Motorcycle/Camry Accident and the ICU: Part 2

I get giddy when I’m upset and when I am retelling serious or traumatic events. It is a weird quirk, I know, but it is exactly what happens to me. I wish I could explain why I sound giddy when I am truly distressed.

read more Motorcycle/Camry Accident and the ICU: Part 2

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A Toxic Relationship and a Therapeutic Separation

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

Today’s Toxic Tuesday refers mainly to intervention within a marriage.

Last week’s “Toxic Tuesday” post mentioned a therapeutic legal separation. I recommend this only as a last resort to help the person in crisis.

Your goal is to bring the person to repentance, restore the relationship and provide emotional healing. Last week I recommended you make a list of behaviors which must stop immediately. This included the requirement of seeking godly professional help immediately. Stick to it! You can do it but you cannot do it on your own. Ask for assistance from the helpers who were present during the intervention.

Maybe your spouse went to a few therapy or doctor appointments and declared they were better, healed or simply—done. If after two to four weeks (or your stated goal and time) you realize nothing has changed, your spouse does not acknowledge he or she needs help and they refuse professional counsel you could prayerfully consider meeting with an attorney for help with a therapeutic separation. Always keep your safety in mind. Your lawyer will most likely recommend that you not tell of your actions but rather allow your spouse to find out when the papers are served. There can be a shock value added to the seriousness of legal proceedings. You are serious about saving your marriage and saving your family. There will be a financial cost involved and either you or your spouse will need to make alternative living arrangements. Your legal representative will most likely suggest you, and the children if you have them, stay in the home and have your spouse make arrangements for their own needs. Again, they need to be the one inconvenienced so they will hopefully have more reason to work on seeking help and healing.

I do not suggest this as the last effort before divorcing your spouse. I truly believe divorce is avoidable in most circumstances. Our society is using divorce as an easy out. Our marriage vows are not, “I’ll stay with you as long as I feel loved, secure, happy and fulfilled,” but rather, “To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do us part.” This includes, to name a few: Being out of work, in a coma, suffering from mental illness, the death of a child, being imprisoned, or having an addiction. It does not include being abused due to untreated or denied emotional issues, mental illness or addiction.

Most mental illnesses are manageable or treatable with medications, counseling and a diet of healthy foods and supplements. Addictions can be overcome. The only catch is—the person has to want help, seek help and work hard; most likely for the rest of their life, daily making good choices for themselves and for those around them.

If you are in danger or you have a child being abused, please leave immediately and seek help. Instances of children making up stories of child abuse are rare. Always believe the child. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships, resources for counseling services and referrals, a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse, and a link for Christian survivors.

I want to clear up what I believe is a misnomer regarding divorce. I often hear the phrase, “Kids are resilient.” I do not know where this saying originated but I have not found it true. Do kids find a way to cope just like the adults? Sure. But divorce changes the way they function, interact, trust, view life, and it hurts their chance for marriage when they become adults. Divorce can change the personality and even the character of a child. I do not consider any of these changes resilient, positive outcomes. Unless there is abuse taking place; finding a way to stay together is usually in the best interest of the children.

I personally know many women who can testify that after their divorce from their Christian husband, the man acted dishonorably against the children for the purpose of hurting his ex-wife’s heart. Safety became a concern. Some divorced fathers introduced their kids to alcohol, drugs, pornography, violent films, and extreme sports. Why? Because it drove the former wife almost insane with concern for the children. I know this cannot be a blanket statement but I have seen and heard of shocking behavior from former husbands too many times. I am not male bashing. I know this could be reversed and said about some women too. I want couples to be aware of how quickly spiritual, emotional and psychological manipulations operate within a divorce.

Back to the therapeutic separation.

I believe it has the potential to strengthen the marriage when done well, done for the right reasons which are clearly stated, and when bathed in prayer. And lots of it!

The trickiest part of a legal separation can be child visitation if child abuse is suspected. Family court frowns heavily against spousal testimony. In fact, your testimony is usable against you if you do not have physical evidence to back it up, or an outside person’s eyewitness account. Be careful and seek guidance. (I will address childhood victimization accusations/evidence on next week’s Toxic Tuesday blog.)

