401 | Guest Serena Dyksen: A Journey From Broken to Healed
How is fear holding you back from getting the healing you need?
Today on the podcast, we’ve got special guest Serena Dyksen with us. Serena is a published author, speaker, coach as well as a Next Level Life participant. She’ll be sharing her journey from brokenness to healing, the struggles that made her grow, and how She Found His Grace, the title of her latest book – is available on Amazon by clicking this link.
In this episode, Serena and I talk about:
- Sexual assault
- Fear and pain
- The Church
On today’s podcast you’ll discover the courage you need to move past fear and find freedom!
401 | Serena Dyksen: A Journey From Broken to Healed
people, life, struggling, walking, bruce, experienced, women, abortion, church, talk, god, serena, grace, helping, realize, shared, sabotage, freedom, recognize, knowing
Serena Dyksen, Chris LoCurto
Serena Dyksen 00:00
So the fear side of it, you know, because I think of all aspects, I think, you know, we have women that are in the church that are like, "Oh, I am facing unplanned pregnancy, I'm, unmarried. What is the church going to say?" So we we say women go from the church pew to the abortion clinic because of that fear. And that is one in four women in our church.
Chris LoCurto 00:24
Serena Dyksen 00:24
One in four.
Chris LoCurto 00:27
Because of the fear of how people inside the church will respond?
Serena Dyksen 00:32
Yes, yes, absolutely.
Chris LoCurto 00:44
Welcome to the Chris LoCurto show, where we discuss leadership and life, and discover that business is what you do, not who you are. Welcome to the show, folks. Hope you're having a fabulous day. It is a great day here in the studio, we have Serena Dyksen with us today, we're going to be talking about her brand new book, She Found His Grace. And she has a fantastic story, a great ministry, and a lot of great information that we are going to be talking about. So let's just dive right in, Serena, welcome.
Serena Dyksen 01:22
Thank you. Thank you for having me today.
Chris LoCurto 01:24
It's good to have you on the show. Not your first time in the building.
Serena Dyksen 01:27
Chris LoCurto 01:27
We go back a ways, you've been through Next Level Life. You've been through Next Level Leadership Live Event, all that kind of fun stuff. But you're now an author?
Serena Dyksen 01:37
Yes. It's kind of crazy to think about, isn't it?
Chris LoCurto 01:40
It is, isn't it? I mean, it's just amazing how much you guys have been doing and what you've been accomplishing. So for all those folks out there listening, kind of tell us your story. Tell us about yourself, we'll get to the story. But tell us about yourself.
Serena Dyksen 01:54
Okay. I'm Serena Dyksen. I've been married for 27 years to my high school sweetheart. We have two children.
Chris LoCurto 02:02
Bruce is here in the studio with us.
Serena Dyksen 02:04
Yes. And we have two adult children. I'm a Nana. Our daughter is expecting her second baby, which is so fun. And I'm the founder of She Found His Grace Ministries, a global ministry. And yeah, we're just staying busy just serving the Lord around the world. So we're super excited.
Chris LoCurto 02:25
That's awesome. Now we are going to talk about some tough, tough stuff. So for our listener-I'm preparing our listeners, you're doing this all the time, you are all over the place, you've been on so many different interviews, you've been in so many different conferences, and all that kind of fun stuff. So you're used to talking about this. But I do want to say you've come through again Next Level Life, and I'm going to talk about that. So those folks that are out there right now, you may not be prepared for this, take a deep breath, we're gonna hit some heavy stuff.
Serena Dyksen 02:57
We are gonna hit some heavy stuff.
Chris LoCurto 02:59
So we're gonna hit that when we come back right after this.
Chris LoCurto 03:05
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Chris LoCurto 04:39
Alright. So again, we are talking with Serena Dyksen in the book is She Found His Grace. So tell me about the book. Tell us about the book and why you wrote it.
Serena Dyksen 04:48
So my book is my life story. I had grown up in a pretty rough home and didn't grow up in the church and we found myself when I was 13, I was sexually assaulted by a relative. And we were just given the option of having an abortion. With an unplanned pregnancy, there was no other options. And that was supposed to help us. And so we know that it did not help. And it just went into a lot of heartache, a lot of struggles in life and not even understanding not even pinpointing that was a huge part of my struggles. And so just recently, when the movie Unplanned came out, a friend invited me to go to that movie.
Chris LoCurto 04:49
Which is powerful, and everybody needs to see it, but they're probably not ready for it yet.
Serena Dyksen 05:47
It is a powerful movie, I highly recommend it. People need to see it, they need to understand, actually, lots of people after they've watched it, they said, forgive us, we just didn't even understand. And so I didn't know what that movie was about, went, and it was like watching my life unfold. And I just heard the Holy Spirit say now's the time to tell the rest of your story. And so out of obedience, I wrote our story, and just a way, a tool, to help families just see the hurt so that they can walk through their healing process.
Chris LoCurto 06:27
Yeah. So I know that's been obviously tough in life, period, but then also taking the story and writing it down. You actually sum up the whole book in one word, which is "redeemed". So what does that mean to you?
Serena Dyksen 06:44
Yes, so redeemed. It just means pulling me out of the pit. I was in a pit, our life was so-
Chris LoCurto 06:53
Because it doesn't just affect you at 13. It affects you for the rest of your life.
Serena Dyksen 06:57
The rest of your life. And so I literally was in a pit that I did not know how to claw my way out of. And it wasn't until one night after a heavy night of drinking, and just burning all my bridges. My marriage is almost over. I'm not parenting my kids, and just crying out to the Lord and just saying, "God, I have no one but you." And the Lord meeting me and lavishing me in love. And you know, just pulling me out of the pit, literally pulling me out of the pit and saying, "Hey, I was here all the time, I was just waiting for you to just say my name. That's all I needed you to do." And so that redemption piece is just knowing you know what, I am a dirty rotten sinner, but saved by grace. And and God just loves us so much.
