He Even Sees Me in the Dark

3 Sep

This is one of my latest works* which is very personal to me, but I just listed it in my Etsy shop in case there is someone out there who would like a reminder that God always sees them no matter how dark it seems.

Writing about my childhood this summer has reminded me of how much I used to be afraid of the dark. It might have been because we moved so much, or it could have been the fact that I am near sighted, but whatever the reasons even as an adult I used to sleep with a flashlight.

As I grew up, I began to see there are worse forms of darkness than not being able to see while you are supposed to be sleeping. Ignorance is always a form of darkness which in many cases leads to the even greater darkness of racism, prejudice and hate.

 

Dark-1000-WM-Etsy

While darkness comes in many forms and can be related to our spiritual condition. We all go through times of darkness. Sometimes people refer to depression as a darkness, but I think the worst darkness is to know what is true and right and shut out the light.

As Eugene Peterson so beautifully recaps in the words of the Psalmist to God in the Message Bible, “Darkness isn’t dark to You.”

This is true because there is no darkness where there is light. Jesus is the LIGHT who comes into all of our darkness.

May you always know you are seen and safe in the Light no matter how dark it seems.

Thanks for stopping by,

Cherilyn

*I am still learning to find my own artistic footprint and so I am experimenting with different styles.

Just a reminder, I am having a drawing for all who add a comment to my blog.

And also another drawing for all who share this on FaceBook and  tag me.

And if you should buy a piece of art from my Etsy shop and leave a comment there, I will enter you into a drawing for a five pack of Little Red Survivor Cards.

Provides All I Need–Little Red 23rd

2 Sep

Each day this week I am highlighting one of my art projects. Today I am going to share another piece of art from my series Little Red 23rd. I’ve mentioned this before but it is worth repeating. Many ACoNs have been abused and used by their fathers. This makes it hard to trust our Heavenly Father. Jesus came to show us what God is like and He is more loving and kind than any earthly father. And the good news is Jesus tells us that He and the Father are one. He even says if you have seen me, you have seen the Father. Still, for many ACoNs even the words of Jesus are not enough to trust God.

This is because many ACoNs have a very tender place in their hearts where they have been beaten or ridiculed or slammed by their earthly parents and their ability to trust any parent has been damaged. This is where some of us have found comfort in the 23rd Psalm. Even if we can’t relate to the thought of a parent caring for us, we can relate to the kindness of a shepherd who cares for his lambs.

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If you believe in a God, but struggle with trusting your Heavenly Father, consider the Good Shepherd. As we read Psalm 23 we see there is nothing narc-like in the Shepherd’s behavior. The Shepherd guides and protects his sheep. He also cleans out the wounds of his sheep to bring healing. He provides food and water and a peaceful place to rest. He literally provides everything we need.

Many fundamentalist Christians like to use the verse about sparing the rod and spoiling the child, but the gentle shepherd does not beat his lambs or his sheep. He uses the rod to bring them to safety when they have fallen over the edge and are hanging on a cliff. He uses the rod to guide his sheep and beat off the enemy wolves that prey on a lone lamb. So if someone is using the rod for an excuse to beat their child they have misapplied scripture. God does not support people beating their children.

Yes, he has brought us through the valley with the shadows of death but He also brings up out the other side into a place of peace. The Good Shepherd provides everything we need and we can rest in Him because He never sleeps.

“Provides All I Need–Little Red 23rd” is for sale right now on my Etsy store. This original, handmade piece is selling for thirty bucks if you use the coupon code–which is a pretty good price for original art.

I am having three drawing to kick off my Etsy shop and say thank you to my faithful readers–

1. For anyone who shares my blog this week, I will enter your name into my drawing to give away “Let the Sun Shine.”

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2. For anyone who comments on my blog this week, I will enter your name into my drawing to give away the “We Need More Heart” Flying Monkey picture.

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And for anyone who buys a piece of Original Art in my Etsy shop and leaves a comment, I will enter you into a drawing for a free 5 pack of my Little Red Thrive cards.* (You can read the quotes on my Etsy page.)

Shine set

Thank you for sharing, commenting and reading. Have a wonderful week!

Cherilyn

*Cards are not in the half price sale, sorry.

One Week Only 50% Off Sale on My Handmade Original Art

1 Sep

Another year gone by and my birthday is only a week away. I haven’t accomplished all I wanted, but hey, I am grateful for another year of life with my wonderful husband and friends and many of my FB friends and readers have become my family, so I wanted to do something to bless you. I am selling all of my original handmade art on Etsy for half off–THIS WEEK ONLY!

