10 tips for surviving the Christmas season with your soul and sanity intact…

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So we are officially into the holidaze of what is supposed to be the holiest of days.

Advent.

But as we wait to celebrate the birth of Christ it can be hard to see the holy tarnished by too much tinsel, wrapped in a multitude of mammon-centered activity.

Or engulfed in family enmity.

Sometimes the worst of the worst gets served up around the family table fractured, the nest of our nearest and dearest where we are supposed to find welcome and a safe haven for our hearts.

Loved unconditionally.

Accepted.

Belonging.

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But if you grew up with any kind of dysfunction — such as alcoholism, abuse, divorce or church-going which never rang true with the Gospel of Love — family gatherings during the Christmas season can be grueling.

And the enemy of God rouses old rivalries and unhealed wounds pit kith against kin, grating on your soul until you are raw with rejection.

Dreading the most wonderful time of the year when being together seems so awful.

Holidays, with their Hallmark expectations, can magnify the pain of loss when lovelessness prevails. While you may spiritually discern the dynamics of unseen evil battling good, and you understand that you share in His uncomparable suffering, words harshly spoken or icy glances conveying we don’t want you here tears your human heart in two, tears falling.

And it hurts like hell.

Because it emanates from hell. Division and discord. Misunderstandings and gossip. Taking sides or listening to lies. Devil scoring a hit and all you want is to go online this Cyber Monday and find the cheapest tickets to Bequia.

But God.

For You have been a defense for the helpless,
A defense for the needy in his distress,
A refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat;
For the breath of the ruthless
Is like a rain storm against a wall.
Isaiah 25:4

You are always safe in Him and His love that never ends and covers a multitude of sins.

And grace that gives you strength to keep hoping, forgiving always.

And mercy trumping justice because broken people cannot bring out the best in each other.

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If you find yourself in the crazy crush of the season or stuck in the web of family dysfunction remember these 10 tips:

1. Keep it simple and keep it real by keeping Christmas in your heart every day of the year not just on December 25. Imagine if God only loved you, held you, helped or provided for you one day a year!)

2. Avoid commemorating the Greatest Birth with a mammon-driven, exhaustive search for the perfect gifts taking on debt.

3. Let His presence be your dearest gift. Let Jesus light your heart and home — instead of a million twinkling bulbs — like the star that lit the way that cold, dark night so long ago, leading others to Him.

4. Be still. Quiet your mind and heart and humbly give Him gifts. It’s His birthday. He desires time alone with you, obedience to His word, and your choosing to love Him and others. Practicing these good things helps you become more like Him.

5. Do all in love. Not yours that may be hurting from some unkind remark, but His that knew hurting unto death.

6. Say No to — another holiday invite, that family dinner that yields more indigestion than an investment in the bond of love, the internal perfectionist that demands you stay up till two baking or wrapping when all your husband wants is a warm and tender snuggle.

7. Decline with grace and keep your regrets respectful and on point. Consider writing out your words so you won’t get sucked into the old emotional cycle when a family member throws the guilt. You are called to love them, but are not asked to submit to abuse.

8. Give gifts priceless such as your time and attention. Or perhaps something you make.

9. Gather your dear ones and head out into Creation if you can. Walk through the woods and marvel about what Mary felt as she gave birth in a cave. Or stroll along the shore all bundled and recount God’s boundlessness and Him calling you to come.

10. Celebrate simply this year and get more in return — a holy hush filling your heart with awe less the fuss and stress and no returns needed.

Giving gifts of kindness, goodness, gentleness, and patience minus the pain never goes out of style. Life affirming, they build what we all truly want: healthy, loving relationships.

So let the Love of Christ wrap you and those you love this Christmas.

With ribbons red like blood tenderly tethering one heart to the other…

 

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He never has a right to hit you…October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month

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You’re fighting. A lot. His anger fuming.

And one night he reaches out, grabs you and hurls you hard against the wall.

Just to make his point.

