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THE FREEDOM FIGHT

          According to Barna Research Group survey, 64% of Christian Men View Porn monthly. That’s right. That’s virtually the same to non-Christian men at 65%.  From the same survey, 22% of young adults aged 18-to-24-years-old consider pornography to be good for society – with 8% of that age group actually thinking it is “very good for society." However, nobody over the age of 50 thought so.

          Look at these startling statistics:

Pornhub has had over 42 billion visits, receives 115 million daily visits and has had 170 years of new content created, according to a report they released in 2019.

54% of pastors said they viewed pornography within the last year.

$3,075.64 is spent on pornography every second on the Internet

1 in 5 mobile searches are for pornography

88% of scenes in pornography films contain acts of physical aggression, with 49% of scenes containing verbal aggression

47% of all US families claim that pornography is an existing problem with someone in their home

     Ted Shimer,  author of the book The Freedom Fight, is passionate about equipping both the addicted and those who want to help them with tools that lead to freedom from a pornography addiction. He received his Master Degree from Dallas Seminary and was trained as a Pastoral Sex Addiction Professional-Supervisor. In 2017, after 10-years of research, and evaluating over twenty different addiction recovery programs, and finding out what did and didn’t work, Ted founded The Freedom Fight, an online pornography addiction recovery program that is FREE for those who wish to access it's services. For more information, listen to today's interview.


BUY YOUR COPIES HERE: https://www.shoptheword.com/reading-lists/april-may-reading-list/



Rooms of a Mother's Heart

         Being a mother is a feeling like no other. Inside the soul of every mother lies a heart that becomes a repository of sweet memories, hard lessons, glorious victories, ordinary days, glaring failures, and God’s grace over the years of mothering. The heart of a mother becomes home to jokes around the dinner table, holiday

traditions, the tears of childhood, and the love that only a mother

knows.

          In light of Mother's Day, Leslie meets with Carol McLeod, president and founder of Carol McLeod Ministries.  where the two discuss the difficulties of conception (infertility), miscarriage, and the ups and downs of motherhood.  

          “My heart’s prayer for you is that you will not be a

perfect mom, but that you will discover all of the ways that you

can be a wonderful mom," says Carol.  


BUY YOUR COPIES HERE: https://www.shoptheword.com/reading-lists/april-may-reading-list/

Freedom Starts Today

What's your drug of choice? Food? Sex? Pornography? Pills? Money? Social Media? Cocaine?


For John Elmore it was alcohol, and it got really bad. So bad in fact, he says, "I PUT A SHOTGUN TO MY HEAD because I wanted my life to end. I wanted the pain to be over. And I wondered if I could go through with it. and I was losing everything, including my sanity. I could feel the darkness around me. Insomnia, mania, nightmares, loss of appetite, risky behavior. I had three doctors tell me I would die if I kept drinking. I thought, Good. I want to die but don’t want to hurt my family by committing suicide. But I hope one morning I just don’t wake up. I drank hard for twelve years straight and was a functional alcoholic. What an ironic justification: “Congrats! You are a total drunk who can hold down a job.” After the horrific end of a relationship, I became a dysfunctional alcoholic trying to numb the pain.”


What to expect from Freedom Starts Today:


“Freedom Starts Today will walk you into freedom from

your struggle or addiction in 24 hours, one day at a time,

indefinitely,” says Elmore. “If you go all in, the next ninety

days will be life altering, sin destroying, and God

glorifying. You see, God said that anyone who has trusted

in Christ is no longer a slave to sin.


BUY YOUR COPIES HERE: https://www.shoptheword.com/reading-lists/april-may-reading-list/

 

I Love Jesus, But I Want to Die

When mega-church pastor and mental-health advocate Jarrid Wilson committed suicide in 2019 after openly and honestly wrestling with depression and suicidal thoughts for years it shocked the evangelical community. The day before his death, Wilson tweeted:

'Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD.

Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety.

But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort.

He ALWAYS does that.'

One of Jarrid Wilson’s greatest passions while on earth was exposing and dismantling the theological stigmatism behind mental health that keeps people from getting help. No one knows that better than Sarah J. Robinson, author of the new book, I Love Jesus, But I Want to Die.

Sarah once believed her lifelong battle with depression made her a bad Christian as she teetered on the edge of suicide continually. Bad theology kept her from getting the help she needed so she turned her pain inward and began cutting.  Late one night she showed up on the doorstep of a couple she'd met at church and confessed she struggled with deep depression and cutting.  The words that came out of their mouths shocked her.  "We love you.  We don't judge you.  We're here for you.  We'll walk through this with you."  

