Saturday, February 29, 2020

One in a Million


When you start a journey that consists of doctor appointments and testing, you can grow weary of learning what you don't have. To make an accurate diagnosis, doctors have to rule out the most likely suspects first. Then, they start thinking outside of the "normal" realms and start looking at the rare. There are approximately 7,000 rare diseases affecting 300 million people worldwide. I am one of those 300 million. One in 30 million people in the United States has a diagnosis of a rare disease. I am one of the 30 million. I have six rare diseases. 

What makes a disease rare? For a disease to be declared rare, fewer than 200,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with that particular disease. Sadly, more than 90 percent of rare diseases are without an FDA approved treatment. Most treatments provided are administered to help the patient handle the side effects of the disease. For example, I take muscle relaxants to help ease the muscle spasticity and rigidity I experience from Stiff Person Syndrome, which affects one in one million people. I am one of those one million. Because it is so rare, doctors are still working to identify the best treatment methods while others haven't even heard of it much less treated a patient with this disorder.


Most people look at me and tell me that I look great. While I physically feel anything but great, I have a peace that exudes from me. God is my strength when I literally have no reserve energy to lift my foot up one more step or get up from the floor after a fall. He is my anchor in this storm.

I climb into bed every night, put on my silk cap and place my headgear on for my CPAP to help prevent me from having episodes when I don't breathe while sleeping. I have to sleep in a hospital bed to help prevent muscle spasms. The legs and head must both be raised. In the morning, I have great difficulty getting out of bed due to stiffness. My muscles don't want to move. I get out of bed and meet my mom in the living room where she usually has a cup of coffee waiting for me. I am wobbling more while using my cane and we have agreed that I need to use my rolling walker daily as it is safest because I have another rare disease called Dermatomyositis which causes muscle weakness and wasting. I have visible divets on my legs where the muscles have withered but you cannot see them hidden beneath my pant legs. We know that it is not a matter of if but when I will end up in a motorized wheelchair.

I also have to watch what I eat. I eat smaller meals throughout the day and cannot eat healthy food like whole grains, fresh fruit, and fresh vegetables because my system cannot digest food easily. I have another rare disease called Gastroparesis, which literally means my stomach muscles are paralyzed. I also try to eat softer food and avoid things that have been known to make me choke. Because of these diseases, I have difficulty swallowing at times. My speech also gets slurred when I am worn out. My chest muscles will also spasm making it difficult to breathe. Thankfully, an asthma inhaler helps to ease the spasms.

I have to take medication to prevent my intracranial pressure from increasing. This is due to my rare disease known as Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension.  A lumbar puncture or spinal tap confirms that the medication is working. Praise God! I also have to be aware of my body to ensure I don't have an adrenal crisis. Finally, I am hypervigilant about handwashing, hand sanitizer, and avoiding crowds when the flu is at its worst. I have the rare disease Common Variable Immune Deficiency. Any virus and infection place me at a greater risk because my body doesn't have the ability to fight them.



Most days, God's joy exudes from within me. You need to know that I recently had tears streaming down my face as I admitted what my mom had already witnessed for herself: my health is getting worse and I am physically struggling more. Walking is becoming much more difficult. I am stiff, like a tin man needing oil after the rain. I am weaker and unable to stand for even shorter periods of time. I hurt as muscles stiffen and spasm sometimes causing damage in their wake as they leave bruises from broken vessels, sprained, strained, and torn muscles. After talking to my mom, I was listening to music when "Scars" by I Am They began streaming. As I sang it through my tears with each verse getting stronger with conviction, I hear my son say, "Now, that's my Momma!" I may be one in a million but these rare diseases don't define me. My identity firmly rests in being the daughter of my Papa God. He blesses me, has chosen me, He loves me, He redeems me, He forgives me, He has a purpose for me (Ephesians 1). Can He heal me? Yes. Like Paul, perhaps I am to endure these diseases as He uses my brokenness to bring Him glory. I'm honestly fine with that because I know He is fighting my battles for me (Exodus 14:14). He is my rock, my fortress, my refuge and my shield (Psalm 18:2). God is my deliverer (Psalm 144:2).

