Tag Archives: prayer

Happy Hour: What do you get?

HAPPY HOUR: Fridays AT 5:00 P.M.—Kick back after a hard week’s work and enjoy the intoxicating goodness of true love and wisdom without putting a dent in your wallet. It’s like free fast food for your soul. ~Enjoy!

 

When we rely upon organization, we get what organization can do; when we rely upon education, we get what education can do; when we rely upon eloquence, we get what eloquence can do.” A.C. Dixon   

Let’s keep going with this thought process…

 

When we rely on setting boundaries we get what boundaries can do.

When we rely on the legal system we get what the law can, or will, provide.

When we rely on the government we get what the government can do.

When we rely on money we get what money can do.

When we rely on friends we get what friends can do.

When we rely on our own wisdom we get what our limited thinking can provide.

When we rely on singing, preaching, or church we get what they can do.

 

 “But when we rely upon prayer, we get what God can do.” A.C. Dixon

 

I want what God can do!

I need what God can do!

How about you?

My favorite way to pray is to use God’s word; scripture, because it’s full of promises and precedence for us to pray. The words stay flat on the pages of our Bibles until we speak them. They are alive and active, sharper than any two edge sword when we turn them into prayer.

 

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword” Hebrews 4:12

 

Expect Trials to Multiply

Feed your faith

In my previous blog I shared about my late night of crying so hard that I broke a blood vessel in my eye while praying over a prolonged spiritual battle. A circumstance I was in out of obedience to God. I told God I was finished fighting and I meant it…unless He showed me otherwise. I remembered Hebrews 5:7 “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission.” Jesus was intense with deep emotion. Jesus was not guarding his heart, soul, mind and strength from his heavenly Father. No! He was showing exceeding sorrow. God considered this passion reverent submission to His plan.

Reverent. Humble. Obedient.

Yes, there isn’t anyone else I would be comfortable showing this much emotional confusion, need and turmoil to. No one else could handle it on any level. It is only God’s opinion that matters and He is the one I want to obey…because I trust Him. God does not become frustrated with or tired of my raw emotions. He considers them reverent submission.

The next morning when I woke up I rolled over and picked up my devotional book turning to page two. I just began reading this devotional the day before. I like to keep devotional books around the house that I can read for a quick pick-me-up during the day when I need more of God and this particular morning I needed a stimulant just to muster up the strength to crawl out of bed.

I read:

___________________________________________________________________________

EXPECT TRIALS TO MULTIPLY

God does not put heavy burdens on weak shoulders. God educates and tests our faith by trials that increase in proportion to our faith. God expects us to do adult work and to endure adult afflictions only after we have reached a mature status in Christ Jesus. Therefore, beloved, expect your trials to multiply as you proceed toward heaven.

Do not think that as you grow in grace your path will become smoother and the sky calmer and clearer. Quite the contrary. As God gives you greater skill as a soldier of the cross, He will send you on more difficult missions. As He more fully equips your ship to sail in storms, He will send you on longer voyages to more boisterous seas, so that you may honor Him and increase in holy confidence.

You would think that in Abraham’s old age – after he had come to the land of Beulah, after the birth of Isaac, and especially after the expulsion of Ishmael – he would have had a time of rest. But “it came to pass after these things that God tested Abraham” (Genesis 22:1). Let Abraham’s story warn us to never plan on a rest from trials this side of the grave.

The trumpet still plays the notes of war. You cannot sit down and put the victory wreath on your head. You do not have a crown. You still must wear the helmet and carry the sword. You must watch, pray, and fight. Expect your last battle to be most difficult, for the enemy’s fiercest charge is reserved for the end of the day.

*Beside Still Waters: Words of Comfort for the Soul. C.H. Spurgeon, Edited by Roy H. Clarke, p2

 ___________________________________________________________________________

Watch, pray and fight.” Fight was the very thing I made clear I no longer wanted to do unless God told me I must. When God answers my prayers specifically through scriptures, a Bible study, Christian book/author or a godly person, I know it is not a coincidence and I better take note of it. Rarely do I receive an answer this quickly but God knew my heart, my need and my state of mind. God was not removing or ending my suffering but I knew He would give me His grace for each new day.

Well, I cannot say my soul was comforted but it was resolved. I took note of expecting my last battle to be the most difficult because it meant the situation could intensify. I knew better than to ask, “What else can go wrong?” because there is always something else. I knew God would honor and bless my submission to keep fighting even though I was not complying with a smile on my face or a joyful song in my heart. I knew the transformation and blessings might not happen here on earth so I was not looking around every corner or new day for the answered prayer to be placed in my lap. Life is not about me and what I think I deserve or do not deserve. I deserve nothing. I deserve death but Christ took care of the justice I deserved, on the cross, and made me worthy. All my sins and failures are paid for and eternal life in heaven is my destiny. Life is about agape; loving God and loving others. I may have to wait until heaven to see the big picture and that’s all right…because I am pretty certain my obedience will be GREATLY rewarded and paid out in a jewel for my crown. I think part of the reason I was allowed this battle was from praying years ago to be allowed a crown of splendid jewels to toss at Jesus’ feet.

There have been a couple of battles where I had to bite my tongue when I found myself wanting to tell someone, with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye, “Thanks! I know you meant that for bad but you just earned me another jewel for my crown.” In this way I can keep some humor in my heart during the heat of the battle.

A few years earlier God had impressed upon my heart that this particular spiritual battle would grow worse before it became better. I have always held on to the ‘better’.

I knew I would need to collect my spiritual manna each morning. My, “What is it?” I have never known what it is and I often have no idea how I will endure another day of watching, praying and fighting. All I can say is that God’s manna is super natural and it is always enough. Occasionally I believe I didn’t collect enough morning manna to make it all the way through the day but God has a track record of seeing me through my tough hours one hundred percent (100%) of the time.

That day was no exception. I did crawl out of bed, care for and teach my children, prepare my home for facilitating a mother/daughter Bible study, prepare dinner and eat with my family plus found a few moments of time alone with my husband before guests began arriving for our next Beth Moore Bible study, Daniel: Lives of Integrity – Words of Prophecy.

Even as I type out that day’s schedule I realize only God could have given me the energy and clarity of mind to get through that day. He’s good like that. God delights in the invitation to be involved in our daily lives. I’ll gladly take more of Him!

“There is only one group of people who don’t have any problems…

Yep, and they are no longer breathing air either.”

– Michelle Teague

Part 1: Weebles Wobble But They Don’t Fall Down, previous blog

Lyrics:

So faithful
So constant
So loving and so true
So powerful in all You do

You fill me
You see me
You know my every move
You love for me to sing to You

I know that You are for me
I know that You are for me
I know that You will never
Forsake me in my weakness

And I know that You have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are

So patient
So gracious
So merciful and true
So wonderful in all You do

You fill me
You see me
You know my every move
And You love for me to sing to You

And Lord, I know that You are for me
I know that You are for me
I know that You will never
Forsake me in my weakness

And I know that You have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me

I know that You are for me
I know that You are for me
I know that You will never
Forsake me in my weakness

And I know that You have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are

You remind me

I know that You are for me
I know that You are for me
I know that You will never
Forsake me in my weakness

And I know that You have come down
Even if to write upon my heart
To remind me who You are

Proof positive

Read the accounts of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:36-44, Luke 22: 41-44). What is Jesus saying to you about being real and honest when you pray to God?

Tell God you want your relationship with Him to grow deeper.

Be real when you pray because God knows the real you anyway. He knows your strengths, weaknesses, failures and sins. Don’t try to be someone you are not. Don’t pretend and don’t try to hide how you feel or what you are thinking. God already knows who you are so just be yourself when you approach Him.

Jesus gave us examples for prayer. Don’t wear masks or withhold feelings – God can handle all of it. God heard the full range of emotions from Jesus, our example, so that we will know what is acceptable and pleasing to Him.

 

Toxic Tuesday: Narcissistic Parents

Today I have a guest post written just for you, the GiveMe Chocolate audience. The Toxic Tuesday posts are  popular and the search engine terms that bring people to this blog show that there is a world-wide Christian audience looking for help on dealing with difficult relationships; specifically with toxic and/or mentally ill people.

My guest author uses the pseudonym Joy S. for identity protection to safeguard extended family relationships.

Joy S. had the misfortune of growing up in a highly dysfunctional home but as is customary with our great God, He took the heart and longings of Joy S. and turned them into something beautiful.  When Joy S. gave heart, soul, mind and strength to the Lord and sought Him; His ways, His healing, and His blessing—the supernatural happened. This does not mean Joy S. has had an easy adult life as a Christian. It means Joy S. has had a purposeful life and recognizes the fruit of seeking God’s heart and will in marriage, parenting, friendship, vocation and service.

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

Life with a Narcissistic Parent

October 28, 2014   –   Joy S.

In honor of Toxic Tuesday, I am revisiting the topic of narcissistic personality disordered people (NPDers), specifically parents.  Carolyn has previously blogged about identifying NPDers, their crazy-making tactics for inflicting heavy-duty chaos on their victims, and strategies for maintaining sanity under their hostile fire.  Remember that one NPD tactic is a volley of changing, even contradictory, verbal attacks.  What they said they approved of yesterday, they hate today and claim to have always hated, even if there are witnesses or they’ve put it in writing!  They deny concrete truths.  Any attempt to sort thru facts and reach a mutual consensus is met with derision and insults.  When the relentless assault ends, the bewildered victim is filled with self-doubt.  “Maybe I am too forgetful, too sensitive, too suspicious, too ____________(fill in the blank), just like they said.”

When these crazy-making destructive behaviors are leveled at you by toxic people you can’t avoid, i.e. neighbors or coworkers, it’s pretty stressful.  It can consume your thought life, disrupting sleep, job performance, feelings of safety, and general love of life.  (For more on toxic neighbors, read Carolyn’s past posts).

Now enter the NPD parent.  Because of its intimate nature, a child’s natural craving and expectation of support and affirmation from this relationship is huge.  By design, God uses a parent to be the earliest teacher, cheerleader, nurturer, and reflector of His Character to a new life.  Even from the womb, God allows us to be dependent on our mother for every physical need even as He knits us together sinew and bone.  But this arrangement is only temporary as a child develops physically, emotionally and spiritually.  Ultimately dependence should end.  The trust in our human caretakers, developed thru feedings, diaper changes, nursing thru sicknesses, and countless other acts of kindness, ignites our trust in a Heavenly Parent.  Maturity is reached.  The child becomes an adult, acknowledging our dependence on God and seeking need-fulfillment in His Will.  God assumes His rightful place on the throne of our heart.