Chris LoCurto 07:54
Yeah I think so, we've helped quite a few women and men that have been raped and molested. And the same thing happens. And we're gonna talk a lot about everything that you've experienced in the process of writing the book, and life and all that kind of fun stuff. But I think a lot of folks go through something that would be-traumatic is just not the word, tragic is just not- I mean, it doesn't say enough. It's bad enough to experience the situation. But what you do to yourself for the next year, two years, five years, 10 years, 20, 30, 40, however long, and how much you beat yourself up over this. And one of the things that, you know, we've been doing this now, gosh, for so long, we've done over 400 Next Level Life events and every single time we see somebody come from a very traumatic or tragic situation, there's always this massive level of guilt. "I did something wrong. I must have caused this, I must have, I'm shameful. I'm the horrible person. I'm the one." And as a 13 year old victim, that's exactly what you are, is a victim. But still, it just pounds this thought process into your mind that, "I'm not good enough." Otherwise, how are you ending up in a place where life is so difficult? So redeemed speaks it's interesting you and I had the conversation about originally you thought of it as being restored. But what restored means is that it takes you back to the way you were, and that's not where you are. You're in a completely different place now. kind of talk about the difference of you know, going back and where you are today. What does that look like for you?
Serena Dyksen 09:47
Yeah so before I was always in this, never felt good enough. Never knew quite where I fit in to anything. Never thought that I deserve to have my children, even though I didn't realize having an abortion in the past was causing that. And that's very common with lots of women. But just feeling like I don't deserve them or even with Bruce, I don't deserve him. And so I would always sabotage that, and always put up these boundaries. And I don't want to say boundaries, but just I would draw a line in the sand because if you get too close, that will hurt, that will hurt. And always looking for approval of other people. And just like always wanted them to approve who I was not knowing my worth in Lord. not growing up in the church not having that background and not understanding any of that. And so I think moving through the healing process, and and realizing, first off my worth in the Lord. And you know knowing who he says I am. And then also, I think another pretty big moment for me was also Bruce at 16. We found ourselves pregnant again. And he chose fatherhood. And, we were offered abortion again. But Bruce said, You know what, I don't know how we'll figure this out. But we'll figure this out, after I shared my story. And I think I had elevated him higher than he needed to be.
Chris LoCurto 11:45
When you actually get the different response then all of a sudden he's Superman, compared to the offer that you were given at 13, which was you're not good enough. Interestingly, people can take that and think, "Well, no, we're just solving the problem that you have." And not realize, what is it saying about you? There's something wrong with you, right? And so praise God, you have this 16 year old, right? Which is just still, a 16 year old male doesn't really know a whole lot in their life yet, but willing to say, "Nope, we're doing this." And so that probably did create issues going forward by putting them on a big pedestal, right? So I think the reason why I asked that question is, there's so many people out there, and we see it all the time, we see people that say "I don't deserve to have my life fixed, to go to something that's going to help me or to have the tools." And you've said it multiple times about the way you looked at yourself is, "I didn't deserve this." Right? And the guy who teaches this for a living, that's where I was in my early days, is I don't deserve-that's for other people. You know, that's for people that are better than me. I don't deserve good things. I don't deserve a good spouse I don't deserve and praise God. You know, God took a two by four upside my head and, and started showing me the very things that you're talking about. It's that love, grace, that mercy, everything in there. So you guys both came through Next Level Life. How have those experiences and we talked about it earlier, we had lunch earlier today. And we talked about that you sent Bruce through first. Let's test the waters. Let's see how this goes. And you guys have been with us for over-gosh, probably somewhere around 10 years, you've been followers, from way back in the day. You'd come to the events, all that. But when it came to Next Level Life were you apprehensive at first?
Serena Dyksen 13:53
You know, we didn't know what to expect. So we kind of had the conversation knowing my background was so messy, so broken, we kind of came into this thing of like, we know you have junk in your life. And it's a hot mess. So for me, I was just anticipating like, yeah, I'm coming in with lots of stuff. But for Bruce, he grew up in a Christian home. And life was pretty normal. So it was like kind of a sucker punch for him going through. Because he wasn't expecting some of the stuff that came. And so working through that and just saying, you know, I think for us going through it, what you realize is that even if you have a normal life, there's still some stuff that you need to unpack. And that was so beneficial for us because I think for us, you know, Bruce, kind of would look and say, well, you have all that garbage in your life. And so that was Kind of a conflict sometimes just because of, like, we knew that. And so it was kind of like, you could just kind of brush that off as like, your backgrounds kind of crappy, and so whatever, but then realizing, hey, we both have some stuff to unpack and how that's really helped our marriage of the healing process and even communicating to our kids. And, you know, I had no idea my story was gonna be in a book and media and all of that stuff. And just knowing okay, all right, you know, I can gauge people when I'm having conversations and knowing where my worth comes from. And hey, I do have something that I can bring to the table, even though my background was messy. That's okay. Like, this is where my words coming from, so.
Chris LoCurto 15:51
It's so interesting, because we have clients here. So as they're listening to this, you know, that heart we're going through Next Level Life when you guys came in, earlier, and just being able for them to hear as they're walking through the process. And you guys have been, gosh, it's been a couple of years, since you guys have come through, for them to be able to hear, so the husband's going through right now and the spouses is sitting in as well. And for them to hear y'alls experience was just fun to see that, that communication. But you're so right, people all the time are like, "Well, my life's not that bad. You know, there isn't anything I need help with." Right? And what we say is, every human being walking needs to go through this, because there's things that are holding you back or things that plateau, you that you don't know about. There isn't anything surprising. It's not like, we're going to show you something and you're like, "Oh my gosh, I didn't realize that. I never knew that existed." It's just "Oh, I didn't realize how much that's affected my decision making." You know even for him to look at you and go, "Well, we know that you have struggles." Because what do we know? As a spouse, I see my spouse's struggles, I'm paying very close attention to them. I live with my spouse, I watch her all the time we interact on everything on the planet, right? And so it's not difficult for me to see what she's struggling with, the tough thing is, can I see what I'm struggling with? Can I look at myself? So question for you, how did that, the experience of going through Next Level Life, how'd that serve you in the work that you're doing now?
