Holy Week, Holy Movies

One of the things I remember about the Easter season growing up were the religious movies we watched.  My first recollection of a spiritual movie was “The Robe”.  Even as a child I was moved by it and the message of ultimate sacrifice and unconditional love the lead characters (Richard Burton and Jean Simmons) displayed in the final scene of the movie.  (I won’t give away the ending if you’ve never seen it.)  It is still one of my favorite Easter movies.  “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston was also a family favorite.The Robe

In 2004, Mel Gibson produced “The Passion of the Christ” taking spiritual movies to a new level.  It was violent and highly controversial.  It was incredibly gripping and painful to watch.  I left the theater emotionally raw after watching the realistic depiction of Jesus crucifixion.  At the same time I remember thinking it would be something I should see every year as a reminder of what Jesus endured for the sake my soul.  Nine years later and I still haven’t been able to watch it.  The visual images are that powerful in my mind.

Passion of the ChristThis year I have a new favorite spiritual movie that has given me much pause about my Christianity.  It is “Les Misérables”.  Like “The Passion”, it is dark and violent at times, but the music, lyrics, and redemption message, carry you through the movie to its tear-jerking and powerful conclusion.

The movie opens with the song “Look Down” and the release of Jean Valjean from prison after 19 years.  After word of his release, Valjean, played by Hugh Jackman, sings about his freedom, while the prison guard, Javert, played by Russell Crowe, reminds him his name is “24601” and that he’ll always be a slave.  Although technically free, Valjean is a marked man and must carry his papers with him wherever he goes.  He is bitter and sings “I’ll never forgive them for what they’ve done”.

Les MiserablesAfter an encounter with a Catholic bishop, there is another moving scene in which we get to witness Valjean’s inner struggle as he decides to reclaim his identity and put the mentality of a slave behind him.  (Click the song link to hear Pedro perform the first three songs of “Les Mis” – Look Down, Valjean’s Soliloquy and The Bishop © 2012 Claude Michel Schonberg.)

These first few scenes set the stage for conflict throughout the movie.  On the one hand you have Valjean, who is stepping into his redeemed identity and living a life of grace and forgiveness (like Jesus).  On the other hand you have Javert, who represents ‘the law’ (like the Pharisees).  Javert is obsessed with tracking down Valjean to return him to prison for breaking parole—much like the Apostle Paul persecuted Christians prior to his conversion.

Throughout the movie, there are encounters between these two characters as their worlds collide in unpredictable ways.  Javert continues to believe (and sings) “a man such as you can never change”.  But even in the face of death, Valjean chooses to do what is right and won’t return to his ways of rebellion and slavery.  Valjean is a changed man.  He is walking out his identity in Christ. In the end (spoiler alert), Javert can’t live with himself and the inner turmoil caused by Valjean’s transformation, and chooses to take his own life—like Judas did.Les Miserables 2

I’ve seen “Les Mis” twice in the theater, bought the video this week and have listened to the soundtrack countless times in the last two months.  Needless to say, I love it!  I’m sure not everyone will agree with my enthusiasm for this movie.  However, with its powerful story, amazing music and compelling lyrics, I think “Les Mis” is a must-see for every Christian—and perfect for Holy Week reflection.  Coincidentally, it ends with the hope of tomorrow—just like we have in Christ.

What’s your favorite spiritual or Holy Week movie and why?

“You Complete Me” or Do You?

The title of this blog post was taken from a quote in the 1996 movie “Jerry Maguire”.  It is in the final scene of the movie when the main character in the movie, Jerry Maguire, played by Tom Cruise, returns to his estranged wife Dorothy, played by Renée Zellweger, and tells her that she completes him.  For all the women readers out there, let’s just breathe a big sigh as we silently think to ourselves, “if only my husband felt that way”.

Wedding ringsI was in my mid-thirties at the time this movie came out and although I was already married for over ten years, I was still naive enough to think that kind of love was possible.  It’s not that that kind of love isn’t really possible.  It’s that we shouldn’t expect our spouses to complete us.  Yet that is the message that we are constantly bombarded with in the entertainment industry.  It is all over our television sets, in the theaters and in the fantasy romance novels that women can get wrapped up in.  In fact, it is fed to our children at an early age in Disney fairy tales as well.  No wonder women expect to live happily ever after when they walk down the aisle on their wedding day.

