What is spiritual abuse and how to approach it.

This blog topic is a tough one for me to write about, but honestly sometimes the hardest topics to write about are the ones that need to be talked about the most. In my own experience, I’ve dealt with a couple of instances where spiritual abuse was used on me, however over the years I have heard stories from enough people that probably deal with this on a daily basis.

Maybe you’ve heard of spiritual abuse before or maybe you are like, “what the heck is spiritual abuse?” It’s a topic that needs to be addressed because it happens more than we are willing to admit.
Spiritual abuse simply put is when someone uses their faith, religion or particular beliefs and views to try to control, damage or abuse a person.
It is just as damaging as any other form of abuse.

spritualabuse

Some examples of spiritual abuse include:
1. Establishing a culture of fear and shame or intimidation: Often churches, or ministries that are spiritually abusive will try to create a culture of fear and shame. They will try to intimidate their followers into agreeing with them. They will call out others in sin and make them feel bad, but they won’t even admit to their own failures or sins. They will try to make you feel guilty.
2. Distorted view of respect: You know how growing up as a child you think, “I need to respect all adults or all teachers because they are older and wiser?” Yeah, so I think respect is great but respect needs to be earned. If you are in a place of leadership and you desire respect from anyone, then your life and your ministry should show it.
3. A “celebrity” like attitude”: I have literally attended churches where the pastor was treated like a celebrity. They did not surround themselves with the congregation and when they passed by they had to have “security” surrounding them. They sat on a throne-like seat on the stage. They may even flaunt money and have fancy cars and houses.
4. Taking verses out of context: Spiritually abusive churches and ministries will take verses out of context. For instance they may use verses that tell their congregation they should listen to and respect their church leaders, and they may use those verses in order to make their congregation follow them and not disagree with their views. Thus this allows them to get away with more. “Don’t question us. You should be following us as your leaders”.
5. Often involved in debacles: I’m sure at some point we’ve looked in the newspaper or on our Facebook feed’s and seen a headline like, “Pastor involved in sex scandal” or “Pastor involved in taking money from church budget”. Those involved in spiritual abuse will try to hide their sin and brush it under the carpet.
6. No grace or loving attitude: It’s either their way or the highway. There is no grace. No love. No forgiveness. You either agree and follow them. They always have to be right. It always has to be done their way. I think this goes back to a creating a culture of shame and fear. They make you so afraid to disagree, and when you do they try to convince you that every other opinion or belief is wrong and that you shouldn’t be asking questions. They convince you that they know more and you should follow and trust them.

I’m quite sure there are more examples of spiritual abuse but these are some of the ones that I’m familiar with and that I’ve seen.

So, where exactly does this come from?
We all have desires and wants that aren’t in line with what God wants for us. We all get prideful. We all get tempted and enticed by sin whether thats alcohol, sex, porn, drugs, etc. We all get hurt and feel pain. We are all human and deal with our sinful nature.

Two points I want to make:
1. Luke 16:13 “No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
We can’t continue to live in a lifestyle where money, drugs, porn, sex or alcohol run our lives while trying to give God absolute control and authority in our lives. You can try, but sooner or later you’ll end up serving one more than the other.
2. 1 Peter 5:2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly- not for what you will get out of it but because you are eager to serve God.
Our pastors, priests, elders, deacons, ministry teams, and anyone else in places of  leadership are often called to higher standards. They are entrusted to lead and shepherd us closer to Christ. We often look to them and respect them, as we should. Though, sometimes we may forget that these people are also just as prone to fall into temptation, and sin as we are. After all they are human as well. Sometimes, they may let pride get hold of them and take their titles for granted.

Both of these verses mention the word “serve”. We are called to serve God.

Colossians 3:23-24
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.

Mark 10:45
For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

We are called to serve God and others. Christ came to earth and even he served others and humbled himself. He didn’t surround himself with the rich, or the wealthy. In fact he was often surrounded by those less fortunate and outcasted by society. He served them and loved on them. Humility is a beautiful thing honestly…..sometimes people are like, “Isn’t being humble just having a negative view of yourself?” No. When you humble yourself before the cross you are realizing that it’s not all about you. You don’t have to boast constantly. It’s not about how great we are. It’s about the God we serve. It’s about placing yourself second to the cross. It in now way means you should hate yourself and not love yourself.

Knowing all of this not only should we be humbling ourselves and embracing a servant like attitude; we should be praying for and encouraging those in leadership and ministry roles. We should also know when to call out our brothers and sisters in Christ. We should also know that it’s okay to take notes of verses or even take notes of the sermons and to ask questions or do your own research if you are unsure.

 

The God of Women as much as the God of Men

If you read your Bible I’m sure you are more than familiar with how the lineage is often gone through men. The saying, “The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob” is familiar. Men are highly respected as being the spiritual leaders.

