Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Church Isn't For Saints But For Sinners


Do you go to church?

We know that today people in the church are leaving in near droves and with that decision also leaving behind more and more empty pews than ever before. Some folks jump up and down with outrage and upset yelling that those people need to "get over it" and realize if they aren't happy with church then that is their problem, they need to look inward… that they are perhaps expecting something out of church instead of walking in with the intent to give… then there are the folks who point fingers at the church and state it's hypocritical, it's political, it's this or that. Both sides may certainly have valid points and more than likely in many cases the views of both apply.

I was baptized as a baby and attended a Presbyterian church for Sunday service and pre-school. My parents actually taught the Sunday school class for three year olds… which to me is so incredibly odd considering we never read the bible growing up, prayer was non-existent, and Jesus was never spoken of. Their teaching Sunday school lasted one year… my dad chose to quit the church after he discovered that the woman from the church making home visitations to my grandfather stole the handmade dolls my late grandmother had made. These dolls were valuable and naturally had sentimental value as well. Upon learning of what had happened my dad and grandmother made a visit to the church and told the minister what had happened. He wouldn't help them, wouldn't intervene on their behalf and the woman wouldn't return the dolls so my parents stopped attending church. My grandparents only attended on Easter and Christmas. Years went by… I was probably in fifth grade and my family found another church to attend… a Methodist church. It was awkward and strained going to church service… we didn't go every Sunday but sporadically and yet it never felt natural. My dad always seemed angry, my mother weepy and no one talked… it was like walking to the guillotine… going in and then returning to the car… it was robotic like we just went through the motions… no one spoke and voiced their favorite hymn, no one talked about the sermon, no one chatted excitedly about their faith, about Jesus and their love for him or what verse spoke to them. It was uncomfortably silent. That eventually fizzled out and we stopped going there as well. Years later I married a man who didn't go to church but had a life application bible… unfortunately I didn't even recognize the fact he was not applying it and being the sheltered naive young nineteen year old I was I fell for him hook, line and sinker. Hindsight is always a clear 20/20. I believed in Jesus but I didn't follow him either… I didn't know him. I didn't even really know anything about him nor did I believe for a minute God loved me.

It was after my sister at the age of twenty-two in 2008 passed away due to a drunk driver that my desire for a relationship with Christ seeded and began growing. That horrific loss was the defining moment that brought me to God and wanting a relationship with him, to know him and realizing his love for me. I began watching Joyce Meyer nightly, (some people have issue with Joyce Meyer due to the prosperity gospel which I've done a post on you can read here; I started with her sermons then discovered Tony Evans and Andy Stanley) I began praying and repenting, reading my bible, devotionals, anything I could get my hands on, I read it. I joined a church with my husband and children. I have found that this path of following Jesus is hard and hard isn't even really an adequate word to use… because frankly, I mess it up, a whole lot. Maybe you do too. In the midst of "oops, oh, man, I didn't handle that right…" or  "gee, THAT was embarrassing… " I have learned there is a huge difference between conviction/healthy guilt and then the false guilt we beat ourselves up with or worse the dreadful shame the devil happily serves you up that just makes you want to disappear into the floor, that makes you believe that you just aren't cut out for following Jesus, that you're not doing good enough...

Jesus died for our sins, our debts are already paid, 
we don't have to earn his love
We want to delight in following him because we love him so much

but THAT is where grace comes in, thank goodness. Grace for ourselves and others. We are all on a path of learning here…learning the lessons in the bible and how to apply what we've learned to real life… and that is the hard stuff. We miss the mark, we may question what to do, we say the wrong thing, were impatient, were impulsive, we react instead of respond, we struggle, we are not a neat and tidy package, we are so incredibly messy… as we read his word and love him more we will change more, closer to his image… delighting in following him.