I will keep persevering with God as my leader. I will keep fulfilling His purpose for me. I will continue to let His peace envelop me and exude His joy. I will continue to count my diseases as a blessing for they bring Him glory. Don't give up, dear ones. No matter how bleak the day may seem, there is ALWAYS hope!

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Wonderfully Made

On a recent episode of NBC's New Amsterdam, they tackled the very real and heart wrenching topic of body shaming with grace and dignity. In Season 2 Episode 12: 14 Years, 2 Months, 8 Days, a patient has to be seen for an infection. She has recurring infections to both arms because she has been using stockings in an attempt to hide the sagging skin that resulted from her weight loss. She bares her heart and states that people stare more at her now then when she was fat.

As I watched the episode with my family, tears streamed down my face. My heart ached for this beautiful woman who was hurting. Like her, I have excess skin on my upper arms due to weight loss. I have been body shamed by strangers and loved ones alike. The difference is that I know I am God's beloved child. 

Psalm 139:13-14 tells me and you, "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." God created each one of us with love and care. He made us for a plan and a purpose (Jeremiah 29:11 paraphrased). You and I are His unique creations. We are His Beloved children. To Him, we are precious and priceless. 

It can be difficult to believe these truths when the world around us tells us we aren't good enough. When we see beautiful, young women on TV and social media who appear flawless. Don't allow satan to use these lies to ensnare you. You are worth something. Everyone is. Each of us has a story to share that will help others and bring God glory. Furthermore, no one is flawless. Romans 3:22 states, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." 

As believers, we are called to "encourage one another and build each other up." (1 Thessalonians 5:11) I encourage each one of us, myself included, to encourage one another. Truly be there for others. Utilize the art of listening. Tell someone what you admire most about them. Small acts of kindness can make a huge impact.

Let's pray: 
Papa God, we ask that You heal the wounds in each one of us. As You mend us, please allow Your light to shine through our brokenness and bring You glory. Help us to be mindful of our words and deeds. Help us to build up one another and be encouragers. For those who feel unloved, unwanted, unworthy, or not good enough, I ask that You please hold them close to You. Help them to see themselves as You do: worthy, loved, cherished, longed for, and more than enough. In Jesus' name, Amen! 

Monday, December 9, 2019

Book Review: A Cross to Kill

*In accordance with the FTC guidelines, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion.

From the moment you turn the cover, the action in A Cross to Kill starts and doesn't stop until you close the back cover. This riveting story draws you into the life of former CIA Agent John Cross. After God finds John and leads him to his own Damascus Road conversion, John simply wants to lead his small flock in a rural church. Unfortunately, his past has caught up to him. Now, he and reporter Christine Lewis, whom he rescued in Jordan, must work together to stop a terrorist attack. As they work together, sparks ignite between them. Will they be able to save the day? Will they have a chance to find love? To find out, you need to buy your own copy of A Cross to Kill: A Shepherd Suspense Novel Book One. Andrew Huff has masterfully crafted a suspense novel with just a hint of romance. He will have you cheering on the main characters and loving the quirky supporting characters as well. You won't be disappointed!


To read an excerpt from A Cross to Kill, go to Kregel Publications.


Before becoming an author, Andrew Huff spent ten years in local ministry. In addition to writing, Andrew is the Product Director at Igniter Media. He resides in Plano, Texas with his wife and two sons. To learn more about the author and his book, visit his website.

Want to know where you can get a copy of this book? Check out the sellers listed below and grab your copy today!

ChristianBook
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Mardel
Books-A-Million

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

The Bathsheba Battle: FInding Hope When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn


Part 2 of an Interview with Natalie Chambers Snapp,
Author of The Bathsheba Battle

Who hasn’t had their lives turned upside down when things haven’t gone as planned? We understand there are consequences to our decisions, but how do we deal with the aftereffects of the choices of others? There are other times when things happen beyond anyone’s control. Circumstances can leave us feeling hurt and stuck, but God promises healing and hope for all.

