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5 Reasons You Should Watch the Shack

6 Mar

Isn’t The Shack just a made up story? Yes. Is it even based on biblical facts? Yes, in some ways, but I like to think of it as an allegory. Pilgrim’s Progress wasn’t a true story either. But wait, God is a man and not a woman, right? Well, who of us has seen God? These are some of the questions people have about the movie, The Shack based on Wm. Paul Young’s book by the same name. This book and movie have taken a lot of heat, but most of the critics haven’t bothered to read or watch it. If you are one of the skeptics, allow me to share five reasons why you might want to watch The Shack.

1. If You Have Ever Suffered a Huge Loss and Wondered Why

The Shack tries to answer the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?” Many of us in hard times after a death of a loved one or some other terrible event have asked, “Where is God if he is sovereign?” This movie attempts to answer this question through telling a story about one man broken by a terrible childhood and then a loss in his adult life.

2. If You have Father Issues and Feel You Can’t Trust the Father

Early in The Shack we see Mac’s father beating him with a belt. If you grew up with a narcissistic parent who beat you, put you down or abused you in any way, you might find it very hard to trust God. This is because God’s original plan was for parents to act in the role of God to their children. When we were small and unable to provide for ourselves, we relied on our parents for everything. When they were abusive, it gave us the idea God might be abusive too. Part of the reason for this is that little kids can’t see the abuse. They won’t assume their parent is abusive, they just think they are bad. As children, we absorbed our parents’ sins and now as adults, we still feel unworthy. In the Shack, Papa goes out of the way to make sure Mac knows he is worthy of God’s friendship and love. That word friendship came up several times between Mac and Jesus. It reminded me of one of the least repeated verses in the Bible where Jesus says:

“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15

One of the problems we ACoNs have with our parents is they often won’t release us to be their friends, because they want us to be their servants and slaves for life. Of course it is a form of love to serve our parents–but not when we are adults who are forced to submit to a narcissist abuser.

The Shack reminds us that God is not at all like a narcissistic parent, he is always concerned about what is best for us. In the words of Papa, God says, “I am especially fond of you!” And what is so amazing is that he is especially fond of every person in the world, but it doesn’t take away from the wonder and love he has for each of us as individuals. God is a good parent who loves every one of his children equally, but differently.

3. If You Have Been Afraid of God’s Wrath

In The Shack, Mac asks Papa what about God’s wrath. And Papa says, “What? What are you talking about?” Mac thinks God is vindictive and revengeful toward sinners and Papa reassures him this is not true at all.

If you have not discovered the fact that God’s wrath in Romans 1 is really about God letting people go to their choices and not about revenge, then study up on it. There will be fundamentalists who disagree, but a thorough study of the subject might back up Young’s ideas in The Shack.

This film gives a great example of letting go through the art of storytelling. While it has theological tones, the story itself is well written, well directed and well-acted. People without a religious bone in their body could still enjoy The Shack—because it is a well told story and the heart of this movie is not about religion, but relationship.

4. If You Struggle With Judging or Forgiving Others

It also shows how we can let go and still honor our losses.This movie is not just about losing someone dear, it also carries the message to stop judging others and forgive them–despite the horrible things they have done.

Every abuser was formed most likely by the abuse of their parents going all the way back to Adam and Eve. While judging and forgiving seem to be at odds with each other, the way we can deal with both healthfully is to let go.

In the situation of narcissistic parents, we are healthier for letting go. The burdens we carry don’t have to hinder us and tie us down, God can turn our pain into wisdom as we grow stronger until we learn to fly. In this story, like in many of our lives, there were characters who needed to be forgiven and there were nightmares that came from the darkness that could only be put to rest by looking to Jesus as our brother and friend.

I was particularly touched by one scene with Mac and his father. Once we see our parents’ wounds we can forgive easier and we can realize they didn’t mean to harm us, they were broken by the fall too. How many children’s hearts would be turned back to their fathers if parents only they owned what they had done and asked for forgiveness? Of course, we realize most narcissistic parents will never do this, but we can forgive them even when they don’t say sorry. We are the ones who will heal when we do this.

5. If You Have Trouble Trusting God in Any Way

About ten years ago, I went to a seminar where the speaker asked if Jesus was behind one door and the Father the other, which door we would choose to go through. My answer was the Jesus door because I thought Jesus was the good guy who had saved me from the Father. That night I learned some things starting with the fact that Jesus said he and the Father are one. God’s wrath is letting us go to our own choices. There is no revenge in the Spirit of God. That whatever Jesus would say and do for me is the same as what the Father would say and do for me. I was first in shock, then in awe of God.

