Dear Moms With Toddlers…

By:Christine Varichak

I remember it like it was yesterday…I’m a first time new mom of a One-Year old boy who just learned to walk…And by that I mean Run! Everywhere, in every place, in every direction. I was at my in-laws and my son (Nicholas) and I were jumping on the in-ground trampoline when Nicholas decided he was done with that activity.  He weeble-wobbled his way toward the street when I mad-dashed after him.  I caught him and took a deep breath! That was a close one, I thought. My father in law walked over and suggested I spank Nicholas to teach him he simply cannot go in the street. How archaic, I thought. I’m a new-age, drug free home-birth, yoga class,  homeschooling, organic-eating, vaccine-free Mama.  Don’t tell me what to do!  Of course my real dialogue sounded a bit different…I think I just smiled and walked away.  Fast forward a couple of months and I began second guessing my FIL’s parental advise. When Nicholas and I were napping together (total granola) he must have woken up before me and taken it upon himself to jump out of bed and explore.  This time he made his way all the way outside into our neighbor’s yard…And was watching him mow his lawn…I was MORTIFIED.  How could I sleep through him opening the front door and walking out of it?  I realized my son (like every other person who ever lived) needs structure and boundaries. And like adulthood, there are good choices and bad choices.  Good choices lead to rewards, bad choices lead to consequences. I took Nicholas to the end of our driveway and showed him the line between the driveway and street.  I said, “If you cross this street you will need to hold my hand.  If you disobey, you will revieve a spank.”  Nicholas experimenting and desiring to test me (they all do) walked over the line. He smiled at me.  I spanked his bottom and held his hand as I explained again and again until he grasped what the sure consequence would be;  praising him when during our practice session he reached up his chubby hand to cross. The next morning I pulled our outside toys out and watched him to see what he would do. He ran full-throttle toward the street, his little legs pumping as they went. Then, as his eyes came upon that line he halted. He stared at that line for what must’ve been a minute or two. He looked back at me and held his hand up, refusing to cross without me.  Tears welled up as I realized I taught Nicholas, and more importantly myself a hard-learned lesson that was invaluable. Something no school, graduate degree, toy, or amount of money could teach us.  Life has boundaries, and we must know what they are so that we can succeed.  Whether you’re a Bible-believer or nothing at all, spanking sends children a clear message that life can be dangerous.   That line can be life and death, and instilling consequences shows you love your kids enough to see them succeed!


WHY Women Stay In Abusive Marriages

1) Nowhere to turn.  In most, if not all cases of emotional and physical abuse (including rape), women report they had no support system to get out of the relationship, and stay out. 
2) They feel trapped financially.  As was my case, the home my husband and I shared was (according to Illinois laws) “premarital property”…I was married and shared a home with my husband and two children for seven years, and had NO rights to my own home…literally leaving me and my kids to the street the day I chose to leave with whatever was left in our joint checking account (assuming he didn’t withdraw every last dime online the second I left).  With no job, prospects, or college education, most moms have the overwhelming responsibility to care for the kids. And sharing a home with her abuser is never an option, as the abuse will certainly get worse should she draw the line. 

3) Guilt & shame.  When women are in any type of abusive relationship, there’s NEVER just bruises. Don’t believe that lie. Behind the disguise of makeup and a fake smile, are wounds of emotional guilt and shame. When men beat their wives they never just walk up to them and punch them in the face. They pick and choose women with low self-esteem, body insecurities, and the ideal is a woman with no standard for what she will put up with in a relationship, let alone expectations from her man.  The added guilt of sex as the abuse has ensued adds to the stew of guilt.  So knowing she has already stayed too long…given her body and soul to this “man” for years or even decades, the guilt has repeatedly drilled her with the age old accusation: “If it was really so bad, you should’ve left already.”  Now this woman is being accused by her own mind, not just her partner.  

4) Her trust is already seared.   I remember not even trusting a single person with my secret because my family knew, his family knew, and they didn’t help. At all.  So how was I supposed to trust anyone else?  I even called the police one time that my husband trapped me and my son in the house, and they said if he didn’t hit me, they couldn’t arrest him.  Press charges, nada. “Just leave” the one officer suggested.  I felt faint. Where would I go?  How would we survive?  Which leads to my next reason:

5) Isolation.  The same reason most suisides occur, is that humans; when we feel we’ve exhausted every option, isolate.   We stop talking (no one will listen), we stop seeking solutions (there seems no end in sight), and we decide we are the only person who won’t reject us. Which is also a lie, because that shame and guilt from staying in the abusive relationship festers, and as the abuse continues.  We are alone with the abuser, who only confirms our guilt and shame, that we are not worthy.  

