Ezer Kenegdo Still Rising

19 Jan

The situation of women’s rights is coming to a head. It’s time to stand up for women everywhere. As we say goodbye to a president who affirms and supports strong women, we are now going to be under a man who uses women. It appears the crowds for the Women’s March will far out number the inauguration. This is an indicator that men will not always have the last word about women. I am proud for all of my sisters who are marching.

This brings me to spiritual women’s issue at hand. The Seventh-day Adventist General Conference President (the church I grew up in and feel ashamed of since Wilson took over as president) summoned the North American Division to discuss what some believe is the GC President’s way of seeking to punish some for ordaining women.

Punishing people for treating women with equality should never be an issue in God’s church, my friends. Never. I will say it again because it’s true. The subjugation of women, the mistreatments of women, the unfair promotional track for women is sometimes expected in the world, but this should never be the case in a church which claims to represent God’s character.

If you have a disagreement about Women’s Rights, please don’t take it up with me—I’ve heard all the stale arguments against it that don’t hold water. Take it up with Jesus. Fortunately we are under the headship of one man–Jesus. There is ample evidence in the gospels of how Jesus treats women. If our leaders claim to be Christian and do not reflect this mindset, we can be sure they have gone off course.

Ezer Kenegdo Rising, Cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/listing/493033330/ezer-kenegdo-rising-print-boho-home?ref=shop_home_active_1

Prints Available in Etsy Shop

So women all around our country and world are waiting, praying and marching. There are many Adventist women marching this weekend.  They are doing this on the Sabbath and they are more concerned about the Spirit of the Sabbath than they are about the legal ramifications of breaking a holy day. In the words of Jesus paraphrased by me: “Woman was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for Woman.”

Where do we get such gall? God said let us make humankind our image. Eve was made in the image of God just as much as Adam.  Not only was she made in God’s image, she was made from Adam’s rib which gave her equality as in Adam’s own words flesh of his flesh.

While some say man should have headship over women because he was created first and had more time with God. But God put Adam to sleep while he created Eve, so Eve had her own thing going on with God before she met Adam. This is a reminder to all of us women that we do not need a man to be our priest, we can go directly to our heavenly Father and Jesus.

Woman is meant to be part of Man, but she is the feminine image of God. Many scholars like to remind us that Woman was made as the crowning act of creation. All of creation gets better and better each day. Eve was the climax. And when we say Eve was the climax, we are not putting down men, we are simply stating God’s natural order of creation according the Genesis poem.

What is even more important than the creation order is the name God gave for Eve. Many times the name given to Eve by God Ezer Kenegdo (Gen 2:18) is mis-translated “help mate” as if she was only there to carry his water bucket or cook dinner for him. This false assumption has led to the subjugation and abuse of women for centuries. I have copied someone else’s words because I am not a scholar:

“The original text does not denote a subordinate helper or assistant. It is most often God Himself who is called ēzer (“helper”) (Exod 18:4; Deut 33:7, 26; Ps 33:20; 70:5; 115:9, 10, 11). The phrase ēzerk’negdô in Gen 2 means no less than an equal counterpart, a “partner” (Gen 2:18, 22 NEB) (see Jacques Doukhan, The Genesis Creation Story [Berrien Springs, MI: Andrews University Press, 1978], 46-47). Adam does not name Eve till after the Fall (Gen 3:20).”

There are some who say we should not opt for women to be treated equally but keep this as an administrative issue and allow conferences around the world to continue subjugating women wherever it is a matter of culture, but does this represent the true character of the God we serve? I think not.

Within the churches, across our country and around the world, women as Ezer Kenegdos are still rising. They are rising to take the original place God gave Women and intended for them to have all along. We know we are wrestling in this broken world, but it would be nice if we didn’t have to wrestle within the church.

In the long run, it won’t really matter what either of the current presidents think–no matter how dysfunctional they are–whether leading the country or the church, Jesus will ultimately have the last word. And we can rest assured Jesus is a God who loves women, who always treats them with respect.

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.