In today's program, Sarah shares her story in hopes that it will help those of you who grapple with the same struggles. 

BUY YOUR COPIES HERE: https://www.shoptheword.com/reading-lists/april-may-reading-list/


Turn Your Season Around 

Darryl Strawberry was one of the most feared sluggers in Major League Baseball, known for his remarkable home runs and his intimidating presence in the batter’s box with his 6’6” frame and his long, looping swing that elicited comparisons to Ted Williams’.

At the age of 29, Darryl had 280 lifetime homers, drawing comparisons to home run king Hank Aaron. 

During his career, he helped lead the New York Mets to a World Series championship and the New York Yankees to three World Series championships. To this day he is one of only five Major League Baseball players to hit two pinch-hit grand slams in the same season, and he is one of only three players in Major League Baseball history to have played for all four of the former and current New York-based Major League Baseball teams – the Mets, Yankee’s, Dodgers and Giants.

But that doesn’t tell you about Darryl’s entire story. While he was breaking records, his life began to spiral out of control. He was also suspended three times by Major League Baseball for substance abuse and he was known for his disruptive behavior amongst his teammates. While Darryl was voted to the All-Star Game eight straight times, his personal life was plagued with addictions, abuse, divorces, cancer, jail time, and other issues.

If that was the end of Darryl’s Strawberry’s story it would be a sad one, but it’s not. Buy Darryl's book, Turn Your Season Around to find out how he  climbed out of the cycle of addiction and defeat, and onto the Rock of stability and sobriety, and how you can too. 

BUY YOUR COPIES HERE: https://www.shoptheword.com/reading-lists/april-may-reading-list/


 

Leslie Montgomery's Interview with Leslie Vernick

           You haven't heard a heart-to-heart conversation about abusive relationships until​ you've heard Leslie Montgomery's interview with author, relationship coach, and therapist Leslie Vernick on her new program, Truth & Grace. Neither woman holds anything back as they address the damage that has been done by the church for not helping women in destructive relationships, how women have internalized blame for the behavior of their mates and others who abuse them, and both women share their own stories of abuse. In today's show, listeners begin to learn how to understand how to identify behaviors in relationship that are meant to control, punish, and hurt, how to confront and speak truth when the timing is right, how to build an identity in Christ, the difference between forgiving and trust, the importance of getting and staying safe, how to know when someone is truly sorry or repentant for their behavior, and more!  


BUY YOUR COPIES HERE: https://www.shoptheword.com/reading-lists/april-may-reading-list/

Leslie Montgomery's Truth & Grace

The Great Sex Rescue Interviews, I & 2

April 1st & April 8th

Sheila Wray Gregoire, Rebecca Gregoire-Lindenbach, Jessica Swatsky

     In interview one, Leslie probes authors Sheila, Rebecca, and Jessica about their survey with 22,000 Christian women about they said does and doesn't work in the marital bed.  The answers were astounding.  The authors expose numerous teachings that women have been taught through Christian resources (best-selling books) over the past 30-40 years that are not only biblically incorrect, but unhealthy, physically, mentally, and emotionally harmful, but damaging to a marriage.  To win a copy of The Great Sex Rescue, subscribe to Leslie Montgomery's Truth & Grace YouTube channel, send an email with your name asking to be entered into the contest for this book to [email protected], and/or make a comment about the interview below it in the comment section on YouTube!  Enjoy!  

BUY YOUR COPY HERE:  https://www.shoptheword.com/reading-lists/april-may-reading-list/


To find Sheila, Rebecca, and Joanna online, check out https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com for blog posts, podcasts, courses, and more to help you revitalize your marriage! 

Rebecca Gregoire Lindenbach

     Rebecca joins us for interview 2 on the topic of The Great Sex Rescue.  She discusses specific examples of women in the book who might relate to listeners dilemma's in regards to bedroom issues including having a husband who invites pornography into the marital bed, how to handle a "minute man" or a partner who isn't interested in taking the time to invest in developing intimacy or helping you find pleasure, but only seeks to fulfill his own.  Other issues discussed in this one-hour interview include finding alternative ways to pleasure one another and build intimacy after years of isolation or distance.  

To win a copy of The Great Sex Rescue, subscribe to Leslie Montgomery's Truth & Grace YouTube channel, send an email with your name asking to be entered into the contest for this book to [email protected], and/or make a comment about the interview below it in the comment section on YouTube! Enjoy!  

BUY YOUR COPY HERE: https://www.shoptheword.com/reading-lists/april-may-reading-list/

To find Sheila, Rebecca, and Joanna online, check out https://tolovehonorandvacuum.com for blog posts, podcasts, courses, and more to help you revitalize your marriage! 