But here’s the rub:  The NPD parent wants that throne.  After all, they already are on the throne of their own life.  And they don’t really want an independent child.  By constantly ignoring or mocking the child’s feelings or preferences, the parent undermines the child’s efforts to set healthy boundaries with them and others.  NPD parents don’t train children for maturity.  Their desire is for the child to remain in a relationship with them.  Essentially the NPD parent is the star of their own show.  And their child?  Just a prop.  Nothing more.  A piece of furniture, without feelings, accorded little, if any, respect.  Controlling the child thru false guilt, withheld approval, angry outbursts, unreasonable demands, material support, or financial gifts keeps their show running, and makes them look good.  Whenever the adult child balks, the NPDer applies these tools to keep them in their place, at the NPDer’s beck and call.

Not surprisingly, this plays havoc with the adult child’s emotions, family and marriage. Living on crumbs of approval absent real affection and delight makes a person crazy-starved for love, however they can get it…  “Am I worthy?”, “Am I loveable?” are the piteous cries from their beggared, battered hearts.  This makes them ripe pickings for any manipulator, especially another NPDer, to splash a few drops of attention their way and lure them into ANOTHER dysfunctional relationship.  Trust me, NPDers have radar for identifying a needy mark.  They are more than happy to step into the NPD parent’s shoes and write the second chapter of an already miserable life.

In the happy case when the adult child marries and makes a family with a relatively mature, caring mate, expect NPD WW III!  And sooner rather than later.  Listen, did that NPD parent spend a couple of decades grooming their kid to be a prop in their play just so their child could quit the show and live happily ever after?  No way.  Usually the NPDer lobs opening salvos during the wedding planning period (albeit subtle shots if they’re still feeling out how much they can push their future child-in-law), with the pace picking up after “I do.”  The new mate may be bewildered when their couple plans are repeatedly preempted by the crazy demands of the NPD-in-law.  Often they are angered that their desires for the marriage are outranked by those of the NPD-in-law.  “Look, I married you, not your crazy parents!  Why do they call the shots around here?!”

Excellent question!  The answer is that the NPD parent has a history of making ancient, mercurial, merciless idols look like cherubs compared to the emotional bloodletting that they practice on their own child.  That child may be grown up now and have children of their own, but breaking the cycle is difficult.  Difficult, but not impossible.  Nothing is impossible with God!

The first step is realizing that putting anything other than God on the throne of your life, even a parent or a spouse, is a sin.  Yes.  Sin.   “I am the LORD your God.  You shall have no other gods before Me.”  Before you say,”Oh, she’s going all Old Testament on us,” do you know why God said that?  One reason is that only God can bear up the weight of worship.  He alone can receive worship and praise without temptation toward sin because He ALONE is totally worthy and holy.  When He gets praised, He’s in no danger of thinking He’s better than He is – because He’s THAT awesome!   Awesome exponentially!!   But because humans were created to worship God, not to be worshiped, even the healthiest humans feel the temptation toward pride when they are often flattered or praised.  Pride is when we start believing our own PR.  We do a disservice to our fellow humans to tempt them toward pride by offering them our misplaced worship, even when NPD parents are demanding it of us.

Wait.  Did you get that?  “We do a disservice to our fellow humans to tempt them toward pride by offering them our misplaced worship, even when NPD parents are demanding it of us.”  If we cause them to sin further with pride by giving in to demands we have NO business saying “yes” to, especially when it crosses the authority of God, or a husband, we disobey the commandment.  That’s serious business with God and seriously unloving toward the NPDer.

(“But isn’t there some commandment about honoring your parents?  Don’t I, as an adult child, have to do what they ask in order to honor them?”  Good question.  Please don’t confuse “honor your parents” with “worship your parents.”  I did for a long time!  By honoring a parent, the adult child honors the God who made them both, ordained their relationship, and used the parent’s sacrifices for the child’s benefit to God’s glory.  We honor by acknowledging our relationships to both our Creator and parents.  Even if our NPDer’s sacrifices were few or done primarily for the wrong motives, to the extent we benefitted from them we honor that parent by being thankful for God’s specific provision thru them.  Any parent is best honored by their offspring living honest, loving lives that exalt God’s Name.  But worshiping a parent is being their slave, belonging to them, for their glory.  Big difference.)

The second step is redirecting the valuation of your worth and your need for approval toward God and away from the NPDer.  For your soul’s and your sanity’s sake this must be done.  The NPDer’s standards for approval are arbitrary, capricious, and disconnected to any moral or logical underpinning.  They exist to keep you off-balance, which is why they change without notice.  No matter how you try to figure out the rationale or predict future standards, you never will satisfy them all.  You won’t.  Accept this and you will save yourself time, money, acts of service, and another bout of depression when you realize you’ve no margin in your life – again! – because of another attempt to appease the unappeasable.  Instead let’s review God’s standards.  He doesn’t lie, He doesn’t change, He’s good, and precious are His thoughts concerning you.  Extrapolate this out.  His standards are immutable, holy, good, and good for you.  Good and good for you!!  You gotta love Him.

So not only do God’s standards beat out that of the NPDer, His Approval far outstrips that of any earthly parents…even the best.  Surprise quiz:  Did you know that marriage is a shadow of the things to come in heaven?  It is.  It points us to God’s covenant with His Bride.  In this way, the physical relationship now foreshadows a spiritual event in the future.  Even so, praise from an earthly parent is a shadow of the praise to come from our Heavenly Father.  “Well-done, good and faithful servant… Come and enter into Your Master’s happiness!”  Now THAT has everything you want to hear!  It means:  He is pleased with your work, He esteems your character, He delights in you, He wants you with Him always.  Hungry hearts, this is the Ultimate parental approval speech!!  In fact, only God’s Words to you on that day will satisfy all your heart’s desires.  There will be no backhanded insults, hidden agendas, or thinly veiled criticism in those welcoming Words.  Just life-giving, soul-restoring goodness.  If you want a preview, check out Chapters 14-17 in the Gospel of John.

The third and last step is stopping the poison.  St. Augustine said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies.” There are tons of books on forgiveness.  Literally.  You can spend a small fortune in the self-help section, read them all and still want to spit nails at this parent UNLESS you do three important things to facilitate forgiveness.  Many of the self-help books I’ve read excel at identifying toxic people, but omit how to successfully escape unforgiveness when you want to, or at least, want to want to.   Please visit us for our next Toxic Tuesday post when Carolyn will graciously allow me to share how I have Thrived Despite Difficult Circumstances: Narcissistic Personality Disorder Parents, Part 2

 

Toxic Tuesday: Underage House Guests, Technology and How I Protect My Kids

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

Technology opened up a new avenue to develop kids into toxic adults. As a mom with a nineteen year old daughter and boys ages ten and eleven I’m concerned, as I’m sure you are, about how to protect them from spiritually and emotionally harmful technology. I wonder how any boy in today’s world is going to grow up without becoming ensnared by pornography at some time in life. Their only hope is in the Lord—so I pray for and with my boys and teach them to make decisions now to be resolved that when they see immodest pictures they will bounce their eyes away and not look back. 

Statistics show the average age for boys to come across pornography on the internet in our technologically advanced society is age eleven. This leaves a high probability that a young male guest visiting our house has already been introduced to porn either accidentally or intentionally. 

And then there are apps. Companies produce new apps on a weekly basis targeting children and teens as their market audience and many of these apps are dangerous for many reasons. You will find links below for more information on apps and how to control them on your child’s phone.

For many reasons I decided to limit technology that enters my house by way of my young boys’ friends. There is no way to know what someone could have accidentally or intentionally found and saved to their electronic device while surfing the net, listening to music, watching YouTube or movies, using an App, receiving ‘selfies’ from friends, or utilizing Google search; including but not limited to, Google images.

Electronic's Drop Off for under age house guests.
Electronic’s Drop Off for under age house guests.

I tell A.J. and Colon’s friends that although I trust them, I do not trust the World Wide Web and for that reason I have a house rule they will need to follow when they visit us. The rule is this: All electronics stay in the kitchen at the Hospitality Bar. If they need on the internet for any reason I will be glad to log them on to my computer, at the kitchen table, and I will search for what they want to watch or do.

I am almost always in the kitchen which means I am within range of seeing or hearing the entertainment on the computer. If I have to step away I can always look at the ‘History’ to make sure all content was safe.

My boys live by this rule in our own home. No internet access on their own. I log them on and they sit at the kitchen table where I can hear and/or see what they are viewing or listening to. At this time they are allowed on educational websites for school, Lego.com and Tim Hawkins’ website. No web-searching is allowed since we do not have any safeguards in place.

Laptops, phones, iPads, iPods and MP3s all stay on the hospitality bar until young guests are through visiting our home.

Hospitality Bar: Electronic's Rug on the right. This is conveniently located beside the door where they enter and exit.
Hospitality Bar: Electronic’s Rug on the right. This is conveniently located beside the door where they enter and exit.

If you want to implement this idea for your house guests you could use a basket, bowl, tray, plate, towel or just the bare countertop for ‘parking’ electronics. I like my rug because it is decorative and because I can easily count how many devices are deposited and if any are missing during the visit.

Since my boys don’t have guests over more than once a week and since they don’t need to spend their time together being entertained by electronics, I limit the usage and tell them they need to spend their time more creatively. I suggest other indoor activities or playing tag or ball outside.

I admit, telling my boys’ friends this rule makes me nervous because I have a difficult time setting boundaries and not feeling bad about it. I falsely feel like I have to explain my every decision. It would be easier to ask God to protect them from all life’s inconveniences and harms; however, God gave these children to me and I can’t outsource every earthly nuisance back on God as if it is His responsibility just so I can avoid feeling uncomfortable. Our Heavenly Father gave us the authority as parents to raise our children to; like Jesus, grow “In wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

I use this ‘No Technology’ policy for my kids and for their friends. My goal is to keep everyone safe from internet vulnerabilities while they are under my care.