Only the point is that a man NEVER has the right to hit or slam or punch or try to choke a woman. {Unless his own life is at risk.}

And you need to escape!

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month.

Call today and get the help you need. National Domestic Violence Hotline  1-800-799-7233

And RUN if you are trapped in an abusive marriage or relationship. GET OUT NOW.

Abusers RARELY ever change.

You do not deserve to be abused no matter what he tells you. Not verbally, emotionally, physically or sexually. And neither do husbands deserve to be abused.

NO ABUSE

And I cannot say this loudly enough. GET OUT if you are being abused. This goes a long way for women but it also applies to men!

When you are caught in an abusive marriage or relationship you lose yourself bit by bit and you can’t think straight after a while. You accept abuse as if it was normal. As if you deserve it.

But you don’t deserve abuse.

In your own co-dependency you stick around hoping he or she will change, allowing your mind to falsely believe that just because they act nice once in a while they are changing.

But without an honest-to-God surrender in Christ that is proven over time, change will not come.

Dysfunctional cycles never stop until someone stands up and breaks the cycle.

And the shame, fear and denial that go along with it.

While three women are KILLED every day in the U.S. at the hands of their abusive partners, men and husbands get abused too but their wounds are not as visible. And while their lives may be spared, their hearts are killed a little each day.

With a wife’s mean and ugly words deriding and disrespectful.

Her anger and control screaming.

Spending excessively and sex withholding or manipulating.

And that is just as wrong yet often goes unreported and unnoticed.

God doesn’t want any of us abused.

And like I chose some 11 years ago, you can LEAVE your abuser and never look back.

You can leave and live.

Because YOU are worth it. You are of great value. Your life matters. God loves you like crazy.

And abuse is NEVER your fault.

Be brave today. Call the hotline. Report your abuser. Take your children and go to a safe place.

National Domestic Violence Hotline  1-800-799-7233

And here are other stories I wrote in years past on the subject of Domestic Violence:

Get out now before it’s too late

Love cuts the chains that cut our hearts

Their love helped save my life

An open letter from an abusive parent asking forgiveness when he truly surrenders his heart to Christ

To the wife who holds her breath

Your child could die

When a husband heaves a heavy sigh and how wives can stop being angry and abusive

Please pass on this post via your social media circles. It could save someone’s life!

Help

~sheila

When a husband heaves a heavy sigh…and how wives can stop being so angry and abusive

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He’s dragging up the stairs at the end of a long day.

He can’t imagine that anyone is listening to him.

To those hurts in his heart.

To the fears.

And the frustrations.

And a sigh escapes his soul that break’s his Father’s heart.

For the Bible says that marriage is supposed to be a blessing and the man that finds a wife finds a good thing,

And he loves you, he truly does. He’s standing on the vows he made to you. And everyday he’s hoping that things will change.

Because he’s really tired.

And wives are to be their husband’s helper. Making a man’s life better, sweeter, gentler.

But you, dear wounded wife, are not helping your man.

For day in and day out, from sun up to sun down — no matter how kind, giving, patient he is with you, your tongue hammers away at your husband’s heart with words that tear his soul apart.

With tones and expressions that reveal your disrespect. Maybe even your utter contempt.

You may have once been abused, wife, but now you are the abuser. And it may not get as much media attention, but wives abuse their husbands every day in countless subtle or overtly sinful ways.

Yet your husband keeps on keeping on. Loving you, exhorting you to relax, to let go.

But you can’t hear him because you refuse to listen to reason.

You reject any message of truth that might help you heal.

And you keep listening to the old tapes that wind incessant in the battlefield of your mind, tormented since childhood.

It’s the voice of your enemy in the form of a critical inner parent. The voice you internalized after listening to your mom scold you unrelentingly all the years of your growing up. Or the voice of your dad screaming, scathing or sarcastic. Or worse.

They say children — and that means all of us — learn what they live. And you, precious wounded wife, learned life and marriage and most likely parenting and other forms of relating all wrong.