MLK and Advice for the ACoN Soul

15 Jan

Being a white girl, living in a white neighborhood and not knowing any people of color, Martin Luther King Jr. was never mentioned in my childhood home. His birthday was never celebrated as a holiday until I was twenty, but I actually never learned anything about him until I was in college and we had peanut soup on the cafeteria menu and someone explained it was in honor of him. By then I was interested in civil rights because I’d begun to have friends of color who explained to me just how hard it is to grow up with racism.

For years, I thought of King as a wonderful man of God who believed in non-violence and had great quotes, but it wasn’t until I discovered the level of narcissistic abuse in my own family that I really began to resonate with King’s sayings. Perhaps only those who have had to fight for their freedom can truly appreciate his statements.

It’s true, he was fighting for civil rights, but Martin Luther King Jr. brings wisdom to the collective human race and he especially speaks to all who have been oppressed. Today, I hold many of his sayings close to my heart because I have found his advice useful for any people who have been mistreated and Adult Children of Narcissists certainly fit into that category. Now, more than ever these words ring true across our nation.

Our lives begin to end
the day we become silent
about things that matter.
-MLK

Anyone who has been marginalized or abused knows this is only too true. When one of my siblings once told me, “We can never live until our parents are dead,” I cried because I didn’t want them to die, but I wanted to live.

There is something about the human soul that despises being silent about the things that matter and yet many of us were taught we had no voice. No matter what kind of abuse you have suffered, finding your voice is a vital step to your recovery.

 

mlk-1000

King, in few words, has undone a lifetime of silence because he gave us permission to say, It’s not okay for people to marginalized me or lie to me and lie about me. It’s not okay to triangulate behind my back and I don’t have to put up with rude behavior–whether it’s calling up my friends to talk about me or writing rude things on my social media wall.

Now, when we have people who are blatantly abusing others whether in private family gatherings or in the media, it’s time to let our voices be heard.

Injustice anywhere
is a threat to justice everywhere.
-MLK

King calls us to accountability for all members of the human race. It doesn’t matter if we share the same skin tone, or gender or social status, when any one is marginalized or harmed, we must take it personally, because the threat is real and we are each called to be our neighbor’s keeper.

Of course there is often opposition when we speak up. Our abusers will often say “Not right now–wait until after dinner or the holidays or until we get a better leader,” but King has given us permission to say how we feel and share what we think with no apologies especially when he said:

The time is always right
to do what is right.
–MLK

King even had some advice that could be used for Flying Monkeys:

He who passively accepts evil
is as much involved in it
as he who helps to perpetrate it.
He who accepts evil
without protesting against it
is really cooperating with it.
-MLK

The ultimate measure of a man
is not where he stands in moments
of comfort and convenience,
but where he stands at times
of challenge and controversy.
-MLK

I find courage in these quotes, because even now there are people bowing to the powers that be–both within the denomination I grew up in and in our nation, but I cannot and will not forsake the principles of Jesus to please any human no matter who they are. Such a reminder is all the more meaningful when I realize King once stood on such principles and paid dearly for them with his own life.

And this brings us to some of the best advice King ever gave:

I have decided to stick with love.
Hate is too great a burden to bear.
-MLK

I’ve read about survivors who are bitter about their past abuse and are filled with contempt for their abusers. They have trouble forgiving in part because their abusers won’t say sorry, but they continue to carry the burden of their abusers with them everywhere. I can understand how they got there, but King offers us a higher path when he says:

Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
-MLK

This gives us permission to let go of the past and lean into the light. Somewhere on this planet there is a survivor playing beautiful music or painting an amazing work of art or writing a fantastic story of hope. Just knowing there are people who have survived much worse than I have endured and they are still carrying on to serve other people gives me hope and joy.

So in honor of Martin Luther King Jr., let us live our lives by speaking of what matters even when it is unpopular. Let us watch out for those who might not look like us, but who in character deserve and resonate with our own cries for freedom and justice for all.

Let us forgive and release those who have meant us harm and let us carry the light of love wherever we go–to work, to school, to church, to the boardroom, to the neighborhood–because we have a choice.

Every man must decide
whether he will walk in the light
of creative altruism or in the
darkness of destructive selfishness.
-MLK

Prayer for 2017

1 Jan

I’m starting this year worried Lord.
Worried for the health and healing of some of my favorite people.