I cannot and will not abdicate my authoritative protection away to a youthful house guest or son; no matter how much I adore them and trust them.

So…you may have already heard from your child, “Mrs. Deevers has me leave my phone in her kitchen whenever I am at her house.” It is true—I do. It is for their protection. I hope you will return the favor when my boys visit your house.

Other helpful internet and app sights and articles:

MMGuardian Parental Controls for phones and apps

Ignore No More app Tired of her kids ignoring her phone calls, a Texas mom taught herself how to develop an app and created “Ignore No More.” Read the Washington Post article, Houston Mom.

Uncovering the Risks of Cell Phones for Teens

7 dangerous apps that parents need to know about. I’m certain this April 2014 list is behind the times but I could not find a more recent list I read two weeks ago.

COUNTERTOP/CANISTER RUG IS FROM: The Cobblestone Cottage, St. Charles, MO for local residents. The rug is not listed on the website.

AN URGENT CALL TO PRAYER: DAY THREE • Anne Graham Lotz

alarm clock

The law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.”

Galatians 3:24, NKJV

“The Christian life is motivated, not by a list of do’s and don’ts, but by the gracious outpouring of God’s love and blessing. We want to live our lives to please God because before Jesus “the law was given through Moses” (John 1:17a, NIV). Think of the law as summed up in the Ten Commandments.

The law didn’t make us feel better. It made us feel worse.

The law didn’t help us to be good. It revealed how bad we were.

The law didn’t give us joy or peace. It made us feel guilty.

The law didn’t help us measure up. It showed us we fall short.

The apostle Paul said the law was like our schoolmaster, teaching us how much we need a Savior. But “grace and truth came through Jesus Christ” (John 1:17b, NIV) because He perfectly fulfills the law. His life measures up to the standard established by the law, and when we receive Him by faith, His righteousness is credited to us. Therefore in Christ we too fulfill the law.” ~Anne Graham Lotz, AnGel Ministries

  ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

God’s laws apply to everyone, Christian and non-Christian, and there are consequences for those who violate God’s Law. The good news is that God has provided a way out when we make mistakes, experience failure or sin.

There is natural, physical, law that has been in place since day one of creation.

God gave law to Adam in the garden, Genesis 2: 17, that commanded obedience.

God instructed Moses to write down His Law in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy.

Romans 1:20 (NIV)

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”

We are without excuse. We should feel convicted over what we see going on around us so let’s be about the business of repenting and seeking God’s forgiveness for the sins of our nation.

I’m stealing a quote my friend, Michelle, posted on FB today: “”Don’t ever hate conviction. Conviction is a real gift from God, because what flows over a soul that understands it is broken is almost always the grace, mercy, and the forgiveness of God, which increases our worship and empowers our obedience. So, don’t despise conviction. It’s a gift.” –Matt Chandler

Click the below link for day 3 of An Urgent Call to Prayer:

AN URGENT CALL TO PRAYER: DAY THREE • AnGeL Ministries • Anne Graham Lotz.

Toxic Tuesday: The Supernatural

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

 

Last week provided opportunity for me to sit down with my children and use our prayer tool box. I take this prayer box out when I want to spend lengthy concentrated prayer on an issue or need.

Last week such a need was upon us. There was a possibility of seeing a long-awaited prayer request answered concerning a toxic person from our past. This toxic person had wreaked havoc in four innocent children’s lives that we knew of and possibly, according to investigators, in hundreds of other children’s lives. After sixteen years of praying for children’s safety I could possibly see God’s hand provide permanent protection. I believed I had received the answer to the prayerrequest over two years previous but felt the pressing duty to pray it into being.

Please understand I was not fighting against a person. I fought for the safety of children from childhood victimization but more than that; I fought for their heart, soul, mind and strength. Because perhaps nothing can mess with a child’s heart, soul mind and strength more than being victimized in the name of Jesus while being told how special they are, how loved they are, and that God is going to use them in great ways for His work. ENOUGH! There are things worth fighting for, through the power of prayer, and this was one of them.

By products would be the vengeance of the Lord, vindication from my past for the hundreds of people who never knew the truth of why I left this relationship, and a reminder to those who knew but refused to do anything about it that God knows all, sees all, and will hold them accountable for the harm that came to the children.

I was in desperate need to see God’s final answer of justice, in this case, on this side of heaven, “Please Lord?”

“A hostile world! I call to God, I cry to God to help me. From his palace he hears my call; my cry brings me right into his presence— a private audience!” Psalm 18:6 (The Message)

Ah yes, that is how I feel every time I take out our prayer tool box; in His presence—a private audience!

Here are two of the prayer cards we filled out during our time praying for justice in this court case.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Write your own Psalm 100 by filling in the blanks—

 

Know that the Lord is powerful and in charge

It is He who brought this child abuser to trial

And we are His prayer warriors praying for justice

Enter His arms little children with assurance of rest and healing,

Give praise to Him and trust and glorify His name.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Describe how you are asking God to work in this circumstance:

A mazingly swift

B elieve the children (jury)

C omfort the children

D eliver defendant to prison

E mpower prosecutor & team

F inish the trail this week

G uilty verdict

H elp children to remember

I ntercessor for the witnesses

J udicious

K indness toward children from the defense

L ove the children tenderly

M ighty to save

N ever forget what happened

O verwhelm the jury with truth

P eace while giving testimony

Q uiet the court room

R emember the victims

S ave the children from fear

T welve guilty verdicts

U understand defendant’s history & character (jury)

V indicate the children

W onderful counselor

X tremely wise jury

Y ielding professional testimony

Z ealous for the children; the apples of Jesus’ eyes

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We were extremely bold in our asking; after all, the book of Psalms sets the precedence for asking boldly for victory against our foes.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12

Two days later I was present in court to hear the verdict with my own ears: Guilty.

See previous post: “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin

We need to wake up, pray up and speak up. Sin, specifically childhood victimization, wants to shut us down and shut us up but God has so much more for us.  God wants us to join Him where ever we see Him working; including protecting children. Jesus left His believers supernatural power to get the work done. “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” John 14:12

So I will boldly speak out. God’s church has often been quiet about childhood victimization sometimes treating the victims as the problem. Why? Because it is an uncomfortable ugly topic and it is next to impossible for many people to believe abusers, molesters and pedophiles exist.  They would rather not talk about it and if they must; please leave the shocking terminology out of the conversation. Smooth it over, soften it, make it nicer. No one should have to hear about such things.

I strongly disagree. Many Christians need to wake up, know the facts and do everything they can to protect the children; at the very least, believe the children and pray for them.

We must participate in God’s cause, battle and victory against the forces of darkness. Bad things happen in real life. You can’t hush it, soften it, rewrite it or ignore it. Be real! Childhood victimization is real! If we will not intercede for the children, who will? If we will not bring to light the sin hidden in darkness no one will.

Do you know of a toxic person who needs brought to justice? Join God and fight for the children. Pray.

Here are two links to help you with prayer tools as you take on remembering to effectively pray.

DSCN1898Prayer Tool Box: https://chocolateorelse.wordpress.com/?s=prayer+tool+box

Prayer boardPrayer Board: https://chocolateorelse.wordpress.com/?s=prayer+board

 

Here are three links with helpful scriptures to pray over abused children and the abusers.

https://chocolateorelse.wordpress.com/2014/05/31/p-r-a-y-e-r-for-innocent-children/

https://chocolateorelse.wordpress.com/2014/06/03/pedophile-or-molester-content-warning/

https://chocolateorelse.wordpress.com/2014/06/06/mene-mene-tekel-parsin/

 

P R A Y E R acronym

 

word filled linkup

Toxic Tuesday: Moms’ Night Out—You Need to Laugh

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No More Frumpy Mommy ‘Moms’ Night Out’ Challenge Day 5 with Tricia Goyer

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This post is another encouragement to those of you living in a toxic relationship.

I had a mom’s night out last Thursday with my friends, Kim and Michelle. We all needed out of the house; I desperately needed out of the house! No kids, no responsibilities, no house work, no refereeing conflicts among siblings, no endless questions and no meal to cook. We ate dinner out, saw the movie Moms’ Night Out, and afterward went out for yogurt to enjoy a long conversation. Ahhh… *Smile*

It was refreshing! I needed to laugh and Moms’ Night Out provided the source.

I know some mothers who take a moms’ night out once a week, some who take one occasionally and some who rarely if ever take one. Do you have a friend to enjoy a moms’ night out with?

After the movie, Kim reflected on the fact that the husband in this movie was a good sweet husband and was so understanding of his wife’s need to make a break from the house, and from the  kids, for some fun girl time, good food, adult conversation and relaxation.  What about people living in toxic relationships, she asked? They especially need a night out with friends and seeing this movie would definitely provide laughter and encouragement. Kim told me I should write about this on my next Toxic Tuesday blog post.

I agreed!

The mom in the movie had a wonderful husband who treated her with kindness, tenderness, understanding, moral support, love and encouragement. Yet she needed an opportunity to recharge her heart, soul, mind and strength so she could pour positive life into her family members.

What about those of you living in a negative environment where the only thing you might be receiving is love from your children?

What if you have a spouse who criticizes you, often gives you the silent treatment, physically withholds from you, and plays crazymaking games with you?

Do you find you cannot please them even though you are biblically solid and in a daily relationship with the Lord, you are FUN in the bedroom, you are a terrific mom, housekeeper, cook and friend? You do what the Bible teaches regarding being a good spouse. You have implemented applications you read about in Christian marriage books, learned from marriage conferences, gleaned from older godly mentors and read on Christian blogs? Are you still treated as unworthy?

If this is you then please take time to care for yourself. You must pray, asking God for a friend or Bible study group who could be your prayer support and a listening ear when you need it. 

You need time alone with God each day and you also need time to de-stress. You need some simple pleasures specifically for you; even if you have to provide them for yourself.

