Tag Archives: religion
So many people I have spoken with were abused under the guise of Christianity. Parents abuse their children because they think Proverbs 13:24 basically saying, “Spare the rod, spoil the child” means parents have the right to beat their children. They are also often the same parents who claim their children aren’t honoring them by refusing to tolerate their abuse. There are also husbands who demand blind obedience from their wives because Ephesians 5:22 says wives should submit to their husbands. There are even those active in their church who abuse other church members. Some sexually abuse children, others ostracize other members for not fitting their ideal of what they should be & more.
There are so many things wrong with such situations!!
Personally I believe that as wrong as abuse is, when it is done using God as a justification or as a way to lure victims in, that somehow makes the abuse even worse. The person in this situation not only has the fallout of the abuse to deal with, but also is going to have a lot of spiritual damage as well. They may believe God doesn’t care about them or maybe that He simply doesn’t exist at all because what happened to them was so horrific. I felt the same way. My mother went through a phase when I was a teenager of telling me that she knew she was going to Heaven when she died because she was such a good person. I, however, was terrible to her so I was destined for Hell. I thought no God could exist & let me go through what I was going through, but if He did, I clearly wanted no part of Him if that was truly how He was.
Also, it seems to me when people twist Scripture around, if you look at the Bible, somewhere there is at least one nearby verse that clearly proves their interpretation is wrong. Look at Ephesians 5:22 for a second. Yes, it does say that wives should submit to their husbands. It also says in the verse immediately before that a couple should submit to each other. It clearly isn’t one sided, but you won’t hear an abusive husband mention Ephesians 5:21. The same goes for abusive parents who claim their children aren’t honoring them. The Bible also mentions in Ephesians 6:4 & Colossians 3:21 that parents shouldn’t provoke their children.
Truly toxic, abusive, narcissistic people will use the Bible or the label of “Christian” to justify their wicked behavior. To combat this, you have to know the Bible at least a bit. Nowhere in there does it justify any form of abuse! If you have any doubts, do your research with a good concordance or the internet. It won’t take you long to see how wrong the abuser is.
People also claim they are Christian to be underestimated, so people will feel safe with them or if they’re on the fence about something, they will think it’s OK because this person said they’re a Christian. Most people hear someone say they’re a Christian & somehow think those people are impervious to mistakes or bad behavior. Nothing could be further from the truth! EVERYONE makes mistakes for one thing. If we didn’t, we wouldn’t need Jesus. And for another thing, no true believer is going to be deliberately abusive towards someone else.
Rather than take someone on their word, observe a person’s behavior. Any true Christian’s behavior should show that they are doing their best to live a good, Godly life. Sure, they make mistakes, but they quickly try to fix them. If they hurt someone, it isn’t done intentionally, they are fast to apologize & change their behavior so it never happens again.
There are plenty of wolves in sheep’s clothing out there, looking for innocent victims. Remembering the points in this article can help you to avoid them.
Recently, hubby & I have been looking into changing our car & homeowner’s insurance company to a place where we can get a fairer rate. We found it, I’m very happy to say! It also got me thinking of something I haven’t shared in a while…
Some of you know, my beautiful ’69 Fury once belonged to my wonderful granddad. He gave the car to my father in 1976 when his car was stolen. In 1979, the transmission & rear end were going out, & he didn’t want the expense of replacing them both. My father sold the car to a local junkyard instead. I was only 8, & still remember the day this happened. My mother followed him in her car to the junkyard. He talked with the guy there briefly, & gave him the keys. Then he got into my mother’s car & we drove off to pick up his next car from the dealer. I remember staring out the window, watching the Fury get smaller & smaller in the distance. I’ve always loved cars, & for some reason, that one in particular, so it made me sad. My father even gave me a spare set of keys that I kept for years.. possibly they’re still in my parents’ house, I don’t know.
Anyway in 2005, my husband & I went to a local flea market. After parking, as we crossed the parking area, we saw this gorgeous green 1969 Fury! I was excited & told him it looked just like my father’s & granddad’s! My husband said, “Why don’t you leave a note on the car? Maybe the owner wants to sell.” On a whim, I did. A couple of days later, the owner called me & said he was considering selling the car for about 2 weeks. He sold me this beautiful car.