Worried for the church I grew up in.
Wondering if some leaders will ever do unto to others
as they would like to be treated and treat women with equality.

Worried about my country
Where people actually doubt the holocaust ever happened.
And wink at a president elect who aligns with unscrupulous people
And makes fun of people who can’t help their physical attributes–
whether it’s the color of their skin, their gender
or a body twitching beyond their control.

Worried for this world.
Where strangers give their lives–not in love–but to kill others.
Where children starve and are hit with bombs.
Where refugees long for a place to rest their weary head and feet.

look-up-1000

Worried for myself, Lord,
worried I might never publish or make art that matters.
Worried my creative ideas will stay submerged in my mind
And never even make it into the journals.
That I might fail to tell the stories You have given me to tell.

Will this new year be filled with cloudy and dark days–
Or will we see blue skies and sunshine?
Like a sunflower, I turn my eyes toward the light.
As a sonflower, I lift my eyes to you, Jesus!
Illuminate my soul! Chase away the shadows!

The earth is covered in darkness, but a great light has come!
Rise, rise, rise, Sun-of-right-doing! With healing in Your rays!

Illuminate my heart, my family, my church, my country, this world.
Let the beauty of Your character shine brightly for all to see!

Healing from Narcissistic Abuse–Remember to Release

30 Dec

So this last year you discovered you were in a narcissistic relationship or even raised by a narcissistic parent. You’ve probably also discovered the narcissist will never see it, will never agree with you about this and of course will never change. Bottom line the narcissist is not interested in your happiness.

Realizing this probably brought a sense of peace because now you no longer need to jump through hoops to play a game you can never win. You’ve survived the holidays with a good friend and a couple of pets, but now what? It’s time to

RELEASE:

re·lease
rəˈlēs/
verb
 
1. Allow or enable to escape from confinement; set free. 
“the prisoners would be released” to set free, let go/out, allow to leave, liberate, set at liberty

2. Allow (something) to move, act, or flow freely

It’s the end of the year–time to remember and release. It’s time to clean out the closets and give back everything you don’t need. I don’t know about you, but I don’t need more guilt trips, shame or arguments about who I am and what I believe or how I choose to live my own life.

So where is the line for narc returns? Where in the world do we give all this crap back? Not to a store. Not to a friend or spouse, and certainly not to the narc.

Of course we are speaking of all the non-material junk dumped on us by critical, judgmental and narcissistic people. It’s not like taking a sweater the wrong size back to the store. At first it seems there is nowhere to take it, so we hold it all inside wondering how to absorb the pain. But you get to decide how this story ends.

Remember how those twin towers fell on 911? They imploded because they could only hold so much stress. People implode differently, we can only hold in so much heartbreak and stress and if we don’t figure out how to let go, we will eventually crash. Many have paid with their health, but narcissistic relationships are not worth trading for your health, so it’s time to remember and release.

You can call up the narcissist and demand an apology, but if you are dealing with a bonafide narc, they won’t say sorry. You probably know that will never happen.

You can play the victim and whine to your friends and spouse (whining and telling your messy story are two completely different things). You can feel like a victim, but then you’d be giving the narcissist even more power to ruin your life. Maya Angelou wrote, “Don’t whine, whining just lets a brute know there’s a victim in the neighborhood.”

Sharing your messy story will help you get your power back because it heals you and those who listen. You can also journal. It’s fun to release our stories—through writing and art. A couple years ago, I took an art journaling course from Brené Brown that was really fun and healing. This opened me up to taking more art classes online and I have found profound healing through making and releasing art. Telling our stories heals us, but it also heals others. It’s good for all of us to know we are not alone.

You can defend yourself and try to correct all the lies the narcissist has spread about you to friends and family, but the truth is it’s not you, but the narc. And your true friends already know the truth and the others won’t care.

Sophia Owl, cherilynclough.com, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/22403369-sophia-owl?asc=u&c=541259-soul-sanctuary

My favorite Art I made in 2016–A reminder! Prints and cards available here

You could also join the narcissist in beating yourself up and giving shame messages to yourself, but ouch, why even go there? Shame never comes from Jesus.