Here are some examples:

  • A new book to read; for fun (Bought, borrowed, or on loan from the library)
  • A movie to watch after the kids are in bed
  • A new decoration for the house; this can be free by bringing nature inside
  • An aromatic candle to enjoy burning
  • A new piece of jewelry if finances allow
  • A special treat/dessert
  • A cup of your favorite coffee or tea
  • A lunch date with a dear friend
  • A new outfit; try thrift stores if finances are tight—you won’t have to worry about shrinkage because the clothes have already been laundered (Makes me wish all clothes were washed and dried before hitting the store racks)
  • A new CD or time alone to listen to favorite music on the internet
  • A relaxing drive in the country
  • A few moments alone to sit on the back deck/porch uninterrupted
  • A trip to the gym to work off stress
  • An appointment at an upscale salon for a relaxing massage. If you lack physical touch a massage will relieve stress and bring much of your body back in to balance. A massage is an effective way to alleviate depression, anxiety and tension while improving sleep quality. The state of calmness you achieve allows you better coping skills for interacting with your toxic person. Staying calm is essential. The connection between touch and feelings of emotion seem to occur in the limbic brain. The limbic system controls mood and attitude. It sets the emotional tone of the mind and modulates motivation, controls appetite and sleep cycles and promotes bonding. Problems with the system lead to moodiness, irritability and clinical depression. Amen DG. Brain Function and Physiology. Limbic System (controls mood and attitude). Internet. 2003.
  • A relaxing bath
  • Make a grateful list—yes there are things to be grateful for, even in your circumstances
  • A nature walk or walk around your neighborhood
  • Take a nap or enjoy a 5-15 minute rest
  • Go to the library, alone, to sit and read a book or enjoy browsing through magazines
  • Do not over schedule
  • Journal your thoughts, allow God to be your audience when  you journal
  • Call a trusted friend or family member
  • Plant a new flower, bush or plant; or ask a friend/neighbor for leftovers next time they thin their flower beds or garden
  • Make an appointment with a Christian counselor or church staff member
  • Get a dose of outdoor sunlight every day
  • Provide an act of service for someone else
  • Take a walk through an art gallery or history museum; many are free or offer a free day/time
  • Window shop at your favorite shopping destination
  • Visit a local botanical garden or nursery/greenhouse

If you are feeling mentally, physically or spiritually drained it is never too late to make changes that will improve your situation. Begin making simple pleasures a part of your daily routine for the next thirty days and see if it helps you manage your stress factors. Ask a friend to check in on you at the end of each week and inquire about your simple pleasures experiment.

Start with seeing Moms’ Night Out in a theatre near you with a friend or group of friends; or rent it when it when it comes out on DVD or through video streaming to enjoy with a friend over a hot cup of tea or favorite drink.

You need encouragement and you need to laugh!

Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

A cheerful heart is good medicine,
but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.

Seeing Moms’ Night Out guarantees good medicine.

I had not experienced such unbridled laughter since reading the Pioneer Woman’s, All I Wanted Was a Doughnut.

The thing that made the movie better was the longevity of it.  It was an extra-large jumbo size dose of good medicine and a timely lesson from Bones. (You will have to see the movie to find out about Bones.)

I thought the movie would strictly be a ‘Chick-Flick’ but no; I heard and saw men laughing as uncontrollably as me.

I have never laughed so much, so hard, so loud in any movie. Hysterical laughter, tears from hysterical laughter, snorting from not being able to catch my breath due to hysterical laughter. Side splitting I tell ya!

There you have it. My encouragement for the day: Laugh. Funny movies, funny books, comedians or funny friends; find your funny and take a full measure of it.

word filled linkup

Toxic Tuesday: A Path Through the Forest

 

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Today’s post is an encouragement to those of you living in a toxic relationship.

It’s easy to allow the issues to take over your thought life so today I want to give you food for your thoughts; good, healthy, life giving food. I am not saying to ignore the difficult relationship but I am recommending that you put on a different pair of glasses from which to view the situation. Maybe even better than glasses is a different set of eyes with which to observe. Let’s consider it through the gaze of God’s eyes.

If God has placed you in this relationship, or you have placed yourself in it through a marriage covenant, ask God to show you His plan; tell Him you need Him. He might not show you the map or details but He will not leave you alone to sink in your difficulties. He is a God of relationship so to not answer would not be in His nature. God loves you.

God loves your difficult person too and it would be a safe bet to assume He wants to love this person through you. And guess what? If He has called you to love them, His word tells you that He has armed you for the purpose.

2 Timothy 3:16-17

 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Love undeniably qualifies as a good work.

There are  exceptions, times, when this is not possible or times when safety is an issue. See previous  Toxic Tuesday posts: TO LIVE BUT NOT EXIST

Read: TOXIC INTERVENTION

Read: A TOXIC RELATIONSHIP AND A THERAPEUTIC SEPARATION

Read: THE THERAPEUTIC SEPARATION AND CHILD PROTECTION

Read: BIBLICAL PERMISSION TO LEAVE A TOXIC SPOUSE

Read: DEAD END

For today’s purpose I am working off the assumption God has called you to this relationship, place and time. It may be a holy calling on your life. It may be that God will use your pain for a Kingdom purpose if you invite Him to do so.

This may be the toughest responsibility God has ever placed upon you.

Compare your toxic person with the characteristics of a Badger, Porcupine, Raccoon, Skunk and Grizzly Bear. Is this person diffused with similar animal’s qualities, making a healthy interactive relationship difficult if not impossible?

  • Badger: They are persistent when they are after something. Once provoked they become ill-natured and intimidating.
  • Porcupine: The quills keep you from getting close enough to know them and if you do get close, even though you have good intentions, they shoot a barbed quill into you. Body heat (love) makes the barbs expand and they become even more deeply embedded in your heart and mind. If an animal is hit in a vital place it may die; much like a piece of your heart dies every time your Porcupine shoots another barb at you.
  • Raccoon: Sneaky and constantly looking for a way into the chicken coop. They innately know the law of averages will swing to their advantage a future night leaving a weak point of entry. If it doesn’t, they lift a piece of metal on the back side of the coop night by night and eat a hole through the wood. The coon replaces the metal panel over the wood at the end of the night; keeping the farmer blind to their thieving ways. Raccoons will do their best to keep you blind to their sin life or possibly to the betrayal of the marriage covenant.
  • Skunk: The odor of their attack will never be forgotten and you do not have to be told twice to stay away.
  • Grizzly Bear: They are on the prowl to feed their ravenous appetite yet their hunger is never satisfied. Do not feed the bears is another way to say do not become Narcissistic supply.  See previous Toxic Tuesday: Boundaries post on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Supply. https://chocolateorelse.wordpress.com/2013/11/19/boundaries/

Yet God called us to agape; a Greek word for sacrificial love pertaining to: Unconditional love that is always giving and impossible to take or be a taker. It devotes total commitment to seek your highest best no matter how anyone may respond.

God’s love is demonstrative and since Christ taught us to love as He loves we can be assured that our love is to also be demonstrative.

Romans 5:8 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

1 John 4:19 

We love because he first loved us.  

John 14:21 suggests we may see, experience and enjoy evidences of God’s love when we obey and love God.

John 14:21

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.

I John 3:18-20

Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.

1 John 3:18-20

The Message (MSG) My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. This is the only way we’ll know we’re living truly, living in God’s reality. It’s also the way to shut down debilitating self-criticism, even when there is something to it. For God is greater than our worried hearts and knows more about us than we do ourselves. Agape is demonstrative; love without action does not feel good.

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Next: Tying your happiness to this toxic relationship is an emotional sinking ship but tying your identity to God, claiming His love and being resolved to spend time with Him is an anchor that will hold you in place no matter the next despairing storm coming your way.

Put away the, “I’ll be happy when…” thoughts and instead fill your mind with God’s truth.

I recently made a list of verses to help you remember that God wants you to have peace, know you are loved and know that your life has purpose. I got a bit carried away and now I have six pages of scriptures to pray over peace, love and purpose. Here is a sampling:

Peace

Psalm 29:11 The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.

Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 Love

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

Romans 5:5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

Romans 8:37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!

Purpose

Psalm 138:8   The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever. Do not forsake the work of your hands.

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Jeremiah 1:5  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

Mark 12:30-31  And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Psaml 57:2 I cry out to God Most High, to God who fulfills his purpose for me.

Deep within you what is the nagging question, the fear, the belief that is not from God’s heart that fills your inmost being’s empty spaces? Do you have a fear or a lie  zapping your heart, soul, mind and strength?

Satan starts these lies and feeds these fears knowing the more the fears/lies grow the less room there is for the filling of the Holy Spirit. Satan does not want you to know who you are or what you are capable of doing. Satan does not want you to live in power, love, clarity of mind and service. Satan does not want you to feel the wholeness God offers you.

Satan’s plan for your life is one more reason a daily quiet time with the Lord is so important. Be deliberate about it even when you do not feel like it. When the messiness of life keeps you from seeing anything from God, hearing anything from God or feeling anything from God GO—TO—HIS—WORD; the Bible. Read the truth until you feel it, remember it—know it! Confess the fear, the lie, to God and ask Him to shine His light of truth in your heart; invite God to heal you and fill the empty space with good gifts , with truth, from Him.

2 Timothy 1:7 

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

 Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.  

1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love

Psalm 139:23 Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.

Romans 3:23 …for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

The more we love God and allow Him to love us, the more His love, power and wisdom will flow through us.

Be resolved: Love is nonnegotiable.; it’s always there no matter how they treat you. Journal and dialogue with God about it.

One reason I enjoy journaling is so I can follow my transformation. When I journal God is my audience; no one else. This is about your journey; not theirs. What you learn and what you do has huge ripple effects. Ask God who He wants you to be. Ask God to show you what He is doing so you can join Him in His work. Who do you want to be? What kind of legacy do you want to be known for?

God is interested in relationships; His relationship with you and your relationships with others.

Luke 10:27 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

Lord I find You in the seeking 
Lord I find You in the doubt 
And to know You is to love You 
And to know so little else 
I need You 
Oh how I need You (3) 

Lord I find You in the seeking 
Lord I find You in the doubt 
And to know You is to love you 
And to know so little else 
I need You 
Oh how I need You (x3) 

Lord I find You in the morning 
Lord I seek You everyday 
Let my life be for Your glory 
Woven in your threads of grace 
I need You 
Oh how I need You (x3) 

Light glorious light 
I will go where You shine 
Break the dawn , crack the skies 
Make the wave right before me 
In Your light I will find 
All I need, all I need is You 

Light glorious light 
I will go where You shine 
Break the dawn , crack the skies 
Make the wave right before me 
In Your light I will find 
All I need, all I need is You 

Oh how I need You (x8)

Toxic Tuesday: DEAD END

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In past posts I shared my insight and experience regarding being in a toxic relationship. My heart truly did not want to revisit the toxic experience but the Lord had firmly prompted me to share, as minimally as possible, of circumstances I had prayed through, lived through and grown through.

