The Question of Grief: “Who am I now?”

28 February 2014, 13:00

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Photo credit: Charlie Johnson

Flooding in Drake, CO.
Photo credit: Charlie Johnson

Beginning September 12, 2013, the northern Front Range of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado received more than its yearly precipitation in just a few days. Rivers that normally flowed from one to three feet deep were ten or more feet above their flood stage. Eighteen miles of Highway 34 between Estes Park and Loveland were devoured by the Big Thompson River, along with homes and property.

It is amazing to see the effects of mountain flooding. The destruction is awesome. Not only houses are lost, but trees and roads and lawns—everything that made the property a home. For so many people, there is nothing left but a patch of mud with whatever boulders were deposited as the water receded. Family cabins, built by hand over decades, were washed away. Collections of jewelry, books, guns, heirlooms, tools, and art were lost forever. Some who returned to their property were unable to find fence lines, landmarks, even foundations.

And the overwhelming emotion is grief. The sense of loss as we drive through the canyon is oppressive. The beauty is gone and the pain is palpable. People are trying to restore their lives. Some are able to rebuild. Others try to find pieces of their lives as they walk the ditches and riverbanks. So many are so unsettled.

Grief is the normally painful process of defining ourselves in the light of our loss. Nearly any loss can produce feelings of grief. We talk about grief with the loss of a loved one, but there are many losses suffered throughout life. A move usually involves the loss of friends, a job, familiar surroundings, favorite places, and settled routines. Broken relationships reveal loss. Health changes usually involve loss. All change, even a change of thinking, is intertwined with loss.

Most of us identify ourselves as a collection of the things of our lives. If you ask “Cheryl” to tell you about herself, for example, she may say that she is a mother of three, married to John for twelve years, lives in Kansas City, and works as a nurse at the local hospital. She thinks of herself in these terms. The loss of any of them would change how she thinks of herself and how she reveals herself to you. A parent who loses a child experiences grief every time she thinks of the one who is lost. A man who has suffered divorce feels as though he is no longer the same person. Is Cheryl the same person in New York as she was in Kansas City? Is she the same if she works at the coffee shop rather than the hospital?

It may be easy to affirm that a person is the same in one place as they were in the other, but it takes time to believe that when you have had to move. Places, and the comfort we have found in them, are important to our lives. Parents might tell their children that they will make new friends in their new home, but the children know that they have formed something of their identity in connection with their current friends and find it difficult to understand how new friends would offer the same. Very often the truth is that we are not the same when things change.

So, who am I now? That’s the question grief asks. Who am I now that she is gone? Who am I now that I am retired? Who am I now that my legs don’t work? Who am I now that my friends, my job, my church, my teacher, or my vocation is gone?

Then there are those times when reality hits us unexpectedly. We look back over our lives and realize that there has been much loss. As we age and our bodies change and opportunities slip by, we may look in the mirror and grieve the loss of what was and what might have been. Mistakes, accidents, and choices can be causes of loss and grief. Who are we now?

Not all change produces grief, and not all grief produces pain. Sometimes transitions go well and we adapt without much struggle. Some people are able to shrug their shoulders and accept significant changes without suffering. I have known people who readily adapted to the death of a loved one. I know people who have moved many times and have easily made new friends each time. Some changes are easier than others. You and I have heard people say, “I never liked that house,” or “I have wanted to change jobs for a long time.”

What’s the difference? Why do some find a certain change so painful, while others seem to enjoy it? At least part of the difference is the investment of identity. When I see myself connected to another person, or a place, or an activity—as part of my identity—then I will suffer when there is loss. Separation from a loved one is a loss of self almost all of us understand, and the pain associated with that grief is nearly universal. But the grief each one suffers is different in almost every situation because we invest our identity differently. It is not for us to judge the extent of another person’s grief because we do not know the pain they suffer.

Perhaps our culture talks enough about the stages of grief that we all should understand them, but I doubt it. We don’t think about grief until we have to deal with it. Forty-five years ago, psychiatrist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross gave us a way of understanding the grieving process. She suggested five stages, remembered today by the acronym DABDA: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. We understand that these five stages are not easily seen in every instance of grief, nor are they always in that particular order. Yet the model gives us a glimpse into the suffering of grief. Those who find themselves struggling with a loss might do well to understand this process.

As I have read the various accounts on Recovering Grace over the past couple of years, I have come away with a certain sense of grief. I see indications of grief in the comments. For many of us, the organization and teachings of Bill Gothard were a significant part of our lives.