I believe we want a church that reflects we are real people. We are not drones or robots or programmed to fit into a certain look or group… we are a mix of sweaters and pearl, tattoos and rough, a culmination of liberal and conservative, we are the square peg in the round hole wanting to be chiseled, we are not perfection on a silver platter nor are we strolling into church with clean pasts… we want to be able to walk into a church if we sold our bodies for money to buy food to eat without looks of condemnation, we want to enter church with humble repentance that we committed infidelity but a delighted heart to serve Jesus, we want to be able to walk into church to open arms if we lived a past we aren't particularly proud of and want a start fresh, we want to be able to pour our hearts out to our Pastor without appraising looks of "please keep that to yourself"…. we want to enter a sanctuary without whispers because the church believes we belong there out of love not of the superior thinking: "it's about time you got here, you need it, alright"… we are the folks with bandaged hearts, we are filled with regrets and past hurts… yet in that same hurt we are undeniably over comers (!)… we are a beautiful, yes beautiful mix of damage and guarded wounds with strength and love shining through… we are possibly someone who at one time didn't believe had a need for Jesus, didn't care to know him and filled their life with everything but him… who have been knee deep in sin but now want to love Jesus with their whole heart, to love the outcasts, the downtrodden and homeless, who want to help those who are hanging by their last thread of hope… who want to give of their time and money because Jesus has blessed them… who want to love Jesus with abandon and yearn for that intimacy with him.

We want to be radical. 
And yet we maybe don't even know where to start.

We need guidance in our steps. 

We can't get there if the church is standing there telling us all the right things (or maybe not) but it's eyes are looking at us like were from Mars and need to head back there… if they don't want to hear about your depression, about your gang rape, about your abusive sociopathic spouse or your divorce… if they don't want to truly hear about the nitty gritty then yeah… you'll leave. And you don't just suffer… but the church suffers… maybe not even realizing it… but they do and not just from a lack of warm bodies in pews and tithes.

Since my divorce I left the church I'd joined… for many reasons that maybe admittedly weren't justified but I struggled in it (still do) and I believe many others have similar struggles. I now attend a different church on a semi regular basis… the bible states we are to worship with fellow believers, as Jesus Christ is the Head of the church… we are to come together, we are the sheep and are to flock together, being subject to the Good Shepherd. When we as sheep stray, when we leave the fold we become vulnerable, defenseless. Of our own accord we risk getting ourselves into a huge pickle no doubt. We as believers, followers of Christ are certainly not as effective on our own sitting at home… but we become more powerful when assembled together as a whole, a body of people to serve, pray, and praise Christ together. 

So what is the solution to people leaving the church? 
I believe it involves people and the church.  

Some of us want churches who are willing to take on the controversial, the ugly, the wretched sins of people… that's life… some of us want churches and pastors who aren't going to shy away from the real, that aren't going to say "I'm not touching that issue with a ten foot pole from the pulpit…" We don't want lip service, we don't want glossed over. A large number want churches that are going to spend more money on helping those truly in need in our communities instead of fancy new additions and buildings. We want churches who put people first. We want churches that are assembling prayer groups and ministries to help the distressed, the hungry, the poor, homeless and create or find jobs for people in need. We want churches that focus more on how to have a close relationship with Christ and applying the love he has for us out into the world in real life situations than being passively preached a warm and fuzzy feel good.  

Everyone has a different opinion for sure… 

As John Lynn points out… 
here is where he believes some of the issues arise within the church… 

Our biblical illiteracy and lack of spiritual confidence has caused Americans to avoid making discerning choices for fear of being labeled “judgmental.” The result is a Church that has become tolerant of a vast array of morally and spiritually dubious behaviors and philosophies.
This increased leniency is made possible by the very limited accountability that occurs within the Body of Christ. There are fewer and fewer issues that Christians believe churches should be dogmatic about. The idea of love has been redefined to mean the absence of conflict and confrontation, as if there are no moral absolutes that are worth fighting for.

Maybe we need to be less concerned with the songs played, the band, with the decor, the light shows, with the sermons, etc… we need to focus on what truly matters… not the superficial bells and whistles. Were not going to church to be entertained. We're not wanting to stay stagnant. Ed Stetzer gets down to what is important in how he explains that to Pastors… 

Your hearers need a clear word about exactly who God is in His character, work, and will. People have come to worship with assumptions, presuppositions, and all kinds of religious baggage that wrongly has informed their view of God’s character and what He wants from us. It is only the Word of God rightly explained that can show them the truth and confront these misunderstandings.

No matter who we are and what we've done we want to enter church mask-free and without condemnation. No matter how conservative, how old school, how old fashioned or whatever we look on the outside we all come to Christ with stains. We yearn to know his character and pursue faithfulness... we want churches to realize that yes, we want loving, grace-filled guidance... so on Sunday's when we leave church we are equipped, we can go out into the world and share the good news, the gospel and love Christ has for us... with others no matter who they are and where they've been. 

