What We're Afraid to Ask: 365 Days of Healing for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse

What We're Afraid to Ask: 365 Days of Healing for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse


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What We’re Afraid to Ask is a must-read for survivors of childhood abuse who struggle to reconcile their faith with their past. Board, Fleetwood, and Jones demonstrate how Christianity offers reasonable, honest, and encouraging answers to difficult questions regarding abuse while focusing the reader’s attention biblically and psychologically toward Jesus Christ, in whom there is infinite hope.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781785351235
Publisher: Circle Books
Publication date: 10/28/2016
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 4.60(w) x 7.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Sherri L. Board is a survivor of childhood abuse, a Certified Temperament Counselor, and a clinical member of the National Christian Counselors Association. She lives in Southern California.

Jon M. Fleetwood is Worship Director at Sanctify Church in Orange, California where he also preaches and teaches. He is receiving his M.A. in Preaching & Pastoral Ministry at BIOLA University.

Anna M. Jones received her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Vanguard University of Southern California. Her mission is to help survivors cope with their abusive pasts.

Read an Excerpt

What We're Afraid to Ask

365 Days of Healing for Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse

By Sherri L. Board, Jon M. Fleetwood, Anna M. Jones

John Hunt Publishing Ltd.

Copyright © 2015 Sherri L. Board, Jon M. Fleetwood, Anna M. Jones
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-78535-124-2


Question One

January 1st

What is evil?

Jon: "Evil is not a 'thing' in and of itself. Rather, it is the corruption of some good thing. When God created the universe, he made everything good (see Gen. 1:31). A person's body and mind are therefore good. One may, however, use their mind to devise an evil plan and use their body to carry out that plan. It is impossible for evil to occur without the use of something innately good. Evil occurs when something good is used for something that is not good."

Anna: "Evil resists what is good, it is one's abusive antagonist, fleshly vices, and immoral spirits that seek souls. Pain, suffering, and abuse characterize a constant reality that evil pervades and is undoubtedly fatalistic for the unbelieving kind. Its very presence threatens one's belief system, one's rationale, and can profoundly affect one's emotions, behaviors, and relationships when one's identity has been rooted within evil's lies. Relying on oneself to make sense of or cure one's iniquities only exasperates one's issues and causes symptomatic reactions within one's attempts to survive. Because of this inevitability, it is crucial to look at evil from its biblical orientation. Otherwise, confusion, dissatisfaction, self-blame, and disbelief will take over due to one's human experiences and limitations. This will skew one's self-perceptions, one's faith in God's divine plan, and one's unique and sanctified purpose through one's belief in Jesus Christ."

Question Two

January 2nd

If God is such a powerful and loving God, why does he let innocent, defenseless children be born to or be adopted by abusive parents?

Jon: "Man and woman were created in the image and likeness of God (Gen. 1:26) with freedom of the will. Although God didn't want them to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, he did not restrict their freedom to do so. If God were to force people's actions, their coming to him would not be genuine. We take comfort knowing that God is just: 'For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done' (Col. 3:25)."

Anna: "Human beings are imperfect and through choice have been exposed to both good and evil, which breeds psychological confusion, ambivalence, and dysfunction. When dysfunctional behavioral patterns are entrenched within a family's dynamics, wrongdoing and suffering are inevitable. Unfortunately, children are susceptible to the decisions of adults and are not exempt from experiencing delinquency or abuse. What children are absolved from, due to a limited capacity of awareness and accountability, is eternal wrath and judgment. Ultimately, God will have the final authority on those who have abused others. He does not routinely intervene to establish his recipe for grace, redemption, and to demonstrate the power that genuine faith and belief in his Son provides. God is without a doubt loving and just."

Question Three

January 3rd

What is the human soul?

Jon: "When God created man he 'breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature' (Gen. 2:7). We can think of man as composed of two parts: a soul and a body. The soul is the immaterial part of man, while the body is the physical or material part. And while the body will one day die, the soul will continue to live on. Jesus said to the thief crucified beside him, '... today you will be with me in Paradise' (Luke 23:43). The same can be said for the soul of any who place their faith in Jesus Christ."

Anna: "The human soul is immortal, immaterial, yet carried within a vulnerable vessel for a magnificent purpose. It is set apart from but temporarily contained within one's body, is linked to one's psyche, and has the capacity to express one's pain, longings, passions, and childhood traumas. One's soul was created, exists in and passes through this wayward world, and has the God-given power to express itself through one's emotions and physicality. The soul is spirit driven, can be chained to one's past, yet God is ultimately in control and governs one's existence. One's soul is interconnected to one's salvation, and one's destiny will be determined dependent upon what one chooses to believe. When one trusts in Jesus Christ as their Lord and savior, one's soul will have eternal life, reigning in heaven, with the almighty God."

Question Four

January 4th

How would studying the Word of God help us to heal our souls: our minds, emotions, and wills?

