Tag Archives: thriving despite difficult circumstances

You Can Do It!

It is written: “Fear not, stand still (firm, confident, undismayed), and see the salvation (victory) of the Lord, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians (this problem, fight, difficulty) whom you see today, you shall never see again. The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” Ex. 14:13-14.

Some days we’re just too tired to fight any more; or maybe we don’t have the slightest idea how to get out of our mess. Good news…remind God of His word then stand and watch Him fight for you.

Do you want to step back in your own strength or step forward into God’s and stand?

I have found that my toughest day with God is better than my best day on my own.

To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson , “What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”

What lies within us? The Holy Spirit. The power that raised Christ from the dead! “ 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…” John 14:12

That’s some power!

He left us His power and He is loving. He is gentle. He is tender. He is also persistent and wants good for us.

It is written: “I will be your safe place in difficult times.” Nahum 1:7

Go ahead…pray these verses to Him. After all, “He is God and He’s passionate about just one thing, His relationship with you.” Exodus 34:14 paraphrased

 

 

 

Weebles Wobble But They Don’t Fall Down

Saturday, as I prayed about what God wanted me to share in my next blog I realized I had not spent any time reading the Bible that day and had not given God an invitation to speak to me about it. I woke early and immediately began the task of purging our school room of games, puzzles, manipulatives and curriculum that my children had outgrown combined with thirteen years of Riley’s school work which I had kept on file. Okay, that was putting a spin on the situation. Thirteen years of papers were piled in the bottom of the closet. I did not mean to keep all her work, it was just that by the beginning of her second grade I was pregnant, sick from pregnancy, recovering from pregnancy and then began the entire pregnancy thing over again. Add in moving a couple of times plus extreme stress brought on by an unstable neighbor which lead to another move for our family… followed by my son A.J.’s severe traumatic brain injury and therapy… all while teaching Riley, A.J. and Colson at home and well, there you have it…a closet floor ‘file-pile’ of school work.

Before bed that night I sat down with a little bit of chocolate and worked through my Bible study allowing God to impress upon my heart scriptures and ideas to encourage women struggling through tough hard-hitting seasons.

My heart goes out to women feeling hopeless while living through difficult circumstances. Some sweet women may wonder if there is something painfully wrong with them. They may desire to figure out what so they can change it, seek healing for it, or attempt to make their circumstances better. The difficulty could include a spouse, loved one, neighbor, co-worker or boss. Do you feel hopeless?  This blog sight is really for you. There is always hope. No one can steal hope from you because your hope is in God and no one can take Him away from you. Likewise no one can take your soul from you for it belongs to God alone once you accept His Son as your Savior. So grab on to hope…it is yours! Take your difficult situations and shine God’s word on it knowing He will use it for purpose if you allow Him to do so.  Do you find yourself constantly thinking, “There is nothing normal or healthy about this circumstance or relationship. Is it me, is it them, or is it both of us?” God knows. Inquire.

God’s word, Bible study, and prayer always see me through. Make no mistake; Satan wants to steal my testimony, my marriage, my children, my sanity and my daily walk with the Lord. This means that I must invite God into all areas of my heart, soul, mind and strength and seek protection over those I love. I have never had a day in my existence when I spent time with the Lord that I thought, “That was time wasted.” Never! I love Him more every single time. More and more and more.

I prayed over scriptures I read Saturday night and asked God for confirmation that this was indeed His idea and not mine.

The next morning at church during praise and worship a member of the worship team read scripture from 1 Samuel 30 of the Amalekites taking captive women, sons and daughters, both young and old who were the family members of David and his men. David inquired of the LORD, “Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?” “Pursue them,” the LORD answered. “You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.”

Confirmation. I knew the Lord wanted me to share about one of my battles during which I inquired of the Lord. A deeply personal battle which God has not given me liberty regarding details being revealed at this time. In my mind I was thinking, “No way. Really? Must I?” I can be such a whiner. I need to reframe it as, “May I?”

My testimony revolves around prayer. I cannot pray better than anyone else. I do not pray more than most and God does not listen to my prayers above anyone else’s prayers. I just simply pray and my favorite way to pray is recalling to God His own words. I have fun submitting to Him any and all precedence’s I can find that could be applied to my need, my thankful heart, or my victory. In this way the burden of effective prayer does not depend on my ability, or lack thereof, to communicate with God. It rests on His word and Him alone. The best part is that God loves to answer me, thrill me, grow me and pull me closer to His heart. He will do the same for you although not necessarily in the same way. Just as parents respond to their children who have different personalities, different love languages and different needs; God responds to us individually.