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

To My Readers: 

We are reaching the end of 2014 and I want 
to thank you for reading… I hope some of 
what I've posted has helped bring affirmation,
hope, a "me too"… even some
awareness about some incredibly 
important issues like emotional 
abuse, parental alienation, drinking 
and driving, etc. I look forward to 
the new year and my hope is 2015 is
filled with many blessings for you and yours. 

Related Posts: 

Dear Friend: A Letter Of Love To You

When You Need Peace: Turn To God

Tears: What Are You Moved By? 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Tears: What Are You Moved By?

Those close to me know I'm likely to get misty-eyed or outright bawl over anything that pulls at my heartstrings. The sentimental, nostalgic, idealistic, romantic, etc… whatever you may call it… some of us cry over even the smallest bits of endearment that cross our paths… whether it be a commercial, a quote, or a movie… there may be tears that ensue. I bawled at the end of the movie Safe Haven… big boo hoo's that required like half a box of Kleenex… I get tears every time I watch The Holiday scene with the little girls tent. My eyes wet listening to Gary Allan sing on the radio… his country songs sum up how beautifully bittersweet life can sometimes be… I shed tears when I hear of someone killed by a drunk driver on the late night news… because I know part of the hell and pain that is impending for their family.

Two years ago when I walked my old neighborhood one late afternoon I encountered an elderly man in his nineties who was raking leaves. He was a frail man with beams in his gray eyes but he was sharp as a tack. We struck up a conversation about his life… his time serving in the war, his job… and when I asked him if he was married his eyes glazed over with sweet recollection and he smiled sadly and said "She passed away three years ago." I told him I was sorry and gave him a comforting pat on his arm, noticing he still wore a gold wedding band. I commented on it and he smiled at me like a dear that he even had to explain and said "Well, yes I do… she's not here but I still love her." It began raining, I bid him goodbye as rain drops speckled my face and shoulders and I bawled the whole way home… where were men like that? In some odd sense he was like a sweet beacon of hope and promise. I sniffed as I wiped my nose like a three year old with my lightweight jacket sleeve.

I didn't have my daughter for Christmas this year so I spent the day in… catching up on things I had been wanting to do… baking brownies, watching some movies, organizing all the important papers that seem to take over in the most innocuous way and finally settling on the couch to read a book I had been wanting to read for quite some time. Maybe you have read it…

In Chapter 3 it talks about Jesus having dinner at the home of Simon the Pharisee and the prostitute that attends that dinner to see Jesus… she had no invitation extended to her but she was so determined to see Him because she realized now that God loved her and wanted to forgive her… that He would put the broken pieces of her life back together…


Picture the scene. Jesus is reclining at the table. Instead of using chairs they would lean on an elbow that was propped up by a cushion. Their feet would be away from the table. This woman approaches and stands at the filthy feet of Jesus. The table grows silent. Everybody is watching. Everybody knows who she is. What is she doing? She looks around at the guests. She feels from some that familiar glare of condemnation. Others keep their eyes down, embarrassed by her presence and the awkwardness of the moment. But when she looks at Jesus, he seems to know what has happened in her heart. He gives her a warm smile. He seems delighted that she has come, and he looks at her with the eyes of a loving father watching his beautiful daughter as she enters the room. She has never had a man look at her that way before. She is so undone by this that the tears come, just a few at first, and then more. She falls to the ground and begins to kiss his feet. Soon, the tears are just pouring down her face. They begin to drip onto the dirty feet of Jesus. As she looks at the muddy streaks she suddenly realizes that his feet haven't been washed. She can't ask for a towel, so she lets down her hair. In those days women always wore their hair up in public. For a woman to wear her hair down in front of a man that was not her husband was considered grounds for divorce. She lets her hair down in front of Jesus and there was likely an audible gasp. She begins washing the feet of Jesus with her tears and drying them with her hair.

At the end of the story Jesus says to Simon:

Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn't offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn't greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.

Luke 7:44-46 NLT

Here, then, is the question you and I have to ask ourselves:

Who am I most like in the story?

When is the last time you had a moment with Jesus like this woman in Luke 7 had? When's the last time you've poured yourself out before him? When is the last time the tears streamed down your face as you expressed your love for him? When is the last time you demonstrated your love for him with reckless abandonment?

I am not asking if you know about him, I am asking if you know him.


I read that passage and bawled.
Because it really speaks to how important Jesus is. 