All wrong.

And when your husband — who bears his own scars from his growing up years yet valiantly tries to uphold his spousal role day after tedious day — gently suggests that life can be different for the two of you and your kids…

That you don’t have to keep believing the lies your mom told you about yourself…

That you no longer have to follow the abusive rules your dad set forth…

That you don’t have to try and control every little thing…

You lash back in your angry, aggressive way — which is nothing more than a hard shield of sin covering a very tender, deeply hurting heart — like an injured animal baring its fangs afraid it will be hurt again.

And you give voice to a lie that is as old as time.

The lie that you just can’t change.

Not after 20 or 30 or 40 or 50 years of doing life the dysfunctional way you have always done it.

And continuing to believe and live that lie — with all its nasty ramifications that manifest in your marriage — can drain every drop of desire and devotion from the best of men. And maybe he will stick by you year in and year out.

Or maybe he won’t.

Maybe one day he will just say he’s had enough. And Lord knows he probably has.

Or maybe one day he’ll meet a sweet lady at the office.

And everything will come tumbling down and you may begin to see how very wrong and very wounded you are.

But the devastation to you and your babies will be like a tsunami that sucks away your last gulping breath.

And the outcome will depend — again — on your choice. To become better. Or stay just as you are and grow into a bitter, ugly old woman. Alone. Hurting. Hard. Never giving in. And your children growing into adults who limp badly.

But wife, here is an amazing truth that may sound too good to be real.

God loves you. No. Matter. What.

No matter what you’ve been through.

No matter what you have put your husband or others through.

No matter even if you don’t believe in God.

God loves you so much He sent Jesus to die for you. And He wants you to die to your self and your sin and your fears and your hurts so that He can make all things new.

He is your Savior, dear sweet wife. He is the only One who can save you from the mess that is your marriage, the mess that is your life.

He can heal your heart, mend your memories and make you whole. His words of love can finally silence those screaming lies that hold you captive.

BEST IS YET TO BE

You CAN change your life in a heartbeat by making a choice to change.

Anyone can change IF they are willing to surrender to God, admit they are powerless, forgive others through the grace of God and then decide to live a new way. One day at a time.

Just. That. Simple.

Just. That. Hard.

But God and His amazing grace that really, truly is sufficient. And when you are weak, He will be all the stronger. I know. For I was once where you are now. I didn’t heed the warnings that were sent my way over the early years. Wouldn’t hear the still small voice calling me until my former spouse and father of my sons left.

And I was left behind with a million broken pieces scattered everywhere.

So very much was lost that can never be regained.

But you, TODAY, can make a better choice than I did all those years ago.

You can save yourself great heartache.

You can provide for your children a better growing up environment with a mom and a dad together under one roof.

You can choose to honor God with your every word, thought or action.

Dear wife, whose heart is crying to be heard, yearning to be loved:

You are.

God hears your every whimper. God seals each tear as a prayer in His bottle.

You can be set free if you so choose.

So why not? Why not choose God’s way? Why not right now?

Why forfeit your life, your marriage and your children’s futures for the sake of a lie?

God is calling to your heart to come to Him.

To let go of trying to control everything in your anger.

To let Him hold you and comfort you in ways your mom or dad never did.

I remember what it felt like back then and even what it feels like 20 years later and that is why I write.

So please don’t let your fear, your pride or your unbelief hold you back a moment longer.

Decide to change by letting God in and the bad out.

Now…

~sheila

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If this post resonates at all with you, please let me use my past to assist you in growing into the beautiful woman God has created you to be. I want to give you my free eBook, Wounded Wife which is yours when you drop me an email at sheila at longings end dot com. And if you are ready to go deeper sign up for C2 for Woman Only which is a confidential form of conversational help. Click here for more details on C2.

 

Your child could die! To wives who allow husbands to abuse their children and believe God wants them to stand by their man…

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In this life there are little boy bullies in big men bodies.

Mean and cruel.

