Category Archives: Live Holy

Mercy Paths (Psalm 25 Meditation)

Mercy Paths (Psalm 25 Meditation)

 

 

Mercy Paths Runholy Podcast Scripture Meditation Psalm 25

 

I recorded a scripture meditation from a special psalm where I discovered GOD’s Mercy Paths. Psalm 25 is a great psalm when you’re looking for life direction or wisdom on specific life choices. It talks about “bringing our life to God”. It says that God “teaches the humble His way”. It’s humility that drives our eyes upward during important times of transition. Only the humble seek God’s counsel on direction. The prideful think they’ve got it all figured out. The humble seek God’s advice as a vital necessity. I’ve come to this humble realization through a bunch of prideful life choices which took me through some hard knocks.

He leads the humble in what is right, and the humble HE teaches His way. -ps25:9

When I was searching for answers on my future husband and God’s will for my life, Psalm 25 became a very special place for me. I remember those times of seeking on the back desert plains of west Texas. I remember the freedom I found within the walls of this psalm.

There was so much fear surrounding making the “right choice”. As I had learned before, God’s will is not a tightrope but a playground. Yes there is a fence and boundaries but there is fun and freedom. If we feel we are walking a tight rope when making choices, that is not freedom. That’s not what He means by the narrow way. I believe the narrow way is actually found in the small daily choices of obedience and devotion. These actually matter more to God than the “big choices”. I found freedom in psalm 25.

In verse 10, He says “all the paths are mercy”. Within our humanity and unique personality we will journey and digress down complex paths. He works all these paths together for our good and for the future that we have hoped for. When we look to Him and wait in hope for His direction, we will never be put to shame. Mercy will cover every choice we make. Down every path we will find mercy. His goodness will follow us Dow EVERY path we choose. We don’t have to be afraid about choosing a wrong path because all the paths we walk down seeking him along the way are mercy.

Show me your ways, oh Lord; teach me your paths. Ps25:4

He will instruct “sinners” in His way it says in verse 8. Isn’t this an interesting verse? Especially since it follows verse 7 which talks about Him remembering no more our sins. The theology of that is very complex but also simple. I think the gist of it is this: God is good. In his mercy, he teaches even those that have sinned against him.

Psalm 25 was a sweet chapter of encounter for a season of my life. Do you have those sweet spots in every Bible?  I included two versions in this meditation because they were both so rich.

Mercy Paths (Psalm 25 Meditation) – RunHoly Podcast on Sound Cloud

Mercy Paths Psalm 25 RunHoly Podcast on PodBean 

A Rant: Stop Speaking Between Worship Songs

speaking between worship songs

A Rant: Speaking Between Worship Songs

speaking between worship songs

Speaking between worship songs.  Speaking between EVERY worship song especially. This rant I have kept bottled up for a while.  I’m not going to post it anywhere else because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause any issues.  But since only readers of my blog see this and because I’d like to hear feedback, I decided to leave my rant here.

The church we attend is a non-denominational church with biblical preaching and modern worship.  I enjoy the few people there that I’ve gotten to know. It’s not my usual church in the genre of IHOP-KC or Bethel in that it lacks the freedom and vulnerability that I feel comes from being more spirit-led.  But it is a compromise for my husband and I. The worship leaders voice is like an angel, and she truly seems like a sweet person. The pastor’s sermons are well-organized and delivered with skill.  He is charismatic and sincere.

Three Song Maximum Worship

The last year or so though, something has been really getting to me.  I enjoy corporate worship. There’s a power that comes when His people gather and worship as one. At IHOP-KC worship might be an hour long as you might expect from a 24-7 prayer room church.  When I left that church, I had to get used to the fact that worship would be a 3-song maximum.  It was hardly enough time for my mind to engage with heaven.  I realize worship shouldn’t be all about MY experience.  It should be about Him.  But here’s the thing, I know He enjoys me feeling pleasure from connecting with him.  I know it is what He paid for.  It’s His reward.  Part of the “joy set before him” and the reason He endured the cross was so that His bride could connect in a powerful way to Him and feel the intimacy and pleasure of heavenly engagement. To be with him where he is…that was His prayer. 

 

Distraction and Disengagement

So, somehow I got past the 3-song maximum, but then something started happening at my church. I guess it must happen at a lot of other churches. The worship leader started talking between songs and not just once.  Between EVERY SONG.  The first song, I would begin to worship and my mind would be focused on heaven, I would begin to engage with the Lord, to hear from him, to envision Jesus, God’s throne, and heaven.  And then… the song would end and the worship leader would give her mini-sermon.  Then the second song, but then the same thing would happen.  It’s gotten so frustrating that I usually just sit and try to pray and talk to God throughout worship.  At least it is a time of prayer uninterrupted by my little ones and with some pretty background music.  But over the past year, I have begun to miss the corporate worship experience.

Also, as an observer in the church audience, I see most of the other members giving signs that they are going through the same thing.  You see towards the end of the first worship song,  their hands raised, faces looking upward, eyes closed, emoting vulnerable connection, and then… hands go down, faces look down from heaven to the worship leader talking, eyes pry back open to focus instead on what SHE’S saying, connection seems to be broken.  Some of them try to re-engage during the next song, but many of them instead just stand there.  Some even get out their phones, sit down, shuffle through their purses.

Taking Control of Worship Away From Holy Spirit

The thing that bothers me is:  what was God speaking to them during that first song? The worship leader seems to want to redirect them to the scripture God has put on her heart or the thought that He was speaking to her. But what if the Holy Spirit was ministering intimate revelations about himself that THAT PERSON needed to hear?  And instead you interjected something completely different. Does the church leadership not trust that the Holy Spirit can interact with the children of God and that His children can be led by Him without their help between EVERY song?

That’s what it feels like to me.  There is a lack of submission to the leading of the Holy Spirit.  There is a fear of the release of control to Him and what that would mean to their organization and structure of the service.

Because I’ve been able to adapt to the short worship sets…sometimes that first song I was caught up in the most amazing, powerful vision. The worship leader would pull me back down from the arms of God back to whatever she was saying. And that got super-upsetting after a couple of times.

A while back I did confide in one close friend I had there at the church, and that person said it bothered him/her too- a lot.  So I went straight to one of the sources.

A Troubling Confession

I talked to one of the worship leaders also that said he/she didn’t like to do it, but it was requested that they speak between songs by someone in leadership. This last point is probably why it bothers me the most.

I mean if a worship leader is being led by the Spirit to speak on something between a song… first of all it’s probably not going to be a prompting that has them speaking between EVERY worship song.  And secondly, it will add to the worship experience, not take away.  But based on what this worship leader told me, this means the prompting to give speeches between every song is not from the Holy Spirit but church leadership. I’m also wondering if this happens in other churches too where one of the church pastors requires the worship leaders to give messages breaking up a worship set.

Powerful Worship: Christ’s Inheritance

This isn’t that big a deal. I mean it’s one hour a week. Not much in the scope of our entire walk with the Lord.  Most people may not even notice or care. Does corporate worship play a vital role in God’s kingdom strategy and His individual relationships with us? Isn’t powerful corporate worship part of his inheritance that he died and paid for on the Cross?

So that inheritance being marred in some way could have me feeling a little righteous annoyance or …Maybe it’s because I’m ADD or maybe it’s because of my church denomination background.

