Book Review Series – “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Stuffing Feelings and Pretending to Be Joyful

The Power of a Transformed Wife: Lori Alexander, Trusting God, Emotions

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-by Kathi

This is a book review series of The Power of a Transformed Wife by Lori Alexander. If you are just joining us, you may click on previous chapter reviews if you’d like to catch up.

Introduction & Chapter 1   Chapter 2   Chapter 3   Chapter 4   Chapter 5   Chapter 6  Chapter 7   Chapter 8 – Part 1   Chapter 8 – Part 2    Chapter 9  Chapter 10   Chapter 11  Chapter 12   Chapter 13   Chapter 14

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Chapter 15 – The Disciplined Mind: Trusting God & Doing Good

I must admit, it is getting more difficult to read through The Power of a Transformed Wife and garner up the motivation required to continue writing these reviews. I guess I need to trust God to get me through.

This entire chapter can be summed up with the following: 1) Life sucks, 2) Trust God, 3) Think good thoughts, and 4) Do good. Well, this is all fine and dandy if you’re not in an abusive relationship, dealing with anxiety or depression, dealing with a looming financial crisis, or experiencing a chronic medical condition – all of which Lori’s readers have commented on her blog or Facebook page. But, wait! Lori does deal with chronic pain, so what is her answer?

How can I do good when I’m in such physical pain and continue to go through rough patches? The Lord has given me the gift of teaching and has allowed me to minister to millions of women around the world through my blog – and I never have to leave my home. The Lord has been good to me, and when I’m feeling up to it, I enjoy spending my time mentoring women, helping my children with the grandchildren and their homes, or whatever the Lord puts in my path. I enjoy doing good, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit and a result of trusting in Him.

Lori, the teacher, does not seem to recognize that the virtue of goodness listed in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5: 22-23) is a noun and not a verb. Goodness is listed as a characteristic of a person, not as the action of a person. Also, a minor thing that a teacher should know…Lori should have started this sentence with, “How can I do well…” Well is an adverb that modifies a verb, and is only used as an adjective when describing good health or decent conditions. Sorry, my homeschooling days are coming back to me.

I assume that Lori is talking about doing good work – work that is good that she enjoys. See, grammar works. I will not deny that she enjoys writing on her blog, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. But is it good work? What work is she actually doing? Most of the time she sounds angry and accusatory. I have been reading her blogs for a few years now and besides occasionally helping with her grandchildren, she has never talked about doing anything else. I guess Lori considers her writing and whatever mentoring she does as her good work.

Lori moves on to talk about how when life feels overwhelming or we feel afraid, all we need to do is remember that God is in control and pray.

It’s easy to be anxious and worried about many things. The news is always reminding us of the devastation going on around the world – from natural disasters like earthquakes and flooding, to terror attacks, indiscriminate bombings, and countless threats.

I don’t believe we were created to be able to handle all of this devastation and bad news. There’s not much we can do about it anyway, except to pray. Actually, we have no control over what’s going on in the world. We only have control of ourselves and what we think so I urge you to stop listening to the news and focus on your husband, your children, and your home instead. If you’re troubled or worked up with the political scene, remember politics isn’t our life! Jesus is our life.

Lori then moves on to talking about how we should stuff away our feelings because she is able to do so even while in chronic pain. Her “stuff away your feelings” teaching reminds me of the song “Turn it Off” from Book of Mormon:

I got a feeling
That you could be feeling
A whole lot better then you feel today
You say you got a problem
Well that’s no problem
It’s super easy not to feel that way

When you start to get confused
Because of thoughts in your head
Don’t feel those feelings
Hold them in instead
Turn it off, like a light switch
Just go click
It’s a cool little Mormon trick
We do it all the time

When you’re feeling certain feels
That just don’t feel right
Treat those pesky feelings like a reading light
And turn ’em off
Like a light switch, just go “bap”
Really, whats so hard about that?
Turn it off

The problem with Lori’s teaching is that her readers do not come to her stressed out about politics, bombings in London, or protests in Iran. They come to her with real day-to-day problems they are dealing with. An abusive husband, a husband who drinks, financial insecurity, a husband who uses pornography, chronic illness, or suffering abuse as a child. These are all significant stressors in a person’s life that can cause mental and physical problems that may persist for years. Lori’s response is to always pray more and submit more.

As Lori says, “You see, it’s all about believing in His promises. Nothing more, nothing less.” If Lori truly is one who wants to “do good” and claims to be a mentor, she would take the time to understand what is happening in a person’s life and offer tangible suggestions for dealing with an issue. Her “nothing more, nothing less” offer seems half-hearted, as though she doesn’t want to deal with the messy issues of life. At least listening to someone offers more help than simply saying, “trust God” with no further conversation. At the end of this post, I will show an example of how she dealt with a woman in an abusive relationship.