Shortly after, my father came by my house. He looked at the car & said, “This is my car! I remember this bit of silicone on the windshield trim.. I never could get rid of that. There’s that dent in the back bumper where a guy on a motorcycle rear ended me!” I thought that is impossible. His car had to be crushed years ago. Still, it’s very interesting…the same exact dent in the bumper? Silicone on the chrome in the same place? And, come to think of it, the keys the seller gave me said “Taylor” on them like my father’s keys did. They weren’t the original Plymouth keys, but copies. It got him & I both thinking.
After going home, my father called me. He found the maintenance records he had for his cars. Although he got rid of the ones for his Fury, he still had the VIN that he wrote down when he had the car during the latter part of the 1970’s. I compared it to the VIN on my car. It was an exact match!!! I was the proud owner not of a twin to my father & granddad’s car as I expected, but their exact car! Check this out.. the above VIN is what my father wrote down in the 1970’s. The bottom is the VIN off my car that I wrote down…
I know a lot of people who read my work probably aren’t car buffs like I am. But, I do believe many of you can appreciate this story anyway. This amazing car is such a wonderful display of God’s kindness & love! Getting this beautiful car is not something I ever expected to happen. It never even crossed my mind. It crossed God’s though. He was working on this back in 1979 apparently. The guy at the junkyard easily could have simply crushed the car, but he didn’t. He repaired the transmission & rear end. In fact, in 1990 I remember seeing the car at a traffic light, & wondering if that was the same car I had known. Apparently one former owner also had engine work done, so the engine is in fantastic shape. The car was also painted & the interior reupholstered. I not only got the same car, I got the same car in great condition!
If God could orchestrate all of this just to get this car to me & in such great shape, I think that is proof of how incredible He is! I mean, this plan was in place for 26 years, & all just because I always loved this car. Isn’t that mind blowing?! And, the Bible says in Acts 10:34 that God doesn’t show partiality, so this means if He can do something so amazing for me, He can do something amazing for you, too. xoxo
Narcissists abuse their victims in many ways – emotionally, mentally, financially, physically & sexually. Some also abuse their victims spiritually.
Spiritual abusers aren’t only those who are preachers, deacons or others who are active in their church. Anyone can be a spiritual abuser. When my mother’s abuse peaked when I was in my late teens, she became very spiritually abusive. She frequently told me that I was going to hell for the terrible way I treated her. She never was active in a church or taught me anything about God. In fact, she always said she hated Christians.
If you’re wondering if the narcissist in your life is abusing you spiritually, there are some signs to look for.
- Twisting Scripture around or eliminating parts of it to suit their agenda is a big red flag. A narcissistic parent who tells their child the commandment says to honor your parents, yet never considers where the Bible says parents shouldn’t exasperate their children is guilty of this behavior, as is the narcissistic husband who says wives should submit to their husbands while conveniently forgetting the rest of the verse says husband should also submit to their wives.
- Narcissists also may lie to the victim, saying they are doing God’s will by abusing the victim. This can do a tremendous amount of damage to a victim. It can turn someone against God, or destroy their faith in Him. I did not believe in God as a child, since I had no real teaching about Him, but my mother using Him as a weapon to hurt me made sure I didn’t want to know anything about Him either.
- Someone who reminds victims of the imperfection of human nature as an excuse to abuse is being spiritually abusive.
- Claiming a victim shouldn’t get angry because it’s not Godly is spiritually abusive.
- Anyone who tells a victim to “forgive & forget” the abuse, to stay with an abuser no matter what or gets angry when a victim gives an abuser consequences is being spiritually abusive.
- Some narcissists are quite active in their church, making themselves very valuable to the church with their service. They will recruit enablers who are also in the church, so when their victim speaks out, they shun the victim. The logic is something like, “He couldn’t be like she says! Look at all of the good things he does for our church!”
- They also may tell people that the “good” people at church are disappointed in the victim for behaving so badly, whether or not this is true. This can leave a victim feeling unable to reach out for support.
Coping with spiritual abuse isn’t easy, but it can be done.
- Do you know Jesus as your personal savior? If not, I really suggest you turn to Him now because you truly need help! There is information available on my website at this link: Salvation Through Jesus Christ.
- Learn what the Bible has to say. Use an easy to understand translation like the Good News or New King James version. The more you learn & the closer you draw to God, the more truth you will see & the more you will see the narcissist has been lying to you.