The story of Bathsheba may seem like an unlikely source of inspiration, but Natalie Chambers Snapp explains, “Bathsheba is often portrayed as the adulteress—as though she was a vixen with the intent to tempt David and hopefully, take her on as his wife. However, the fact remains that she was a victim of David’s own desires and paid a very dear price for his sin.”

In this interview, she share’s more about her new book, The Bathsheba Battle (available from Abingdon Press).

Q: Who did you write The Bathsheba Battle for? How did you intend the book to be used?

The Bathsheba Battle is written for anyone who has ever asked the question, “Why me, Lord? Why do I have to suffer through this?” It’s written for anyone whose life has not turned out the way they had planned. And it’s written for those who want to learn how to embrace suffering and humble themselves to the trying, but beautiful, reconstruction of it all. I intended this book to be used as a great encouragement – Bathsheba is an inspiration! Towards the end of David’s life, we see a woman who has grown in confidence, grace, and wisdom. Her deconstruction led to a very inspiring reconstruction but her complete story is often unknown!

Q: You dedicate a chapter to trauma. Why is it so important to understand what trauma is and its effects on us?

Trauma is often misunderstood. More of us experience what would be considered trauma than we actually realize. Trauma is anything that causes us to separate our lives into a “before and after.” For example, my life changed trajectory after my divorce and the death of my father. There was a “before Natalie” and an “after Natalie.” It is extremely important to get professional help after experiencing trauma as it will impact our physical, spiritual, and mental health if we don’t. I am a firm believer in seeking counseling, and in fact, I’m in the process of becoming a licensed counselor myself!

Q: What is unique to shame as an emotion? What does shame do to us, and how can we work to overcome it?

Shame is very, very sneaky! Oftentimes, we confuse guilt with shame, but there are times when guilt can be a positive thing. Guilt tells us we did something wrong and need to make it right while shame tells us we are a terrible person and aren’t worthy of anyone’s love or respect. Shame takes healthy guilt and allows it to penetrate the walls of our souls until they crumble into a heaping mess. Just because I make a mistake doesn’t mean I’m a terrible, awful person. However, shame will try to make us believe that lie.

The first step in overcoming shame is identifying it. The second step is refusing to be a prisoner of shame by having grace with yourself. So often, I find I can easily extend grace to other people, but I have a harder time doing so for myself. This is because we hear the voices of shame telling us we shouldn’t! There is nothing Biblical about living under these chains.

Q: What is righteous anger? Even when it is righteous, why do we need to let go of our anger as quickly as possible?

Righteous anger is anger directed at sin. For example, when Jesus turned the tables in Matthew 21, he was angry at their obvious sin. However, we also see Jesus let that anger go. If we hold on to righteous sin, we will become angry, legalistic, and so black-and-white that we turn others away from our faith.

Q: How do comparison and fear both rob our lives? How can we protect ourselves from letting that happen?

Comparison is rooted in fear. We often find ourselves comparing when we fear we are not enough. Understanding that we all carry a different load and God has entrusted you to be who you are and carry your specific load helps tremendously in the comparison trap.

Q: In what ways are grief and fear similar? What are some situations other than death that we grieve?

I actually am not sure I would say grief and fear are very similar. Grief is a natural and healthy price we pay for being willing to love. Perhaps, if we allow our grief to overtake our lives for too long, then it could be rooted in fear. However, for the most part, grief is a natural response to love. We can grieve the loss of a relationship we wished we had but don’t. We can grieve a life we thought we might live but don’t. And we can grieve the death of our dreams when it becomes apparent they won’t occur. The trick is to work through that grief and seek help so we don’t stay there and allow it to become fear.

Q: Self-care is so important, but why do we feel so guilty for taking care of ourselves?

It really is important, but we absolutely need to change this mindset of guilt! I think women often feel guilty about prioritizing self-care because we are natural caregivers. We often prioritize the needs of others at the expense of our own, or maybe that’s just me? I suspect it’s not, but it’s a hard habit to break.