If there has been infidelity in the relationship the separation can be more challenging and will require that a third party knows about the betrayal. A godly professional can help you navigate the muddy waters. Remember, unfaithfulness is forgivable. Your relationship is reconcilable. Mental illness is treatable. With God all things are possible. The bottom line is you want a healed heart, a healed spouse, a healed marriage and a healed family unit.

Set clear and reasonable expectations such as days and times you will talk on the phone. This is a ‘time out’ and both sides need to treat it as such. Verbal communication may still be important. Allow your counselor’s input for this decision.

Most importantly you will need Jesus Christ to make it through such circumstances. Only He can minister to your heart, soul, mind and strength. You have emotional, spiritual and physical needs which He wants to meet; not only spiritually, but practically. Invite Him. Read His word, the Bible. Pray the word to Him. “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 (NIV)

I find Mark 14:17-21 to be applicable, “We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

‘Bring them here to me,’ he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.”

Here is an excerpt from Jesus the One and Only by Beth Moore: “Christ can perform astounding wonders when we bring Him all we have. Beloved, I want you to hear something loud and clear: no matter what your ‘only’ is, when you bring all of your ‘only’ to Jesus, it’s huge! When we bring Him everything we have, He multiplies it beyond our wildest imagination.”

In John 6:5-8 we find that Philip was very practical and factual; working from a financial viewpoint of supply and demand which perhaps led to pessimism, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!” Andrew, on the other hand, listed every physical resource they had; a measly fives loaves of bread and two fish. I wonder if he asked optimistically, “but how far will they go among so many?” He at least looked for an opportunity. He had an idea and he offered it to Jesus. Whatever Philip and Andrew’s reasoning’s; Jesus knew He was about to perform a miracle of huge proportions with the small offering of a young child.

The multitude needed fed. Jesus multiplied five loaves of bread and two fish to feed each person to full. Each of the twelve disciples picked up a basket full of bread after everyone had eaten.

Offer Jesus your all. What is your all? A broken marriage, a broken heart, a mentally ill spouse, emotionally fragile children, you fill in the blank. Offer it to Jesus; along with, a daily quiet time with Him and ask Him to multiply it beyond anything you can imagine.

The Johnson Family Miracle: Our Story Goes On

On January 18, 2014 I posted “Prayer and a Massage:  Widowhood and Practical Ministry”

In the post I referred to, Kristen, who is my dear friend and great prayer warrior partner from Colorado. She met me in Stillwater, Oklahoma, so we could shower our sweet friend, Lavern, with love after the death of her beloved, Tom.

Kristen sincerely desires for her life lessons and pain to be greatly used for the Lord’s purpose. She told me months ago she and her family were creating a video for the purpose of passing on their spiritual heritage in the Lord and to declare God’s goodness, faithfulness, provision and protection.

The below video shares the story of the accident Kristen and her family survived months after our visit with Lavern.

Kristen practices thriving despite difficult circumstances. This isn’t the first time, but this is the most profound time.

Do you love hearing stories of God’s hand at work in people’s lives? Me too!

“Embracing the Circumstance God Has Put Us In” -Joni Eareckson Tada

LIH GIG

I’m in a ladies Bible study for Thriving Despite Difficult Circumstances. As we women grow closer to God in the daily-ness of difficult life we are vulnerable with each other.  We allow time for everyone to tell their story about the path God has brought them on to the present moment. Do you know what I have found? Honestly opening up about our imperfections, brokenness or heartache is refreshing to other women who are in need. I have visibly seen the wall of self-protection come down as these sweet women pour out their heart and are comforted in their vulnerability. It is a beautiful sight because I know God is working. We have invited him to do so! It is ALL about Him, not about our circumstances.

We have made our study a safe and trusting environment where we know what we share will not be repeated outside the group. We listen, we encourage and we pray for each other. We don’t say, “Oh, it will get better” or “Don’t dwell on it so much” or “God is in control.” These things we know.  If someone asks for advice we will give it and we will speak the truth in love when necessary but we exist to allow God to do His work then we simply join Him.

