Hibernating? Wake up to Truth! 

Have our egos become so fragile that popcorn lovers can’t tolerate a social media comment saying, “Ugh! Buttered popcorn is the worst!” Many people are offended these days if you disagree with them about anything on social media. Some send messages asking you not to post a comment if you disagree with their words. Some delete your words. Some delete you.

But what about when we we have something to offer that could help someone in a life or death situation? What happens when a friend is discussing a hiking trail, and you mention the fact that bears are known to frequent the trail? Your friend wants to focus on the beauty of the trail and how far and fast he can hike, so he asks you to please refrain from mentioning bears. When you say you’re concerned for his safety, he tells you bears make him nervous. He asks you to remove yourself from the discussion. He’s more interested in looking like a hiking expert. He’d rather hike in denial, without being prepared for any emergency situations along the way. Is our own selfish, prideful reputation worth holding onto…even if it means being attacked by a bear? 

People tend to act like this when they are struggling with sin and don’t want to admit it. It can get uncomfortable when The Holy Spirit convicts hearts. When people are more concerned with self-perception than truth, it’s a problem God wants to fix. Most people would rather have their egos stroked with hollow compliments, than make room for God’s holy scriptures. They would rather push their own agendas, than humble themselves in order to grow, learn, and be blessed in Christ. Most people would simply rather continue living in denial, than accept the fact that we ALL need to repent, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” ( Rom. 3:23 Holman Christian Standard Bible). God knows we ALL need a savior to redeem us and save our souls! Eternal lives are at stake!  

Truth trumps lies. Though many people look for the world’s approval, Christians can serve The Lord, and be a light, simply by seeking God’s approval, and no other. “For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 English Standard Version).  

Climb out of your bear’s den, open your eyes wide to the truth, and get ready to explore the trail of healing and freedom that lies before you! 

Young at Heart

I just made friends with the cutest old guy ever! We lamented about modern technology. When a clerk asked how he was doing, he said, “Not bad, for a good ol’ boy like me!” His attitude made him seem young and mischievous! He made me feel happy and hopeful to be the age I am.

I love elderly people.  They have so much wisdom to offer, and their stories are such an inspiration. I could sit and listen for hours about what they did back in “the good ol’ days!” I wish our country appreciated the gifts of the aged and godly. My new older friend exuded the kind of joy that comes from knowing Jesus. I just can’t wait to see that young “whippersnapper” up in Heaven someday!

“They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,” 

(Psalm 92:14 English Standard Version)

Challenge: Can you find my both of my teenaged twin boys hiding in this photo?

Barbies at Church…Preach, Pastor Chocolate!

I walked out of my bedroom today, and laughed out loud… Barbies were lined up, one by one, their backs sitting neatly against each and every spindle of the balcony railing at the top of the stairs. Several held itty bitty Barbie babies in their arms.


I surveyed the entire scene with amusement.  “What are your Barbies doing?” I asked my daughter.

With confidence, she proudly announced, “They’re at church!”

Joy. I felt its warmth. I told her I thought it was wonderful that they were at church. She had also established: a parking lot with red and pink plastic convertibles which were lined up one behind the other, a Barbie to run the projector via miniature computer, and a food area (her favorite!) for fellowship time after the service. She then asked me if a lady could be a pastor or preacher too. (She already had a Barbie picked out for this job!)


I told her that first a pastor must be called by God. I told her that God calls many women into ministry too. This brought a smile to her sweet face. I told her God is pleased and happy when we spread His good news by telling people about Jesus. I mentioned a Christian female speaker I admire, and she asked me to repeat her name. I reminded her of how Mommy teaches Sunday School (She’s in my class, so her eyes lit up.). I told my daughter that she too, can tell lots of people about Jesus!

My daughter informed me that she was going to name her Barbie “Pastor Chocolate.” She told me Pastor Chocolate was going to preach to her church about “patience.” I told her I thought it was a wonderful topic and that people need to learn how to be patient! I told her I also thought even more people would want to come to church if their pastor had a name like that, because it would make them think of something good! After all… The love of Jesus is sweeter than chocolate!