Thankfully, I’ve seen a shift in the culture of women now cheering each other on to prioritize self-care more, whether it be through time with friends, going on a long walk, getting a massage, or simply just taking a nap. I’m trying to incorporate one act of self-care into each day, and let me tell you, it definitely makes me a better wife, mother, and person in general!

Q: What is the single most important thing you hope readers will learn from their study of The Bathsheba Battle?

I wrote The Bathsheba Battle because so many women approached me after speaking engagements to confide that they relate so much to Bathsheba. Yet, there is little out there on this remarkable woman of Scripture! My prayer is that those who are suffering will find hope in Bathsheba’s inspiring and remarkable story and choose to live as a survivor rather than a victim. I want others to see that they can emerge victorious and will if they place their hope and trust in God—who is closer to them during our periods of suffering than we can even imagine. Most of all, I simply want others to find hope, because hope is always present if we choose to see it.
Natalie Chambers Snapp is an author, blogger, and speaker known for her refreshing authenticity and practical approach to life and God’s Word. Not choosing to follow Jesus until the age of twenty-seven, she is passionate about sharing the grace, mercy, and truth of God’s love with others “regardless of your track record.” Her transparency and humor endear her to women of all ages.

Snapp is the author of the book Heart Sisters: Be the Friend You Want to HaveBecoming Heart Sisters: A Bible Study on Authentic Friendships and The Bathsheba Battle: Finding Hope When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn. She has written for various blogs and online devotionals, including Proverbs 31.

Snapp lives in the West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband and their three children.

Learn more at nataliesnapp.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@AuthorNatalieSnapp)Twitter (@nataliesnapp) and Instagram (@nataliesnapp).

Thursday, September 26, 2019

FInding Blessing in God's Delay Questions and Answers with Author Barb Roose

Part 1 of an Interview with Barb Roose,
Author of I’m Waiting, God

Need information quick? Just grab your phone and do a search. Didn’t plan ahead for dinner? Toss something in the Instapot. Forget about patience, we live a world where Prime shipping seems to take too long. Waiting on the little things is an inconvenience, so what happens when we have to wait on the big things? When the bills are stacking up because a new job hasn’t come along, a family situation is causing great heartache, or a loved one faces an illness, we pray for answers. We know God hears our prayers, but it’s hard when the clock is ticking yet He hasn’t shown us the answer. Sometimes he wants us to wait. In her new Bible study I’m Waiting, God: Finding Blessing in God’s Delays (Abingdon Press)Barb Roose helps readers build patience until God’s plan comes to fruition.

Q: What is it about waiting that often reverts us back to toddler-like tantrums?

All my kids went through that crazy toddler phase when they would fall out on the floor screaming when I didn’t let them have something they wanted. What always amazed me was that those little girls were so focused on the one thing they couldn’t have that they forget everything they already had to enjoy.

Over the years, I’ve kicked up my own fuss when God hasn’t given me what I’ve wanted. There were times when I crossed my arms and pouted about not getting that bigger house, the job that would solve some financial issues, or why God hadn’t fixed the addiction issue that was breaking our hearts. I might not have thrown myself on the floor, but there were times when I didn’t want to pray or I’d withhold my worship because I felt like God being unfair.

However, during some of my long seasons of unanswered prayers, I’ve learned how to halt my tantrum long enough to look around and see what God has already blessed me with. As I’ve learned to embrace a life of gratitude, God’s gifted me a multitude of better blessings that have far exceeded anything that I could have ever asked for.

Q: An author writes about what she knows or needs to hear. Can you share an example of when you were waiting out God’s timing for what felt like forever?

For several years, I prayed for a full-time job to open up at the church where I worked part-time. I looked forward to paying the monthly bills without worrying if there’d be enough money to pay them.

Finally, I was offered a full-time job. However, the Great Recession devastated our automotive industry community. The loss of jobs led to reduced weekly giving at our church. In addition to some staff layoffs, my full-time position was postponed indefinitely. Disappointed, I was really angry with God. I was so tired of figuring out how to make ends meet month after month. After my big feelings calmed down, I kept trusting God to make ends meet and stayed faithful on my job.