- Question things the narcissist says to you. Not necessarily out loud, but to yourself at least. “How does this coincide with the Bible?” “Is there Scripture that backs up what he/she is saying?”
- Pray. Pray often & pray a lot. Ask God to show you the truth & to give you clarity. While God is holy, He is also a very loving & gentle Father. He will guide, teach & even correct you while never making you feel badly about yourself.
- Do you have good Christian friends? If not, it’s time to find some! If you know someone who has been a Christian for a while, & is actively trying to be a good example of their faith, this person can help you to keep focused on the truth. If the narcissist prevents you from having friends (as so many do), see what you can find online. There are many online forums & groups. You can find friends there that the narcissist doesn’t know about.
- Never forget that your Heavenly Father loves you a great deal. He does NOT want you suffering & miserable. He does NOT condone abuse nor does He want victims to suffer in silence. Speak out & protect yourself.
Have you ever noticed sometimes that the more your relationship with God improves, the more bad things seem to come your way? Suddenly it seems like everything is going wrong, & the things that are going wrong are big challenges. If only they were simple ones like having a flat tire.
This is because the closer you get to God, the more the devil hates you & wants to steal your peace & joy.
I have seen this in my own life recently. A couple of weeks ago, I spent a good part of my day in tears & praying about a big problem happening in my life. That afternoon, one of my wonderful, Godly friends texted me. She reminded me that with God, all things are possible & that He loves me. The amazing part of this is that I didn’t tell her anything that was happening until after she sent me the text & I explained why this meant so much to me that she did that. This incident caused my faith in God to grow by leaps & bounds. Since then, I’ve been experiencing more nightmares & flashbacks than usual which causes my health to be worse, my husband & I have been getting along worse & even my cats have been fussing with each other a lot which is highly unusual for them.
If things are suddenly going badly in your life, this may be why. Did you have some sort of spiritual breakthrough recently? Are you feeling closer to God than usual due to an answered prayer or display of His favor & love? That may be why things suddenly took a turn for the worse in your life.
During these trying times, I’ve learned that as hard as they are, there can still be peace. On the outside, nothing has really changed in my life at all. Things are still challenging. However, I know beyond any doubt that God is still in control. He still loves me, He still has my back. Even during the bad times, He is still with me.
That goes for you too, Dear Reader. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, & it seems like God is a million miles away, He’s still with you & taking care of you. And, the only reason things are going badly at the moment is the devil is mad that you’re closer to God. He’s trying to destroy your faith, to make you think things like, “If this is what happens when I get close to God, I’m done believing in Him!” Don’t give him what he wants! Stick even closer to God! It makes a big difference! Maybe not in your circumstances immediately, but you’ll be better able to handle the bad things, you’ll have more peace & less anxiety & depression. One thing that helps me too, is to remember Psalm 23:4
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.” (NKJV)
I have found these Scriptures to be comforting & helpful as well…
Psalm 33:8 “Let all the earth fear the Lord; Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him.” (NKJV)
Psalm 33:18 “Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him, On those who hope in His mercy, ” (NKJV)
Proverbs 8:13 “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate.” (NKJV)
Remember, you are NOT alone, Dear Reader! God is in your corner with you, no matter what. xoxo
I have friends who follow the Pagan religion. Naturally, they follow Pagan pages on Facebook. Often they share things that inspire them or that they like. It’s not often “join our religion, it’s awesome!!” type posts. In fact, that is rare. 99% of the time what they share are stunning nature themed pictures. A white owl, baby foxes playing, a pretty path in the woods, a wildflower meadow, a starry night… beautiful scenes.
It just crossed my mind that the Christian pages I follow don’t share such images. They share lovely & inspiring things, of course, but I haven’t seen anything like what the Pagan pages share- simple beauty in nature.
I understand that Paganism has entirely different fundamental beliefs than Christianity. That’s why I’m Christian & not Pagan- Christian beliefs make sense to me, Pagan ones don’t. That being said though, there is one thing that I think Christians need to learn from Pagans. They appreciate & respect nature. They enjoy its beauty & what it has to offer. They understand that herbs & plants have healing properties & use them. (True, they can be used for spells & such, too, but simply to enjoy the healing benefits, there isn’t any magic involved.)