This particular ‘battle’ conversation with God was a few years ago, around the midnight hour after my children were fast asleep and my husband was working, covering for another manager, on the late shift at work. I had been fighting a deep spiritual battle for years which goes back to Satan trying to kill, steal and destroy everything dear to me. The fight that day had taken every ounce of my strength and I was humbly lying sprawled out on my floor face down in reverence, praying and crying so hard…so long. I could not stop thinking about this battle, praying over this situation, begging for God’s help because years of prayer were not helping the problem. Instead it kept growing worse. I told God I trusted Him and wanted to obey Him more than anything but for the second time in a couple of months I thought I would have to call an ambulance to come and get me because I just could not come out of this despair and stop my crying. I told God that I could not do this anymore. I was tired of being the only person fighting for this. I was the only one who cared about a victory; besides God himself. I told God that it was over. I was finished fighting for something I thought God had given me. I felt the need to remind Him that I was in this exact predicament out of obedience to Him. I told God that I knew He could see the entire plan and the outcome, but I could not and I was not taking another step in that direction unless He clearly showed me that I must. As in tomorrow…or I am finished. This praying, crying and wrestling with God lasted over an hour before I finally sang Him a song. I could barely get the words out but I had to refocus my problem through His viewpoint and not my own. I sobbed as I sang Him a love song, You Are My All in All, and allowed Him to calm my weary heart and tend to my raw nerves. He is so good at this. He always picks me up, puts me back together, dusts me off, and sends me on my way. God keeps me from staying down when I fall over…its like being a Weeble Wobble.

I went in the bathroom to wash my face and found that I had once again cried so hard that I broke a blood vessel in my eye. Half of my eye ball was shrouded in fresh blood.

The next morning I woke up mindful of my conversation with God hours earlier when I told Him I was finished fighting this battle unless He showed me otherwise. I rolled over, picked up and opened a devotional book I had just begun the day before.

Next week I will share the devotion I read that morning and you can decide if God answered me.

“Prayer is not preparation for the work; prayer is the work.”

-Oswald Chambers

Toxic Tuesday: Narcissistic Parents Part 4

Today we tie together Part 1, Part 2 & Part 3 of  earlier Toxic Tuesday posts about Narcissistic Parents.

Thank  you, Joy S. for sharing your past memories, lessons learned, and spiritual growth in the Lord with the GiveMe Chocolate readers.

God loves you and has done amazing things in your life!

Your insight into living with an NPD parent gives timely lessons for continued relationship during the upcoming holiday season for those who will be spending time with an NPDer. Thank you for the practical applications that help one recognize and respond to the unhealthy words and actions of deeply wounded souls; NPDers.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~  ~ ~ 

 

November 18, 2014     Joy S.  Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard small

From my experience with an excellent counselor, I learned some tips that I will pass onto you at NO CHARGE.

#1).  A phone conversation with your NPD parent is preferable to a visit because it can be ended if they begin to sin against you again. And you can end it before you sin in your anger if they start provoking you!!  If you initiate the call, make sure you have another commitment immediately following so that you have a genuine reason to conclude the call at a set point.  “Where words are many, sin is not absent.”

#2). Some people may feel that they can only protect themselves by limiting contact to mail for a time.  Others may not be strong enough even for that.  Pray and ask God what to do.

#3). In areas where you are ensnared by that parent, seek to free yourself.  No man can have two masters.  If it is financial, pray about how you can graciously extract yourself.  (I had an opportunity to join a family business that would have relocated me to my NPD parent’s city and made me dependent on their satisfaction for my livelihood.  Might have been lucrative, but I turned it down.)  Watch out for loans, financial gifts, or any “deal” that has hidden strings.  What starts off as a string can become a heavy chain.  (When I shared a bank account with my NPD parent, any attempt to approach them would have left me homeless and unable to finish school because they would have cleaned out my balance. I delayed the conversation until I was in a safe place in case “fireworks” erupted.  Which they did!)  Throw yourself on the Lord for all your needs.

#4).  Be a “broken record.”  Your parent will argue with you about these boundaries and the more you attempt to refute each point, the more focus you lose.  Make a pleasantly worded script and stick to it.  Don’t get sidetracked by rabbit-trails or new accusations.

Think of it like this.  Your supervisor tells you to tackle a project now, but some other manager completely out of your chain-of-command tries to pass off a pile of work on you also.  Do you argue with second guy?  No.  No, you just say, “Look, I already have my orders from MY boss.”  And you keep saying that until he takes his pile and leaves with it!  Do you know who rocks at the “broken record”?  Nehemiah from the Old Testament!  Check out Nehemiah 2:19-20, 6:1-9.  He kept telling Sanballat and Tobiah the same thing, “I’m working on this project for my boss, and I won’t be coming down to argue with you.”  Be Nehemiah.  He’s my hero. 🙂

With that final bit of Old Testament advice, let me wrap this up.  Like you, I have a toxic, NPD parent.  And I have tried lots of things to cope with their fallout in my life.  I wrote this to share what has helped me and WHO has helped me.

First, self-help is NO HELP.  Listen, if someone’s been in a head-on collision with a bus, they are WAY beyond self-help.  They will not be triaging themselves in the ER or operating on their broken spine.  Friend, an NPD parent is a bus, an eighteen-wheel semi.  And you have been repeatedly run over by them since you were a mite of a thing.  You cannot help yourself.  Only the Divine Physician can gently heal those wounds over time.  Yep, over time. Lots of time. With His help, you are going to beat this.  You are going to rediscover your precious blessed life with fresh eyes of thankfulness.