Almost a year later, a different full-time job for me – a promotion and substantial pay raise. It was a better job than the one I’d gotten angry about losing the year before! While there were many years of sacrificing for what God calling us to do, he took care of my family during those difficult days until times got better.

Q: We often blame our impatience on the fact we live in a world of technology where everything is at our fingertips, but as humans, haven’t we always had that problem?

We live in an “Insta-Everything” world that makes it possible for us to get what we want by the press of a button. Hungry? Order delivery from Postmates. Run out of toilet paper? Amazon can be a hero and deliver the next day.

Even though technology highlights how much we love speed, human nature has always been to get what we want, no matter the cost. The tension is that when we try to fix or force solutions, not only do we miss out on God’s best, but we often wreck our human relationships.

In Genesis, Abraham and Sarah live with an unanswered prayer for a child. Even though she knows what God has promised, Sarah tires of waiting and cooks up a scheme. Impatience does result in a baby—and broken relationships and a lot of bitter feelings, too.

I’ve been like Sarah and got impatient with God. However, I bear the Jesus-healed scars of my foolishness. I’ve learned this: When I we try to push my way out of a waiting room, I will cause pain and problems in other people’s lives.

Q: What spiritual issues are usually being tested in us while we are in sitting in the waiting room of life?

Waiting room seasons of life challenge what we believe about God and how much fear and control are operating in our lives. Those long, frustrating days may prompt questions such as “Does God still love me?”, “Did I do something wrong?”, “Why is God answering their prayers, but not mine?” or “How long do I have to live like this, God?”

For more than a decade, our family felt the effects of a growing addiction issue. At first, I prayed, but my prayers were all about asking God to deal with the addiction because I wanted my happy, mostly pain-free and problem-free life back.

As the years went on, the effects of addiction began suffocating our daily lives. I stopped caring about getting my happy life back, I needed God’s power, presence and His peace to just help me get through the day, sometimes, even just the hour in front of me. Those last few years allowed me to discover there was nothing I needed more than God, even as I watched the once-lovely life I had fall apart and disappear. Yet, in God I found all that I needed.

Q: You write, “This journey looks more like a winding path instead of a formulaic three-step plan. Here’s the unique twist: your path to patience is paved right over the road of your unanswered prayers.” Can you talk about why there isn’t a formula?

There’s no formula for learning how to be patient, mainly because the human heart doesn’t respond to formulas. While there are formulas or strategies to bake cakes, build cars and even space travel, there is no formula that governs how a heart starts to love, begins to hate, moves toward God, or learns patience.

God knows our hearts need to experience certain situations, challenges and even heartache for us to learn how to trust his timeline for our lives. This means God is patient with us because part of our journey is learning we can’t fix people or force solutions in order to get what we want.

Unlike a plan, a winding path of learning to live on God’s timeline is more than just finding the fastest route from point A to point B. The winding path toward patience is a journey full of life-changing experiences, connections and relationships that we encounter along the way that God uses to help our hearts look more like His.

Q: Sometimes God’s plans for us are so much better than anything we could have ever expected. What are some important things to remember moving forward after a blessing in disguise or a prayer answered in an unexpected way?

It’s really easy to forget God when life is good! This is why gratitude is so important because the more we give thanks to God, the more we continue to share his glory through our story. Often, after we finally get that thing that we’ve been praying for forever, we forget all of the lessons God taught us while we were waiting. Gratitude keeps us connected to those lessons and allows God’s better blessings to keep flowing through our lives.

Q: What final piece of encouragement would you give to those who may be in an intense period of waiting right now?

This is the encouragement that I share whenever I speak before an audience: Today, you are doing the best that you can! Keep holding on! God has more for you because God has put more in you!

Visit Barb Roose's online home at barbroose.com. Readers can also keep up with her on Facebook (BarbaraRoose), Twitter (barbroose), and Instagram (barbroose).
Barb Roose is a popular speaker and author who is passionate about connecting women to one another and to God helping them apply the truths of God’s Word to the practical realities and challenges they face as women in today’s culture.

Roose enjoys teaching and encouraging women at conferences and events across the country, as well as internationally, including national platforms such as the Aspire Women’s Events, She Speaks Conference, and the UMC Leadership Institute.