Why don’t more Christians do that same thing? I mean, we obviously believe God created everything- why don’t more Christians take the time to appreciate what God has created? Why aren’t more Christians concerned with animal abuse? And, why do so many object to herbal remedies when they are often much safer & more effective than pharmaceuticals?
It’s sad to me how few Christians think that way. I actually unfollowed one Christian page on Facebook some time ago because so many said terrible things about animals- how stupid they are, we don’t need them, “the only way I like animals is barbecued” & other awful things. And, those who professed to love animals were mocked & shamed.
Personally I don’t see anything at all wrong with appreciating & respecting nature. I love staring at the sky on a clear, starry night. A full moon is also one of my favorite sights, as is the colors of changing leaves in the fall. I also love the sounds of a thunder storm or quiet beauty of a blizzard. Obviously, I love animals- I brag about mine plenty! lol I also use valerian root capsules & lemon balm for anxiety & St. John’s Wort capsules for depression rather than prescription medications, & have mentioned that in several of my books.
Doing such things hasn’t compromised my faith in God one bit. In fact, it makes me feel closer to God when I stare in awe at the moon & stars. Taking in the beauty of nature helps keep me grounded, calms my anxiety & makes me very grateful for the wonders around me. Being close to my furkids makes me grateful that He has seen fit to bless me with these adorable critters. They bring me an incredible amount of joy. I’m also grateful for the natural remedies to help my mental health, especially knowing I don’t run the risk of awful side effects so many prescription anti-anxiety & anti-depression meds have.
Dear Reader, I hope if you haven’t considered these things before, you will now. God made the Earth & everything in it (Psalm 24:1). What could possibly be wrong with using & appreciating the beautiful, useful things He has made, even thanking Him for them?
I recently read about a term called spiritual bypassing. It was coined by a psychologist named John Welwood in the 1980’s. The term is used to describe when a person uses their religious beliefs to avoid dealing with uncomfortable things, healing old wounds & meeting important psychological needs.
While the term applies to all religions, I thought of it as to how it relates to Christianity since I’m not overly familiar with most other religions & most of my readers are also Christians.
Also, please know that I’m not trying to judge anyone. I’ve been guilty of doing some of these things myself.
Becoming very active in church activities. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being active in your church, but when you spend more time at church than with your family, something is wrong. It needs to be done in balance. Otherwise, resentments can build & trouble starts in your relationships. You may even develop a superior attitude because you participate so much in your church.
Judging people for being angry or hurt. The Bible says we shouldn’t let the sun go down on our anger. Jesus said we are to forgive those who trespass against us in the Lord’s prayer. Seems obvious to me that we’re going to feel angry or hurt sometimes, otherwise the need to forgive wouldn’t be mentioned in the Bible. Remember, there is nothing wrong with anger or hurt. They are God-given emotions that tell us when something isn’t right. It’s what we do with the emotions that can be wrong.
Ignoring your own anger or hurt in favor of saying you forgive that person. Maybe you think it makes you holy to claim forgiveness rather than facing your negative emotions, but it only sets you up for problems. Emotions demand to be heard, especially the strong ones like anger. If you ignore them, they will find another way to be heard, & most likely, not such a good way.
Being too positive. So many people in the world emphasize the importance of thinking positively. Positive confessions are stressed as very important. People are criticized for “being too negative” if they admit they are struggling or hurting. In fact, people can be downright shamed for discussing abuse since it’s so “negative”. I’ve been told I need to “get over my childhood hurts” for example, which at the time, was extremely painful to hear. I felt ashamed. I felt like I was making too big of a deal out of being abused. I felt like a bad Christian for not just forgiving & forgetting. The truth is though, that when I tried to be positive, not talk or think about what I’ve gone through, & to “forgive & forget,” I was miserable. Now that I’m open with my experiences, & facing things head on, I’m not so miserable. I started using good boundaries. I’ve gotten a more balanced view of my situation- bad things happened to me. Horrible things, really, but God brought me through them & is helping me to heal. He’s also helping me to write about my experiences to help others which I love doing. I can’t honestly say I’m grateful for my bad experiences, but I’m grateful good has come from them.