 

 

Feedback

I truly miss the power that unbroken corporate worship gives to my walk with the Lord.  I miss the revelations, visions, and intimacy that I used to experience with God during those times, but I’m just not sure what to do.  Worship is one of my greatest growth tools in my walk with God.  We all have different ways we connect.  This is mine.  (But then it’s also others’ too.)  I don’t want to leave a church over something like this, but I also hate leaving church the same or more dry than when I came in because a worship leader is following orders he/she doesn’t much care for.

So…Would you say anything, change churches, or just go on praying that one day it would change?  Are we supposed to say anything?  I mean… if each one of us is the church?  And if church is supposed to be “family”, wouldn’t you say something to your family?

Does this upset or frustrate anyone else or are the worship leader talks between songs helpful to you?  Does this happen at other churches?  Is this just a normal thing at most churches to speak, pray, or hear verses for 3 or 4 minutes between songs? I don’t want to ask feedback from others at my church because if it isn’t a problem, I don’t want to stir up an offense.  

RunHoly Podcast Scripture Meditation Psalm 139:5

RunHoly Podcast Scripture Meditation Psalm 139:5

The God Impulse Runholy podcast God's blessing on life choices

 

The God Impulse

I posted a new podcast recording that talks about life choices. David gave us a model for making big choices. 1. Inquire-ask God. 2. Wait on his answer 3. When you think you’ve got it, move swiftly with confidence. I’ve done this over and over with big decisions I’ve made. I spoke at the beginning of this podcast  particularly about choosing to marry my husband.

Psalm 139:5 was a special verse to me because it was a confirmation that I had heard God and made the choice that had his blessing.

Podcast On Sound Cloud

podcast on Podbean

 

Sister, Before You Hit “Unfriend”

Sister, before you hit unfriend, RunHoly.com

Sister, before you hit unfriend, RunHoly.comSister, Before You Hit Unfriend

Sister before you hit unfriend RunHoly

Can I just have a little soapbox moment? I just want to bend your ear before you hit unfriend on that Facebook account of your Christian connection.

The friend that removed me is no longer a “friend” so she probably won’t read this, but I just wanted to put it out there for others considering unfriending a sister in Christ on Facebook or in life.

1. Communicate. Give Her a Chance.

If you are going to unfriend another sister, could you at least extend the grace of sending her a message about what the offense was?! Cutting someone out of your life without even trying to give the person a chance to clear misunderstanding or recognize where she was wrong doesn’t seem Christlike or fair, does it? In fact it communicates that this person is worthless not worth the moment or effort it would take you to talk to them about it.

How will believers grow in depth of relationship and maturity if they don’t try to understand each other and make recompense.

2. Love Covers. Is Not Easily Offended.

Would you try to cover their mistake with love or mercy…you know like…oh THE BIBLE says to. Here’s a chance for you to grow in maturity. Work your love muscle and become unoffendable. Even without an apology we are called to love even our enemies.

Sister before you hit unfriend runholy

So if someone has hurt you, shouldn’t you love them even more and extend the same grace that God extends to you time and again.

3. Thou Shalt Not Murder.

Would you think long and hard about de-friending or unfriending the person since its pretty much the opposite of unity and love (what Jesus wants from us) and is likely very close to the spirit of MURDER since you are basically saying they are “dead to you”? When you unfriend, you are communicating rejection, worthlessness, hate. These are tools of the enemy.

world will know us by our love for one another

The world will know us by our love. Not exactly shining the light and love of Jesus and his church/family when you do this. It hurts when Facebook acquaintances do this or even worldly friends, but when godly Christian sisters do this it is even more hurtful.

Maybe you feel it’s what God wants you to do. Weird. Because that seems unbiblical and more like pride, but I dunno…maybe? Then at least tell the person: “I need to remove our connection on Facebook. You hurt me and I need boundaries, but I still love you.” This communicates they are valuable and removes the permission that you give the enemy to torment with the spirit of rejection.

Facebook Isn’t The Real World.

Its not that big a deal. You’re overreacting. It’s just Facebook.  Probably true. But this doesn’t Stop there. Usually when you are “cutting someone out of Facebook” you are doing it in other ways too. It’s just not right. It’s not the way God called us to be. We are the family of God. We have to think about our actions and whether they glorify God and edify his body.

That sister you are hurting is God’s daughter. It’s Christ body you are injuring. And he takes that seriously. So before you hit unfriend, please think about it, pray about it.

 

A Prayer for Labor Induction

Prayer for labor induction - RunHoly.comA Prayer for Labor Induction

I just had a beautiful little girl. I made it through 9 (or ten) long hard months. I am not one of those women that glows and enjoys pregnancy. I think they are actually a myth as I have never met one **correction: on July 31st, I met ONE of these women, Bre.  Beautiful woman.  Anyway…** . For those other women that do not enjoy pregnancy especially at the end, I previously shared some things that I believe induced my labor.  Now, I wanted to also share with you the specific prayer and scriptures that I prayed the night before (of) my labor.

Haven was the only baby of my three that came naturally. I had to medically induce with the first two. She came at 37.5 weeks. She was the smallest of my babies which is very unusual since she was my third. I was amazed at how scrawny she was compared to my other two, but she was perfectly healthy in every way.  (She also gained weight quickly after being born.) This confirms to me that God was faithful to my prayer.  Quite possibly she came earlier than she would have if I had not prayed.

***You will see in this post that I also used several natural induction methods.  But I believe in God’s sovereignty, he would only allow these to “work” if it was his will. Along with this prayer, I also asked a group of about 5 of my prayer group friends to pray for a “Holy Spirit-induction” that very DAY that I went into labor.

By the way, going into labor naturally was one of the greatest experiences.  I was able to labor at home until the early hours of the morning: walking around my house, showering in my shower, sitting in my living room by the peaceful light of my Christmas tree.  No one “checking me” every hour.  And the contractions were super easy and gentle compared to Pitocin contractions!

 

Prayer for Labor Induction

Abba Father,

You know I’m not the most patient person.

But you also see and understand how difficult pregnancy is.

You used pregnancy as a metaphor for the most difficult and uncomfortable tests in the bible.

This pregnancy is definitely testing me.

You lead gently those with young and you desire to be merciful to me.

Your banner over my life and this pregnancy is love.

I know that there is an appointed time for the birth of this baby just as there was for yours.

I also know that in your mercy and love, you changed the times for people like Joshua and Hezekiah. 

All my times are in your hands. 

The time for this pregnancy to end and birth to happen are in your control and your wisdom.

But I am your daughter, you care about my discomfort, my pain, my desires.

So just as Jesus cried out for the possibility of you to change your plan, I’m asking you in boldness to have the timing of this birth to be TODAY / TONIGHT!

You know that my heart’s desire is to go into labor naturally, and you promise to give me the desires of my heart.

So, I’m asking that my water would break and that I would have a healthy labor and a vaginal delivery free of complications.

Make this child ready… body-soul-spirit to come into this world today/night.

Cast out all fear from her and strengthen her.

I speak maturity to every organ from her brain to lungs to digestion and immune system.

Thank you God that you hear me and that you always hear me.

Thank you for the gift of prayer and your promises, and for being a father that always cares about me.

 

Bible Verses for Prayer for Labor Induction

As a woman with child, when she draweth near the time of her delivery, is in pain, and crieth out in her pangs: so are we become in thy presence, O Lord. Isaiah 26:17

He gently leads those that have young Isaiah 40:11

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. Luke 2:6

My times are in your hands Psalm 31:15

Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass. Job 14:5

He changes times and seasons Dan 2:21

‘I desire mercy Matt 9:13, 12:7, Hosea 6:6

and let his banner over me be love Songs 2:4

So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped…The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. Joshua 10:13

Time moved backwards for Hezekiah in 2 Kings 20

‘Thus says the Lord, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will add to your days fifteen years Isaiah 38:5

He will give you the desires of your heart.  Psalm 37:4

And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me…that you always hear me…Jn 11:41-42

I tell you truly that if two of you on the earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven Matt 18:19

Inducing Labor: What Worked For Me

How to induce labor naturally. Natural induction method that works! RunHoly.com

Naturally Induce Labor: The Natural Induction Method That Works!

