Tag Archives: Toxic Tuesday

Toxic Tuesday: 8 Signs Of A Toxic Relationship

Toxic relationships abound in our ever increasing narcissistic society. How is a person to know if their boyfriend or girlfriend has emotionally abusive tendencies or worse; a personality disorder?

If you are married and find you are in this type of relationship you will most likely need professional and spiritual help for navigating your path and setting healthy boundaries.

You may read past Toxic Tueday posts to learn what God’s word has to say about toxic relationships.

Recommended books: Boundaries in Marriage http://www.amazon.com/Boundaries-Marriage-Henry-Cloud-ebook/dp/B000SELDB8/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1404135363&sr=8-4&keywords=boundaries+by+cloud+and+townsend

The Verbally Abusive Relationship: How to Recognize It and How to Respond http://www.amazon.com/Verbally-Abusive-Relationship-Recognize-Respond/dp/1558505822/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1404135441&sr=1-2&keywords=verbally+abusive+relationships+by+patricia+evans

8 Signs Of A Toxic Relationship

James Michael Sama

This is a very difficult topic to discuss – because you’ve got to be sensitive to people’s feelings, but at the same time, give them a dose of reality.

It’s both disappointing and unfortunate to see how many abusive relationships are happening on a daily basis, and thought to be normal.

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It’s important to note that you don’t need physical violence in order to have an abusive relationship. And don’t forget, both men and women can be guilty of this.

If you are made to feel any of the following ways or recognize any of the following things, then you truly need to take a step back, put your emotions aside, and ask yourself what your partner is truly bringing to your life.

– You always feel guilty, but don’t know why.

Is your partner always making you feel as though you did something wrong, but you genuinely can’t understand…

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5 (More) Things You Should Never Say to an Abuse Survivor

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

 

Today is an addition to Last week’s Toxic Tuesday 21 Things NOT to Say to an Abuse Survivor and Leadership Journal’s Lack of Discernment .

5 (More) Things You Should Never Say to a Victim were added at Tamara Rice’s blog, Hope Fully Known.

Tam is a lover of words and Jesus and family, though perhaps not in that order. She’s an editor, writer, a breast cancer survivor, and an advocate for mental health and for victims of sexual abuse.

Here are her five main points:

1. “If so-and-so had touched me, I’d have told someone right away.”

2. “My parents raised me to stand up to people.”

3. “Aren’t we called to love rapists and pedophiles too?”

4. “You’ll need to learn to talk about this if you want to help others.”

5. “But what about your abuser’s family? You’re hurting them by speaking up.”

Tamara clearly presents the love and logic for each of these five points at http://hopefullyknown.com/2014/06/16/5-things-you-shouldnt-say-to-victims/

Also take time to read thoughts, responses and added things you should never say to victims of sexual abuse written at the end of her post by readers who left comments.

I urge you to read up on this topic because statistics tell us 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys will suffer sexual abuse before the age of 18; even in the Christian community.  The church/body of Christ needs to acknowledge this truth, be sensitive to it, be real and be part of ministering to the victims.  We do not want to add toxic thoughts, attitudes, words or denials to an already hurting heart. We want to take part in a victim’s healing; not in reinjuring a deep hurt or scar.

“A church that embraces silence over truth is a magnet for those who exploit, abuse, and destroy.” G.R.A.C.E. Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment

“After the Last Tear Falls” By: Andrew Peterson

After the last tear falls, after the last secret’s told
After the last bullet tears through flesh and bone
After the last child starves and the last girl walks the boulevard
After the last year that’s just too hard

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love
Love, love, love
There is love

After the last disgrace, after the last lie to save some face
After the last brutal jab from a poison tongue
After the last dirty politician, after the last meal down at the mission
After the last lonely night in prison

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love
Love, love, love
There is love

And in the end, the end is oceans and oceans of love and love again
We’ll see how the tears that have fallen
Were caught in the palms of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
And we’ll look back on these tears as old tales

‘Cause after the last plan fails, after the last siren wails
After the last young husband sails off to join the war
After the last, this marriage is over
After the last young girl’s innocence is stolen
After the last years of silence that won’t let a heart open

There is love
Love, love, love
There is love

And in the end, the end is oceans and oceans of love and love again
We’ll see how the tears that have fallen
Were caught in the palms of the Giver of love and the Lover of all
And we’ll look back on these tears as old tales

‘Cause after the last tear falls there is love

21 Things NOT to Say to an Abuse Survivor and Leadership Journal’s Lack of Discernment

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

 

In light of the recent guilty verdict I witnessed in a court of law against a pastor who was on trial for violating two young boys, the topic of being an abuse survivor is weighing heavily on my mind.

Few people would purposefully say something thoughtless, judgmental, wrong or hurtful to a heart already aching from abuse.  It might be more likely that someone would say something out of ignorance or from not knowing there was an abuse survivor in their midst.

We do not want to add toxic thoughts, attitudes or words to an already hurting heart. We want to participate in their healing; not in reinjuring a deep hurt or scar.

This is likely not a topic or issue you have considered.  I know I have not purposefully thought through how to be kindhearted and sympathetic to victims so when I read Sarah Bessey’s post, 21 Sentences NOT to Say to a Sexual Abuse Survivor by Mary DeMuth I knew I wanted to share these caring thoughts with my readers.

