Should you try to change a Predator/Abuser?

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There are many in this world who have a compassionate heart and as such are driven to make a difference, to make a change.  After all, as Christians we are called to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. (Matthew 5:13-16)

Does this mean that we should try to change people, that we should try to change a person who is clearly showing the dangerous traits of an abuser, predator and a manipulator?  Should we go into a relationship thinking we can change a person by being a light to them and salt to them…a flavor?

Personally, I have learned the hard way that a person cannot be changed by another person…only God can do that.  If a person does not want to be changed they will not change, they will only devour your flavor that you give to the world and you will be left flavorless…salt-less, light-less–extinguished, and only the grace of Jesus will revive you (and the grace of Jesus is great because the Bible DOES say nothing can separate you from His love, so don’t let satan blind you from the cross).  The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? (NASB) In a relationship, you are not to be bound together with someone who doesn’t believe in Christ as you do because of the fact that YOU cannot change them and there is no guarantee that they will ever come to Christ and you will suffer for this because either you will be pulled away from the light that is in your heart, or worse the abuser, manipulator/predator will do far worse (remember you cannot change a person).

This being said, there are ministries in church that DO minister to people that are disturbed, that have mental problems and you CAN partner with such groups to reach out to such people if that is your desire and if that is where your heart is.  There are churches and local ministries in your areas (I can almost guarantee you) that minister to prisons, to shelters, to all sorts of groups that are in need of hearts such as yours.  My recommendation is to PARTNER with such groups and never go alone.  You CAN do something, you CAN be a light in the darkness and the HOLY SPIRIT can reach out to a lost soul through you, but don’t go alone.  Be smart.

As always, I stress, don’t become a victim.  Christ never intended that.

Matthew 10:16-20  “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.  But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues; and you will even be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given to you in that hour what you are to say.  For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of the Father who speaks in you.  (NASB Bold added by me)

See, Jesus never intended for us to be blind victims, He wants us to be wise in our walk, and when we are to speak out and let His light burst forth…UNDERSTAND that it is the Spirit of the Father speaking…and ultimately dear one THAT IS WHAT WILL CHANGE A PERSON, because it is the power of the Gospel that is life changing.

That is what I will leave you with:

Romans 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (NASB)

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Not more adult than God

 

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Why do we fall into destructive behavior?  Why do we fall into traps and go for people that harm us?  Are we weak?  These questions are asked by those on the outside who perhaps have never known a day of sorrow, a day of loneliness, a day of yearning…a day of longing…and yet there are grains of truth in those questions that can’t quite be denied, they nag at me.  They are offensive, sure, but truth often scratches at us, doesn’t it?  We bristle uncomfortably at it, we draw back in fear from it.

In our darkest times, we are weaker, that’s the truth.  There is a danger to this as well, because a predator, a person with ill intent grasps at this and holds on and latches on and uses every weakness, every loneliness, every insecurity, every piece that hurts to draw us to them as your anchor…because when we are weak, trying to stay afloat in a storm we seek an anchor.

As a Christian we know the truth.  The Holy Spirit tells us that truth.  He tells us WHO that anchor is.  He tells us WHO that ROCK is.  He tells us who will never fail us.  He tells us who can carry that heavy burden, He tells us who can heal the broken heart…but we push Him away.  We push the true Lover of our hearts and souls away, because in all honesty we say HE IS NOT ENOUGH.  Lets be real.

But why is He not enough?

Jeremiah 17:5-10 says:

Thus says the LORD, “Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from the LORD.  For he will be like a bush in the desert and will not see when prosperity comes, but will live in stony wastes in the wilderness, a land of salt without inhabitant.  Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD and whose trust is the LORD.  For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.  The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick; who can understand it?  I the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, even to give to each man according to each man according to his ways, according to the results of his deeds.

A loaded verse.

In my experience, time and time again I have put my trust in people and time and time again I have come away broken.  Some people have intentionally, maliciously hurt me.  Some people have hurt me unintentionally, and yet have hurt me all the same.  Friends, family, a spouse…people.  People who were supposed to be there in times of need and loneliness and yet when needed were not there to carry heavy, heavy burdens…because THEY COULDN’T.  I expected them to care for my hurt like the LORD cares, to wipe my tears like the LORD does, but you see, they can’t see the deepest parts of me, nor can they fully care even though their words may convey such care.  ONLY ONE CAN TRULY DO THAT.  And yet again I let my HEART get ahead of me…this deceitful thing beating inside and I let this heart feel and I let the feelings dictate that trust should be placed on another person who is just as flawed as I am, who perhaps is just as hurting as I am.