When we are tired and worn down, we can become susceptible to believing the lies the enemy tells us about ourselves. We may think we’re not accomplishing much, and we may begin to wonder if our children are missing out. But in the chaos of life’s demands, there’s a silver lining: Our children are watching us. They are observing, questioning, and imitating the good things and the godly things. They watch us give our testimonies and walk in obedience to Christ. They are thinking about Jesus when they eat, and sleep, and play. Their Barbies might even just happen to be…going to church!

 Preach, Pastor Chocolate, Preach!

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Prov. 22:6 English Standard Version

Love and Support for Victims of Narcissistic Abuse

Narcissism is sin; it’s a stronghold of self-centeredness, which means it needs to be dealt with from a spiritual perspective. Because The Silver Lining is about looking for the sun in the midst of a sky full of angry, dark black clouds, I want to uplift, encourage, and bring hope to those who have experienced both narcissistic, and other forms of abuse. No matter how far deep in the pit you’ve fallen, how old you are, what circumstances in which you find yourself, God can meet you there right now. God sent Jesus to break through all the chains and strongholds that have kept you from being who he created you to be! “He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains” (Psalm 107: 14 New International Version).

At Angelaslittleattic.com, you will find The Silver Lining home page. There, you can click on narcissism, along with related, relevant topics on the damaging emotional effects of narcissism. These include, but are not limited to: rejection, depression, discouragement, abandonment, fear and anxiety, guilt, self-condemnation, anger, isolation, lies, and much more. The good news is that these damaging effects can be eliminated through Jesus Christ. Your victim status can be erased, and God can bring you to a place where you can stand tall and proud and confident in His love!

I invite you to subscribe on my home page, or follow me on WordPress. You can also share blogs to help others, via email and social media. You can follow me on Instagram @angelaslittleattic. If you are active on Facebook, I encourage you to spread awareness about how God can heal victims of narcissistic abuse and other forms of abuse. One spiritual approach, is to share this post and invite your friends to join The Silver Lining Facebook page. Readers can also find inspiration on many more subjects, such as: parenting, marriage, beauty, self-appreciation, along with friendship and relationship tips ( healthy boundaries, forgiveness, dealing with jealousy, toxic red flags, and more).

Narcissism is something that affects all of us. However, most people are not even aware that they are being used, abused, and victimized by a narcissist. My passion in ministry, is to direct lost, hurting, abused people to Jesus, so they will have hope. I want to use my words to connect people closer to God’s holy scriptures. The living, breathing words of God are the only ones that can really make a difference. “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Heb. 4:12)

Hope in Jesus, helps us find God’s truth. The truth helps us to heal, because it sends us on our journey towards freedom. We then have the freedom to live the joyful lives in which God intended us to live! I am thankful God has chosen me to be His servant, in spite of all my imperfections. As He reveals the next steps He wants me to take, God also continues to heal me, set me free, and give me the joy He meant for me to have on earth! It’s not an easy road, but I’m willing to walk with those who want to know how Jesus can change their lives.

It is NOT God’s will for His children to be depressed, desolate, and living without hope. It means there are things that need to be healed and dealt with deep inside of our fragile hearts. The silver lining is always up above. After all, the sun doesn’t stop shining just because the sky displays a temporary cloud cover. “God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ” (2 Cor. 4: 6).

 Be free in Christ! Shine your light!

A Narcissist’s Damaging Impact…Hope for the Hurting

Narcissist is just a fancy word for an extremely self-centered person. Narcissism is a sin. A narcissist is so focused on self, there’s no room to consider others as separate individuals with their own thoughts and emotions. This spiritual issue has roots in bitterness, jealousy, and denial; which are also sins. Narcissism is so selfishly intent on getting its own way, that it is willing to gossip, lie, and slander its victim to the point of destroying someone’s life, all for the sake of keeping its reputation intact.

Narcissists destroy their victims, causing immense pain, with no empathy or regard for the lives they ruin, in order to keep up false appearances. Those who are not the chosen victims, are still negatively impacted by the narcissists. They are often completely unaware that they are being cruelly used by the narcissist, for the sole purpose of causing further trauma to the victim. Why don’t they realize this? There are many reasons. The narcissist’s helpers have been deceived: lied to, manipulated, fooled, and tricked into thinking the narcissist is someone completely different than he or she claims to be. A conniving narcissist often fools generations, and thousands of people. 