We remember and release. It’s a lot like catch and release if you like fishing. Don’t be scared of what you will find in the past. If you invite Jesus into the past, He will sort through this mess with you. If you don’t do religious stuff, you can still go through the spiritual practice of remember and release.

Maybe it’s been awhile since you cleaned out your closets, if so, you might need to go all way back to 1999. But no matter how far back you go, remember and release will help you make room for a better new year.

You can write a letter to the narc and tell them how much they hurt you and mail it in a bonfire. Remember the narc doesn’t care how you feel so this part of release is important, but don’t mail it to your narcissistic parents or ex-lover. This is just so you can acknowledge what happened and forgive yourself for letting them do this to you.

Whether you tell your story, journal or make art, if you are a Christian, Jesus is different from the narcs and He cares about people who are abused, so He is leading you away from the narcs. Some Christians will say give it to Jesus, and that sounds nice, but to date no one has actually shown me what that looks like. A friend suggested we invite Jesus into the mess and that seems much more feasible to me. Jesus is knocking on the New Year’s door of your heart and he is asking to come in, we don’t have tidy up our hearts for him—he already knows all of our secrets and he loves us anyway.

If you are not religious, you can still find gratitude for your journey with different signs along the way where the universe or karma was bringing you to a better place. Someone is watching out for you despite the pain. Open your eyes to this new and healing journey.

Remember and release has nothing to do with forgetting. As a matter of fact when we journal, make art or tell our stories, it helps us to remember and release our pain so the healing can continue.

After you clean out the closet of your heart from all the junk the narcissist dumped on you, chances are there will be a big empty hole left where the hopes and dreams you had once resided. That’s okay, it just leaves more room for new people and better dreams.

It’s time to start dreaming now how to make 2017 a better year. What have you always dreamed of doing? What will help you live a better story? It is only through releasing that we begin to live a more whole-hearted story.

I plan to RELEASE:

The Narcissists to play their own games
and eat their own word salad without my help–I’m so outta here!
Release the Flying Monkeys to their illusions
Release my own expectations of other people
Release all guilt and shame trips
Release weight
Release fear

And let’s not just release negative things:

I plan to
Release BOOKS I am writing
Release ART I am making
Release LOVE!

What are you going to release?
Please feel free to share in the comments.

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”
-Mary Oliver

 

 

 

The Polygamist’s Daughter Book Review

22 Dec

Anna LeBaron grew up in a fundamentalist Mormon cult and at the age of nine she was shipped off to Mexico to audition to be the wife of one of her father’s church members. At the time she barely knew her own father and when he comes to visit, she spends lots of time observing him while he writes out long messages supposedly from God.

She misses living with her mother and wonders when she will see her again, but she is told they must sacrifice for God’s work. Despite modest dressing and fears about worldly entertainment and music, the cult she is growing up in rarely speaks of Jesus, so despite all her trials, Anna barely knows to call on Jesus for help. It’s seems the god in this cult is the cult leader, but life is about to change for Anna in several ways and the twists and turns will take her to the edge of what faith she has.

LeBaron’s childhood was not one of comfort and security, but of child labor and neglect. I can’t imagine a more narcissistic father than one who feels he gets direct messages from God and neglects his children. And to be honest even though her mother was persuaded, her absence in young Anna’s life is sadly neglectful. As with other memoirs I have read from those who escaped a fundamentalist Mormon cult, it seems the mothers are often dealing with their own stress and abuse to the point of not seeing the needs of their children.

This story has several twists and turns that I was not expecting. I kept that out of the review so you can read it yourself. Despite all the things that happened to her, Anna LeBaron retains her optimistic and resilient spirit. As she grows and decides to take her life into her own hands, she faces even more devastating obstacles including murder, but she is a true survivor and retains her heart of compassion regardless of what others have done.

This story is not a cry for pity. LeBaron’s matter of fact storytelling seems to assume life just is what it is, and we all have choices in this life. Some of her family members made different choices, but Anna LeBaron makes lemonade out of the lemons life has thrown at her.

I received this book as an advance reader copy from Tyndale in exchange for my honest review. It came during the busy holidays, but I couldn’t put it down and finished it two days. I highly recommend it for anyone interested in true stories of survival.