Inducing Labor: What Worked For Me

At the end of pregnancy and I mean around 32 weeks, I begin searching-madly googling, searching forums, Facebook groups, etc.-ways to induce labor. I am DONE. The last few weeks of pregnancy are torture for me. Sciatic pain, discomfort, not being able to breathe, exhaustion…and generally just not being able to be ME all drive me to a willingness to do almost anything. This time, I believe I might have been successful at inducing labor. What worked for me?

How to induce labor naturally. Natural induction method that works! RunHoly.com

How to induce labor naturally.

Natural Induction Method 1: Electro-stimulation of Nipples

 

Naturally induce labor with tens unit electrostimulation of nipples RunHoly.com

Me using the TENS unit while pregnant.




I began this around 36 weeks. As I mentioned, I have terrible sciatic pain during pregnancy. (I don’t know if baby gets on my last nerve or what! Har har!) Anyway, so I have to wear a TENS unit on my back and butt to be able to sleep. So imagine my surprise and delight when coming across this clinical study: breast electrostimulation for the induction of labor.

Here are some highlights from this study:

“We studied breast electrostimulation as a controllable method of initiating labor in 21 women. This technique successfully induced labor in 15 women…”

 

“All of the successfully induced women delivered vaginally.”

Natural labor induction through nipple stimulation tens unit, RunHoly.com

 

The Problem with Nipple Stimulation to Induce Labor

Okay so the problem with nipple stimulation isn’t it’s proven success rate in studies. Actually it is one of the ONLY successfully proven, science-backed natural induction methods. The problem is that the only way for breast stimulation to work it has to be done for 3 hours/day or more. Now if you are doing that manually…that is just weird. I’m not rubbing my nipples for 3 hours a day. Might make for an awkward checkout at the grocery store, ya know? Okay, so the other option is an electric breast pump. I tried this during my second pregnancy. Some people might be able to handle this for multiple hours a day. I could not. Excruciating. You might go into labor, but you might also have your nipples fall OFF. So the last option is what I chose. Like I said I already needed the TENS unit for back/sciatic pain. I also ended up using it for painful labor contractions. Turns out you can also use it for nipple stimulation. So, basically you stick one electrode pad on the right and left (or top and bottom) of your nipple.

A risk to note is that it might actually make you go into labor early.  Many women breastfeed babies all the way through pregnancy (including the third trimester); so the risk isn’t too high.  But, you don’t want to start this any earlier than 37 weeks if you are having a complicated, high-risk pregnancy or have been showing signs of premature-labor. *I started this at 36.5 weeks because I read in a couple of studies that it takes at least 72 hours to begin working/to start labor. Also, I have always gone to full term and had uncomplicated pregnancies.

I actually ran into a strange problem that I’m pretty certain won’t happen to most people. I got mastitis during these last days of my pregnancy. Now mastitis usually only occurs while breastfeeding – but I guess my body *thought* I was breastfeeding.  The bad thing about getting mastitis while pregnant is that there isn’t a baby to flush out the infection by breastfeeding which is how most mastitis infections are cleared up.   I am a high risk for mastitis.  I got it 4 times with my second baby.  To prevent mastitis, you can take soy lecithin or you can treat it as soon as you feel the symptoms like breast soreness, heat in breast by calling your doc and getting prescribed antibiotics.

So, here is the specific method: Attach the tens unit like below. Raise the level (ghz) until you can feel a light buzzing in your nipples. I also chose the setting that pulses. I felt like the intensity fluctuations mimicked breastfeeding most. I wore these pads underneath my clothes and slipped the controller in my jeans pocket so that the cords were pretty much out of sight. I ran the unit about 3-4 times a day for about an hour each time. The controller will automatically turn off the current after an hour. I did this during the day and at night.

Naturally induce labor with tens unit electrostimulation of nipples RunHoly.com

Here is the TENS unit that I used. (Buying through this link supports all the hard work I do for this site.)

Inducing a VBAC labor…Attempting a VBAC?

Here’s a study on women with prior c-section deliveries who did nipple stimulation and 84% of them were able to have a successful vaginal birth.

Natural Induction Method 2: Membrane Sweep or Stripping Membranes (twice)

You probably already know about this.  It’s where the doctor uses a glove to “to gently separate the amniotic sac from the wall of the uterus”. Ouch.  Firstly this did cause some cramping and contractions both times.  It’s supposed to work within 48 hours.  The second time I had them done, I went into labor that night.

Also, I would not recommend looking on forums and boards for whether this is successful.  The only women that get on there and comment are the ones that are still pregnant. Because the ones that it was successful are too busy HAVING A BABY to go and post that it was a success.  Some go back and post that it was successful, but I didn’t.  It wasn’t really at the top of my list of priorities.  So yeah… I just wanted to put that out there on the interwebs so that other desperate google/babycenter searching pregnant moms can avoid that discouragement.

This study says that membrane sweeps work to induce labor. This study says that membrane sweeps do not pose risks.  There is another study that I can’t seem to locate again that said that membrane sweeps were most successful when combined with other induction methods.

Are There Risks to Having Membranes Stripped?
  • The cramping that may occur in the 24 hours after your membranes are stripped can make it hard to rest or sleep; this means that you might lose some sleep before actually going into labor.
  • Some people worry that membrane stripping may cause the bag of water to break or cause mothers or babies to become sick. Studies have found that membrane stripping does not make them more likely Source

Natural Induction Method 3: Prayer

Yes prayer. I was desperately searching for all these methods and ways to induce and God tapped me on the shoulder…like “hey, have you thought about praying about it?” DOH! So I began praying this prayer, and also texted my “prayer group” asking for them to pray for a Holy Spirit-induction.  That night I went into labor.

You can read my post on a Prayer for Induction of Labor HERE.

Natural Induction Method 4: Naps

Okay I thought this was strange. My doctor who has been in practice a loooong time gave me this tip after my membrane sweep and in response to my question as to whether walking might help the “sweep” work. He told me to go home and take a nap or two or three. He gave a couple of reasons for this.

When you put more stress on your body and are stressed emotionally to boot, this raises cortisol. This kills the oxytocin boost that you need to start labor. It’s all about hormones!  But when you relax, nap…meditate then oxytocin thrives and labor can start naturally.

Along those same lines, napping prepares your body for labor. Since labor is long and hard work, it’s good to let your body rest. It makes sense, right? How many women walk their butts off then end up going into labor already tired and worn out?

I took two or three naps the day I went into labor.

Well I think those cover it…

Once contractions started, I did bounce on a ball to try to keep it going. I did that the rest of the evening, and I bounced pretty hard at one point.

So if you’re like me and desperate for your pregnancy to be OVER, you can give these a try! Let me know if it works for you.

The Beauty of a Woman, Lover of God

Beauty of woman lover of God Runholy.com

The Beauty of a Woman, Lover of God

Beauty of woman lover of God Runholy.com

The beauty of a woman who is a lover of God is always growing

Not only because she will be pursuing fitness of her soul, mind, AND body

But because she will radiate joy, kindness.

When you think of her, you will feel warm.

Her remembrance will make you smile.