Claiming to be happy 100% of the time. Yes, in God’s presence is fullness of joy, according to the Psalms. Yes, Jesus told us to “be of good cheer.” However, no one is above feeling bad sometimes. It’s not a sin to feel sad, scared, hurt or angry. They are natural reactions to abnormal circumstances. Jesus wasn’t exactly happy in the Garden of Gethsemane now was He? Or, when He flipped over the vendors’ tables in the church. He also got frustrated with the apostles & their lack of faith. Even Jesus wasn’t above feeling emotions other than joy.
Trying to be perfect all of the time. People are NOT perfect! If we were, we wouldn’t need Jesus now would we? ’nuff said!
Seeing the best in people. I have given up looking for the best in people, & instead, look for the real in people. If you only see the best, you can set yourself up to be taken advantage of or victimized in some way, because you’d feel guilty for being negative or judgmental. It just makes sense to be realistic about people. There is nothing wrong with that! Jesus basically told His apostles the same thing. Matthew 10:16 says, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” (KJV)
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
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.
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.
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! 🙂
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.
Good morning, Dear Readers!
Do you pray for those in a position of authority, such as your boss, pastor, or even the president of the United States? It is a very good idea to do so! So many people believe that leaders have it all together, when the truth is, leaders are mere humans just like everyone else. They need prayer as much as anyone, if not more so.
Along those lines, I would like to ask a favor of you today. Would you pray for me? Please pray that I have wisdom, discernment & hear God’s voice clearly. I get emails often from people who have suffered some type of abuse, & are looking for answers. Because of my website, many think I have a lot of answers & wisdom, & they look to me for help. I appreciate that, however, I am very aware that these people are vulnerable. I remember Joyce Meyer saying God once told her that however many people she can help, is the same as the number she can hurt. I realize I am in that same position as she is. I never want to hurt people, only help them. So I come to you today, humbly asking you pray with me that I am able to do just that. And, I know because of having C-PTSD, I also need to become better at taking care of myself, so these requests for help don’t overwhelm me- please pray with me in that area as well. Thank you!!
When I first started writing, I thought then that God would enable me to write books that could help people, plus many fiction books for fun. I’ve only written two fiction books to date, & am stumbling through a third. It appears that at least at this point in my life, God wants me to help others who have survived being abused. This is a very intimidating thing for me, but also enjoyable. There is no feeling as good as knowing you have helped another. It isn’t something I take lightly by any means, however.
If you contact me for help or advice, then please know I will do my best to help you, & will be praying for you.
With much love to you,
Yesterday, I had another flashback. I remembered being in my late teens, & my mother screaming at me because (her words here), “You only care about the underdog! You just want to help them!” as if this is a bad thing. Usually when these flashbacks happen, I come out of it in or near tears. Not this time though- I was absolutely LIVID. How dare my own mother scream at me so much! How dare she scream at me for being a good person! & besides, she groomed me to take care of others & ignore myself- she was screaming at me for being how she made me to be! HOW DARE SHE!
This anger set off an interesting train of thought.. time for me to make some changes!
If you too have been around a narcissist, whether raised by one or in a relationship with one, you know that they want you to be what THEY want you to be, not what you want to be or the person that God made you to be. You carry this “I have to change to please you” mindset into other relationships, like it or not, & often without even realizing it. I have done this. Not only did I become the person I thought my mother wanted me to be as a child, as an adult, I tried to become the wife I thought my husband wanted me to be. As a result, I lost myself somewhere along the way. In fact, an old friend of mine once scolded me, saying I had become “Eric’s wife” instead of “Cynthia.” Yes, he was right, much as I hate to admit that! Since that friend opened my eyes about six years ago, I have been trying to get myself back, but with very little luck. I had all but given up until yesterday.
Oddly, the anger I felt after that flashback gave me quite a kick in the butt to get myself back. I got angry not only at my mother for screaming at me so much as a child, but for trying to destroy the person God made me to be. I also got angry at others in my life who have tried so hard to change me into someone I’m not. God made everyone the way we are for a reason! Every single person has a purpose! No one has the right to destroy your personhood, to destroy what God has made! I decided it’s time to get that person I lost back, & started to think of ways to accomplish this. I hope these ideas help you, too!