Honestly? I’ll be blunt here. If I were still an atheist and I read the Bible I would think God favored men and didn’t appreciate women. It would make me feel like women were viewed as property.

Alas, this is false. God is the God of Sarah, Rebecca and Leah as much as being the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Before we go further let me clarify: when reading the Bible we need to approach it with a understanding of the Bible being written centuries ago, in societies much different from today. 

Continuing on, women are more than just friends, girlfriends, wives, moms, sisters, daughters. We are co-workers, teachers, bloggers, yoga instructors, doctors, nurses and politicians. 

For as much as we can learn from men in the Bible we learn a lot from women.We see a woman healed by her faith just by merely touching the clothes Jesus wore. Two women were the first to discover the empty tomb of Jesus. The maternal instincts of Pharoah’s daughter kicked in and she saved baby Moses from the basket he was wrapped up inside.

These are just a few examples of the types of stories we see in the Bible. We can learn just as much from the women of the Bible as we can from men in the Bible. 

#ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear

If you are on twitter the chances are high that you’ve probably seen the #ThingsOnlyChristianWomenHear going around

With sayings like:

“Dress modestly, you don’t want to make a man stumble”

“You can teach the children and other women, you just can’t teach the men”

“You’d make a great pastors wife someday”

“You can’t be Christian and Feminist”

“I wouldn’t wear yoga pants, it’ll cause a man to stumble”

These statuses may be 140 characters, but they speak about very real issues and hurt from women in the church. We hear these sayings, phrases and words all the time. Honestly? It doesn’t speak to the heart issues or sins that men struggle with. It makes us feel invaluable, like we don’t have worth. It makes us feel like we don’t have an opinion. It makes us feel like we are viewed as being just another “temptation” or “sexual object”.

Far from it. You see, we have immense value given to us by our Creator, our Father, our God. We are just as capable of holding opinions and beliefs as men are. We are way more than being a “Pastors wife”.

As you read through the statuses in this hashtag, read with an open heart and a place of understanding.

 
-Elizabeth Louise

The inclusive and expansive love of Jesus

I want to be found sitting around a campfire with barefooted refugees and so-called whores or prostitutes, the LGBTQ crowd. Maybe roasting a few s’mores, except in my case I like to put Reese’s on my s’mores(it’s delicious trust me). 

Anyway, I want to be sitting around a campfire with a whole variety of people deemed “un-worthy” or often looked down upon by the church but loved by Jesus.

I want my love to be so inclusive and expansive that it tells people about my God not the other way around. I don’t want it to exclude people so that it creates barriers or walls and doesn’t give opportunity to tell people about Jesus.

Jesus’s love is inclusive and expansive. 

The woman at the well. The woman caught in adultery. The healing of a man on the sabbath. 

Jesus continued to break down barriers, guys. He continually reached out and included people, saying, “I know you’ve done x,y,z but follow and trust me” Jesus continued to dish out grace explaining that, we all mess up. We all need forgiveness and grace.

Lately….I’ve been thinking. What areas of my life am I putting up barriers and not being inclusive? We all have them. I have my areas and they may be different than yours. But let’s continue to be inclusive and expansive with our love and grace. Let’s let grace and love flow out like a giant kicking  down a door. 

Rosemary Mashed Potatoes 

Hey fam! ❤️

Tomorrow is Easter! Can you believe it’s almost here? man time really flies….

If you are looking for that last minute recipe this is a great one. I tried this yesterday and the potatoes came out delicious! This is great if you are cooking at your home or bringing a dish to that Easter dinner you were invited to.

What you will need:

-4-6 Medium Yukon Potatoes

– 2 tablespoons of butter

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

– 1 small red onion, chopped

-2 cloves of garlic, minced 

– 2 drops of Rosemary oil vitality 

– 1/2 Cup of milk

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions 

1. Place the potatoes in a pot with enough salted water to cover them.

2. Cook for 30 minutes or until tender, then drain.

3. Add butter to the potatoes and set aside.

4. Add oil, garlic and onions together in a skillet and cook until tender.

5. Mash potatoes with onion mixture, milk, Rosemary Vitalit, and salt and pepper to taste.
To get your Rosemary Vitality click here and be sure to enter in the distributor ID: 11577392
Happy Easter guys!❤️

Hey guys! 

This is a fun little DIY project: Homemade Toothpaste
What you will need:

-Young Living Thieves essential oil(I use anywhere between 5-10 drops, it’ll get you a long way)

-Coconut Oil

-Baking soda

-Sea Salt
 Thieves essential oil is antibacterial and antiviral. It prevents against sickness and cold sores. It is also a great household sanitizer. 
Visit youngliving.com and enter in distributor ID: 11577392  

Essential Oils for Easter

Hey guys! ❤️

Easter is literally right around the corner! You know what that means!

lots of dying Easter eggs……chocolate……easter baskets…..and easter bunnies.