April is Autism Awareness Month

Join Us in Celebrating These Wonderful Special-Hearts Children


Autism: Raising a Special-Hearts Child

          I knew my ten-year-old son Elijah was Autistic long before I was told he was on the Spectrum. Maybe it was my education as a counselor and two decades of experience working with kids in and out of Child Protective Services that gave me an idea, but what I think it really was is mother’s intuition that told me there was something extraordinarily special about Elijah from an early age. Yes, you read that right, special.

          Elijah didn’t start walking until he was 18-months old. Although I brought my concerns up to his pediatrician more than once, I was told repeatedly that he’d walk when he was ready. Besides, his doctor assured me, Elijah met all his other milestones with ease. Aside from walking, I didn’t have any major concerns as Elijah was an exceptionally good baby. That is, until he wasn’t. His terrible twos weren’t the typical tantrum’s of throwing himself on the floor, crying, being able to figure out that he wasn’t going to get what he wanted, and moving on. They were full-blown meltdowns that lasted for hours and he never grew out of them. No matter what discipline I applied or distraction I tried, Elijah was unable to learn to self-regulate his behavior.

          Elijah’s symptoms became more evident as he grew older, started school, and was more socially active. He couldn’t grasp or hold onto basic age-appropriate social skills that kept him from making and keeping friends or from offending people in public such as blurting out that someone was “fat” or screaming that he “hated” a friend/sibling. He would lash out physically at times. Although he was highly intelligent and scored several grades above his peers in academic testing, Elijah had difficulty concentrating in class and would become easily overstimulated by too much noise, light, movement, or even the texture of his jeans rubbing against his legs for too long. Elijah wasn’t just scared of bee’s and wasp and sleeping alone at night, he was horrified. And at any slight of perceived injustice, overstimulation, fear, pressure or stress, Elijah would start crying. Blood curdling screaming would follow, then he’d run and hide in a corner somewhere in the fetal position.

          I know what you’re thinking. How in God’s green earth could a child like that be special? Handful? Yes. Frustrating? Absolutely. Pulling-your-hair-crying-in-the-bathroom-alone-praying-asking-God-why? Yep. Been there. But extraordinarily special? You bet your life he is! Look, raising a special-hearts child is challenging (I disdain the term special-needs. The way I see it, as sinners, we are all special-needs individuals), but the blessings far outweigh the difficulties. Let me explain.

          Elijah is my second special-hearts child. My eldest son, Paul, is a special-hearts adult. He is 35-years-old and has different diagnosis’, but he also received his first diagnosis around Elijah’s age. I went through some hard years trying to parent Paul, wrestling with God about why He gave me such a burden to carry, but twenty-five-years later I can tell you that because of Paul and all we’ve endured together, I am a woman of prayer that I would not otherwise be.  And both my boys have the biggest hearts, are the most caring, loving, selfless individuals I know.  They challenge me to be more godly in their daily examples. 

          Psalm 127: 3 tells us, “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” No where in that verse is there an exception clause for children on the Spectrum. There are steps you can take to assure you’re able to maintain that mindset.

1) We’ve all heard the stewardess tell us that if the plane goes down to put our own oxygen mask on first before we try to save others, right? For me, that means taking care of myself spiritually. If I don’t make time to read the Bible and pray every morning before I start my day, I won’t survive it emotionally, mentally, or spiritually. Start out your day with your eyes on the Prize and your feet on the Rock.

2) Special-hearts children can be demanding just by the sheer nature of their illness. Remind yourself they aren’t your enemy. If you find yourself believing their behavior is a personal attack against you, refocus, by taking your thoughts captive to the obedience of Christ (2 Cor 10:5). If you’re unable to do so on your own, find a Christian counselor, pastor, family member or friend who you can talk to and address these thoughts.

3) Respite! Respite! Respite! Give yourself a break! You’d be surprised how much a 4-hour break will refresh you. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, friends, or whoever you know that is safe and can properly care for your child’s wellbeing, ask them to watch your special-hearts child for a couple of hours.

4) We all have stress in our lives that we can’t eliminate, but you’d be surprised at how much power we have to eliminate unneeded stressors in our lives. Take an inventory of your life and see if there are things you can get rid of that are what I call “tag a long’s” that are sucking the life out of you (excessive time on the phone, internet, t.v.).

5) Find support from others with similar struggles. Autism Spectrum Disorder support groups are common in most cities.