If one grows up in a narcissistic household, the family members are trained to obey the narcissist’s every beck and call. If anyone rocks the boat, they risk a tantrum, and the narcissist will make that person pay. For most, it’s not worth the fear and anxiety. The family members learn to praise and go along with the narcissist, hoping to keep the “peace” and avoid becoming victims themselves. They join the narcissist in finding a scapegoat or two, victims made to look as if they are the problems in the family. But the truth is, the narcissist is projecting, transferring, and placing blame onto the victim in an attempt to hide his or her own inadequacies and ugly, dysfunctional secrets. 

Those who aren’t scapegoats, either learn to stay away from the home, or they join hands with the narcissist, hoping to please them to dodge their wrath, and stay under the radar. Though this seems ideal, in a sense, the other family members are victims too. They aren’t allowed to be themselves either. The entire family’s lives are centered around the narcissist. Family members lose their sense of self and find themselves left alone with broken dreams, wondering where their lost years have gone, and why their vivacious personalities have disappeared. 

Over the years, victims of narcissism find themselves shackled in chains of rejection, anger, despair, abandonment, fear, anxiety, self-condemnation, guilt, worthlessness, and the isolation that comes with abuse. In addition, victims are plagued by lies that they are have been taught to believe about themselves. The devil convinces them that the lies are true, because he wants to destroy people and relationships. Though these lies are powerful, they can’t even begin to compare to the power and authority given to us through Jesus Christ. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (Jn. 10:10 New International Version).

Prayer, bible reading, and knowing who you are in Christ, is the beginning of the painful battle. But it’s a battle worth fighting, and God promises victory. The bible itself is a weapon, and God prepares us for war. We are not fighting flesh and blood. We are fighting a spiritual battle. Ephesians, chapter 6, outlines God’s battle plan. This topic will be covered in a separate blog post, but you can get a head start by reading your bible and praying to Jesus. Prayer is the most powerful weapon on earth; it goes beyond outer space and into the Heavens where God hears your pleas for help! 

I’m just one person, out of many, who has experienced severe pain as if it was a constant, unwanted companion. But, I’m also a child of God who loves Jesus. I have been so blessed to receive the help and validation I so desperately needed. I pursued Jesus, and he pulled me out of the deep dark pit of depression and despair caused by narcissistic abuse. 

Pain’s value, is that it helps us to understand compassion. It gives us the ability to empathize, something a narcissist is unable to do (though he or she may be able to pretend). Pain is also part of suffering with Jesus, but it’s temporary, and we get to share in the joys of eternal life with Jesus too! “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory” (Rom. 8:17).

Jesus knows and cares about how many tears you’ve shed. He cares about the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual pain you’ve endured. The silver lining is that he loves you so much he endured far worse, when he allowed himself to be nailed to the cross for our sins. He died for you, me, narcissists, and everyone else in the whole world. All we need to do is believe on his holy name, and invite him into our hearts. He will erase our sins, wipe away our tears, and take away our pain. One day we will live with him eternally, and we will never remember or experience any pain again! 

But what about now? What about the pain we experience on earth? Jesus wants to take care of that too. “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Pet. 5:10). Give your pain to Jesus. He wants to take it from you. He already sacrificed his life for you. Let him take you into his loving arms.

  
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”                   Rev. 21:4 New Living Translation

Take Heart! Teeny Tiny Accomplishments Go A Long Way!

I have a lot of trouble with self-condemnation. As I child, I wasn’t given compliments. Instead, my faults were constantly highlighted. I have lived with the fear of failure for so long, that anxiety has become a companion for pointing out my imperfections. This is no way to live! 

I’m learning not to judge myself. I wouldn’t judge my children or my friends the way I judge myself, so I’m trying really hard to give myself a break. It’s difficult, but I’ve come so far from where I once was. I’m understanding that it’s a sin to judge myself. I have to ask God to forgive me, and to help me see myself through His eyes. 

I tend to feel very low when I haven’t accomplished anything by the end of the day. Today was a day that left me exhausted and unmotivated. I couldn’t really accomplish anything at all. But my husband reminded me that it’s ok. And God has been helping me. I thought I’d look for the silver lining in my day and search for the teeny tiny things that I did accomplish. I’m hoping to encourage you to do the same, if you too, are struggling with self-condemnation. 

