are YOU!

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