Raising a Child on the Spectrum: 10 Things I Wish I’d Known

          When you finally hear, “Autism Spectrum Disorder” (ASD) from your child’s doctor, it’s not uncommon to have mixed feelings. Certainly, there’s a part of you that’s relieved to finally have an explanation to the often-uncontrollable behavior and struggles of your child. On the flip side however, there can be a sullen realization that raising a child on the Spectrum will likely not be a sprint, but a marathon.

          I raised a son who is now thirty-five who has different diagnoses, and now have a ten-year-old son, Elijah, who is Autistic. Below are ten things I have learned along the way that I wish I’d known earlier in both my son’s journey’s:


          1. ASD is not a result of bad parenting. Research shows that ASD’s are neurodevelopmental disorders in which multiple genetic and environmental factors play roles. However, while parents do not cause these difficulties, as with any parent-child relationship, parental behavior can directly affect children.


          2. You don’t have to listen to or take everyone’s advice. I read a quote once that said, “Don’t take criticism from anyone you wouldn’t go to for advice.” It was liberating. Everyone has an opinion on how you should handle your “out-of-control child.” Whether it’s the old lady in the grocery aisle, your pastor, sister-in-law, Mom, or your neighbor who has all her kids on a vegan diet, no one knows your child better than you. Ask the professionals in your child’s life for advice and other’s you trust, pray over it, and stick to your gut.


         3. Stop worrying about what other people think about your child. I know this is a hard one Momma Bear. I get it! Not everyone around you will see your baby through God’s eyes or see that you’re doing all you can, but that’s okay – that’s not your battle to fight. That’s between them and God. Stay out of it and let it go.


          4. It won’t always be like it is now. I remember sitting in the principal’s office when Elijah was in Kindergarten. Elijah had hit a boy in class. He hadn’t yet been diagnosed with ASD and I was at my wits end. I cried as she told me what happened. “Leslie,” she said, “It won’t always be like this” She was right. After Elijah was diagnosis with Autism and he began getting services his behavior changed and it did get easier in some areas.


          5. It’s okay to grieve the dreams you had for your child, BUT…When you are pregnant you begin dreaming about all the things your child might be when they grow up, and none of them include being on the Spectrum. When my eldest son was eight, he was reading and doing math on a college level. He had great dreams for his future and I shared in those dreams. It was heart wrenching to watch his diagnoses prevent him from fulfilling them. I had to learn to surrender my dreams for my son and his life to God and trust Him to do His will through him, and He has.


          6. Learn to ask for help. I’ll admit it – It’s hard for me to ask for help. I’m the counselor. I’m the ministry leader. I’m the Mom. I’m the one everyone comes to when there’s conflict, a problem, or they need something. So, learning to ask other people to help me feels really, well, out of my comfort zone. But I’ve also learned that if I don’t ask for help, I get irritable, sick, worn out, and then everything falls apart.


           7. Know that ASD is all inclusive. Elijah’s always struggled with constipation and he’s always been a picky eater (it’s a texture issue, not a food issue). Gastrointestinal issues, emotional distress, mental overstimulation, behavioral outbursts, and even spiritual defiance are all part of the battle our children are fighting with ASD.


           8. Learn to view the world from your child’s perspective. I was at a loss in how to help Elijah until I took the time to study and learn about his world and how he perceives it. Kids on the Spectrum tend to have sensory processing issues, which can affect one’s senses like hearing, touch, or taste. Learning that the LED lights of a grocery store hurt his eyes and the buzz of the frozen food refrigerators (that I don’t even notice), overstimulates his senses, helped me help him in those circumstances.


           9. Every child with ASD is different. Same diagnosis, different child. I’ve been around hundreds of children with Autism and I may have met some that had similarities, but never two that were alike. God made your child unique for such a time as this. He knitted your child together in your womb and He knew exactly what He was doing (Ps. 139:13). Your child’s Autism diagnosis is not a surprise to God. He has plans for your child that are for good and not for evil. Plans to give your child hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11-12). Don’t lose sight of that truth.


          10. Forge a bond with your child. Kids with ASD often have difficulty bonding, but it’s not impossible. Making eye-contact with me is something I encourage Elijah do when we talk with one another. I also smile at him when we are talking. He’s learned to smile back. We play “winkie-wars” where we wink back and forth at each other. He loves to be read to and snuggled. He wants to be a “mad scientist” when he grows up, so I bought him a science kit and he loves to tell me about new science experiments he wants to try. I actively look for ways to connect with Elijah where it’s more natural with my other kids.


          We live in an age where we have resources for our children that were not available thirty-forty years ago for our parents. We can access support groups from our home and even some services for our children on the internet. Whatever your situation, know you are never alone. The God of all Creation knows your pain and sees you.  

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