The next morning I got up at dawn and looked at this amazing and gorgeous sunrise full of pink and gold. As I stared up at it, I felt the Spirit speaking to my heart that this display was for me. That Abba, Papa, Father–whatever we call God was shining his love on me and I began to weep. I asked him, “Father, can you really be this good?” I will never forget that morning—it was the day that changed everything in my life. I have never had a worry about the future or my salvation since. My feelings were similar while I watched The Shack. I was profoundly touched by God’s love.

The Shack gives us a little God’s eye view of humanity where we can see how God loves every person. One of my friends who went to see it with me said, “I wish I could go and stay at the shack for a long time.” Why? Because to dwell in that shack is to be nurtured and loved unconditionally by God. To get answers from God. I believe The Shack is a little taste of heaven and it will change your heart, but you’ll have to see it for yourself.

NOTE: Some will have theological questions about this, while I am not a theologian, I will share a little of what I have learned from others.

Some Theological Questions About the Shack

God as a Black Woman?

The biggest criticism of The Shack has been its portrayal of a black woman as God the Father. But people who have trouble trusting God as a father might need to see the feminine face of God. God said, “Let us make humankind in our image.” If Eve as Ezer Kenegdo was created in God’s image, then certainly God has a feminine side. Jesus himself said he would like to gather the people in Jerusalem like hen gathers her chicks under her feathers (Matthew 23:37). There is a Bible verse which says, “Even if a mother forgets her nursing child, I will not forget you” (Isaiah 49:15,16).

The fact is God is Spirit. None of us have seen God. We know throughout the Bible God has manifested as the angel of the Lord in various places (Genesis 22:11–15). And God has manifested as a human even before Jesus was born, when three visitors came to Abraham and at least one of them was God. Even here, maybe the number three has significance (Genesis 18). When Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit was manifested as a dove (Matthew 3:16). Paul says Jesus was manifested as a rock for the Children of Israel (I Corinthians 10:4) and he was also the cloud which protected them by day and night (Exodus 13:21).

The Shack portrays God manifested as a black woman, an Asian woman and as a Native American Father. I see no reason why such portrayals would shock anyone who understands how God bends close to the earth to meet each hurting human in the place where we most need God.

Universalism?

Other critics have accused Young of writing about Universalism which states that no one will be lost but all will be saved. I didn’t get this idea from the book or the movie. But it is important to note that God is especially fond of everyone—the question is will we allow God to heal us? Some may not, but it has always been God’s dream to save everyone–he just won’t force anyone.

When Mac asked, “Then are there to be no consequences for sin, Papa says, “Oh there’s always consequences.” Then Papa describes how God gives everyone freedom of choice–if this is true, then God either must win every soul to his way of thinking, or lose some.

I was reminded of two verses:

1. The Wages of Sin is Death (Romans 6:23).

Some say the wages paid by sin is death. This is the law of sowing and reaping. Some call it karma. Jesus taught about the parable of the sower. If there is no sowing, there will be no reaping. We all will reap what we sow.

2. It is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4).
Some say sinners can’t follow God unless they are scared into it, but that is not God’s way, that is the enemy’s lie. How do we know this?

God has not given us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7).

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love (1 John 4:18).

The true biblical explanation of God’s wrath is actually letting go (Romans 1:18-32). We would all be wise to notice this passage is about all sin–not just the ones mentioned by the fundamentalist Christians. I believe when God lets go, the Holy Spirit releases people to their own choices.

The poison vine Sarayu warned Mac was deadly when helping him dig up the weeds in the garden of his heart, reminded me of how sin kills us. And if we refuse to allow Sarayu AKA the Holy Spirit to help us clean up those toxic parts in our hearts, we could become damaged and in danger of walking away from God altogether.

Disconnection from God is what is so deadly for all of us humans. This is why God’s enemy puts up so much opposition to The Shack. If people are afraid to watch it because some Christian warns them it’s dangerous, they might miss out on trusting God and having a better relationship with him and that could be a tragedy.

Where the Spirit of God is there is freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17).

Let each person decide for themselves.

Persistence and Resistance

14 Feb

We will not be silent
We won’t turn away
We won’t believe lies
We’ll check what they say

When people hate others
We’ll take on the risk
And refuse to be silent
And with love, we’ll resist

 

She Persisted, cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/listing/512296747/nevertheless-she-persisted-11x14?ref=shop_home_feat_1

She Persisted, Original Art Available in Etsy Shop

We’ll march with Lady Liberty
As she fights the insanity
Of misogyny and bigotry
We’ll rise up with humanity.