Part 2 Will examine what happens “when a woman stays” and how her family will be affected. 

The Best Revenge

When Elizabeth Smart (age 14)  was returned home after being repeatedly raped and tortured by her captors for nine months of “living hell”, her Mother, (we all know our moms love us more than anyone on this planet) spoke the most profound statement to young Elizabeth.  She could’ve stuck her in therapy for the rest of her life, allowing Elizabeth to victimize what happened to her for the rest of her days (no one would’ve blamed her).  Instead, she empowered her only child.  She said, “Elizabeth, what you’ve been through is terrible, and you may never feel like restitution is made, but the best punishment you can give them is to be happy.” 

Elizabeth is now happily married, spiritually secure, and a thriving advocate against pornography and abuse.  She is helping other girls recieve healing. 
 While I believe strongly in not labeling myself a “victim”, (I was in an abusive marriage for 6 years);I also believe recognizing what abuse has happened, is absolutely necessary to begin the healing process.  How could Elizabeth help others if she refused to give her testimony?  How could she relate to young women if she wasn’t willing to admit what this man and his wife did to her?  Joyce Meyer who is a public figure and advocate for abuse surviviors was repeatedly raped and manipulated for almost her entire childhood (ages 6-17), and guess what her biggest testimony of healing is? Her ability to recognize and confront (her Dad) what happened to her was “Not OK”.  Then, she forgave him, and even took care if him in his ailing years. It seems in the Christian culture today, we want to ‘break free’ from the chains of bondage, quickly, never willing to recognize what occured was…’Not OK’.  We’re  skipping an essential step in our healing process.

If you have been hurt, abused, or manipulated; (haven’t we all in some way?) why not talk to God and tell Him…”That…what happened to me, was Not OK.”..And begin your proecess of The Best Revenge…Get better, heal, and be happy!

 Psalm 124:2

What if the Lord had not been on our side when we were attacked? When they were angry with us, they would have swallowed us alive.


The Key to A Worry-Free Life! 

By:Christine Varichak

If you have ever had a panic attack, or know someone who has, it’s a pretty terrifying experience! You feel like you’re trapped in a prision that’s your own body, ridiculed by fear.  Panic attacks come in 3 Phases:
Phase 1) Sumpthin’ Just Ain’t Right…

You struggle to fall asleep but wake up early, trouble focusing on the tasks right in front you, possible stomach pains or trouble with bowel movements (constipation or diahreah), headaches, possible facial ticks, overall feeling of unease.

Phase 2) Something is definitely wrong! Queasiness, light-headedness, feeling of being trapped, migraine headaches, overwhelming feeling of indecision, panic, and unease.

Phase 3) Possible fainting, constant feeling of distress or nausea. Incapacitated, unable to move or function.  You may be unable to get out of bed without feeling faint, Abnormal breathing, heart palpitations, hair loss. The above phases 1&2 magnified.

After reading all of these horrific symptoms, would you believe me if I told you your mind is TRYING very hard to tell you something?  And your body is simply reacting… Well believe it or not, these symptoms are NOT to be ignored! Or medicated!!! They are the smoke billowing from the volcano…Indicating serious combustion is on its way!  The phases listed are based on my personal experinece, so I know first hand how horrific it is to experience any and all of the listed symptoms. I am pleased to say I am now free from experiencing Phases 2 & 3, and rarely experinece even Phase 1.  If you want to be free as well…read on!

Ok, so first of all, pat yourself on the back for reading this article!! I remember feeling hopeless and depressed as a result of not getting the help and understanding I needed.  I learned that stress is the #1 killer in the U.S and if I kept going down this crazy road I would eventually check myself into the looney bin, or else just hop on the crazy train…We can all imagine our own version of what that looks like.  For me: self medicating with alchohol, and who knows what else…Not caring for my kids, walking away from my faith, etc. We all know what our own version looks like, for some people its over eating, over exercise, video gaming, working overtime, binging on Netflix, or vacationing.  None of these things are helpful because the underlying problem that’s causing the panic is lying dormant…much like a volcano…ready to blow!