The experience was long, difficult—more like impossible, heart-breaking, life-changing, traumatic and it left permanent scars along with multiple wrinkles. Life is hard and sometimes it shows.

For many years, while in this relationship, I did not know what to do so I continued doing what I knew to do; believe, support, love, nurture, cover for and forgive but the time came when I realized I could not keep doing life the same way and expect better relational results.

I kept placing my hope in God and I kept trying over and over again. I felt it was possible to beat the odds, to help bring the person to repentance, restore the relationship and provide emotional healing.  I prayed, I fasted, I sought counsel and I loved when I did not feel like loving. Most importantly I continued to pray scripture out loud over the situation. I was alone before God with nowhere to go and as I prostrated myself before Him with tears flooding my face, floor and open Bible He met me there. Just the two of us and God loved me with all His heart, great emotion that I could feel, and I was immensely thankful He never tired of the enormity and intensity of my need. I was constantly overcome by His love and speechless at His holiness.

Psalm 18:35 “Your right hand sustains me; you stoop down to make me great.”

For this relationship multiple doctors, tests and results; specialists, multiple counselors, mentors, friends, church family, intervention and relational separation were employed but nothing worked.

The enemy wanted to render me powerless through fear of the unknown, fear of making a wrong decision, fear that God would allow me to suffer in my misery if I did make the wrong decision, fear that all the problems were actually my fault, and fear of losing my dignity.

I asked Jesus to remove the fear, to forgive me for fearing and I asked the Holy Spirit to speak to me and make known the will of my Heavenly Father. I reminded God of my state: Made from dust.

“For he knows our frame;
    he remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14

I confessed that I was totally capable of missing the boat on any given situation and this was not a time to error and have to live with the consequences of a poor decision. I wanted to look back and know I had done everything possible to save this relationship; no regrets of stopping short of victory. I wanted to know that I was living by faith; the evidence of the unseen and the hope that a beneficial alternative existed. Logic and society said to run as fast and far away from this person as possible but faith…

I wanted to plug my name in at the end of Hebrews 11; by faith, Carolyn…

Every time I came to a road block, while attempting to help this person, I looked for a detour and took it. The possible outcome of this circumstance defied my spiritual convictions, resolve and long-term goals. I was confident erring on the side of faith would turn out better than erring on the side of easy. I knew God had made provision for me to leave this relationship but I wanted to find healing for this person for multiple reasons.

Eventually I realized the Holy Spirit was in me to guide me and empower me; not to help me fulfill my goals. And despite getting myself into this mess, by not following God’s word and not praying before entering this relationship, God was ever gracious to provide the Holy Spirit’s gentle leading and Jesus’ faithful intercession for deliverance.

In this case obeying God was the hardest thing I had ever done.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8

In the end I found moving a mountain was nothing compared to motivating a selfish, toxic, destructive heart to desire healing and restoration.

People have free choice and no amount of intercessory prayer for a loved one can change their free will.

Our human love does not conquer all.

There was no middle ground on which to meet a fool.

Psalm 92:6 Senseless people do not know, fools do not understand,

 Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

 Proverbs 10:14 The wise store up knowledge, but the mouth of a fool invites ruin.

Proverbs 12:15 The way of fools seems right to them, but the wise listen to advice.

 Proverbs 13:19 A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.

 I was blind to the betrayals taking place on multiple levels in many directions.

In the end I deserted the detours and took the route God had shown me multiple times; a one way street to a dead end. It was over.

Over did not mean easier. It was not easy! A terrible situation became worse, more difficult, more unsafe but I knew God had led me here and would, in His time, bring healing, safety and closure.

I have since asked Jesus to come and perform a healing; taking every broken place, cleaning it, inspecting it , and writing His name on every piece of me. It has been a process and just when I think all the places are healed Jesus finds another closed up room in my heart, shows it to me and I invite Him to clean and heal it too. He does. Every—single—time!

The foolish toxic person I refer to is presently sitting in jail awaiting a trial for which they continue to request delays. The reality of spending the next fifty years in prison without the possibility of parole exists. A conviction means they will die in prison before parole is achievable.

For the above reason I keep details to a minimum and wait.

During the wait God has brought eagles to my attention more times than I can remember to count. I have seen Bald Eagles while driving on the highways and interstates, driving around the suburbs of St. Louis, taking walks and standing in my yard. I have even heard their screams while sitting in my house during early and mid-morning weekdays. A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning ,while eating breakfast before leaving for church, I heard an eagle scream and walked outside to find two young eagles had landed and perched in our front trees.

Every time I see an eagle a scripture speaks to my heart, soul, mind and strength.

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

 How cool is that?

There have been multiple times I have written details I was uncertain of revealing so I inquired of God and guess what He did?

He showed me another eagle within hours, sometimes within minutes, of praying.

Since I do not believe there are coincidences with God; I’ll wait!

If you’ll step inside this great glass elevator
It’ll take us up above the city lights
To where the planet curves away to the equator
I want to show you something fine

You can see the roads that we all traveled just to get here
A million minuscule decisions in a line
Why they brought us to this moment isn’t clear
But that’s all right, we’ve got all night

Could it be that the many roads
You took to get here
Were just for me to tell this story
And for you to hear this song
And your many hopes
And your many fears
Were meant to bring you here all along

So if you’ll trust me with your time I’ll spend it wisely
I will sing to you with all I have to give
If you traveled all this way, then I will do my best to play
My biggest hits (that don’t exist)

And if you’ll lend to me your ear I’ll sing ’em pretty
I will never, ever sing ’em out of tune
And I will not forget the words,
of any chorus, bridge, or verse
I promise you

CHORUS

We’ve got Benjamin to play the grand piano
If we’re lucky it’s a little out of tune
We’ve got Andy on the guitar ’cause I promised him
Some Texas barbecue

How I love to watch you listen to the music
‘Cause you sing to me a music of your own
As I cast out all these lines, so afraid that I will find
I am alone, all alone

Could it be that the many roads
I took to get here
Were just for you to tell that story
And for me to hear that song
And my many hopes
And my many fears
Were meant to bring me here all along
We were meant to be right here all along

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toxic: People Do Not Buy People

TRAFFICKING This is alarming.

This disgusts me.

The evil in this world brings me to tears.

It literally makes my heart hurt; real pain—heaviness, in my physical heart. There is no way to understand why men pay to have sex with children, young girls and women.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Last night I learned about the below Focus on the Family daily broadcast. As parents and as a society we cannot protect when we do not know about, and cannot identify, the danger crouching to attack and devour our children.

I hope you find time to listen to this broadcast with your spouse and with your children if they are old enough to hear the story.

Knowledge is power. Know the tactics traffickers use! Emphasize to your family you trust Wilberforcethem; but you do not trust this world so we need to know signs of traffickers for protecting not only our own families but also for protecting friends, co-workers and neighbors.

Human trafficking knows no boundaries; age, race, class, religion, gender, ethnicity, ideology, nation, or home life.

Innocent victims, those who are not deceitful, have no baseline from which to understand deception. This makes discernment difficult. How is a young person to recognize or identify a human sex trafficker who has false motives?

With internet pornography in play (video not just still pictures) and more and more men becoming addicted to types of porn not previously seen by generations before us, I truly believe we are only seeing the tip of the sex trafficking iceberg. Consumer demand is high. Supply (the owner) desires to make big profit. Traffickers are bridging the supply and demand gap.

We usually think of traffickers as abductors but in more and more cases they are recruiters who use no force. Recruiters view victims as nothing more than a product which they are looking to sell to a pimp and/or an owner.

Brianna, in the Focus on the Family daily broadcast, was swept off her feet by someone with whom she had so much in common. The truth was they had nothing in common.

An older man, I’ll refer to him as a scout, who visited the restaurant where Brianna worked would strike up conversations with her and ask her questions about herself. Little did she know the older gentleman was passing the information on to college age guys, recruiters, who would then go to the eating establishment and converse with her about subjects that were of interest to her personally. She thought they had so much in common!

Victims are lured with charm, ease and false sincerity of young men who need taught their job is to defend and protect; not exploit.

Listen, learn…

http://www.focusonthefamily.com/popups/media_player.aspx?MediaId={512289A6-7E20-4F82-B11C-CF70FB65B543}

 

Other resources: SharedHope International: Pimps/traffickers often exhibit the following behaviors or characteristics. & Warning signs that a individual is being trafficked. http://sharedhope.org/learn/report-trafficking/ 

State Report Cards on how human trafficking laws and justice. How does your state rate?  http://sharedhope.org/what-we-do/bring-justice/reportcards/

Google your local county Sheriff’s Department: Sex Offender List  to find where local registered sex offenders live.  It is doubtful that human traffickers are on a sex offender’s list, but it is beneficial to know if you have offenders in your neighborhood.

St. Charles County Missouri: http://sheriff.sccmo.org/sheriff/index.php?option=com_sheriffoffender&Itemid=45

 

Toxic Tuesday: Tasers and Tea

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

What did I do when I found out my daughter had something ‘weird’ happen to her? First, I gathered details and talked to a witness about the weirdness. Second, I called the police. This was not the comfort I had hoped for; in fact, I understood the ‘weird’ may or may not have been part of a planned attempted abduction. Third, I informed the college campus security of my concerns and then I went to my friend Kim’s house to discuss Tasers over a cup of hot tea.

 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I’m a mom. A mom who is wildly; crazy in love with my children. I have spent my motherhood years protecting, teaching and nurturing my children. It has been a long and difficult road full of bumps, broken bridges and over the cliff falls; a few of which I was not able to protect them from. Life is hard!

I know I cannot protect my children from all the evil in this world but I can pray to the One who is able. So I along with my husband, sons, parents, sister and her family; as well as, friends are covering this in prayer. Since God has set the precedence that a spoken word can be more powerful than a word thought or read, I am praying scripture out loud over this situation. Please join me! I have included scripture at the end of this post.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I confess I have lost sleep over this but it has not been unproductive lost sleep! What else is a mom to do when faced with possible danger; or at least a question I would like to have answered? I mean, besides driving her college age daughter nuts with concern?