They hurt their families and justify their actions. They let their anger rip and then they say sorry.

And the wife stands by her man.

Believing God wants her to.

Believing he will change.

Believing lies!

Abusive, angry men, unless they truly surrender their hurting, hardened hearts to Jesus which rarely happens, never change.

They keep on hurting those weaker and smaller than they are. They take out their own inner pain on defenseless women and children rendering blows that break spirits.

And blows that can kill.

Maybe when they were little their daddy or step-daddy beat up on them, or cursed at them heinously, or told them lies about themselves that cut tender spirits turning them savage. Or maybe their daddy sexually abused them. And the hate and anger in their heart comes out all lethal and loveless.

And that little boy broken who grew up to be a bully has hurts that no doubt run a mile wide. But his sins run wider. Yet he runs away from the only One who could ever heal him.

And everything in life is a choice.

We choose to love.

We choose to hate.

We choose to break cycles of violence.

We choose to perpetuate cycles of violence.

And the wickedness continues to the next generation and the next for those abused often become abusers themselves. Or they marry abusers.

ANGRY MAN

Angry men who had issues with their own fathers, or mothers, are allowed to hurt children and teenagers because they can.

The women that they married are as broken inside as they are. As needy for someone to love them as the next broken heart. And in her neediness, fear, ignorance, and in her choice…she stays.

And stands by as her husband physically harms her son or daughter. Making her guilty, too.

And those precious babies that grew in her womb and were fed at her breast, the ones she says she loves with all her heart forever, are abandoned to the monster living in the house.

Year after year. Decade upon decade. Marking anniversaries that are a sham overshadowed by anger, violence and unrepentant sin. And she prays and quotes scripture, and screams and cries and threatens. One day she hates him. The next day she tells herself and anyone who will listen that he is the best husband and dad in the world. And the dysfunctional, co-dependent cycle continues.

Even abusers can sometimes do, say or buy nice things for their families and behave appropriately.

But mostly they steal from their families joy and peace. robbing children and teenagers of the security and stability of growing up loved.

And some abusive men even claim to love God in one breath, and then in the next spew evil words of death to their children or wife demanding that everything go their way.

The craziness perpetuates and wives justify their husband’s actions, refusing to acknowledge the truth.

Abusers are fearful, little men who wreck big havoc on their families.

They throw their weight around and throw punches that one day might kill a child. Or a wife. They kick and scream and through temper tantrums like the hurting, sinful two year old they are inside. Kicking wives, children and maybe even the dog, rendering internal injuries that one day may prove fatal.

Fatal!

Narcissistic, they only love themselves for shame and pity’s sake, having no real idea that God loves them very much while hating their terrible deeds.

And a wife who stands by her man as he destroys the souls and bodies of herself or her babies, whether they are newborn or 18, is unwise and mislead about her role of following her husband.

God will NEVER call a wife to submit to torment and terror. God NEVER says it is okay for a man to beat or abuse a woman or children. 

NEVER!

Please wake up, Wife.

This man that you married for better or worse is not a godly husband or dad.

He may wear a mask in public and at church, he may even go forward for altar calls all teary eyed, but the changes are never lasting. He may be kind to neighbors and friends who believe he is a great man but behind closed doors — watch out!! Nothing EVER gives a man the right to physically or verbally harm his family.

Dear wife my heart cries out to your heart — all hurting, fearful, and angry inside — You claim to love your kids with all your heart. And I know you do, but the love got twisted long ago and you are allowing abuse.

Parents are called to protect, nurture and guide their children to successful adulthood. And there is NEVER an excuse for an angry man to ever lay a finger on a woman or child unless life is at stake.

But the only life that is at stake is the life of the one abused.

GRAVESTONE

Do you really want to attend your child’s funeral someday, Wife?

Try to imagine for moment how you will feel the day they lower your son or daughter’s coffin six feet under and you realize you had the power to prevent their untimely death. And no amount of tears will ever bring them back to you.

If you truly love God and your babies, then leave. Today.