- God will tell you who He made you to be- so ask Him. Not only the things you are to accomplish in life, but also He will tell you about your personality. Ask Him! I have done this, & God gave me an interesting answer. He told me to look up the personality traits of the wolf- they are like who He created me to be. Do you know something? I learned they are fascinating animals! They are highly intelligent, gentle, devoted, loving, confident, non-violent personalities & will do much to avoid conflict, yet won’t back down when it is necessary. That is what God sees when He sees me! I believe He used wolves because He knows I love animals so much, including the husky/wolf dog I had who I was so close to. God will speak to you in a way that speaks the clearest to you, too. Why don’t you ask God to tell you who He made you to be?
- Realize, really have a firm grasp on the fact that you are valuable. You are just as valuable as any other person. In spite of what you have been taught, you have a purpose & value. And treat yourself accordingly! Do nice gestures for yourself, not just other people- it will help you see yourself as valuable. I started last night by pampering myself some. I make my own beauty products, but I don’t use them as often as I should. I decided heck with that last night! I exfoliated my skin, head to toe, then used a wonderful moisturizer I make after so my skin felt like silk. I also gave myself a manicure & pedicure. I relaxed for the evening- watching tv, playing Tetris on my tablet, & talking to the hubby.
- Do things that make you feel good. Do you have a hobby you enjoy yet have abandoned? Get back at it! Try drawing, painting, writing poetry, cross stitching, knitting or whatever you have done again. If you never really had a hobby, find one. Try something you have always wanted to try. You can learn how to do about anything online! Indulging in something other than things that are necessary (work, caring for your kids or elderly parents, etc) is very healthy- it helps you to relax & have a clear focus. It also helps you to feel pampered & loved. Everyone needs loving gestures, especially from themselves.
- Get angry! I know, as a Christian, that can feel very awkward, especially if you were raised with a narcissistic parent who didn’t allow you to express any negative emotions. However anger does have a purpose- it motivates change. And, remember, Jesus got angry, too. Remember him overturning the tables of the money changers? (Matthew 21:12-13). While anger can be dangerous, & forgiveness is absolutely vital to having peace with God, our fellow man & ourselves, that doesn’t mean anger can’t be used as a tool sometimes. Ephesians 4:26 says we can be angry, but do not sin in that anger. Using that anger to motivate chance isn’t a sin- in fact, that is a good thing! And I have learned when doing this that once you forgive, the motivation to change is still there.
- Stop listening to other people when they try to change you, no matter who it is! Admittedly, this is difficult if it’s something you have been doing your whole life, or if the person is someone close to you such as a spouse or parent. But remember- if someone wants to change you, it says they have the problem, not you. Normal, healthy people want what is best for other people, not to change them into someone they aren’t.
And please always remember- just because someone didn’t appreciate the person you are doesn’t mean they are right. You are special because God made you to be! Deuteronomy 14:2 says, “For you are a holy people [set apart] to the Lord your God; and the Lord has chosen you to be a peculiar people to Himself, above all the nations on the earth.” (AMP) God loves you & made you perfectly!
Have you read this??
If not, I’ll summarize this for you- a couple of evangelists say that you can pray away PTSD, & if you live life God’s way, you won’t get PTSD in the first place. I’m sure this kind of thinking can induce a LOT of guilt & shame for many Christians who suffer with PTSD, C-PTSD or other mental illness. I know I have certainly felt something was wrong with me for having C-PTSD. I’m a Christian- why do I still suffer because of things done to me so long ago? When I was born again, didn’t I become a new creature in Christ, according to 2 Corinthians 5:17? Didn’t I have enough faith? Does this mean I’m really NOT born again like I thought I was??
While I firmly believe that God can & does deliver some people supernaturally from mental illness, I think the majority of people have to walk things out. A supernatural deliverance is great, but it doesn’t teach you much. Living through your experiences, however, will teach you plenty! If you battle depression, you may need to learn new ways to think, focusing on more positive things, & to cope when troubles come your way, such as leaning more on God than yourself to fix problems. If you battle anxiety, you may need to learn to lean on God & go to Him more often. These are things that can’t be learned through a deliverance. Also, let’s not forget the apostle Paul. God didn’t remove his “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7). Even that great man of God had something to deal with that he would rather not have had. Sometimes God would rather walk with us through a dark place than let us live in the sunny, happy places all of the time.