If you are looking for healthy alternatives to the dyes and chocolate, stay with me this weekend as I go through some creative ways we can make our Easter holiday a little more friendly.

Visit youngliving.com and check out some essential oils for that perfect gift this Easter.

Enter in the distributor ID:11577392

So, what’s “good” about Good Friday, anyway?

hey guys! <3

Happy Good Friday! I hope you are all having a wonderful day so far.

as we prepare to celebrate Easter Sunday this weekend I wanted to talk about something that is on my heart right now. what with all of the war and violence and bombings going on around the world.
As we celebrate Good Friday today, maybe by doing a devotional or going to a evening Good Friday service I hope that we can fully understand and appreciate what Jesus has done on the cross for us…

for so long I was confused as to why it was referred to as “Good” Friday. i mean……Jesus was crucified on the cross for the sins of the world, right? he died and suffered for us. what’s so good about that?

let me tell you.

GoodFriday

what makes it GOOD is that though Jesus died on the cross, he DIED for you and i. in that while we were still sinners, he died and made a way for us to come to God. every mistake and every bad decision or sin you’ve ever thought or done, jesus took all of that guilt, and sin and it was nailed to the cross when he died.

Jesus WILLINGLY offered up himself, and suffered and died by crucifixion on the cross  as the ultimate sacrifice of our sins. He ALLOWED himself to be nailed to the cross as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins.

The GOOD news is that, he made a way..
You NO longer have to look to alcohol, drugs, smoking, other religions to find yourself or forgiveness.
You NO longer need to try to rack up all of these good deeds that you can list to get yourself into heaven.
You NO longer need to put pressure on yourself and feel guilt for past mistakes or sins that you are holding on to.
You are already forgiven. Jesus paved a way for you today, are you willing to take this good news and accept Jesus into your life?

Build a longer table, not a taller wall.

hey fam! <3

I’m sure if you have a Facebook, or Twitter you have heard people share something to the effect of, “If you have a great fortune, build a longer table, not a taller wall”.

buildalongertable

 

i know how hard it can be to be so afraid that you just want to put up barriers and protect yourself. even if that means building an unrealistic wall on the border…. i get it. you want to make your future known, you want to know that your family and you will be safe from terrorist attacks. you want to know who is coming into this country. you don’t want to pay high taxes. i get it. really. i do.

 

but when we allow fear to take hold of us, we allow it to dictate our thoughts, actions and beliefs. we give fear power to come into our lives like an oppressive dictator kicking down doors.

when we make way to fear, we stop being inviting. we stop loving. we stop being real.

i don’t claim to know everything, because i don’t. but what i do know is that no matter how hard we try, we can never prevent attacks of violence. violence comes from fear which then turns into anger which then turns to hate when then turns to violence. no matter how hard we try, there will always be something we need to protect ourselves from.

honestly……..we might be better living in a bubble! am i, right?
that’s a unrealistic reality though…….living in a bubble or hiding ourselves away from humanity.

What if we became more inviting? What if we made our table longer?
That refugee family that just moved in down the street? What if we invite them over for Easter, or Fourth of July, or Christmas?
That mailman/mail lady who just lost his/her spouse, what if we talk to them or make them a batch of cookies?
That friend or relative that you don’t agree with politically, what if we stopped arguing with them, and started listening?
That relative or friend who just came out as gay, bi, queer, or transgender? How about we be loving and supportive? How about we invite them over and hang out with them?
That African-American friend of ours who says, “Black Lives Matters” and talk about how they feel oppressed? Let’s not disregard their hurt, or their feelings.

Let’s listen. friends, let’s not allow our fears or disagreements keep us from extending our tables.
longer tables, not taller walls.

It’s okay.

There a days when we can’t find the right words to say.
There are days when we run a little late.
There are days when we forget to put on makeup.
There are days when we forget to do our homework.
There are days when we feel like our world is falling apart.
but thats okay!

its okay for us to not have all the answers
its okay to not always have our makeup on
its okay to not be perfect

It’s okay. Take a deep breathe and relax.

The next time you are running late text your sister, mom, friend that you will be running late.
The next time you don’t have all the answers, it’s okay to look someone in the eye and admit that.
The next time you forget to put on makeup, don’t sweat it! You look gorgeous.
The next time you take a photo on your phone and you don’t look as “skinny” or “beautiful” as you think, don’t delete it. Love yourself.
The next time you forget to do your homework, or turn it in. Admit it, do the homework, but don’t beat yourself up over it.

Take a deep breathe. It’s all okay.

It’s okay to admit we aren’t perfect. So let’s all start with that. We aren’t perfect. We mess up.

It’s okay.