We share real needs. Often times they are deep and they are serious. Everyone’s hearts can hurt. They may hurt for different reasons but the pain is real, it is deep and at the moment you can feel like you are the only one who has ever endured this exact problem. We simply want to love on each other by putting an arm around the person next to us and praying for a sister’s unique need. We keep track of the prayer requests and we thoroughly enjoy boasting in God for the answers He gives and we continue to petition for the answers on which we wait.

I must add that these open, honest, caring, prayerful and trusting relationships happened with women who had never known each other before the inception of the group. Oh, the love of Christ!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 (NIV)

At last night’s study one of the women was encouraging another through words she had heard on a Joni Eareckson Tada YouTube video. I love the sweetness in our group.  Even between our every other week of being together they are praying for each other and thinking of ways to encourage each other and meet each other’s practical needs. Life changing compassion.

Watching Joni Eareckson Tada’s video reminded me of the wonderful life in which I am privileged to participate. Joni is a woman who has thrived despite difficult circumstances beyond anything I could ever imagine as a Christian American living in a free country. Joni is a quadriplegic who suffers severe chronic pain and is a survivor of stage 3 breast cancer. She knows ‘difficult’.

Do any of the following topics hit close to home for you, are they ringing your door bell or are they smack in the middle of your living room?

“Life can be horrible and beautiful at the same time.”

“The weaker I was, the harder I leaned on You (Jesus), and the harder I leaned on You the stronger I discovered You to be.”

“I knew the scriptures in James 1: Welcome this trial as a friend. Romans 5: Rejoice in this suffering. Philippians 1: This has been granted to me to suffer for Christ. Acts 14: You will go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God. Romans 8:28: And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

“Are you trying desperately to find all the puzzle pieces to your life so your life will make some sense? So the circumstance will make sense?”

“I can’t do this thing called life. My puzzle pieces aren’t fitting together.”

“When suffering hits us hard—when your heart is wrung out like a sponge; you don’t stop the bleeding with answers.”

“You don’t stop bleeding with answers.” This is where listening, loving, praying and compassion come in. This is what I treasure about my Grace Group: Thriving Despite Difficult Circumstances. Their hearts are for God first and others second.

Grab your Kleenex and allow God to grow your heart, soul, mind and strength.

Also, if you like the “Life is Hard. God is Good” quote at the top of this page; you may purchase super cute T-shirts printed with the quote under “Products” in the right side margin. A friend of mine sells these on her blog/Facebook page. The shirts are $20. Part of the cost of the shirt goes to one of several nonprofit ministries that help people when times are hard. She has different prints including a great new Christmas logo.

Toxic Tuesday: Boundaries

Boundaries

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

Last week I shared a sampling of scriptures teaching about fools—common day toxic people. I’m not referring to nuisances or dealing with someone who appears to be in a bad mood today. I’m referring to the very character of a person who shows no regard for you, your heart, your needs or your boundaries. You know something is wrong; you just don’t know what.

First I need to acknowledge that I have been a fool of Biblical proportions on many occasions; especially as a youth. Without Christ, I cannot imagine where I would be emotionally, spiritually or even logistically. I know for certain I would be a toxic mess in every way; including contaminating those around me.

Second I need to acknowledge my gratefulness to my Savior, Jesus Christ, for living to intercede for me. For His sacrifice. His grace. His mercy. He saw me, a foolish—toxic person, who loved Him and wanted to be used by Him as redeemable and usable.

That being said, in my adult life, I have encountered numerous unhealthy people who were users, manipulators and who were abusive in nature.

How I easily fall prey…

I naturally trust people even though life experiences have taught me multiple times over that I should use caution.

I assume I am wrong when someone tells me I am wrong, that I am misinformed or that I am not remembering correctly. My insecurities leave me feeling wrong in almost any circumstance. This drives me crazy.

I want to be a peacemaker. I do not want to make someone angry or mad at me and I want to avoid problems at all cost.