I was reading Not A Fan by Kyle Idleman

The question if we know about him or know him cuts right to the point… right to the heart of our relationship or lack thereof with Jesus. So I ask you as well… are we fans or followers of Jesus? It's a good question for us to ask ourselves and reflect on. It forces us to look at the relationship we have with him (or believe we have with him) with fresh eyes and close scrutiny. It has made me re-evaluate with close analysis. If you haven't read this book, it is a must read… Kyle is someone who tells it like it is… his writing is infused with humor yet sobering reflection and honesty.

I want to be moved by life… not embarrassed by it having a tender affect on me. I want to know that the enormity of having a relationship with Jesus, him wanting that relationship, his dying for my sins brings tears to my eyes, that it moves me… because if anything in this world should move me to tears, to a stirring, to action, to gratitude and praise... it is Him.

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

Related Posts:

Jesus Break My Heart For What Breaks Yours

Once Down In The Gutter & Called A Whore
 But Came To Know Jesus Died For Me & You

Thursday, December 25, 2014

"Follow Your Heart" Is Bad Advice

Years ago I bought a black and white print that says "Follow Your Heart" and in it's sleek contemporary black frame and shiny glass I hung it in my bathroom by my sink.

That print now sits gathering dust in a closet. It's funny and bewildering how our perspective can change over time and maybe what we at one time thought was a viable even valid quote now rings as empty to our ears and not bearing fruit. When I overhear women discussing whether to stay in a relationship or not and one of them advises "Follow your heart…" I cringe.

Twenty years ago I myself would have naively and erroneously thought "Oh, how sweet. So true." But now… not so much. What about weighing patterns, observing actions, determining maturity, compatibility and partnership and if you actually like, admire and respect a person? What about determining whether they are a follower of Christ and their life reflects it? Aren't those all oh so importantly vital? Follow your heart wears out, follow your heart means fickle and changing like the wind… because follow your heart means relying on emotions and if my emotion is swell right now… what's not to like? Full speed ahead with following my heart (!)… until one day I wake up and look over at this person and realize I settled for what I wanted right then instead of holding out for who was best suited long term… <gasp>, maybe what God wanted. It's risky following your heart as it leads to loss and heartache, not fruit and life.

I wish I could go 
back and tell 
my twenty-something self 
all this but it's too late. 
I believe one of the worst things 
we can ever utter to a teenager 
or twenty something year old young woman
 or man is: 
"Follow Your Heart." 

If we look to the short term like following our heart we can incur unfinished results, maybe even devastating outcomes… we get bored with of-the-moment-hobbies, we get lazy with projects, we become disengaged. But following what is important to us? Or who is important to us? Meaning following Christ? Following something worthwhile that will bring positive longterm change to one person or to many? Doing something with passionate joy that will bring glory to God? He and those are what matter and are for the long-haul.

Following our heart means: 
this feels great, what the heck, let's just go with it, YAY!

Following our heart when it comes to love can lead us astray and into a terrible mess. Following our heart can lead to choosing spouses and marriages that aren't really right for us… leading to divorce, broken families and disarray. Post divorce we all perhaps feel a bit banged up, some more than others… hindsight may be 20/20 and part of us may really want to find someone special at some point… but that as we all know can bring many challenges. Men and women may both take one path post divorce that entails swearing off the opposite sex, deciding it's just not worth the effort and the risk of getting burned again… or they may go the opposite direction… and jump in the deep end, following their heart again… and like some sort of chaotic bumper car recklessly bounce off from one relationship to the next trying to "make something work." Or maybe they step out with caution not really sure what to do… comparable to attempting to finding their footing on uneven land.

I dipped my own toes in a wee bit by signing up for a few dating sites post divorce and some of the mere messages I received on them left me hanging up my subscription about as quick as I signed up. One of the messages I received was from a guy stating he was looking for a princess to live in the castle of happily ever after with him. For a moment I wondered if he mistakenly thought he was on a site that recruits characters for Disney but came to the conclusion that wasn't the case.

"Princess" Defined by Urban Dictionary is:
a girl who has been sheltered, spoiled and pampered

That definition also eerily resembles an odd hostage situation
that takes place in a hair and nail salon to me

Are Disney movies and fairy tales closely linked to telling girls it's okay to follow their heart? Belle fell in love with a beast, Jasmine married a thief, Ariel physically changed for love. What are these messages sending our girls? And to boys? That both sexes will accept anything?