Jon: "There is nothing like God's Word; 'For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart' (Heb. 4:12). God's Word is a weapon for spiritual warfare. But it's eternally better than any earthly weapon. Alive and determined to do work, it enters a person's inner being. Perceiving all our thoughts and intentions, it labors with infinite love and infinite power. Open the Bible, and the Bible will open you."

Anna: "God's Word is the unadulterated truth and contains the reasons why one breathes. The Bible holds life's answers and lays the foundations of eternity. Truly understanding biblical principles will transform one's soul, identity, and purpose. Studying Scripture will fortify the believer's mind from self-deception and help one prepare for and combat the attacks of Satan and his demons. The immoralities of humankind have twisted truths into ugly and deceptive lies. The evils of abuse make for an innocent child's mind to grow up and believe that one is unworthy, unloved, and destined for psychological and emotional devastation. God's Word teaches the counter, and this alone, when one's eyes are opened, will change the course of one's conscious mind, one's heart, one's decisions, and one's hope and future."

Question Five

January 5th

What is depression?

Jon: "Scripture refers to depression as a low or contrite spirit (see Isa. 66:2). This state is regarded by most as undesirable. But Jesus said, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven' (Mat. 5:3). Heaven is for those who place their faith in Christ (John 3:16). Accepting this truth requires an awareness of one's need for him. While depression is anything but pleasant, it increases one's awareness of this need. God is not only there for the depressed; he is there to give them the kingdom of heaven."

Anna: "Depression is a mood disorder that affects one's mind, emotions, physical being, and behaviors. Attempting to cope with the traumas of abuse only adds to depression's psychologically spirited battle. Bearing a lowly presence is indeed conjointly a spiritual issue that materializes in the physical realm. When a person isolates, self-harms, or has deep self-despair attached to one's existence, godly support and assistance is critical. Depressive symptoms can be exasperated and self-induced by one's beliefs and behaviors. Environmental factors, or a combination of one's circumstances, attitude, and decisions, will profoundly affect one's mental and emotional health. Truthfully examine one's self, because utter hopelessness is not of God's Spirit or influence. Depression is an affliction that can only be healed at its root, through truth, hope, and divine deliverance. Through an authentic relationship with Jesus, the fruits of the Holy Spirit will profoundly and positively affect one's mood and will."

Question Six

January 6th

What is hope?

Jon: "One has hope when they expect something beneficial to happen in the future. 1 Timothy 4:10 says, 'For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe.' So hope causes something, namely, the ability to strive. In other words, hope is fuel for striving. If our fuel source of hope is in God, and God is eternal, then we have an eternal source of hope. With an eternal source of hope, we can always find reason to push forward."

Anna: "Hope is a belief in something or someone, an expectation of faith's manifestation of the confidence one has in the possibilities. Hope speaks promise into one's existence, desires, passions, and future. Hope can be attached to an aspiration, or a fact that promotes stability, security, and truth. Hope changes one's outlook on everyday and abusively tragic occurrences towards having a legitimate weight and purpose. Healing comes to life through hope's positivity, which nurtures one's body and soul. Intention combined with hope increases one's probability for one's dreams to become reality. Hope allows one to be eternally unrestrained from the psychological, emotional, and spiritual battles of life. Hope manifested through prayer materializes the supernatural due to an inexplicable faith in God and what he is capable of accomplishing, which is absolutely anything."

Question Seven

January 7th

Many survivors of childhood abuse only see the world in black and white, in an extremely simplistic nature. Can purposely looking at other colors, like red, blue, orange, purple, just to name a few, help us to not be so childlike in our thinking?

Jon: "It is very likely that many of us have adopted false impressions of who God is and what he is like. The Book of Revelation provides one of the most vivid and colorful descriptions of God. God is said to have the appearance of jasper and carnelian. An emerald rainbow encompasses his throne while from it extends a crystalline sea. And fiery torches, flashes of lightning, rumblings, and peals of thunder (see Rev. 4:3-5). Anyone who understands God as not some stoic, black-andwhite, impersonal robot, but as a robust, active, living, and colorful person, is anything but childlike in their thinking."

Anna: "Color increases one's mental, emotional, and physical vitality through sensation, depth, and creativity. Communication intensifies through hues and their unique properties. Removing the possibilities through polarized thinking manifests in one's splitting process, an inability to see something within balance. When one's perspective is divided into being all good or all bad, delusions are created, emotional walls arise, and dysfunction ensues. Simplicity is essential, but when turned into distortions or denial, then one's perceptions need adjusting. Color activates associations and allows thoughts and imagination to soar. A magnificent world full of color was created by God for one to enjoy."

Question Eight

January 8th

Being betrayed by our parents has left a lot of us distrustful of people and even doubtful of what trust actually means. What is trust?