I have to stay close to the Lord in prayer and in His word or I have the potential to continually make mistakes. I am capable of messing up even when staying close to Lord through prayer and through His word but I would rather make a mistake acting in faith than make a mistake because I did nothing at all.

You can understand how the above plays into my thought life when interacting with an abusive person.

Here are some controlling mechanisms I have encountered: If you want specific signs to look for and responses to use for the below topics; they may be found in: The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond By: Patricia Evans.

  • Withholding companionship and/or conversation
  • Not allowing you to have a different opinion which ends all possibility of a discussion
  • Your experiences and feelings mean nothing
  • Making jokes about you that actually cut to the bone but are disguised as ‘funny’
  • Withholds information from you so there cannot be a discussion, purposefully changes the subject or gives multiple answers to a question but never the answer to the original question
  • Diverts all accusations back at you (think of a mirror being held in front of the person reflecting all your comments back onto yourself)
  • Judgmental or condescending tones that criticize you; even when you are complimenting them it may not be a grand enough compliment and is therefore received with anger or resentment
  • Makes light of your significant words or actions as having little significance. This can be as matter-of-fact or subtle
  • Undermines you, your ideas, your experiences or your needs
  • Threatens  you emotionally or verbally
  • Calls you sarcastic, condescending or mean names
  • Everyone forgets once in a while; this forgetting is denial and manipulation to avoid taking responsibility or apologizing for something they have said or done; or regularly forgetting important commitments to the other person
  • A drill sergeant who orders you around instead of respectfully asking
  • Denies your reality – “I never said that.” “You are making that all up.” “We never had that conversation.” “I don’t know where you got that.”
  • Abusive anger

You can imagine how off balance I become when dealing with an abusive person.  Even when I begin to understand something is intrinsically wrong with the person, their ideas or perceptions it can be difficult for me to decide the healthy way to deal with it. My first concerns are usually, “Did I do something to cause this issue?” “I don’t want to make the situation worse than it all ready is.” “I want to reach them for Christ so how can I handle this in a positive way?”

Do not explain yourself or defend yourself. Do not get emotional. A word of caution when interacting with an abusive person: They often feed off of your reactions. Do not feed the monsters! And if you are in relationship with a narcissistic person; they feed off of positive or negative emotions. They may be nice to you, hoping for praise and accolades to feed their ego but when it does not work they will turn to negative behavior hoping for a negative reaction out of you; again, to feed their ego. This is called Narcissistic Supply. DO NOT BE THEIR SUPPLIER. Indifference is the key to keeping your sanity when dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Keep your emotions to yourself.

“Don’t spend a second trying to explain that you weren’t doing what you were accused of doing or guilty of what you were blamed for. Just say, ‘Stop it.’ Abusive statements are lies about you which are told to you. They violate your boundaries. The abuser in effect invades your mind, makes up a ‘story’ about your motives, and then tells it to you. No human being has the right to do that to another.

 Generally, accusing and blaming involve lies about the other person’s intentions, attitudes, and motives. They leave you feeling frustrated and misunderstood and, therefore, especially desirous of explaining yourself. If you do try to explain yourself, the abuse is perpetuated.

 One more word about ‘explaining.’ If you are encountering abuse and feel that if you could explain things the other person would understand, remember this: If someone started throwing rocks through your windows, you would be more inclined to tell them to stop than you would be to explain to them why they shouldn’t throw rocks. Verbal abuse is like a rock thrown through your window.” Patricia Evans (2010) The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond. Massachusetts: Adams Media. p. 141

Simplicity: “Stop it.”

Say it. “Stop it.” Keep practicing.

If you wonder, or know, that you may be dealing with a foolish, toxic, abusive person I highly recommend keeping a dated journal. Depending on the type of abuse; this may require keeping your journal in a safe place, password protecting your electronic journal or typing your journal as an email and sending it to yourself at your password protected email address.

Why journal? To show yourself that you are not the crazy person you are constantly told you are or feel like you are. This will help you decide how to set healthy boundaries for yourself or your family. You may even find that the traits or problems you are dealing with in the other person are listed as mental illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). This is available at your local library and you can find criteria for specific mental illnesses online.