Don’t Be Afraid

2 Dec

One of the worst forms of religious abuse is manipulation that scares people to be afraid of God. Fear has caused generations of people to be afraid of Jesus coming. Yet the message of Christmas is “Don’t be afraid.” This is what the angel told Mary and and what the angel told Joseph and later this is what the angel said to the shepherds when the angels came to sing.

It seems heaven’s mantra is, “Don’t be afraid.”

I believe Jesus came as a baby so we won’t be afraid of God.

Think about it.

Are you afraid of a God who gives up all of his power and lives in a womb for nine months?

Are you afraid of a God who was born in a cave with the animals?

Are you afraid of a God who comes as a helpless baby relying on us humans to diaper and feed him?

Are you afraid of this baby God who had to be hidden so a wicked king couldn’t kill him?

Are you afraid of a God who came–not to condemn but to love the world back to trust in God?

Are you afraid of a God who worked for most of his life in a carpenter shop?

Are you afraid of a God who owned no home or bed to lay his head?

Peace Angel, cherilynclough.com, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/24136406-peace-angel

Prints and Accessories Available Here

Are you afraid of a God who made time for little children?

Are you afraid of a God who gently touches the blind eyes and makes them see?

Are you afraid of a God who makes lame limbs walk again?

Are you afraid of a God who feeds thousands with five loaves and two fish?

Are you afraid of a God who wrote in the dust to set a woman free?

Are you afraid of a God who forgave Mary seven times?

Are you afraid of the God who taught us to forgive seventy times seven?

Are you afraid of a God who walks on water and shows Peter how to do it too?

Are you afraid of a God who washes the dirty feet of his friends?

Are you afraid of a God who allows himself to be captured and beaten?

Are you afraid of a God who allows people to nail him to a piece of wood and kill him?

Are you afraid of a God who dies for you and rises again so you can live for eternity?

Are you afraid of Jesus coming back to remake the earth so you can live in peace forever?

They were looking intently into the sky as He was going,
when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them.
“Men of Galilee, they said,
“Why do you stand here looking into the sky?
This SAME Jesus,
who has been taken from you into heaven,
will come back in the same way
you have seen Him go into heaven.”
-Acts 1:11

Listen to the angels.

Don’t. Be. Afraid.

Celebrate Only in Freedom

20 Nov

This is the time of year we hear lots of quotes and comments about being grateful. Sometimes we even read or hear admonitions to be grateful for what we have and for those of us who have fractured families, it can feel like a slap in the face.

Such messages usually come from superficial friends or people totally in denial and of course the flying monkeys. They come in a mixed bag of word salad disguised as compliments and good advice when in reality these people are completely ignorant about narcissistic abuse or devoid of brains.

This week someone complained how the main narc in their family keeps doing rude things. I wonder how long they will keep going back for more punishment. I mentioned there’s no way around the fact this person is a narc. If it walks, talks and squawks like a narc, what more proof do you need?

Some people might mean well, but we can’t take advice from them because all their nice platitudes don’t apply to narcissistic abuse. I’m sure you’ve heard these remarks:

“Well we’re family and family sticks together.”

Yeah, like super glue between your finger and your thumb? With some people you can’t get anything done.

“Be grateful for who is still alive–we never know who won’t be with us next year.”

Very sad! And you know what is even sadder? People who are still alive being lied to and lied about and treated with no respect. What kind of life is that? No thank you!

“We need to forgive and forget.”

This is often said by the abuser. When the abuser says it, it’s because he/she doesn’t want to remember their abusive behavior and they certainly don’t want to apologize for it. They just want you to forget the knife they put into your back so they can have the thrill of doing it again. Narcs are not normal people. They do not have empathy for their victims and some get a high from hurting others. When the flying monkeys say this, they are just channeling the narc, because they can’t think for themselves.

“Why can’t we all just get along?”

Because we can’t give up honesty and freedom to get along. When the family peacemaker says this, whether they are aware of it or not, they are acting as a flying monkey and taking sides with the abuser. Or they self-righteously feel good about themselves because they are not the ones in the drama. They might feel good about saying, get along, but getting along is what kept slaves in their place. Getting along is what sold many Jewish people into the hands of Nazis. Getting along is what keeps people in gangs. Just sayin’.

If you have family members or friends spouting these platitudes and asking you to come to the big family dinner, here is a litmus test to see if it is worth your time. Ask yourself these two questions–

1. Are they honest?
2. Do they treat me with respect?

Honest Elephant, Cherilynclough.com, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/23109846-honest-elephant-words

Prints and Accessories Available Here

I don’t think this is asking too much, because without honor and respect, we’ve got nothing.

So back to being grateful. I am grateful! I am grateful every. single. day. for my freedom filled life!
I am grateful for so many things, but the height of my gratitude is to know that God is not like a narcissist and gives me freedom to make my own choices. I am grateful for the knowledge I have about narcissism so I can quit trying to play a game I could never win. I am grateful for freedom.

A few years ago after the Worst Thanksgiving Ever, I wrote a poem and shared it with one of my family members. It was about other people telling me what to eat and how to worship and how to spend my money. I was thirty-five at the time and trying to find my voice and trying cut the control strings from my family of origin.

My poem basically said I was reclaiming my own right to these things. My family member listened to my poem, then said, “Wow! That’s a very selfish poem–it’s all about you.” I was stunned. The words of this family member echoed what my parents had taught me and I didn’t know how to separate myself from the lies, so I ripped up the poem and asked Jesus to forgive me for being so selfish. It would take me another ten years to wake up.

So every holiday I am very grateful to be awake, I am grateful to no longer be brainwashed to live my life to please other people. I am grateful to discern lies from truth. To know myself and know my God.

So if you are feeling sad about all the mind twists and gaslighting and being ostracized this holiday season, remember to look for the silver lining. Here is the sad truth: narcissistic people bring us joy only in their absence. If they weren’t narcs, they would use honesty and respect to bring us back home, but by their very nature, narcs find truth, love and freedom impossible.

So here’s to a narc-free life–with truth, love and freedom! I can drink to that!

Giving Women Wings

17 Nov

Girlfriends we are in a war. Not the kind you read about in the news feed, but a private and personal war. It’s an attack on woman-kind. And the enemy is not cut and dried like one sports team against the other where the color of the uniform informs. It’s a war of men against woman–but not all men. It’s hidden abuse behind closed doors with men who view women as less than themselves. The battle is real for a mother who can’t sleep at night because the man she married and the father of her child is an abusive narcissist.

In a world where people are fighting over whether it’s PC to wear safety pins, God calls Women and there are true Ezer Kenegdos who are rising and making a difference with their hands and feet. I’d like to introduce you to a ministry called, “Give Her Wings.” Their goal is to help women get on their feet and find their wings.

Many times women are shamed by the church and accused of being codependent, but the truth is many victims of narcissistic abuse are stuck in a trauma bond. This means they have been abused to the point they can’t find themselves anymore. These women are in a fight for survival and any little crumb of kindness thrown at them by the narcissist–while it might seem like nourishment to to them—is actually a part of the poison. These lies are part of the abuse cycle to reel women in with kindness and then berate them with abuse. Such treatment could wear down the strongest of women if she is gas-lighted on a daily basis.

Give Her Wings is making a difference one woman, one family at a time. We know narcs rarely change. When these women wait for their abusers to change, it erodes their self-worth and damages their children who are growing up with fighting in the home. The only solution to such horrible abuse is to go no contact, but because so many Christians are ignorant about narcissistic abuse, these women often fall through the cracks because they feel ashamed to ask for help.

This is where Give Her Wings not only offers financial support, but spiritual and emotional support to help women remember who they were created to be in order to regain their wings of independence. Here is some of their philosophy in their own words:

“We do not encourage our mamas to look back at their old life with their abusive ex-husbands; we do not link them to those men. That is over and done with. We encourage them to move forward and press on to the new life Jesus is giving them. And we do everything we can to help with that.” -David

“We love our mamas, we do not try to help anyone “reconcile” with an abuser, knowing that this is impossible. We meet vulnerability with even more dignity and we give mercy right where they are and where we are.” –Megan

I was recently honored when Give Her Wings purchased some of my art and I decided to look into their platform and I was amazed what a small group of people can do when they serve one woman at a time. It literally brought tears to my eyes.