So how do you stop these symptoms from attacking you?  Start with the source by asking yourself these 3 questions:

1. What am I fearing?

2. Is this a valid fear?

3. Who can help me?

For example:

1. I am fearing I do not have money to make my bills this month.

2. Yes.

3. God, and His representatives.(Brothers or Sisters in the Lord).

I used this example because it was my biggest fear…”lack”.  Not having enough, my mind would immediately travel at lightening speed to: food-stamps and homelessness, and my kids being taken away from me.  What’s your lightening thought?  Is it that if you mess up again at work you’ll lose your job?  Then end up disappointing your family, losing your house, wife, and kids?  Embarassed that you couldn’t cut it?  All of the lightening thoughts are presumptions…The fact that you may lose your job may be valid, but the lightening assumptions that follow are NOT valid.  We cannot presume what’s going to be the result of our faults and failures at every turn. That would make YOU God, last time you looked in the mirror, were YOU the creator of the Universe?  If yes, go ahead and call that looney bin now…

Be sure you are actually writing down the fear to see if it indeed really IS vaild (something like 80% of our fears are completely invalid to begin with); making us feel ridiculously comforted when we write down that we think secret agents may be following us, or we are living in a house that’s haunted! Lastly, list  2-3 supporters who aren’t going to critisize you, or your choices, but lift you up and give you the tools you need to minimize the panic, not feed it!  You do NOT want a sympathizer like your Mom who is going to encourage you to go get on pills to help you. But rather, a Christian who has seen a battle or two and has scars to prove it! This could be a Pastor or Christian Counselor, a friend, or leader in your local church. You probably won’t have to look far to find someone who can overcome panic as it affects more people than we are willing to admit in the church.   

Ok, you have written down your valid fear, and a couple of people who can help (with God’s help)…now what? An expert on panic attacks, Patrick Doyle (check him out in YouTube) says to “conquer whatever is knocking at your door first“.  The Holy Spirit will show you one fear at a time, and as you get quiet before Him, the root of why you’re fearing that thing;  and how to trust God that He will help you (The Holy Spirit is our helper) will become clearer.  Remember Jesus is the Prince of Peace, not the condemner.   He will show you how to  Cast Your Care on the Lord. I had a valid fear…several actually, over and over again, usually first thing in them morning, tapered off throughout the day, then again in the evening. As I continued to do this simple ten minute practice (I even closed my eyes and pictured the care being given out of my hands and at God’s feet) I got free-more and more every day!! I stopped waking up with heart palpitations and began waking up grateful to be alive and excited to spend time in the Word of God. He doesn’t want us to have fear, He died so we wouldn’t have to experience  fear ever again.  Jesus said:  “The thief comes to steal, and to kill and destroy, but I came that you would have an abundant and rich life.”(John 10:10)  Experiencing panic is on no level, by any means abundant, or rich!! So why not lift up that volcano, see what’s under there, and get FREE!!!


That’s What Being A Single Mom’ll Getcha…!

If you are one of those people who thought (or said) “I’ll never get a divorce, I could never do that to my kids!”…Join the club. I, too was a participant in judgement concerning divorce, re-marriage, and…well everything and everybody who lived a life I felt was shameful.  The saddest trait about a judgemental person is the one person they judge the strictest is themselves.  And that’s what I did when my Parents divorced. I remember judging my mother (mostly) and feeling betrayed that she didn’t ‘try hard enough’ for my brother and I.   Low and behold a mere eight years after voicing my judgement, I was the one;  with head in hands, trembling with fear every night, wondering how I was going to make it. How could I protect my kids?  How was I going to work, when my youngest (9 mos) was still in diapers; and my oldest (4 years) was more confused by the hour?

After separating from my husband, I began taking kids into my home for a little cash, and assessing my finances. I was in $20,000 debt (all in my name…groan).  I had no college degree, no clue of how to pay a gas bill, or even change a flat tire. I had gone from my parents home straight to a man who took care of all those things. How would I know car insurance has to be paid or you can’t drive? I remember getting so anxious because I had so many bills.  Not only did I have no way to pay them (I was broke) but I couldn’t even if I had the money!  I didn’t know much about money at all.  Like how much it cost me to live with such commodities as: healthcare, a cell phone, or reliable tires.  Talk about clueless and over-reliant!

