About Connecting the Dots of a Disconnected Life
This disarmingly honest book holds back nothing in telling the story of my life, ranging from growing up in a dysfunctional Christian home, a traumatic molestation, and the impact these things had on my internal world, through to my decision to move to Israel, involvement in Chinese ministry, discovery that I was struggling with dissociative disorder, marriage at the age of 53, and my husbands death three years later.
Mine is a story of hurt, disappointment, grief, hope, and victory. Interwoven throughout is my very real relationship with God and how He made my dissociated, disconnected, and fractured life into an amazing whole.
Throughout the book I share personally with the reader, hoping to engage them in a similar journey to discover the connections in their own life, and the God who makes us far more than survivors, but rather—overcomers.
Why Dvora’s Message is Important for Those from Dysfunctional Christian Families
While much is written and shared about dysfunctional families, it is hard to find much that is hopeful—particularly for dysfunctional Christian families. That they exist is evidenced by the walking wounded among us. But it is rarely, if ever, discussed. In a 2014 survey of pastors, 67% percent said that they had spoken one or fewer times about issues related to abuse in the home.
Why Dvora’s Message is Important for People Who Have or Know Someone with Dissociative Disorder
Perhaps even less understood and discussed in the mainstream is dissociative disorder. What little many people do understand, they misinterpret and find both confusing and frightening. For people like me, who are diagnosed with the most common form, dissociative disorder not otherwise specified (DDNOS) or with the more severe form, dissociative identity disorder (DID), the initial diagnosis can seem overwhelming. According to the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation, “Approximately 73% of individuals exposed to a traumatic incident [such as abuse — my emphasis] will experience dissociative states during the incident or in the hours, days and weeks following.” While most do not develop dissociative disorder, an estimated 1-2% of the US population must live with this disorder. That is anything from 3-6 million people in the US alone!
A Unique Resource Shared with Honesty and Openness
Through my story, I seek to give an example of how one can become an overcomer despite the traumas of life, be they dysfunctional families, abuse, molestation, confusion regarding our sexual identity, the desire to serve God, emotional and psychological issues–even dissociative disorder, or the devastation of grief.
The answer is not in 7 or 10 easy steps, but rather, 1 step that is taken every day, for every Christian—the choice to believe God over our hurt, our experiences, our expectations, and everything this world can throw at us. Believing God involves knowing His word (in the Bible), trusting in Jesus, and making the commitment to follow Him in the ongoing now, because now is all we have.
I will be quite honest here, for those who do not believe in Jesus, there is hope. Every day you must accept responsibility for your choices, and seek to make the ones that promote wholeness to your entire being. Accepting what has happened to you is huge. However, I do not know (though I’ve heard that some have), how to encourage you to forgive others, to move on, and face the sins against you, or the sins you are responsible for, with the strength of a gracious, forgiving, and loving God. Nevertheless, I do believe that you will find clues to help you in your struggles throughout my story.
I read this book in almost one sitting! I wanted to see where Dvora Elisheva would lead, and at the same time, it was making me look into my own life. The book was very interesting and written in a sensitive and a bit humoristic manner.
Shraga Blazer, Editor-in-Chief, Rambam Maimonides Medical Journal
Dvora Elisheva writes with amazing transparency, pulling the reader in with every word and every page. I found I couldn’t put it down! That’s the true test of a well-written life story by a talented author.
Peggy Phifer, Author of To See the Sun, Somehow, Christmas Will Come, and Sweetwater River (Volumes 1-5)
I found it extremely well-written, strikingly honest and bound to encourage and inspire anyone who, at times, has found life to be more than challenging. Testimonies of faith that overcomes long odds are always uplifting.
Cliff Keller, Author of The Ivory House, Faithless Heart, and For the Sake of His Name
Sample Interview Questions
Some of these questions are taking from actual interviews. As you can see, I am able to share on a broad range of topics that will minister to your audience.
- Why did you write the book?
- How did you find the courage to be so open and honest about your life?
- You speak about your childhood in your book. What did you find in your home life that was actually normal?
- Despite all that happened, what did you really value from your childhood years?
- In your book you speak about “dissociative issues.” What is that and how did you deal with it?
- What did the things you experience do to your life, your soul, and your way of looking at things?