Serena Dyksen 17:30
Oh, my goodness. So for me to go through Next Level Life, now I'm leading women who have abortion in their past and you know, we can pinpoint some things and say, Hey, you know, really what's going on there? And asking them questions to work through those things. And in particular, I'm thinking of someone we have going through now and and just that self-sabotage. And so it's like, and so I asked, I just straight up asked that question and I did not recognize that in myself, of why I was doing that. And so that has been a huge way that I can serve other women and also just talk about, you know, how I went through my Next Level Life, and I went through a couple different other things as well. And then when I got to abortion healing, someone's like, "Hey, have you thought about that?" And I just remember saying, "I'm good. I'm good. I'm good." And so you know, talking about those levels, like, hey, we can continue to unpeel these layers and it's good to unpeel those layers. So yeah, just using the tools that I have to be able to even recognize when I'm speaking, you know, when your people are listening to your story, I just remember something that you guys said about speaking. You know, sometimes when you're looking out, there's no expressions, well, I would have totally tanked it, but you guys just help me navigate that so well. And like, no, it's okay.
Chris LoCurto 19:09
And by that what you mean is the assumptions, the negative self-talk the self-sabotage. "Everybody hates me right now. Nobody likes what I'm saying." Setting all the reality of the people that you don't even know, they're in the audience. "They surely think I'm terrible." Which, again, the thing that you're pointing back to is the the lesson I thought it was, I think I did probably both a blog post and a podcast years ago, because when I started speaking, it was in ministry back in the mid 90s. And that was one of the first things I experienced was this face that was looking at me all scrunched up, like I was a super idiot, and every bit of my worth was tanking in. You know, I all of a sudden realized they're not judging, their processing. This is the way that somebody's thinking. But if I didn't work through the process of going hold on a second, I actually questioned the person which really embarrassed the daylights out of that person and myself, which was just stupid. But, you know, I was 26. I've done a lot of stupid at 50. So, but just that understanding of, as soon as I set that reality through my own negative self-talk, I'm sabotaging me, whatever that person is. And so I don't know if you actually have ever heard this, but you may have, that one day I felt like the Holy Spirit-I was struggling with in my early days, you know, that judgment in my own mind. And I felt like the Holy Spirit said, "Did I give you a message?" I'm like, "Yeah." "Then go speak the message and let me worry about it. There may be only one person out there in this 1000 people that need to hear that." And I was like, "Oh, yeah, definitely, of course." And it just kind of changed. But to the point, it sounds easy, but that's self-sabotage that's in your brain. Could you have been doing what you're doing now if you continued all of that self-sabotage that you had before your event?
Serena Dyksen 21:17
Absolutely not. I know that I would have tanked it like I would have just been-yeah, I there's no way that, I mean, maybe by God's grace, or whatever, but surely, you know, having those tools just helped me recognize and also just my roots, and all of those things of just recognizing, okay, you know, this is really what's going on here. So, yeah no, that it was so beneficial. The timing was perfect.
Chris LoCurto 21:49
Yeah, I think, like you said, there's certain people you wouldn't be able to help. It's the ones that struggle and push back that would cause you to tank in your worth, right? And so what is that like now because you're leading, you're leading younger versions of you, right? You're leading, like we're talking about your discussions with you and Bruce or the wall goes up really quickly, you're leading women, that those bricks are being mortared as fast as they possibly can. What is that like for you to help them through the process and not receive the pushback that they give you?
Serena Dyksen 22:27
Yeah, so when you're walking through that with them, you know, I just know, okay, all right. We can only for me recognizing, okay, I can only lead them as far as they're willing to go. But also like, hey, the questions you guys asked, I can bring those in and ask those same questions. And, you know, just have them process it, and ask the questions. And it's a beautiful thing. When you see them get it like, "Oh, that's what's going on here." You know, and so I love that and you guys, you know, just did such a great job. Such a great job. Every time I'm like struggling with something, I can hear Joel's voice and walking me through it. And I'm like, yeah, that's, that's it. That's it. And so, you know, I kind of pray I'm like, okay, I hope these ladies here have like, my voice in their head, like walking them through it, you know, because there's just so much freedom, so much freedom recognizing, really what what the root is going on and what's happening there, so.
Chris LoCurto 23:35
There is nothing there's nothing like that moment. And it's funny because you're there now where you already know the struggle before you have the conversation. You grow into this place of knowing how long the struggle is gonna take, you know what direction you're gonna have to lead and guide, but when that light comes on, when they realize you're not there to hurt them like everybody else, or not everybody else, but a lot of people in their past or their present, really, believe it or not, when they realize, wait a second, you actually genuinely care about me. You're not trying to get something from me. Nope. Just want to help you change life. And it's from that heart of I've been there, you know, I know. That is such a fantastic moment. Because now it's like, okay, now we can accomplish so much more than than we've been doing.
Serena Dyksen 24:26
And something that I want to say is something that was so freeing in my Next Level Life is, you know, with relationships with our families, and especially like with my mom, there's always you know, I have to remember, you know, what's in someone will spray out around people. And I think one of the free moments for me was recognizing like, Okay, if I do get pushback from like my mom or whatever, to say it's just her being her. Like you know what I mean? And not taking that on. Because I think that was a huge thing for me to take that hurt on, but it's like, oh, no, she's a hurting person, you know? And just seeing her in that way. And that was huge for me to realize that. And so when I do work with the ladies to realize if something springing out like I don't have to take that on, and it's just okay. That's what's coming out right now.
