Walking Through Samaria with Colleen Swindoll Thompson
Meet Colleen Swindoll Thompson. The daughter of prominent radio evangelist Chuck Swindoll, she has weathered just about every blow that life can throw at her and lived not only to tell the tale but also to give birth to a ministry that helps address it. Colleen has lived through domestic abuse, a body she calls a “genetic nightmare,” parenting a child with multiple disabilities, identity theft, a difficult divorce and betrayal from trusted Christians. And this isn’t to say all this is in the past and done, a hurdle once overcome and forever overcome. Some of these remain present-tense ongoing situations.
There was a time that she would ask God why. She doesn’t do that anymore, even as some of the slings and arrows rock her faith to its core.
“What is ‘why’ going to change?” Colleen says. “It didn’t change Job’s situation. It didn’t change Joseph’s situation. It didn’t change David’s situation. It didn’t change Esther’s situation. It’s accepting what God has allowed in my life. I may never understand it. I may never like it, but I will release my will in surrender to a greater purpose that I may not see on this side of Heaven. I know that His love never fails. He is forever loving us, and I have to cling to that.”
In her clinging, she has made peace with the uncomfortable parts of her story. Colleen gave birth to Reframing Ministries out of that pain, helping sufferers come to terms with their pain and helping them also learn to cling. It helps care for caregivers, based on one overriding strategy.
“Empathy has been shown to be the most impactful comforter when someone is suffering,” Colleen says. “Not sympathy or pity, but empathy, which says, ‘I’m putting myself in your shoes.’ Can you do that?”