Do you see?

Have you done this?

Well, let me tell you a predator preys on this.  And if you don’t have Jesus as your armor, you will fall.

In previous blogs I’ve talked about how to protect yourself from online predators, I’ve talked about human trafficking, about domestic abuse…and all of this in some way perhaps can be brought back to who you trust.  No, not all things can be avoided.  You can’t help if someone kidnaps you.  But being LURED away as an adult can be helped.  You CAN protect your heart if your heart is in the hands of Jesus.

He is not an imaginary friend.  He is not a fictional character.  He is the God who became man.  He is the one who came from Heaven and died on the Cross for all your sins, all your flaws, for that deceiving heart that constantly is selfish, that constantly fails, that constantly mocks you, that constantly tells you that you are not good enough.  He is the Son of God who is here to tell you that you are his Bride and you are made SPOTLESS in Him and He has chosen you, and He DOES love you, AND THAT MATTERS!  In the end, if you do meet a man worthy of you, He must honor Him and in honoring Him HE WILL HONOR YOU, he will not defile you.  He will cherish you, he will point you to the Cross when you are weak because he will realize that a man is not strong enough to carry a burden by himself, he will take you back to your Groom.

Ephesians 6:10-12

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of His might.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil.  For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

 

The verse goes on to list (read on your own), the armor you are to put on: truth, righteousness, Gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation, sword of the Spirit (which is the word of God).  This is the armor you must have in your daily life, whether it is in dating, work, church, family, etc.  You must have it on EVERY DAY, because you don’t go to war without armor and satan constantly attacks you, if you are unarmored, you will fall and then you will ask God why…well, you were not prepared.

We often think because we are adults we can make decisions and we know better than God…but lets not forget…we are not more adult than God, and He knows better what can protect us.  If He whispers, or shouts to your soul: NO!  Or stay away, this person is bad…LISTEN!  Stay under His protective wings and seek His heart above all else, He is your/my beloved and He loves us well.

 

Stay Smart…Because you are Priceless

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It is almost indisputable that in this day and age love has become a word we have become desensitized to.  We don’t understand it’s meaning anymore.  We don’t understand that above all love is the very definition of commitment.

Not many are willing to commit, it is too much of a sacrifice.  The ‘what if’s’ win out (what if my feelings change, what if I’m no longer attracted to him/her).  What we don’t realize is that feelings are deceitful and they can wreck our lives worse than a tornado if we base love solely based on feelings.  We often use the term: falling in love.  No I disagree with this.  Falling implies chaos, an accident, pain, horrible consequences.  Love needs to be more intentional than this if we don’t want to be left with horrible scars that take years to heal (believe me, I know a bit about this).  Love is the thing that remains when the feelings go away, where you would still battle through hard days with that person even when you are hard pressed to like that person because you simply know that despite everything, despite the flaws, you would die for that person.  It is a friendship that develops and blooms, it is a seed that is planted and watered and cared for and then can be enjoyed with it’s beautiful aroma.  Love is not simply going to a flower boutique and picking a rose that you have not tended and nurtured (yes this coming from a person who has no green thumb).  There is no satisfaction in that.  But to know that the flower will continue to bloom in the garden where it belongs with your love and care, there is a satisfaction to that, because you have poured out your time into that.  It is the same with friendship that develops into a forever love.

Love honors above all else, it knows how to sacrifice, it knows how to respect that which is beautiful and pure.  It does not tear down and storm through and then leave everything wilted and dead.

Many of us have known the kind of ‘love’ that is not love.  The kind that defiles the very sacredness of love and we are tempted to never love again…but that is only because we have never encountered the Christ love that can exist in a man or a woman who know Christ.  You see, Jesus said this to men:

Ephesians 5: 25-28 (NASB) Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.  So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies.  He who loves his own wife loves himself;

If men were to HONOR women like in the verse above, a few things would happen:

  1.  He would give himself up for her, put her above himself (sacrifice)
  2.  He would sanctify her and cleanse her (by the washing of water with the word).  To me this means he would point her to HIM (Jesus), he would seek to purify her, he would not lead her into temptations that he shouldn’t, provoking her etc.
  3. He would love her as he loves himself…now lets admit it, we all can be a bit selfish and think of ourselves first, if men were to put their wives and think of them as they do themselves, they would have a happy spouse.

If the above is done, then it would be very easy for the wife to SUBMIT to such a man as it is preached over and over from the pulpits.  That is the kind of man that is worthy to be the head of a family, because he KNOWS what family is.