Lori ends this chapter exhorting mothers to work on children’s hearts. She provides the following instructions:

  • “Work on their thinking more so than their behavior.” (Sounds cultish to me.)
  • “Teach them about God’s goodness, His promises, and His perfect ways.”
  • “Be discreet and chaste so as to not cause others to stumble or give Satan a foothold in their lives.” (Is she talking about dressing appropriately so her children won’t stumble?)
  • “It’s your joy and gratitude that will make the Christian life come alive in your children.” (Fake it till you make it.)
  • “It’s your love and submission to your husband that will model for them how they, as a part of the body of Christ, are to love and submit to their Savior.” (Even if you submit to your abusive husband.)
  • “Guard and protect your family from the enemy who aims to destroy.”
  • “A house with one person in authority is strong, while a house with two heads destroys himself.” (If you don’t have a complementarian marriage your children will be ruined forever.)

Since Lori does not end this chapter with an old blog post, I present a conversation from a recent blog post started by a woman who is clearly in an abusive marriage. Notice how Lori and Ken reply to this woman.

Ch 15.1Ch 15.2Ch 15.3

Ken now chimes in and seems to question what Sad Lady deems as “not being nice” then talks about how wives should give up resentment and contempt and confess their own sins. This poor woman has been dealing with an emotionally and verbally abusive husband for 36 years. She describes him as a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde. She feels like she has to walk on eggshells in order to not cause a disturbance.  He is a classic abuser. How dare he put this back on her!

Ch 15.4Ch 15.5Ch 15.6

At least KAK comes in as says, “I am so, so sorry to hear your story.” While she doesn’t support Sad Lady leaving her abusive marriage, at least she offers some empathy.

Ch 15.7Ch 15.6

This is how Lori stuffs down feelings. There is no reason for this woman to be afraid around her husband. All she needs to do is read the Bible, pray, and talk to a godly older woman. Notice that Lori does not offer to correspond with her and mentor her through this situation. Despite what Lori thinks, she is not doing good work toward Sad Lady. Because in Lori’s mind, all Sad Lady needs to do is turn it off.

James 2: 14 – 17: What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

24 comments on “Book Review Series – “The Power of a Transformed Wife” – Stuffing Feelings and Pretending to Be Joyful

  1. “The Lord has given me the gift of teaching and has allowed me to minister to millions of women around the world through my blog”.

    Please. Make it stop.

    Just read her nonsense on women’s dress.

    FYI Lori:-

    Moses didn’t wear pants.

    I hope Ken starts dressing biblically in ankle length robes like our Saudi friends.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Also worth noting is her distinct lack of writing about the merciful Saviour. The one who loved sinners and didn’t spent all his time discussing their faulty dress codes and failures.

    Me feels Lori doesn’t know the Lord.

    If it smells like a Pharisee…

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  3. I think the biggest issue with Lori is also fundamental problem with all “fundamentalist” Protestant denominations: they don’t believe that doing good works has any influence on salvation. For her, she doesn’t have to actually be nice or compassionate or helpful to anyone.

    I think it’s disgusting when Lori (or any of them) say they’re doing “good works” because it’s never about actually helping people (usually the action’s foundation is in telling people why they are going to Hell, with some superficial “kindness” on top).

    It really bothers me that these people have no real understanding of how to help or even be truly nice people. This is why this group of “Christians” is the one that gives other Christians a bad name.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Run, Sad Lady! Run from these people and their useless, harmful counsel!

    And Ken…does he think you can set up a ‘game’ with a person like this??? This is a grown man. If he is being hateful and she calls him on it, he knows. He just doesn’t care. These two demonstrate every day why ‘complementarianism’ is useless. It won’t face real problems dead one. It just says either pretend they don’t exist or be nice to him and it’ll get better. It won’t.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I think the biggest issue with Lori is also fundamental problem with all “fundamentalist” Protestant denominations: they don’t believe that doing good works has any influence on salvation. For her, she doesn’t have to actually be nice or compassionate or helpful to anyone.

    Except for Virtue Signalling with every word, of course.
    Serena Joy lecturing all the Handmaids.

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  6. “The Lord has given me the gift of teaching and has allowed me to minister to millions of women around the world through my blog”.

    I AM SOOOOOOOO SPESHUL! SEE? SEE? SEE?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can imagine how these responses left Sad Lady deflated, confused, feeling inadequate, guilty and disoriented by these damaging responses. I certainly was when I received the same responses. Those suggestions only made things much worse in my marriage.