Complement, Not Complete

We are meant to complement our spouses, not complete them.  We are each to be made whole through our relationship with Christ and partner with our spouses in creating a Godly marriage.  When we expect our husbands to complete us, we are setting ourselves up for huge resentments and unmet expectations.  It is an enormous burden to place on them.  They are only human.  It is enmeshment and co-dependency at its worst.  Without the communication tools to deal with that, we end up living in misery.  I know because I lived in that place for many years.

I’ve been working on my own healing and recovery for the past nine years.  It was in a variety of spiritual and emotional healing classes and reading books like “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend that I first started to realize this and put the pieces together in my life.  It’s been a very painful process to come to terms with my own character defects and emptiness that I had in my heart.  I had to learn to turn to God to fill that hole and connect with other women who, for the most part, had also put their husbands on a pedestal and expected them to meet all of their needs.   It is epidemic in society.  I would venture to guess that unmet expectations are probably one of the leading causes of divorce.  But it doesn’t have to end that way.

There is Hope for Your Marriage

My husband and I just returned from a marriage workshop in California held by New Life Ministries.  New Life is also responsible for airing “New Life Live”, America’s #1 Christian call-in counseling ministry, hosted by Steve Arterburn.  It is a ministry that I whole-heartedly support, list on my website and use as a resource in groups that I lead.New Life Ministries

This weekend did not disappoint as I saw God show up in amazing ways and heard many testimonies of life transformation.  For me, this weekend was a wonderful opportunity to really connect at a deep level—not just with my husband, but with the other couples in our group sessions.  We left refreshed, hopeful for the future and more equipped and willing to bring healing and restoration into our marriage.

I cannot recommend New Life highly enough.  Whether your marriage needs a tune-up or a full-blown resuscitation, I encourage you to contact New Life Ministries at 1-800-NEW-LIFE to get it back on track.  You’ll be glad you did.

Suffering in the Body | By Kim Amrine | Guest Post

About 2½ years ago, a light bulb came on for me.  I was re-reading Dr. Cloud and Townsend’s book, “How People Grow.” Dr. Cloud posed a question to a group of experienced pastors, “If you had to arm your parishioners with protection from sin, how would you do it?  What do you think is the best armor you could wear?”  They had many ideas, but ultimately he pointed them to 1 Peter 4:1:  “Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourself also with the same attitude, because whoever suffers in the body is done with sin.”(NIV)

 Caught in the Cycle

“Oh,” I said to myself, “this isn’t going to be pretty.”  I had been in relapse in my food addiction for a year or two, after some good abstinence for a few years.  I had just completed a one year healing/recovery group and learned what mother’s and father’s roles are, and what they should provide for their children.  I had stepped out of denial and started the grief process over the holes of parenting that were in my family of origin, including being the child of two alcoholic parents.

I was attending 12-step recovery meetings regularly, journaling, reaching out to others over the phone, and none of it was working.  A friend and mentor reminded me, “You are in the process of insanity—doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24 TNIV

Embracing the Pain

My relapse into food addiction and my internal pain brought me back into the therapeutic process, this time with a very seasoned and astute therapist.  It was here that I realized the only way to healing was to go through the pain.  I couldn’t minimize it, avoid it, rationalize it, or medicate it away using food.  These defenses were no longer working for me.

 The last 2 years I have been grieving a myriad of losses, deaths if you will—loss of my childhood, loss of the parents I thought I had, but didn’t, loss of many positive experiences in my marriage, loss of physical health and loss of internal peace because of my past.  I have denied, protested in anger, and cried until I thought the tears would never end. I know there are still more to come.

Letting Christ Transform Your Pain into Healing

Why do I bother doing this?  Because as one of my pastors recently said, “If we don’t let Christ transform our pain, we will transmit it.”  If I don’t enter into the healing process, my pain will either be turned inward – food addiction, depression – or transmitted and turned outward, projecting my unprocessed feelings onto those I love and care for.  My heart’s desire is to leave a positive legacy to those who enter my life and sphere of influence.

Jesus never promised an easy walk.  “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NKJV) Out of death and dying comes resurrection and life.  I count on Jesus and the cross he bore, (and the cross that I am bearing now) to bring me through to a resurrected life.  I know that as I continue to grieve the losses of my childhood, that there will be new life on the other side.  And I don’t mean in heaven; I mean a resurrected life here on earth.