Fast forward three years and not only do I manage my own finances with ease, but I now help other women with theirs.  I have steady income, and a place to live comfortably with my happy, healthy children who are thriving. I’ve learned to set and maintain relationship boundaries, and communicate effectively. However, not unlike all breakthroughs, are the “nuggets” you can pass along to other single moms in the same spot you were in:

Nugget #1

Trust God, Leave the consequences to Him.

Psalm 118:8 says: It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in humans.”  Clearly there is a BIG warning here that there will be times a leader, priest, parent, spouse, sister, or trusted friend will be contradictory in their advise to you. They will think they are “helping” you. But in fact, the only place our trust should fully be given to,  is God.  The next verse further warns: v9: “It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.”  

Nugget #2:

Your body has physical limitations.

I wish I could be the soccer mom that totes my kids in a mini van to ballet, baseball, dance, flute lessons and the like- every week day…But it’s just not gonna happen.  In addition to working a couple part time jobs, I am responsible for my two kids, keeping my house in order, driving to Dr’s and dentists appts, homework, laundry, dishes, trying to keep us all happy and healthy, pay my bills, manage time with my family who lives an hour away, and the list goes on. All by myself I do these things that are made for TWO people. I’m doing TWO people’s jobs…every day and night. When the kids get sick, we single moms dont have a partner to hand us a puke bucket or change Billy’s bed who just vomited, and bathe Suzie who just had diahreah all over the bathroom the floor.  You cant do it all, but what you can do is really amazing.  Create a fun, easy going, loving atmosphere at home.  A place where laughter resides, and warmth grows. A place that’s nice to come home to after school. A place the neighbor kids wanna come. (They don’t care if your meals are from Pinterest, frozen pizza is better!)

Nugget #3

Don’t compare!

I remember feeling like the kids who lived with their biological parents (married, normal) were so much better off than my brother and me.  But in the end we have so much character, and gratitude for the small things in life that others don’t appreciate. We didn’t take vacations very often, and I really appreciate getting to go places, now. What others see as a necessity, for me it’s special and unforgettable. I also remember feeling when my divorce finalized that my kids were getting jipped out of the father-child relationship every child yearns for.  But now, in truth they have grown to depend on God as their Father.  Pslam 68:5 says “A Father to the Fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.”  My children can go to God with a need their earthly father cannot meet, and recieve from the hand that created them.  They wouldn’t have known this relationship except through the loss and disappointments their dad brought them.

Be encouraged, woman of faith!  Look to Ruth, Naomi, Sarah, & Mary as your examples, and know that the God of all creation says you are worth more than rubies!


Standards In Relationship


In the past year my friendships have revolved, evolved, and dissolved. So much of what has happened has been the result of my asking the Lord to edify me, and my relationships. I am in shock of the changes that ensued as I continue to pray for this. Every single relationship in my life has changed in some way this last year. How I see relationships beginning, how I perceive them to continue, and how I have directed them to end, in some rare cases, has been the result. If you have ever had to “break up” with a friend, or change the demands a friendship had, you know how this feels. If you’ve never had to do these things that I’ve mentioned, you might be asking yourself where do I stand in my relationships? How does the Lord perceive each relationship in my life, and are these relationships lifting me up, or pulling me down? I’ve listed a set of questions that can be answered with a simple YES or
NO… although for women this might be an area where we want to answer “yes but… ”  Adding an explanation as to why we feel that way; but try to just answer briefly and honestly. This simple yes or no should be what matters. Every relationship in your life, whether you want it or not, is either lifting you up and pulling you to the destiny that God has planned for you… or it is pulling you down to the pit of delusion and destruction. For example, I used to have several friends who gossiped on a consistent basis. I’m not talking about sharing their heart in an effort to seek God’s will, and receive God’s counsel and wisdom, I’m talking about “did you hear…?” Things that had absolutely nothing to do with me.  People that did not concern me, and events that were none of my business to know. Many of the things that these people told me poisoned how I viewed individuals in my Church, and my ability to love them as Christ loves the church. I had to make a decision to cut them out…To say “Yes!” to God (in the case of relationships) often means telling people NO.
Here are the questions every Christian should ask themselves about every relationship they have.

Does this relationship…
Help you to meet the potential calling God has for you?

Edify you, or sharpen you in a gentle but firm way?