Chris LoCurto 25:26
Absolutely. Yeah, so in my prayers one of the things I say is, Lord, help me to recognize when somebody else is struggling, and not receive it when they point at me, so that I can help them. That's something I've been saying for a long time, because it is so easy, especially when it's somebody like a parent, you know, especially when it's somebody that you know, I do this all day long, but every now and then there'll be a situation that I'm not expecting or not looking for. And I have to stop myself and walk through our own tools and go, "Is that my fault? Do I need to take responsibility here?" And then, you know, pretty soon you get to a place of going, this person is struggling heavily. So don't receive it. Don't respond defensively, help them get to where they need to get to. But we're going to talk about guilt and shame when we come back right after this.
Chris LoCurto 26:34
Next Level Life is our two day personal discovery experience. It's a one-on-one personalized event where we guide you through a process to help you discover your root system, to get unstuck in life, and to discover what's holding you back from freedom and peace. Imagine this: what if you could wake up every morning with a clear purpose? What would it look like to have healthier relationships with less conflict? Where would you be in a few months, a year, five years, if you had clarity, purpose, and peace? Probably a big difference from where you stand today. Now, I know it's possible, because I've been where you are, asking myself, is there more? There is, and there's a better way. And it starts with Next Level Life. You can go to chrislocurto.com/discover, to take the next step. Now if you're struggling with discontentment, regret, or not feeling good enough, which most of you are, if you're filled with anxiety, or your relationships are lacking, don't keep going through the same motions every single day. Learn how to move past the things robbing you of peace. Go to chrislocurto.com/discover and take the next step.
Chris LoCurto 27:48
So Serena, to put it lightly, you deal with a lot of conflict. You deal with conflict in all that you're doing to advocate for life. So that's a big part of what you're doing is you're a huge advocate for life, helping people to understand that there's different ways there's different things they could do. So as well as an advocate for a life, you're an advocate that grace be shown to women who've aborted a child, it's not just the hey, I'm so glad you made a decision not to do this. Praise God, hallelujah. But God doesn't stop caring about people when they make a mistake, we know that, we've got a fantastic painting, which oh, I don't know if you've even noticed that since we've been here, The four women in Jesus lineage out in the lobby there. And all four of those women came from, you know, just crazy backgrounds. And yet, they're the ones that show up. They're the only four women mentioned in his lineage. And they all have some pretty heavy backgrounds. So you advocate for people who've been through this process and have had an abortion, aborted a child, and live with tremendous guilt and shame, that they are dealing with even today, like you you shared that that something that you've experienced for a long period of time. What do you lean on that helps you stay strong, while you're helping other people to experience this and to walk them through this process?
Serena Dyksen 29:20
So something that we just-I think it was last week, our last session, I believe. A lot of women say, "I know God forgave me, but I can't forgive myself." And so we say, "Can you show us in the Word where it says you have to forgive yourself? Because then you don't need a savior." And so you know, that is a lightbulb moment for women, and they're like, whoa, and and I actually had a lady that said, "I'm going to prove you wrong." And we said, "Please do. Please do." And she said, "I can't."
Serena Dyksen 30:00
So leaning into, okay, God is who he says he is, he is our Savior, he wants to love us. He wants to not only love us, but that lavish love. And so, you know, just sharing with the women like, "Hey, you know, have you repented? If you've repented, you know what God gives us that freely, he gives us that forgiveness freely." And, you know, you either believe who He says He is, or you don't. And so then it gets to, okay, what choice are you going to make here? You know, you've made the choice for a long time to sit in that disbelief or the lies, so when are we going to move to believing the truth? And so, you know, it gets down to those choices again, and we just keep saying, you know, what, God wants you to just choose him, choose him. And so that's really, something that we talk about in our last session was just fantastic. Because these women were just like, "Okay, that is pretty freeing when we can say, okay, alright, he does forgive us." And, also, we remind them get into the word every single day, because we want to exchange those lies, for truth. And you have to do that on a daily basis. Because if you give the enemy an inch, he's gonna take a mile, you know, like, you give him a little bit, and he's gonna go further than what you want. And so this is how we battle it, this is what we have to do.
Chris LoCurto 31:35
If we could forgive ourselves easily, then we probably wouldn't make all the mistakes, if we had that knowledge and that wisdom, we're talking about an all-knowing God and all-loving God, a God who does want the best for us, a God who pursues our heart continuously a God of punishment, as well, which is incorrectly taught in the western church is a God who if you keep doing stupid, he's going to help you because it's going to draw you hopefully out of the stupidity and making the right decisions. But only a god like that can forgive, because he understands every aspect of what we're experiencing, what we're doing, what we've gone through. It's interesting. We help a lot of folks come through a lot of guilt situations in life. And you're so right. Nowhere in the Bible does it say you need to forgive you. But it's amazing, especially King David, there was a long time I prayed, Lord help me to understand how did King David get to forgiveness, so much easier than I've ever been able to? Right? And the funny thing is, is knowing, you've already forgiven me for stuff that I've done wrong. But why do I keep beating myself up over it? And it was interesting for me, he kept pushing me right back to seeing how much David knew that man's opinion didn't matter. Gods did. And so for him, and this is I think another thing that we do so often is, a lot of those lies and that negative self-talk is us beating ourselves up over "I'm not as good as Serena is. I'm not as good as Bruce is. I'm not as good as you know, my cousin, I'm a horrible person, comparing myself to a whole lot of other people." And forgiveness becomes almost impossible because it's nothing but comparison. It's a constant negative self-talk. Now, when we look at King David's life, there's a lot of consequences, a lot of stuff, right? But what we see is somebody who was so focused on God being the one who needs to forgive, that he found it so much faster, and so much quicker, and was able to have a much better relationship, which goes to what you were saying to the second part of that answer, which is the sooner I focus on that relationship with God, the less I focus on my guilt and shame, if I can get rid of the negative self-talk and the lies and I can find the truth. You know, we do the lies and the truth through Next Level Life. The truths always point to God. They don't point to my truth. They don't point to man's truth. They point to God, and the sooner I can get those truths in my life, all of a sudden, I start changing the way that I talk to myself. Did you experience that in your process?