NOW, keeping all of the above in mind, many young and older people these days find it hard to find the kind of love described above, because as I said, not many people value that kind of love anymore, or if they do are tired of waiting for their Boaz or Ruth and so we seek other avenues.

This is where online dating comes into the picture for many ladies…and men.  So, if you must go on this hunt, in this manner, I would say please be safe.  There are a few steps you can take in staying safe:

The Online Dating Game: Tips That Can Help You Stay Safe and Protect Your Identity

The above article mentions not giving your address, phone number or real email until trust is established, this should be a give in.  I would also add if you have children, no meeting of them until a deep level of trust is established.

Don’t get lured into going far distances and don’t be naive enough to believe sob stories…because most likely that is what they are.  Predators prey on sympathy and if you are a caring person they will pick up on that.  Check facts…run background checks if you must (some go as far as hiring an investigator to run background checks though keep in mind just because someone comes back with a clear record doesn’t make them a good person…just hasn’t gotten caught).

Move slow, don’t get sucked into moving into a fast relationship, don’t let your emotions rule you, take a step back and let your logic take over for a bit.

Listen and watch for clues in behavior once you do meet that person.  Does this person constantly want you AWAY from friends and family?  This should serve as a red flag.  A person with good intentions would normally be eager to get to know both your friends and family just as you would his.  It goes both ways.

When you go on your dates, tell a friend or family member when and where you will be (especially in the beginning stages) and as the article above mentions, YOU drive your own car, though it might be romantic to be picked up by a gentleman, keep in mind this is NOT someone you have known for years and in this case it is not safe or appropriate.  Oh yes, and don’t go to a secluded place for heaven’s sake…make it a good populated, public place, in broad daylight.

As for in case things do go bad…I would say it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have pepper spray or at least know how to defend yourself.

Remember, you are worth being safe.  You are worth not compromising.  You are worth loving.  Don’t become a victim, stay smart and don’t let your heart be torn out by a person who preys on those with good hearts who just want to truly love.  Above all else, love is forever.  It is not fleeting.  It is not a fling.  It is not just a physical relationship…and for the physical to exist, I truly believe that man/woman needs to be ready to commit to marriage.  Don’t compromise, you are priceless in the eyes of Jesus, you were bought with a price!  Demand that whoever you meet treats you with the honor that Christ demands.

 

Signs, Tactics of an Abuser

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She won’t leave.  Why won’t she leave?  Or in some cases he.  He is clearly a psychopath and an abuser, EVERYONE sees it.  The signs are there.

We all ask that.  We make the victim of abuse sound stupid, pitiful, like they have a very clear choice.  How wrong we are.

Abuse comes in so many forms.  Some never suffer the pain of a fist, but do suffer the constant verbal slams that through them into such a dark abyss that they can’t get up, they can’t breathe, they can’t see their worth.  They can’t get up.

First I want to address the signs of an abuser.  If anyone sees these, perhaps it’s one step closer to helping the person being abused and taking power away from the coward that is the abuser.

Of course no one begins dating an abuser.  No one in their right mind would.  First comes the charm, the ‘smarts’ the pouring out of compliments, and he lifts you up, he makes you feel like he is your soul mate and there is absolutely no one else in this world that would ever make you feel the way he does.  He is the Cowboy Casanova as some would say.  He makes you feel like he can actually protect you from the world that maybe in some ways has hurt you.  And here’s the thing, an abuser knows how to pick his targets, the ones who have been broken a bit and because when you are broken you seek to depend on someone he knows he can be that crutch…and he will be that for a little bit.  He will rescue you and then the manipulation starts.

You see, now he will convince you of all the things you need to be rescued from.  Number one thing that needs to go is anyone that can see him as a threat.  Who might that be?  If you have family, that has got to go, so he will ‘rescue’ you from that.  Friends?  Yup, your friends are bad, they are stupid, they are too stuck up, their morals are to uptight, they ‘wouldn’t understand our love’.  He sets up an ‘us against the world’ mentality.  He sets up a fiction world where he is the only hero in the victim’s world.  If possible he will move the victim as far from those the victim knows as possible.  If a friend has plans, he has more important plans, or he is sick and needs your care.  SOMETHING will happen where you will NOT be allowed to see your friends and if you do it will be with a tainted mentality that he has already planted in your mind.

Also according to About the Issue “Domestic violence is a pattern of abusive behavior characterized by the intent to gain or maintain power and control over an intimate partner or other family members. The abuse can be established over time and in most cases, it begins subtly with insults, a shove or by alienating the survivor from family and friends. With time, the abusive behavior can be more frequent and severe.” 