To have these accusations, revelations, about the man and the ministry is very troubling. And I see denial (“None of this is true!”); anger (“I hope he suffers for what he has done!”); bargaining (“Well some of the teachings were good, even if some of these things are true.”); depression (I don’t want to hear any more, but I can’t tear myself away.”); and acceptance (“I am sad, but thankful that this is finally revealed.”). All of these feelings and stages are normal.

And it is also normal for us to look back over our lives with the grief question, “Who am I now?” Now that this has been revealed, who am I? Am I a phony? Is so much of my life a waste? Am I a fool? Do I have to abandon everything I learned, disavow everything that came during those years? What of my identity is left?

The wonderful truth is that our identity is safe in our relationship with Jesus. The very life within us is His. We are in Him and He is in us. He is our hope, our joy, our righteousness, our strength, and our peace. We are inseparable from Him. We are who we are because He is who He is.

That means we are not identified by what we do, or what groups we belong to, or where we live, or what we have. Nor are we identified by the things of our past—what we used to believe, or what we did, or who we followed. Today we belong to Jesus and our identity is in Him.

I am not an “ATI dad,” and I never was—not really. I am a child of the Most High God through Jesus. That’s who I was when I first heard of Bill Gothard and that’s who I am now. The fact that I made some wrong decisions or that someone I trusted has turned out to be false does not change who I am.

Yes, I grieve when I think of this whole mess. My family has suffered loss. My friends have suffered loss. The Christian community has suffered loss. I have suffered my own loss. And now I—we—have to go through the process of re-discovering our identity in the face of this loss.

There is a wonderful prayer from the leadership of Solomon. So much has been taught about this prayer for the dedication of the Temple that I hesitate to use it, but it would be sad to miss this very powerful and timely call to our hearts. I have purposely extracted just two verses from that prayer so we can see the desire of our Lord.

. . . Whatever prayer, whatever supplication is made by anyone, or by all Your people Israel, when each one knows his own burden and his own grief, and spreads out his hands to this temple: then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men).
2 Chronicles 6:29-30

Take your burden and your grief to the Lord who loves you. Spread out your hands and your heart to Him and find the touch of His love. He heals your grief. He tells you that you belong to Him and you are safe. Whatever you have lost has not diminished you, because you are in Him.

Dr. David Orrison has been a pastor for over 30 years and is now the Executive Director of "Grace for the Heart," a ministry dedicated to proclaiming the sufficiency of Jesus Christ for all aspects of the Christian life. Dave has served in the Evangelical Free Church and in the United Presbyterian Church, and he holds a Ph.D. in Theology from Trinity Seminary. Dave has unique insights into the struggles of what he calls “performance spirituality,” as he has worked extensively with people who are unsure of their relationship with Jesus because of the burden of legalism and the hopelessness of a “works-based Christian walk.” David has lived in Loveland, CO for 25 years and is happily married to Alice. They have eight sons. David blogs on a regular basis at http://graceformyheart.wordpress.com.

All articles on this site reflect the views of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of other Recovering Grace contributors or the leadership of the site. Students who have survived Gothardism tend to end up at a wide variety of places on the spiritual and theological spectrum, thus the diversity of opinions expressed on this website reflects that. For our official statement of beliefs, click here.

42 Comments

  1. Suzi February 28, 2014 Reply

    Thank you - such a beautiful and comforting article in the face of all that each of us face today. I think sometimes that victory has twinges of sadness involved, and this article states it all so well. The victory was essential, but you are so right on defining grief as we move forward in God's grace. I do believe the battle had to be fought, and applaud the Godly way in which RG tackled this huge mess, and gave an informed and accurate account of all the events and the man involved. It was courageous, and they rank high in my gallery of those who defend the wounded and hurt. This has been the most significant happening in my spiritual walk, and I thank your sacrifices and diligent work for those of us who were hurt, or deceived, or both. And I thank God that as stated above, my identity is in Christ. It is enough. Thanks as well to all those wounded who re-walked their stories, not without new pain, I am sure, that truth might be known.

    • susan theriault November 17, 2014 Reply

      What a wonderful and reassuring article. It summarizes many questions I now have. Thank you so much.

  2. Nancy2 February 28, 2014 Reply

    I once read "All have sinned and all have been sinned against. We best move through the pain being carried by the One who carried sin to the grave."

    Thank you for this reminder of His Great Love.