Serena Dyksen 34:32
Absolutely. Yes. So going through it and Bruce and I will have the conversation where he'll just ask me, you know, is that true? And, you know, well, and you start going through the process and you're like, no, that's not the truth. And I didn't have those tools before and that was so, it's so powerful because I actually use that quite a bit during you know, during the week during the day. As I'm talking to many people of just like, okay, wait a second, and just navigating through that. And then it's like, oh, no. And then, before I would have been stuck, really stuck on like, oh, but that's what they're thinking that's what they're and-and it's like, no, that's not it at all. And it's just so freeing. It was so freeing for me. And so I'm so thankful for those tools.
Chris LoCurto 35:25
One of the things I'll say to people is, I'll say, if they at least know a little bit about what we do, I'll say, "What is the lie you're telling yourself right now?" And the funny thing is, is that a lot of people will go, "I'm not telling myself a lie." "Okay, what's the thing you're saying in your head?" "Well, that I'm just not good enough." You know, they'll have this. It's right there. And so depending upon who it is, I'll say, what's the lie you're telling yourself? Or I'll say, what's the negative thing you're saying to yourself right now? And it's amazing depending upon who, you know, shifting it up, you'll see that everybody will come up with something. "Well, I just don't like how I handled that, or I just don't feel good enough in that. Well, you know, I think that people are mad at me or, well, I think God..." And it's always that, you know, it pulls out that negative self-sabotage, negative self-talk. So a big portion of what you've been focusing on is finding that worth, that identity, and what people think. And you've kind of been shifting that to get out of that self-sabotage and discovering, as you shared at the beginning of the show, that your worth, doesn't come from that it comes from God. So how have you grown in this? And what are some key things that you can share for other people?
Serena Dyksen 36:43
Yeah, so I think the way I've grown is just understanding who I am as a daughter, and understanding just how much God just truly loves me. And, you know, also having the tools that you guys gave me of understanding, I think understanding, like, where my parents came from, and where their parents came from, and just recognizing like, hey, okay, we came from this line of stuff, but it kind of ends here, you know? And just recognizing that, like, hey, you know, I have the choice to do things differently. And I have the choice to say, hey, this is what I'm going to do different in my life and just shift so that I can walk in that freedom and that healing. So I think that was huge for me.
Chris LoCurto 37:37
I love it. The book is called, She Found His Grace. And as we're discussing, that's literally what we're talking about right now. You've discovered His grace, you discovered that he cares and he loves about you so much. And that he's been pursuing you even when you weren't, right? In this process, He never stops pursuing our hearts, He never stops. So I'm probably gonna step on some toes here. But our job as Christ followers, is not to look perfect. Our job is not to look like we've got it all together. We have a business here where we help people get through the junk and find the things that are holding them back, and all those things when other people out there trying to help people make it look better, and gloss it up, and all that kind of stuff. Listen, life is messy. There's a whole lot of crap that happens. And so one of the things that's frustrating is, sometimes those of us that are Christ followers, sometimes there are churches that they would absolutely turn away somebody that was in your situation, or definitely would not want to talk about it or could not talk about it. And something that you've shared and that we see is that they don't know how to. They don't know how to have the conversations. They don't know how to, you know, to talk to somebody like that. So for the person who's out there going, "Well, I tried or, I would like to try or, I feel like I want to get help, but I feel like I'm just rejected or judged or shamed." What do you say to that person?
Serena Dyksen 39:31
So what I found with the ladies that have abortion in their past, and if they do share and they're hit with someone that is just really angry or not kind, I always tell them to just kind of look, think, okay, are they struggling with not being able to get pregnant or a miscarriage in their past? And I want our people to realize that hurt people hurt people. And so we want to really recognize that, and we're going to just love them anyway and show that grace, because there's some hurt stuff. But as far as you know, the rest of the church, you know, I have poster board of women that say, "I really wish our church would talk about this, and that there is healing and hope, because we feel like it's pretty hopeless." And if that's where we're at, then we've missed the whole message. We've missed the whole ministry. And that is so common. And Bruce and I talk about this all the time. The Catholic Church does, fantastic, fantastic, the Protestant church, they've missed the boat completely. And we have a lot of walking wounded in our church. And we can do better. And so that's why it's such a blessing to us to be able to share that, hey, there is hope. There's healing. And you know what? Jesus just wants to give it to you, and he wants to give it freely. And so that's been such a blessing for us to be able to do this work.