Rise up patriots
Protect the laws of the land
Rise up Christians
And lend a helping hand

Do justly, love mercy
Walk humbly with God
With love and truth, we can win
Let’s make America kind again!

Love–not hate, is what makes America great!

Love is Resistance

19 Jan

Most of us who have studied narcissism and dealt with it in our families see lots of red flags in our new president’s character. So how can we as citizens of God’s kingdom make a difference? We might not approve of the choices of the president, but we don’t have to contribute to fear, we can find subversive ways to bring hope and love to the people around us. Sometimes love is resistance.

At this point it doesn’t matter who any of us voted for. I say this–not because I think this man will be a better president than Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, but because whoever we voted for it is now a moot point and thinking about this will only tempt us into arguments and living in the past.

In this present moment well over half of the Americans who voted are disappointed and many are afraid. People are worried about losing their healthcare, their jobs and in some cases, even their lives. We can’t fix all these issues, but what we can do is walk alongside those who are marginalized and hurting.

We have several choices–we can sit paralyzed with despair and act helpless, we can choose to be indifferent and sit on the sidelines, we can choose to sit in self-righteousness over whether we voted for the right candidate, or we can forget about self and embrace the hurting in our communities with empathy. Our highest calling is to encourage the hurting around us and roll up our sleeves to include those who might be excluded. We have an opportunity to extend kindness, love and grace to our neighbors, friends and coworkers.

There are many things we can do to encourage the people around us.

  • We can march with women this Saturday (you don’t have to go to Washington, you can even organize your own march.)
  • We can practice good self-care, regardless of what is going on at the capitol, joy and peace come from nurturing ourselves and others.
  • We can go to places we might not normally go and listen to people who are not like us.
  • We can speak up when we see injustice happening.
  • We can let our voices be heard even before things happen.
  • Whether our friends voted or see things the way we do or not, we can always be kind.
  • We can share our gifts with others whether those gifts are music or baking cookies or writing a blog or book or giving a massage.
  • We can just be there for all people we know and let them know they matter.

heart-cookies-with-words

My subversive political act for the day is sharing cookies. I’m not saying my cookies will change anything in the political world, but it’s my way to reach out and add some joy and kindness in the world. Sharing cookies is not about food as much as it is letting people know they are valued and not alone. These cookies are going to the hospital where my husband works just to spread some cheer on a rainy January day.

I’ve been thinking about how Jesus shared food while He was on earth. He broke bread not just at Passover, but every meal he ate with others. And many of those others were outcasts of society or damaged, fear-filled citizens of a brutal Roman kingdom. Jesus didn’t fix their laws, but He came to let all of us know we are all of value. He also told us not to worry about tomorrow, because today has enough trouble of its own.

So no matter who we voted for, no matter what we have to give, the most important thing we can do right now is come alongside others and let them know they are not alone. This is the way we can bring courage to our communities. We have no idea what tomorrow will bring, but for today, we can share what we have with those around us. Let’s all go out and spread a little love.

P.S. If you want the cookie recipe, you can find it here.

How Do We Love?

14 Jun

How do we love?
Do we love with picket signs and judgment?
Or with silence and shunning for the people
who look, speak, think, live and believe differently than us?

How do we love?
Do we protect ourselves with weapons made of metal
or use hate-filled words of steel
to threaten those who see things differently?

How can we love?
When we wore colors for Paris and Umpqua,
yet shudder to wear a rainbow for a fallen child of God?

Did we love Umpqua
because we have all gone to class?
Did we love Paris
because it was the city of light?

Do we see Pulse as different
because we imagine we are right?
And believe angels left these at the door?
So we feel less need to mourn
figuring they got what they were looking for?

How can we love?
When most of our lives we have been building walls
between us and those we think unclean?
Where do we start on the bridge between? 

Where is our love?
Love that has failed over and over and over again?
When will we learn to admit we are sinners too?

How does He love?
The one whose blood was shed for all?
The one who mourns and sits with the hurting?
The one whose name we bear
while we try to put a distance
between ourselves and other sinners?
Are we not separating ourselves from him in the process?

Love Birds, CherilynClough.com,http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/20754218-love-never-fails

Prints and Accessories Available Here:
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Five Myths About Motherhood

5 May

If you had a loving mom, it’s a beautiful thing to acknowledge her for whatever she’s done for you, but it’s also important to understand not everyone has such a mother. Here are five myths about motherhood that might make Mother’s Day easier to get through if you are struggling with a broken relationship with your mom.