And her memorial will be all the beauty her life brought to the world & the glory she brought to God.

In her presence will be peace and she will bring peace to your heart.

As age spots her skin God’s spirit is removing all blemishes from her soul.

As the color fades from her hair, her life influence will become rich and vibrant.

Her remembrance will make you smile.

And her memorial will be all the beauty her life brought to the world & the glory she brought to God.

Through her selflessness, humility, and love.

 

Grace & peace,

 

Lauren

This Will Change Your Marriage

This Will Change Your Marriage

How God has changed my marriage, my husband, and most importantly my heart. Really he changed the course of my marriage. It was a marriage that could have ended up loveless and unhappy, but instead is on a course to remain vital, full of love & joy. It was the change in my heart and attitude by His grace that I believe totally changed the track of my marriage.

Illustrations of Attitude

Going through pictures on my iPhone, I had sort of an epiphany…an astounding amazement at what God has done in my heart over the years. There’s a picture of the girls at fall festival on Halloween night, a picture of our empty house, videos from the playground near the OKC airport… These might not seem astounding to you, but let me explain.

I costumed and took the girls to the fall festival by myself. I moved out of our house into an apartment at 31 weeks pregnant.  The girls and I went to the playground after taking Paul to the airport so that he could take a business venture trip.  These details are not the amazing part.  The amazing part is the picture of my attitude that these pictures illustrate.

I was not resentful Halloween night of Paul running to the store instead of going with us.  It only occurred to me for a brief second that night and then later as I was just looking at these pictures to even be upset.  We had a wonderful time! It was a sweet experience that I got to share with my girls.

We are building another house that began to run slowly.  We had to rent our house out before the other house was done for financial reasons (and move into a smaller apartment with my father in law.  This is the THIRD pregnancy where I have lived at least part of the time with my father in law).  Not moving the way we did would have put immense stress on my husband to provide for basically two house payments or to find renters at a very undesirable time, think Thanksgiving/ Christmas. But I spent as much energy as I could muster packing and cleaning and moving, and I never gave much thought to myself, my condition, or my needs. It only occurred to me later that I could have been a little aggravated by this.

Paul is such an entrepreneurial type of person. It’s the way God made him.  I believe after praying for him for so many years that God has strongly gifted him this way.  Since that is the way he is wired, he is always going after training, leads, opportunities. When he said he wanted to fly to visit a friend for a type of business training for a few days, my heart without hesitation supported him. Even though I am very pregnant with two toddlers and working, (and packing for a move! Lol) it never even occurred to me to be upset. The picture of the girls at the playground after I dropped him off illustrates my positive attitude in the midst of this circumstance that I could have been negative.

I really don’t say these things to brag on myself.  Honestly, my heart felt like it was going to burst when I realized how much my perceptions and attitudes had changed, but it was all because I realized how much God was doing in my heart (and in my marriage relationship).  Looking back even further, I’m realizing some ways that God is continuously changing my heart.  I’m blogging about it because it changed my marriage, and this will change your marriage. I guarantee it.

5 Principles for a Changed Marriage - RunHoly.com

  1.  Humble Yourself: When I first got married, I had this view of myself.  I was a fiery, passionate prayer and worship warrior.  I was mature in the Word.  I was zealous in praying with everyone about everything. My husband was not. He knew of several bible verses.  he lived his life and made choices based on biblical principles.  He prayed a very short prayer before meals. He wasn’t too into worshipping or worship music even. I was amazed and burdened by how much my husband did not measure up to the standard I expected my husband to measure up to…You know-to be the husband of a passionate destined prayer warrior like myself? I was worried too that this immature Christian would pull me down to his level like I had learned at vacation bible school where all the other kids stood on the ground and tried to pull a person down off a chair to illustrate how much easier it was to pull someone down than up.  I was concerned that I had made a marriage choice to be “unequally yoked”.

One night God gave me a dream.  In the dream, at first there was that picture of a child on a chair attempting to be pulled down by others on the ground.  I knew this was a flashback to that memory and principle that had been ingrained in my conscience.  Then it was like the hand of God moved the slide over, out of sight. In the next scene, there were two sapling trees. One tree was tied to the other. One tree might have been a little older than the other, but they were both saplings. I watched as the wind sort of blew and the trees were strengthened by being tied to one another.  It was like God was saying with the first slide, “this is the way you see it.” and then with the second, “this is the way it truly is.”

Paul and I were both babies.  We were both drowning in sin and in need of God and a savior.  We were both early on our journey with God.  We would both one day be OAKS OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, but right now we both had a lot of growing to do.

I later discovered that much of the simplicity of Paul’s thinking and his unquestioning acceptance of truth gave him an advantage in many ways.  I might have known more verses, but Paul operated from a stronger biblical foundation in many situations than I did. Times that I was filled with worry, Paul walked with a calm, resolute strength that came from faith.

I needed to realize that I held myself in too high esteem when it came to my Christian walk. The truth is that I was a sinner, broken and weak.  And that I had been made new and whole.  When God looked at me, he saw Christ.  And when God looked at Paul, he saw Christ. We also both have a lifetime and eternity of growing from glory to glory in our maturity.

You are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.

Song of Solomon 4:7

2.     Take your “list” to God (and leave it).  When we first got married and still now, I had a long list of things that Paul need to improve in:

  • He needed to lead the family in prayer, worship, and study times daily.  He needed to make prayer and study a priority for himself.
  • He needed to take initiative for us to have times together as a couple with the LORD. After all, “a couple that prays together stays together”.  I said this to him often in the hopes, implying the question “umm…do you want to stay together or what?!” or maybe even more than implying sometimes.
  • He needed to work on maturing his prayer language and confidence in prayer.  His boldness in praying for others needs and looking to prayer as an answer FIRST (before medicine for example–“Why are you running to get the girls’ Tylenol before you lay hands on them?!)
  • He needed a hunger for the Word.  Often times, he would say something unbiblical and I would say “if you read the word more you would know that’s not right”.  Or maybe in a kinder way I would say, “it would be easier for you to talk to God if you spent more time in the word.” Or list off the other benefits that I know to be true of spending time in the Bible.

While I did pray for these things for him, I didn’t leave it there. I didn’t trust God to start and complete the work.  I felt that my comments and nudges were needed in shaping my husband and moving him towards these goals. Yes I prayed and prayed, but many times I would break down and just begin an argument focused on his weaknesses.

This left him feeling like he was “not enough” (oh my gosh I’m about to start crying.)  He said he felt like he could “never measure up”.  Why did I marry him anyway? (aaaand now I am crying.) The little comments no matter how minor or how far between made him feel like that was what I was thinking about him all the time.

So, when you pray, and you should definitely PRAY, for him…then pray.  But then leave it.  Leave it in God’s care.  He is the overseer of your husband’s soul, and he is faithful to complete the work he began in him.  God hears your prayers, and He is working. You can rest in that.  After all, God wants those things from your husband even more than you do! If you are struggling with not seeing the transformation in your husband and the fruit of your prayers, talk to God about that.   I’ve had moments where God drew back the curtain, where He showed me “the right hand of God” in my husband’s heart, and it filled me with such hope that I was able to continue in prayer and faith for another season.

3.     Pray Positively (don’t use prayer to dog your husband)  Now, I am a believer in prayer and the first step is praying for your husband. But God later showed me that the way I was praying for my husband was wrong.  My prayer times were half pity party, half complaint session.