Chris LoCurto 41:05
Yeah. We're speaking about this in general terms. I mean, not everybody is this way. Right? But you had a fantastic pastor, there's some amazing folks out there. The issue, what we're speaking to is not-the goal isn't to slam the church. The goal is to say there are people who don't know how to have this conversation, which praise God, you've written this book, right? This is a great first step for somebody to actually learn what it's like. But so many people, like even the things that you just mentioned, if I'm judging you because of a mistake that you have in your past, and even a big one, something that we would you know, consider well, that's, that's a pretty big one right there. Yep. Do I have struggles? Do I have sin? Have I made bad mistakes? The person who says "No." Oh, boy, man, it's coming. You know, struggles are coming. Let me promise you that. Matter of fact, I remember a guy about 20 years ago, was sitting, we had gone through this fantastic book as a group and, and this guy goes, "Well, I've never had anything bad happen in my life." And I'm like, "Well.." One year, and one year later, he went through a pretty traumatic thing. Because everybody experiences bad. Everybody experiences something difficult. Everybody experiences struggle, and many people make really bad decisions. And many people don't recognize that a decision they're making in the moment is a really bad, we're all wounded, hurt, screwed up, we got problems. We have a king of the universe, who is our father, who knows that, who understands that. The problem is, other walking created beings sometimes can't admit that. So as we're talking through this, the goal isn't to shame. Well, no, let me kind of back this up a little bit. Let me shame the leaders. I'm gonna go ahead, I'm probably gonna have a lot of people that are not going to be very happy. That's okay. Send your response to [email protected] If you are a leader in the Christian community, and you can't talk to people about this stuff, you're doing the wrong thing. You need to get some instruction, you need to read She Found His Grace, you need to come through something that teaches you to do that. Because it's way more important to help the people that are really hurting, than to keep giving people good, hopeful, messages every week that aren't struggling in that moment. Right? Let's reach those folks that are struggling. And there's so many women, you know, like I say we've actually had, praise God, a lot of women and men that have been through rape that have been through struggles like this, that have had abortions, you know have had addictions, we've helped everything. Now, we've helped the Bruce who went through, you know, great life, fantastic to discover to Serena, right? To, way worse that they've experienced in their lives. And the key is, it's not a matter of sitting here going, "Oh, Serena, you have that in your past." It's a, "Hey, you got that in your past. Let's show you how that's affecting every decision you're making now, so that you can make better decisions today." Not sitting in judgment, where we say this is a no judgment zone, not sitting in judgment, because here's the deal. If I judge you on any decision that you've made, then I'm actually struggling with my own worth. Because I'm not recognizing all the stupid that I've done, right? So being able to get to that place. I love what you just shared there about helping women to recognize if you see somebody else who's struggling, I hadn't even thought about that, you know, if they're trying to get help, and some gal is pissed at them because you know they had a miscarriage or they can't get pregnant, believe it or not, it's their struggle, it's their worst struggle that they're experiencing. So, A, don't receive it, but B, have a heart, for what that person-because you just never know what somebody else is experiencing. Fear is a big thing. Fear is a big thing. That's the reason why we're talking about these pieces right here is that, hey, listen, there's a lot of folks that are listening to this right now that have never told anybody what they've gone through. I don't know how many folks that have come through Next Level Life that goes, nobody knows this. And people know, we don't talk to anybody about this stuff.
Chris LoCurto 45:49
I've never shared this thing with somebody, I've never talked about this. And the major reason is that fear side, you know, everybody is struggling, you know, if you've got something in your past, or you're experiencing something right now that they have to deal with that fear and, and try to manage it. So what have you learned that helps you manage the fear side or helps you to lead other people to manage the fear side?
Serena Dyksen 46:16
So the fear side of it, you know, because I think of all aspects, I think, you know, we have women that are in the church that are like, "Oh, I am facing unplanned pregnancy, I'm unmarried. What is the church going to say?" So we say women go from the church pew, to the abortion clinic because of that fear. And that is one in four women in our church.
Chris LoCurto 46:40
Serena Dyksen 46:40
One in four. So, you know, it's that-
Chris LoCurto 46:43
Because of the fear of how people inside the church will respond?
Serena Dyksen 46:47
Yes, yes, absolutely. So, we have that, we have that fear base.
Serena Dyksen 47:00
I know, I know, I know.
Chris LoCurto 47:03
If you were sitting on a pew in your life is okay right now start looking around. That's wow, that just hit me so hard. Wow. Sorry. No, I'm not sorry. That needs to hit us, that needs to hit, that needs to land. What are we doing to look around at the person who's struggling, and realizing that their fear is my judgment, and because of the fear of my judgment, one in four of them is going to go into life because they're afraid of of how I'm going to respond? People, we got to do better. We got to care. We got to know. We've got to reach out. Wow, I don't think I've ever been this tied up with my words. Let me wipe my eyes here. Alright. People, we got to do better. We got to start looking around and try and discover what somebody is experiencing. And it doesn't mean that you have to go in and dig out-share all your crap with me here on a pew and I see you one hour a week. But what would happen if people realize that?
Serena Dyksen 48:24
Well, just being prepared as a church to say, hey, you know, we want you to know, we want you to know, hey, we all fall short of the glory of the Lord. And you can bring this or even parents, oh, don't get me started on the teenage girls that reach out to me, who say, you know what, my mom says, I have to go to the clinic because I'm an embarrassment to the family. And I'm like, tell them to stop worrying about what the Jonese's have to say, because at the end of the day, they don't have to live with what's coming, the trauma, and all of that. And so, if I have a parent listening, now, you're gonna get me fired up.
Chris LoCurto 49:09
We've had folks come through Next Level Life that literally have had the parent go, "You will do this." And you know, 20 years later, they're sitting in the chair upstairs, going. "It's been 20 years, it's affected me."
Serena Dyksen 49:20
Chris LoCurto 49:21
And the parent moves on. Sure there's still guilt that's there. But it's not the same as the one who's gone through it.
Serena Dyksen 49:28
Chris LoCurto 49:29
We're gonna get on some soapboxes.
Serena Dyksen 49:32
I know. I know. Thank you for letting me do that. Yeah. So I want parents to know, hey, you know what, obviously we're not saying that we condone that, you know, we know. I'm gonna back up, for Bruce and I. So we had an unplanned pregnancy at 16. I tell you what, we had a church family. That was awesome. A youth group that threw us a baby shower. But they also talked to us and said, hey, you guys gotta stop doing what you're doing. You guys are not married. That is not right. So they held our feet to the fire as well.
Chris LoCurto 50:14
Serena Dyksen 50:14
Exactly. And so, you know, I think people need to recognize that in the church, say okay, alight. You know what? What you did was not okay. But you know what, we're going to walk alongside of you. And there's a redemption story here. So definitely, like, the church needs to recognize that that's something, a message that they don't give, you know?
Chris LoCurto 50:42
But Jesus does.