Get out and get help before it is too late.

And in your leaving — not going for counseling again or asking the pastors to pray again — you just might shake your spouse awake so he can see how evil and broken and small and hard he is inside.

And you will save the lives of those you love.

Reality is that you live with a ticking time bomb.

He doesn’t respect you, but exploits you.

He doesn’t love you, but uses you.

He’s not proud of how lovely you truly are, but flaunts you to boost his own fragile ego.

And you let him.

But God.

DAD SON

God truly loves you and your children so let Him be your Maker who is your Husband and the Father of the fatherless. God will never leave you, He will make the way, He will provide and protect you and your babies if you will only let Him be the One that you cling to.

Please open your eyes to the hideousness at home and be warned that more than four children DIE EVERYDAY in the United States as a result of abuse.

Abused children are 25% more likely to experience teen pregnancy.

As many as two-thirds of adults in treatment for drug abuse report having been abused as children.

LEAVE the abuser that you live with and let God deal with him.

Or would you rather wait until your child dies at the hands of a man who is no man at all?

Pick up the phone, Wife, and make a call to change your life for the better.

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)

For adult survivors of childhood abuse these resources can help.

And here’s an article When Fathers Kill Their Kids

Other information can be found at ChildHelp.org

May God our good Father bless you and keep you and give you grace and courage to leave. Now.

Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline
1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453)

~sheila

Photo credits:
Bully
Angry man
Gravestone
Dad and son

 

When a mercurial wife keeps her husband on his toes… plus 6 tips for overcoming

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He’s tiptoeing on egg shells. And him never knowing if you’ll wake up in a good mood.

Or a wicked one.

Never knowing what to expect, what might set you off next.

Exhausting for a man and not at all an endearing, wifely trait. Like a hen cackling, your complaining rarely ceases.

What makes you so unhappy, Mrs., that you seem to need to make him unhappy?

Thinking more of yourself than you do of your spouse. And treating your husband like he’s your whipping boy. And you so deep in your habit that you may not even realize how you sound.

Awful!

Foolish!

Controlling!

From personal experience with unrestrained moodiness I believe that it all stems from a lack of love. Yet someone once told me to get my brain chemistry checked. But it wasn’t my brain, it was my heart, my choice.

And my choice was to sin.

Like me in the past, you don’t know how precious you are. How much God loves you. How you have great worth in His eyes.

And because you don’t know this love, you can’t give love. Not even to your children. Not really. Not in the healthy way that makes kids grow strong and launch into life limpless.

But maybe this is all you know, all you learned growing up, all you saw modeled at home. And this not knowing, and maybe never having been treated like you matter at all, makes you hurt and makes you sometimes mean like a junk yard dog.

Growling and biting and wanting everything perfect and there’s rarely peace in your home and your husband learns to keep quiet and keep the peace.

But that is no marriage. Not God’s kind of marriage.

And it is all sin and very wrong.

Out of respect for Christ, be courteously reverent to one another. Wives, understand and support your husbands in ways that show your support for Christ. The husband provides leadership to his wife the way Christ does to his church, not by domineering but by cherishing. So just as the church submits to Christ as he exercises such leadership, wives should likewise submit to their husbands.
Ephesians 5:21-24

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But when you treat your husband like he’s a rag doll that you can toss about this way and that depending on how the wind is blowing, how you feel today, what your mood is like this morning, you are disrespecting his very soul.

And wounding your marriage. Sometimes irreparably.

Sure headaches and PMS, worries about money and sleepless nights can make a wife cranky, but it is still not an excuse to sin for God can help you exercise control over your wayward emotions. His grace is sufficient.

But you don’t respect God either! For whatever you do to the least of these you do to Him.

And you may say you love God, but if you dig a little deeper you will see that you really don’t. He’s not the Lord of your life.

You are.

And the love, peace and joy your heart was made for continues to elude for you are way out of line. Off balance.

But God.

