Forum Posts

Lil_Miss_Nikki
Mar 25, 2022
In Daily Devotional
Morning Lord! Thank You for making us so wonderfully complex. I’ve talked to so many people who struggle with their rampaging minds. Especially at night when they lay down to sleep. I definitely struggle with that myself. All those thoughts just circle around in our heads—I should have…, I could have…, I shouldn’t have…, I need to…, I can’t…, what if…, should I… who, when, where, why, how… endless cycle of thoughts in our minds. Makes you where you cant sleep and constant thoughts running through your mind non stop. Paul in the bible understood the war that takes place in our thoughts, how our circumstances and our imaginations can become weapons that undermine our faith and hope. That is why he declared “take every thought captive to obey Christ”. (2 Corinthians 10:5) Wow! It appears God knew what He was talking about all along—we can change our thinking! I know sometimes it seems impossible. I will link again below what I listen to below before I go to bed. It definitely does help! Take every thought captive? Is this even possible? Because honestly, my thoughts run wild a lot of the time. It will take time and practice, but as we speak to those thoughts and ask God to help us take them captive, then replace them with thoughts that are true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and worthy of praise (Philippians 4:8) then will have aligned our thinking up with God’s plan to prosper us and not to harm us as the world has planned. Father, help us break the cycle of our out-of-control thoughts. We want Your truths to invade every decision, every emotion, every thought we have. I pray that everyone has a blessed day seeking to take captive those wayward, negative thoughts that so easily entangle us. This devotional is according to Pam and the understanding of God’s Word. Here is what I always listen to before bedtime. They have all different videos that I definitely recommend checking out! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gH_gsL_Huhk Love Always, Nikki
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Lil_Miss_Nikki
Mar 18, 2022
In Mental Health Forum
Sometimes you have to let them go. You can't change someone no matter how hard you try. At the end of the day know that you tried and you are not the one to blame. Don't let their issues become your issues. You need to set boundaries. No matter how painful it is you need to let them go. For your own sanity, mental health, and for future generations to come. You must stop the cycle! Keep going forward and leave that negativity behind you. No need to be sucked in with all the hate that they carry around and project onto you. Even though they may turn it around and try to make you feel like you did something wrong and they play the victim card, let it go. You are good enough and continue to move forward by surrounding yourself with people who lift you up and not let you down or put you down. Cutting ties is an act of self care. Loving someone doesn’t always mean having a relationship with them, just like forgiveness doesn’t always mean reconciliation. Healing comes with accepting that there are relationships that are so toxic you need to let them go. I want to deeply thank Sharon Martin original published author of the article written below. Thank you Sharon for writing this and I pray it helps others as it truly has touched me. I needed to hear your words of encouragement, reassurance, and clarity. This is definitely a must share and had to share it with this loving community here on Presented Love. I know many others struggle with these same issues all over the world so thank you for sharing. All Credits to the inspiring author Sharon Martin: Its never easy to cut someone out of your life. And when it comes to family, its especially hard to accept that a family member is creating so much stress, anxiety, and pain that you can't continue to have a relationship with them. This post is for all of you who are struggling to decide whether to continue a relationship with a difficult or toxic family member. You're repeatedly hurt by this person, have tried tirelessly to repair the relationship, feel frustrated that nothing seems to change (at least for very long), you don't want to give up, but you don't know how to move forward in a way that respects and nurtures yourself. When is it appropriate to cut ties with a family member? This is a tough question and I don't have a one-size-fits-all answer. Consider the list of toxic behaviors below and how often you experience these issues with the family member in question. Toxic people disrupt your life and other relationships with behaviors such as these: Lying Blaming Criticizing Manipulating Overreacting Invalidating or ignoring your feelings Undermining your relationship with your spouse, kids, or other relatives Creating drama or crises Passive-aggressive behavior (such as the silent treatment, deliberate procrastination, or criticism disguised as a compliment) Gaslighting (a powerful form of manipulation that makes you doubt your perception of what's going on) Refusing to compromise Yelling, cursing, or calling you names Belittling your values, beliefs, choices Gossiping or speaking ill of you behind your back Making unreasonable demands Expecting you to help them, but they aren't available to help you Threatening suicide or self-harm in order to get their way Ruining holidays and special occasions Playing the victim Not taking responsibility for their own behavior Refusing to apologize and if they do, its shallow, coerced, or fake Lacking genuine concern or interest in you and your life Volatile or unpredictable moods and behaviors Creating so much stress, anxiety, and pain that your health, ability to work, or general wellbeing are negatively impacted Interacting with them makes you feel worse They are always right (and you are always wrong) People can change, but toxic people rarely do. They lack self-awareness and don't take responsibility for their actions. And since they don't see how their behavior hurts you, they refuse to change. Instead, they blame you and expect you to cater to their demands. 