  3. SaraJ February 28, 2014 Reply

    I began speaking out against ATI years ago, even before RG. But these new revelations have been surprisingly painful. I never wanted it to be this bad, and I have been grieving. Thanks for this article.

    • Trinka February 28, 2014 Reply

      I'm with you there Sarah ... I'm not surprised, and yet I'm deeply saddened. I thought this article was timely, and I greatly appreciated it.

    • Eliza March 3, 2014 Reply

      Yes, indeed. I already knew or suspected a lot. But it was still unsettling and difficult to hear.

  4. Joelle February 28, 2014 Reply

    This article was SO timely for me! Thank you for sharing Pastor Orrison - I means a lot.

  5. Sad February 28, 2014 Reply

    Kudos Dr Orrison, your words are very timely and heartfelt. Wonderful illustration to start with as well, as I am sure the current events at IBLP will certainly have a similar effect on some of the families currently associated with them.

    Again, prayers for all those at RG for the work they are doing.

  6. JPU February 28, 2014 Reply

    Years ago, I discovered that this kind of thing, all the losses that you mentioned, are a death with no funeral. I felt like that after a break-up. I felt like that when I changed jobs. And when there is a marriage in the family that has ended. Thanks for writing this.

  7. KayW February 28, 2014 Reply

    I really appreciated reading this today. My heart is heavy for those who may soon find themselves as "sheep without a shepherd." Praying they will listen to the true Shepherd's voice as He desires to gather them to Himself.

  8. Queen of Carrots February 28, 2014 Reply

    Yes. This has been very helpful today. I was surprised at how deeply I have been reacting to the recent revelations--I had long since rejected the teachings, and my own experience was not that bad. But IBLP is so woven into my life, from conception through childhood to career and marriage, that learning that it was rotten from the core has been difficult to come to terms with.

    • Andrew Harper February 28, 2014 Reply

      ^^Exactly this.

      "No guilt in life, no fear in death; this is the power of Christ in me. From life's first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny. No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from His hand. Till He returns or calls me home, here in the power of Christ I'll stand."

      • Mercy March 3, 2014 Reply

        Aren't those words powerful? I love that song! And I love how music can speak to my heart, offering words of hope and healing, especially music based on the truths in God's Word.

    • fiddlrts February 28, 2014 Reply

      True indeed. For me, it is also one more step in the loss of identity - one which started in the most serious way several years ago as I lost closeness with those of friends and family who didn't reject the teachings.

  9. Vera Berry February 28, 2014 Reply

    We stopped paying tuition in 2007 but I kept contact with some people for 2 more years. We must have gotten out though around 2005 because my son would have been 15 at that time. My initial reaction to my disappointment in Bill Gothard for rejecting my son, lying multiple times about the situation, and realizing what rotten character he actually had was numbness and pain. He was not who he appeared to be. I can totally relate to the way Ruth was treated in the sense that she was blown off and made to feel that whatever happened was her fault.

    I was numb because I felt like my beliefs had been shattered. What was truth anymore? I had put my eggs in this basket and now I was no longer sure what part of anything was true. The second was as you say. Part of the pain was humiliation because I had said so many things to people that weren't true and now what? I felt the pain of realizing my hard work and sacrifice was wasted. I walked around with holes in my one pair of shoes because we had no money but at the time, I thought it was a worthy sacrifice for my children. The people I had grown to trust to carry us to the end were not who I thought they were and I was left picking up the pieces. I sat in the crowded freezing cold stinky juvenile detention center as my son who I had had in faith was brought forth in that ugly bright orange outfit in handcuffs and the tears would not stop coming. I had no place to turn. I had no friends because every ATI friend I had had abandoned me. My husband could not take time off of work because we were so dependent on that one salary. I thought, "This is not what was supposed to happen. Why was this happening? Where in the world did we get off track? Where is Jesus? Did I not do enough?" I had kept those standards meticulously and that cause and effect promise that was made to me was definitely not happening. It was always assumed at moments like this that there must be a hole in dad's spiritual umbrella but there was nothing really unless you want to call frustration a sin. In 28 years, my husband has never once cheated on me or given me reason to be jealous. He is a great man and for 20 years, a great man of God. I have no real complaints about him.

    I know so many people reading this know what I'm talking about when our children have failed in ways that not even the world has failed at. Our children were supposed to be the best. Our children were supposed to show the world that Jesus is real. And all the king's horses and all the king's men could not put Humpty Dumpty together again. We went through so many counselors that could not figure this out. We absolutely did not fit any profile. But as we began to seek The Lord on this, the obvious issue of trying to obtain righteousness by the law became very real and how that causes a person to be prideful and fall from grace.