How often was I thanking God for or discussing with Him my husband’s strengths? Or was I bringing God a list of all the things I thought he should be working on?  You know the bible says that Jesus “lives to intercede for us”.  He is always praying for us.  Do you think he is up there having a pity party “Father, she’s just not giving me the glory I deserve and have earned.” or complaint session “She keeps yelling at the kids. Doesn’t she realize they are precious to me? She’s not using the grace that I freely offered.  If she would just pray more instead of worrying. Ugh!”

No. Jesus prays from a place of love, from a place of seeing us as priceless beauties. I guarantee you he is saying more things in prayer that praise us than are critical.  We need to pray this way too. Ask God to show you your husband’s strengths and his calling, and then thank God for those in prayer.  Use prayer to edify and speak life. I’m not saying that you can’t bring your concerns to God, but it’s the heart behind it.

How would you feel about someone speaking that way about your son or daughter when they were little? You are protective as a mother of the way others speak about your child, not seeing the best in them, not remarking on their strengths but only focusing on their weaknesses. And guess what? Your husband is God’s little child, more precious to him than that baby you held in your arms and raised. Consider this when you pray for your husband.

See your husband as God sees your husband.

this will change your marriage - RunHolyIt’s amazing how when my prayer life began to change, my view of my husband began to change too.  There was a spiritual shift in my own heart and mind. I wasn’t constantly disappointed, worried, or resentful.  I was thankful. Even times I could easily be resentful, I’m thankful. The thoughts that come up in my thought life about my husband are good, edifying thoughts. And an edifying secret thought life about your husband… This will change your marriage.

When thoughts came up about him not eating right/healthy, not making church a priority, or something like that, I would purposely change my thoughts to all the things that I was thankful for and that he did well. If you have been focused on his weaknesses a lot, then it may be difficult for you to find the good qualities to focus on. But it will get easier and the good qualities will become almost all you see and think about.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. Philippians 4:8

4.    Speak Positively. Kindness leads to repentance. Out of a positive prayer life, the things you say to him and about him will naturally begin to change.  When I was constantly tearing him down and remarking on things that he needed to “work on”, he was not moved to change.  I would say it actually moved him in the opposite direction.  If he could never seem to “measure up” then why even try.

When God speaks to me in those quiet moments, he doesn’t say what I expect him to say. I expect him to say things that I need to work on or comment on things that I am failing in. But he doesn’t say something about when I lost my temper with my daughter.  He says how proud he is of me, what a good mom I am, and how he realizes how hard it is. (aaaand crying again). The moments that I quiet myself and actually listen to him (which is not often enough at all) these are the types of things that he ALWAYS says.  I actually can’t think of one critical thing he has said to me although there may have been a couple times that he did in the gentlest way and from a motivation of complete love.

Are you speaking this way to your husband?  Are you being kind and gentle when he falls short? Trying to be understanding of difficulty that he is going through? Are you speaking to him from a place of who he WILL be? Are you seeing his shortcomings through a lens of love and mercy? Are you telling him constantly about his strengths that God gave him and how much you and God love him?

Actually, let me take a moment to say something else. If this post is ringing true with you, then you are probably a person that is very hard on yourself. (and this carries over to the way you relate to your husband and others) God wants you to know that that verse above from Song of Solomon 4:7-that’s what he says about you and thinks about you.  He sees the best in you.  He sees your strength and who you WILL be. He adores you and believes in you. And he wants you to be gentle and loving with yourself. So try, okay? (talking to myself too)

The LORD appeared to him from afar, saying, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.

Jer 31:3

I led Israel along with my ropes of kindness and love. I lifted the yoke from his neck, and I myself stooped to feed him. (another version says: To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them.)
 Hos 11:4

God’s way is to draw us with love.  This is the way that he affects change in us. When he speaks to us in a way that lifts us up, endears us, and communicates all the faith and hope he has in US, that communicates our great value, we begin to see ourselves differently.  We begin to live differently.  We begin to want to walk in that identity, out of love.

That’s the difference.  You might be able to affect change in your husband by nagging him, by listing off his faults, and laying out for him the way that he needs to fix them. But this change will not be from a “want to”.  It won’t be “out of love”.

5.     Keep God’s Glory Central.  Why do you want your husband to change?  Really stop right now and think about that —why?

Is it because your kids need a godly father and model? Or maybe you are afraid without that model, your kids will fall away or have gaps in their Christian devotion.  Is it because you deserve and desire a godly husband? This would make you happy and your marriage strong. Is it because you know that this is ultimately what will bring the most satisfaction to your husband’s heart? Or maybe so that your husband will not miss the fullness of his destiny and calling.

These are all good reasons, but they all have one problem: they all have someone else as the center to the why.  We have to get to a place where we are so in love and so convinced of God’s worth that he is central.  God desires whole-hearted love and He is worthy of all our affection.  Those other reasons are good, but they are not THE reason.

When we operate in our desires and our prayers from the place of His desires, it removes the dysfunction. His desire is filled with so much love. Love for us. Love for the world. Love for His church. Love for himself.

I belong to my beloved, and his desire is for me.
Song of Solomon 7:10

His desire for your husband is great. He loves him to the point of death.  He longs for him. He wants your husband to KNOW him.   He yearns to spend time with him.  He wants your husband and mine to worship him because he knows that this is where our hearts come most alive and because God is convinced more than anyone else of his own glory and worth. There is an ache in God’s heart to reveal himself to his most cherished son through his word. God longs to have adventures walking hand in hand with your husband like a father on a hunting trip with his son.

Enter in to God’s desire for your husband.  With longing and love, with perseverance and patience, with kindness and mercy and compassion, with faith confidence and hope, his desire aches and reaches for your husband’s full heart and affection. This is to be root of our prayer life for our husband (and for everything).

This is a constant struggle.  If I take an honest look, there is always something trying to move to the center of my why.  If I am wondering if God’s glory is central or not, I can usually check it against 1 Cor 13. If I’m praying with God’s pure desire and for his heart, then it won’t be polluted with the “love is not”‘s

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

The Work of Grace… This will Change Your Marriage

Your marriage is for God’s glory after all. It is a representation to the world of God and His bride.  It should be filled with joy and love, contentment and peace. It should shine to the world the beautiful loving relationship that God desires with his people.

We’ve been married a short time and hopefully have many years ahead of us.  I’m thankful for the small gradual changes that I’ve seen in my husband, but I’m most thankful for the work that God’s grace has done in MY heart and the way that it has changed my marriage. If you are wanting to change your husband, you have to allow grace to change you.

I am amazed at the change that He has done in me. I was on a course for a discontented and unhappy marriage. A marriage where my husband felt “not enough” and I agreed with him.  I feel content and hopeful about my husband even though I don’t see the fruit of my prayers often times.   I believe in my husband, in his gifts, in his callings.  I am finding that no matter what may happen or any of his failings, I never lose faith in him.  I can support him without misgivings.

My faith after all, ultimately is in the Lord, and his strength never fails.  He promises that no one who waits on Him and hopes in Him will be disappointed.  His timing is perfect and I can trust his leadership and the timing or speed of change that he chooses for my husband.

I am proud to be able to share what God has shown me with you and boast in the Lord. I hope that if you are struggling with any of this that this will help you to enter in to the rest of faith and God’s heart for you and your husband and your marriage.

Quitting Cookies – Plant Based Pregnancy Challenge

Quitting Cookies. Plant Based Pregnancy Challenge

Day 2 & 3

Yesterday was day 2 of my plant based pregnancy challenge. It went pretty well & according to plan until I found myself out and about around dinner time. (I actually had leftover lunch from day 1.) The healthiest choice was Pei Wei so I got some sushi and a Vietnamese chicken salad wrap.