Myth #1 Giving Birth Makes a Mother

Giving birth doesn’t actually make a mother. It might, but it’s not a guarantee. What makes a mother is a loving relationship manifested through nurturing and empathy.

God’s intentions for mothers (and fathers) was for them to represent him by procreating in their own image and serving their offspring with other-centered love, teaching them to do the same for the next generation.

Narcissistic mothers give birth and serve self. In this case, birth creates a sort of queen mum to be waited on hand and foot—a so called mother who demands her children meet her every need. Sometimes this includes dictating who her children should marry or even if they can marry. If this is the fruit of her so-called motherhood, then giving birth didn’t create a mother, it just provided more narcissistic feed for a narcissist.

That said, we can still honor egg donors. We can thank them for life–without allowing them to control our lives.

Myth #2 Adopting Makes a Mother

Just as with giving birth, adoption is another opportunity to be a mother–but only if a woman chooses to become a mother through giving other-centered love. There are many adoptive mothers who tenderly love a child as much as any who gave birth. But then there are narcissistic mothers who merely wanted to acquire more children as if they were possessions and when the newness wears off they get bored of motherhood. Motherhood is more than the acquisition of a child, it is a relationship for life.

Narcissistic mothers often fail to nurture because they lack empathy. Empathy is the part of love that allows us to see life through the eyes of another. It’s sad how many mothers both through adoption and birth choose to shun their children because they have no empathy for them and resent their adult children who didn’t turn out the way they wanted them too.

Survivor Girl God Took Me In, CherilynClough.com, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/14231063-god-took-me-in?c=541752-inner-child

Print Available Here

If you had such a mother, you probably already know you can’t live out her expectations for you. It’s important to determine where your mother ends and you begin. Such boundaries will separate your mother from yourself and allow you to become yourself.

Myth #3 God Decides Who Gets to Have Children

While I was growing up, some people used to say “There’s a reason God doesn’t give some people children.” Hmmn… If we believe God has withdrawn his blessing from every infertile couple, then we would have to follow this idea through to its logical conclusion and assume God is purposely giving children to every mother who gives birth. Why would God bless crack addicts and abusers with children, while he withholds babies from honest, loving parents?

I have a friend who is a counselor for an adoption agency. She once said, “I think God stepped back from actively deciding who gets to have children a long time ago and left the choices to us. I think the determining factors as to who can give birth is more likely the result of genetics and health from living in a damaged world.”

That said, every child who comes into this world is still a gift from God. God designed the human family to receive love and a give love and a helpless baby offers us one of the most rewarding opportunities to experience love.

Myth #4 You Can’t Understand Parenting Unless You’re a Parent

To be a mother is to love and nurture. Some of us were mothers at an early age. I changed diapers and bottles and dressed my baby siblings since I was four or five. I never actually thought I was their mother and I had no plans to usurp my mother’s place. I knew we all had the same mother, but I still mothered them.

Chances are if you care about children at all, you have mothered in some sense even if you are not called mother. Mothering is the art of giving in a nurturing way. Mothering is planning a birthday party, soothing a wounded knee and sharing encouragement when a friend is discouraged.

When we think of mothering as a verb, it’s obvious anyone can use empathy and love to nurture others. Mothering can describe the behavior of older siblings, grandmothers, aunts, teachers and really anyone who takes the time to invest in the life of a child. Mother Teresa is a grand example of a true mother heart.

Myth #5 God is Our Father, But Not Our Mother

Some people freak out over references to Mother God, but where do they think mothers came from in the first place? The Godhead said, “Let us create humankind in our image.” Male and female were created in God’s image.

God therefore is as much mother as as a father. Those who are invested in patriarchy, might cling to whatever they’ve been told and struggle to see it, but those with open minds, willing to seek truth in all things, can’t deny God is both masculine and feminine. There are verses throughout the Bible describing the feminine face of God.

The kind of mother we find in God, is the opposite of a narcissistic mother.

When the narc mom demands we jump through arbitrary hoops to please her, our Mother God sets us free to be ourselves.

When the narc mom demands control of the relationship, our Mother God leaves us free to choose if we want a relationship.

When a narc mom makes fun of us and demeans us, our Mother God has designed us to be unique and beautiful and she celebrates who we are.

This mother God is not some false concept, nor is she in disagreement with our Father God–they are one and the same God.

To recap, anybody can give birth or adopt a child, but it takes an empathetic, loving person to be a mother. Anyone can answer to mother, but those who empower a child to grow into her true self instead of controlling who she might become, is mothering. To mother is to be like God. God is the ultimate mother of us all. Let’s honor both our heavenly mother and our earthly mothers and let’s release the narcs to take care of themselves.