 "We have to declare 
a princess-free zone. 
No tiaras, no Girl's Gone Wild,
no pretending we can't carry things. 
No fairy tales, no waiting around
 to be rescued and absolutely
 no playing dumb."
 - Shauna Niequist 

Applause and Amen to all that.

"As women God doesn't want us to follow our heart on some whim because it feels good, or it gets us hot and bothered in all the right/wrong places or use our female body parts as some sort of super power wielding weapons of sorts… nor sit passively with pampered entitlement under a crown…
but to stand up straight and tall in modest fashion and strive to be the strong, charitable, kind, hardworking and spirited women He made us to be."
- gps grace power strength blog 

Just the other day while shopping I rearranged the Barbies at my local Target, giving Detective Barbie, Soccer Barbie and Chef Barbie primo real estate on the shelf and tossing Princess Barbie to the back. Back in the 70's or 80's growing up Mattel had a commercial that sang "We girl's can do anything, right, Barbie?" I wish they'd replay those. Girls benefit growing up knowing they are perfectly capable of making choices that reflect strength and purpose not passivity, making wise choices in dating that reflect God's desire for them not fruitless whims or following their reckless hearts.

Dating is challenging for anyone, both sexes, no doubt. Specifically for single parents, dating is an entirely different ballgame than if sans children. Now we have little people to consider and how will this new person, really any potential new person affect the existing dynamic? How will they fit in? Will everyone get along? Plus dealing with the periodic painful times that crop up where your children are still undeniably dealing with the loss of their original family unit definitely factors in. Divorce wounds us all… it wounds us as adults and can shatter our confidence, breeding uncertainty and may keep us from moving forward. We may come to a somewhat entitled conclusion from all that pain that "we've had all we should have to endure" if anything out of broken exhaustion and believe it should be "easy street" from here out in terms of finding a compatible Christ-following partner. But, yikes, not likely...

We want to make wise, healthy choices… we want to make sure we aren't repeating negative patterns by following our heart, we want to make sure we are following what God would want for us, not what feels good in this heated moment… we don't want to latch onto toxic individuals like we've already been with or re-play unhealthy dynamics that eerily resemble those from a noxious childhood. It's imperative we take things slow and are cognizant of any warning signs… to not push them away or attempt to justify them no matter how tempting. Here are a few things to consider if you're single and beginning to date again…

5 Tips For Dating:

1. Take it slow… seems to be a no-brainer but with emotions, attraction and libido's in high gear it can be so easy to jump on the expressway to exclusive and then want to put the brakes on. It's next to impossible to get back to where we were once a relationship's progression has gone too far whether it be emotionally or physically.

2. Look for consistency and patterns… are their actions consistent? Are there any negative patterns jumping out at us? Look to actions not words. Our hearts are deceitful but following Christ we can never go wrong. Having Christ as the center of our relationship will keep us grounded and look to the long term not the immediate.

3. As single parents keeping our dating undercover… it's upsetting to children to parade around a new person, especially too soon. It makes them feel insecure and anxious. The best time to (slowly) introduce someone were serious about is after it's established were together. Regularly giving children reassurance that they are loved even though we are seeing someone affirms they have great importance in our life.

4. Letting our children openly express their feelings about our dating… how do they feel about the changes? Do they like the person? They don't have to immediately accept the person were with and putting pressure upon either the person were with or our children may backfire. Let everyone take the time they need to adjust.

5. As parents we are ultimately the role model for our children. We can set the example of using wisdom and caution in who we choose to date or we can fly by the seat of our pants like a teenager high on the hallucinogenics of following the pitter pattering of our fickle wayward heart and like that print in my closet unfortunately accumulate a lot of dust and debris along the way.

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

Rather than trust our hearts, we are to commit our hearts to God:
 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean 
not on your own understanding;
 in all your ways submit to him, 
and he will make your paths straight”
Proverbs 3:5–6 

This passage gives an explicit command 
not to trust ourselves. 
And it gives the promise of guidance 
to those who choose to follow the Lord.

To My Readers:

Thank you for reading, 

commenting & sharing! 