My brain has been churning with questions and answers.

Why do men do this? Answer: SIN! Pornography addiction and/or extreme mental illness.

What type of victim are they looking for?

What do they want to avoid?

What can children, young adults and women do who find themselves in an attempted abduction?

Better yet, how can they avoid being the target of abduction?

 

I will begin with the last question first.

How can children, young adults and women avoid being the target of abduction?

I recently attended a community education class on public safety at my church led by, Officer Melissa Doss, of the St. Peters Police Department. She had a valuable power packed presentation. Here are a few tips she gave:

Make it a habit to look people in the eyes when you are in public and to notice the type and color of clothing they are wearing. Would be criminals do not want someone who can identify them.

Do not dig in your purse for keys, a cell phone or anything else while you are walking to your car. This shows you are distracted and that your hands are not free to defend yourself. Have your keys in your hand before you are walking to your vehicle.

Do not text or talk on your cell phone while walking to your car. Again, this shows you are distracted and that your hands are not free to defend yourself. (There have been instances in the news where teen and college age girls were abducted while talking on their cellphones.)

If someone approaches you in a parking lot, on the street or in the store you do not have to reply to them. We believe we need to be polite; not rude, but this does not apply here. Be rude! They can find help from a man, the store’s customer service desk, or they can call the police. Do not turn around to look at them, do not stop walking and do not answer them. You are not being rude or un-Christlike. You are being safe!

Do not have iPod or MP3 ear buds in your ears. This shows your thoughts are elsewhere, you are distracted, and you cannot hear everything around you.  You also should not drive with ear buds in your ears.

Always walk with your keys held in your hand as a stabbing weapon. Use the keys for stabbing in the eyes and face.

Park in a well-lit place.

Park your car away from other cars so no one can block the view to your vehicle; thus keeping the public from seeing the abduction.

If you think someone in a store is watching you or following you; go to the Courtesy/Customer Service desk and request to be escorted to your car. Any store will provide this for their customers.

If you are alone at work after hours or on the weekend and see  a car with a driver in the parking lot as you are leaving; stay inside the building and call the police. They will gladly come to your place of employment and see you safely to your car.

When I spoke to the local Sheriff’s department about my daughter’s situation these were some of their instructions for her: Pay close attention to other drivers while driving. If you think you are being followed, keep driving and call 911 to report your location. Do not pull over and do not go into a building or store. Stay in the car and wait for the police to find you/catch up with you. They will pull over the car behind you for questioning.

I must remind you that many abductions and molestations are committed by someone the individual or the family knows so teaching Stranger Danger to our children is not a sure answer to the problem.

Our family is password protected. If a friend or extended family member should need to pick one of my children up from an event or appointment because I asked them to do so; they will have to tell my children the secret password for my children to safely go with them. I also taught my children at a young age to look for a mommy with children and ask her for help if they are lost or if they are being led out of a store by a stranger.

 

Additional helps in an attempted abduction:

Always have a weapon with you: Mace (pepper spray), a Taser, a stun gun, a knife, and/or a key in your hand for jabbing in an attacker’s eyes or face.

Missouri is a conceal and carry permit state. Those age 21 and older with skills and who have attended and passed a gun safety class can keep a concealed gun with them.

I am going to add a whistle to my keychain. They are loud and will draw attention if you need it. If you have an older car without an alarm system, or a panic button, a whistle could be blown if you think someone is following you to your car. People will look to see who is blowing a whistle; you! I think this would make an abductor look elsewhere for a victim.

Always check the back seat of your car and the back end of your van before getting in; even if you had the doors locked while away from the vehicle.

I walk quickly when walking to and from my vehicle. I hope it looks like I’m in a hurry to get somewhere or to keep an appointment. Let an abductor believe someone is expecting me; therefore, I will be missed if I don’t get to where I am going.

In one of the recent attempted abductions there was a man standing by the young woman’s car. If you see someone standing by your car or hear a stranger talking to you; don’t hesitate, turn and run back into the store and ask for an escort to your car and/or call the police.

Keep your doors locked and your widows up while driving.

If you get a flat tire in a dark or seemingly dangerous place I would slowly drive on the flat tire to a public place. I would rather damage my car than risk my life.

I keep the local police phone number programmed in my cell phone; as well as, a local towing company. I should never have to walk anywhere or accept help from a stranger.

Here is a plan that I have gone over in my mind several times. If you are abducted and forced to drive the car, find an object into which you can crash the car—preferably at a lower rate of speed. An emergency room visit it far better than what the abductor has in store for you.

There have been abducted and bound victims who have kicked the back lights out of the trunks and poked a foot or hand through the opening for passing vehicles to see. If bound and in the back seat or on the floorboard, kick at the windows for a passing vehicle to see your feet.

If you cannot outrun your attacker and there is no one in sight run around your vehicle if you can. Putting something between the two of you as he pursues you may frustrate him causing him to give up, or give you more time to be seen by someone else.

Most abductions of women and children in the U.S. are sexually motivated and once the abductor has you in their vehicle the chances of being found or found alive are slim. Yell for help. Resist. Try to escape. You DO NOT want to be physically taken from where you are. Be loud, run and don’t look back until you have reached safety.

The goal is not to have a witness to the crime but to receive help with the crime. Reacting in the moment is much easier said than done so having a well thought plan is important.

I am going to use the example of the boy referenced in the below  news clip: http://fox2now.com/2014/03/18/another-attempted-child-abduction-reported-in-st-ann/

He did the right things by ignoring the car, continuing to walk away and then running. But I think another element to teach our children is to yell loudly. Attackers do not want to be heard, seen or identified so, you,  be heard and, you, help them to be seen and identified. A victim in this situation could yell any of the following as they run, “I don’t know them!” “I am being chased by a red car with two men it.”  “I’m being kidnapped!” “A man with short dark hair is trying to take me.” “A man with brown hair is chasing me.” “That man has a gun!” “I don’t know him.”  “A man with a green coat is chasing me. “ These types of responses will need to be practiced in advance so a child is resolved to respond accordingly if abduction is ever attempted.

If you are being abducted in a crowd, grab a hold of a person or object (a pole, a chair, a fence, a bike) while yelling statements like those above. This will draw too much attention and require the abductor to think twice about messing with you.

Kidnappers and rapists are looking for easy targets. Be difficult and fight until you have no fight left in you. They don’t want someone who will struggle with them—so keep fighting. (These guidelines are not necessarily the same when traveling in a foreign country. I am applying this to my country/society.) They also don’t want someone with a weapon. If your weapon is in your purse it is useless because they will most likely take control of your hands and arms before you can reach for the weapon. The weapon needs to be in your hand or on your key chain which is in your hand.

If your car is hit from behind keep your doors locked and your window up. Call the police and wait for them to arrive.

 This is not a conclusive list. If you have another safety tip to add you are welcome to do so in the comment section.

 Resources:

http://www.corneredcat.com/contents/ Written by a homeschool mom. A Woman’s Guide to Concealed Carry: She doesn’t go around threatening to maul people. She’s cuddly, she’s cozy, she likes to curl up next to a crackling fire on a cold winter’s day. She’s great company. But don’t try to trap her in a bad situation.

http://www.taser.com/products/self-defense-products Tasers and Stun Guns: Best products on the market.

http://www.homeselfdefenseproducts.com/product/TASER39056 Tasers, Stun Guns, Mace, Pepper Spray and other safety products.

 

Please join me in praying…

Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. Ephesians 6:17

For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Hebrews 4:12

Every conversation with God has limitless possibilities attached to it because, “He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3:20

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. II Corinthians 10:4-5

but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. I Samuel 17:45b

Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you;
therefore he will rise up to show you compassion.
For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who wait for him! Isaiah 30:18

for the joy of the Lord is my strength. Nehemiah 8:10b

Hasten, O God, to save me;
come quickly, Lord, to help me.

May those who want to take my life
be put to shame and confusion;
may all who desire my ruin
be turned back in disgrace.
May those who say to me, “Aha! Aha!”
turn back because of their shame.
But may all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you;
may those who long for your saving help always say,
“The Lord is great!”

But as for me, I am poor and needy;
come quickly to me, O God.
You are my help and my deliverer;
Lord, do not delay. Psalm 70: 1-5

 

27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds. Psalm 73: 27-28

“Out My House”

I been sittin’ here thinking
And I’ve come to conclude
That you’ve been takin’ things that really don’t belong to you
Sit down, better yet get outAnd now you actin’ up
‘Cause you know that I’m on to you
And now I’m ’bout to tell you what you’re gonna do
Get out, get out, out my houseDon’t want you on my porch no more
Stop looking through my window open
‘Cause you’re my enemy and not my friend
(Not my friend)
I can see clearly and I don’tWanna hear you on my radio
Don’t wanna see you on my TV screen
Don’t wanna read you in my magazine
(Movie scene)
You need to hear me(You know you’re wrong)
Tryin’ to run them games on me
(And you know you’re wrong)
Tryin’ to put them chains on me
(I need yougone gonegone gone gone)I need you gone, gone, I need you gone
So now you’re gonna have to yield the floor
And one thing more
I’m gonna have to show you to the door
And when you go
(And when you go please stay away)(Get out my house)
I don’t ever want to have to see your face round here no more
(Get out my house, out my house, out my house)
(You need to get out my house)
I don’t ever want to have to see you come around here no more
(Get out my house, out my house, out my house)Stop messin’ with my family
I’m takin’ back what you stole from me
‘Cause now, I’m living in victory
And you don’t scare me, I’ll tell you why

God is for me so I’m not afraid
My escape is already made
And His life it was the price He paid
(Price He paid)
And now you’re under my feet

(You know you’re wrong)
Tryin’ to run them games on me
(And you know you’re wrong)
Tryin’ to put them chains on me
(I need you gone gone gone gone gone)

I need you gone, gone, I need you gone
So now you’re gonna have to yield the floor
And one thing more
I’m gonna have to show you to the door
And when you go
(And when you go please stay away)

I need you gone, gone, gone, gone, gone

I just really need you gone, gone, gone, gone
So now I have to tell you so long
It was all wrong and what I don’t want
Is you to ever come back ’cause I’m

Not in the mood to negotiate, I know
God is for me and I’m not afraid
Gone, gone, gone, gone
And when you go and when you go please stay away

(You know you’re wrong)
Tryin’ to run them games on me
(And you know you’re wrong)
Tryin’ to put them chains on me
(I need you gone gone gone gone gone)

I need you gone, gone, I need you gone
So now you’re gonna have to yield the floor
And one thing more
I’m gonna have to show you to the door
And when you go
(And when you go please stay away)

 

 

 

Toxic Tuesday: Biblical Permission to Leave a Toxic Spouse?


Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

No matter how they treat me; I will choose agape love.

No matter what they do; I will forgive. Over and over.

No matter how messed up they are; I will be their helpmate.

No matter the mental illness or personality disorder; I will love in sickness and in health.

No matter the inability to parent; I’ll keep the children safe and sheltered.

No matter the addictions; I will pray for healing and restoration to come.

No matter the anger; I’ll wait for the therapy to work. I know they will get better with the help of a godly professional.

No matter the grounds for divorce; I will pray for forgiveness, restoration, and family unity. After all, as Christians with God on our side, we can do the hard thing and make it through.

But what happens when you are the only one practicing these principles and actions?

Have you been to counseling, done the homework, practiced the applications, prayed and fasted but you are the only person in the equation who participated in all the above? This is the point where putting all the marriage and Christian help books away is beneficial. These books are for people in a relationship with a mentally healthy spouse. We all have issues. We all sin. But living with a toxic person is not the subject of these books. They are terrific books—wrong subject.

Did you attempt an intervention with the goal of leading your spouse to repentance, restoring the relationship, and providing emotional healing only to be told, “It’s all you.” “You’re the one with the problems.” “There’s nothing wrong with what I do or how I treat you.”?

Did you serve them therapeutic separation papers to show how serious you were about saving your marriage and saving your family? Have they shown no serious action to remedy the situation? Or have they shown minimal—surface only, “Is this enough to satisfy you?” action. Yet there is no change in heart, attitude, addictions, words or actions.

If you feel led by God through much prayer; keep going: agape, forgive, help, remain true to the covenant, protect, seek professional help, pray, fast and pray some more. Over and over. If this is your decision I highly recommend you visit Leslie Vernick’s website.  

Also, Counselor Patrick Doyle has over 100 free counseling videos on Youtube for spouses in difficult or abusive relationships. He is a life line to hurting and abused women (spouses).

 Here is where the strategy must change:

Are you concerned for your safety and/or and the safety of your children due to abuse?

I want you to hear this in the sweetest most tender voice as I envelope you in a hug and gently declare, “God does not expect you to live like this.”

Are you concerned you will not be alive come tomorrow morning due to an angry and/or violent spouse?

Imagine I have my hands on your shoulders, as we look at each other tear-stained face to tear-stained face, “God does not want or require you to live under such conditions.”

Many theologians, pastors, and Christians with the best intentions have written on this subject.  I am in no way an expert or professional and this is why I always reiterate the importance of praying, fasting, and seeking Christ-centered professional counsel.

I grew up believing divorce was wrong. Period. Christians work it out.

It took years of experience and additional years of Christ-centered counsel, Bible study, prayer, and fasting to realize there were biblical grounds to leave a toxic relationship.

For more background information on toxic relationships, toxic people, boundaries, intervention, and therapeutic separation please read past ‘Toxic Tuesday’ posts.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

God states that He hates divorce; not the divorced. God has experienced what it feels like to have someone leave Him. He knows the heartbreak His loved ones will endure and He understands the generational stronghold Satan will attempt to wield over the family members. He desires to protect us from the hurt, pain, consequences, and future oppression of divorce.

Scripture does not specifically address divorce due to  the circumstance of being married to an abusive, toxic spouse but we know, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness” 2 Timothy 3:16.  If we have a question about life we know we can find applicable help in God’s word.  Here are some verses to consider when in an abusive relationship:

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word,  and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.  After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church.” Ephesians 5: 25-29

 “The same goes for you husbands: Be good husbands to your wives. Honor them, delight in them. As women they lack some of your advantages. But in the new life of God’s grace, you’re equals. Treat your wives, then, as equals so your prayers don’t run aground.” I Peter 3:7

But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.” I Corinthians 5:11

 “Do not speak to fools, for they will scorn your prudent words.” Proverbs 23:9

 “As a dog returns to its vomit, so fools repeat their folly.” Proverbs 26:11

“Stone is heavy and sand a burden, but a fool’s provocation is heavier than both.” Proverbs 27:3

“Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them.” Proverbs 27:22

“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Matthew 18:6

 “Look out for the dogs, look out for the evildoers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh.” Philippians 3:2 

“Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Proverbs 13:20

 “Warn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them.” Titus 3:10

“If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over. But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.” Matthew 18: 15-17

 “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.” Ephesians 5:11

Stay away from a fool, for you will not find knowledge on their lips.” Proverbs 14:7

Our nation and our individual states have laws regarding abuse. If  something below is taking place in your home it needs to be reported to a law official immediately and you need to take safety.

  •          It is against the law to abuse another person.
  •          Physical and sexual abuse against children is against the law.

Also report it to the social welfare/department of family or child services office, a doctor of psychology, a local child advocacy center and possibly the Victim Witness Advocate at your local District/Prosecuting Attorney’s office. You can call the Victim Witness Advocate at the state Attorney General’s office if you need help locating an advocate in your area.

Yes, your spouse may be arrested, but maybe this will make him/her realize the seriousness of how out-of-control they have become; possibly leading to real help, true repentance, and possible restoration; although statistics backing this up are slim. You have every legal right to defend and protect your children and yourself. God does not expect you or want you to endure such abuse.

To say your abusive husband cannot change would be to deny the power of Christ. The flip side of praying, waiting, and hoping for an abusive or severely mentally ill husband, or a husband with a personality disorder, to change is this: They have free choice and God will not make them do what they do not ask for or want.

The Bible gives two reasons for divorce; adultery and abandonment. Theologically many argue abandonment strictly means the physical state. I submit, in the case of abuse they have  emotionally and physically abandoned you through; abdication, blocked intimacy, isolation, loneliness, neglect, rejection and lack of protection. They have also; most likely, physically abandoned  a sexually monogamous relationship with you. I mention infidelity because I am yet to hear of abuse that did not include unfaithfulness; it’s possible but rare. They have left you with permanent psychological scars, often financially restricted or stranded you, verbally destroyed you (at this point many women wish they had the bruises and broken bones to prove the abuse) or; physical and/or sexual abuse of you and/or your children.

I view abuse as abandonment for these reasons: when the marriage covenant is made on your wedding day your husband promises, (the wife’s covenant is the same to her husband) “To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love, honor, cherish and protect her, forsaking all others for as long as we both shall live.” When a husband is verbally and emotionally, assaulting, beating/abusing his wife and/or children (I am not talking about thoughtful and lovingly administered spankings to teach your children right from wrong and to keep them safe from danger) he abandons the vows he made to his bride on their wedding day. Women who have suffered through a sexually unfaithful husband and an abusive husband can testify that the abuse is worse than the sexual infidelity. When her husband beats her, verbally shreds her, emotionally rejects her, or sexually assaults her, he has abandoned their vows and his relationship with her.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Do you feel trapped, despairing, brokenhearted, hopeless, devastated, betrayed, frightened or dead due to abuse?

Christ came to set the captive free as prophesied in Isaiah 61.

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me,
    because the Lord has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
    to proclaim freedom for the captives
    and release from darkness for the prisoners,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
    and the day of vengeance of our God,
to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
    instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
    instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
    instead of a spirit of despair.  Isaiah 61:1-3

Freedom is found in Jesus.

Boundaries are necessary.

Safety is essential.

Healing is possible.

Tomorrow will come with ‘the oil of joy instead of mourning.’ It takes time; time does not heal. God heals—in time.

 

A Little Bit of Chocolate and a Whole Lot of Jesus 3/23/2014

Little Bit of Chocolate final

My last devotion/journal entry included the concept of grace. Today’s entry pairs grace with mercy. Mercy is the act by which God withholds what we deserve. Why? The answer is Christ and the cross.

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree (cross), that we may cease from sinning and live for righteousness. By his wounds you were healed.” I Peter 2:24

Grace is God’s free gift given once for all. Mercy is given new every morning.

“His compassion never ends. It is only the Lord’s mercies that have kept us from complete destruction. Great is his faithfulness; his loving-kindness begins afresh each day. My soul claims the Lord as my inheritance; therefore I will hope in him.” Lamentations 3:22-24

I like to think of my morning quiet times as drops of mercy. God showers me lavishly, refreshes me and fills me up for the day.

Drops of mercy:

Ephesians 1: 1-6 (NIV)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God,

To God’s holy people in Ephesus,the faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

Did you catch the part that says, “Blessed us with every spiritual blessing?”

I don’t know about you but most days I live short of this truth. Life speeds by and in the busyness, the stress—the daily-ness I sometimes hear a dominating whisper telling me lies. This voice begins every lie with, “I.”

“I am….”

“I am not…”

“I will never…”

“I will always…”

Um hmm, this voice is Satan’s voice and he hopes I will repeat and believe every word he says.

I am learning not to listen and to never again repeat the lies. I am replacing them with God’s truth. I am speaking God’s truth out loud over my life.

I want the spiritual blessings. We have many blessings and provisions found in scripture. Here are five:

I am forgiven.  I John 2:12 (TLB) “I am writing these things to all of you, my little children, because your sins have been forgiven in the name of Jesus our Savior.”

I am loved. I John 4:10 (NIV) “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

I am cleansed. I John 1:9 (NLT) “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”

I am chosen. Ephesians 1:4 (NIV) “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.”

I am a princess; the daughter of the King of the universe. II Corinthians 6:18 (NIV) “And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.”

I am a princess daughter. You too are, or can be, a princess daughter, or a prince son, of the Most High God; Creator and King of the Universe.

Below is one of my favorite Psalms; it is rich in truth. Pray it out loud thanking God for who He is. He knows you intimately and He loves you. Better yet, if you have accepted His One and Only Son, Jesus, as your Lord and Savior then He forgives you and cleanses you.