Second, watch out for unforgiveness.  It is a quicksand to suck your life out.

Last, extending forgiveness is the antidote to being a bitter, younger replica of your NPD parent. That’s a scary word picture, huh?  But joking aside…  Pursue forgiveness.  Drink it up.  Our faithful God-Daddy will equip you with all kinds of supernatural perseverance and strength to forgive when you make His Will your delight!

I close with thanks to Carolyn for allowing me to share my heart here again.  She has a passion for bringing hope to those overwhelmed with difficult circumstances, having walked thru some incredible trials.  Her love of God’s Word, faithfulness in prayer, transparency, and willingness to relive some icky chapters in her life so the stories may encourage others floor me!  Neither of us are professional writers or therapists.  What we know, we usually learned painfully.  What we have, we offer to the Master, who does amazing things with little.  He confounds the strong and worldly, and chooses the weak and foolish.  Me.  You.

It’s going to be the ride of our lives.  So buckle yourself in with God’s Word and take His dear, scarred Hand.  Hang on…

With Him, we’re going to thrive despite difficult circumstances!!

 

Narcissistic Parents Part 1

Narcissistic Parents Part 2

Narcissistic Parents Part 3

 

Because Life’s Not a Beach…

The below blog post is by a dear friend of mine.

To me she has been the poster mom for ‘Thriving Despite Difficult Circumstances’ since I met her fourteen years ago.

I watched through curious eyes and heart as she taught her eight exceptionally smart and sweet spirited children in her home. She managed to homeschool her kids while dealing with the considerable health needs of her two youngest children coupled with endless doctor appointments. All this while imparting to her children the most important lesson of all: “‘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.’” Luke 10:27

Less than one year ago ‘Poster Mom’ experienced every mom’s worst nightmare, “upset just around the next bend.” I remember the moment I realized what she was saying from across the World Wide Web.

I went to my knees sobbing and praying on her behalf.

“No Lord, please no! Please don’t require this of her! I know life is not fair but this is too much. I don’t know how she handles her auto immune disease while caring for a son whose own auto immune diseases have threatened to take his life more times than I can remember. Her life has been difficult on so many levels and yet she doesn’t complain. She proclaims Your name and gives You glory. Please undo this for her. Show her a miracle—show her Your glory! ‘Lord, I have heard of Your fame; I stand in awe of Your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known,’ (Hab. 3:2) I have seen You do it—please do it for her today.”

This is where Sovereignty met her trust and her love for Him.

Toxic Tuesday: Do Not Underestimate the Power in Numbers

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

Community: You need it.

Hopefully you have a church home you pour your life into and of which you enjoy the benefits of learning, praising, praying, serving, friendship, encouragement and help when needed.

Hebrews 10:22-25 The Message (MSG) “So let’s do it—full of belief, confident that we’re presentable inside and out. Let’s keep a firm grip on the promises that keep us going. He always keeps his word. Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshiping together as some do but spurring each other on, especially as we see the big Day approaching.”

I am not going to use this time and space to argue why some people do or do not go to church. I will simply remind you there is no perfection on this side of heaven. If you are looking for the perfect church practicing perfect theology, full of perfect people with a perfect pastor you will never find it. You can however find a healthy church that will help you grow closer to God in heart, soul, mind and strength while encouraging you to love and serve others. It is about daily relationship with God and His one and only son, Jesus.

Luke 10:27 He answered, “‘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.’”

If you are living, working or interacting with a toxic person, having a safe place (church family) is critical to your well being. Having a daily relationship with God through prayer and Bible study is essential to you emotionally and spiritually. Do you merely want to survive or do you want to thrive? I thought so! Thrive baby! You need God, you need friends and you need the church.

When God wants to work in your difficult relationship or circumstance He will most likely do it through the community around you; the church and/or godly friends and perhaps even a godly counselor.

Next week I will discuss using your community for intervention in a difficult relationship. There are several biblical examples from which to draw practical application. I will share an example of a time when I had to do just that. My desired outcome for the person, and I believe God’s desire, was repentance, obedience to God because His ways are best and full of blessing, and a restored right relationship to friends and family.

In the meantime; guard your testimony, pray up, and practice self-control through kindness and love when responding to a toxic person. (Read past Toxic Tuesday posts for more help on interacting with toxic people.)

I am praying for you.

“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.

Faith-Friendly Public Schools

Are you or you children concerned about religious freedoms being silenced in the public schools. Don’t be! Help your child thrive in expressing their faith at school.

Today’s BreakPoint proclaims, “We Can Make a Difference” by Eric Metaxas.

Check out the link provided at the end of the article: School Improvement Checklist.

Click the link to read or listen to today’s BreakPoint.

http://www.breakpoint.org/bpcommentaries/entry/13/23597

Faith-Friendly Public Schools.

The Increase: Adam Wainwright – My Story

The Increase: Adam Wainwright – My Story.

Here is how the worst injury  in the St. Louis Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright’s career helped him thrive in his personal life.