I was actually shocked by how little plants were even in the menu items here. What I got the girls was basically meat, sauce, and rice. And most of the items were the same. The wraps that I got could have been filled with all kinds of colorful veggies like sprouts, red cabbage, carrots…Instead it was basically a chicken & mayonaise mixture. How boring! Plant based recipes are so colorful & creative.

Anyway, this morning I was too tired to make a shake. So I split a Lara bar and banana with Kate.

Plant based pregnancy - grilled tofu Caesar salad- RunHoly.comMy prayer group was having chicken Caesar salad. I grilled up some tofu & cut up some rainbow carrots to take over there. Oh and those are pine nuts on top. It was yummy.

By the way, the ladies broke out desserts including gelato ice cream. Thankfully I had brought a chocolate shakeology shake with be so I was able to abstain.  But sheesh! I told them it was the straight up devil waving gelato in front of a pregnant lady trying to lay off sweets.

Plant based pregnancy - grilled tofu, egg, hominy lettuce wrap- RunHoly.comThen for dinner, Paul & I ate some of that leftover tofu with hominy,  avocado, scrambled eggs, and tomatoes. I put mine in a lettuce wrap. It was so beautiful & delicious.

Tonight when when I was dying for something sweet I mixed up that shakeology brownie batter but added oatmeal, pb, and honey. The girls shared it with me & loved it.

I completed my scheduled Piyo workouts for yesterday & today. The workout today: Drench was rough. It felt great, but as you progress through a workout program, most of the time it should get easier. As I get more pregnant, it actually gets harder.

I’m pretty proud that I have stuck to my 8-week Piyo schedule and only missed a workout the day I was moving. Every now and then I don’t finish all of one, but I give myself credit for the attempt.

You’ve got to be gentle with yourself while pregnant. I tend to be kind of hard on myself.

Well that’s day 2 & 3 of this plant-based pregnancy challenge. Just gotta keep going strong for the next few days. It gets easier once you get back on the plant-based groove.

Daughter of a Narcissist – A Sermon Post

Daughter of a Narcissist – A Sermon Post

On being the daughter of a Narcissist and a sermon post…This is a somewhat personal post about a close friend’s dad. Many who know her know that there are issues and brokenness there.  They have seen many of the struggles, growing up and into adulthood.  Friends from her younger years were always sympathetic that her dad was “weird” and an “a**h&%$”.  In later life, she just heard things like “messed up” and “not right” regarding the way her dad related and his behavior especially as a father of a grown daughter.  What they may not know and what she has now realized is that she is the child of a narcissist. It was during their last painful “break-up” that God led her to some truth on narcissistic personality disorder that brought a lot of freedom to her heart and to her life.  She also realized that there are a lot of adults who are in her situation.

Gaining some insight, perspective, and not feeling alone in this situation really helped.  I don’t know if it made her hopeful that they would ever have a normal relationship as most of the research and testimony on narcissistic personality disorder is not very hopeful, but it showed her how to pray and how to understand their different roles and approaches in relationship.

Also, the bible teaches that as we grow in knowledge and depth of insight that we also grow or ABOUND in love.  I love that word abound. I think about just spilling over, or busting at the seems (like a big can of biscuits my friend Bekah would say).  As she gains insight on her dad’s brokenness, she can meet him there and love him. They might not have a relationship, but she can hold him in love in her heart…meaning she can think loving thoughts when she thinks of him, speak of him, pray for him. She feels this is her duty to honor him because he is the father that Go chose for her. Also, there is only joy found in love and freedom from resentment or bitterness. It’s hard to be bitter when you enter into their brokenness through the eyes of the Father.

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight,   Philippians 1:9

This sermon was one of the first resources she found that led her on this journey of revelation and freedom. I wanted to share along with a couple other resources for anyone going through the same type of struggle. I’ve also included a lot of material on a narcissistic personality disorder parent.

Power of a Clear Conscience Sermon on Narcissism

Transcript excerpt below:

A year or two ago I told you this story, but I need to retell it because of its relevance to my sermon. There was a man who went to his pastor and said, “You know, my wife is trying to poison me.” The pastor said, “No, wait! I know your wife. She’s a nice woman. There’s no way she’d try to poison you.” He said, “Pastor, she’s trying to poison me. I can even see the poison next to my plate.” He said, “There’s a part of my wife that you don’t understand. I suggest you talk to her.” Well later on that afternoon the pastor came back and said to the man, “You know, I spent three and a half hours speaking with your wife this afternoon. I have a suggestion for you.” He said, “What is it?” The pastor said, “Just take the poison.” (laughter)

 

Now the reason I’m preaching this message today is so that you don’t have to take the poison. You know, of course, that the theme of this series of messages is found in 1 Timothy 1:5. I hope it’s a verse that you memorize. Paul says this: “The aim of our instruction is love that flows from a pure heart, a good conscience, and a sincere faith.” And I’d like to suggest to you today that those three words are related – to be able to have a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith, because if you don’t have a good conscience, you have no confidence toward God.

 

Now today we’re going to talk about the conscience in a negative sense, that is to say that the Bible has much to say about people who have a hardened conscience, and we’re going to be talking about them. For example, the Scripture is very clear. It says in 1 Timothy 2 that there will be teachers who are liars, whose consciences are seared. The King James says: “as with a hot iron.” We’re talking about those whose consciences are cauterized. That’s the word that is used there. They are without feeling.

 

And then also the Bible says in the book of Timothy that there are those who have a defiled conscience. And there’s a whole list of sins that they commit because their conscience is defiled, and they no longer know the difference between right and wrong, and they are blind to their own huge need.

 

There’s another passage that doesn’t mention the word conscience but my, is it ever relevant to what I am speaking about today. This is 2 Timothy 3:1 and following. I’m going to read the first five verses. You’ll notice it says, “But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self (That’s what I’m going to speak on today – lovers of self. Notice that the Apostle Paul put it at the head of all of the other sins that he lists.), lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless and (Wow!) unappeasable.” You know, I don’t know how other translations have that word, but this week I was thinking of unappeasable. What a description of some people! And then you’ll notice it says, “slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.” “From such people,” Paul says, “turn away. Avoid them if you can.”

 

Well, that’s quite a list of sins, and what we would like to do today is to take a tour of the human heart. It’s going to be a very painful tour because I’m going to speak to you about narcissism, which is self-love, which stands at the head of all of these other sins. One way to deal with this would be for me to go through and explain what every one of these words means. In a sense I’m going to be doing that but I’m going to be doing it from a different perspective.

 

So as we speak, I want you to know that to some extent, and I’ll define narcissism in a moment, all of us are narcissists. All of us love ourselves. But there are some people – about 10% of the population – who are actually diagnosed as narcissistic. And these people exist in churches. They are in Christian leadership oftentimes. They can be involved in every one of the vocations. Whether they are attorneys or doctors or factory workers, narcissism – love of self – can be at the bottom of it. One other word, and that is that I am often going to be speaking about he, but it could equally apply to she because whether or not it’s men or women, both can be very narcissistic, as we’ll explain in a moment.

 

Well this is a topical message actually. I mention that this morning because there are some guests present who are theologians, and so I want them to simply know that I know that this is a topical message. Next week I’m going to speak on the topic why Lady Macbeth didn’t have to commit suicide and why you don’t have to either, and at that point we’re going to be in the book of Hebrews. But today a topical message on self-love!