I also believe that having C-PTSD or PTSD doesn’t mean you aren’t a Christian. I have been a Christian since 1996, & my C-PTSD didn’t develop fully until 2012. It wasn’t because I was distant from God at that time. It was because a lot of damage has been done to me in my life. I have forgiven my abusers, but even that didn’t heal the damage. I think of it like this- if someone drops a gallon of paint on your foot, you can forgive them the moment it happens. But, you’ll still have a broken foot to deal with, no matter what your religious views are. That is what C-PTSD is like.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking God to heal you of your mental illness. However, He may have plans to use it to bless others & even you, so you may not be delivered. As much as I dislike living with the forgetfulness, nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, depression & agoraphobia, sometimes I count C-PTSD as a blessing, because it has enabled me to help others who live with it, or who survived narcissistic abuse as I have. There is no greater feeling than helping others!
Good afternoon, Dear Readers!
I need to rant a little today..
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard things like, “That’s your MOTHER! She’s the only one you’ll ever have!” or, “She won’t be around forever!” or other unasked for advice in telling me what *I* need to do to improve the abusive relationship between my mother & I.
Is it just me? I’m going to go out on a limb here & guess it isn’t just me..
Isn’t it infuriating, feeling like all of the responsibility of a relationship is on you?! Oh my word!!! I flippin’ hate that! Relationships are a two way street. There is a lot of give & take. It doesn’t matter if that relationship is parent/child, family, friendship or romantic. All relationships are give & take. There is nowhere in the Bible that says children must tolerate abuse from their parents. The only verse I’ve found says that children should honor their parents, & no where does the word honor equal being a punching bag or doormat or recipient of abuse. It simply means giving your parents their due respect for giving you life. Period. For further information on this topic, I have written some free ebooks on the topics. Simply click this link for access to them.
Good morning, Dear Readers!
The other day, I was talking to someone about having C-PTSD. She is a very nice Christian lady who I like a great deal. Unfortunately, the conversation didn’t go very well. She said some things that really bothered me that showed me she doesn’t understand trauma & its effects on the brain. She said don’t I understand my mother has a sinful nature & doesn’t realize what she is doing? Yes, I do understand that, but I disagree- many times I can assure you, she knows exactly what she is doing when she hurts me. And she also said God can heal me- I just need to pray. As if that thought never crossed my mind…
I’ve been thinking about this conversation, & while listening to Bishop T.D. Jakes preach this morning, something occurred to me. The bishop was speaking about the apostle Paul, a great man of God. He wrote most of the New Testament, in fact. Brilliant & devoted to God. Yet, he had what he described as “a thorn in the flesh” that God would not remove from his life. Here are the verses from the Amplified Bible.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9
7 And to keep me from being puffed up and too much elated by the exceeding greatness (preeminence) of these revelations, there was given me a thorn ([a]a splinter) in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to rack and buffet and harass me, to keep me from being excessively exalted.
8 Three times I called upon the Lord and besought [Him] about this and begged that it might depart from me;
9 But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and [b]show themselves most effective in [your] weakness. Therefore, I will all the more gladly glory in my weaknesses and infirmities, that the strength and power of Christ (the Messiah) may rest (yes, may [c]pitch a tent over and dwell) upon me!”
I don’t know what Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” was, as it is never mentioned in detail. However, I believe C-PTSD can be described the same way. (Most times, it’s more like an entire sticker bush.. lol) I have become aware that during times when I have flashbacks or anxiety or depression are threatening to overwhelm me, I can feel the gentle presence of God comforting me. When I get frustrated with the fact my short term memory isn’t what it used to be, or I can’t sleep well, God always sends something to let me know all is ok. Like today for example. As I mentioned, I’ve been thinking a lot about the conversation I had with that lady a few days ago. I started wondering if there is something wrong with me for having this disorder. I mean, I haven’t been in a war zone like so many soldiers who have PTSD. It’s so understandable that they have it! Instead, I went through mostly psychological abuse. Now as an adult, I know what I was told about myself isn’t true, & I understand manipulation so I don’t fall for it. So why do I have C-PTSD? This morning, I got on facebook to find one C-PTSD page posting about how it’s immature Christians who think we can just pray & “get over it.” Then later, I turn on the tv to watch Bishop Jakes preach & he discusses the apostle Paul, & how God used him greatly in spite of his “thorn in the flesh” that God wouldn’t remove. God showed me through these things that I’m ok! In fact, I know He uses me, C-PTSD & all. People tell me often how something I have done, said or written has helped them.