PicMonkey-Collage-for-website

So if you’ve ever had your eye on a piece of my art or thought of giving it as a gift, this is the time to do it. And since I’ve barely begun to sell on Etsy, I will also be giving away a couple of things.

To begin with you don’t have to buy anything to enter the first contest. If you like this post or share it and tag me on FB, I will enter you into a drawing for a free art giveaway of Let the Sun Shine.

Let-the-Sun-Shine-1000
If you are an ACoN and comment on my blog, I will enter you in the drawing for an original free Flying  Monkey give-away.

Here is the Flying Monkey up for grabs:

More-Heart-WM

If you buy a piece of art in the sale and give me a review on Etsy, I will enter you into a drawing for a set of my Little Red Survivor Thrive Card set. Each set of five cards has special quote that is healing for survivors. You can read the quotes on my Etsy site. Thank you for sharing my blog and art this year and for commenting either in private or on my pages. It’s going to be a great week and I hope I can bless a few people.

 

Shine set

How to Let Your Parents Grow Up

1 Sep

There is an imbalance between ACoNs* and their parents. ACoNs have high levels of empathy and their parents usually have extremely low levels. One man explained it this way—“My father can only feel concern for other people if they are suffering in the same way he has suffered. He can relate to the bum in the gutter because he is often drunk and out of work, but he cannot relate to the pain he caused me when he beat me.”

The Empathy Trap Book gives an explanation of how some sociopathic and narcissistic parents might groom and use their most empathetic children to fill their needs. Of course no parent wants to admit this so narcissistic parents will deny it and accuse their children of lying and do everything they can to ruin the child’s reputation to save their own–which of course is once again putting themselves over their children.

Dr. Henry Cloud in his book Changes That Heal explains the growing up process. How children start by looking up to adults and end by becoming equals with adults. Narcissistic parents do not want this to happen so they try to keep their kids one down even after they become adults.

Freedom-Lemons-WM

Some ways that parents try to keep their adult children in the one down position include using criticism, shame and guilt. I firmly believe criticism has stunted as many lives as careless gun play. It’s a slower death, but many adult children are crippled by the criticism of their parents to the point they never finish school or stick with a project to completion. The only healthy direction you can go with a critical parent is to move farther away.

Others will try to shame you by saying things like “I sure wish you wouldn’t do this” or “Why did you have to go and do that?” This is usually a manipulation to get you to do things their way. Once again run far away. You are an adult now and should be able to both own your choices and not allow others to dictate how you will live your life.

Parents who try to make their adult children feel guilty are some of the most sinister because only God can judge and tell each of us what is right for us. God Himself doesn’t manipulate us into being good, so why allow your parents (or church busybodies) to do what God Himself doesn’t do?

To try to shame or guilt or criticize their adult children is a parents’ attempt to stay in control, but it is also an indicator that their own life is out of control. When people are in control of their own lives, they can afford to allow others to make their own choices and even mistakes.

So how do you tell your parents to grow up? Writing a letter is useless. Most narcissistic parents will either ignore your letter or write a nastier one. You might be inspired to write the letter because you have had this stuff on your heart for years but trust me, your parents do not want to hear it. If they wanted to hear it they would have paid more attention to how you reacted years ago.

So here it is—the best way to let your parents grow up is to grow up yourself and stand in your dignity. Stop allowing them to dictate what your style of clothing or religious beliefs should be. Don’t let them criticize your spouse. Inform them talking down to you or your special someone will cause you to leave and that will be it (and make sure you leave.)

And don’t look back—unless they call with a true apology. You can forgive them from a distance. You can wish them well from a distance. You can send them a birthday card from a distance, but you cannot allow them to manipulate your life choices anymore.

And that means don’t let them make you feel sorry for not meeting their needs. One woman wrote to me and said, I can’t stop feeling sorry for my parents. This was after they did all number of abusive things to her and tried to ruin her relationships with her entire family. I told her my story. One day I realized that if my grandparents had done to my mom what my parents did to me, she would have quit speaking to them, but because I was an empathetic person, I kept trying to get them to meet me halfway and it never happened.

Don’t let them make you feel sorry because they feel so bad when you explain how they hurt you in the first place. It’s ironic how narcissistic parents don’t want to admit their mistakes but they want to take over your conscience and tell you how to live your life. People who abuse us are not in the position to speak into our lives. Just say no.

And don’t let them send the Flying Monkeys in either because you don’t have room in your life for Flying Monkeys. If people want to talk to you let it be from their own hearts not from a third party’s manipulations.