Serena Dyksen 50:43
Jesus does. Exactly. Jesus gives that message. And so, like I said, there's just all these different fear, all these what ifs, and it's like, you know, just walking alongside these women and saying, okay, you know, I have women that will say, "You know what, my boyfriend or my husband, he's gonna leave me." And I'm like, "Okay, let him go, let him go, I have a feeling he might come back, but hey." Or your mom, who's saying, "This is terrible." Wait until she sees this little one, it's going to change her perspective, it's going to change her life. I said, "So stick it out. And let's just keep walking this out. And I know that you're scared right now, and if anybody's telling you, you can't do X, Y, and Z, they've never tried it. And so don't let them tell you, you can't do this." And so I think, you know, the church, just empowering women, and also men, to just say, you know what, God values life so much. He values it. So why are we not giving that message, of like, God values life, so we're just going to do this?
Chris LoCurto 51:56
So powerful. When you look at when Jesus came upon the woman at the well, it's amazing. If you back up a couple of scriptures, what you see is Jesus sends the disciples into town for food, he knows where he's going, he knows who he's gonna walk upon, he's in Samaria. And so he's walking up to somebody who knows scripture, you know, they had a different-to knock at that time in the northern kingdom, I'm probably giving away too much information, that doesn't matter. But when Jesus walks up to her, he knows what she's experiencing, he asked for water from her, this is-women, I want you to get this. So first off, a person's spit was considered unclean. Jesus asked for water, he doesn't have anything to drink out of, which means that he's taking water from her bag or whatever she was using at the time to drink from, which means that he is already creating himself to be unclean by the thing that he's getting water from. And he's accepting that from her. You can see there's a reason he sent 12 guys away, because the 13 guys would have come upon that well, she would have left. I mean, literally, she wasn't supposed to be there, even with the one guy back in those days. But there's no way and they would have judged the living daylights out of her in that moment. And Jesus reaches out and he says, "I know what you're doing. I know what you've been doing." And this is the thing that a lot of people again, more emails are coming this way. Jesus was never lenient. He was graceful. He was merciful. He was never lenient. "I know what you're doing. You've been married to or you've been with five different men and the one you're with now you're not married to. Let me be your living water." She understood what that meant. She understood the the priests ceremony about living water, she understood that that meant about forgiveness. She understood those things. But then he says to her, "Go and sin no more." You have a loving God who says, turn to me, make me your living water. Don't be worried about people's judgement. Don't be worried. Don't be fearful of somebody who's going to tell you, "You better do this, or..." Don't think along those lines. Focus on what God has for you, because he's the one who's going to love you, not just for the next year, not for the next 10, 20 years, but for eternity. So make those decisions to make him your living water. But do understand you do have to make smart choices from that point forward. You know, Grace is not a license to sin. Grace is something that helps you to understand a graceful God and make great decisions from there. Oh, girl, I don't even know where we're going from here. So, such good stuff. Let's see. You've been doing this for years now. Do you struggle with the the negative self-talk, the lies. Do you struggle with the worth issues? How do you deal with that?
Serena Dyksen 55:00
So sometimes they try to creep in. And like I said, I'm thankful that I came through Next Level Life to have the tools that I needed. Because we pulled those out. Even Bruce, a couple of weeks ago, just really struggling with something and Bruce just pulled out my Next Level Life forms or whatever you call it, the sheets. And he's like, hey, and we started walking through it, and was like, "Oh, yeah, that's what I'm going through." And so, you know, it's not a one and done, like, you keep going back to those tools. And so that's what's so powerful of walking through that and knowing how to navigate through that. So, yeah, that is a huge, huge help in what I do, and how I'm able to help other women and the men that walk through, just kind of see like, hey, this is what's going on, you know? Or have them, you know, give them a question and have them navigate it. So.
Chris LoCurto 56:05
So I hope everybody listening is hearing, you know, everything that we're saying. You are somebody who is putting your life out into the public. Hey, listen, I have been there. I've had a tragic thing happened to me. I've made bad decisions. I've struggled. You know, this is what we try to do, is help people right? And you found grace. You found mercy, you found forgiveness. But more than anything, you've found the right love of God. A lot of times we're preaching this loving God that doesn't have any problems with anything you do and that is not the God that we know. But I think probably one of the biggest things you have is hope. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Serena Dyksen 56:57
You are absolutely correct.
Chris LoCurto 57:00
What does life look like now, after you've walked through this worth journey?
Serena Dyksen 57:06
So for me, you know, just like I said before, just feeling pretty hopeless, feeling like, man, I'm always gonna be in this pit. I don't know how to get out. You know, it's always gonna be this struggle. I know there's no way that I would be leading teams, there's no way that I would, you know, have the ministry that I have, if I had not walked through the healing journey. I know. I say that, God can do whatever he wants, but I tell you what, just walking through your healing journey, and just being able to recognize stuff, that has just been so beneficial. And helping me lead other women to say, hey, there's freedom. There's freedom, there's hope. We don't have to stay in that pit unless we choose to sit in it. But I don't know about you. But I'm not choosing to sit in that anymore. Because that was miserable. That was miserable. And so just, I know Bruce and I are just having a ball serving in this way. I mean, it's hard. It is a hard ministry. It's probably the hardest ministry I've ever done. But you know what, we get to see God's stories, and so many God stories. And, and it's not just, you know, we're from Indiana. And we look at each other, and we're like, "Oh, my goodness, we're from Indiana, and we just had a baby save in Kenya, Africa." You know? And it's just like, we get to do that? We get to do that. And so, you know, I'm just so thankful that I have freedom. You know, I know where my worth comes from. I know that I'm forgiven. I know I've been set free. I know that God has given me a message to impact the world. And I am just grateful for that. I'm so grateful.