- In your book you speak about forgiving your mother and your grandmother and the relationship that you had with them. How were you able to forgive them? What was the determining factor for whom to forgive, how you forgave, and how you maintain an attitude of forgiveness?
- You had been taught about a good God, but everything that happened to you said this was not true. How did you resolve all this and come out as an Overcomer?
Abuse & Dissociative Disorder
- In your book you mention some of the abuse you suffered. Were there incidents you did not mention? If so, why?
- How should Christians deal with abuse and trauma?
- Let’s be honest, Christianity talks about love. Yet there seems to be as much abuse in Christian families and the church as elsewhere. Why do you think this is?
- What advice would you give to friends or families of people who have been diagnosed with dissociative disorder?
- What advice would you give to someone recently diagnosed with dissociative disorder?
- Based on your experience, how would you advise someone looking for a therapist? What do you think would be a warning signal that this therapist is not for you?
- You say that you are now whole. Does this mean that you no longer experience dissociative moments, or confusing thoughts? If you do, what is the difference in how you handle them now versus then?
- (If children are in the audience) Because children may be listening: If there are troubling things happening to them, what would you say to them? How would you advise them to deal with their situation?
- Suppose you were speaking to a young woman who has been where you are today. Perhaps her husband or boyfriend was abusive. They may have a child out of wedlock. They know the Bible is real, they know God loves them, they have heard about Jesus but they are in anguish and may be on the brink of suicide. What would you tell them?
- How did the roots in your childhood connect with your eventual move to Israel?
- How did you get involved in ministering to Chinese students in Israel? Did this too connect back to your childhood?
- When you were in China, did you observe persecution of Chinese Christians? How were you able to witness to the Chinese people about Jesus?
- What would you say to immigrants to your country?
- How would you encourage Christians to relate to immigrants?
- What is the most rewarding for you, in your work with Chinese students in Israel?
- The love story with your husband is in this book. How do you feel about it now?
- You were married for only three years. Do you think you experienced grief differently from those who have been married for 20 or more years?
- Your husband has been dead for eight years now. Looking back, how would you say those three years of marriage impacted your life?
- Are you still in contact with your husband’s children and family?
- You were not present when your mother died and did not attend her funeral. Did this impact you negatively in any way?
Excerpts from Connecting the Dots of a Disconnected Life
Part I: Endings & Beginnings
“My parents were just like me—just a little bigger.”
“I’m sure I’m not the only adult who has had a long list of childhood memories filled with perceived and actual injustices, wrongs done, and misbehavior. I could lie, steal, and cheat with the best of them….”
Part II: One Way All the Way
“While preparing to come to Israel, I had felt God warning me of two things: not to lie or try to hide that I believed in Jesus, and to beware of the seduction of the law.”
“They explained, I suppose they thought kindly, that Chinese people despise fat people… I would never be accepted or respected by the Chinese. It was clearly not God’s will that I go to China….”
“This is the memory that most stands out in my mind … The memory of God pulling out all the stops to use His foolishness (me) to bring His wisdom (Jesus) to a group of clerks and a security guard in Xian.”
Part III: Fractures of the Soul
“I felt haunted. I felt cursed. I felt possessed.”
“My soul was fractured. All the pieces were totally aware of one another, but they didn’t know how to touch each other, and they certainly didn’t know how to accept each other.”
“I honestly can’t tell you how God did it, but He did—He made me whole.”
Part IV: My Cloud by Day, My Pillar of Fire by Night
“Then it came, the email that said, ‘This person is your 100% match.'”
“The doctor said, “…Your husband has had a brain stem stroke. He has probably been stroking since last week…”
“Now came the obituary, the funeral, the phone calls, and the tears.”
Part V: I Will Bring You Back
“The garage sale was like a hammer, pushing the nail of despair deeper.”
“Every day I am presented with the same choices—to believe in God and trust Him, or to believe my feelings and trust in my circumstances.”
“I have no easy answers for your situation. I can’t give you ‘Five Easy Steps to Hope and Victory,’ but what I can give you is this: the encouragement to make the choice, every single day, to believe Jesus and trust Him. If you will do that, I can guarantee that you, like me, will look back and see the amazing things He did in and through your life.”