True Love is a Person

14 Feb

Love is not some pretty flower-child sentiment
With all the fickleness of a springtime storm,
but an eternally abiding presence
that keeps the earth warm even–
when we cannot see it.

Love’s not some noble concept
to store in a book on a shelf,
but a fire which originates
and emanates from the throne
which burns to bless others because Love–
cannot deny Himself.

Love Never Fails PIllow, cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

Pillow Available Here

God is love.
He’s not only loving and lovely
His very essence is love
and everything He touches,
is drenched in love.

In the face of Jesus
we see the source of love and life,
the bearer of every good gift and
an eminent being who always gives up self
in order to serve others.

The words “God is love”
are not some a passive platitude,
but an active marrow building truth
always bringing in its train
the concept of grace in action.

God’s law is love.
The ten and the two
are simply an expression of the one–
the greatest law of other-centered love
on which the entire universe is run.

We thought Jesus was smitten of God
but the Father who sends every good gift
and pours the sun on the just and unjust,
would never violate His principle of love.
Love. is. God’s. character.

Servant God Book Audio, CherilynClough.com, GodsCharacter.com

Free Download Here

The God who asks us to turn the other cheek
did not kill the Son or demand a payment
because Love doesn’t seek its own way.

Jesus and the Father are one.
When we’ve seen Jesus,
we’ve seen the Father.
Jesus says He will no longer
beg the Father for us–
because the Father Himself loves us.

God is patient,
God is kind.
God does not envy,
God does not boast,
God is not proud.
God does not dishonor others,
God is not self-seeking,
God is not easily angered,
God keeps no record of wrongs.
God does not delight in evil
God rejoices with the truth.
God always protects,
God always trusts,
God always hopes,
God always perseveres.
God never fails.

God’s perfect love casts out our fear.

Without love–we’ve got nothing.

 

Five Ways a Narc Might Steal Your Love

12 Feb

Esme hates Valentine’s Day. Growing up with a narcissistic parent, she feels there is a love void in her heart. No matter how many people love her, she feels unloved. Her best friend Mary keeps saying she should practice self-love so she can open her spirit up to the love that’s already around her. In theory, Esme knows she deserves more love than her narent offered while she was growing up, but down inside, she still feels unworthy.

It’s the time of year when everyone wants to think cozy and romantic thoughts about love, but there is a much darker side to relationships if you grew up the child of a narc. If you grew up focused on your parent’s needs, you might find it’s a struggle to love yourself. You might wonder if the narc has stolen your love and it could be true. Here are five ways the narcissist steals your love:

  1. The Narc Offers a False Substitute for Love

A relationship (if you can even call it that) with a narcissist is one sided. You might love them and you might do a lot of nice things for them, but most of the time a narc will only use you and give nothing in return.

Whether you’re in a romantic relationship with a narc or were raised by one, chances are you’ve received more criticism than love. True love doesn’t try to fix you, form you or force you into another’s mold. True friendship is a two way street, but with a narc the relationship goes mostly one way. If you are still trying to please someone who constantly criticizes you, perhaps they are not worthy of a relationship with you.

  1. The Narc Tries to Block You From the Love of Others

The narc likes to interfere with your relationships by talking about you or putting you down and trying to get others to exclude you. This process of shunning or isolation is obviously not love, but it keeps you from loving relationships. The narc wouldn’t want you to have a warm and fuzzy feeling with anyone else now, would he?

When a narc is through using you, he’ll try to run you out of town. Whether it’s because you told the truth, married someone he doesn’t like, or voted for the opposite party, you have failed to meet his expectations and now you are the big bad villain. The narc will scapegoat you and try to separate you from the rest of your family and friends. This is not love. 

  1. The Narc Wants You to Feel Like a Failure at Love

A Narc will treat you like you are inadequate because you haven’t loved her the way she wanted. After all if you can’t love your own mother the way she wants, you must be devoid of love. This is not love but manipulation. Love is not jumping through hoops to please someone. The narc probably knows you are way better at love than he is and in order to keep you to himself, he wants you to feel inadequate. You might actually be very good at love. Perhaps you should try it with someone capable of giving love back to you.

  1. The Narc Wants to Rob You of Self-Love

If you grew up with a narc parent, you might feel guilty for loving yourself. That’s probably because the narc’s emotions and needs took precedence in your childhood. You might even sense your narent’s feelings before you feel your own. If you were taught that self-love is selfish, then you might not know how to love yourself. If any of these things ring true for you, it might be wise to find a good counselor and explore this further. You have the right to love and care for yourself. If you don’t love yourself, you won’t have any love to give to others–which brings us to number five.