Read: 21 Sentences NOT to Say to a Sexual Abuse Survivor http://sarahbessey.com/21-things-shouldnt-said-sexual-abuse-victims-guest-post-mary-demuth/

Mary DeMuth is a well-known author who last week weighed in on the recent Leadership Journal controversy. Last week LJ posted the story of a former youth pastor who was convicted of statutory rape with a girl, twelve years younger than him, in his youth group. I read the article and it was clear that the youth pastor had no remorse for his actions and considered the relationship consensual. In my opinion he had strong indicators of being a narcissistic/sociopathic type individual and did not own up to the spiritual harm brought to his wife, his children, the victim, the church or the youth group. I considered LJ  lacking in discernment for posting the article. To me this was one more reason sexual predators find the church an easy place to hide for preying upon victims. After many caring and concerned readers made comments asking LJ to remove the post, (many whose comments LJ removed) and many more readers who began a #TakeDownThatPost campaign; LJ decided to remove the post. One of the most compelling letters showing LJ their lapse of judgment for posting the article was submitted by Mary DeMuth.

You may read her letter “Dear Man in Prison,” here:

http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2014/june-online-only/dear-man-in-prison.html

Check out Mary DeMuth’s newest book:  Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse.

Pedophile or Molester? *Content Warning

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

WARNING: GRAPHIC WRITTEN CONTENT

 

Diagnostic criteria for pedophilia

Pedophilia is a well-known disorder. It’s defined by the American Psychiatric Association in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM-IV-TR.

To be diagnosed with pedophilia, a person must:

  • be sexually aroused by, have intense, recurring sexual fantasies of, or be involved in sexual behavior with a prepubescent child or children (generally 13 years or younger);
  • be aroused by, have sexual fantasies of, or be involved with a child for at least six months.;
  • be at least 16 years old, and
  • be at least five years older than the child or children he or she is attracted to.

 

Let’s say a man with sexual addictions toward children was caught multiple times over the last two decades; although investigators in different states who have investigated are certain the history goes back to early teenage years and most likely includes dozens, possibly hundreds, of victims. He likes very young children both boys and girls with brown hair. Is he a pedophile or a molester?

Is there a difference between being a pedophilic sex offender and being a molester?

Answer: Yes

The media tends to use these terms as synonyms (a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another) though they are not. Although both pedophilic sex offenders and molesters abuse children; statistically pedophilic offenders have a ‘look’ or ‘type’ of child they prey upon plus they victimize more children over time.

 

Pedophiles and Child Molesters: The Differences

Although virtually all pedophilic sex offenders are child molesters, not all child molesters are pedophilic sex offenders. Pedophiles have a clear sexual attraction for children. The focus of a pedophile is a child or children generally under the age of 13. Pedophiles often report they are attracted to children in a particular age range (DSM-IV), build, look, hair or eye color. Pedophilic sex offenders are those who act on their attraction to children by violating a child.  Child molesters are sexual offenders who have committed either intra-familial sexual offense (incest) against a child victim or extra-familial sexual offenses against a child victim or both.

Pedophilic Sex Offenders:

  • True offenders may abuse family members, but the majority of their offenses is extra-familial and is directed toward vulnerable children whom they court or groom for the purpose of victimization. Their relationships with children are based on exploitation of the children for sexual gratification.
  • Offenders, who seek out children to victimize by placing themselves in positions of trust, authority, and easy access to youngsters, can have hundreds of victims over the course of their lifetimes.
  • Offenders, especially those who molest boys, or both boys and girls, are the sex offenders who have the highest recidivism (relapse) rates after incarceration and/or treatment.
  • Offenders frequently are uncomfortable with adult intimacy and may spend their lives maneuvering to be near children. They may be extremely charming and skilled at manipulating adults, and they may use adult relationships to gain access to children.
  • The pedophilic sex offender may spend years working up to a position of authority and trust within a church, school, or youth organization in order to have access to children. Of course, most such individuals in these types of authoritative positions have no sexual interest in children.

Child Molesters:

  • The non-pedophilic molester is someone whose primary sexual orientation includes adults, but who may molest children in a maladaptive attempt to meet emotional needs.
  • Research has found that many men who molest their own children or related female children have sexual interests that are indistinguishable from those of non-offending males.
  • Data suggest incestuous offenders, regardless of the gender of the victim, have lower numbers of victims and are less likely to be rearrested for new sex crimes after they have been convicted.
  • A child molester may turn to a child for sex out of a perceived inability to be close with an adult partner, out of poor self-esteem, or to escape feelings of powerlessness and loneliness. This type of offender usually has had appropriate (but often dysfunctional) relationships with peers and may be married

 

—Outcome studies have demonstrated consistently low rates of recidivism (relapse) for incestuous only offenders.

Retired FBI special agent, Nancy Fisher, says pedophiles and molesters don’t change.

“I’ve never had a success with a child pornographer or pedophile, never, not one, ever, ever, ever, ever. They never change,” said Fisher.