Here are today’s accomplishments: 

1. Making my bed (It’s the one thing I make myself do every single day so I will accomplish something when I first wake up).

2. Not freaking out when my husband came home with a migraine, which meant my one free day was shot, because I had planned to do a project in my bedroom (That’s selfish, I know, but wait! This blog post is about no self-condemnation!). 

3. Helping my husband to rest and recover by: closing the blinds, getting him herbs and juice, and exiting the bedroom. (I can be selfless!).

4. Letting out my neighbors’ animals for some exercise, since they would be late returning home from a long weekend trip (We enjoyed the sweetness of all the pets that made us laugh with their adorable personalities!).

5. Texting a teen friend, and letting her know that even though we may disagree, I love her. 

6. Starting summer reading fun with my daughter for tiny prizes (I bought some packs of teeny tiny animals from Hobby Lobby. She has to read me a book each day to earn one.).

7. Not caving and giving my daughter all the teeny tiny animals at once when she asked to play with them. 

8. My teen telling me “Good job Mom!” when I didn’t cave in to my daughter’s request.

9. Running to my daughter and hugging her in the moment when she asked for help with something, telling her how much I love her, and having her return to me and ask if she could have another hug like that!

10. Quality time to seriously talk with my teenage twin boys, in spite of them acting completely crazy, interrupting me, and constantly making me crack up with their crazy jokes. 

11. Family prayer time (This is the time we gather together at the end of every single day in order to pray for each other, and family, and friends. It’s a reminder that we are a tight family unit with Jesus at its center.). 

12. Knowing I’m blessed and loved by God, because He has given me a family to love, who loves me back. He wraps His arms around us and provides us with everything we need. 

I’m super bummed that I couldn’t accomplish the feat of locating the bag of new taco flavored DORITOS that my son and I were craving. But hey, less calories! And on top of that, I wrote a blog post! I think, though, that the brightest silver lining just may be that today’s teeny tiny tiny accomplishments will in some small way lead to something bigger and more important. 

In fact, I just realized that today’s fatigue may be due to having battled anxiety this week. Today I woke up without it. I battled it this week by spending time in prayer, and focusing on God’s truth. My husband battled for me too. Perhaps that’s why he has a migraine today. My family is tired, but we’ve come a long way. It’s ok if I didn’t accomplish all the things I wanted. God loves me anyway. One step at a time. Love yourself. 

“There is no self-condemnation for those in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:31 New International Version

Addendum: Immediately after writing this blog post, I peeked on Facebook and was surprised, and delighted, to find the most kind and beautiful note from my dear, treasured friend who was also my student years ago. She wrote about the teeny tiny things I did as a teacher, which brought her joy as a student. These teeny tiny things led up to her becoming a teacher. These, added onto the teeny tiny things she has done for me, have led up to our lifelong friendship. Our friendship has led up to me having the privilege of leading her to accept Jesus Christ as her personal savior. I can think of no better illustration as proof that teeny tiny accomplishments lead to bigger and better things. God’s timing is amazing! Take heart!

  
Teeny tiny animals lying on top of the book, A Day on the Farm: illustrated by Sue King and written by Cathy Drinkwater Better. 

YOU Are Worth More Than A Gorilla…God Says So!

I love animals. They were created by God for us to enjoy. We are to care for them, as they help us with our work and comfort us.  However, given a situation where I had to choose between the lives of my children or the life of an animal, I’d choose my children’s precious human lives in an instant. I’d also choose the lives of other children and adults over any living animals.

Each human life is unique and created with love from the beginning of conception: “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well ( Ps. 139: 13-14 New International Version). There is no one like you, or me, in existence, and never will there be again.

Animal Kingdom
“The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel” ( Prov. 12:10). This verse shows God clearly cares about how animals are treated. He is angry when animals are abused, just as we are. However, God did not create animals to be equal to humans, just as humans are not equal to angels.

Humans were given dominion over animals, and expected to treat them well. God gave Adam the job of naming animals and reigning over them. “Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground’ ” ( Gen. 1:26). Noah was given the job of saving two of every kind of animal from the great flood. Then he was given the job of caring for them for forty days and nights as they bobbed around in a storm, on a gigantic ark. God wasn’t playing around when it came to saving animals.

Sanctity of Life
God gives permission in the bible to hunt. Native Americans and other respectful people used every possible part of the animal: meat to eat, fur hides for blankets and clothing, and bones for tools. God demanded specific animals to be killed as sacrifices for people’s sins. Though the sacrifice of Jesus replaced animal sacrifices, hunting animals as a source of food supply is permissive and mentioned multiple times in the New Testament: “He saw heaven opened and something like a large sheet being let down to earth by its four corners. It contained all kinds of four-footed animals, as well as reptiles and birds. Then a voice told him, ‘Get up, Peter. Kill and eat’ ” (Acts 10: 11-13).

However, one of God’s Ten Commandments is “You shall not murder” ( Ex. 20:13). This sixth commandment refers to the killing of human beings. God’s laws, which were brought down from Mt. Sinai by Moses, are still in effect today. These commandments are repeated over and over again in the New Testament. God clearly differentiates between killing an animal for food, versus killing a human being, which is murder.

Justice
Sometimes people make grave mistakes, and sometimes they just participate in outright sin. In these situations, animals may be placed in danger, hurt, and sometimes killed. These tragic events make people angry, and they seek justice. But God is just! People who hurt animals will have to face God and answer to Him. So will those who kill humans.

What about when a human falls into the dangerous path of an animal, such as a child falling into a gorilla’s habitat at the zoo? If it’s in our power to save a human life God considers to be of utmost value, will we help? Tragic events do not change truth. God has gone through great lengths to protect his children and keep them from being killed. Wouldn’t he expect us to do the same if it is within our power to do so? One saved human life can lead to another saved life. God doesn’t play around when it comes to saving people, especially when their eternal salvation is at risk.

Judgment
People are life guards, doctors, and nurses for a reason; they want to save lives. Human life is more valuable than that of any other creature. Unfortunately, protecting human life may occasionally mean taking the life of an exotic, endangered animal. In the midst of the shock, won’t we at least rejoice and praise God that a child has been spared from death? Would anyone dare judge, demanding, “That child better grow up and be somebody special!” Sadly, yes. People judge, as if an animal has more right to life than a child in peril.

Do people not understand God doesn’t want anyone to die without knowing Him? As sin threads its way through our society, people become blind to the truth. Yet, God waits: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” ( 2 Peter 3:9).

Privilege
Those who love animals more than humans, do not understand the sanctity and value of human life. To not understand this, is to not understand the truth of God’s scripture. It’s true that many humans are in a place where they need healing. They may have been rejected, abused, and abandoned by humans. Animals may bring temporary comfort, but they will not bring the comfort that comes from living eternally in Heaven with Jesus Christ. Humans are given the opportunity to make this decision; animals are not. It is a privilege to be given another chance at life, a gift to be offered eternal life, a free gift!

Sacrifice
God made it clear in the bible that Jesus died for PEOPLE. He did not die for animals. In the Old Testament, God demanded animals as sacrifices for people’s sins. In the New Testament, that changed. God sacrificed His one and only Son, so that PEOPLE, not animals, could receive Jesus and have eternal life. Jesus died, but God loved him and us so much, that he brought Jesus back to life! There is no death in Jesus! Nor is there death for those who accept him!

Death
In the bible, Solomon muses, “Who knows if the human spirit rises upward and if the spirit of the animal goes down into the earth” (Eccles. 3:21)? There’s a distinction of questioning the difference between the spirits of two different kinds of living beings. However, God makes it clear that humans have a soul and will face judgment in the afterlife. Who wants to go through judgment without Jesus? We need him to tell God, “They’re with me,” as he opens the gates of Heaven and walks us through!

“Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died–more than that, who was raised to life–is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Rom. 8: 34).

Eternal Life
Even though the life cycle can be sad at times, and we do experience sorrow when a beautiful animal is killed, the silver lining is in knowing that our lives are much more valuable to God…so valuable, that God is willing to redeem us and give us a second chance at life, so we can live eternally in Heaven with His Son Jesus… “For God so loved the world, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Won’t you pray, and ask Jesus to forgive your sins and come into your heart today? He loves YOU! He is knocking at the door of your heart. “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me” (Rev. 3:20).

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”

Matt. 10:29-31