    I sincerely hope and pray she has found some better counsel. Since I am learning not to stuff my feelings, I let out a loud growl over this post! I remain gratefully divorced.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I spent decades holding in those feelings and thoughts and obeying everything he said. I ended up in chronic pain. It got better when he was gone and I began to tell others the truth about him and our marriage (definitely wasn’t speaking nice things). Perhaps Lori’s problem is holding it all in. She might find freedom from chronic pain if she let it out every once in a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. So Ken recommends manipulation and “games” to try trick an abusive man into being “nice”. Wow. He doesn’t even care about the heart of this man… didn’t God himself allow for divorce in the OT due to “hardness of heart”? And then, if the manipulation doesn’t work, she is supposed to sacrifice herself for his salvation… because God apparently can’t save him through only the sacrifice of Jesus. And then, if the manipulation and the sacrifice don’t do it… then it means that she is the one with the problem and needs to examine herself. Because the problem can’t be their advice so it MUST be something she is doing wrong. It reminds me of the “faith healers”. If a person doesn’t get healed through their ministry it is never the fault of the healer… it is always the fault of the person who supposedly didn’t have enough faith. So if you can’t manipulate an abusive man into being “nice” then the problem must be you, because it ought to work, because they said so.

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  10. Yes, hang around “godly” women like Lori A. She can play Eliezar or Bildad and lecture you on your ash heap. “‘Fess up! What did you do? What sins did you commit to merit this suffering?”

    Had smug matrons force feed me crappy platitudes about how if I prayed and was patient and chaste, God would send Prince Charming into my life. Bunch of bovine excrement. I’m sick of dating games and the losers still in or reentering the dating pool. Just wish the idiots at church would shut up. I’m sick of the encouragement (lies) they spout. Crap happens. It’s easier to lie that everything will turn out AWESOME when we know it won’t, but that excuses their nasty behavior toward single women and they can pat themselves on the back for their “compassionate” lies.

    I would encourage this woman to form an escape plan. And to realize that she’ll die alone. But better alone than in the company she has now. I had to live with my emotionally abusive mom for a year due to extreme poverty and debilitating pain from sickness. Just because life stinks doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you. We need to remember this and quit mocking the afflicted at church.

    Like

  11. Auislucky, I didn’t post your comment because I’m going to post it in a separate post tomorrow. Your voice needs to be heard. I’m sorry about the pain you have gone through. Truly!

    Like

  12. @Ilene:

    Perhaps Lori’s problem is holding it all in. She might find freedom from chronic pain if she let it out every once in a while.

    But then how could she Stay Sweet and Always Victorious?

    Like

  13. “Stuffing feelings” was the cause of a lot of problems in my life in prior years and encouraging others, particularly those who have been or are being abused can cause an.immense amount of damage.

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  14. Dont they know that they are accountable if this woman is killed by jeckle/hyde or if she ends her own life? We all have to give account before God one day –
    this is like someone stopping at a two car wreck and telling a trapped victim to pray more and walking away, not helping, not calling 911 for help, and ken is like that also but has to ask the victim if perhaps she was driving too fast and thats why she wrecked and saying pray harder- goodbye! Argh!

    Like

  15. Pingback: Trite, Unhelpful, and Demoralizing Responses to Wives in Harmful Marriages | Spiritual Sounding Board

  16. Mary27, that is what stuck out to me as well. Make a deal so what? So that her husband obeys his marriage vows and his Biblical responsibility as a husband to love and cherish his wife? And the wife? Her deal is to do something “above and beyond” what is required just to get her husband to fulfill his vows?

    It’s like having a broken furnace in my apartment. My contract says my landlord will fix it, but my Christian friends say, “Don’t burn any bridges. Tell your landlord that you’ll pay to get the carpets professionally cleaned if he fixes the furnace.” REALLY? That’s supposed to be good advice?

    Like

  17. This is so much my life growing up. I was emotionally abused by siblings, peers and authority figures. When the abuse got bad enough that I sought help, I was told that I was too touchy, overreacting, insubordinate or whatever. That whatever anger I felt was my own pride and arrogance and not a valid response. Instead, I was supposed to seek forgiveness for my anger and pray for joy. That was my experience in the evangelical church and I still see the same code words and phrases coming out.

    I keep circling back to Boundaries. Publicly acknowledging that the marriage is broken is not sinful. In fact, it seems to be more sinful to be hypocritically acting like everything is fine when the marriage is dead. Marriage counseling is for struggling marriages, not dead ones, and especially where there is still a solid foundation of respect.