The key thing, there is always an excuse that excuses the abuser’s behavior.  Often, the victim is the problem.  “If you understood me better, if you did this better, you know I have this issue! Etc.”  An abuser rarely if ever takes ownership.  An apology will be offered but it is usually followed with “But maybe next time you shouldn’t, or should be careful not to provoke me….”

Feelings of course are central here too.  They always are.  Because the victim LOVES the abuser, that is the whole part of the ENTIRE manipulation, the feeling game and the abuser will play on that until the victim sees it for what it is and gets the courage to either reach out for help and walk away.  But it is not that easy depending on how violent he/she is.  This is why I write this.  If you are seeing these signs in anyone, or if you are in the beginning of such a relationship, walk away while you still can, because believe me, an abuser only escalates.  He might be only verbally abusive today, maybe for years, but soon he/she WILL escalate.  It’s only a matter of when.

You may think you can change him…like in the movies.  That you are the Beauty and he is the Beast that can be tamed.  Please understand that you do not have such power.  I firmly believe only God can change a person.  Such people need deep professional help, and you are not it.

You might be convinced he is the underdog you have to save that everyone else has cast aside.  While believe me, I am a firm believer in second chances, and I seek out the forgotten and lonely…understand that an abuser only plays on these sentiment for what he/she can gain.

What are they seeking to gain?

It is different in each situation.  In some, it is money.  In some it is power.  In some it is affection at the cost of beating you and not allowing you to give that affection to ANYONE ELSE (but notice that he is allowed to give affection to anyone he pleases).  There is always a double standard with an abuser.

You might leave your family and friends, and maybe for a while he might too…but he won’t leave them forever.  He/she will NEVER do that because the goal was to get YOU away from your family and friends…not the other way around.

To those who see these sighs of abuse (in a neighbor, co-worker, friend), don’t let them withdraw.  If you know where they live, constantly visit, make the abuser know that you are watching and that the victim is not alone.  Don’t confront the abuser, but be there for the victim until the victim is willing to reach out to you.  When that happens, seek out law enforcement.  Do not be silent.  Do not be a shadow.  Learn to survive.

The world is dark and the heart grows faint

Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer.  From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.  For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. –Psalm 61:1-4 

For about seven years now I have gone into and out of depression (my heart grew faint).  I try not to write to much about this for a few reasons.  Among these reasons are not wanting to give satisfaction to those who have caused this pain that is taking so long to heal.  But enough.  I am not afraid of them getting satisfaction from my pain (because in reality if this is where they find satisfaction, it is they who lose, not I).

The past week has been especially hard as I have seen relatives turn their backs on my family.  This is especially painful when so much had been done for them when they were in their hour(s) of darkness.  Lies, and deceit seems to prevail in this world of ours.  The wicked prosper.  As you are reading this, perhaps you too are thinking of the ways you have seen the wicked go unpunished and in fact prosper.  You may see an ex move on and be happy when in the past they had done only evil and were unfaithful.  Maybe you have friends who have turned their backs on you…or worse family members.  Maybe as a child you were abused in every way possible.  Maybe…maybe a lot of storms have passed and continue to pass over you.  Maybe telling you that you are not alone will not make it better at all….

Maybe a loved one has passed away and you have regrets…things unsaid or things not done.  You are told that time heals all wounds…but time has nothing to do with it.  A million years can pass and still the wound is fresh (perhaps at times numbed, but still fresh).

Let me tell you something.  Time will not heal anything.  Time has no power to heal…the wound only gets numb.  Yet there is One who heals–one who hears, one who keeps a record of your tears.

Record my lament; list my tears on your scroll–are they not in your record?— Psalm 56:8

He, your Maker keeps a record of your tears and mine.  He keeps record of the wrongs done against you and me…and there will come a day of reckoning.

If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him.  But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God.–Psalm 55:12-14

That is the hardest pain of all, when the one you loved comes against you to tare you down, to destroy you.  Sometimes it is done with silence, sometimes it is done with fists, sometimes it is done with words, sometimes with cheating, but in the end destruction of your spirit is the goal.

Yet, the Lover of your soul is not blind to this.  I say it again, a day of reckoning will come…maybe on earth, maybe not, but for sure on the day of judgement.  In the meantime, how to you rise out of the dark?  How do you continue in the hardest of days?  There is only one way that has worked for me, and honestly it is the only way (though we rebel against this way, because it deals with what we do not see and our flesh wants something that can be seen, touched, heard, smelled)…but just because something or SOMEONE is not seen, does not mean He does not exist.  A good example of this would be are things that are microscopic, bacteria, viruses, etc…you can’t see them…but we would be fools to ignore them.