    We are years later and Jesus did not abandon me even if everyone else did. I had a friend in Him. I threw away all my beliefs in the garbage and left myself with the foundation of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I made the mistake once of letting go of Him because of human failure and I knew that I would never do that again.

    Doug and I have come a long way since then. My identity really is in Jesus Christ. I don't really belong to any group anymore because when I started examining all these beliefs that we had so long held to and realized that often the sentence or two they came from was being misrepresented, I found I didn't fit in anywhere. The church as become so apostate until I don't even want to call myself a Christian lest I be associated with their line of reasoning and beliefs.

    Who am I? I am still a wife of 28 years to one man, a mother of 6 wonderful children, a neonatal nurse, a teacher, and a saint because Jesus set me free from sin without the law. He reconciled me to God.

    I learned and grew from this experience more than I could put in a small post. The most important thing I learned was how to test what is being taught as truth by using the Bible as my source of truth. I read things in context. I compare the premise to the entire book and if it doesn't fit, I throw it out. People say all sorts of things to promote their version of the truth. I have found answers and that without people, big name teachers, or even money. It is just me and Jesus and Him crucified and the Holy Spirit teaching, comforting and guiding me. He is there for you!!
    Vera

    • "ST" March 5, 2014 Reply

      What you were saying about not even wanting to be associated with the church rings very true to me. I know an argument could so easily be made against this but really, do our churches nowdays model after the new testament church?

      I cringe every time I hear a pastor or another believer quoting anything besides the Bible while expounding Biblical truth. While no one in my church has ever heard of IBLP (I removed myself a long time ago), they fall into the same trap of exalting certain teachers and theologians as if they somehow have a more direct line to God. I want none of it. We don't have to figure it all out. We don't have to have 49 answers to everything. We all just need to seek the Lord on our own and let the Holy Spirit guide us and quit looking to men to give us answers because none of them are any closer to God than I am, He lives in my heart.

  10. LJ February 28, 2014 Reply

    Thank you for this much-needed writing. I think that as much as we want there to be resolution and steps taken so no more young woman are treated as Bill has been treating them, there is grief over what these young women went through, what Bill did, how pleas for help were ignored or minimized. And then all of the families who will be disillusioned as the truth comes out and they may turn from our precious Lord. What a wonderful reminder that our precious Lord never changes even in the midst of these difficult times!

  11. Nathan Terrell February 28, 2014 Reply

    Good words and well put. Thank you for taking the time to share this.

  12. Nathan M. March 1, 2014 Reply

    Thank You!
    I had not even called what I was experiencing grief and read this article because of how I've seen others responding to the recent articles. But now I can clearly see my own experience as well. I'm one of those who have great memories of my homeschool years. ATI shaped so much of my life, from choosing a skilled trade instead of college, to an amazing courtship story finding my amazing wife. Quite frankly I love my life today and I'm so glad for the road that got me here. The mercy and grace of God through it all is what keeps blowing me away. He is my constant guide through it all and He is my comfort now as I realize what I've been feeling is called grief.

  13. Anonymous March 1, 2014 Reply

    This was much needed and appreciated. Thank you.

  14. Christy March 1, 2014 Reply

    "The wonderful truth is that our identity is safe in our relationship with Jesus. The very life within us is His. We are in Him and He is in us. He is our hope, our joy, our righteousness, our strength, and our peace. We are inseparable from Him. We are who we are because He is who He is."

    This paragraph is like water to my thirst heart! Thank you!

  15. Stephanie March 1, 2014 Reply

    Thank you Pastor Orrison for this article. It made me think of this song which I hope can minister to someone who is hurting now.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zq8xG6yAZ1Q

  16. DAVID PIGG March 1, 2014 Reply

    encouraging

  17. Lila Blinco March 2, 2014 Reply

    The important thing is to sort out:
    Bill Gothard the man (human with much good and much evil, and the evil doesn't negate the good)// The teaching you received (mostly good with some error) // Yourself! You can sort the evil in both and discard it. If at one time you saw evil as good, simply thank God that you have been enlightened. When you were mistaken you were not evil, and now that your knowledge is better you are still dependent on God's grace.