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  18. Make a deal so what? So that her husband obeys his marriage vows and his Biblical responsibility as a husband to love and cherish his wife? And the wife? Her deal is to do something “above and beyond” what is required just to get her husband to fulfill his vows?

    Yes. That was TERRIBLE advice! Be extra super duper nice to him so he wont be a terrible human being for two seconds? All the while she is telling him she has tried. Tried so hard, to make this work and he doesn’t care.

    But all Ken can think of is ‘make it a game’? This man needs to go to the house and stop advising anyone. That’s probably the biggest bunch of nonsense I’ve read from him and it is saying A LOT.

    Like

  19. Further thoughts on Ken’s response:

    1. He minimizes what Sad Lady states is happening to her when he puts her words in quotes. He could have asked her to explain in more detail what she meant when she said her husband is not nice to her. Stating “not being nice to you” implies that he does not believe that her situation is as bad as it could be.
    2. Paragraph 2 starts with: “If he is a good guy overall…” Did he even read what she said? She says that her husband criticizes and cuts her down. That he blows up when she talks to other people. He tells her to find friends then undermines her relationships. He controls her. He may be an alcoholic – she notices a change in demeanor on some nights when he drinks. They do everything together. She feels like she betrays him when she talks about how he acts. She feels like life is being sucked out of her and she has lost interest in life. She calls him Jekyl/Hyde and feels like she has to walk on eggshells around him.

    3. Ken tells her that she needs to model to her husband what kindness is like. This guy must be near 50, maybe older. He is a grown-ass man! If he doesn’t know how to act kindly by now, he never will.

    4. Ken tells her that this is not about you but about Jesus. Really? He thinks Jesus is okay with her her husband treats her?

    5. Ken tells her to have her husband hold her accountable for what she does that sets him off. Oh, I’m sure her husband will love that. She is already broken down, how much more can this woman take?

    6. Ken wants her to confess her sins for how she has caused hurt or pain toward her husband. Does he even realize that this poor woman can do nothing right in her husband’s eyes? About the only thing she can do right is feed him and have sex with him. Great, Ken, kick her harder while she’s down.

    Lori and Ken never cease to amaze me with their toxic advice.

    Also, I realize that I put Sad Lady’s responses in there out of order. I’ll work on fixing that.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. For Lori, “The Lord has been good to me, and when I’m feeling up to it, I enjoy spending my time mentoring women, helping my children with the grandchildren and their homes, or whatever the Lord puts in my path.”

    For her readers, “We only have control of ourselves and what we think so I urge you to stop listening to the news and focus on your husband, your children, and your home instead.”

    I think we should let the hypocrisy of this sink in. In the midst of a chapter telling Christian women to find joy and work while stuffing their feelings, she seems to be saying that she only works when she feels up to it. So, she works out of self-focus and tells others to work out of other-focus.

    This is what Jesus is talking about when he says, “They tie up heavy burdens and lay them on men’s shoulders, but they themselves are unwilling to move them with so much as a finger.” Here Sad Lady is so beaten down that she has no emotional energy to expend towards her marriage, and their response is “this isn’t about you, it’s about the Lord Jesus Christ and your marriage”. This is a huge burden, and, has been said, she is unwilling to lift a finger. For Lori, she works when she feels up to it, for her readers, they work regardless of their feelings because it’s not about them.

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  21. Mark – Thanks for pointing out the inconsistency. I notice that Lori did not add focusing on her husband to her list of how she enjoys spending her time.

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  22. Mark, Kathi:
    Related to her self-focus she recently left this in comments.

    “Amen, Robin. In a while, my son and his wife will drop their three children off here for the night and we’ll take them on a walk at the beach tomorrow to give my son and his wife a little break. We love to do this for them and since I’m home, I can help them whenever they need help. I just sat with my old, sick mother for several hours this morning and had lunch at her home yesterday with my sisters. I can do this since I’m home full time. It’s such a blessing that way too many women simply don’t understand.”

    So, staying at home frees her up to help her own. Help her kids, help her mom. But does she help anyone in the community, anyone really struggling at her church? I would think that should be listed as another benefit. Not to mention the benefit she is talking about is the benefit that comes from any woman who is retired. Its not because she stayed home all her life that she is able to do that now, its because she is effectively a retired grandma. Women who have worked their whole life and are now retired can do the same thing.

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  23. Lori’s apparently giving out medical advice on facebook today…did you know fever’s aren’t dangerous even at 106(!) and your kid should just go with it? Also seizures aren’t dangerous?

    She apparently read this in a book.

    Like

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