  1. The Narc has Screwed Up Your Basic Concept of Love

Whether you dated a narc or grew up with one, chances are your relationships are influenced by narcissism. This is not your fault, but if you choose to become more aware you can gain a better life. If you are a people-pleaser or codependent or lone star isolating yourself from messy relationships, you probably need to study up on what real love looks like. If the narc has messed with your mind, you might be so used to abuse that you don’t recognize real love.

Love-Never-Fails CherilynClough.com, www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt

Prints Available Here

So that’s the bad news, but the good news about love is much better than you thought. Real love is much kinder than the so called love from a narc. The world is full of empathetic people who actually care about you. Not everyone wants to use you. And despite what the narc tries to say about you, you are both loving and lovable.

The sooner you recognize the ways the narc has interfered with your relationships, the sooner you can get the narc out of your life and move on to real people who know how to love. When you let go of the twisted versions of love imposed on you by the narcissist, you will be free to love yourself and in turn you will be able to give and receive love with others.

‘Tis the Season to Cookie Bomb

28 Nov

Here’s my cookie blog from last year. Enjoy!

Hi ACoNs*, Are you having trouble finding the joy this season due to lack of love in your narcissistic family? Make some new traditions with people who respond in love. Try doing some random acts of kindness and cookie bombing. Call it karma, intrinsic law or the circle of life, but life was designed for us to give in order to live.

Giving is a natural law like gravity is a natural law. Such laws are not arbitrary or forced, but in reality just the way the universe works. Trees give us oxygen and we give carbon dioxide back to the trees. Rain becomes snow and melts into rivers and flows to the ocean where it completes the cycle and returns to the clouds. Autumn leaves give life to the soil and contribute to life in the spring. Electricity and even the blood in our bodies runs in a circuit.

We were all created to give. That’s why the life of a Narc grows so stagnant because they think in terms of taking without giving back. The natural illustration of the Narc’s pattern is the DEAD sea. Narcissism disrupts the life-giving cycle because for those who desire narcissistic feed, giving only goes one way.

Upclose-cookies
There are many ways to give—encouragement, love, support, acceptance, unconditional love—all of these are free. It’s easy to get discouraged about giving when the people you love (and who you thought loved you) have been taking from you without giving, but don’t give in to the Narc’s patterns–give whatever you can and live–just don’t contribute to the dysfunctional cycle by providing narcissistic feed.

There will always be some people who misunderstand the debilitating nature of serving a narcissist and they will tell you Jesus says to love our enemies. Yes, love for our enemies can be manifested in different ways and in the case of the Narc it is best to let him go. Even God lets people go. When the crowd wanted to crown Jesus king because He gave them food, He disappeared from their sight instead of feeding them everyday. Giving too much creates dysfunctional relationships.

When we give to those who are not expecting it, we experience joy. This is what Christmas is about–giving freely in love for those who will appreciate it. So your mission, should you chose to accept it, is to go out cookie bombing.

Cookie-Bombs

What You Need:

    • A few extra dollars for drive through
    • The ingredients and ability to make cookies
    • Curly ribbon and party bags
    • Your favorite Christmas tunes
    • Follow the recipe below to make some bright and fun cookies.
    • Let the cookies dry thoroughly. It might be best to make them the day before bombing.
    • Fill party bags with cookies, tie with curly ribbon and crank up the tunes and head out to cookie bomb.
    • Start at your favorite drive through and give away a couple bags of cookies to the cashier while paying for the drinks for the people in the car behind you.
    • Enjoy your drink and head out to your friends’ houses to cookie bomb. Make sure you bomb as many people as you meet along the way–especially strangers! Whether they are a homeless, young or old, rich or poor, working or playing–just give them a bag of cookies and let the joy begin.

SUGAR COOKIE RECIPE

2 sticks butter or margarine

2 C sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

4 C flour (sifted)

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp pumpkin spice (optional)

PREHEAT: oven to 350

BEAT: butter and sugar in mixer until creamy

ADD: egg and vanilla and beat until smooth

STIR: flour, baking powder and salt in separate container

ADD: flour mixture gradually to butter/sugar mixture

ROLL: dough into a ball and wrap with wax paper

Cookie-Roll

CHILL: dough in fridge for one hour or overnight

 

Cutting-Cookies

ROLL: out dough and form into cookies

Baking-cookies

BAKE: for 10-12 minutes or until very slightly brown—Do NOT over bake—some smaller cookies may only take nine minutes

Cooling-Cookies

ROYAL ICING

1 lb confectioner’s sugar

5 T meringue powder

Scant 1/2 C water

Wilton food coloring pastes of choice

BEAT: all icing ingredients with paddle in electric mixer until mixed—don’t over mix or it will cause bubbles in icing

SPREAD: immediately on cooled cookies with icing spreader or store in airtight container

Icing-and-Cookies
You can get squeeze bottles for the icing at a craft store to flood the cookies. Just  make sure the first layer dries before adding the second.