    I am exactly Bill Gothard's age, and I understand a little of what he must be feeling now. He must have thought what he was doing was OK, or not so bad, although one would wonder when we remember that what we've said in the dark will be brought to light-- except for grace!
    Sin seems so much worse when it's made public.

    • JC March 2, 2014 Reply

      One particular caution Bill Gothard gave the staff during my years working at Headquarters keeps coming back to me: "Remember," he said, "every sin is justifiable." And how true that is!

      All of us need to take warning lest we fall prey to the same temptations, especially if we're teachers ourselves. "My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment." James 3:1

  18. Regina March 2, 2014 Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing the hope we all have in Jesus. So many broken hearts have been tossed to and fro. I feel such pity for Bill Gothard. He was set up in a position of great authority and given much respect. Yes, I said set up. The devil is a master deceiver and manipulater with Bill Gothard being the one who will face The Lord and the world for using his power for selfish pleasure and gain. It seems Bill Gothard was the weakest of them all and this master plan of deception was well thought out and originated right from the depths of Hell. I do pray Bill Gothard finds true forgiveness, but he must first seek it.

    • esbee March 2, 2014 Reply

      it would be interesting to do an investigation into Bill's parents, grandparents, siblings and other relatives. On his website, Bill gives shining testimony as to his parents uber holiness and love of bible and God, etc etc etc but what were they reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelly like? From RG stories, we know about his brother, Steve (sexploits), a sister's odd reaction to the young lady who was Bill's current object of affection, and a bull-dog like reaction by a nephew defending Bill.

      Also what writings from other Bible expositors directly influenced Bill? If he would use the answers to those (calling for spiritual help) from a boy being held hostage in his office for talking with one of his favorites (that whole scene is soooo telling) then what else did he basically cut and paste into his theology.

      • greg r March 2, 2014 Reply

        Those are interesting questions, but Bill does not seem to be the type to have borrowed heavily from others. This seems more like LDS stuff: mostly his vivid imagination, with enough bible thrown in to make it believable. his website section under "books" had maybe two whole books in it (if I remember right) and I don't think bill's theology is similar to George Mueller's .

        • Nathan March 2, 2014

          No, he has a lot of books at HQ, especially in the attic. I saw one book in the conference room, which I believe was Break The Generation Curse by Marilyn Hickey (1995); it had a note inside from his sister, whom he'd asked to get it for him. He also had multiple books on the King James only controversy, both by G.A. Riplinger and by David Otis Fuller. He definitely got ideas from plenty of sources, some credible, some questionable.

          I once spent a couple days with his brother-in-law Phil; except for an argument we had over KJV-only, I thought he was a wonderful guy. He who used to be a missionary in the Netherlands and still hands out tracts every day. Not all the family is cut out of cardboard as you might think.

        • Eliza March 3, 2014

          BG did borrow heavily from others. He just didn't usually give credit for where he got his ideas.

  19. greg r March 2, 2014 Reply

    I'd be interested in knowing how, and where, he used "credible" sources. So far his track record of using such sources publicly (Ryrie for example) seems very sketchy to me. Can you think of any major source, one commonly accepted, that plays an important role in his teaching ??

    • Nathan March 3, 2014 Reply

      I think Jeri Lofland has done a great job of documenting the history of IBLP and how different sources fit in. Jim Logan she makes fun of, but I thought his book Reclaiming Surrendered Ground was pretty reasonable, and it was used widely in IBLP and in the OBCL law course on counseling. Some people who worked as IBLP staff researchers for awhile and later went on to develop their own resources include Larry Guthrie and Gary Smalley. These two seem pretty credible. One source Gothard used as the starting point for his "levels of friendship" teaching was Stephen Olford.

      Ron Henzel, who co-authored A Matter of Basic Principles, has a good introduction to Gothard's early influences at http://ronhenzel.tripod.com/GothardZone/08-BG2BG/index.html. He says based on Gothard's MA thesis, that he was influenced by early 20th century fundamentalism, by Charles Finney, and by Keswick theologians including Watchman Nee. These were all considered fairly credible in their day; however, their combined influence seems to have encouraged isolating, manipulative, and elitist tendencies in Gothard's thinking, along the general devotion they were supposed to inspire.