I have already experienced some of the fruit of this process of recovery and in my faith journey.  I am just going a little deeper now.  The Lord will redeem my losses, “I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten.” Joel 2:25 (TNIV) There will be redemption on the other side of my season of grief.  He is faithful and I can count on it.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Kim & Ardis

Kim & Ardis

Kim Amrine is a grateful Believer who is passionate about healing and recovery.  She serves as Ministry Leader of Celebrate Recovery at Pine Lake Covenant Church in Sammamish, Washington, where she has led a number of groups.   Her other passions are being a wife of 37 years to Jerry, mom to two adult children, and working as a physical therapist.

_________________________________________________________________________________

Note from Ardis ~ I’ve been blessed to walk alongside Kim and witness her courageous journey of spiritual and emotional healing.  She is a true model of vulnerability and taking the risks required to break free from past hurts, habits and hang-ups.

Thank you Kim for sharing your story of perseverance.  I hope her story encourages you or someone you know to walk through the pain, to the other side, and turn healing into hope.

For an Audience of One

I’ve been blogging for over a year now.  It’s not such a big feat, but for me it was the next step I needed to take to flex my writing muscle.  Just when I think I’m finding my voice and feeling more comfortable with my writing, I find myself getting caught up in what others think or what a blog is “supposed” to look like.  Self-doubt can creep in so insidiously.

The truth is that most people don’t follow any hard and fast rules to blogging—unless they want to take their writing seriously.  In today’s publishing industry, blogging is a way to prove to potential publishers that you have a “following” or as Michael Hyatt calls it, a “tribe.”  A large tribe equates into potential book sales and that motivates a publisher to take note of your manuscript.  Of course good writing is also key to getting noticed.

So why am I mentioning this on my blog?  It’s because I feel stuck on how to continue blogging.  In the months preceding the publishing of my story in “Journeys to Mother Love,” I pursued getting a domain name and developing my website.  That was when I realized I needed to brand my name, my image, my site, etc.  I hired Athena Dean from Book Jolt, to help with that process.

When Athena asked me what my passion was and what I wanted to write about, my answer was easy.  I love hearing and seeing how God transforms lives when people learn to trust Him and embrace deep healing.  Evangelism isn’t my gift.  It’s facilitating spiritual growth and encouraging people to walk through their pain to the other side of wholeness.  So we brainstormed on taglines and came up with “Where Healing Turns to Hope”.  (Thank you Athena!  That was worth every penny.)

The only problem now is that I am second guessing if my writing is really conveying that message.  I love the exchange of deep spiritual insights and sharing struggles at a heart level.  I am not embarrassed to share my own painful struggles, doubts or neediness.  The question is how much to share on a public blog.

Don’t be tempted by the allure of an audience.

In finding my voice should I deliberately write for affect or strip my spiritual candor to potentially draw a tribe?  Should I always write deep introspective posts that align with my branding?  “Where Healing Turns to Hope” doesn’t have to imply deep spiritual revelation or intense healing.  It’s about being a light in my words and deeds so that others may see Jesus as the author of healing and hope.

My voice is one of thousands of bloggers who have been redeemed and restored to our true identity in Christ—not perfect, but embracing our brokenness and moving forward one day at a time.  When I start to question my voice, the size of my tribe, my “likes” on Facebook and such, I am letting my pride get the best of me and going against the heart transformation that Christ has done in me.

In my recent period of questioning and doubting the direction of my blog, the Lord has graciously reminded me that “He is enough for me.”  When I look to a tribe for validation of my writing, mistakenly defining that as “fruit”, He gently whispers that “I am the fruit” of His labor.  So with that kind of encouragement to continue blogging, I know that I am really blogging for an audience of One—and I’m very grateful for that.

Overtaken By Blessings

Yesterday I officially celebrated my 50th birthday with an anointed group of 12 dear friends.  It wasn’t really my 50th birthday as I turn 52 tomorrow.  That’s because two years ago when I was ‘supposed’ to be celebrating my 50th birthday with friends, some painful life circumstances intervened that pushed my celebration to a very low priority.