 

 

 

Narcissism comes to us from Greek mythology. Narcissus was the son of a god supposedly, and he was in love with himself, and he was greatly admired by people. And the story goes that he looked into a pool and saw his image and fell in love with himself so that he couldn’t even eat. He became almost anorexic because he was so enamored with how beautiful he looked, and so we have narcissism.

 

The other day as I was meditating, it dawned on me that when Satan said to Adam and Eve, “You shall be like God,” that, of course, was fulfilled in some sense that now man is his own god, and I asked myself this question: What is it that God does that the narcissist does? Well, first of all, whatever God does is right. The Bible says our God is in the heavens. He has done whatever He has pleased. By definition, whatever God does is right. The narcissist believes that he’s always right. You can’t teach him anything. He doesn’t learn anything. Because he has this air of superiority, he knows it all. He already has a better perspective than anyone else.

 

Another characteristic of God is that everything exists for Him. The Bible says in the book of Revelation that all things were created for God, and for His pleasure they were created. Now let me describe a narcissist. He is someone who processes all information through two important questions. How does this make me look? How does this make me feel? Feeling good about himself is incredibly important, and if you mention that someone else is successful he will become very, very envious and even angry that he is not recognized, because everyone else exists for what could be called narcissistic supply, namely to feed their ego. So they have a sense of entitlement. They really believe that the world owes them, and when the world doesn’t stand up and give them what they believe they deserve, what you’ll find is a great deal of anger, disappointment and depression because people aren’t just recognizing who they really are.

 

Continue reading, listening, watching this sermon here.

A Daughter’s Journey with a Narcissistic Dad

Honestly, Rachelle’s dad was not around very much.  He was in a specialized unit in the military that left him gone a lot. She sees now that even his decision to be in this unit put his needs before his children or family.  She has watched her brother make a different choice in his military career to put his children and family first.  This made her heart very proud and happy for him.  This specialized unit also served to fuel his ego, and this fuel is something that the narcissist seriously needs. So she is able to look back on that decision that seems hurtful and unloving to her or at least to set a low value on her importance to her dad and see that it had nothing to do with her or her value.

Later in life, she began to relate to my dad as an adult. At this point, he had divorced her mom after having multiple affairs. Even this, she is able to see that her mom held her dad on a high pedestal most of their marriage and needed him to a codependent, unhealthy level.  When he was no longer the center of her worship, he lost his need for her and began looking for admiration from other women.

It’s not until many years later that the life experiences of the child of the narcissist start to make a little more sense. Friends often catch glimpses of the kind of ‘crazy’ parenting these individuals received, so he or she starts to get a healthy reality check like this: “Your mom is insane,” or “Your Dad is seriously messed up.” -Psychology Today

Anyway, from the very beginning she was sent into this whirl wind of insanity.  As this pastor says in his sermon, narcissist have their version of reality and truth.  They sometimes present it very convincingly.  Especially if they have been your dad for so many years, the narcissist sort of sucks you in to this other reality, and those close to them start to feel a little…actually a lot… crazy.  When she didn’t go along with his reality or tried to break from it, her dad was quick to end the relationship altogether. His world, his future, and his needs were what mattered, and anything that she might do to interfere with his happiness or any of this was not worth the risk.  Never mind, this is your daughter.  Again, this was mind-boggling to everyone around her, and mostly the only explanation was that her dad was “messed up”.

It was at this point that he began using manipulation to cause family separation, confusion, and contention. Narcissism is straight from the devil who wants no part of a peaceful, happy, loving family. This has continued to this day…10 years later.  Her family is constantly splintered, partially reconciled, splintered again cycled around his deception and  manipulation.  The narcissist views family members, even his own mother or children as objects.  There is a disconnect where he cannot feel what normal people feel about their family.  Understanding this lack of this ability of empathy has helped her so much.

Recently, her dad attempted to sue her over something that he knows is untrue as he was the one that emailed them copies of all the check receipts involved.  But honestly even though he sent her the physical evidence, if he has convinced himself that the lie is reality then I’m not sure if evidence will matter. I’ve learned from researching NPD that this amazing fact is true…

If a narcissist tells himself the sky is purple long enough, then a purple sky becomes a very concrete reality in his mind.

It’s not something I can speak very openly about since it is ongoing…But the heartbreaking part of his maliciousness was that even though they have not spoken, he knows she is very pregnant. Not only is this inconsiderate of her welfare but of the welfare of his grand-daughter also.

runholy-child of narcissistA normal dad would want the best for his daughter and his grandchildren.  A normal dad would put her needs above his own. I cannot imagine pursuing something like this with my daughter in the future no matter what she had done or even if she actually owed me anything. But when these thoughts come to her, that’s when she has to remind herself that he is not a normal dad. He is sick…broken, and it does not reflect her value.

Hope for the child of a narcissist

I’m sad that most of what I have read online says that adult children of narcissist have only the option for an estranged relationship or one so limited by boundaries that it can hardly be considered a relationship. Even when they were on speaking terms in the middle of estrangements, the conversations were very superficial (mostly pleasantries) which I’ve also read is VERY common in children’s adult relationships with NPD parents. But I believe there is hope for a couple of reasons.

  1.  Remember that you have had and will always have a dad in heaven that loves you, who wants the best for you, and holds such a powerful love for you that he would die for you.
  2. This relationship with God, Father can become very intimate as it may the only true father relationship you know. God has been there for her when her biological father was not.  God has held her and comforted her when her biological father caused her pain. God has been a very real father figure in her life, and she’s blessed by this.
  3. With God, all things are possible. Through prayer, I believe the narcissist’s heart can be softened and mind transformed. Not that these people can’t pose a significant challenge for the LORD, but I believe he is up for the challenge.  So there is hope that through prayer her father and their relationship CAN be restored.
  4. God is your defense and shelter. David was attacked by his father-in-law. It’s hard when someone who is supposed to love you and seek your best, seeks to harm you.  But God is protective of his children even against your own family. He will guard you and bring justice. Run to him in the midst of attack.

Number 5:  This may not seem so…but it IS hopeful.  I wanted to give you another sermon link that you may need for the loved one or parent struggling with narcissism.  This is not advice that I give, receive , or apply lightly. The sermon is In Defense of Imprecatory Prayers.  I listed this sermon in my favorite sermons list not long ago because it is on a topic that is not discussed a lot, but chances are most Christians have had a question about these strange prayers of David that seem like curses. This sermon answers a lot of those questions.

My advice is that if God leads you, consider praying the imprecatory psalms over the life of your narcissistic loved one. Many times the npd person will not seek help until they have reached the “end of himself”. The imprecatory prayers are a last measure to remove the protection of God from their lives.  It may be the most merciful prayer you can pray for your parent although I’ll tell you right now these psalms are heartbreaking and you will probably weep as the words come out of your mouth.

“My heart was ripped apart the night I prayed the imprecatory psalm over my dad, but I felt deeply that it might be his only chance at freedom and felt God’s clear leadership in taking this step.” -Rachelle

“One thing I’ve learned is that the narcissist is not free. He is God’s son and God wants him to be free. But instead the enemy keeps him in bondage of fear, resentment, bitterness, paranoia, hate, isolation, disappointment, feeling worthless, perfectionism, … Narcissism is a prison. The worst narcissist of all longs to pull others into his same type of prison. But understand that whoever he is, the narcissist is a very beloved child of God. God wants connection with this son and for this son to walk in the freedom that Christ paid for.  This is the greatest hope that we can cling to.” -Rachelle, on her dad

Resources on Narcissism, NPD, and the Narcissistic Parent Relationship

The long material below was very helpful in understanding why Rachelle’s dad did a lot of the things that he did.  It’s a lot, but if you have struggled with this and continue to struggle as an adult, I would recommend taking it all in. Also…

child of a narcissist - RunHoly.com

Here is the source for the below content on narcissism.

The symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder include the following:

  • A grandiose sense of self-importance (may be shown as an exaggeration of abilities and talents, expectation that he or she will be seen as superior to all others).
  • Is obsessed with him- or herself.
  • Goals are almost always selfish and self-motivated.
  • Has troubles with healthy, normal relationships.
  • Becomes furious if criticized.
  • Has fantasies of unbound success, power, intelligence, love, and beauty.
  • Believes that he or she is unique and special, and therefore should only hang out with other special, high-status people.
  • Requires extreme admiration for everything.
  • Feels entitled – has unreasonable expectations of special treatment.
  • Takes advantage of others to further his or her own needs.
  • Has zero empathy – cannot (or will not) recognize the feelings of others.
  • May be envious of others or believe that others are envious of him or her.
  • Behaves arrogantly, haughtily.

Children of a Narcissist parent…When their children grow to become more independent, the narcissistic parent may feel jealous or envious of the child. Children of Narcissistic Parents must adhere to the agenda of the Narcissistic Parent for their lives to be stable. Asserting their feelings, their rights, or their thoughts can lead to much bigger problems.

Here are some terms that I found especially helpful in understanding many aspects of their relationship:

Triangulation: a tactic used by narcissistic parents to change the balance of power in a family system. For example, rather than allowing two siblings to work together, the Narcissistic Parent insists that he or she be the go-between. This controls the way the information flows, the way it is interpreted, and adds nuances to the conversation. It’s also a way to feed Narcissistic Supply.

Narcissistic Supply: is a term used to designate the manner in which narcissists require, feed on attention. The best sorts of attention are approval, adoration, and admiration, but other sources of attention – like fear – are acceptable to a Narcissist. Children, small children, of narcissists are used as an ongoing source of this attention.

Gaslighting: a way in which Narcissistic Parents (and other abusers) use lies – intentional or not – to make their child question his or her own reality. A child may end up feeling as though he or she is crazy. An example would be, insisting that the sky is actually green, until the child believes it. Gaslighting is one of the most insidious forms of emotional and psychological abuse.

Traits of Narcissistic Parents:

While these traits may not match all Narcissistic Parents, what follows are some common traits of Narcissistic Parents:

1) A Narcissistic Parent has difficulty understanding the emotions of empathy and how to create meaningful connections. As the personal needs of Narcissistic Parents dominate, these parents have little room for the needs of anyone else. It makes it almost impossible for these Narcissistic Parents to relate to the feelings and meet the physical and emotional needs of their children.

2) A Narcissistic Parent owns the successes of his or her children. In a Narcissistic Parents mind, he or she has been sacrificing everything for his or her child – the child must retaliate by performing at or above expectations. These childhood achievements are then owned by the Narcissistic Parent as their own, “he’s a great soccer player – it’s my genetics. I was always athletic, too.”

3) Narcissistic Parents must be in control. No matter what. A Narcissistic Parent controls his or her children by dictating how these children should feel, should act, and the decisions to be made. This can lead to adult children of Narcissistic Parents being unsure of what they, themselves, like and want out of life. These Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents never learn to be autonomous and make his or her own decisions.

4) Narcissistic Parents emotionally blackmail their children. A Narcissistic Parent often is indulgent, kind, and sweet if a child is behaving in the way their Narcissistic Parent wants. However, the moment a child is disobedient, a Narcissistic Parent becomes enraged and cruel. This show of “I love you, go away,” creates insecurity and dependency among children of Narcissistic Parents.

She had issues with her dad attempting to control her (and others in his family) in these ways:

 Guilt-Driven Control: “I’ve given my life for you. I’ve sacrificed it all.” This method of control creates a feeling of obligation in children; that they “owe” their Narcissistic Parents and must behave in a certain way to make their parents happy.

Love Withdrawal Control:You’re worthy of my love ONLY BECAUSE you behave the way I expect you to.” So long as their children are behaving properly, a Narcissistic Parent will be loving. That love disappears the moment a child doesn’t meet expectations.

There are other ways explained here.

How Do Narcissistic Parents Abuse Their Children?

Narcissistic Parents have many subtle – and some not-so-subtle- ways in which they abuse their children. I have struggled with many of these (if not all) with my dad.

  • Compulsively lying to children
  • Ignores and/or overwhelms the children
  • Neglects needs of the child
  • Makes child feel as though he/she does not matter
  • Puts parental needs far above those of the children
  • Distorts the concept of “love”
  • Manipulation for pleasure
  • Says one thing one day, something else the next
  • Untrustworthy
  • Uses the child’s vulnerabilities to exploit the child
  • Subtly and not-subtly insults children
  • Ignores personal boundaries
  • Treats others as objects, not people
  • Makes child feel as though he or she is insane

child of a narcissist - runholyWhat Happens To The Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents?

Growing up with all emotional needs unmet, becoming a “mini-adult,” being the product of so much emotional abuse takes a tremendous toll on a child of a Narcissistic Parent. If the Narcissistic Parent does not stop the abuse or the child does not receive adequate help, one of two scenarios happens to adult children of Narcissistic Parents.

1) The child grows to have narcissistic traits, and becomes a Narcissistic Parent to his/her own children. This perpetuates the Narcissistic Cycle of Abuse.

2) The child becomes a “covert” or “inverted” narcissist who remains codependent and may actually seek out abusive relationships with other narcissists.

I’m The Adult Child of A Narcissistic Parent…What Now?

Healing from such a traumatic childhood is absolutely a daunting task. Having your own emotional needs unmet for so long may make the notion of recovery seemingly impossible. It’s not. Here are some guidelines for recovery for Adult Children of Narcissistic Parents.

This article gives some great advice on the “what now” issue from a psychological standpoint.  I would definitely recommend reading these, but put them back in the framework of a godly Christian perspective.

Do I Stay In Contact With My Narcissistic Parent?

Separating yourself from the sort of codependency that’s common from Narcissistic Parents may seem daunting. Sure, they were emotionally (or physically)(or both) abusive, but your Narcissistic Parent is STILL your parent.

As an Adult Child of a Narcissistic Parent, you have two options:

1) Total Estrangement – no contact, nothing, with your Narcissistic Parent.

2) Measured Contact – contact, but limited interaction with Narcissistic Parent.

If you choose to keep measured contact with your Narcissistic Parent, be very sure to follow some strict, clear guidelines:

  • Create very clear boundaries. Don’t reward your parent for crossing them. Be clear, but firm. If they show up unannounced, explain nicely that you are too busy to visit with them.
  • Shield your own children from their Narcissistic Grandparent. They do not need to be exposed to their toxic behaviors.
  • Rather than explain that you do not want to hear their advice, echo and mirror whatever the Narcissistic Parent says. Do whatever you’d planned to do anyway.
  • Go through a third party as your Narcissistic Parent ages – do not allow them to rely upon you and you alone as they need care.
  • Provide information on a “need to know” basis only. Just because your Narcissistic Parent tells you everything doesn’t mean you must reciprocate.

More Resources on Narcissism

https://anupturnedsoul.wordpress.com/2013/11/02/being-a-child-of-narcissists-breaking-the-silence/

https://theinvisiblescar.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/surviving-the-narcissistic-parent-acons-adult-children-of-narcissists/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-intelligent-divorce/201303/the-narcissistic-father

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/insight-is-2020/201405/narcissistic-parents-psychological-effect-their-children

 

 

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