Meet your needs spiritually?

Qualify as a friend among other friends? In other words are you proud to call this person friend?

Does this individual seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance on a consistent basis?

Does this individual lead you in the right direction or the wrong direction?

Does this individual hold the same standard that you do in…
Church attendance
Loving others, and forgiving our enemies?
Tithing, and giving?

Is this individual quick to receive correction from you in cases that you have approached them in a loving way based on the Word?
(It’s okay to disagree on some minor issues, but the things but I mentioned in the question above on the major issues such as: (purity, prayer, church attendance)… Does your friend hold you accountable in these areas?

Is this individual hypocritical? For example: Do they claim to be pure, yet they will date unbelievers? Do they claim to chase after God, yet go to bars to have fun? Do they claim to have a heart after God, yet consistently criticize you? These are all examples of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a big red flag that this individual is double-minded! James warns us that the double minded are unstable in all that they do- (James 1:8)

Does this individual sow into your life? You might think that this is a selfish request, but I have friends who are single moms, with no savings, and living check to check, who sow financially into my life.

Do you see this individual opening their heart to you; not just to vent but to really seek wisdom?
How does this individual honor and respect their authorities? EG Parents, Pastors, Elders in the church? I cannot stress this enough, because how this person treats their Elders… is how they feel about God! I have personally seen people who call themselves Christians, slander, gossip, and even get Pastors fired, because they did not like receiving correction. I understand that in some rare cases of spiritual abuse we must consult a trusted Christian elder to seek advice on how to move forward, or possibly move away from a church that’s not administering the Word correctly…IF that’s the case… but in NO case should there be a disrespect spread to other members, or blatant offense being spread about your authority. I knew a couple who went from church.. to church… to church…and eventually just got a Pastor fired, then decided to plant their own church!  The damage that was caused was astonishing.

Does this person protect you loyally? A friend is always loyal.( Proverbs 17:17)

If you have found that the answer to any of these questions are NO, or perhaps several were answered with a big NO, I caution you to follow what the Word teaches : “Above ALL else, guard your heart, for out of it springs life.” (Proverbs 4:23)
Step back from this relationship in order to protect the most essential element God has entrusted you with…your heart… Understand that when we separate from unhealthy relationships, God… if we allow Him, will replace, and replenish those bad relationships with healthy ones. They may be few, and far between… but I would rather have one or two amazing girlfriends who I can trust and love, and they will stand in the gap, and pray for me, then to have 20 girls going behind my back and gossiping about me, never lifting me to the place I need to be.. but rather Tearing Me Down.


How To Be A Crappy Christian..

Being a Crappy Christian takes work. Let’s face it…you’re going to want to spend all your energy focusing on other people’s issues pretty much all of the time in order to be a successful “Crappy Christian”…Focusing on people’s problems rather than your own sin before the Lord is the ‘KEY’ to any successful Crappy Christian. But lets take a look at the steps to accomplish full Crappy Christian status:

1) Judge everyone...Not just people who come to church, but really…judge everyone who isn’t like YOU!! Because being different is just weird…and their sin is way worse than yours!! Right?

#2) Don’t give. Being generous is for losers. Why should you have to give to those less fortunate when you work really hard for that paycheck? Don’t believe that you’re giving is ‘unto the Lord’, just consider yourself fortunate to not have to share anything with anybody!

#3)  Hate. Hate people….like homosexuals and the homeless…and be disgusted that they’ve got problems you don’t understand.  Post remarks on facebook about how we need to make real change in this country by hating others. Loving others in the midst of their sin is silly and pre-historic.

#4) Give your opinion to everyone you know…and don’t care about how it affects your witness. I mean…this country is at an all time low economically…lets keep talking about how terrible Hilary Clinton is, and how excited we are about Trump.  That’s what Jesus would want! Besides, it shows people how much we trust God when we try to influence unbelievers’ vote-by tearing down his opponent.

#5) Share your offence.  When another believer offends you, feel free to immediately share what they did to you with others. Especially people outside the faith. This will deter them from ever coming to your church because they now see how hypocritical Christians can really be, and will be delighted to take up your offence. Spreading your offence, and talking constantly about your hurt feelings will win you more friends, and sympathy. It’s not like you have to forgive anyone!

Post any other suggestions (in my comments section) about how to Be A Truly Crappy Christian.