Read more: http://www.myfoxaustin.com/story/18258238/crimewatch-difference-between-pedophiles-child-molesters#ixzz33XhQaJZl

No cure for pedophilia has been developed. A number of proposed treatment techniques for pedophilia have been developed, though the success rate of these therapies has been very low.[1] Medications are used to lower sex drive in pedophiles by interfering with the activity of testosterone, such as with Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone acetate), Androcur (cyproterone acetate), and Lupron (leuprolide acetate).

The Mayo Clinic reports perpetrators who meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia offend more often than non-pedophile perpetrators, and with a greater number of victims. They state that approximately 95% of child sexual abuse incidents are committed by the 88% of child molestation offenders who meet the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia.[2] A behavioral analysis report by the FBI states that a “high percentage of acquaintance child molesters are preferential sex offenders who have a true sexual preference for [prepubescent] children (i.e., true pedophiles)”.[3]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Please pray this Psalms over innocent children who have been abused. May their day of justice be upon them.

Psalm 3

Lord, how many are my foes!
How many rise up against me!
Many are saying of me,
“God will not deliver him.”

But you, Lord, are a shield around me,
my glory, the One who lifts my head high.
I call out to the Lord,
and he answers me from his holy mountain.

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the Lord sustains me.
I will not fear though tens of thousands
assail me on every side.

Arise, Lord!
Deliver me, my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the Lord comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.

 

Psalm 27

The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?

When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.

 

Psalm 54

Save me, O God, by your name;
vindicate me by your might.
Hear my prayer, O God;
listen to the words of my mouth.

Arrogant foes are attacking me;
ruthless people are trying to kill me—
people without regard for God.

Surely God is my help;
the Lord is the one who sustains me.

Let evil recoil on those who slander me;
in your faithfulness destroy them.

P R A Y E R acronym

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

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1.  Crawford, David (1981). “Treatment approaches with pedophiles”. Adult sexual interest in children. 181–217.

2.  Lanning, Kenneth (2001). “Child Molesters: A Behavioral Analysis (Third Edition)” (PDF). National Center for Missing & Exploited Children. pp. 25, 27, 29.

3.  Hall RC, Hall RC (2007). “A profile of pedophilia: definition, characteristics of offenders, recidivism, treatment outcomes, and forensic issues”. Mayo Clin. Proc. 82 (4): 457–71. doi:10.4065/82.4.457PMID 17418075.

Introducing Mr. Fatal Self-Love

Toxic Tuesday biochem hazard

 

Today I want to show you, with video, what someone with Narcissistic personality disorder may look like. While watching this short video, replace the character of Facebook cofounder, Mark Zuckerberg, with a dynamic speaker who has a witty sense of humor and is a leader in the Christian community.

Consider a person who intertwines scripture as a means for emotional control and twists verses to support his male dominance over his girlfriend/wife. A specialist who tries to tell his love interest who she is and is not with no regard to reality.

“The husband who uses the title of headship as a cover for control, dominance, or even abuse is not only not a head in the way the Bible sets forth but is instead a moral and spiritual failure. Let me make this clear: When it comes to a man’s leadership in his home, male domination is never a teaching of the Bible. But headship is.” -Robert Lewis

“Your wife is your precious one, your only one … She’s to be cherished, not because of what she does for you, but because of her essence, her value to God as a child born in His image. You’ve been entrusted with the priceless essence of a human soul, so precious to God that at the foundation of the world He planned to pay His dearest price to buy her back again.” –Steve Arterburn

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” Ephesians 5:25
“Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.” Colossians 3:19

 

Now add in a spiritual leader who is hired for being a biblically vibrant motivational speaker, who is entertaining and exciting as well. Only to later find the person is aggressive and manipulative in the process of gaining control over the congregation and dominance over the church leadership teams. When confronted about their behavior they insist that their underlying brilliance be seen, acknowledged and praised; not criticized.

When truth is revealed against the backdrop of their deception, sin, or crime they play the “I am special” card and, “This isn’t the way it appears” line. In classic narcissistic fashion they hold up a mirror and reflect the accusation being made against them back at the plaintiff. You will NEVER win an argument with a narcissist or point out their error since they are perfect and do no wrong. Remember the rules and laws do not apply to them: For more on this topic see previous Toxic Tuesday posts about Narcissism.

“Jesus…is the Lion of Judah (Rev. 5:5) and the Lamb of God (Rev. 5:6) – He was lionhearted and lamblike, strong and meek, tough and tender, aggressive and responsive, bold and brokenhearted. He sets the pattern for manhood.” -John Piper

Narcissists like to explain why your accomplishments are of little importance and possibly not true accomplishments. They do not know how to encourage others and be genuinely happy for other’s successes. The only time you are praise worthy is when they can use your achievement to make themselves look better to someone else; or make it seem like your triumph was due to their input in your life.

You will not gain a narcissist’s understanding. You will be ignored, dismissed and belittled while the narcissist manipulates behind the scenes with no remorse or twinge of conscience toward the path of destruction they leave behind.

Narcissists are entitled to treat people however they feel with no regard to the other person’s feeling, needs or input. They make executive decisions for everyone involved without allowing feedback, questions or creative involvement. They are a god unto themselves.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

If you are involved in a relationship with someone showing narcissistic tendencies, do not allow their viewpoint to dictate who you are or to force you into a pit of depression.