Ezer Angel, cherilynclough.com, http://www.redbubble.com/people/littlered7/works/23882013-ezer-kenegdo-angel

Prints and Pillows Available Here

I’ve thought a lot about women–how God created us as Ezer Kenegdos to reflect Herself–the feminine side of God. That God Herself also is called Ezer several times when the crisis is great and people need a lifesaver. The women (and men) at Give Her Wings are acting as true lifesavers, true Ezer Kenegdos helping God restore women by helping them rediscover their original Ezer glory and freedom in their Creator. This is the way to healing—to know who created us and who we were meant to be–I believe this is the only way any of us can find our true healing.

So I was just playing around with my paper and glue and this angel showed up to remind me we can all be Ezer Kenegdos–we can all be lifesavers who come alongside–this is who we were designed to be. When I am painting, I never know how the art will emerge. As I prayed for this ministry called Give Her Wings, I was reminded of so many ways we can all be angels to give other women wings and I added a few ideas at the bottom.

As Christmas approaches Give Her Wings has raised gifts for twenty two mothers and over forty children this Christmas. That’s amazing, but they continue to work all year round to free women from the chains of abuse. Their website and facebook page offer articles to help women support others and realize what narcissism is so they can get on with their lives and fly.

Bravo to Give Her Wings! I can’t imagine a more powerful work! Let’s follow the example of Give Her Wings and look for opportunities to serve the women and children around us.

PS If you are looking for a worthy cause to donate to before the end of the year, I highly recommend Give Her Wings.

Don’t forget to check out their links:

About Give Her Wings

Give Her Wings Website

Give Her Wings on Facebook

A Great Article About Trauma Bonds

Ezer Kenegdo Rising

11 Nov

In the beginning God created Man, but he was not all that–because even though God created Man with perfection, something was missing–Man wasn’t whole. We know this because God looked at him and said, “It’s not good for Man to be alone.”

So God put Man to sleep and took a rib out of him to form Woman. This rib was to remind Man that Woman was not a separate entity, but an actual part of him. Man recognized this when he saw her and declared, “She is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh!” This caused Man to love and care for Woman’s body and soul as much as his own.

But God didn’t create Woman to be an extension of Man. Woman was designed with a mind of her own to test and strengthen Man though the experiences of life. When God named Woman, She declared her an “Ezer Kenegdo” which means, the “Lifesaver who comes alongside.” God Herself is called Ezer just a few times in the Bible and every time, God is referenced as coming through to save the day when everything looks hopeless and lost.

Woman, as the crowning act of creation, was given a God-like role to serve and provide hope and love to save Man’s life. Of course this was not a one way transaction–Man would be blessed by the experience to love Woman and she would be blessed by the experience of loving Man. As long as they continued to serve each other, they would enjoy a beautiful symbiotic relationship of equality where neither controlled, nor manipulated the other. For a while this worked and all was well in Paradise.

Ezer Kenegdo Rising, Cherilynclough.com, https://www.etsy.com/listing/493033330/ezer-kenegdo-rising-print-boho-home?ref=shop_home_active_1
Then one day Man decided to do his thing while Woman did hers. Instead of working together, Woman ended up vulnerable and alone and deceived by a charmer. This resulted in Man choosing to protect self and before they knew it, they discovered they were both naked and ashamed. Instead of Man owning his junk and Woman owning hers, they blamed each other, the charmer and ultimately God.

God hadn’t changed. She was the same. She called for Man and Woman and found them both hiding in the bushes trying on fig leaves as if God couldn’t see through Her own creation. God had created this beautiful unity between two versatile parts who were two, yet one, but now their unity was broken and it grieved Her.

It was time to tell them the truth. Because they had fractured their unity, the struggle was harsh. Man was stronger and he would lord over Woman. Woman would now pine for their lost intimacy and use all sorts of manipulation to get Man’s love back. Their own insecurities and shame began to block the connection between them.