5 Reasons we struggle to cut ties with a toxic family member I think we can all agree that no one deserves to be abused. So, why do we give our family members a free pass? Why do we think we should tolerate such hurtful behavior from them? We don't see their behavior as abusive. Certainly, we know its painful, but we minimize it and make excuses. We hesitate to call it emotional abuse even though it clearly meets the criteria. Guilt. Family relationships are full of expectations were supposed to take care of our aging parents, get along with our siblings, spend the holidays together, respect our elders, keep the peace, sacrifice ourselves to make others happy, and so forth. So, if you break from any of these expectations (cutting off contact with your family being the biggest wrongdoing in their book), you're likely to feel guilty or like you're doing something wrong. Its essential that you realize that these expectations only make sense if you have a healthy family. They're unfair, unrealistic, and harmful if you have toxic family members. It is not wrong, mean, or selfish to protect your wellbeing and sometimes the only way to do this is by distancing yourself from toxic people. Family loyalty. You were probably primed to feel guilty by being taught that family loyalty is a virtue that you should be unequivocally committed to your family no matter what. Healthy closeness includes mutual respect and care; it respects individuality and your right to think and feel differently than your family. But loyalty is often used to try to control family members who are exerting their independence and speaking out against abuse. Fear. Its understandable that fear keeps many of us in dysfunctional relationships. Ending a relationship is a big change and no one knows exactly how it will play out. Its always easier to keep doing what you've always done, even if its not good for you. But that doesn't mean you cant overcome your fears and solve any challenges that crop up. Give yourself time, compassion, and build a support system Love. Perhaps the biggest obstacle of all is that you genuinely love your family, despite all the pain and problems they've caused. Perhaps you want to help or take care of them or perhaps you shared good times and happy memories in the past. But, as we all know, love isn't enough to make a relationship work whether its a romantic relationship, friendship or parent-child relationship. Cutting ties may feel unloving to your family, but it doesn't mean you have stopped loving them. Sometimes we love people, but cant have a relationship with them. Deciding to cut ties It sucks to have to choose between yourself and your family members. It really does. But this is the reality. Remaining in a relationship with a toxic person is potentially harmful to your emotional and physical health and relationships (and may negatively affect your spouse and children, too). The bottom line is that for many people, the only way to heal is to remove yourself from the abusive relationship. How can you heal if you continue to be abused? Tips for cutting ties with a toxic family member Acknowledge that its abusive. You need to stop minimizing and denying the harm that your family member has caused. Give up the fantasy that they will change. Grieve the loss of having the kind of relationship you wanted with this person. Grieve the loss of having the parent/sibling/grandparent that you needed and deserved. Get support from a therapist, support group or 12-step group, or friend whos experienced similar issues with their family. (Unfortunately, many friends mean well, but don't get it and inadvertently add to our shame and guilt with judgmental comments or unrealistic expectations.) If you're not ready to cut ties Its okay to not be ready. You shouldn't be pressured into making a decision. Most people who cut ties, do so as the last resort. They come to this decision gradually over years of fits and starts. They cut off ties and then reconnect. They set boundaries and make themselves less available. Things calm down and they feel better, only to have problems escalate again. This is common! There is no right way to deal with a toxic family member. Only you can decide how much contact is right for you. And you will know if and when you need to walk away in order to save yourself. Just know that its okay to end a toxic relationship even with a family member. Presented Love Members please make sure to check out Sharon Martin she is is a psychotherapist, writer, speaker, and media contributor on emotional health and relationships. She specializes in helping people uncover their inherent worth and learn to accept themselves -- imperfections and all! Sharon writes a popular blog called Conquering Codependency for Psychology Today and is the author of The CBT Workbook for Perfectionism: Evidence-Based Skills to Help You Let Go of Self-Criticism, Build Self-Esteem, and Find Balance and several eBooks including Navigating the Codependency Maze.