52 B-day 00036 5x7

My mother, JoAnn, whom I had rarely communicated with over the past few years, had a major stroke that left her partially paralyzed and virtually unable to communicate.  God was doing some major heart surgery on me as he called me to spend my ‘first’ 50th birthday at the feet of my mother.  It was very humbling and bittersweet.  She gave me life and now I sensed that I was giving it back to her.

JoAnn never recovered from that stroke and she never regained her voice.  Her life continued to deteriorate until the Lord finally took her home in February of this year.  So yesterday’s birthday celebration was my rescheduled 50th birthday party—my first birthday since she passed.

Yesterday’s party wasn’t a party in the traditional sense of fun and games or cake and ice cream.  It was a celebration with connecting hearts, inspiration, hope, tears and laughter too.  It was a celebration of life’s richness, healing and transformation.  It was a celebration of how God does turn our mourning into gladness—not just for me but for my new family in Spain as well.  It was my gratitude to God and the people in my life who have helped me carry my burden these past two years.

Joined via Skype by Pedro and Rosa from Spain.

Joined via Skype by Pedro and Rosa from Spain.

Today I embark on the start of a new journey and I am carrying a new burden.  It is the responsibility that God has placed on my heart to write this story.  It is not a small task.  It will require lots of discipline and the openness to relive and process all of the pain and the joy over and over again.  I know that God will see me through it.  My purpose is clear.

My devotional reading for yesterday, titled Overtaken By Blessings, couldn’t have been more appropriately timed by God: And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God. (Deuteronomy 28:2)  I have been overtaken by blessings.  I am on the mountain top.  While I know I can’t stay there, I can choose to carry His love for me in my heart and to gratefully remember that I am going down this path for Him—one day at a time.

What’s in a Name?

I am welcoming myself to the world of blogging.  It is something I have wanted to do for a few years, but just never got around to it. 

So why now? 

Well, that can be best answered by saying that I have recently decided to take my writing more seriously.  I am in the process of exploring the right avenue for it, so this seemed like a logical next step.  And thanks to a friend of mine who also has an interest in writing and who shared her blog with me, I decided to take the plunge. 

welcome_friends

So what’s in a name?  

Having the right name can make all the difference in the world–in some circles, anyway.  It can lead to your being accepted or rejected by the ‘in’ crowd.  Whatever kind of first impression you leave on people you meet can also label you with a name–either good or bad.  I have been on the receiving end of some harsh name-calling as a child that definitely left me hating my name.  Unfortunately those verbal wounds took a long time to heal. 

Now I love my name.  It is a beautiful part of my identity.  I know there is no one like me.  I know that God uniquely and divinely created me–He knit me together in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:13) 

So when it came to naming my blog, I wanted a name that would serve as a unique marker for this season of my journey.  Lots of names came to mind.  But it seems that I’m not the only person coming up with clever names for their blog: Thinking Out Loud, Illuminate, Light the Way, A Changed Life, A Life Transformed and other similar iterations were all taken.

When I think of the events of the last year, one of the many thoughts I have is how God has been ‘making me bold’.  He has been my guiding light through thick and thin.  He has nudged me each step of the way–out of my comfort zone and stretching me to do some very bold things. 

In light of all that He has done for me and in me, I can’t help but acknowledge that in the name of my blog.  For without His Presence in my life, none of these things would be possible.  (Phil. 4:13)

I am forever grateful that He is Making Me Bold.   

BOLDfaith

  • WELCOME to my site!

    I'm an author, writer, speaker, mentor & mom. I've struggled to find my voice all my life as I lived in the shadows of a mother with mental illness. Thankfully that was not the legacy that she handed down to me. It took a lot of recovery and deep healing work to rise above it.

    I am thankful to God for Making Me Bold in the process. Now I use my writing and speaking voice to help others on their journey to turn healing into hope.

  • Returning to Spain

    Arrival on Spanish SoilApril 29th, 2018
    Vamos a España!
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 371 other followers

  • Recent Posts

  • Ardis A Nelson ~ Writer ~ Speaker

  • Most Popular Topics

  • Journeys to Mother Love

  • What I Write About

  • Songs Composed by Pedro Gonzalez Arbona

  • Copyright Notice

    © Ardis A. Nelson and MakingMeBold, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ardis A. Nelson and MakingMeBold with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

%d bloggers like this: