Tag Archives: Jesus

Not Everything Good Is Good For You

Recently, God began dealing with me about something.  I tend to say yes too quickly.  I agree to help people or do favors when I’m tired or busy way too often.  He put in my heart that just because something is good, doesn’t mean it’s good for me.

 

This makes a lot of sense to me.  There have been plenty of times I decided to focus on my latest book, yet didn’t do it because someone needed something from me.  Not that what they needed was anything bad, nor is it bad to help someone, but for me, I should have focused on my writing instead.  Other times, I wasn’t feeling well & just needed to rest, yet didn’t because someone said they needed me.

 

Does this sound familiar to you, Dear Reader?  Do you do the same things?

 

I’d venture to say it’s pretty common with adult children of narcissistic parents.  We were trained from birth to put ourselves last, & that training doesn’t stop just because we’re grown up.  We’re also told it’s selfish to put ourselves first.  Taking care of others above ourselves has become such a habit, often it happens without even thinking.  We simply do it automatically.  We may do it even when everything in us says, “NOOO!!!” just because it’s what we feel we’re supposed to do.

 

Today I want to encourage you to have more healthy boundaries & balance.  It’s certainly good to put others ahead of yourself sometimes, but only in balance.  You deserve to be your priority too!  There is no shame in taking care of yourself or your duties.  In fact, it’s a must to do so.

 

Starting to do this can be difficult after a lifetime of being so out of balance, I know.  I recommend prayer as the best place to start, as usual.  Ask God to help you know what you should say yes to & what you should say no to.  He will!  That is what I’m doing, & so far, so good.  I slipped up by not praying this immediately, as soon as I realized what God wants to teach me, & ended up saying yes to something I probably shouldn’t have.  Since, I prayed for God’s help & things are going better.

 

And remember Dear Reader, just because something is good doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you.  xoxo

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Talking About God’s Blessings

Psalm 26:6-7 “I wash my hands to prove my innocence and come before your altar, 7 singing a song of thanksgiving and telling about your miracles.”  (TLB)

Before I became a Christian, my parents said good people go to Heaven, bad people to Hell.  This left me confused wondering what exactly defines good & bad people.  Later, I remember people telling me I was going to hell if I didn’t accept Jesus right then & there.  Not that they told me how or why to accept Him- they just said I had to do it, period, with no explanation.

 

Eventually, in spite of all of the nonsense, I did become a Christian.  Then I heard more confusing, vague statements such as “God tells us to forgive so I just do it.  I don’t know why you’re having any problem forgiving those who abused you.”

 

Comments like these have done one good thing for me- they have shown me how NOT to treat people.

 

Whether you are trying to witness about your faith to an unbeliever or trying to comfort a brother or sister in the faith, you need to exercise wisdom in what you say to them.  One thing that is often good no matter what the circumstances is bragging about the great things God has done for you, & reminding them that He can do the same & even more for them.

 

If you’re attempting to help someone see their need for Jesus in their life, they need to see the great things He can do for them.  They need to be wooed gently to Him, not told they’re going to rot in hell for eternity!  Scaring someone into the faith just doesn’t work.  Showing them that God is kind & loving, however, will work much better.  If someone sees that God helped you in your times of dire need & that He is willing to do it for them, too, that will get their attention!

 

Or, if a brother or sister is discouraged, a reminder of how good God is can help to encourage them.  Remind them of the things God has done for them in the past or that He has done for you & will do for them also.

 

By bragging about the good things God does, you are helping people, & blessing yourself as well.  Remembering God’s blessings often helps you to stay strong in your faith.

 

Dear Reader, there is no way you can go wrong talking about the great things God has done for you.  Why don’t you try it?  Share stories with your friends & family.  Write them in your journal, or begin a gratitude journal specifically for recalling all of God’s blessings.

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New Apps

Some time back, I created an android app for my website.  In the years since, I made some changes to my site & never updated the app.  Now, I have.  It is basically the same, but looks a bit better, I think.  The original one probably doesn’t work any longer as I had to delete it & re-create the app.  If  you still have it, I recommend deleting that app & downloading the new one.

 

While I was at it, I also made an app for my website’s sister site, The Butterfly project.

 

I’m letting you know these things in case you are interested in getting them.  They are totally free.  Links are below…

 

For my website, http://www.CynthiaBaileyRug.com :

http://http://app.appsgeyser.com/4696748/Cynthia%20Bailey%20Rug 

 

For http://TheButterflyProject.Tripod.com : 

http://app.appsgeyser.com/4697063/App%20for%20The%20Butterfly%20Project

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Are You Judgmental?

Yesterday, I went to the doctor.  The nurse I saw was new to this office.  She seemed very friendly, thorough & pleasant, which was a nice surprise.  Many nurses there who came & went over the years were far from any of those things.  (Not all were bad of course, but there have been a few rather mean ones.).

 

While the experience wasn’t terribly unpleasant, one thing really ticked me off.  She was judgmental.

 

I admit, I do need to lose some weight, about 20-25lbs.  Not a lot, but my word.. the way this nurse & others I’ve came into contact with at that office act, you’d think I need to be hoisted out of my bed with a crane!  She told me how I need to start making healthy choices for a change.  Really??  How does she know I don’t?  Because of the extra pounds?  Just because I carry some extra weight doesn’t mean I live on pizza & burritos.  In fact, I had a small amount of cottage cheese this morning & nothing else until I came home from the office after 2.  This is pretty typical eating behavior for me.

 

Also, my blood pressure was unusually high today, & I got a lecture about that & how I need to see a doctor asap.  A doctor can give me meds to fix me right up, she said.  I told her before she took it that I had a panic attack on the way to the office, so of course it was going to be elevated & my pulse racing.  She told me again to see a doctor & take care of this, he’ll give me pills that can fix the C-PTSD, blah blah.  And, losing some weight would help my blood pressure too.  All I need to do is go window shopping (she said she LOVES window shopping- I hate it), walk around the mall, walk to the stores sometimes instead of driving (I live on a major highway- that’s just dangerous), & put down the chips & dip (she said she loves that- it’s not an issue for me like it sounds like it is for her).

 

What got me was how she just assumed such things.. assumed I snarf down chips & dip constantly, assumed I can get out with no trouble & assumed that a doctor can give me a pill to fix my C-PTSD.  Thankfully I’ve developed a pretty thick skin to judgmental people.  I could feel shame starting to kick in, but quickly realized it was wrong.  I have nothing to be ashamed of.

 

Shame is what judging makes a person feel.  A deep shame that something is extremely wrong with them or that they are stupid, ugly, fat, disgusting, unworthy, unlovable, etc etc.  If you’re judging someone, this is exactly what you are doing to them.  You’re making them feel all of those horrible things.  It’s not right!  Would you want to feel that way?!  No?  Then why do it to someone else?  It’s cruel & there is no good reason for it!  God doesn’t want us to judge each other, yet people do it on a daily basis, even Christians.  In fact, as an adult child of a narcissistic parent, it can be very easy to be judgmental.  We grow up watching our narcissistic parents judge, criticize & ridicule others & imitate that behavior once we grow up.

 

If you realize you judge people, just stop.  It’s not right, it causes people unnecessary pain & there is absolutely no reason to do it!  In fact, I’d like to encourage you, Dear Reader, to ask God to show you if you’re judgmental & if so, to  help you to stop.

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Sharing Stories Of God’s Blessings To Build Others’ Faith

Romans 15:2  “We should all be concerned about our neighbor and the good things that will build his faith.” (GW)

 

One thing that is important for all Christians to do is share stories of the wonderful things God has done for them, big or small.  Doing so encourages others.  It’s a good reminder that God still does miracles, big & small, for everyone.  That reminder can be a blessing when times are tough & you feel like God doesn’t care.

 

I think sharing stories of God’s blessings is also good to do with non believers.  For one thing, it encourages them that good things do happen even in the worst of times.  For another, maybe telling them the story of your blessings will sow a seed in them.  They may decide they want to know more about this God of yours.  Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?  In my experience before I was a Christian, I was more responsive to stories of God’s love than the Bible thumping, fire & brimstone types who told me I was going to hell.  Stories of His love gently wooed me to God, while the “you’re going to hell if you don’t accept Jesus right now!” conversation pushed me far away.  I believe most people are that way as well.  Personally, I don’t witness in the traditional sense of that word.  I tell people stories of miraculous & beautiful things God has done for me instead, & I find even die-hard atheists will at least listen to me without objection.

 

Also, sharing your stories encourages you too.  It keeps the blessing close to your heart & reminds you that God loves you, even if for some reason you don’t feel His love.  You can’t always count on others to encourage you, so you have to encourage yourself.  What better way to do so than remembering the wonderful things God has done for you?

 

Telling such stories also increases your joy & your faith.  While you’re blessing others, you’re also blessing yourself.  How can you go wrong by sharing stories of your blessings?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What Do People Think Of You?

Hebrews 12:1   “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,” (KJV)

 

 

There are people watching you every single day.  Other Christians may be comparing your faith to theirs while unbelievers are judging you to see if you’re the real thing or not.  I also personally believe our loved ones who have passed on & are in Heaven now are aware of what is happening in our lives.

 

Do you think about the kind of image you present?

 

I’ve learned a couple of very valuable things on this topic since I became a Christian in 1996, & I’d like to share them with you today.

 

People don’t respond well to the “holier than thou” types- they prefer people who are real.  As a new Christian, I quickly learned this one.  Those who looked down on me because I didn’t grow up in the church, because I was divorced, because I had once dabbled in the occult or because I was a new Christian really got under my skin.  Their “I’m better than you” attitude made me feel insecure & even doubt God’s love for me.  But, people who told me things like, “I was a drug addicted prostitute before I met Jesus” or admitted their current struggles encouraged me.  They showed me that you don’t have to be perfect for Jesus to love you.  And, you can be a Christian & still make mistakes or deal with struggles.  Being saved doesn’t mean life is perfect & if it isn’t, something is wrong with you.  It means you’re human!  Admitting your faults & struggles helps people see you’re like them- flawed, but trying to improve yourself.  And, if Jesus can love imperfect you, then just maybe He can love imperfect them as well!

 

Closely related to being real is letting your behavior witness to others more than your words.  People can say anything- it’s their actions that speak volumes about what is inside of them.  Let your actions show that you are trying to live a Godly life.  If you quote Scripture yet steal, lie, cheat, judge, criticize or hurt people, you’ll be viewed as a hypocrite.  This can turn other people away from not only you, but God as well.  Unbelievers see you proclaiming your faith yet acting worse than atheists, & will want to run as far from God as they can.

 

Bragging about the blessings God has given you is a good thing!  Whether God healed you from a fatal illness, restored a broken relationship or provided you with something you needed, people are encouraged by these stories.  They build the faith of Christians & entice non-believers to learn more about this God of yours.  As many of you know, I have my late Granddad’s car thanks to God providing quite a miracle.  (The story is here if you care to read it: https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2015/11/23/gods-love-for-you/ )  I absolutely love telling the story of how I got it.  It’s interesting because you can tell by people’s reactions who is a Christian & who isn’t.  Christians praise God & unbelievers look puzzled.  Either way, the listener is usually uplifted by such a cool story.

 

Never be ashamed of your faith.  Some Christians are very hesitant to mention their faith.  They act embarrassed about it.  Why?  There’s certainly nothing to be ashamed of!  I’m not saying you have to talk about nothing but Jesus, but there is nothing wrong with saying you’re praying for something or bragging about something God has done for you.  Your faith is the central focus of your life- why not mention it when you feel it’s appropriate?  Just use common sense & speak in balance about it.  Unbelievers can be very put off by Christians who speak of nothing but God, their faith, their church, etc.  I remember that feeling- I thought those people were crazy.  I understood that God was important to them, but I never understood why they didn’t seem to have room for anything else in their lives.

 

If you’d like more information on this topic, I wrote a free ebook on it.  It’s available at this link: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/documents/AWitnessOfFaith.pdf

 

 

 

 

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Everyone Has Individual Paths To Take In Life

Recently, I was talking with a dear friend.  She’s been having trouble with her sister, & handling the problem very well.  She’s showing God’s love & grace in this difficult situation.

 

I felt bad as we spoke, because I knew if that was me in her shoes, I’d be very angry.  I felt like I wasn’t being a good Christian because of that.  Immediately, God spoke to my heart.

 

This friend has told me that growing up, she spoke up to her narcissistic mother.  She never stifled her anger.

 

I however, was her polar opposite- I learned early on never to show any anger.

 

Growing up, my mother would holler at me for my “Bailey temper” even if I was simply frustrated.  I learned very young it was better to stifle my anger rather than show it & be shamed.  It’s only been the last couple of years I’ve been letting myself show anger.  In fact, I can’t stifle it any longer.  I get over it & forgive the other person quickly, but it still feels somewhat foreign to get angry.

 

I can’t really compare myself to this lady because we’re so different.  God wants me to show my anger, I believe, so I’m not wrong when I feel it or show it.  For her, she chooses not to get angry with her sister & that is what’s right for her.  Neither of us are wrong or bad.  We’re simply doing what is right for us.  And, both of our solutions are Biblical.  Matthew 5:44 tells us to love our enemies & forgive them, which is what my friend is doing in her situation.  Various Scriptures tell of times when Jesus Himself got angry (Mark 10:13-16, Mark 11:15-17, etc).  Being angry is not a sin!  It’s what you do with your anger that can be sinful.  Ephesians 4:26 says, “Be angry, and do not sin” do not let the sun go down on your wrath,” (NKJV)

 

Realizing all of this was so freeing!  It helped me to feel I’m on the right path for me, just as she is for her.  It also helped me to stop feeling shame for when I get angry like I did at first (old habits truly die hard).
This situation also goes to prove that we all have very individual walks with God. Sure, there are some basic things He wants from all of us, like following the 10 commandments. But beyond that?  We all have very unique & individual paths to take. Don’t compare yourself to another person.  Instead, enjoy your own path, & enjoy the freedom there is in that.

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Some Thoughts On False Teachers

I’ve seen quite a few articles over the last few months about false teachers.  One article even claimed a famous television evangelist I like very much, Jesse Duplantis, was a false teacher.  While wondering if the articles were correct about false teachers being so prominent, I decided to ask God for help & discernment on this subject.  He showed me some things..

 

Some claim false teachers preach about God’s blessings & prosperity.  The fact is, in the Bible, God says He loves His children so naturally He wants to bless them.  See Jeremiah 17:7-8 & 29:11, Numbers 6:24-6, Exodus 23:25, Psalm 34:8, & Matthew 5:6 & 9 as a few examples.  If the Bible clearly spells out how God wants to bless His children, how does it make sense that someone who teaches about this topic periodically is a false teacher?  Prosperity & blessings shouldn’t be the only topic one preaches about, but discussing them sometimes?  What could be wrong with that?

 

Some claim false teachers focus on the “lighter” topics such as God’s love rather than the “heavier” topics such as the need for Salvation.  There certainly are a great deal of preachers who discuss God’s love, how He supports His children & the like.  I don’t believe these preachers are necessarily bad, though.  I remember before I became a Christian.  Hearing people tell me I was going to Hell if I didn’t accept Jesus as my Savior right at that moment certainly did nothing to make me want to accept Him.  In fact, it pushed me away.  What eventually did make me want to accept Him was hearing about His deep, unconditional love for me.  As a new Christian, the “fluffy” teachings about God’s love & desire to bless me helped to draw me to Him.  Going through narcissistic abuse, I think that was especially important to help me not to think God was just another unloving parent figure, only concerned with what I could do for Him.  Getting to know God better, I moved away from wanting to hear that & wanting to hear about more heavy topics.  I really believe that “fluffy” teaching doesn’t necessarily mean someone is a false teacher.  In fact, I believe preachers who focus on such issues have their place in the church.  Their place is to draw people to God, to help new Christians understand God’s love is the basis for Christianity & help encourage those in dark places that may be wondering if God really loves them.  I believe those who don’t focus primarily on these “fluffy” topics might want to consider doing so periodically to encourage their followers.

 

Good teachers also can back up what they say with Scripture.  That is one thing I love about Jesse Duplantis- he can back up anything he says with Scripture & does so often.