Related Posts: 

Standing On A Road She Didn't Plan: A Single Mom Dating 

50 Things To Teach My Daughter

Toxic Ties: The Soul Ties That Bind Us

Monday, December 22, 2014

20 Signs Of An Abusive Marriage

February 1986 

names have been omitted in this post 


It was around one o'clock in the afternoon he stood at her hospital bed... with bitter disappointment and finally he fled… he left and as the hours crept by… afternoon turned into dusk which turned into night. She sat in her hospital bed with their newborn baby girl swaddled in her arms becoming more and more distraught with worry… where was he? Where had he gone? She began calling everyone she could think of to inquire if they knew of his whereabouts. She called his mother as well, worried he had been in some type of accident. She phoned him at home and at work but her calls went unanswered. The night wore on and with it exhaustion came over her… fraught with worry for him. The next morning he showed up… he admitted he was upset the baby wasn't a boy. Three girls later and he was faced with the reality that he wasn't going to have a son to follow in his footsteps… he wouldn't have a son to continue in the family business… his family name wouldn't continue.


20 Signs Of An Abusive Marriage: 

1. Your spouse doesn't allow you to work and controls your clothes, hair, etc.
2. You're reliant on your spouse for transportation due to his/her control.
3. Your spouse makes you feel insecure by their actions; they leave for periods of time and cause you undue worry over their safety and whereabouts. They threaten suicide.
4. Your spouse is always "checking in" with you via text/phone and or places a gps tracking device on your car.
5. Your spouse isolates you from your family and friends or doesn't put nearly as much effort into forming a rapport with them as you do with his/her family and it causes a strain in your relationship.
6. Your parent passes away (out of state) and your spouse doesn't permit you to travel to attend the funeral.
7. Your spouse blames you when you don't conceive a baby of the gender they wanted.
8. Your spouse hides their mental health family history from you and continues to deflect even after you discover a whole family line of unstable history.
9. Your spouse expects your marriage to completely revolve around his/her family/parents and their home for holidays/celebrations.
10. Your spouse drops you off at home after giving birth to your baby and drives off without so much as a goodbye.
11. Your spouse projects (accuses you of lying/cheating when you haven't), gas-lights (claims you said/did something or denies they said/did something), stone-walls (won't engage/silent treatment), re-writes history (changes the story of what really happened), or blames (never takes personal responsibility) in any way shape or form.
12. Your spouse is verbally hateful or physically hurts you in any way shape or form.
13. Your social life is severely limited or nonexistent.
14. Your children have little social life and complain their home/lives are much different than classmates.
15. Your spouse is a workaholic.
16. Your spouse pressures you to and/or forces you to do sexual acts you don't want to do.
17. Your spouse uses the tactic of intimidation to shut you down; throwing things, hitting/kicking walls, cussing, screaming, stomping through the house, slamming doors, driving off, etc. Driving like a maniac.
18. Your spouse's conversations primarily revolve around him/her.
19. Your spouse doesn't show empathy toward you especially when you're sick.
20. Your spouse limits all your decision making; he/she gives you a paltry amount of money for spending which equates to just groceries, he/she makes all decisions regarding vacations and home repairs/updates… leaving you with no partnership.

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

The National Domestic Violence Hotline

To My Readers: 

Thank you for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 

Related Posts:

11 Things I Learned From My Childhood

30 Signs: He's Not The One

Love = Upholding Vows In Sickness And In Health 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

20 Examples Of How A Narcissist Uses You

December 2014 

names have been omitted in this post


My daughter sighed and I scrutinized her expression… it was one of great irritation and unhappiness. We were on our FaceTime call… she was already in her pj's and had called me from her bedroom at her dad's house. With her pink cheeks and downturned mouth, she looked the picture of resigned defeat.

"Hey, you okay?" I asked her.

"Yeah… I'm okay…" She mumbled but I knew that look… and knew she wasn't. She sighed and spoke again… "So, tonight for my birthday dinner we went out to eat… but not somewhere I like. Not where I wanted to go." She added.

"Really? Huh… where did you go eat?" I asked her.

"We went out for mexican food but we went where they wanted to go. Daddy invited Grandpa and he brought some lady with him. And Mimi came and she didn't even talk. She just sat there." She told me.