I’m not saying don’t pray about your illness, or God doesn’t care. He cares a great deal, & wants to help you. Lean on Him. He will help you! But, you have to do your part too! You have to work on your healing & manage your triggers & stressors. He can’t do that for you. You do your part, & trust God with the rest. Hopefully, you will receive a complete healing. But, if you don’t, God’s grace is sufficient for you. He will help you to accomplish whatever you need to do.
Don’t let people make you feel guilty or ashamed or even useless just because you have C-PTSD or any mental disorder. You have done nothing wrong to have this problem! God can still use you to be a productive member of society & a blessing to anyone. If you have any doubts about it, remember the apostle Paul- remember, he was killing Christians when God called him to be an apostle! He was a murderer, & he had that thorn in the flesh, yet God used to him to bring the Gospel to countless people, & to write the bulk of the New Testament! If He could do that with Paul, what makes you think you are so messed up, He can’t use you??
Good morning, Dear Readers!
My husband & I were discussing something last night & I thought I’d share it here with you..
Have you ever noticed how many people talk about being completely set free from the effects of being abused? I find this VERY discouraging even though it supposed to be just the opposite. For one thing, it makes me feel like something is wrong with me for not being delivered. (Do I not have enough faith? What’s wrong with me that God won’t deliver me?)
For another thing, while I know God is certainly well able to make that happen, I don’t believe that is the norm. There are so many people who have survived abuse, & they need to know that they are not alone. They also need to be aware of what can happen as a result of being abused, & what to do to heal their suffering. They need to know what God can & will do if they entrust Him with their healing. Especially those who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord & Savior. Those people in particular need hope, & to understand that God loves them & wants to help them.
I’ve also found people respond to those who are real. People respond to people who admit to their flaws & problems, rather than acting as if they have no such things. It’s encouraging- it tells people they aren’t the only one who battles depression or was sexually abused or whatever.
This is why I try to keep everything authentic with my writing. I want to encourage & help others, as well as let them know they are not the only ones who have suffered the ways I have. It isn’t easy being open about such personal things, but it is well worth it whenever someone tells me I have encouraged them or taught them ways to cope. 🙂
Hello, Dear Readers! I just wanted to let you know that my latest book, “You Are Not Alone!” (for adult daughters of abusive/dysfunctional mothers) is now available in paperback on amazon!
And, it is available on smashwords if you prefer an ebook version..
The last week or so have been over the top negative & stressful to me. As a result, I’ve had many panic attacks, haven’t slept much lately, had nightmares, etc etc..
Today, while my husband is out, I decided to relax & have some “me” time. I sent prayer requests to a few Christian websites. I then cranked up a folder of music on my mp3 player that I have titled “Songs That Make Me Happy.” Yes, I listen to the same tunes over & over, but well, they make me happy! I also took a nice, warm, relaxing shower followed by exfoliating my skin & applying a yummy lavender scented lotion. The entire time, I prayed.
No, it wasn’t an expensive or elaborate afternoon, but it made me feel better. MUCH better.
Partly why it made me feel better is the music. I am not a fan of Christian or gospel music. I have nothing against it- just for some odd reason, it seldom “speaks” to me. The cool part of that? God still speaks to me through my taste in music. Today, one of the songs I listened to was “That’s How They Do It In Dixie” by Hank Williams, Jr. Listening to the song reminded me how I have lost myself & need to get back in touch with that Southern gal that lives inside me. She is my true self- kinda rebellious, but a lady who while feminine will fight for what is right. Another song was “455 Rocket”- about a gal with an Oldsmobile with a 455 cubic inch engine in it. I happen to have one of those! She raced hers, & I raced mine many times too (much to the dismay of the other guy! lol). It felt good remembering that. I also am listening to several songs from the 80’s (when I was a teen) that remind me of when I was 19 in 1990 & had just moved out on my own for the first time. It was the one time in my life I was actually able to be who I truly am- living my life on my own terms, not others’ terms.
I’ve been “scolded” many times for not listening to more Christian music, but truth be told, I’m fine NOT listening to it. God still speaks to me. We’re still close. Honestly.. if He was upset by this, I think He would have let me know it by now. I just want those of you reading this now to know that God loves you & will relate to you however works. He isn’t critical of that! He invented all music (not just gospel & Christian songs), movies, books.. He will meet you where you are & loves you so much!