Loving Father who keeps extending Himself to you over and over with multiple second chances to turn around, go another way. Because He loves you like crazy.

Follow His Way.

If you have trouble balancing your moods you may need a spirit-soul-body check up so start by spending time with the Great Physician.

He knows what ails you and He has the prescription for your healing.

He knows where you are wounded and where you are sinful. Where you hurt. And why you keep lashing out.

And God loves you just the same.

He sees the hole in your soul and hears you crying please love me.

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His Father’s heart for you is extremely tender — even if your daddy’s heart never was.

And Jesus bids you come. If you still for a moment you will hear Him calling.

>> So surrender into His arms and let Him love you. Let Him love away your aches and the pain you cause your husband.

God can heal your heart and heal your marriage, making you, your husband and your children much happier.

As you grow holier.

And He has seen and heard you at your very worst but yet He loves you and will never leave you.

Rekindle your relationship with the Father who loves you like crazy by putting yourself in time-out. Find a quiet spot, even if only for a few moments each morning before your busy day begins, and pour out your heart to Him.

Beginning with “Forgive me Father for I have sinned.” And God forgives us in a heartbeat when our hearts are truly repentant and want to change.

>> Open a Bible to the Gospel of John. Read it each day for month asking God to reveal Himself to you in a new way making it very personal. For God is a God of relationship who knows everything about you including the number of hairs on your head. That’s no fairytale but the greatest love story ever told so embrace Truth as He embraces you and brings you to Life, real life. A life filled with love and great respect for your husband. And you feeling the love in return like you never have before.

>> Pray like you have never prayed before. All. The. Time. Keeping very close to the One who loves you best of all, the One who has good plans for your life and marriage. And listen more than talk during prayer! Pray that God softens your heart so you can ask His forgiveness. Pray that God gives you grace to forgive your daddy for hurting you or for never having been there for you, or to forgive other men and women that have wounded you along the way. Pray and ask God to give you compassion for others.

>> Forgive your dad. Or your mom or whoever it was that hurt you badly when you were little. Or maybe when you were a little older like that ex-boyfriend you just won’t forget. Really forgive them and let it go. Remember that God is not like your parents or the last man you dated. Seek to see your dad or your mom or your ex as a wounded spirit child just like you. I have seen in my life that as I open my heart in love to understand where another person has been or how they have been hurt, it allows me an opportunity for deeper forgiveness, grace and understanding. And God says that we must forgive in order to be forgiven. Keep in mind that we are all — at least most of us — broken down, worn out and crying inside for someone to just love us the way we are. Our parents probably had wounded child hearts too and they did the best they could. But you can do better! With God’s help. He loves you right now no matter how ugly you may act, not even if you say you don’t believe in Him. He does love you! And He will never leave you.

But your moodiness is damaging your marriage. And teaching your children all wrong and giving them a weaker start in their own lives.

>> Start giving yourself in service to others beginning with your husband. As you do unto others you will stop thinking so much about yourself. Try forgetting yourself for one hour a day to begin with and look outward instead of inward. Stoop lower in humility to serve your husband and family instead of wanting to be served. It is better to give than to take. And this is the beginning of obedience. With obedience comes joy. And forgetfulness of a past that makes you so angry and sad, hurting you body and soul. But as your soul prospers so will your body and you may see those headaches lessening, PMS taming and sleep becoming sound.

>> Enlist the help of a mentor or go for counseling. Talk to her and tell her how angry you are. She can help you see that the root of your anger is really your hurts, those deep places wounded long ago that you have built a wall around. You determined that no one will ever hurt you again, but your wall keeps the love out and so you are needy and miserable, just like I once was. But with humility comes healing and a healer worth her salt will not condemn you, she will love you, understand your weaknesses, and in wisdom lead you to higher ground.

As you practice doing the right things in love for a God who loves you eternally — and a husband who loves you so much he puts up with you — you will grow holier, becoming like Christ.

And in this your heart will find what it has long searched for…

~sheila

Raggedy image credit