Man figured if one Woman could save his life, perhaps he could become immortal if he had more Women. Woman, heartbroken sought ways to manipulate Man to regain her status. Woman’s plans backfired. Man’s love of power grew greater than Man’s love for Woman and their connection faded.

This broken pattern has been passed down from our first parents to us today. Woman, who was once the crowning act of creation and created in the shape of God Herself, was altered by her own scheming and manipulations. Man used his power over Woman and downgraded her title to “help-mate.” He now expected her to carry his water bucket and quench his thirst–only to thrown Woman into the ditch whenever he was in a bad mood.

No one has seen God except what humans have seen in the face of the God/Man Jesus. Yet Man is only half of the image of God because Male and Female were both made in God’s image. We have seen the masculine face of God in Jesus, but the feminine face is more obscure. God could have just as easily come to us as a Woman, but perhaps God came as a Man because Man had stolen all the power from Woman.

In order to meet broken humans where they were. God had to manifest Herself/Himself as a Man to lead because Woman, the Ezer Kenegdo–the one who was meant to be a lifesaver for Man, was now broken down and infertile by Man’s desire to rule over her. So God entered human history as a Man in order to lead both sexes back to health and equality. Thus it would be said “In Christ there are no males or females.”

After this happened, Woman began to get her power back because of the God/Man Jesus.

Woman, who had slept with men to gain back her love, now found her value restored through the God/Man Jesus.

Woman, who had demons in her soul, was now set free by the God/Man Jesus.

Woman, who was once forced outside the temple, was now beckoned inside by the God/Man Jesus.

Woman, long shut out of educational pursuits and status by Man, was now being restored by sitting at the feet of the God/Man Jesus.

Woman who was once shut out and overwhelmed with grief, was healed and restored by the God/Man Jesus. And so out of gratitude, Woman spent all she had to show her appreciation by washing the feet of the God/Man Jesus.

And God, knowing what had been stolen from Woman by Man’s greed and desire to lord it over Woman, gave Woman the greatest tasks of all–to carry the God/Man Jesus in her body, to nurture the God/Man Jesus’s human mind and body and to be the first person to announce to the world that the God/Man Jesus had accomplished His mission when He arose from the grave.

Yet even with such proof and the fact that both Man and Woman were created in God’s image, Man still assumes God is male and Man continues to deny Woman her status as the Ezer Kenegdo. Man continues to use Woman and exalt himself above her, but Woman will not be subjected to Man for eternity. Man has taken very little thought of the feminine face of God, but what a surprise he will have when he looks into the eyes of the Ezer, the God whose image Woman bears.

Meanwhile Woman is rising!  Thanks to Man, Woman had nowhere else to go but up. And thanks to the God/Man Jesus, Woman is being restored to her original glory of Ezer Kenegdo.

Have you seen Ezer Kenegdo?

Ezer Kenegdo is rising as the brightest star of kindness and grace shining against the darkest night of oppression and misogyny.

Ezer Kenegdo is rising as a comforter who sponges the fevered brow of society’s many diseases even as she wipes away her own tears.

Ezer Kenegdo is rising as the baker of the Bread and pourer of the Wine–even while she is told to stand at the back of the line.

Ezer Kenegdo is rising even as she continues to endure her shame and pain because Man is often too vile to recognize the image of the most high God within her.

Ezer Kenegdo is rising as she risks her own life to call out truth and demand justice for those who are marginalized.

Ezer Kenegdo is rising as she leads the way in love for all people and points out where human judgments fall far short of God’s grace.

Ezer Kenegdo has been beaten and bruised and give her own crown of thorns, but because of the love of the God/Man Jesus, Ezer Kenegdo is carrying the cross too heavy for past centuries, but today she is finding her identity and worth through the face of the God/Man Jesus. Ezer Kenegdo rises higher than ever because now she knows her joy will come in the morning, when the dawn breaks in the garden on that final resurrection day.

Ezer Kenegdo is rising. Trained eyes can see her in Woman now, but she will finally be seen in all her glory when she is standing next to the God who formed Woman in Her image.

But  until then, Man, who has failed to recognize the feminine face of God, is shocked to hear Ezer/God’s voice crying out, “Man, Man, why are you persecuting Me?”