If you are in a physically or sexually abusive relationship you need to report it to the police and/or seek help at your local Domestic Abuse Shelter. You need to begin a paper trail that could later be used for seeking help not only for you, but for the abuser, and a paper trail that would stand up in a court of law. In the right margin of my blog you will find a link under ‘Resources’ for Domestic Abuse/Domestic Violence with hotline numbers for abused women and men.

I am not saying we can avoid all difficult people or all difficult circumstances. Placing our faith in Christ  is not an insurance policy for avoiding pain and suffering. We need look no farther than Christ on the cross to put away that argument.

In Romans 8:35 Paul asks whether, “tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword” can separate us from the love of Christ. Since this was included in scripture we can be certain Paul knew of what he wrote. We will experience hardships.

So stay close to the Lord, nothing can separate us from His love. Pain, suffering and difficult relationships should not drive us away from God, but rather allow us to identify with Him and allow Him access to our hurts. Only then can He give us the complete healing we need.

Pray about it. If you need help on how to pray specifically for a difficult relationship, take a look at my blog post: DIY Prayer Box. It will give you numerous ideas for spending time with God.

Toxic People

     TOXIC TUESDAY warning

          In an earlier post, Flashing Billboards on My Forehead, I began explaining my history of unhealthy relationship issues and how I know God is calling me to recognize and respond to them in a biblical way.  I have not always been a beacon of healthiness myself. When I became serious about a daily relationship with my Savior and began spending time in the scriptures and in prayer something extraordinary happened; I invited Christ to show me my sin. My unhealthy ways of thinking, talking and interacting with others. And do you know what happened? I began to be convicted in my heart, soul, mind and strength. I acknowledged the problem, repented of it, asked Jesus to heal it and replaced the empty healed place with something good leaving no room for the problem to return. This is a continual process.  As my son, A.J., articulated this week while we were studying Jesus the One and Only, “Jesus was born naturally perfect.” To which my son Colson replied, “Man, I wish we could have been born that way. We were born sinful.” Yep, every single one of us. That is why we need Jesus the One and Only!

Here is my continuation:

When prayers were not answered in a way I could detect I turned to reputable Christian books on being a peacemaker, developing healthy relationships, remaining purposeful in prayer and resolving conflicts biblically but they were of no use. These books are beneficial for most people living in a sinful world when interacting with mentally and emotionally healthy people or even being in relationship with those suffering from mental illness who are willing to admit they need and want help. Relating to a person suffering from mental illness who refuses to seek help goes beyond the practical application offered in most books with the exception of the Bible. Applying grace and mercy is essential in relationships with those who suffer from mental illness because God calls us to love others. That being said, God does not call us to abuse at the hands, or the mouth, of a foolish person. The Bible has much to say about the foolish; in fact, a word search at biblegateway.com yielded 182 verses pertaining to a fool. Here is a sampling:

Psalm 107:17 -Some became fools through their rebellious ways and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.

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

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

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

Proverbs 14:8 – The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways, but the folly of fools is deception.

Proverbs 17:21 – To have a fool for a child brings grief; there is no joy for the parent of a godless fool.

Proverbs 17:25 – A foolish son brings grief to his father and bitterness to the mother who bore him.

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

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

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

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

Ecclesiastes 10:2 – The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left

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

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

Wow! Scripture is clear that we need to stay away from foolish people and that includes those who are dysfunctional, abusive and boundaryless.

I have a history of allowing anger, toxicity, to be taken out on me so when it comes up it feels natural but I know God is calling me to recognize and respond to it in a biblical way. This is anything but easy for me.

Several books I have read referred to these foolish people as, “Toxic” which I consider spot-on terminology. When you come in contact with a chemical toxin you can become contaminated to the degree you are damaged in part or in whole. Spiritually, emotionally and physically speaking we become damaged by “toxic” relationships but instead of calling a HazMat response team to stabilize and remove the toxins we have the Ancient of Days. The Creator of the universe. The Author of Math and Science who created the properties of every toxin known and unknown to man. God knows our entire history and is capable of locating, speaking truth over and eradicating the poison from our very being.