She is the author of the I’m Waiting, God: Finding Blessing in God’s Delays, Joshua: Winning the Worry Battle and Beautiful Already: Reclaiming God’s Perspective on Beauty Bible studies and the books Winning the Worry Battle: Life Lessons from the Book of Joshua and Enough Already: Winning Your Ugly Struggle with Beauty. Her writing has been featured in many magazines, and she also writes a regular blog at BarbRoose.com. She is the host of the bi-monthly “Better Together” podcast.

Roose lives in Toledo, Ohio, and is the proud mom of three adult daughters. Her perfect day includes sleeping in, taking a long walk outside, shopping for shoes and eating two big bowls of chocolate peanut ice cream.

Visit Barb Roose’s online home at barbroose.com. Readers can also keep up with her on Facebook (BarbaraRoose), Twitter (barbroose), and Instagram (barbroose).

The Bathsheba Battle - Questions and Answers with the Author


Part 1 of an Interview with Natalie Chambers Snapp,
Author of The Bathsheba Battle

Has your life ever taken an unexpected turn, leaving you feeling hurt and stuck?  In The Bathsheba Battle (Abingdon Press), Natalie Chambers Snapp helps women find healing and hope when things haven’t gone as they had planned. Bathsheba, typically misrepresented as an adulteress, is one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. Despite an unexpected turn in her life, which resulted in tragic circumstances beyond her control, there are glimmers of hope in her story. By studying her life, readers will find healing from their own painful pasts and hope for living the free and full lives God intends.

Q: You describe Bathsheba as one of the most misunderstood women in the Bible. How is she typically misrepresented?

Bathsheba is often portrayed as the adulteress—as though she was a vixen with the intent to tempt David and hopefully, take her on as his wife. However, the fact remains that she was a victim of David’s own desires and paid a very dear price for his sin. Sadly, victims can sometimes be blamed and in the case of Bathsheba, that’s exactly what happened.

Q: What were some of the tragic circumstances that Bathsheba found herself in that were out of her control? How can we relate to her story today?

First of all, some commentaries claim Bathsheba was trying to entice David by bathing in the courtyard of her home. However, during the time in which Bathsheba lived, indoor plumbing didn’t exist! Therefore, most families had a basin in the courtyard for bathing purposes. When David saw her bathing, she was obeying the cleansing ritual required of women after monthly menstruation. She was not trying to entice David—she was simply following the rules of her culture! How would she even know David was going to be walking on his rooftop at the precise moment she was bathing?

When David saw Bathsheba, he was immediately impressed with her beauty and summoned her to his palace. During those days, when the king summoned you to the palace, you did not have a choice, you went. So off Bathsheba goes to meet David and once there, they have sex. We have no way of definitively knowing if David assaulted her, but she did go to his palace against her will. For that reason, we can speculate that was a likely possibility. Bathsheba became pregnant which is when things start to go off the rails!

David tries to hide his sin by summoning Bathsheba’s husband, Uriah, one of his most valuable warriors, home from the war (which is where David was supposed to be as well). Once Uriah reaches the palace, David proceeds to feed him a large meal and encourages him to drink a lot of wine so he will go home and have sex with Bathsheba. Problem solved! He can then pass his child off as Uriah’s, and no one needs to know about his sin. However, David failed to consider the fact that Uriah was a man of honor and refused to visit his wife when his men were still waging a war. Instead, he slept on the front porch of the palace with the servants. David tried a second night to get Uriah to visit his wife, but Uriah refused.

At this point in the story, we can see how sin will take you further than you ever wanted to go. Instead of confessing and coming clean to everyone, David orders Uriah to the frontlines of the battle, and of course, he is killed. Now, Bathsheba was possibly raped by the king, pregnant, and her husband is dead. All these things were out of her control.

After Uriah’s death, David takes Bathsheba as his wife. However, the restitution of David’s sin is the life of the child Bathsheba was carrying. Soon after the birth of David and Bathsheba’s son, the infant died. We see Bathsheba as a grieving mother, another event out of her control.

