Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Tuesday, October 29, 2019
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.
Learn more at nataliesnapp.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@AuthorNatalieSnapp), Twitter (@nataliesnapp) and Instagram (@nataliesnapp).
Monday, October 28, 2019
Part 2 of an Interview with Barb Roose,
Author of I’m Waiting, God
Do you ever feel like God is taking too long to answer your prayers? Have you ever taken matters into your own hands, only to discover that you’ve made the situation worse?
In her new four-week Bible study, I’m Waiting, God, (Abingdon Press) Barb Roose invites us to explore the stories of women in the Bible who had to wait on God. If you’ve felt anxious, angry, discouraged or depressed because God isn’t giving you what you want, their stories will breathe fresh hope and practical next steps in your life. As a reforming control lover, Barb mixes in her personal stories of learning how to wait for God during long seasons of unanswered prayers, family difficulties, and challenging times in ministry. Together readers will discover that there is goodness and blessing to be found in times of waiting, including a closer relationship with God than they’ve ever dared to dream.
Q: Which women from the Bible do you use as examples for women who grappled with unanswered prayers?
- Hannah wondered if God loved her or had forgotten about her.
- Ruth’s life took a tragic and unexpected turn.
- The unnamed bleeding woman suffered for over a decade with an embarrassing medical condition.
- Martha prayed, but God said “no” to her prayer.
Q: What would you say to encourage someone who feels as if God has forgotten her or doesn’t love her because her prayers have gone unanswered?
First, I would sit down with her and ask to give her a big hug. Living with unanswered prayer is hard—especially when we’re praying for good things, like a baby, a spouse, a clean bill of health or for a struggling child to get back on track.
Rather than give advice or tell someone to “buck up,” I believe an overwhelmed, discouraged woman needs what Tim Keller calls “the ministry of presence.” When someone feels the pain of unanswered prayer, she doesn’t need advice, but rather listening, love and reassurance.
Some of my favorite go-to encouraging statements when hanging out with a friend who is struggling are: “Tell me how you’re really doing,” “I know that you are doing the best that you can!” and “You are loved and you aren’t alone.”
Q: What are some of the reasons the Bible gives for God not answering prayers?
The Bible reveals numerous reasons God delays in answering our prayers. Some of those include:
1. God might not answer because of our unforgiveness, secret sin, pride, or wrong motives.
2. God wants to protect us from harm or heartache down the road.
3. God is allowing more time to pass so that we’ll have the chance to see His power on display in our lives.
4. God allows a delay to teach us to trust Him in the hard place and develop persistence in prayer.
5. God may delay the answer to your prayer because He’s working in someone else’s life first.
Q: When an unexpected event throws life off course, what do you pray for when you don’t know what to pray?
A few years ago, my dad got sick. In just a few weeks, he’d lost more than 30 pounds off his athletic frame. A biopsy revealed advanced metastasized lung cancer and doctors told us that Dad only had a few days to live. At the time, I’d been on the road speaking and half-way through writing a new book, but the news that I was about to lose my beloved dad upended my entire life.
In devastating moments, I rely on praying God’s promises. In the hardest moments, I don’t know what to say, but God’s promises give me life and hope—even when I’m numb or not even sure if I can believe them in the moment.
In the study, I’ve included one of my favorite rituals, a tool that I call the “God-Morning/God-Night Technique” that’s gotten me through a lot of hard and heartbreaking days. Basically, I repeat five of God’s promises before I open my eyes and begin the day. By starting with a “God-morning,” with his promises, I can beat back the feelings of fear, uncertainty and impatience by reminding myself that God is with me and for me not matter what I’ll face that day.
Q: How can we protect ourselves from bitterness during our wait?
In I’m Waiting, God, I explain bitterness like this: “Bitterness is the story that blames God for the pain in our past. Better is the story that believes God will be faithful in the future.”
Bitterness always begins small, but the more we repeat the stories of how God or others hurt or betrayed us, we begin to believe that is the story of our lives—and the story of our future. I watched my grandmother nearly die of bitterness after my grandfather’s affair when I was a little girl. She spent a lot of time in the hospital before finally confronting her bitterness and changing her story.
For me, gratitude is the antibiotic that kills any little bitter roots in my life. Each day of the I’m Waiting, God study features a gratitude exercise. Just taking a moment to reflect on God’s blessing not only kills little roots of disappointment, rejection or regret that could grow into bitterness, but also uplifts our hearts and gives us joy, even as we’re waiting for God to answer our prayers.
Q: Is there ever a time to let a prayer go? How do you know when it’s the right time, after weeks, months, or maybe even years?
This is a hard question because there’s no easy answer to this question. On one hand, we’re instructed to pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17), but we also know that there is a starting and ending to all things (Ecclesiastes 3). The point of prayer is to authentically connect ourselves to God so that his Spirit can lead and guide us. However, as circumstances change, there are times when it is no longer safe, wise or life-giving for us to pursue certain situations.
For many years, I prayed for God to save my marriage. I’d made a commitment before God over 25 years before, and I believed God could do the impossible. I fasted and prayed for years for God to restore a relationship that addiction had destroyed. Even after I had to move out of my home because of the issues, I still kept believing and praying for restoration and healing.
It’s hard to pray for years when nothing seems to be happening. I received some great encouragement from a wise friend: “You pray until you sense God releasing you from that prayer.”
I continued to pray until I realized that it was no longer safe or wise for me to go back into that situation. I didn’t give up on God, nor did I stop believing in his almighty power. But I did realize that it was time to shift from praying for what I wanted to praying for God to help me let go and trust His plan for my future, even though it wasn’t what I wanted.
To help me let go of the pain, disappointment and anger, I use a tool that I call my annual “funeral.” This is fully explained in the final week of the study, but it’s a tool to help me let go my anger, disappointments and fears. This funeral process helps me surrender my unanswered prayers to God so that my heart and hands are open for Him to bring new direction, opportunities and blessing into my life.
Q: How is I’m Waiting, God: Finding Blessing in God’s Delays, your new Bible study, set up to be used? What other resources are available?
As a Bible study teacher who loves creating experiences for women in every season of life, I’m excited that I’m Waiting, God is designed with a flexible format to fit everyone’s schedule. This is a four-week study, and each week offers three days of Bible study homework, plus two optional days for more personal reflection to be enjoyed as time or energy permits.
I believe that application is a key component of effective Bible study, so I’ve created weekly personal reflection exercises and practical tools. Additionally, each day’s study includes a daily gratitude exercise and lots of life-transforming scripture to set readers up to experience a-ha moments so they can see and experience God’s blessing, even as they’re waiting on God to answer their prayer.
For those who like video, there is a separate teaching DVD for each of the four weeks. Best of all, anyone can lead a group study because the facilitator’s guide is been included in the study workbook.
One more bonus! If readers would like additional encouragement, they can sign up for “The Patience Path,” a 30-day email devotional that I’ve created to go along with the study. To sign up, go to barbroose.com/patiencepath.
Visit Barb Roose’s online home at barbroose.com. Readers can also keep up with her on Facebook (BarbaraRoose), Twitter (barbroose), and Instagram (barbroose).
Monday, October 21, 2019
Tuesday, October 8, 2019
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 , 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.
Learn more at nataliesnapp.com. She can also be found on Facebook (@AuthorNatalieSnapp), Twitter (@nataliesnapp) and Instagram (@nataliesnapp).