Be a tattle tale and tell God what is happening to you. Allow God to deal with the other person in His way and in His timing. Then take responsibility for your ideas, thoughts, decisions, actions and responses by asking God what His heart and will is for your life.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

To be clinically diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder a person must exhibit five of nine criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. See: https://spiritualbattlesandabuse.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/to-live-but-not-exist/

Imagine being in a relationship with someone who meets all nine of the criteria. Now imagine the narcissism is the easiest part of the toxic relationship because underneath this surface lurks a tormented dark soul disguised as light.

One does not have to imagine long on this concept of darkness disguised as light since Satan has masqueraded in a cloak of light through the centuries.

Satan is not creative; just a good copycat who counterfeits everything he sees the Heavenly Father do. Satan produces many fake replicas; evil beautifully gift-wrapped with a forged logo or brand name.  As with counterfeit consumer products, Satan’s imitations are of a lower quality, sometimes not working at all, and often have toxic elements; producing toxic people—resultsing in a lesser quality of life for God’s beloved children. Satan’s bogus plans, interjected into the lives of humans, has resulted in physical and spiritual deaths. Fatal poison has been packaged as the healing balm of Christ.

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1
Scripture cannot necessarily help you discern a narcissist, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, because they are some of the best actors you will ever see.  Dealing with this personality disorder is outside the box for Christians and even for many psychologists. It takes a long-term relationship to identify if a person suffers from Narcissistic personality disorder; meeting the criteria in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The complexity of a narcissist makes them interesting to study, infuriating to live with, and the subject of psychological and spiritual scrutiny.

Allow me to introduce you to Mr. Fatal Self-Love:

Toxic Tuesday: Dangerous and Difficult to Identify

toxic-people-warning-keep-calm

 

What does Narcissistic Personality Disorder look like in the Christian Community?

Today I will share about the most dangerous and difficult narcissist to identify: The Covert Narcissist.

You cannot walk into a room and spot someone with N.P.D.—not at a party, not at school, not in your neighborhood and most likely not in your own family. You would never expect it at church so you will not know if your pastor, teacher or leader has N.P. D. by the way they teach; not at first anyway.

When a friend, spouse, colleague or therapist realizes a person has N.P.D., the narcissist will usually let the personality disorder all hang out while in private with these people. In public they keep the ‘normal’ charade up very well and NO ONE would ever believe they have a personality disorder.

To the outside world a narcissistic personality can appear to be an island of stability but in their hidden reality they are surrounded by an ocean of unpredictability, chaos and often sexual addictions. Those with N.P.D. believe they are special, superior and entitled making them above the law, social norms, moral law and scriptural teachings. Please understand they believe all of these to be true, good and beneficial for common people; just not for themselves due to their specialness.

“Covert narcissists are masters of disguise — successful actors, humanitarians, politicians, clergy members, and even psychotherapists who are beloved and appreciated, but are secretly selfish, calculating, controlling, angry and vindictive. Covert narcissists create an illusion of selflessness while gaining from their elevated status. Although they share similar basic traits with the overt narcissist, i.e., the need for attention, affirmation, approval and recognition, they are stealthier about hiding their selfish and egocentric motives. Unlike the overt narcissist who parades his narcissism for all to see, the covert narcissist furtively hides his real motives and identity. These narcissists are able to trick others into believing they are honest, altruistic and empathetic individuals. They are successful at pretending to be a more likable version of themselves, knowing that if their true identity was uncovered, they would not be able to maintain the respect, status and prestige that they have so furtively garnered.” Ross Rosenberg 

 

Watch, listen and learn.

For more on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, toxic people and how to pray your way through such relationships; see earlier Toxic Tuesday posts.

You are not alone and God cares about what you are enduring; so do I.

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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 Real Life Toxic Letter

 

toxic-people-warning-keep-calm

Toxic people.

They can make a person want to scream, “What are you doing?”

“How could you?”

“What were you thinking?”

“Stop!”

Toxic people in the Christian community are especially difficult to understand. How do you resolve the discrepancies of a person who can be two things at the same time? How is it possible to be good and bad, godly and evil, spiritually sound and morally corrupt, pure and defiled, truthful but insincere to the core, loving and unfaithful, committed while betraying, outwardly dynamic and yet a fraud? They are a hero to some and a villain to others—a matted mess of a person that you cannot untangle; for their good, for your benefit, or for God’s glory.

For example: How can a pastor give the impression of being a biblical family man while; unbeknownst to his wife, partaking in an extra-marital relationship with a bi-sexual atheist? How can priests make oaths to the Lord while molesting young boys? Why do a few go to seminary to enter full-time ministry for the purpose of seeking victims to prey upon. How does a pastor carry on a sexual relationship with another staff member, get caught having sex with them in a room at the church, and still attempt to lie his way out of it? Better yet, how do pastors/clergy forced out of one ministry due to sexual sins gain a new ministry without the next church ever inquiring into their background? How do they keep family, friends and church leadership blind to their sin?

They are toxic. They are professional liars who take deception to a higher level. Daring individuals who seek thrills while leaving clues; desperate for someone to catch them, yet hoping to not be caught.

Here is an example of a personal value statement written by a toxic person living in a deep pit of sin and dysfunction.