So you took a stand and now your parent is playing the victim. Victim or not, they have choices.

1. They can apologize and rebuild their relationship with you.
2. They can ignore your choices and move on without you.
3. They can slander you and tell everyone how mean you are.

Chances are they will do the last option, but don’t worry, this will be your opportunity to grow up and let them do whatever they want while you actually live a life. Carpe Diem.

*ACoNs-Adult Children of Narcissists

In the Valley of the Shadow

29 Aug Through-the-Valley-WM

Many ACoNs* feel abandoned. They were raised by parents who were consumed with their own needs, so they find it hard to trust anyone–let alone their Father in heaven. But no matter what has happened in your life, the gentle Shepherd cares and will make a path through the wilderness for you.

Some people think this verse refers to being seriously ill and while health trials can seem like a very dark shadow at times, the Shepherd longs to brings comfort and healing into all of our darkness.

When people are depressed they often speak of a dark valley. At such times the Shepherd guides us through our despair and offers the light of hope to bring us out of such darkness. Often those who walk and breathe are spiritually dying inside while they are barely aware of their condition. This is when the Shepherd gently wakes them up.

Through-the-Valley-WM

Sometimes when we’ve been focusing on ourselves for too long we discover we have gone to a very dark place–much darker than we ever intended to go. It’s at times like these the Shepherd calls us by name. He will keep calling until we hear Him and reach for His help.

The gentle Shepherd passes no judgment. He simply offers a lifeline. He holds up the lantern of truth to guide us up through the brambles, out of the ravine and over the pass to bring us safely home. Throughout all of our valleys, the Shepherd offers comfort.

Even though I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
    for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.
-Psalm 23:4

*ACoNs–Adult Children of Narcissists

As a long time Newsboys fan, I just have to add Peter Furler’s Psalm 23. Enjoy!

Art 101 Week 8

22 Aug

This series, Little Red 23rd, is one of my all time favorite projects because it was personal. I love the 23rd Psalm and I often pray my way through it as I am drifting off to sleep because it fills me with peace.

So why do a series of Little Red 23rd? Because Little Red represents survivors and survivors can benefit from the promises in the 23rd Psalm.

Growing up with narcissistic parents or religious abuse, has caused many of us to distrust our Father in heaven. Perhaps we fear God is like our abusers. The kind and gentle Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm brings comfort by modeling the ways God loves us tenderly like a shepherd. King David who wrote this Psalm was well acquainted with the way a shepherd provides, protects and rescues his sheep.

For Little Red, who no longer can trust her parents, understanding that God is like a kind shepherd instead of a controlling and violent parent makes it easier to trust God.

Little Red 23rd–He Supplies My Needs

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Little Red 23rd–He Walks With Me Through the Valley of the Shadow

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Little Red 23rd–He Prepares a Table in Front of My Enemies

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Little Red 23rd–He Anoints My Head With Oil

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Little Red 23rd–He makes My Cup Overflow

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Little Red 23rd–His Kindness Follows Me All the Days of My Life

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For the seventh painting this week, I made a word reminder.

Peace-WM

Obviously I am behind in posting my art. Between working on a book and projects for a few friends, I have been busy. It seems like it takes a lot of effort to collect all the pieces and scan them and post them, but so I will try to catch up before the challenge ends. We’ll see if I make it. Either way, my life has been changed by this challenge. I am no longer afraid of making bad art, because there is always more art to do tomorrow. When one gets in such a habit, it makes it much easier to check the ego at the door.

So I hope someone else takes courage to remember we don’t have to follow anyone’s schedule, but just commit to making art on a regular basis. That alone is enough to change our lives. Have a great weekend!

I Stand For Love

8 Aug

Today August 8 is I Stand for Love Day.

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I have decided to stand for love whether people approve or not.

I stand for loving atheists by honoring their right to NOT believe.

I stand for loving the homeless even if they should get a job. God’s grace falls on all of us.

I stand for loving those who are gay or bi or transgendered. God loves them, why shouldn’t I?

I stand for loving children enough to help them know their parents–even after divorce because all kids deserve to know both parents.

I stand for loving people who have divorced my family members because there is no reason for contempt and hate.

I stand for loving victims of abuse by speaking out against those who abuse others.

I stand for loving women and men with equality because God created us equal.

I stand for loving those who need an extra hand in hard times.

I stand for loving people by telling the truth even if I am shunned and lied about by my own family.

I stand for love, because LOVE (Jesus) stood for me.

How will you stand for love?

 

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