      On the "Old Testament wisdom" angle, I think he was influenced by S.I. McMillen, an Adventist physician who wrote a book called None of These Diseases showing how Levitical hygiene laws had medical benefits. I think Gothard went too far with recommending Christians follow these laws, but it was an interesting line of thought, since other popular theologians at the time seemed to ignore the practical wisdom of the Old Testament. I can't help but think that Grudem was thinking of Gothard when he gave this suggestion: "Consider the possibility that God may want evangelical
      scholars to write more books and articles that tell the Church what the
      whole Bible teaches us about some current problem." http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/43/43-1/43-1-pp005-026_JETS.pdf Gothard was filling a gap left by more competent scholars who failed to create books or seminars for a mass audience on how the whole Bible addressed these topics.

    • Nick March 3, 2014 Reply

      Do you mean a doctrinally? This little website (http://ronhenzel.tripod.com/GothardZone/08-BG2BG/index.html) by Ron Henzel claims Gothard was influenced by:

      * Fundamentalism
      * Charles Finney
      * Keswick teaching (Higher Life movement)

      Sorry if I misunderstood your question.

  20. Betty March 2, 2014 Reply

    Thank you, Dr. Orrison.

    My husband and I have experienced that Thompson Canyon drive many times in our past--years ago now. And when we watched--via internet--the flood devastation, the visual was much more vivid.

    Now the visual will help us as we grieve over all this terrible Gothard revelation. We definitely are going through the stages now.

    Our family was in ATI for 12 years. Did the Wisdom Booklets twice through with our four children. Basic Seminar more times than I can count. My first one was 1975. We made sure each of our children did the Basic AND Basic Seminar Followup course. We did it all with them--each individually. We can almost quote each session from memory.

    Our extended families (Christians) did not like IBLP. They don't now. We did our best to dispel all their fears. Now we have a job to do there...

    But we were involved in another "curriculum" before ATI. We were also on staff with a Christian ministry before ATI that...well let's say we had to forget/discard/burn a lot of it. At that time we were excited to be a part of something 'better.'

    But there is a bright side to that--all our other 'exposures' kept our gullible quotient down.

    Not knowing any of RG expose until first reading 2/3/14, we have been shocked, angry, busy bargaining and possibly beginning resolution.

    There's lots of grieving ahead. And many decisions.

    Thank you, again RG, for all your efforts. We will continue to read as you post.

    Betty

  21. Don Owens March 2, 2014 Reply

    A great big thanks to Dr Orrison and RG for making this fine article available to us. I am a 73year old father of nine, and g'father of 43, who has lost two wives to cancer, and encountered various and sundry other kinds of griefs in my life. (and, yes, formerly in the ATI program, etc.) I have been reading, and thinking about grief since the death of my first wife. This one is by far the very best treatment of the subject, both in its analysis and in its solution that I have come across. It deserves to be read many times; slowly and meditatively.

    Wherever you are on the continuum of responses to BG's influence on your life...as well as in your processing of the the whole gamut of your life's interruptions, eruptions, letdowns, betrayals, or disappointments, I urge everyone not to overlook Dr Orrison's wisdom.
    Even if you think you read it, and especially if you skimmed it, go back and read it again. Then read it out loud to your family.

    His article is just as important for us as are the articles, and "revelations" over the past weeks / months...just as important for our healing, maybe more so, than continuously rehearsing all the sadness and evil that has come out.

    Until I find it to be available in booklet form, I plan to print out my own personal copy, and make additional copies to give to family and friends. Talk about a life principle...this one is wisdom indeed! A veritable "grace to help, in time of need."

    • Norma Allison March 3, 2014 Reply

      Well said Don. After leaving ATIA many changes have taken place in my life, too many to discuss, but the best is that God has shown me His Heart, and lovingly captured mine. What a difference from the never ending tryin to be approved.

    • Nancy2 March 3, 2014 Reply

      Amen!

  22. Shelly March 2, 2014 Reply

    This article is a balm to the soul. So timely and encouraging. Praise God that our true identity is found in Christ and Christ alone!

  23. Lisa (Cave) Drake March 3, 2014 Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing these beautiful words of hope and healing.

  24. Eliza March 3, 2014 Reply

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is healing. You expressed it very well.

  25. dreamer March 4, 2014 Reply

    I am literally crying right now. Could not sleep tonight, so I moved to the couch and started reading RG. Your words are so moving, and definitely what I needed. I was never in ATI, but I have seen my lifelong church and friends changed because of false teachings similar to Gothardism. I have grieved, and I still grieve. I miss the good times and the good friends. I wonder what is still true, and I wonder who I am now and if God still has a plan for me. Thank you for your kind and truthful words, Pastor Dave. I always enjoy your comments.

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