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Lil_Miss_Nikki
Feb 09, 2022
In Daily Devotional
This is an EXTREMELY powerful article I came across by Lionel Windsor from Moore College in Sydney. This evening I will be beginning a Woman's Bible Study and we will be walking through the book of Ephesians, When I saw this article on the power of forgiveness I knew it was something God was leading me to read and to share with others. I can relate to all of this beyond measure and I know many others can as well. I have struggled with unforgiveness for a VERY long time and I always have to remind myself why it is so very important to forgive others its because He forgave us I hope you find this incredible article below by Lionel Windsor as powerful as I did! Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings through this forum you never know who you could be helping and touching their life. Much love and God Bless! Love Always, Nikki Forgiveness matters. In fact, it’s part of the bedrock of our relationships. Without forgiveness in our relational world, life would actually become unbearable: Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel The Count of Monte Cristo tells the gripping story of a man who refuses to forgive. Consumed by bitterness, his plans for revenge destroy the lives of guilty and innocent alike.[1] Forgiveness is particularly important for believers in Christ. That’s because believers are forgiven people. In these verses in Ephesians, the apostle Paul says that believers should forgive, as God has forgiven us. But forgiveness isn’t always easy, is it? It’s particularly hard when the hurt is big, or when the person who caused the hurt refuses to acknowledge what they’ve done. Sometimes, we try to pack so much into the idea of forgiveness that we load ourselves and others with a burden that’s impossible to bear. That’s why we need to understand what forgiveness is, and what it isn’t. Even more importantly, we need to understand why forgiveness matters. When we do, we can see that forgiveness is not only possible for believers, it’s also incredibly powerful for our lives and relationships. All bitterness and rage and anger and shouting and slander should be put away from you, along with all malice. Become kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God also forgave you in Christ. Ephesians 4:31–32 The word Paul chooses to describe forgiveness here is actually a grace word. It’s all about giving. Because God has graciously given us forgiveness, life, and salvation, we are to graciously give to others by forgiving them. What is forgiveness, according to Paul? It’s the gift we give when we erase someone else’s sin against us from our personal ledger of wrongs. What Paul says here about forgiveness helps us to see what this means in practice, and why it matters so much. First, the other side In verse 31, Paul talks about things that are opposite to forgiveness: “All bitterness and rage and anger and shouting and slander should be put away from you, along with all malice”. These are ways we often react when people hurt us, aren’t they? If we let the hurt take over, it can create a gnawing resentment or an internal rage that comes out in destructive behavior and destructive speech. These things can consume us and destroy our relationships. Are you experiencing any of the things Paul describes here? Is there any bitterness poisoning your soul? Is there rage and anger and shouting welling up inside you because of what someone has done to you? Are you talking about them slanderously, lying about them, or deliberately putting them down and undermining them? Is there malice in you: a vicious spirit seeking revenge? God’s word is telling us here that these things are opposed to forgiveness. And these are the things you must put away. They destroy your life, and the lives of others. So Paul is opposing forgiveness to bitterness, rage, and malice. Understanding this helps us to be clearer about what forgiveness means. For example, forgiveness is not opposed to justice. You can forgive someone and still seek justice. In fact, sometimes you need to seek justice, especially, for example, if the unjust situation is continuing to impact those who need your protection. Also, forgiveness is not opposed to self-protection. You can forgive someone and still act to protect yourself and other vulnerable people. Forgiveness is not opposed to truth. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to make excuses for a person who hurt you. You can forgive someone even as you acknowledge or testify that they were responsible for doing something bad to you. Forgiveness doesn’t mean saying that what happened was OK. You can forgive a wrong and still insist that it wasn’t OK. Sometimes you have to keep insisting it wasn’t OK. Forgiveness isn’t opposed to remembering. You can forgive, even if you can’t bring yourself to forget. And forgiveness isn’t opposed to broken relationships. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you have to be responsible to make sure everything is happy between you and the person who hurt you. You can forgive even in a situation where the other person refuses to acknowledge the wrong or to truly repent. The attitude of forgiveness Forgiveness is part of what it means to become a new person in Christ. Paul says: “Become kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another”. In Christ, God has made us a new person. He has given us a new life to live. Living that life involves being renewed. It means becoming more and more what God has made us to be (see Ephesians 4:22–24). Here, Paul describes two attitudes that belong to this new life: kindness and compassion. Being “kind” means being benevolent or good-willed to someone who needs your help. Kindness is the attitude of a person in a position of strength who does something good for somebody in a position of relative weakness. In Paul’s day, the word “kind” was used to describe the action of rulers and patrons and benefactors towards their subjects and clients. It was also often used of God himself: God is able to be kind because he is so strong. So kindness is an attitude you have when you have something to give, and you deliberately choose to give it. Why should believers in Christ be kind? Because we have so much to give! Through Christ’s death and resurrection, we have life and salvation and freedom; the riches of God’s grace in abundance. While we might feel weak in ourselves, we are strong in Christ. This enables us to be kind to others. And that means we can forgive them. Forgiveness isn’t a display of weakness. It’s a display of kindness and strength. We are also to become “compassionate”. This literally means “having healthy guts”. Paul is talking here about our gut reactions, our emotions. He’s saying that believing in Christ can and should make a difference to our feelings. In particular, our feelings of rage and bitterness and malice should be replaced by feelings of compassion and tender-heartedness. While this can be a slow process, we know that God is at work in us, by his Spirit, to make it happen. And that healing of our emotions can indeed go a long way towards enabling us to forgive. The model of forgiveness God himself provides us with a model of forgiveness. Paul says we should forgive “as God also forgave you in Christ”. Paul has already described God’s forgiveness in his letter this way: “God has given us this grace in the one he dearly loves. In him, we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of offenses, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:6–7). This forgiveness is at the heart of our relationship with God. God has erased our sins, removed his wrath from us, and raised us from death to life. He has been incredibly kind and compassionate to us. And we now face a secure and glorious future through Christ. Because God has forgiven us, we have a reason—and the strength—to forgive others. As God has erased our sins and sees us as holy and blameless through Christ, so we can and should seek to do the same to others: to erase the sins of others from our ledger of wrongs. This is where it’s very important to be clear about what forgiveness is and what it isn’t. Forgiveness means erasing the sins of others from your personal ledger of wrongs. That doesn’t depend on other people. It’s something you can do. You have the power to do it, and nobody can stop you. Of course, there are other things that can flow from, and often happen alongside, forgiveness: things like repentance and acknowledgement and reconciliation and human justice and restoration of relationship. These things do depend on others. And these things are certainly good to seek and pray for. But let’s be clear: you can forgive somebody without these other things happening. You can erase somebody’s sins from your personal ledger of wrongs whether or not they repent, and whether or not justice is done, and whether or not the relationship is restored. Forgiveness is something you’re not dependent on others to do. It’s yours to give. Now you might ask: Isn’t God’s forgiveness also connected to other things like repentance and reconciliation? Yes, it is. But that’s why we need to be precise as we read what Paul says here. We’re told to forgive like God, not to be like God in every possible way that’s connected with forgiveness. Actually, when you think about it, that would be impossible. We don’t, for example, have to act like God by granting our holy spirit to people we forgive, leading them to repentance. We don’t have to act like God by bringing unity and reconciliation to the world all by ourselves. In other words, when we forgive, we don’t also have to act as the omnipotent supreme Lord of creation and salvation. When we forgive, reconciliation and repentance and restoration of relationship don’t always happen. Sometimes they do, which is a great joy. And we can seek them and ask for them and pray for them. But they don’t always happen. And we can’t make them happen. So Paul’s instruction to forgive like God is an instruction to forgive. Our forgiveness doesn’t depend on others. And that’s why it’s so powerful. Forgiveness in action So then, if you’re a believer in Christ: How are you going at grace? How are you going at giving? How are you going at forgiving? Do you hold on to hurts? Do you nurse the bitterness and fan the rage and malice into flame? If you do this, even in the little things, turn around and lift your eyes to what God has done for you in Christ. He has forgiven you. So you can forgive. Maybe you’ve been hurt very, very badly by someone. Maybe someone has sinned hideously against you. Maybe they’ve abused you or used their power against you. Maybe they’ve robbed you of a piece of you. Or maybe you’re even unjustly imprisoned, like Paul who’s writing this letter. If that’s you, then I want you to know I’m not using my words to compel or force you to forgive. I’m not going to keep telling you to forgive until you cave in to my demands (and I hope you never do that to someone who’s been hurt deeply). Instead, I’m going to do what Paul keeps doing in Ephesians. I’m going to remind you of who you are. You are a child of God, dearly loved by him. In the very next verse, Paul says: “So then, become imitators of God, as dearly loved children” (Ephesians 5:1). God loves you deeply. And he is strong. This is where the power to forgive comes from. Even if you don’t feel it right now, you are, in fact, completely secure in his love for you. God loves you so much. He chose to give to you. He has so much to give, and he gave it. He loves you. You can tell that he loves you because Jesus died for you. And because you’re a dearly loved child of God, you have the power to forgive. You have the power to be kind and compassionate, like your loving heavenly Father is. You can be powerful in this, like God. And there’s nobody who can take that power of forgiveness away from you. Yes, there might also be a need for reconciliation which may simply mean seeking human justice (I’m using the word ‘reconciliation’ here in the sense of ‘putting things right’, and may or may not come hand-in-hand with any repentance on the part of the wrongdoer). That process of reconciliation often depends on others. Certainly, if there’s going to be any hope of a restoration of relationship, the person who wronged you will need to repent, and that’s up to them. But even without these things, you yourself have the power to forgive. And that power doesn’t depend on anyone else’s actions or attitudes. They have no power over you in this. With the help of your loving heavenly Father, you can let go of the bitterness, rage, the anger, the shouting, the slander, and the malice. You can let that go, and you can give. You can forgive, because you are forgiven, and you a dearly loved child of God. For reflection How does God’s grace in Christ help you to see you have the power to forgive others? Is there a situation in your life where you need to let go of malice and forgive someone? [1] Alexandre Dumas (Père), The Count of Monte Cristo (trans. Robin Buss; London: Penguin, 1996).
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Lil_Miss_Nikki
Feb 03, 2022
In Daily Devotional
Thank You for lessons that teach us how to respond to each situation in our lives, that will bless others and glorify You. 1) Nothing good comes from allowing bitterness or envy to creep into our lives. 2) Celebration is the only appropriate response to God at work. 3) There is much greater joy in choosing to praise God for what He’s doing in others instead of selfishly dwelling on what He’s not doing through us. 4) When we choose to celebrate other's blessings, it encourages those around us. Help us find joy in every way we see You at work, whether it involves us or not. Let us not miss the blessing of simply seeing You at work. I pray that everyone has a great day looking for opportunities for God to use us to affirm the work He is doing in the lives of others. Amen. 🌺 Inspired by Pamela Landers
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Lil_Miss_Nikki
Feb 03, 2022
In Mental Health Forum
I am not sure if you are like me but there are nights that my brain just does not have a stop button even though I should be sleeping. Even though my body says I need to rest it can be a constant struggle to sleep, Or I may go to sleep right away and wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back to sleep. I wanted to share the Abide app with you because it helps me tremendously and I hope it does the same for you if you have the same struggle. In the evening times I actually just go to the YouTube version of Abide on my iPad and play the links through there while I have my headphones on before I fall asleep. I also use Abide with our daughter as well and she loves it! There are many meditation apps & youtube videos that help others as well so if you have any you would like to share with our PresentedLove.Com Community please feel free to do so! If you would like one of the many videos from Abide that help me sleep here is an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5tedWrMLOU&list=RDCMUClSf95kSFthb2NNHle4a7fw&index=2&ab_channel=Abide-SleepMeditations 💗Much Love! Love Always, Nikki
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Lil_Miss_Nikki
Jan 05, 2022
In Daily Devotional
Morning Lord! Thank You for this day in which You have made! JESUS SAYS : DO NOT DWELL ON THE PAST. See, I am doing a new thing! As you begin a fresh year, rejoice that I am continually working newness into your life. Don’t let recent disappointments and failures define you or dampen your expectations. This is the time to make a fresh start! I am a God of unlimited creativity; expect Me to do surprising things in this year that stretches out before you. Today is a precious gift. The present moment is where I meet with you, beloved. So seek My Face throughout this day that I have made. I have carefully prepared it for you—with tender attention to every detail. I want you to rejoice and be glad in it. Search for signs of My loving Presence as you journey along the path of Life. Look for the little pleasures I have strewn alongside your pathway—sometimes in surprising places—and thank Me for each one. Your thankfulness will keep you close to Me and help you find Joy in your journey. “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”—ISAIAH 43:18–19 This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.—PSALM 118:24 ESV You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.—PSALM 16:11 NKJV Father, open our eyes to see You at work all around us. I pray everyone has a blessed day being joyful in our Lord and Savior. -Inspired By Pamela Landers
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Lil_Miss_Nikki
Dec 08, 2021
In Mental Health Forum
You never know what ones struggles are that they hold inside. They put on a face that everything is ok when it’s not. You are NOT alone! There is hope. YOU MATTER! This forum is a safe space to share your struggles and uplift one another. Always be kind to others because that could be all the difference in the world that you made that person's day and gave them hope. #hopeforaday #mentalhealthawareness #youarenotalone #thereishope #thereishelp #youmatter #suicidepreventionprevention If you need help or know someone needing help there are so many resources out there including the suicide hotline at 800-273-8255 it can make a difference don't give up! We are here for you!
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