I think so many people can relate to Bathsheba’s story because 1) suffering happens to all of us and 2) sometimes, our suffering is the result of someone else’s actions and choices. In no way should we remain victims, but I think Bathsheba’s story is God’s way of telling us that He sees us, understands our pain, and is the Ultimate Justifier.

Q:  Can you share about a hardship or disappointment in your own life that provided the inspiration to write The Bathsheba Battle?

Absolutely! When I was in my late twenties, I was married to a man with a drug problem, but I did not know it. As many who have loved addicts understand, there are often behaviors corresponding with addiction that are not healthy for a young marriage and therefore, we divorced. Two months after I filed for divorce, my father, who was in and out of my life due to his own addiction issues, passed away unexpectedly.

Life had definitely taken a very unexpected turn and was not at all going the way I had planned. It was a dark season, and yet also the very season in which I became a follower of Jesus. My deconstruction led to my reconstruction. I have been remarried for fifteen years and have three beautiful children; however, periods of suffering have also been peppered throughout those years as well. Suffering is often cyclical and that has been true of my life!

Q: Explain how transformation happens during renovation. Where does renovation take place?

It sounds so trite, and I’m not going to lie, there were times during my own periods of suffering when I just wanted to scream when people said this to me. But the fact remains, when we are deconstructed by trauma and circumstances in or beyond our control, if we humble ourselves to the process, we will indeed emerge with greater wisdom and grace. Suffering is the great equalizer—it does not discriminate between gender, race, beliefs, or socio-economic status. No one is immune. However, if we humble ourselves to the process, we will emerge with new eyes of strength and dignity.

Q: Do we always have the ability to choose how we respond to our situation? Why is this such a significant choice, especially when we must endure a consequence of someone else’s sin?

Yes, I believe we do. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can always control how we will respond. Living life as a victim will ultimately make you feel powerless, depressed, and distrustful of people. It will lead to a life of bitterness, resentment, and anger. On the other hand, when we respond to our trauma with a humble heart and a willingness to be molded by our suffering, we feel empowered, strong, and able to help others when their time of suffering emerges. When we choose to live as victims, we give others power over our lives. When we choose to live as survivors, we understand that we possess the power ourselves.

Q: How does your study on Bathsheba shift from part one of the book to part two?

In Part One, we discuss the byproducts of our suffering: fear, shame, anger, and comparison. In Part Two, we look at how to overcome these negative emotions and live empowered and with hope.

Q: What does Bathsheba’s story teach us about forgiveness?

We don’t really know about Bathsheba’s forgiveness process because it’s not discussed in the Bible. However, we do see her stand before David in 1 Kings 1 with an empowered and confident voice that exhibits love and respect towards her husband. Perhaps somewhere during the course of their marriage, Bathsheba made peace with her circumstances—she chose her response and not to live as a victim.

Not living as a victim involves forgiveness and yet, this does not mean she might not have felt like a victim for a while. It doesn’t mean that she didn’t feel shameful. And it doesn’t mean that she didn’t grieve the loss of the life she thought she might have. It does, however, indicate that she chose to keep moving forward without allowing her grief and shame to negatively impact who she ultimately became. A woman who is victorious over suffering is the most beautiful and inspiring to us all. 
Natalie Chambers Snapp is an author, blogger, and speaker known for her refreshing authenticity and practical approach to life and God’s Word. Not choosing to follow Jesus until the age of twenty-seven, she is passionate about sharing the grace, mercy, and truth of God’s love with others “regardless of your track record.” Her transparency and humor endear her to women of all ages.

Snapp is the author of the book Heart Sisters: Be the Friend You Want to HaveBecoming Heart Sisters: A Bible Study on Authentic Friendships and The Bathsheba Battle: Finding Hope When Life Takes an Unexpected Turn. She has written for various blogs and online devotionals, including Proverbs 31.

Snapp lives in the West Lafayette, Indiana with her husband and their three children.

Learn more at nataliesnapp.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@AuthorNatalieSnapp)Twitter (@nataliesnapp) and Instagram (@nataliesnapp).