But I call to God and the LORD saves me.  Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress and he hears my voice.  He ransoms me unharmed from the battle waged against me, even though many oppose me.  God who is enthroned forever, will hear them and afflict them.–Psalm 55:16-19

He hears and he will save you and me.  But we have to ask for help, He will not force Himself upon us.  We have to choose to love Him, He will not force us to do so…but once we make that choice, He is our fiercest defender, the greatest lover of our hearts and soul.

Please understand (as I am beginning to), we have an enemy.  The enemy is not your ex husband or wife, it is not your best friend that has hurt you or relatives that have torn you down when all you asked for is compassion and help in your darkest time.  No your enemy are not any of them.  The enemy that hates you beyond any hate you and I have ever known is Lucifer, now known as the devil, or satan.  He will do anything, use anyone to tare you down.  He will never stop while you and I breathe, but there is hope.  There is one who is much stronger than him…and He will always come to save us.  His name is Jesus Christ.  He is the King of all kings.  He is your Father.  He simply is (I AM).  But if we don’t seek his comfort and help, we loose out.

So, when the world is dark and the heart grows faint, when you fall deeper, come to Him you who are burdened and tired and He will give you rest.  These are not just words…test it out.  I know I will.  I have determined to do my best to draw closer to the ONLY one who loves me with an unblemished love.  I will seek Him in the night as I try to find rest…I will seek Him in the morning as I awaken (and I am not a morning person, so the me who seeks Him in the morning might be a bit grouchy…but He understands).

I hope you will determine to do the same…and very soon I hope to hear of the healing of your heart and soul (as I will also post more about this journey of my life).

Starting and ending with a BANG

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You just decided to start a book.  You just finished a memorable one and now you’re looking for the next one worth reading.  Something that will touch your heart, mind and maybe even your soul.  It doesn’t matter if you prefer mysteries, thrillers, romance, historical fiction, sci fi, fantasy etc.  Your requirement is it has to grab your attention from the very beginning somehow…and ultimately the ending has to leave you breathless.  Now, that being said, remember all of that when you begin the journey of writing your own novel.

Remember all your favorite books.  The very first sentence captured you…and if not the first sentence at the very least the first paragraph took you captive in some way.  For example in my current work in progress (Nobody’s Angels) I start off with the following line:

No one saw. They couldn’t. But if they could have seen, they would have always, always said yes. But no–no one saw. 

Make your readers ask themselves questions that they must find answers for.  Who didn’t see?  What didn’t they see?  What would they have said yes to?  And finally, why didn’t they see?  This is not a rule that should be followed only at the beginning of the book.  Each chapter/section should start with something to keep hooking the readers, and also give a hint of a resolution.  Each chapter/section should end with some type of suspenseful cliff (a bang) that forces your reader to keep going even if they know they have to get up at five o’clock in the morning for work, something that pushes them to read even though they know they should get back to work (yes your book has the potential to get someone in trouble and no I am not condoning being late for work…very tempted to insert a smiley here).

Starting you book with a bang would include making your characters have exactly that CHARACTER.  Give them an obstacle then make that obstacle insurmountable, but give them skills that could potentially help them…then make the situation a hundred times worse.  Write each word with a purpose, because in fiction everything has to ultimately make sense (even when you’re creating a magical world), it all has to tie in somehow.

There are plenty of Indie authors out there who have the potential to make a great story, yet the one thing I have seen over and over is a bland beginning and things that don’t add up–or things that are thrown into the story for no reason at all.  Your readers are smart people so make them think:  why did she just describe in such detail that hot pink dress that the elderly woman was wearing?  How does that tie in?  Don’t bore your readers with details that have no purpose at all.  For example, when I was reading the extremely long book Gone With the Wind, I noticed it had a LOT of description, yet each description made you keep wanting to read because it tied in, it had a purpose.  The bombs exploding in Atlanta had a purpose.

Also, make sure you keep the action moving along but also let the reader know the goal and mission of the story in the first few chapters.  Don’t be scatterbrained (this is one of my struggles as well, there are so many ideas!!).

Often I have received one question from members of a writing community that I am part of (wattpad), and that is:  How do you get so many comments, votes, readers etc.?  My answer is this, give them something worth reading.  Engage your audience because they want to be part of your epic story.  Remember what you like as an avid reader…then incorporate that into your story.  Just like in a movie bring in the guns, begin your chapter with a chase towards a goal (not necessarily a literal chase), and end your chapter with a resounding BANG!  (Now get to writing!)