Jon: "Proverbs 3:5 says, 'Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.' We can draw at least two realities about the nature of trust from this verse. The first reality is that trust involves complete surrender of the heart. Trust is not a partial surrender of the heart. The second reality is that trust involves a relinquishing. So we trust when we stop relying or depending on ourselves. Because God never forsakes those who seek him (see Ps. 9:10), we reserve full expression of this kind of trust for him alone."

Anna: "An unmoving belief or certainty in one's purpose displays trust and will change the projection of one's decisions and interactions. Trust is obtainable but more often than not is crushed by selfish, thoughtless, and dysfunctional human behavior. An authentic and trusting soul can be difficult to find, but when discovered is a true blessing in one's life. Just because one is reliable does not mean one will not disappoint or hurt others. Trust does not coincide with perfection or reaching faultless expectations; it boldly sustains one's bond to another and nurtures genuine connection, vulnerability, and growth. Jesus was betrayed by Judas, yet still embodied what was entrusted in faith and certitude, because he fulfilled his purpose and accomplished what God promised he would."

Question Nine

January 9th

A great number of us learned to survive our painful childhoods by numbing out. And now as adults, some of us feel no emotion at all. Can you tell us how we can begin to feel and experience all of our emotions?

Jon: "The Word of God promises, '... if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come' (2 Cor. 5:17). Notice that this does not mean that the believer in Christ merely ought to act as a new creation, but that the believer in Christ is in fact a brand new creation. There is no person ineligible to receive a new heart and spirit capable of properly and joyfully experiencing emotion (see Ez. 36:26)."

Anna: "When a child endures abuse, the many emotions associated with that abuse can be so overwhelming and deregulating that one has few options: act out or numb out. As one ages, distressing circumstances rebreathe life into this survival process of self-disunion from deep within. This method to emotionally disconnect is dissociation, and this process occurs at different levels. One can detach from one's current trigger or from one's present reality. To tell one's narrative in a contained environment and calm state is crucial for emotional identification and development, which will prompt self-connection, personal growth, and healing. Emotions are fundamental clues that become appropriately elevated when transformed by God's Spirit, truth, and love."

Question Ten

January 10th

What is faith?

Jon: "Scripture defines faith as 'the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen' (Heb. 11:1). Faith grants the mind access to unseen heavenly realities otherwise hidden. It allows God to reveal to us more of himself, his power, his work, and his will. Moreover, faith is necessary for salvation (see Eph. 2:8). When genuinely placed in Christ Jesus, faith becomes the mechanism by which we are immediately forgiven of our sins and granted eternal life (see John 3:36; Rom. 5:2)."

Anna: "Faith is founded upon beliefs greater than one's self yet is directly connected to one's identity and purpose. Faith is freeing, supernaturally oriented, and fundamental for one's gifts in this life and the next. Faith shifts circumstances and shatters perceptions of impossibilities; it saves lives, and releases the shackles of evil upon one's heart, soul, and spirit. One's faith is a series of decisions and profoundly affects one's mental health through overcoming one's childhood abuse and current obstacles. Faith correlates with having a righteous perspective and the knowledge and wisdom to understand that one will not be crushed by the state of the world or by what has happened in the past. Faith is a gift of the promises from God and when fathomed and treasured, one will spiritually soar."

Question Eleven

January 11th

We anticipate the day our souls — our minds, emotions, and wills — are healed. Can music help to restore us in these areas?

Jon: "Steadfastness of heart, pleasure, joy, and gratitude are just some positive states of being connected with making music unto God (Ps. 57:7, 135:3, 71:23; Col. 3:16). In Scripture, the goal of music is not personal gain, but to worship and give praise to the Lord. Positive personal improvement is merely a byproduct of God-focused musical endeavors. If we ever feel we have no reason to sing, we can remember we have been eternally saved through Christ Jesus. We then have an eternal reason to sing and make joyful noise."

Anna: "When music edifies one's mind and spirit, it has the ability to be deeply uplifting, remedial, and transformative. It translates through melodies and lyrics a message that stokes, nurtures, awakens, and brings forth animation to one's emotions and existence. Pleasant sounds and intricate harmonies soothe the soul, ignite the senses, and tell a story. Music heals on psychological and physiological levels because it incites congruence within one's cells and being, and enables personal association and emotional expression. Life can be hard, human behavior is often hurtful, circumstances can be abusive and unfair, and music creates a grieving highway towards emotional release and healthy escape. Humankind was created to trust, depend upon, and worship God. When praising Jesus through song, one will experience a marvelous restoration process through honoring, adorating, and glorifying God."


Excerpted from What We're Afraid to Ask by Sherri L. Board, Jon M. Fleetwood, Anna M. Jones. Copyright © 2015 Sherri L. Board, Jon M. Fleetwood, Anna M. Jones. Excerpted by permission of John Hunt Publishing Ltd..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Questions One — Three Hundred And Sixty-Five,

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