 

Good teachers don’t just tell you what God can do for you.  They also focus on things like how to live a holy life, & being a good witness for your faith to the unbelievers.

 

Good teachers tell it like it is.  They don’t sugarcoat things.  For example, they call sin, sin, rather than “making a mistake” or “slipping up.”

 

A very good indicator that you are listening to or reading the teachings of a good teacher is you feel comfortable with what the person says, it feels right in your heart, even when it’s on a difficult topic such as sin.  What they are saying feels right to you. Even the best of teachers may make mistakes sometimes, & no one will agree with any other person 100% of the time, but you will feel this person’s teaching makes sense most of the time.

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Humans & Animals Have Equal Value

Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)

 

I realize many Christians will disagree with me, stating that humans are much more valuable than animals.  I respectfully disagree though.  God loves the animals He created.  Reread the Scripture I opened this post with: Ecclesiastes 3:19 “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV)  The Scripture states. “that a man hath no preeminence above a beast,”  so obviously God believes humans & animals to be equal.

 

Other Scriptures speak of the value of animals:

  • Genesis 3:20 “And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” (KJV)
  • Job 12:7 “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:” (KJV)
  • Job 35:11 “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?” (KJV)
  • Psalm 50:10-11 “For every beast of the forest is mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills.  I know all the fowls of the mountains: and the wild beasts of the field are mine.” (KJV)
  • Proverbs 12:10 “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.” (KJV)
  • Mark 16:15  “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.”  (KJV)

 

Animals are a wonderful blessing to people!  They offer us companionship, unconditional love, help us with chores (such as on a farm), & if we pay attention, teach us a great deal.  I’ve had pets since shortly after moving out of my parents’ home at age 19, & pray there never will come a time I don’t have any!  Mine have blessed me in more ways than I can count!  They have made me laugh or comforted me when I was upset, defended me to people who were nasty to me, & taught me many things, including how to be a good mom.

 

I hope you, Dear Reader, aren’t one who thinks animals are “just dumb animals” like many people do.  If so, though, I pray you’ll consider what I’ve written, & reconsider your position!

 

And, if you’re an animal lover like me, but never thought about such Scriptures, then please, also consider this post.  Maybe pay a bit more attention to your furkids- they are wonderful teachers, & you can learn so much from them.  Don’t forget to let them know how much you love & appreciate them, too!  They appreciate hearing such things just as much as you do!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Your Ministry

I was just listening to T.D Jakes’ “Sacred Love Songs” cd.  In case you don’t know it, it’s songs based on his wonderful book, “The Lady, Her Lover & Her Lord.”  One of the songs on the cd is called, “You Are My Ministry.”  You can see the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuJq1Uuvyj8  It’s a beautiful song, as you can hear.

 

The song also made a good point- your ministry isn’t only in the pulpit or serving others somehow.  Your spouse is also your ministry!

 

When you’re serving others, it can be easy to get caught up in that ministry.  It feels good to help others.  It’s very rewarding!  But, don’t neglect that wonderful man or woman you married!  That person should be your top priority, after God of course.

 

Listening to that song convicted me.  I haven’t been praying for my husband as much as I should.  I’ve been too focused on praying for my readers, my facebook group & writing blog posts.  Not that these things are bad, of course, but my world needs to expand a bit, & I need to pray more for my husband.  His job is pretty stressful, his elderly father can be very demanding & we need a lot done around our home.  He definitely needs covered in prayer on a regular basis.

 

What about you?  Are you praying for your spouse enough?  If not, maybe it’s time to ask God to burden your heart to remember to pray for him more often & show you how to pray for him.  I am doing that myself, once this post is finished.  I also may listen to that song more frequently- it’s not only a beautiful song but a great reminder, too.

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Compassion

Recently something seriously annoyed me.

 

A friend of mine shared that he was sick on facebook.  Rather than being met with compassion, he was told stories.  Stories of how awful the condition he had was, & stories of “I went through that in 2013.  Here’s what happened to me.”  No one asked how he was feeling, what did the doctor say or even said they hoped he would feel better soon.  I was the only one who said these things & that I was praying for him.

 

I’m not saying that to brag.  I’m saying this because it bothers me that there was so little compassion & concern!  This selfishness is so typical, even among non-narcissists.

 

Matthew 24:12 says, “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,” (NIV)  We are seeing this in droves today & it’s very sad!

 

There is so much happening in everyone’s life, it can be easy to get caught up in our own life.  It also means sometimes we’re too preoccupied to think before speaking.  Even so, Dear Reader please think of others!  If someone tells you they have a problem, don’t tell them you went through it too, you heard their condition is really painful, or about someone you know who died from it.  Take a second to consider a good response instead.   Some examples are:

 

“I’m sorry to hear that!”

“Are you ok?”

“Is there anything I can do to help?”

“What did the doctor say?”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“I’m here for you.”

 

People need compassion & understanding, especially these days when there is such a great lack of it.  Why not be one of the few who offers it to those in need?  A little compassion can make a big difference to someone who is suffering.

 

 

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Not Every Cause Can Be Your Cause

After the death of a gorilla in a Cincinnati zoo, I saw many posts on Facebook that bothered me. My least favorite comment was, “3000 babies die in America’s abortion clinics every day & no  one says a word- one gorilla dies & everyone loses their minds.”

 

For a fleeting moment after reading this, I felt guilty because in all honesty, I care when animals are put down more than I care about abortion.  Yes, I know that makes me sound like a terrible person, but please hear me out before you judge…

 

Animals, mine in particular, are very special to me, as you know if you’ve read any of my work.  Helping people overcome the pain of narcissistic abuse & understanding narcissism also are very important to me as is eliminating the stigma of mental illness & supporting those who live with it.  These are my causes, the things that are most important to me, after God & my little family of course.  While I realize there are many, many worthy causes out there that need support, I simply don’t have it in me to rally to them.

 

Aside from my mental & physical health problems limiting my energy, I believe it’s important to give as much as you can to something rather than a little bit to many things. I’d rather do two things right than ten things halfway.  Quality over quantity if you will.  It isn’t that I think there aren’t other important causes out there.  There are many!  I just chose to focus on a select few that are the most important to me.

 

Everyone has different gifts & callings.  Romans 12:4-8 states, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:  5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. 6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;  7 Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;  8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.”  (KJV)  This tells me that everyone is different, with different purposes in life.  And if you think about it, this makes perfect sense.  If everyone did the same thing, not much would get done.  Only one area would be taken care of, but so many other things would be neglected.  Doesn’t it just make sense that people think differently & support different things?

 

Just because I support animal welfare doesn’t mean I’m pro-abortion, as the comment I mentioned above suggests.  The cause of animal welfare is simply closer to my heart, as I’m sure pro-life is closer to the heart of the person who made the comment than animal welfare.  Neither of us are wrong!  Instead, we support what is right to us.  Yet sadly, many people don’t think this way.  Instead they judge & criticize others who don’t support their causes.  Unfortunately, it seems to me so many people think “if you’re not for me, you’re against me” as I mentioned in this recent post.

 

Dear Reader, please keep an open mind & heart.  Not everyone you meet will share your passions.  Nor will you share the passions of everyone you encounter.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that, so please- don’t make someone feel bad for not sharing your passions!  And, don’t let anyone make you feel bad for not sharing theirs!  You are both individuals, fashioned by God’s hand for a unique purpose.

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

“If You’re Not For Me, You’re Against Me!”

**I apologize to those of you who saw this post early.  I intended to save my thoughts as a draft, then get back to completing the article later.  I guess my trigger finger got happy & I hit “publish” instead of “save draft”.   Ooops.. here is the finished post**

 

So many people have this dysfunctional mindset these days, where they think if you don’t agree with their opinions or their lifestyle 110%, you are the enemy.  Obviously you must hate them since you aren’t jumping up & down with enthusiasm at their life.

 

I’ve been on the receiving end of this hatred, being called racist & a homophob, & frankly it baffled me as well as hurt me.  I have friends of various races, genders,  religious beliefs & sexual orientation.  As much as I love animals, I’m even friends with avid hunters.  I honestly can’t say I support every single person in my life 110%.  Truth be told, they don’t support me 110% either.  But yanno something?  It’s fine!  We also don’t judge & criticize each other.  We accept the other person as they are.

 

Does this sound un-Christian to you?  I honestly don’t believe it is.  Mark 12:31 says, “And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (KJV)  I really don’t see anything in that verse that says we should only show love to those who think exactly as we do.  To me, as long as they are good people & not judgmental, we stand a good chance at being friends.

 

Growing up in a narcissistic environment, I honestly thought those who didn’t see things as I did were wrong, & we shouldn’t be friends.  It took growing up & getting to know God before I realized that no two people will agree completely, & there is nothing wrong with that.

 

Some people can handle being friends with those who are their polar opposites, without arguing, & even with deep respect for each other.  Then there are others who absolutely cannot handle having people in their lives who disagree with them on any matter at all.  Still others fall somewhere in the middle.

 

You need to know your feelings on this matter.  Do you object to being in relationship with people who are different to you or are you open to new experiences?  However you feel, then you need to find other people who feel the same way as you do if you wish to have peaceful relationships.

 

If you’re closed minded at the thought of having friends who have differing view points to you, then I’d like to suggest being a bit more open minded.  It’s quite interesting, the things you can learn from other people.  As an example, while yes, I’m a devoted Christian, I have a good friend who has been involved in the Pagan religion for many years.  Although I disagree with most aspects of it, I have learned that they know so much about herbal remedies.  This has intrigued me!  After all, prescription & man made medicines often have wicked side effects.  Natural remedies have a great deal less side effects & often work just as well, if not better, than their man made counterparts.  What’s not to love?  In fact, I use herbal remedies to help manage my C-PTSD & anxiety, sometimes also insomnia.  I believe God created these things, so there can’t be anything wrong with using them.

 

Before slamming someone or ending a relationship because you two disagree, why not try opening your mind a bit?  And, if you find you don’t feel their view would be right for you, this doesn’t mean you can’t still be friends.  Focus on what is right for you & accept the fact that what works for you may not work for another, or vice versa.  Ultimately, our life choices are between us & God.  People shouldn’t judge others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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What You Do Always Matters

God showed me recently how valuable any small act of kindness is to people.

 

In the early 2000’s, my husband & I sponsored a young girl & her brother in the Philippines.  We wrote back & forth.  We had pictures of both kids.  Then at one point, I forget what, but something came up & we couldn’t send the money one month.  The organization we went through gave them to another family to sponsor although we were planning to send more to make up for the month we lost.

 

I wondered what happened to the kids.  We kept their pictures & prayed for them periodically.

 

Then a few days ago, I got a friend’s request & message from a young woman.  This stunning young lady is the once young girl we sponsored!  She wanted to find us to thank us for helping her as a little girl.

 

I’m in shock, but it’s a good shock!  I never expected to hear from her again.

 

For a while, I’ve felt like anything good I do isn’t really important.  It’s just what I should do as a Christian- bless & help other people.  Plus, growing up with narcissists, doing for others feels like it is just what I am supposed to do.  I’m sure you know what I mean- narcissists raise their children to do for them.  They make their children believe their only purpose is to do for them, to be used, so the children carry that belief into adulthood.  Even other people often treat them as if they owe the other people to do for them, like the narcissistic parent did.  Honestly, this is how I have always felt.

 

I guess God was tired of me feeling as if what I do for others doesn’t matter or make much difference, because hearing from this young lady really showed me it does matter.  Even small gestures make a big difference!  It didn’t cost much, what we sent to the organization, but it helped to put her through school.  I forgot until she reminded me, but I had sent her pictures of our pets.  She said she loved the pictures, as she is an avid animal lover.  Little things, but they made a big difference to her.

 

Dear Reader, please learn from this story.  Whatever you do for others makes a difference!  Even small gestures that don’t feel important, are very important.  Maybe not to you, but they are very important to someone, even if you are unaware of that fact.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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One Way To More Inner Peace & Joy

Matthew 5:44  “But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”  (KJV)

 

Lately, the “pray for them which despitefully use you, & persecute you” part of this Scripture has been weighing heavily on my heart.

 

Praying for those who hurt you can be extremely difficult for even the most devoted Christian.  I’m certainly no exception to that, so when God recently put it on my heart to pray more frequently for my mother after yet another difficult conversation, I was less than thrilled.  I prayed for her sometimes, but not daily.  Not even as often as it came into my mind that I should pray for her.  It was too difficult to sincerely pray for my mother since she’s hurt me so much in my life. Once in a while, fine, but that was really about the best I could manage.  Yet, God was telling me to change that.

 

In obedience, I decided to set a daily reminder on my cell phone to pray for my mother every morning.  Once I started though, I realized that daily prayer was becoming easier & more sincere.  Shortly after, God put it on my heart to add my father to the daily prayer.  Once I was feeling pretty comfortable praying for them both, He wanted me to add my in-laws.

 

*sigh*  Really?  The in-laws?  After all the awful things my mother in-law put me through?!  The nastiness of my sisters in-law, including them updating my husband on his ex for many years after we were married?!  Ok, fine.  They’re on the prayer list too, although grudgingly at first.

 

God then expanded my prayers even more, by asking me to pray daily for a former friend of mine who hurt me deeply almost six years ago.  Oh come on, God!  Seriously?!  Fine… added this person to my morning prayers.

 

Then, the icing on the cake was asking me to pray for someone who harassed me for over two years.  I did that the other night for the first time.  It was hard, but I did it.  Already, that’s getting easier.

 

I’m glad I’ve started this daily prayer, even though it was hard at first.  What the Bible doesn’t mention in Matthew 5:44 is that praying for people who have hurt you creates a deep peace inside.  I feel more relaxed & less anger or hurt when I think of these people now.  I also feel even closer to God than I did before starting this which has brought me more joy.  It’s absolutely wonderful!!

 

I know it can be somewhat overwhelming to think about doing this, Dear Reader, but why don’t you give it a try too?  It really is worth it!  Pray for the person who has hurt you a great deal in your life, just because you love God & want to please Him.  If at first you pray through clenched teeth, God will understand!  If you tell him you’re only praying for that person because you know He wants you too even though you don’t really mean it right now, He gets that too!  The more you pray, the easier it becomes, & the more peace & joy you will feel.  You will be blessed!

 

Try it today, Dear Reader.  Pray for your abuser.  Ask God to help you to do so if need be.  What do you have to lose?

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Praying For Others Who Hurt You

Recently, I saw this Scripture…

 

Proverbs 6:16-19  “16 These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him:  17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.”  (KJV)

Immediately, I thought of my mother.  She has done all of these things.  Immediately after I thought of that, I felt a burden to pray for her.  I decided that since my memory is pretty bad, I’d set an alarm on my cell phone to remind me to pray for her every morning.  Shortly after, I decided to add my father to that morning prayer.

 

I don’t know what’s going to happen, if they will change or not.  It is up to them if they respond to or ignore God’s promptings to change.  However, whether or not they do, I know praying for them is changing me.  It’s only been a few days, but so far, so good.  I feel a new peace knowing I have done something good for them.

 

When someone hurts or abuses you, it’s so hard to pray for them at first.  It may even take years before you feel able to do so, especially when the hurt goes deep.  I have been a Christian since February, 1996, & in that time, I admit, I haven’t prayed much for my parents or even my in-laws.  They all hurt me too deeply.  I tried, but sometimes prayed through gritted teeth.    Starting to pray for my parents regularly this time hasn’t been easy, but I pushed through.  I am glad I did, because the more I do it, the easier it gets.  The more sincere I am in my prayers.  And, I’ll probably add the in-laws to my daily prayers.

 

I know this may seem a very daunting task, but why don’t you give it a try too?  Even when you pray through gritted teeth like me, God will honor your willingness to do so & make it easier for you to pray for them.  You truly will be blessed when you pray for others as I have been.

 

 

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Enjoying Life

I keep getting a message lately in various forms. so it’s safe to assume it’s very important….

 

Enjoy your life.  Enjoy the little things like an unexpected hug or getting caught in a spring rain.  Thank God for allowing you to wake up this morning.  Spend time just sitting in His presence, thanking Him for whatever you are grateful for & allowing Him to love you.  Complement freely- not only does it bless the person you’re complementing, but it also blesses you when you make them feel good.  Take care of yourself, physically & emotionally.  You’re no good to anyone (including yourself) if you’re sick or depressed.  Play a game or resume a hobby you enjoyed as a child.  Have fun, don’t just work from the time you wake up until the time you fall asleep.

Too many people are miserable.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the negativity in life- Lord knows there is plenty of it everywhere!  Just turn on the news & you can be overwhelmed with negativity in record time.  And, if you’re like the bulk of my readers & have experienced narcissistic abuse, that certainly can make you negative & miserable.  It’s hard to find good in the tremendous amount of pain it causes.  Even so, there is still good to be found.  You can celebrate the fact you survived the abuse that was meant to destroy you.  You are strong- you got out alive & sane!  I’m seeing more & more how tough I am to survive what I’ve been through, & I thank God for helping me get through it even though I didn’t believe in Him at the time.  It’s a miracle to survive narcissistic abuse- never forget that!  Embrace the fact you’re a walking, talking miracle for surviving something so heinous!

 

Whatever you do, just please, Dear Reader, enjoy your life as much as you can.  After all, Jesus came so you can enjoy your life.  John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (NIV)  So why not get to enjoying your life?  You’ll be glad you did!

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God Gives Families To The Lonely

So many of us who have survived narcissistic abuse end up abandoned by those closest to us once we start to open up about what we experienced.  Family & friends don’t believe us.  They accuse us of being overly dramatic, attention seeking, vindictive & other awful & untrue things.  They abandon us.  I’ve experienced it, too.  As a teen when my mother’s abuse piqued, her friends who once liked me no longer would give me the time of day.  My own friends offered me no support.  I also lost all friends except one once I opened up about what I experienced with my ex husband.  Most people thought he was a great guy, & I was the ungrateful, evil wife who mistreated him so.

There is good news though!

Psalm 68:6  “God places the lonely in families; he sets the prisoners free and gives them joy.  But he makes the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land.”  (NLT)

It’s true!  When you feel abandoned & lonely, God will send the right people into your life.  He certainly has done it to me!  In 2000, I finally began to face my issues with my upbringing.  At the time, I had no real friends & no family I could talk to about such things, & it hurt.  I prayed a lot during that time, more than usual.  I eventually felt I should contact my granddad who I hadn’t spoken to in years due to my mother & ex telling me my grandparents hated me.  We ended up very close for the first time & he quickly became my best friend, not only my grandfather.  He even gave me a computer because I’d said I wanted to get one, & thanks to that, I met some wonderful friends online.  For the first time, I had a family- not all blood related, but I was very close to them nonetheless.  In fact, I’m still close to many of them.  God sent me even more wonderful friends into my life since, including old friends I had lost touch with many years ago.  Truly, He has given me a family!

God can do the same for you.  He loves you & wants to bless you.  All you need to do is trust that His word is true, & ask Him to give you that family.

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Just Because Someone Is A Christian Doesn’t Mean They Are Perfect

It seems to me that people who aren’t Christians think those of us who are should be perfect, never making mistakes or having bad things in our past.  I assume this mindset is perpetuated by the holier than thou Christians who act as if they never made a mistake before.

The truth though is Christians make mistakes.  Before & after we became Christians, we’ve made mistakes.  It’s part of being human.  Accepting Jesus as our Lord & Savior doesn’t change the fact we have made mistakes & will continue to do so until the day we die.

I’m no exception.  I have a divorce in my past that I’m not exactly proud of.  I cheated on my ex husband too.  I’ve also hurt people & I’m not a particularly good daughter.  Do these things mean that I’m a hypocrite or a bad Christian?  I don’t think so.  They show I’m human.

One of the most inspiring pastors I’ve heard preach is a lovely woman whose first book I edited. When I saw her preach, I was moved to tears.  She is a powerful woman of God, yet in her earlier years, she was a drug addict.  Now?  She is an inspiring pastor who helps & inspires countless people on a daily basis.  God is obviously at work in her life.

Don’t let it bother you when people pick apart your walk with God because you have made mistakes in your life.  Everyone makes mistakes, especially before accepting Jesus into their life.  Even after, you’re still going to make mistakes because you’re human & therefore not perfect.  What is most important is that you are trying to be like Jesus.  Your effort counts with God.  He knows you are imperfect, & only expects that you try your best.

Also, don’t forget to apply this to others as well.  Other Christians are just as imperfect as you, so they too will make mistakes.  They may even have sordid pasts.  Don’t let that affect how you treat them, however!  I’ve found the people with the worst pasts are often the most grateful for God’s love & try the hardest to please Him & treat people well.

Of course, if someone is deliberately hateful to you, there is nothing wrong with setting boundaries.  In fact, I believe that to be loving, Christian behavior.  God wants what is best for His children, & sometimes “no” is what is best.

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Miracles Still Happen

I know many people don’t believe that miracles still happen.  They were just for Biblical days.  I respectfully disagree!  There is no time limit on miracles!

Yesterday I was looking at facebook.  One of my old posts popped up from October 15, 2013.  It was the day I took our cat, Pretty Boy, in for his annual check up.  Since he has diabetes we have to keep on top of his health.  I expected the normal results- he’s doing fine, just check his glucose levels & email us a report.

That isn’t what happened though.

The vet said he lost almost 2 pounds.  She also said something felt odd & she wanted to do an ultrasound.  Blood was drawn, then an ultrasound was done.  A while later, she came back into the exam room with the results of both.  She said Pretty Boy had liver carcinoma, & probably wouldn’t be around much longer.  His liver was enlarged & his red blood cell count was only 25 (it should be 35-45, she said).  I took him home, & prayed for him often.

Then this past February 9, we took Pretty Boy in for his check up.  Another vet, the owner of this hospital who I’ve known for many years, saw him since the first one had changed jobs.  He kept saying Pretty Boy looked “great” & my little guy had gained 2 pounds.  Another vet talked to us about the diabetes he’s lived with since 2011, & said she thought Pretty Boy was going into remission.  The first vet then told me to call him the next day for the results of his blood work.  I did, & was in for a surprise!  He said three times that Pretty Boy’s blood work was “perfect!”  I asked about the liver carcinoma.  He asked what I was talking about, so I explained the previous exam’s results.  He said, “She must have made a mistake- Pretty Boy is doing great.  His blood work is absolutely perfect.”  Prayers were answered, & God healed our sweet kitty!

Pretty Boy’s healing was a miracle, as far as I’m concerned.  As I’m typing this, he’s lying on the sofa, a couple of feet away, grooming himself & looking content.  I’m so grateful to see that!

Healing cancer, whether for a cat or a human, is a miraculous event!  It’s also proof that God still does miracles,  answers prayers & loves His children enough to care about what we care about.

Dear Reader, please be encouraged today.  What God did for my furbaby, He can do for you.  Or if you need a financial miracle instead of a healing , He can do that too.  Praying for the salvation of a loved one?  He can save them as well.  Whatever your need, God has the answer.  All you have to do is ask & know that He is your answer.

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You Are Where You Need To Be

It seems like human nature to envy where other people are in life.  Many people envy their friends’ financial status, work position or even their prayer life.  When you’re healing from narcissistic abuse, you also may envy others who seem to be so much farther along in their healing.  I’m not immune to it- I feel the same way sometimes.

The problem though is there is no good reason to feel that way.  If God wanted you to be in the same position as another person, He’d put you there & nothing could stop Him.  God has you where you are in life for a reason.

So what is the reason?  Honestly, I don’t know.  However, I do know that part of the reason is to bless you & to bless others.  I’m not saying God is like a faery godmother, granting wishes.  Instead, He uses things that happen in life, good & bad alike, to help you to learn & grow to be more like Jesus.  And, He uses you to help others to do the same.  Even your mistakes can help others.

I encourage you today, Dear Reader, to stop griping about where you are, & to ask God to help you see the good in it or the good that will come of it.

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Free To Be You

I have learned that something rather magical happens to many folks when they hit 40.  Suddenly they no longer have the patience for abusive people & will confront them on their behavior.  They become more outspoken without being hurtful, & more free with their praise.  They begin to practice self-care for the first time.  They are more compassionate & caring, because they have seen & been through some pretty rough things.  They finally are freer as well.  Free to be themselves, & free to do as they like without caring about the criticisms & judgments of others.

It’s a wonderful thing!!

If you aren’t 40 yet or if you passed 40 without experiencing this, don’t think you need to be 40 to experience this.  It’s never too early or too late to improve yourself!  Ask God to help  you change however you need or want to.  He will do so gladly.  He wants you to be happy & if changing will help you accomplish that, He will be glad to help you.

Also think about some things & ask yourself questions.  You don’t really need to worry about what other people think of you, so why does it matter to you what others think?  Are you putting others before yourself constantly?  Why?  If you were raised by a narcissistic parent, I’m sure you believe (as I still battle with sometimes) that everyone else is more important & you don’t deserve to do good things for yourself.  That is a lie!  You DO deserve to do good things for yourself & take care of yourself.  In fact, if you want to help others so much, you need to take care of yourself.  If you don’t, you won’t have the physical or mental strength to help other people.

Do some soul searching.  Ask yourself the tough questions like the ones in the previous paragraph & honestly answer them.  You may surprise yourself.  You also will become aware of some  changes you need to make to help yourself live a happier life.

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Why Christians Should Love Animals

I’ve been noticing something disturbing lately.  So many Christians openly hate animals.  This bothers me terribly, because there are so many Scriptures that show God loves the animals that He created & wants people to care for & appreciate them.  Some examples are:

  • Proverbs 12:10  “A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast: but the tender mercies of the wicked are cruel.”  (KJV)
  • Ecclesiastes 3:18-21  “I said in mine heart concerning the estate of the sons of men, that God might manifest them, and that they might see that they themselves are beasts.  19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.  20 All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.  21 Who knoweth the spirit of man that goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that goeth downward to the earth?” (KJV)
  • Job 35:11 “Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?”  (KJV)
  • Psalm 145:9  “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.”  (KJV)

These are only a few examples.  There is much more in the Bible on the topic of animals.  I found enough for me to write a book on this topic several years ago.

It hurts my heart that so many devoted Christians openly hate animals, hunt only for sport or even think humans are so much better than animals.  Ecclesiastes 3:19 clearly shows people are not better than animals.  Read that verse again: “19 For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity.” (KJV) (emphasis added)

How can anyone who calls himself or herself a Christian truly feel this way about animals after reading that Scripture??  Yet, many people do every day & harshly criticize those of us who feel differently.

It’s simply wrong.  Obviously, God loves animals.  After all, He created them.  Hating them is no different than hating other people.  Personally, I’m not fond of bossy people, but that doesn’t mean I hate them or wish them harm.  If I did, I would be criticized for it.  “Love your neighbor as yourself,” people might say.  However, if I hated animals, hunted them only for sport, called them “just dumb animals”, etc. most Christians wouldn’t bat an eye.  Do you see how wrong this is?

If you are one of these people, I urge you to reconsider your position.  I’m not saying you need to become a vet or stop eating all meat.  Instead I’m suggesting you give animals a chance.  They are intelligent, caring, empathetic companions.  Get to know some animals, maybe friends’ or relatives’ pets.   I have 10 cats, 1 dog & 1 finch, all of whom make my life better each day.  This morning, for example, I sat on my bed.  I’m having a very bad day, & I just needed a few minutes to refocus.  My cat Zippy joined me, showing me a great deal of love while purring loudly.  He often is the first one to show he cares if I am upset, sick or even having a flashback.  In fact, after becoming very sick in February, he has become my shadow.  Once I got home from the hospital, he didn’t leave my side for a good 2 days.  Since, he stays close to me at all times, watching me closely.

Animals can teach you so much, too.  I learned how to be a good pet parent from my first cat, Magic who was a naturally loving father.  Vincent, my granddad’s cat, taught me not to take the little things for granted, but to appreciate them instead.  Jasmine, my snowshoe siamese, had 4 strokes in her final 2 years of life, & watching her fight to regain her faculties after each one was an inspiration.

God has blessed humanity with a wonderful gift in animals.  I would like to encourage you today not to take that gift for granted.  Instead, appreciate it & have fun with it!  Animals truly are a gift from God in many ways.

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers

Thinking Of Making Some Changes

Lately, I’ve been thinking.  (Scary huh??  lol)

I really would like to be able to expand the topics I write about.  In all honesty, I’m tired of thinking so much about narcissism.  Not that I want to quit writing about it entirely of course- I’d just like to talk about other things sometimes too.  Be a bit more diverse

I’ve asked God to guide my writing.  I ask God to show me what to write about (admittedly, probably not as often as I should..) which is where my blog & book subject matters come from.  I’m going to be praying more about this topic though & would appreciate your prayers as well.  I’m sure this urge to cover other topics isn’t only me- it’s God guiding me, probably preparing me for something else that is on its way.

I’ve started a little.. I’ve decided once my current book on recovering from narcissistic abuse is done, my next book project will be finishing the fiction book I started a few years ago.  That book is maybe one third done..it’s time to finish it.

I also added some information about my experiences with carbon monoxide poisoning on my website.  I’ve read a lot about it since I went through it last February, & what has struck me as truly sad is how many others who have been through it feel so isolated.  People don’t seem to grasp just how serious & horrible it is to live with the disruptive symptoms.  Writing about it is my attempt to help these people feel less alone, & less crazy.  It also seems to have helped me a little to write out my experiences.  (Bonus for me!)  If you know someone who has suffered through carbon monoxide poisoning or you would care to read it, then click this link:  http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Carbon-Monoxide-Poisoning.php

Maybe I could write some about natural/herbal things.  I know many people associate such things with casting spells & such, but I don’t.  I believe God created herbs & plants with the properties they have for a reason & for our use.  Why shouldn’t we benefit from them?  I love herbal remedies & beauty recipes.  I’d love to share what I know as well as learn from others.

If there are other topics you would like me to write about, I’m open to suggestions.  I may not use them, it will depend on what I believe God wants me to do, so please don’t be offended if I don’t write about what you suggest.   Anyway feel free to leave your suggestions in the comments of this post, or email me at:  CynthiaBaileyRug@aol.com  I look forward to hearing from you!  🙂

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Writing

My Favorite Story Of God’s Tremendous Love

God keeps encouraging me to be open, which is a real challenge for me.  I’m so introverted it’s tough to talk about private things. But, I’m trying..

One very private thing I felt like I should share has nothing to do with the usual topic of narcissism, but we all need a break from that negative topic anyway.  I wanted to share a story with you that shows how gentle & loving God is during our times of greatest need.

When I was growing up, my narcissistic mother did her best to keep me distant from my father’s family.  I wasn’t allowed to play much with my cousins or spend the summer with my grandparents.  When my parents & I visited family, I had to stay at my mother’s side most of the time.  As a result, I was never very close to my paternal grandparents, although I loved them dearly.  Then at age 17, when the abuse was at its peak, my mother told me how they were deeply ashamed of me for how terribly I was acting.  I knew better, or so I thought, but even so, when my ex husband later agreed with my mother, I thought I was wrong.  After all, he hated my mother as much as she hated him- if he is agreeing with her, she must be right.  As a result, in my early 20’s, I drifted out of their lives.

Several years later in 2000, I wrote a letter to my granddad.  (Grandmom had passed in 1996).  Shortly after, I went to visit him at his home.  I was nervous, but that faded immediately.  As soon as he opened the door & gave me one of his bear hugs, I knew all was fine.  We ended up being very close by the time he died on May 31, 2003.  He was not just my grandfather- he was my friend, confidant & cheerleader.

His death hit me very hard.  I could barely function for the first month after.  I asked hubby to drive me to Bristow, VA to his grave about one month after his death.  I hoped maybe it’d help. Besides, the drive was beautiful- Bristow is a peaceful, country town.  The cemetery there is among the prettiest places I’ve ever seen.

Off to Bristow we went.  For the first time, I saw his headstone, & it tore me up.  It made his death final.

valley view cemetery (2)

Hubby left me alone for a while, & sat in the car. I prayed, telling God how painful this was & how much I missed Granddad.  Suddenly the most bizarre thing happened.  I heard my granddad’s voice speaking to me as if he was standing beside me.  He said, “I’m always with you- in your heart.  I love you.  Whenever you see a butterfly, I want you to remember that.”  at  this point, I looked up & there were 2 pale yellow butterflies fluttering together about 5′ from me.  “You tell Eric to take good care of you.  I love you.”

This incident shook me up at first.  I wondered was I crazy?  But no, I wasn’t crazy.  Hearing his voice one last time helped me to start healing.

Some people have told me I only heard what I wanted to hear, or God doesn’t do things like that, but I disagree.  God knew what I needed when I didn’t, & provided that.  Plus, since then, a few times when I’ve seen butterflies, God has spoken to my heart & said things like “Your granddad is thinking of you & wants you to know he loves you.”

Since that day at the cemetery, I’ve seen butterflies.  Lots of them!  I even saw one during the winter once, in my car.  I was particularly stressed at the time since hubby was sick, & on my way home from the hospital, a little moth appeared in my car!  There was no earthly reason for that, as butterflies & moths only survive in the warm weather.  When I work on my car (which was once Granddad’s car), butterflies often appear. If I’m upset, I can guarantee I’ll see butterflies in the oddest places.  Once in a store, I saw butterflies on t-shirts, dishes, stuffed animals, dishes & books.  That was the day that God told me Granddad had been thinking of me.

If you’re in a painful place, please know  God still loves you.  He will comfort you if you allow Him to.  It may be in a completely unexpected way like what happened to me, but it will be just what you need.  And, if you’ve lost someone you love, don’t doubt their love for you has vanished or even changed just because they’ve passed away.  They still love you & think of you often.  Nothing, not even death, will change that.  Take comfort in that.  It truly helps.

As for me, I’ll continue to smile every time I see butterflies, because I know it means my favorite person is sending me his love.. 🙂

Granddad at 50th anniversary party

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Are You Always The Strong One?

There is a saying that is pretty common, but especially here in the South.  “That which doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”  I believe it to be very true.  The very things that have been meant to kill me, such as narcissistic abuse, have instead strengthened me in the long run.

But, the truth is, in spite of being grateful for the strength I’ve gained, I’m pretty tired!  Tired of the nonsense I’ve lived through, & mostly tired of always being the strong one who carries other people can fall apart.

Many people, especially those of us who have survived narcissistic abuse, are a great deal stronger than we realize.  This doesn’t usually escape the notice of other people, however.  They notice it right away & often, don’t hesitate to use our strength to help themselves out.  Even when they know we’re going through a crisis, they’ll come to us for comfort, advice or to meet some other need, often without even asking how we’re doing.  When faced with a difficult person, we are the one who is always supposed to be understanding or the “bigger person”, & let the offenses go.  People know we’re strong & can handle bad situations, so they assume we never need help, a shoulder to cry on or, well, anything really..

The simple truth is that even the strongest among us need help sometimes.  Being strong can be hard enough, but feeling as if you’re completely alone in your struggles with no one to help, & you have to be strong all of the time for others is incredibly hard.  It’s extremely depressing, because you know you can’t count on anyone else to let you lean on them.  It’s also mentally & physically draining.

Chances are, if you’re reading this post, then you understand this all too well.  I would like to encourage you today to make self-care a priority.  Take breaks as needed from work or from other people (especially the ones who lean on you without reciprocating).  Set & enforce healthy boundaries to protect yourself.  Do nice things for yourself often.  What makes you feel good?  Make it a priority to do those things as often as possible.  Participate in your hobbies often.  Express your creativity often.

And, remember- sometimes you need to lean on others as they have leaned on you.  It’s actually a good thing for a relationship- it makes you depend on each other instead of the relationship being one sided.  It also increases intimacy in the relationship, because asking for help makes you vulnerable.  I understand that it is very hard to do, but I encourage you to step out & try it.  Ask God how to do this & who to ask- He won’t guide you wrong!

And, speaking of God, don’t forget to lean on Him as well!  He loves you so much, & wants to help you in every way you need help.  I’ll never forget what happened when I was sick at the end of February.. I was relaxing, just playing a game on my tablet, & I couldn’t get past this one level.  It was frustrating me.  I muttered & asked God to help me get past this stupid level.  Suddenly, I did it!  I started to cry.  Granted, I was super emotional because of the concussion I got only a few days prior, but even so, it was a lovely moment.  I knew God helped me to win that game because He loves me so much that He even cares about something so trivial that means something to me.  He loves you just as much- allow Him to show it.  Trust Him & lean on Him.  He won’t disappoint you.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Caregiving, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

A Little Kindness Goes A Long Way

Last night I had a very bizarre dream.  I dreamed that there were a bunch of small children in my yard, making a lot of noise.  It was irritating me (I like peace & quiet) & I went to chase them off.  As I was getting my coat, I heard them in the backyard as well & was becoming more irritated.  Who were they & why were they on my property?  I went outside & they were gone, so I came back inside.  I looked at a shelf & found they’d left me things I need, like soap, cleaning supplies, food & even my favorite perfume from my teen years.  I knew they weren’t actually children, but angels when I saw this.

Upon waking up from this bizarre dream, I had no idea what it meant, but it reminded me of a Scripture…Hebrews 13:2 “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (KJV)  

I wonder how many people really believe this Scripture?  The actions of most people don’t really show that they believe it.

I’m not saying that we have to cater to everyone we meet, ignoring our own needs.  Not by any stretch.  I’m saying just be civil & kind to one another.  Be an example of God’s love- patient, kind, caring, all while exercising healthy boundaries.  Believe it or not, sometimes saying “no” is actually the most loving thing you can do for another person.  If it wasn’t loving behavior, God wouldn’t tell us no sometimes, would He?

I just wanted to take a moment today to make you think about how you treat people, even the strangers you pass on the street or the cashiers at the grocery store.  Simply smiling at a stranger can make their day.  So many people are rude & unpleasant to strangers, so why not be different?  Be nice instead.  Be polite.  Ask how someone is & wait for an answer that you genuinely care to hear.  Don’t give the impression you’re only asking to be polite- let the other person know you really care how they are.  Little gestures like this truly make a person’s day.  They say, “I care about you” & there is a great shortage of caring people in the world.  Be one of those who do care!

Since many of you reading this are also adult children of narcissists, I can’t help but think you may be hoping I don’t mean include your narcissistic parents in this niceness thing.  Well, sort of I do.  What I said about exercising good boundaries?  That is extremely important when you deal with narcissists, & truly, boundaries are very loving.  They mean you won’t enable certain behaviors from others.  Narcissists don’t think boundaries are good or loving, but they really are in God’s eyes, & that is what really counts!  😉

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Filed under Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health

Toxic Shame Resulting From Narcissistic Abuse- There Is A Way Out!

As of yesterday, it’s been one month since I got sick with carbon monoxide poisoning & a concussion.  It’s been quite an interesting month, too.

My recovery is a slow one, but at least it is giving me a much needed break from life.  It’s also given me more time to think & pray.  

Shortly after returning home from the hospital, God showed me that I had a big problem with toxic shame, which stems from emotional neglect & criticisms in childhood.  (it’s why I felt I didn’t deserve any help from the ER staff, even though that is their job, & my husband shouldn’t help me recover- I should do it all on my own.  That’s pretty bad, especially considering the severity of my illnesses!)  I believe this is a very common problem for adult children of narcissistic parents, so I thought I would share a bit about this past month’s journey with you.

When God first revealed this to me, I was happy & sad.  Happy because I finally understood what was wrong, why I felt I deserved nothing.  Also sad because, well, let’s face it- this is pretty depressing realizing I was made to feel so poorly about myself.  I also had no idea how to cope with this problem, & had to ask God to show me.  He gave me some really good  ideas, which I shared in the post I originally wrote on this topic.  Please read that post at this link.  I’ve been trying to do the things I mentioned in that post. I also have been doing other things, such as paying more attention to my dreams, which have been revealing a great deal to me about how much I need to take care of myself.  (Almost nightly, I’m having dreams that show me that, so obviously God thinks it’s important!)

I also told God I want to change this problem- I want to be rid of this toxic shame once & for all, & I want to learn to take care of myself too instead of only everyone else.  Was that a powerful prayer!  He has been helping me tremendously!!