 

MY PERSONAL VALUES by Toxic Logic

 

Nothing comes before God.

My God is not the church.

The church does not come before my wife.

The church does not come before my family.

Money is no obstacle to love.

Love is not dependent on money.

Marriage can survive without money,

But it cannot without love.

Although my mind and memory may fail me,

May I never fail to love.

Love is more than memories,

It is the memory in the making.

The child we bear is a gift.

It is the ultimate responsibility to be a parent.

If we fail here,

Then we have ultimately failed.

The child bears the marks of its parents.

May I have cut away from me the lack of integrity, dishonesty and irresponsibility;

So that my child may grow to love and know love

In the most extraordinary way.

The beauty and grace and wisdom of a mother

All come from having been loved, nurtured and provided for by the man of her life who is

Possessed by her love and who remains her knight in shining armor…

A few nicks and bruises…but still shining.

Some wounds remain always as permanent scars.

May I never inflict another so painful and so cruel.

The heart breaks in ways like no other hurt,

And I have broken hers today.

Lord, I thank you for the days when I love my wife…

Completely, totally, consistently, blamelessly.

Forgive me for the shameful days when I forget to love her

…those times when I take her for granted and nearly lose her.

Sickness, fatigue and busy-ness are no excuse for failing to remember to love.

Always remember, I love you.

Behold, a shining example of a toxic person.

This was written after forgetting a special occasion. With an apology like this for a small issue how would a wife ever guess there were major betrayals and mental issues going on with her husband? Resolving discrepancies is next to impossible in a situation like this.

To make matters worse the wife had to listen to the “Value Statement” read from the pulpit as an apology to her, all the while knowing it was insincere, for a show, and to gain exaltation for being ‘real’, ‘transparent’ and ‘humble’. Though she knew something was very wrong she was still clueless to the demons lurking in the shadows. Only the love of family, the help of caring friends, Bible study, prayer, fasting  and time would eventually reveal the depth of her husband’s depravity.

The condition of this man’s heart is a hard truth for her to accept; even to this day.

The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Jeremiah 17:9 (NIV)

It is for women like her that I write this blog. You are not alone and you are not crazy.

God loves you and has a plan for your life. Ask Him what His heart and will is for your life, your future, and your family. Seek it. Allow the Holy Spirit to comfort you. Jesus will intercede for you if you ask. He is everything you need.

I am praying for you and I hope you are finding applicable help for your journey and scriptures to pray over your situation. Previous Toxic Tuesday posts are full of such information.

Below is my theme song for life’s ups and downs. I have enjoyed it in the best of times and sung it in the depths of despair.

I love most genres of music but the strings in this arrangement weave through my inner being and touch my soul; awakening me to God’s love while keeping me centered in Him.

Toxic Tuesday: Attack of the Toddler Trapped in an Adult Body

 

toxic-people-warning-keep-calm

 

Today’s post is for those of you who are in the middle of a toxic relationship with a bully who takes delight in wielding power over you, treating you like you are a child in need of correction, using harsh tones and statements, attempting to force you to their standards (not God’s), making false statements against you to your face or harassing you any chance they can find. They cannot stop; like a toddler throwing a temper tantrum. It is who they are and not just what they do.

Proverbs 25:28 (NIV)

 Like a city whose walls are broken through
    is a person who lacks self-control.

Today I want to focus on how you can avoid being caught up in the heat of the moment.

Many times I have lost control over an injustice, conflict or ill spoken word by yelling, over reacting, using sarcasm or saying something I immediately regretted. When I do this I am giving the other person power over me; not as in, I lose my self-power but that I lose my self-control; therefore, losing my focus on God’s power, help and intervention in my life.

Often the toxic person’s goal is to throw you off track, keep you off-centered, confuse, upset or belittle you. Do not allow this!

Do not think of your conflict as you against them.

 Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)

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.

The best way for me to focus is to stay calm and remember scriptures. Sometimes I say and pray scriptures out loud, other times I say them silently. (Depending on the situation and not as an attempt to control the other person.)

I ask God how he wants to love this person through me; if He wants to use me to help the hurting or out of control person He, God, has placed in my life.

I remember:

  • We are both made from dust (Psalm 103:14)
  • We are both under the same condemnation (Romans 3:23; 6:23)
  • We both are recipients of the same love (John 3:16)
  • The same sacrifice was offered for both of us (I John2:1-2)
  • The good news of the gospel if offered to both of us (Mt. 28:18-20)
  • God has purpose for both of our lives (Colossians 2:2-3)
  • The same terms are offered for both of us (Acts 2:38)
  • We will both face judgment (Romans 14:12; II Corinthians 5:10)

I choose self-control. I choose to think logically. Sometimes I cannot not do this on command but find I have to step back and think about it. This is acceptable and can be beneficial for you and for the other person. Say, “I need to think about what you just said, or did, and I’ll get back to you.” If they are pressing you for an answer say, “I need to think about it. I’ll let you know.” If they are insisting you agree with them or see the situation their way, yet you know it is not a black and white issue (one way is right and one way is wrong) but rather has many options or ways of being solved simply say, “That is your opinion.”  If they continue to bring up a subject for which you agreed to disagree say, “I am not discussing this with you.” You are not being rude or un-Christ like. You are setting a boundary and how they react to your boundary is not your responsibility as long as you do it in a spirit of love. If they make accusations against you say, “I do not receive those words.”

If you are dealing with a toxic person, a fool of biblical proportions, or a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder then you especially need to stay calm. These personalities feed off your emotions. They NEED you to react to them. They often will try to feed off positive emotions but if your positive emotions do not feed their ego enough, they will turn to plying negative emotions out of you. DO NOT REACT. Respond calmly.

 

I Peter 5:8 (NIV)

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Your toxic person may be begging you to lose control but remember you are a princess, the daughter of the Most High King. Your Heavenly Father sees what you are enduring. Run to Him, take His hand, and tell Him your hurts, frustrations, fears and needs. In your weakness I pray you find rest in His strength; in His grace.

I hope and pray you have a dear friend who can listen and minister to your hurting heart. If not, pray about that too, asking God to provide someone who can mourn with you, learn with you, laugh with you and pray with you.

I am grateful God has placed wonderful friends in my life through the years. They are keepers for sure. I can only hope to bless them back as much as they have blessed me.

This is a scripture one of my dear friends prayed over me when I was going through a time of attack. Pray it out loud over your own life. Draw strength from God’s word and invite His power to save you and heal you. His word is always timely, applicable, healing and powerful; it’s who He is!

Psalm 35 (NIV)

Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me;
    fight against those who fight against me.
Take up shield and armor;
    arise and come to my aid.
Brandish spear and javelin[a]
    against those who pursue me.
Say to me,
    “I am your salvation.”

May those who seek my life
    be disgraced and put to shame;
may those who plot my ruin
    be turned back in dismay.
May they be like chaff before the wind,
    with the angel of the Lord driving them away;
may their path be dark and slippery,
    with the angel of the Lord pursuing them.

Since they hid their net for me without cause
    and without cause dug a pit for me,
may ruin overtake them by surprise—
    may the net they hid entangle them,
    may they fall into the pit, to their ruin.
Then my soul will rejoice in the Lord
    and delight in his salvation.
10 My whole being will exclaim,
    “Who is like you, Lord?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
    the poor and needy from those who rob them.”

11 Ruthless witnesses come forward;
    they question me on things I know nothing about.
12 They repay me evil for good
    and leave me like one bereaved.
13 Yet when they were ill, I put on sackcloth
    and humbled myself with fasting.
When my prayers returned to me unanswered,
14     I went about mourning
    as though for my friend or brother.
I bowed my head in grief
    as though weeping for my mother.
15 But when I stumbled, they gathered in glee;
    assailants gathered against me without my knowledge.
    They slandered me without ceasing.
16 Like the ungodly they maliciously mocked;[b]
    they gnashed their teeth at me.

17 How long, Lord, will you look on?
    Rescue me from their ravages,
    my precious life from these lions.
18 I will give you thanks in the great assembly;
    among the throngs I will praise you.
19 Do not let those gloat over me
    who are my enemies without cause;
do not let those who hate me without reason
    maliciously wink the eye.
20 They do not speak peaceably,
    but devise false accusations
    against those who live quietly in the land.
21 They sneer at me and say, “Aha! Aha!
    With our own eyes we have seen it.”

22 Lord, you have seen this; do not be silent.
    Do not be far from me, Lord.
23 Awake, and rise to my defense!
    Contend for me, my God and Lord.
24 Vindicate me in your righteousness, Lord my God;
    do not let them gloat over me.
25 Do not let them think, “Aha, just what we wanted!”
    or say, “We have swallowed him up.”

26 May all who gloat over my distress
    be put to shame and confusion;
may all who exalt themselves over me
    be clothed with shame and disgrace.
27 May those who delight in my vindication
    shout for joy and gladness;
may they always say, “The Lord be exalted,
    who delights in the well-being of his servant.”

28 My tongue will proclaim your righteousness,
    your praises all day long.

May this help you thrive through your next attack of the toddler trapped in an adult body. Better yet, I hope there are no more attacks!

Toxic Tuesday: DEAD END

toxic-people-warning-keep-calm

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 Tuesday: Narcissistic Fact and Fiction

A Narcissist uses lies and deceit to recruit others for the purpose of advancing themselves. It is not something they do; it is who they are.

Think of it this way; we know God is love, God is merciful, God is just, and God is kind. The list of God’s attributes goes on and on. Attributes are not what God does. Attributes are who God is.

Narcissists are selfish deceitful recruiters. It is not just what they do; it is who they are—at the core.

God is capable of saving, healing and changing anyone’s heart, but the catch remains, they have to want saved, healed and changed. Narcissistic personalities are special and do no wrong. They have no sin because the morals and laws that govern others do not apply to them; therefore, they do not need saved, healed or changed. They do not seek what they do not need. They need no forgiveness because they do no wrong.

Even when caught in the act they insist, “But wait, that’s not who I am. I (the real me) would never do that! I know how it appears but I can assure you it is not the truth.”

The longer narcissists believe their own lies, the more toxic their brain chemistry becomes.

The closer Christians emulate Jesus, the more loving they become.

True Christianity is driven by loving God and loving others.  True Narcissistic Personality Disorder is driven by malignant self-love.

230px-Narcissus-Caravaggio_(1594-96)_edited

Narcissus by Caravaggio. Gazing at his own reflection.

Narcissistic Fiction in the Christian Community                         Narcissistic Fact

  • Joyful Christ likeness                                                                     Superficial charm
  • Confident dynamic charisma                                                   Grandiose sense of self-worth,
  • Trustworthy and honest                                                              Pathological lying
  • I have your best interest at heart.                                           Cunning/manipulative
  • Believable compassion, beautifully written words.      Lack of remorse or guilt
  • Personable, witty & up front personality                            Callous/lack of empathy
  • Moral and just                                                                                     Failure to accept responsibility                                                                                                                           for own actions
  • Dynamic engaging speaker                                                          Copies well-known speakers
  • Humble                                                                              Lies, exaggerates achievements & talents

It is nearly impossible for a heart and mind to accept the truth of a friend or loved one’s depravity. The magnitude of the sin will catch no one off guard more than the person who loves the narcissist the most.

You may find more information on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, setting boundaries and dealing with toxic people under my Toxic Tuesday posts. You will also find scriptures to pray over these topics.

Side note: The top three professions for individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are actors/entertainers, psychologists and pastors (in no particular order). There is also a huge number with N.P.D. in politics. A quick study of world history and dictatorships will produce a list of Who’s Who with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

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: It is Real You are Write

 TOXIC TUESDAY warning

Be encouraged. You are real, what is happening to you is real and you need to write it down.

This life is full of different people with different personalities. No two are exactly alike which makes having multiple friends so much fun; most of the time, but can also make living with a family member difficult; sometimes. We need to believe the habits and personality of the other person; good, bad, ugly, funny, disgusting, wonderfully sweet or completely dysfunctional are here to stay. Live with it! Mostly. There is no perfection this side of heaven and if we are going to get bent out of shape over every little disagreement, idiosyncrasy, or sin we will soon find ourselves friendless or family less. Relationship broke, bankrupt, to the point we won’t be able to talk to the friend in the mirror because they sin too. What a lonely miserable existence.

Our goal should not be attempting to modify someone else’s behavior to fit our needs, our likes, or our preconceived judgments of them. Another mistake we can make is setting out to NOT be like her, or him, or that person or so-and-so. Doing this can leave us so caught up in comparisons we forget there is no worthy or beneficial comparison except for Jesus Christ. Have you spent years trying to NOT be like a certain person; a parent, a sibling, a child, your spouse, a friend, a co-worker or a relative? Has it worked? If you just realized this is exactly what you have been doing; feel the freedom of never having to do it again! Set your mind on Christ.

Philippians 2:5 (NIV) In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

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

Isaiah 11:1-2 (NIV) A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;
from his roots a Branch will bear fruit. (This verse is a prophesy of the promised Messiah—Jesus Christ.)
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and of might,
the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord—

The only person that we have any power to change is us and this can prove difficult for most of us because if we are honest; we tend to be comfortable with who we are, how we behave and how we respond to others. This is why staying in God’s word—the scriptures and praying are essential to believers. We must allow God access to our heart, soul, mind and strength; inviting Him to show us how to think and act like His one and only son, Jesus Christ. You can be sure His heart and will is for you to be more like Jesus. God will not say, “No.” This will be a big, “Yes!”

Now that we have settled how to behave in healthy, normal, everyday relationships by keeping Jesus our focus; I will turn our attention to toxic relationships; where we also must keep Jesus our focus. If you are in a toxic relationship you can easily draw the line between normal and toxic. You know to what I am referring. This is where we insert a different standard: a biblical standard.

I blogged about the power in numbers and the importance of church community as a lead up to intervention for last week’s Toxic Tuesday. We find precedence throughout scripture for confrontation as a means to help, discipline, and show good will. God uses people to do this. He has used me to do this and believe me; I would much rather He sent an angel for the job. Instead of an angel God sent two helpers, a mentor and a friend, to lovingly show power and accountability in numbers.

The books of the prophets in the Old Testament give numerous examples of confrontation and discipline. My personal favorite is when Nathan rebukes King David. If you do not know the story of 2 Samuel 12 you need to read it. It is full of lust, deceit, impregnating another man’s wife, war, murder, betrayal (Chapter 16) and retribution that led to the death of King David’s son. America has nothing on God for He wrote the first Soap Opera, “All My Children” and the daytime drama should have to pay royalties to God for using the title. The Bible is anything but boring. The reason this rebuke is my favorite lies in King David’s reply, “I have sinned against the LORD.” He confessed, manned up, took the discipline and did not question the Lord. David knew his poor/sinful choices had consequences. He knew he did not want to remain the type of person he had become. How do I know this? Read Psalm 51. David wrote this when the prophet Nathan came to him after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

The Bible offers more examples of intervention. God used Jethro to advise Moses in Exodus 19. God provided Moses to lead the people of Israel which led to confrontation with the people of Israel in Exodus 32; and in Exodus 33 Moses intercedes to the Lord for Israel. God placed priests and teachers in the community to teach, guide, and provide discipline as a means to bring change to His people—not because God is holding out on us or wants us to have a boring life. No! It’s the exact opposite. He wants us to have life to the fullest; the safest, the best, the most purposeful with the most influence.