God’s word has everything we need for understanding how to live on planet earth.  This does not necessarily mean our life will be easy or that we will never have impossible issues or problematic people to deal with. God’s word does not tell us we will never encounter difficulties or be allowed more than we can handle just because we are Christians.  You have heard the quote, “God will never give you more than you can handle.” You will not find this quote anywhere in scripture. I have lived through more than I could cope with in multiple areas of my life.  Scripture says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13. My times of strenuous challenge have not come from temptation but rather from God allowing me to live through more than I could understand or deal with in a healthy way. This caused me to pray and read the Bible more believing God would heal me and He did; however, not always the way I hoped He would. My help usually came in ways I never imagined. God’s word says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10. God’s track record for sustaining me and not failing me is 100%.

God continually allows me more than I can handle which leaves me utterly dependent on Him. I don’t mind this and I actually enjoy rubbing Satan’s stupidity into his own face because every time he sets out to destroy me; my inabilities and weaknesses are turned into strength. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’” 2 Corinthians 12:9. You see God does tell me in scripture that when I am weak He will be strong. When I cannot get up off the floor from deep despair His word says He will be the, “Lifter of my head” and He is.

You may be asking, “Who are foolish—toxic people?” If you have to ask you may not have such a person in your life. Or you may have grown up in a toxic relationship and not be aware of it because it is all you have ever known. For others, you may have had a name or two in mind while reading this post.

Foolish (toxic) people are the ones who complain all the time about you and/or pretty much any topic. They are the ones who always blame you for their problems. When you lovingly confront them they always turn things around so things you felt they had done wrong are suddenly your fault or you are the one who did it or you are crazy because it never happened. They drain your energy and leave you feeling tired, angry or depressed. No matter how much you try to cheer them up or compliment them it is never enough and may even come across as an insult to them. They constantly find fault with you and you can’t do anything to please them. Even the Proverbs 31 woman could never please this type of person. They may take advantage of you and manipulate you. They do not respect boundaries you have set. There are controlling aspects of your relationship with them. They are verbally, emotionally, spiritually, physically or sexually abusive to you or a loved one. Are they so nice then so mean, or so mean then so nice, to the point you are left dazed and confused as to what just happened? These are some of the signs to look for in a foolish—toxic relationship.

Do you recognize yourself in such a relationship and want to know how to respond?

The Bible clearly teaches that we are to have nothing to do with a fool but what are we to do if the person is a family member, long-time friend or co-worker?  If you are asking yourself this question I highly recommend you commit the issue to God through prayer. Faithfully ask Him what His heart and will is for you in this relationship and petition it in the name of Jesus.

I would like to tell you that God always repaired and healed toxic relationships in which I was involved but He did not. Not because He wasn’t capable of doing so but because the other person had free will, given by God, but did not choose to be reconciled and healed.

In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships, resources for counseling services and referrals and a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse.

Here is a list of books I have read over the years and can personally recommend:

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life by Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John

Boundaries in Marriage by Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John

Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children by Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John

Boundaries with Teens: When to Say Yes, How to Say No by Townsend, John

Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t by Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John

Boundaries in Dating: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Relationships by Cloud, Henry and Townsend, John

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to recognize it and how to respond by Evans, Patricia

Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited by Sam Vaknin

The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse by Allender, Dr. Dan B

If after praying, studying the Bible, receiving godly council, reading and applying applications and setting healthy boundaries you still see no improvement in your relationship with your fool; it may be time to move on.

Maybe you are asking, “What does this application of setting boundaries look like in real life?” I will attempt to share some of my life lessons on boundary setting in upcoming blog posts. I’ll think of them as: Toxic Tuesday: Self-protection from fools of Biblical proportion.

I am no authority in this area, just a fellow sojourner, who God happens to be very serious with in the area of setting boundaries for the purpose of protecting myself and those I love.

Remember: There isn’t any problem a little bit of chocolate and a whole lot of Jesus can’t fix!

LivingWell