 

Flooding-Cookies

 Give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, pressed down,
shaken together and running over,
will be poured into your lap.
For with the measure you use,
it will be measured to you.
-Jesus (Luke 6:38)

Cookie-Plate
*ACoNs-Adult Children of Narcissists

Enjoy this Christmas song by one of my favorite groups Pentatonix :

Peace Through the Storms 2

21 Nov

In my last post, it seems some people got the impression that I support partisan politics which is NOT true. I am sorry for giving this impression because I have no political affiliations and as a Christian, I firmly believe Jesus when he said his followers did not fight in the political arena of his day because his kingdom is not of this world. And yet he also said the kingdom of God is within us. My quest is to understand how Jesus wants us to live today to bring his kingdom closer to others with his Spirit.

How this plays out in the lives of Christ’s followers today is complicated. Many of us are invested in the security of our nation and also in the traditions of the Christian church. I believe we should challenge our thinking because Jesus and his early church lived a radically different lifestyle than the lives we live today.

Peace Pillow, www.etsy.com/shop/LittleRedSurvivorArt, cherilynclough.com

Pillow and Prints Available Here

Yes, I do believe countries should protect their borders. I also believe Jesus is the author of boundaries. We should and do protect our borders. I was reading in Facebook from a lawyer who has worked in immigration for years who explains how we already have a very thorough vetting process since 911. He says that it is much easier for a terrorist to get on an airplane than to pass immigration.

We have a much higher threat from young white male Americans who do mass shootings, yet we are not vetting gun owners. While this may seem political and sounds like a left wing rationale, one only needs to read the news headlines to realize this is true no matter who states it.

So no, I am not saying be careless with our borders, I am just saying let’s not let our fears keep us from helping the innocent which are mostly women and children.

I also started following on Facebook a young humanitarian physician and others who are working in Lesvos, Greece to help the boatloads of refugees as they arrive. Reading his stories has really brought this crisis home to me. These people are not terrorists any more than our neighbors. All these people (many who are children) want is a meal and dry clothes and a safe place to avoid being bombed out or shot. I have to literally ask myself “what would Jesus do?”

As for judging others who see differently, I have not judged anyone personally, but put the facts out there that God’s kingdom is different. Jesus is a radical. He gave up his life to save others and told us to take up our crosses and follow after him. This looks different to different people and I can’t determine where individuals stand in relation to God–nor was that my aim by posting the spiritual differences between fear and love. Sadly, we are in some ways repeating the history of what happened during the holocaust. Anne Frank and her family were refused immigration. A ship was turned away from Florida only to return to Europe and two thirds of the passengers went to concentration camps. These stories are repeating today.

Here are a couple books I have read that have formed my ideas:

This first one is about how fear and our ideas about God affect our minds and health. I have met Dr. Jennings and have dialogued with him on occasion.

The God Shaped Brain by Timothy Jennings

This second book seems more political, but it’s not supporting any partisan politics–as a matter of fact, I gave up politics eight years ago when I read it. Boyd suggests a radical following of Jesus. As an American who can trace my family ancestry back to Plymouth Rock and had eight great great grandfathers in the revolutionary war, I have always been proud to be an American and I still am–however I realize now that my loyalty must first be to Jesus. Jesus is political, but has no affiliation with any party—his ways are political only because following him threatens our comfortable way of life in the first world.

The Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd

As for being Spirit-filled vs fear filled, we see the natural results of this in choices played out every day. Fear kills us and others. When we choose to live with the survival of the fittest mentality we are saying “I better kill you before you kill me.” This never brings healing or peace. Jesus says He who lays down his life will find it again.

One of my heroes is Corrie Ten Boom who helped the Jews escape Nazi Germany and ended up in a concentration camp herself. Corrie’s story is not about left or right politics, but the radical lifestyle of Jesus that we are each called to live out. And none of us can tell another how to do this–it is a deeply personal decision.

What I do know is this:

“God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Tim. 1:7

“And there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear.” 1 John 4:18

I will admit to you that I am not without fear–it is a constant work in progress we can only achieve through God’s grace. For me to find the peace Jesus offers, is to submit radically to his compassionate Spirit and to refuse to be biased against people because of race.