"Daddy brought Grandpa?" I affirmed… thinking it so ironic that my ex had teamed up with my narcissistic estranged father since my divorce. On the day I'd had my ex served with divorce papers he had phoned my father demanding an explanation for my having him served… to that my father had retorted back with "Well, yeah you sorry so and so… you've been cheating on her!" … yet as time passed my father decided his bread was better buttered by my ex and as I tried to assert boundaries by keeping him at a healthy arms length… ultimately he didn't like it and told me off via voicemail. In the wake of him now being divorced from my mother it appeared he had moved some woman into his home within just a few short months of the decree being finalized. {To a narcissist people are merely like chess pieces… always being moved strategically as they suit them.} It made me raise an eyebrow and I couldn't help but wonder to myself if he had been cheating on my mother with whoever this newest female supply of his was. I made a mental note of his lacking character by his conscious choice to bring this woman that my daughter didn't even know to her birthday party… it was some sort of bizarre narcissistic world they lived in where no one else's feelings mattered but theirs and my daughter had zero voice in the matter despite it being her birthday.

"Oh yeah…" My daughter grimaced and spoke "I don't know why he brought this lady. I don't even know her. She brought me perfume, necklaces and makeup."

"She brought you a gift?" I asked "She doesn't even know you. That's pretty forward. You're too young for makeup. Why would Grandpa think it was okay for him to bring this woman to your birthday party?" I pointed out.

She nodded and agreed "I know! It was like, not even about my birthday, it was all about them."

Smart kid… she was quite observant and saw reality as it was.

Of course it wasn't about your birthday, I thought to myself. Because that's what they do. Narcissists use situations to their own personal advantage in how it will benefit them… they don't care about how it affects others… or what anyone else wants.

"Well, Grandpa is inappropriate and doesn't care what you want. He does what he wants shown by his actions that night. It wasn't appropriate for that woman to come to your birthday party. I'm sorry about it…. and really, he shouldn't be dating anyone so soon after he and Grandma divorced… that's not appropriate either. He's setting a bad example. I don't want you thinking that is okay because it's not." I told her.

"I know!" She said and nodded with emphasis… we chatted a few more minutes and then I told her goodnight and that I loved her.


At the end of the day a narcissist is an individual that uses others… for their own profit and gain. They rotate people in their lives as the targets suit them… as their needs change… and whomever they discern will butter their bread better. It is always changing… at some point someone is always discarded by a narcissist… because inevitably there will always be better prey that comes along.

20 Examples Of How A Narcissist Uses You: 

1. He demands sex with his wife even though she has a temperature of 104 and is sick with the flu.
2. She expects her best friend to always pay for her meals when they have lunch.
3. He doesn't care that his wife's breathing has been affected by fumes at his place of business. He demands that she continue to work there despite her protests and affected health.
4. He uses his children as pawns in retaliation at his ex-wife for divorcing him.
5. She borrows all her friends handbags and shoes and never returns them. Or does and the items are damaged.
6. Your sociopathic ex uses your narcissistic father as an fellow conspirator in the aftermath of your divorce as a pitiful attempt to "get back at you."
7. Your narcissistic father uses your sociopathic ex in the aftermath of your divorce to pay for all his meals out… and his girlfriend's meals as well.
8. Your narcissistic father uses your daughter's birthday party as his chance to bring a guest which is his  live in honey… knowing this information will get back to his ex-wife via your daughter.
9. She accepts her friend's kind offer to go pick her up some lunch to go and then talks poorly about her behind her back to others.
10. Your best friend is in a relationship and she suddenly (and ironically) has no time for your friendship and despite your verbal interest... you never meet the guy she's dating.
11. Your narcissistic friend tells you in the middle of your break up story "Let's talk about me instead."
12. He uses his children's academic smarts, beauty and talent for building up his own ego… using them for narcissistic supply.
13. He uses the fact he has "connections" and knows so and so… He tells everyone who comes in close contact with him that he has such "connections" in the community because it makes him feel important.
14. He tells his daughter "With your looks you should be able to get a guy with a family name and money here in town." His desire is for his daughter to marry well merely to make himself look good in the community.
15. He always receives gifts from acquaintances for holidays, birthdays, etc but never reciprocates.
16. He likes being able to say he has a family but in reality he ignores his children behind closed doors and is emotionally unavailable. The purpose they serve is feeding the image he wants to project to the public.
17. He doesn't care that the college he wants to send his daughter to isn't a good fit for her… because at the end of the day it suits him and his ego… he tells everyone where she attends and enjoys the accolades.
18. She doesn't give her son any congratulations that he gained employment with a great company… instead she takes the credit for his new position.
19. He uses his son's generous spirit to pay for all the refreshments for any and all social gatherings… and comes to expect it… and when that no longer happens he throws a fit.
20. She expects her husband to watch the children while she goes off regularly whether it be shopping or partying… she's not involved in the family unit and has no desire to be.

© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com ~ 2014 

Being with a narcissist is like 
being trapped with a 
vampire… they suck you dry 
and leave you lifeless…
reclaim your life
and walk away to 
away from the abuse
and being used

You can do hard things… 
like start over and live a
life of happiness and peace

To My Readers: 

Thank you for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 

Related Posts: 

Fathers: Shepherding His {Black} Sheep 

The Sociopath: The 6 Tricks He Uses

Common Phrases Spoken By (and signs of) A Narcissistic Sociopath

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The False Gospel That Your Prosperity Is Coming

Have you noticed the rise of what has been deemed as the "prosperity gospel"? Some of the most well known Evangelist's in this country have been pointed at as regularly delivering sermons that seem to outright or at the very least intimate the promise of prosperity by means of obeying God.

According to many of these Evangelist's the more obedient one is… the more pleasing they are to God,  in return He will bestow endless blessings upon a person and their life. Anyone who knows Jesus and His character… knows that material wealth and possessions are not in His eyes a sign of importance, of a life well lived, or that those things even belong to us. But oddly enough, in contrast... in the eyes of the prosperity gospel emitting individual, our worth, how well we've done in life and how well we've obeyed God is also directly linked to how many blessings we've racked up on the blessing-o-meter.

The Widow’s Two Mites 

Luke 21 And He looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury, and He saw also a certain poor widow putting in two mites. So He said, “Truly I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God,[a] but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had.”

The widow tossed in her two coins and although Jesus did praise her for her selfless act, for her wonderful contribution when she had next to nothing… He also didn't then reward her with a fabulous all expenses paid cruise vacation, designer wardrobe, lake front property with castle included… He didn't do any of that… He praised her and moved on. It doesn't state that He offered to pay her rent or buy her a month worth of groceries. The truth was… He loved the fact she didn't ask Him: "So, uh… how about something for me?" He loved the fact that she contributed when she had little to nothing to give. He valued her contribution more than the people of wealth because it meant more to her. 

Today we see so much bargaining going on in the world… expectation in places where it shouldn't exist. In so many marriages there is the expectation of one another where it shouldn't reign. There is the narcissistic husband who expects sex due to his providing for his wife… in his mind money and her provision is closely linked to a debt of sexual favors owed to him… not selfless love shown to one another… alternatively, there is the wife who expects her husband to do x,y,z the moment he walks in the door from working all day without so much as a hello. Both scenarios are damaging and set up marriages to fail… because the mentality of "What am I'm gonna get?" comes before Him. 

The prosperity theology promotes idolatry 

Christians who look to God to fill a bucket of blessings based on what they do for Him… they have their hands out… their buckets set out waiting to be filled… and when they aren't filled… the entitled sense of disappointment and resentment kicks in toward God. They believe they have upheld their end of the bargain… and bewilderingly wonder why their oh so perfect life isn't materializing speedy quick right now… it's because they have been sold a bill of goods… a message that was false, that was based on material luxuries, on keeping up with the Joneses, etc. In this line of thinking God becomes a magical genie of some sort they just elicit some rewards from by obeying Him. 

The prosperity gospel spewers keep getting richer because they are preying on gullible innocent Christians… they are preying on people who erroneously believe their windfall is about to hit any day now… they just have to "try harder" to please God… which is a ridiculous, terrible and damaging message to send to anyone. It tells people that they aren't good enough… that they haven't met x,y,z… and they don't measure up. It sends people into the dark abyss of desperation, of feeling less than and even suicide. It bases their worth and standing on their worldly gains when actually God loves them regardless because their His children. 

Today I'm here to tell you: 
You are not your bank account, 
you are not your vehicle, 
you are not your house, etc. 
You are a child of God 
and He loves you… 
His only son died for you. 

Are we more concerned with what we are going to get in return for helping others?
Are we subscribing to a message of "What am I going to receive if I obey Him?"
Or are we happy to give and help others… anyone really, without any expectations… 
Giving freely out of selfless love… 
Like Jesus did for us on the cross… 

~ Jennifer Gafford (2014)
© gps-gracepowerstrength.blogspot.com

images via etsy & pinterest 

To My Readers: 

Thank you for reading, 

commenting and sharing! 

Related Posts: 

Intent: Living A Life Of Purpose

6 Tips To Happy

Our Laundry Is Not "Dirty" But Clean