Christ left us a special gift; the church—our community of helpers.

Matthew 18:15-20 (MSG)  “If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church. If he won’t listen to the church, you’ll have to start over from scratch, confront him with the need for repentance, and offer again God’s forgiving love.

“Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”

If you are safe in doing so, you can talk to your toxic person but chances are you have done this. Most likely you have done this multiple times. Seeking counseling; let me rephrase this, getting your toxic person to agree to counseling and actually following through with attendance can prove impossible in many cases. Most often they have no other point of reference other than themselves. Sincere empathy does not exist for them. This is where intervention comes in to the mix. You need not spend your life angry or frustrated as you nag, plead, or beg for understanding. I do not want you to sink to despair when boundaries are not respected and change does not come. Remember the important rule for dealing with toxic people/fools. Practice self-control over your words, reactions and emotions. Stay calm.

Is there anyone who knows about your difficult relationship? I have found the only thing worse than living in a lonely, one-sided toxic relationship is living it in secret. It took me years to reveal my toxic relationship to anyone. It was a mistake and I wish I had sought help earlier. Everything is worse when you are alone. You need a friend and/or a confidant; a listening ear—someone to pray for you. A family member will work if that is all you have; a parent, sibling or cousin. Just remember it will become emotionally heavier for them in a different way than it will for a friend. A licensed counselor is a terrific option. Your pastor or someone on staff at your church might be a safe starting place, but be aware that many churches have NO training in dealing with abusers, domestic violence, or personality disorders; and let’s face it…many abusers have personality disorders.  Your pastor may know and recommend you to someone who has walked the same road as you. This would be a gift from God.

Pray about this. If you need to seek such a person please do so this week.

Last week I said would share an example this week of a time when I had to do an intervention; however, I am finding that I am as long winded when I blog as when I speak so I will continue this next Tuesday.

The intervention idea was presented to me as a way to bring a person to repentance, save a relationship, and provide emotional healing.  It was the idea of a well-respected Christian leader. He and his wife were dear friends and mentors to me and to my toxic person. The advice came from him through a godly Christian doctor/psychologist. I was encouraged to write out my concerns (revolving around multiple sin and mental health issues), which I wrote in chronological order, along with my expectations, goals and my requirement that the person seek godly professional help; immediately. I should also add that I had a different Christian doctor blast me for writing such a letter. For me it was the best way to make a difficult situation real. If you are in relationship with a fool who would like you to believe YOU are the ONLY problem with the relationship; I know you understand needing it to be real. It is very healing to write it on paper or computer. It makes it real. It shows problems and patterns. Usually you forget, or minimize what you’ve been through because you often hear that you are ‘over reacting’, or that nothing you ‘think or say is real’. Writing it down shows IT IS real, it did happen, you aren’t over reacting.

If you are in an unsafe relationship consider drafting your letter in an email and sending it to yourself. You can create a second email address if necessary. There is no need to save it to your computer or keep it in a notebook. If you have concern about typing it on your own computer; you can make a trip to the public library and use its computer.

I continue to pray for you.

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.

What Would Jesus Do in a Toxic Relationship?

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

This is my Toxic Tuesday post on Boundaries a day late.  Illness, a migraine, Christmas planning and festivities and appointments left my house and Tuesday to-do lists flat and unchecked on the pages of my daily calendar.

I will be sharing over the next few week steps I took to make right a gone-wrong relationship and I will share the results of my undertaking. I believe God calls us to be the peacemaker, the negotiator—the problem solver. Why do I believe this? It is the theme of the Bible from Genesis through Revelation. Relationship gone wrong is the reason we need a Savior, Jesus Christ, the reconciler of toxic relationships. Compared to Him we are all toxic. Jesus had justification to leave us behind forever—to move on; to create a new world with sinless people but He didn’t. He remained faithful to His creation when we did not remain faithful to Him. When Christ could have left He instead came closer.

Believe me, the coming closer to my toxic person made me squirm. The what-ifs of my decision took over a portion of my thought life; which in hind sight was essential to keeping my eyes fixed on Jesus. Hebrews 12:1-3, “Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we’d better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls! (The Message)

 

As I interacted in my toxic relationship I focused my eyes, mind and heart on Jesus and told my mountain to, MOVE in the name of Jesus. “He replied, ‘Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”  Matthew 17:20. I knew it was the right thing to do and I wanted to stay the course; in fact, when I knew without a shadow of doubt God was releasing me from the relationship I refused to budge. I knew as a Christian God could and would see me through to the other side as I set my resolve toward Him through prayer, Bible study and wise godly counsel. I had faith my toxic person and I would come out on the other side to healing and reconciliation.  At times I felt as though God held my hand as I skimmed the surface of hell begging and pleading with my person to leave their sin, make things right, do the hard thing, seek help, choose their family and their God; not their messed up life and their vocation.

I knew I would never regret staying close to God and doing everything I could through prayer, fasting, setting boundaries, receiving wise godly counsel and finding detours around obstacles.

That being said; if your life is in danger or you are being physically or sexually abused please leave immediately and seek help. 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.  God does not expect you to endure abuse or live in danger.

More to come next Tuesday.