Chris LoCurto 59:06
Well, it's an honor to have you on the show. It is an absolute honor that you trusted us to even be a part and allow us to work through that. What I want people to hear is, I want to repeat what you just said; getting the freedom, getting the tools, understanding your worth in God, didn't just free you up. So people, don't miss this. Freedom is fantastic. It's amazing. If it stopped right there, praise God. Hallelujah. That's awesome. Great. Enjoy your life. But it didn't stop there. And man, the second time crying on a show. Goodness. Because really what just went through my mind is the folks that have gone through what you've gone through upstairs, and that have experienced, not just the freedom, but turning it back around into helping other people. And so I will say, I love that you're using what you've learned to change the lives of other people that there's a baby that's being saved in Kenya. And that's just one of an incredible number of stories that you're helping people with. That you didn't get your life freed up so that you can go look good in front of everybody who you know, dresses up on Sunday. Instead, you got freedom, because you needed freedom. And you needed to know where your worth came from. And then now, you're dragging your stuff out into the open to go, I was thinking like Paul, when Paul went to the market in Athens, I believe it was, and he's like, "Anybody want to hear about this stuff come on over." And then the people that just like, totally disagreed. He's like, "All right, you guys take off, everybody else come with me." All of y'all who can't talk about this stuff. And you're too hoity-toity, and you know, this is inappropriate for you. Y'all go somewhere else and come back and see us when you've had enough bad stuff happen in your life. Everybody else who's experienced the junk, the pain, the hopelessness. One of the stories I have shared for probably 30 years and I love sharing it at events is the guy who falls in the well, or the pit. And he falls in this well, and he's down there. He's like, "Oh, crud, I can't get out. There's no ladder, there's no nothing." And a priest walks by and he says, you know, "Father, I'm stuck down on this, well help me out." And he writes a prayer on a piece of paper and tosses it down there. He's like, "I don't know how that's gonna help me a rope would have done better." And then a doctor walks by and he's like, "Doc, I'm stuck in this well." And he writes a prescription and he throws down he's like, "What in the world is going on?" And then a buddy walks by. And he goes, "Hey, man, I'm stuck down here. Help me out." And the friend jumps in the wall. And he goes, "Well, wasn't that stupid? Now we're both stuck in the well". And he goes, "Yeah, I know. But I've been down here before and I know the way out." You've been in the well. You've been through everything that you've been through. You could have chosen a life to gloss up life, and keep on walking by, you know, let everybody know, well life is great now, it's fancy now. And instead, you're jumping in the well. And helping people out of the well. So I'm so proud of you. Goodness gracious woman. Nobody's ever made me cry on my own show!
Serena Dyksen 1:02:52
Oh goodness, oh man, well you know, something that I want to touch on for a second is that how many of us, we complain about the mask now, but how many of us have been wearing a mask for a long time? And you know, the thing is, it's like, and I just kind of giggle, because I'm like, how many of us show up, and we're all polished up. And you know, and we're this and we're that, and then these masks show up and they're ticked off about it and I'm like, "You've been wearing a mask for a long time." And you know, like, okay, if we're gonna work on removing that mask, let's really work on removing that mask, and really get into this stuff. And so we can help people. And that's what I tell the ladies that I work with, like, "Hey, we get to go and help other people." And you know, Bruce and I are transparent because we just-life is messy. I'm not going to pretend that things are polished up because you know what, there's hard stuff, but God redeems it. And he uses it.
Chris LoCurto 1:04:01
Absolutely. Once again, She Found His Grace is the name of the book, Serena Dyksen, Bruce Dyksen in the studio. So proud of you. Such a good guy, thank you for supporting your wife and these efforts, and being behind her. And I know you are out there as well, helping out. But sharing her message and sharing her life and and facing those that push against and those that receive. I'm so proud of you. I'm so proud of you. Great job, great job for doing this. I'm so honored that you're on the show. And that you're here with us today. So here's what I want you to do. I want you to tell us how we get more of you. There's a lot of gals that have that have dealt with this. How did how did they get help from what you what you guys are doing right now?
Serena Dyksen 1:04:53
So if there's someone with abortion in their past, they can go to serenadyksen.com we actually have community groups, which we absolutely love, we absolutely love our community groups. It's a support group that we're able to build friendships up with. And we do once a month zoom calls. And then we also walk through unpacking, and getting that freedom and that healing. And so it's a protected group, I want people to know that it's absolutely locked down. So you can email us. And then we do a screening process to protect the community group. And so serenadyksen.com, we have a She Found His Grace, Facebook page, they can go to Instagram. Those are the areas that you can find us. Send us messages we love, if you just need to tell one person your story. You know what? It stays with us. You can share it, and it stays with us. We love to get you plugged in though, because that's the beautiful part of being actually plugged into the community and walking through this process.
Chris LoCurto 1:06:04
We will put all of this information in the show notes. And I believe if you're on an iPhone, if you push my head up, I don't know if it still works that way. But we'll have all these links and everything in there. How about the book? How do we get She Found His Grace?
Serena Dyksen 1:06:20
So you can either get that from our website, serenadyksen.com, or Amazon, Barnes and Noble, any Christian book stores. Just go online, search it and it'll come up and you can order it.
Chris LoCurto 1:06:33
Fantastic. Well, thank you again.
Serena Dyksen 1:06:35
Yeah, thank you.
Chris LoCurto 1:06:36
I appreciate it. Well, folks, hopefully this has helped you today. Listen, you may not have experienced anything even like an abortion. But you've experienced junk, and you've experienced pain, and you've experienced, probably everybody listening to the show has experienced hopelessness. You've experienced it. If your walk is one of worrying about what other people think, trust me, it's just going to bring more pain. Get somewhere where people can help you. Get somewhere where people can help you to get the tools, get over this stuff. Put this junk behind you so that you can walk in freedom. And like Serena, turn around and use that instead of walking in a polished freedom. Hey, look at me, my life is better. Use it. Turn it around and help somebody else. Help somebody else when you've gotten to a place. Don't try and do it until you fix it. Trust me that won't work. That will not work. Get yourself in a place where you have the tools and you can actually walk daily without having to worry about this stuff. Alright. Well, as always take this information, use this in your leadership, folks. Goodness, like I said about the people writing on the pews; leaders. I'm not asking you to dig deep and get personal with the people that are sitting in your office chairs, but pay attention. Use this to change your leadership. Business owners, use this to change your business. Everybody else, use this to change your life. And join us on the next episode.
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