I hope this explains my process to those who are concerned. And no, I have no desire to turn my blog into a political one despite the confusion over my post yesterday.

Thank you for listening,

May God bless each of you!

Cherilyn

Peace Through the Storms

20 Nov

This world is full of storms–emotional storms, health storms, financial storms, political storms and violent storms. For most people on this earth, life is a constant struggle to survive. I’ve heard someone say faith is like a boat to help us ride out the storms, but when terrible things happen, sometimes it feels like our faith has been capsized. What does it take to hang on when life is tossing us to and fro?

As I’ve been reading stories of refugees this week, my heart questions Jesus, why are you letting this happen? Of course I know Jesus has nothing to do with their suffering, but I want God to stop it already. There’s too much death and terror in this world and it seems to get worse every day. The only explanation I’ve been able to find for such evil is that we were born into a great war between God and his enemy. Because of that war and the logistics of it, all choices must be played out so that no one will ever have to run from a bomb again.

Peace be Still, CherilynClough.com, LittleRedSurvivor.com

Prints Available Here

I marvel at the compassionate doctors who are helping refugees this week. My heart has been thrilled again and again to see the beauty of their selfless love. The stories of young children who have been bombed out of their homes and lost parents and been shot at only to get on a dingy and ride out huge waves in terror. Their trauma is so bad that some scream for an hour after strangers pick them up on the shore. When they finally calm down and get fed and held and have their wounds cleaned, it is the most Christ-like thing I can imagine.

We are all refugees in this war zone, but for the moment, some of us are safer than others. I’m sad to see so many Christians who are so ruled by fear they want to shut all the doors and leave these children outside the gate for the wolves to devour them–wolves that at times have been funded by our own nation.

God’s kingdom is not one of self-preservation, but of self-sacrificing love. When politicians justify their choices to turn away innocent people and call their ideas Christian, it truly bears false witness to God’s name because Jesus loves all the little children–Jewish, Muslim, Pagan and Christian. Jesus has asked us to welcome children in his name.

So how do we survive in a world with constant shootings and bombings and attacks? How can we be helpers when they are not yet on our shores? How will we know where to be safe tomorrow? These are hard questions and we can only rely on God’s Spirit to lead us. There is really no safe place on earth except living with God’s Spirit as our guide. We have no safe course but to live by the Spirit. But Jesus longs to gather us all under his wings. He wants to protect all of us from a greater evil than this temporary death.

It is not death we should fear, but lack of love that is our greatest danger. We either get filled with God’s Spirit of Love, or other spirits–spirits of fear and hate and violence will terrorize our souls. I believe these horrible events are the result of God’s Spirit being withdrawn from the earth. The Spirit dwells in our minds and when humans and angels shut God’s love out, they are filled with fear and hate. In contrast, God’s Spirit always brings freedom and love.

Living in the Spirit of Jesus might seem like an abstract concept, but it really means to be in relationship with Jesus and live in harmony with his law of other-centered love. When we treat others as we would like to be treated, we live in the Spirit of Jesus. When we risk our lives to bring kindness to a hurting world, we are living in the Spirit of Jesus. When the power of love overcomes our need for power and we stoop to serve others, we are living out the Spirit of Jesus. To stand up for the marginalized and mistreated, is to live in the Spirit of Jesus. To risk our lives to help others, is truly living in the Spirit of Jesus.

One of my favorite stories about Jesus is when he was sleeping in the bottom of the boat, while all his fisherman friends were scared for their lives in a terrible storm. Jesus had no fear because he trusted the Father in heaven, and so he slept in peace despite the violent storm that was throwing the boat around. When someone finally woke him up Jesus calmly stepped up to the surface and held out his hand saying, “Peace be still.”

It is the Spirit of Jesus that calms all of our storms and carries us through them. The Spirit allows brave people to work in danger and sleep in peace—and it’s not just for those on the front lines, it’s for everyone who calls on God for help.

Let’s intercede for our nations and our world. Let’s pray with Jesus, “Peace be still.” And then, let’s live out that prayer with one person at a time.

If you are struggling with questions about why God allows terrible things to happen, here is a link to free audio downloads for Servant God, a book I helped to edit and write. The download is currently free.

Free Audio Download for Servant God Book 

Note: For my ACoN friends, I will have a new narcissism blog up at the beginning of the week, for now I wanted to talk about the trauma going on in the world. All of this misery comes from the ultimate abuser who is God’s enemy. I wish peace for all.