If you are not sure about who Jesus is or if He truly exists; call on His name and ask Him to reveal Himself to you. He is not hiding—He wants to be found! In the right margin you will find a section titled, “Jesus”. 

Psalm 103 (NIV)

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.

13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children—
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.

19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.

20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.

Praise the Lord, my soul.

Child Sexual Abuse Symptoms: Part 3

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

Childhood Sexual Abuse Symptoms: Part 3

This is the last post of a three-part series on childhood victimization including:

How Sexual Predators Choose Victims – Part 1, Protecting Children from Predators – Part 2, and Child Sexual Abuse Symptoms – Part 3.

I write to bring child sexual abuse to the attention of anyone who will read, and to answer nagging questions of parents who are concerned about their children’s safety.

I especially write to the missionary’s wife or pastor’s wife who is caught in an unspeakable circumstance. One where she suddenly finds out her husband in addicted to pornography, mentally ill, or both; and the realization of who he is or what he is doing is unimaginable. You may see with your eyes, but are unable to process with your heart, the evidence that your covenant beloved husband is crossing healthy emotional and sexual boundaries with you; or worse, with your children.

If you suspect your child is being abused keep your eyes and ears open. Keep your heart set to ‘facts only’ with the possible perpetrator, and keep your heart, soul, mind and strength turned toward God. Pray scriptures out loud over the situation. *I have included scriptures at the end of this post.

I have made it a habit to ask God to show me if my child or spouse is in any type of danger or sin. I do not ask so I can pounce on them with my evidence or knowledge but so I can pray for them and come along beside them with help.

Spend time with your children. Study them. No one cares for their needs or loves them as much as their parents. If your spouse is the abuser then you may be the only parent who can advocate for and protect your child.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE SYMPTOMS

Emotional/Behavioral signs:

  • Changes in behavior or personality; sudden mood changes or aggressive behavior. You notice it or other adults notice it.
  • Changes in academic performance at school.
  • New, sudden, fears of earlier behaviors. Examples: fear of the dark, fear of going to bed, fear of a person, fear of going home, fear of going to school, fear of a place, fear of separating from you. Abused children may show anxiety or express apprehension about going somewhere with the person who is abusing them. They may hide from the person who is abusing them when they see them.
  • Loss of acquired language or memory problems. New inappropriate language which you did not teach them.
  • Changes in what they eat, or gagging on foods they normally eat. Loss of appetite.
  • Withdraws from family and/or friends.
  • Changes in sleep. They may begin having nightmares, night terrors, difficulty falling asleep or attempting to place borders/protection around their bed. Insomnia.
  • May find areas of their life they can control and become obsessive about it. Clothing, food, habits, body hygiene.
  • May begin high-risk activities; drugs, alcohol, self-abuse, sex.
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors or language for their age; if they say or do something to you that they should now know about.
  • Becomes unusually secretive.
  • Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts.
  • Becomes depressed or suicidal.
  • Complaints of headaches, stomach-aches or chest pain.
  • Afraid of undressing or wearing extra layers of clothing.
  • A new fear of going to the bathroom. This could be psychological or due to pain.
  • Difficulty making friends.
  • Arriving to school early and staying late; to avoid being in their home.

Physical signs:

  • Unexplained injuries such as visible signs which your child has no explanation for or has an unconvincing explanation for.
  • Difference in their underwear; torn, stained or bloody
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Redness, bleeding or rash in the external genital/bottom area.
  • Frequent, unexplained urinary infections or sore throats
  • Sexually transmitted infections

Internet victimization signs:

Your child may be in contact with an online predator if he or she:

  • Becomes secretive about online activities
  • Becomes obsessive about being online
  • Gets angry when he or she can’t get online
  • Receives phone calls from people you do not know or makes calls to numbers that you do not recognize
  • Receives gifts, mail, or packages from someone you do not know
  • Withdraws from family and friends
  • Changes screens or turns off computer when an adult enters a room
  • Begins downloading pornography online

*Enough is Enough: Internet Safety 101- http://www.internetsafety101.org/predatorwarningsigns.htm

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough of a reason to contact the authorities.

If you suspect abuse; do not ask your child questions. Allow a trained professional to interview them. Asking questions is considered leading the witness and the issue will most likely be thrown out in a court of law.

In the right margin of my blog I have listed several Christian resources to aid in the event of childhood victimization.

Also see: 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

*Scriptures to pray: (NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, II Corinthians 4:13

“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14b

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
    but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:6-7

No weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord. Isaiah 54:17

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:28-29

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Isaiah 43:2-3

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:6

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. Psalm 28:7

You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103: 1-6

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you. You, Lord, are forgiving and good,  abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. Psalm 86:1-7

Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly. Psalm 102:2

Pour out your heart like water
    in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
    for the lives of your children, Lamentations 2:19


images

Child Sexual Abuse Symptoms: Part 3

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

Childhood Sexual Abuse Symptoms: Part 3

This is the last post of a three-part series on childhood victimization including:

How Sexual Predators Choose Victims – Part 1, Protecting Children from Predators – Part 2, and Child Sexual Abuse Symptoms – Part 3.

I write to bring child sexual abuse to the attention of anyone who will read, and to answer nagging questions of parents who are concerned about their children’s safety.

I especially write to the missionary’s wife or pastor’s wife who is caught in an unspeakable circumstance. One where she suddenly finds out her husband in addicted to pornography, mentally ill, or both; and the realization of who he is or what he is doing is unimaginable. You may see with your eyes, but are unable to process with your heart, the evidence that your covenant beloved husband is crossing healthy emotional and sexual boundaries with you; or worse, with your children.

If you suspect your child is being abused keep your eyes and ears open. Keep your heart set to ‘facts only’ with the possible perpetrator, and keep your heart, soul, mind and strength turned toward God. Pray scriptures out loud over the situation. *I have included scriptures at the end of this post.

I have made it a habit to ask God to show me if my child or spouse is in any type of danger or sin. I do not ask so I can pounce on them with my evidence or knowledge but so I can pray for them and come along beside them with help.

Spend time with your children. Study them. No one cares for their needs or loves them as much as their parents. If your spouse is the abuser then you may be the only parent who can advocate for and protect your child.

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE SYMPTOMS

Emotional/Behavioral signs:

  • Changes in behavior or personality; sudden mood changes or aggressive behavior. You notice it or other adults notice it.
  • Changes in academic performance at school.
  • New, sudden, fears of earlier behaviors. Examples: fear of the dark, fear of going to bed, fear of a person, fear of going home, fear of going to school, fear of a place, fear of separating from you. Abused children may show anxiety or express apprehension about going somewhere with the person who is abusing them. They may hide from the person who is abusing them when they see them.
  • Loss of acquired language or memory problems. New inappropriate language which you did not teach them.
  • Changes in what they eat, or gagging on foods they normally eat. Loss of appetite.
  • Withdraws from family and/or friends.
  • Changes in sleep. They may begin having nightmares, night terrors, difficulty falling asleep or attempting to place borders/protection around their bed. Insomnia.
  • May find areas of their life they can control and become obsessive about it. Clothing, food, habits, body hygiene.
  • May begin high-risk activities; drugs, alcohol, self-abuse, sex.
  • Inappropriate sexual behaviors or language for their age; if they say or do something to you that they should now know about.
  • Becomes unusually secretive.
  • Talk of a new, older friend and unexplained money or gifts.
  • Becomes depressed or suicidal.
  • Complaints of headaches, stomach-aches or chest pain.
  • Afraid of undressing or wearing extra layers of clothing.
  • A new fear of going to the bathroom. This could be psychological or due to pain.
  • Difficulty making friends.
  • Arriving to school early and staying late; to avoid being in their home.

Physical signs:

  • Unexplained injuries such as visible signs which your child has no explanation for or has an unconvincing explanation for.
  • Difference in their underwear; torn, stained or bloody
  • Difficulty walking or sitting
  • Redness, bleeding or rash in the external genital/bottom area.
  • Frequent, unexplained urinary infections or sore throats
  • Sexually transmitted infections

Internet victimization signs:

Your child may be in contact with an online predator if he or she:

  • Becomes secretive about online activities
  • Becomes obsessive about being online
  • Gets angry when he or she can’t get online
  • Receives phone calls from people you do not know or makes calls to numbers that you do not recognize
  • Receives gifts, mail, or packages from someone you do not know
  • Withdraws from family and friends
  • Changes screens or turns off computer when an adult enters a room
  • Begins downloading pornography online

*Enough is Enough: Internet Safety 101- http://www.internetsafety101.org/predatorwarningsigns.htm

 ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Trust your instincts. Suspected abuse is enough of a reason to contact the authorities.

If you suspect abuse; do not ask your child questions. Allow a trained professional to interview them. Asking questions is considered leading the witness and the issue will most likely be thrown out in a court of law.

In the right margin of my blog I have listed several Christian resources to aid in the event of childhood victimization.

Also see: 

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

*Scriptures to pray: (NIV)

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak, II Corinthians 4:13

“Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14b

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
    but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. Proverbs 28:13

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. I Peter 5:6-7

No weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord. Isaiah 54:17

Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:28-29

When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior; Isaiah 43:2-3

If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. Matthew 18:6

The Lord is near to all who call on him,
    to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak. Isaiah 40:29

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
    my heart trusts in him, and he helps me. Psalm 28:7

You are my hiding place;
you will protect me from trouble
and surround me with songs of deliverance. Psalm 32:7

Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love,
    for I have put my trust in you.
Show me the way I should go,
    for to you I entrust my life. Psalm 143:8

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. Psalm 103: 1-6

Hear me, Lord, and answer me,
    for I am poor and needy.
Guard my life, for I am faithful to you;
    save your servant who trusts in you.
You are my God; have mercy on me, Lord,
    for I call to you all day long.
Bring joy to your servant, Lord,
    for I put my trust in you. You, Lord, are forgiving and good,  abounding in love to all who call to you. Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in distress, I call to you, because you answer me. Psalm 86:1-7

Do not hide your face from me
when I am in distress.
Turn your ear to me;
when I call, answer me quickly. Psalm 102:2

Pour out your heart like water
    in the presence of the Lord.
Lift up your hands to him
    for the lives of your children, Lamentations 2:19


images