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