About a week after I got sick, I got an email from a jewelry company.  They had a lovely ring on sale that reminded me of one my paternal grandmother had when I was a kid.  This wasn’t a real diamond like hers, but it was still beautiful.  I felt that instead of thinking it’s pretty & ignoring it, I should ask hubby if we could get it.  That took a lot of guts for me- I hate asking him for anything, let alone something frivolous.  He said sure, go ahead & get  it.  When I got on the website to order it, I saw they had an identical ring with a much larger stone that I liked even more.  I ordered it, even though it cost a bit more.  For once, probably the first time in my life, I realized I deserved something special & felt no guilt about it.   Getting myself that prize was a big step towards shedding the “I don’t deserve…” mindset of toxic shame.  Now the company has failed to fulfill my order, but I’m not giving up- I will just get that ring from another company .  🙂

Also, I’ve had trouble with my recovery.  I need to relax, avoid any strenuous physical activity & stress until I am healthy again.  This means hubby gets to do the bulk of housework.  It’s been hard just laying around while he works, then comes home & does laundry & cleans.  Every time the guilt comes up, God reminds me to relax.  I need to recover- I’ve been poisoned by carbon monoxide & have a nasty head injury.  Anyone in that situation would need to relax & recover so stop beating myself up!  Besides, hubby has never really had to take care of anyone before, so this is good for him, having to prioritize another person’s needs.

Although I haven’t told my parents about my illnesses, I’ve spoken with them a few times during my recovery.  Instead of the usual feelings of guilt, hurt or anger when they play their head games, God has reminded that they have problems.  For example, my father recently said I should call if I need anything or just want to talk.  I felt guilty for not calling more often, like a bad daughter, but only for  a second.  Almost immediately, I realized he only wants more contact with me to receive his narcissistic supply, not to spend time with me.  The guilt was alleviated immediately.  I realized I’m not a bad daughter, but instead am someone who doesn’t wish to be used.  Life is too short to be someone’s narcissistic supply!

Something else interesting just happened that made me realize what progress I’m making. I just had a good, long cry.  You see, when some of my pets have died, God has comforted me by telling me shortly after their death that a certain song reminds my recently departed of me- the song then becomes our song.  Aerosmith’s 1988 hit “Angel” just came on. That’s my lovely snowshoe Siamese cat Jasmine’s & my song.  When I heard the song, I started to cry.  I miss Jasmine so badly, & maybe because I’m very sensitive due to my illnesses, the magnitude of missing her hit me very hard.  As the tears finally came to a stop, I realized something- I felt no shame for them!  As much as I love my animals, because my grief at losing them has been so severely invalidated repeatedly, I’ve often felt shame for crying because of them & did my best to ignore my pain.  Especially years later, when I “should be over it”, according to many people. Today was different.  It was the first time I can say I honestly felt no shame, & was able to cry without holding back.  It was actually a very good feeling.  Jasmine was a very brave, amazing & special cat. She survived 4 strokes before she passed away in 2011 & fought hard to come back from each one.  She deserved the love & respect of being grieved properly, yanno?

I’m sharing these things with you today in the hopes of encouraging you.  If you too suffer with toxic shame, God can help you to heal as He is helping me.  He is breaking the hold of toxic shame in my life & will do the same thing for you!  Living with toxic shame is no way to live!  You deserve so much better than that, as do I.  God wants us to be happy & healthy- two things no one living with toxic shame can be.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Mental Health, Narcissism

God Wants To Bless You!

I want to share this story to encourage you today, Dear Readers.  God does care about infinitely about you, & what you care about!  He also still does miracles today- miracles weren’t reserved only for Biblical times!  I know it can be hard to believe such things, especially when you’re dealing with a narcissistic mother, but they’re very true!

As I mentioned in this post, hubby & I had to take one of our cats into the vet for his annual checkup on Monday.  I was to call the vet yesterday for the results of his bloodwork, & wow, did I get a surprise!  The vet’s exact words were, “His bloodwork was PERFECT.”  I was stunned, & even asked the vet if he was sure.  He was!  I asked about the liver carcinoma that Pretty Boy had been diagnosed with in October, 2013.  The vet was obviously confused, & said there’s no sign of it- maybe the other vet who saw him mistook a benign mass for carcinoma.  Normally, I respect anything this man says- he’s been our vet for 20 years, & is among the best in the Baltimore area.  However, the other vet who diagnosed Pretty Boy with the liver carcinoma didn’t make a mistake.  She was almost as good as he is, plus she did a blood test & an ultrasound, so there was no doubt as to her diagnosis.  It obviously also difficult for her to tell me there was nothing that could be done for him, & she didn’t expect him to be around much longer.  I began to pray for him regularly as soon as we got this news, & God truly answered my prayers!

God truly hears our prayers, even when we feel like He doesn’t.  He also truly cares about what we care about.  When you pray, please be encouraged that God is listening!  He may not answer your prayer as you think He should, but still trust Him!  He knows best, & is worthy of your faith!

And, for those of you pet parents reading this, please never doubt that God loves your furkids even more than you do.  I know, many in the Christian community doubt this, believing animals have no souls, or are only here for people to use (or eat) as they see fit.  I must disagree with this however!  Ecclesiastes 3:19 says, “For that which befalls the sons of men befalls beasts; even [in the end] one thing befalls them both. As the one dies, so dies the other. Yes, they all have one breath and spirit, so that a [a]man has no preeminence over a beast; for all is vanity (emptiness, falsity, and futility)!” (AMP)  Here it is in the Message translation, too “19-22 Humans and animals come to the same end—humans die, animals die. We all breathe the same air. So there’s really no advantage in being human. None. Everything’s smoke. We all end up in the same place—we all came from dust, we all end up as dust. Nobody knows for sure that the human spirit rises to heaven or that the animal spirit sinks into the earth. So I made up my mind that there’s nothing better for us men and women than to have a good time in whatever we do—that’s our lot. Who knows if there’s anything else to life?”  This tells me that God loves animals just as much as people.  So, I encourage you to pray for your pets!  They are entrusted to us to care for them, to feed & shelter them, to love them.. what better way to care for them than to pray for them?

For further information about what the Bible says about animals, I have written a book on the topic.  You can find it at this link: Pawprints On Our Hearts paperback or Pawprints On Our Hearts ebook

Also, here is a picture of my handsome little miracle kitty, Pretty Boy…

pretty boy's best diabetes day ever 01272014

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Filed under Animals, Christian Topics and Prayers

Why Not Tolerating Abuse Is A Godly, Loving Behavior

One thing it seems like all adult children of narcissists share is the large amount of people who  think that we should continue to tolerate anything & everything our narcissistic parents dish out, because of such logic as, “That’s the only mother you’ll ever have!”, “She’s doing her best!”  or, “She won’t be around forever yanno!”  So many people think tolerating abuse is loving, Godly, martyr-like behavior.  How people can think this is utterly beyond me.

Consider Mark 12:32-33, & notice the last part of verse 33…

Mark 12:32-33   “Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33 To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”  (NIV)

What exactly does it mean to love?  Here is how love is defined in the Bible..

1 Corinthians 13 “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”  (NIV)

I see nothing in there that states how tolerating abuse is a good thing for anyone.  Basically, I see 1 Corinthians 13 this way- love wants what is best, & tolerating abuse is hardly best for anyone.  The victim certainly doesn’t get what’s best- instead they end up hurt & angry at best, or possibly even doubting their sanity at worst.  Depending on the type of abuse the narcissist dishes out, they may also end up in financial straights or with physical injuries.  The abuser doesn’t end up with what’s best when abuse is tolerated either, because being allowed to get away with bad behavior certainly isn’t loving!  Getting away with bad behavior only encourages that bad behavior to continue, & probably even to escalate.  Narcissists in particular, when not confronted with boundaries or consequences for their behavior, will continue to push the limits to see just how far they can go.

People who try to tell you that you need to let your narcissistic parent abuse  you truly have no inkling of God’s definition of love.  Sadly, many of them are very convicted in their beliefs, so trying to explain this to many of them will be a waste of your time.  However, if this is someone you know well, you will know if this person will be open or not to hearing you explain what God’s definition of love really is.  If they are, then hopefully your relationship will survive this bump in the road unscathed.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism