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Thread: Parental Guilt Trips

  1. #1

    Default Parental Guilt Trips

    Do any of your parents 'guilt you' into doing things and/or try to make you feel horrible because you 'disappointed' them? Mind you, I am not talking about participating in any particular sinful activity or anything illegal, etc. If so, HOW have you dealt with it, and at what point does the guilt go away? (Yes, I am saved. I am not talking about THAT kind of guilt.)

    Ex. Adult child wants to have a baby w/ husband and her parents do everything in their power to ensure that she does not get pregnant.

    This is not my CURRENT situation, (although this was an issue in the past...not allowed to have a child) just an example of the parental guilt which I am referring.

    Ex 2. I got a new hair cut. It is extremely common, my hair is just below my shoulders, and I had it cut to where it would angle around my face, w/ a few layers. My Mom despises it! She is really making me feel guilty about that. She keeps telling how I have ruined my hair. (I told her it's hair!)

    Please: Advice needed for a MUCH greater issue than the two presented. I 'feel like' I am sinning against God because 1. I am not 'obeying my parents', and 2. I often worry/stress more about what my parents think of me than God. (I know that is terrible.)
    “My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)


    BTW, my son is now in the 8th grade!

  2. #2
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    The guilt never goes away.
    I feel it's emotional child abuse to try and manipulate your children with guilt.
    That's why I'm not close to my parents.
    I would talk to my dad and rant at my husband for the next 2 weeks because I
    would be so upset.
    If they weren't your parents, would you let other people use guilt on you? Would you let
    your friends do it?
    I feel I honor my parents by not giving them a piece of my mind.
    We are commanded to honor our parents but they are commanded not to exasperate us,
    it's a 2-way street. Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
    I did break the cycle though. I never used guilt on my child.
    Living in the land of the reprobate minds...

    Please pray for Lindsey's salvation. I can't thank you enough.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mommytoa3rdgradeboy View Post
    I 'feel like' I am sinning against God because 1. I am not 'obeying my parents', and...
    You are an adult. You dont have to 'obey' them anymore. What you do have to do is 'honor' them.

    And, no... Honoring them doesnt mean you have to do everything they say.


    Quote Originally Posted by Mommytoa3rdgradeboy View Post
    2. I often worry/stress more about what my parents think of me than God. (I know that is terrible.)
    You may need more space between you and them.
    The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of His hands.
    Day to day pours forth speech, And night to night reveals knowledge.
    (Psa 19:1b-2)

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hootmon View Post
    You are an adult. You dont have to 'obey' them anymore. What you do have to do is 'honor' them.

    And, no... Honoring them doesnt mean you have to do everything they say.


    You may need more space between you and them.
    See, that is the thing. I have put more space between me and them. I moved 5.5 hours away from them. I am in my mid 30s, and yes, I am an only child. I had an ‘ideal’ childhood. I know my parents love me very much, however, that is the problem. They love me too much. I even told my Mom that she loves me more than she loves God, whether or not she wanted to admit it. I told her that she has made me an idol. She hesitated, then she said that she guessed that I am right. As an adult, I have had many, many things happen in my life that most people may have only one (or even none) of those things happen. When I told my parents I was moving, that I had secured a job someplace else, they immediately flipped! I was told that I was being selfish and ungrateful and how in the world could I do this to them, that I can't leave, and that I have no business being so far away from them. My Mom stood there and told me that I ‘took a knife and stabbed it in her heart, and twisted it'. I will never forget those words. I do believe that was the most hurtful thing that anyone has ever said to me. Like I said, I have been through a lot, and I think they are just way 'overprotective' because they don’t want to see me hurt, but still, that is not an excuse for them to pressure me in to things. Also, I just feel horrible because, like most children, I DO want my parents’ approval, yet I am letting this become a sin because I feel like I am placing their wants/desires for me above approval (which I know I can’t earn) above God's. I feel like I am rambling now. I am very grateful and thankful for all of their help, so I don’t want anyone to think I am ungrateful or unappreciative.
    “My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)


    BTW, my son is now in the 8th grade!

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy S. View Post
    The guilt never goes away.
    I feel it's emotional child abuse to try and manipulate your children with guilt.
    That's why I'm not close to my parents.
    I would talk to my dad and rant at my husband for the next 2 weeks because I
    would be so upset.
    If they weren't your parents, would you let other people use guilt on you? Would you let
    your friends do it?
    I feel I honor my parents by not giving them a piece of my mind.
    We are commanded to honor our parents but they are commanded not to exasperate us,
    it's a 2-way street. Eph 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
    I did break the cycle though. I never used guilt on my child.
    It IS emotional abuse. My Dad is a very manipulative person. He 'disowned' two of his sisters. He is very bitter, and though he grew up in a Baptist church and has a baptismal certificate, I doubt his salvation. He refuses to talk about God, which is a whole other thread.

    My Dad is very critical of everything I say, do, and act. Nothing is ever good enough for him, and I truly think he is bi-polar. He will go days in depression mode, then days w/o speaking to anyone for no reason. Oh, yeah, he didn't talk to me or two weeks after I moved.
    Last edited by Mommytoa3rdgradeboy; April 10th, 2012 at 03:15 PM. Reason: spelling
    “My Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:40)


    BTW, my son is now in the 8th grade!

  6. #6

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    Hello,

    I can relate well to what you are feeling. I have a mother who can do/say anything she pleases, whether it is hurtful or not, but woe to me if I dare speak a negative word (truth) in return. It is a difficult situation and one that I still struggle with at times, and we have several (hundred) miles between us. I wish I had sound advice to offer, but we all approach similar situations differently...and I'm still searching myself. The last time I offended her, (not intentionally) she didn't speak to me for 5 months. There are so many instances I could list of her displeasure with me, but I won't bog down your post with them.

    I guess I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone ...and 'ers never hurt...Take Care

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mommytoa3rdgradeboy View Post
    It IS emotional abuse. My Dad is a very manipulative person. He 'disowned' two of his sisters. He is very bitter, and though he grew up in a Baptist church and has a baptismal certificate, I doubt his salvation. He refuses to talk about God, which is a whole other thread.

    My Dad is very critical of everything I say, do, and act. Nothing is ever good enough for him, and I truly think he is bi-polar. He will go days in depression mode, then days w/o speaking to anyone for no reason. Oh, yeah, he didn't talk to me or two weeks after I moved.
    Break free for your own sanity.
    Don't feel guilty, you can pm me when it gets bad.
    My dad even admitted that he pulls strings on people.
    And hateful! He won't forgive people that are in the grave.
    He brings up the past over and over and over.....
    For the sake of your kids, don't put up with parental abuse.
    Living in the land of the reprobate minds...

    Please pray for Lindsey's salvation. I can't thank you enough.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Awakened View Post
    Hello,

    I can relate well to what you are feeling. I have a mother who can do/say anything she pleases, whether it is hurtful or not, but woe to me if I dare speak a negative word (truth) in return. It is a difficult situation and one that I still struggle with at times, and we have several (hundred) miles between us. I wish I had sound advice to offer, but we all approach similar situations differently...and I'm still searching myself. The last time I offended her, (not intentionally) she didn't speak to me for 5 months. There are so many instances I could list of her displeasure with me, but I won't bog down your post with them.

    I guess I just wanted to let you know that you're not alone ...and 'ers never hurt...Take Care
    I was always on my mom's list.....
    She's gone now, I forgot the abuse already.
    My dad makes up for it.
    Living in the land of the reprobate minds...

    Please pray for Lindsey's salvation. I can't thank you enough.

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy S. View Post
    Break free for your own sanity.
    And hateful! He won't forgive people that are in the grave.
    He brings up the past over and over and over.....

    This is my mother, she refuses to forgive my father for hurts/mistakes he made in their marriage. It is so bad that she told me she will sell her cemetery plot, next to my dad, and be buried elsewhere.

  10. #10
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    First, read the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud.

    Second, when you got married you left your parents to cleave to your spouse. You can not be both his wife and your parents' "little girl" because they are trying to keep you their "little girl". They will control you for the rest of your life if you let them. Speaking from experience (FIL is like your parents), this WILL destroy your marriage like cancer destroys the body.

    Third, if you are comfortable with it, get into counseling with a Christian therapist. Your insurance will likely pay for it. You need to learn how to put up boundaries with your parents and re-write the relationship. A qualified marriage and family therapist will be able to help you learn to establish those boundaries and will help you talk through the situations as they arise. The fact that your parents tried to get between you and your husband's desire to establish your own family, assuming you two are supporting yourselves and not relying upon them to support you, is ridiculous.

    Your parents are not going to change until you force them to change. Manipulation and emotional abuse works for them - they get what they want by doing so. It's up to you to force the relationship to change, and a marriage and family therapist (particularly from a Christian therapist) will be able to help you negotiate this tight-rope walk.
    "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment." (Matthew 22:37-38)

  11. #11
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    Oh you poor thing... truly. I'm not being condescending here.

    You, like others who have answered your thread (including me), are suffering from severe mental abuse. I have an abusive dad and a step-mother who admittedly hates me. My dad and I had a row almost a year ago and we still don't talk like we used to. I didn't let him get away with his tirade this time. I told him I loved him but that he was being ridiculous and it caused a rift between us that may never close. I won't go into details, but, trust me, he WAS being honestly stupid about the issue that was at hand. This is one break in our relationship that I will not bow down to. And he knows it. Neither will he. And I know it. So be it.

    Your parents it seems, especially your mother, have spent your whole life centered around you. They have nothing else to fill that void. Their painful words are just their way of asserting that "centeredness" with which they held you in the past. I'm sure they love you, they just cannot cut the strings and I doubt that they ever will. Your mother's rant about your hair, like my father's words, are just an assertive tirade to attain control of you once more. The same goes for the rant when you moved away. I don't think she worships you... I think you simply took away her power to control all that you do.

    You are their child. And will, no doubt, always be their "child". You will probably never be grown-up in their eyes. If they admitted that you were grown-up enough to make your decisions, they, themselves, would feel completely empty.

    I'm not trying to play psychiatrist here. Basically what I'm doing is telling you is all of the things me and MY psychiatrist have discussed. It helped me to understand where my dad was coming from. Their actions to you stem directly from the actions against them when they were a child. My father was the 12th of 13 children in a country "Hatfield & McCoy" type family. He was totally ignored most of his life and usually any attention that he did receive was abusive. This set the stage for controlling but seemingly uncaring attitude with which he raised his own kids.

    Now, because of the way he raised me, it has had a profound impact on how I raise my children. I give my children the trust I never had but with guidance and patience and sound advice. I will gladly give my life for them and will never turn them away but I offer them their independence and a voice. I have them make their own decisions (even at their young age) but advise them of the pros and cons of those decisions before they are made. I do not say "I told you so" when they make mistakes. I stand by their actions and their decisions and we all discuss and learn from the wrongs.... and the rights.

    Their would be nothing wrong if you felt like you needed some professional counseling. I, myself, found a Christian psychiatrist. It was wonderful talking to someone who basically had to sit there and listen to my tirade in an unbiased atmosphere. In the end I went on medication to help control my depression. It hasn't been easy and there are still issues that will never be resolved. But I can see the sun shining again. The dark cloud is gone and I can live with the occasional cloudburst... so to speak.

    Regarding you having a baby; Have you ever heard the line "If you have a baby then you won't be the baby anymore"? That sounds suspiciously like what your parents, especially your mother, are feeling. They think they would have to compete for your attentions and affections. You need to come to terms with that if you want to have children of your own.

    Children are such a wonderful Blessing. Do not let your parents dictate whether or not you become a parent. Think of it like this, what happens if you have no children but then your parents pass on? Now you have a void that you created by letting your parents dictate your life-altering decisions. How soon after your parents pass would that come to a realization that turned into regret and blame? If you want children of your own then tell God you do and ask Him for that Blessing and for His guidance in raising your children in His Light and by His direction. Your parents have no say-so whatsoever in what God wants for you in your life. And in the end, that's the bottom line, isn't it?

    I guess I have played psychiatrist here. My apologies if I sound controlling myself. I just wanted you to know that, like someone said before, you are not alone in this. You have good company. And some pretty sound advice from those of us that are also dealing with, through prayer and God's guidance, very similar circumstances.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you as deal with these issues. Feel free anytime to PM me if you need to talk. And if you need a voice and not a written word, we can talk on the phone and pray together.

  12. #12
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    My mother was very controlling and co-dependent. She seemed to be totally obsessed with my life. The fact that I needed her help so much when my kids were young because of my health problems, just compounded things.

    When we moved an hour's drive away from my parents' home (due to my DH's work transfer), I took the opportunity to tell her that she and my Dad couldn't visit us unless they were invited....and then I restricted those invitations for the sake of my sanity. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do, but my DH supported me 100% in that decision because he could see that she was driving me to a nervous breakdown.

    She was saved and passed away six years ago. In the previous few years, I watched her slowly deteriorate with Alzheimer's Disease. Then I became burdened with guilt over keeping her at arm's length after we moved. I still have those guilt feelings now and I think that just goes with the territory.

    I came across this website one day which helped me to understand her problem more clearly....I wish I had read something like this while I was dealing with it. http://daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/ It has at least enabled me to see that I wasn't just being cold and mean by putting some distance between us (that's what my guilty side was telling me).

    I wish we could have had a closer relationship but I realise now that it wasn't possible and I couldn't change her.
    Hey, Dad......ARE WE THERE YET?

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    A lot of weirdness in my family.

    I got out of 98% of it by moving cross country. We have our weekly phone call ritual; MAYBE more often than that if something earthshaking happened.

    In my family, they tended to cut me out of the loop entirely. Looking back, that was a huge blessing.

    I second the suggestion to read "Boundaries". I have found it very helpful in my own life, and marriage.

    " I have had an increasing burden to engage in some down and dirty, street evangelism." March 6, 2010

    Isaiah 6:8 I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “ Whom shall I send, And who will go for Us?”

    Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

    Matthew 22:9 NIV
    'So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’


    I'm praying for you daily!
    I get my Bibles here

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    I don't feel like doing too much typing, so my advice is:

    CUT THE STRINGS IT'S TIME

    I had to do this in my own life years ago. Eventually, your parents will realize you are separate and that you will not answer to them. It's a necessity, or you will not be able to live your own life peaceably. It may take years for you and them to come around to forging a correct adult=adult interaction in place of a parent=child interaction which you currently have.

    You will have to be the initiator in this parental relationship change, because if you left it up to them, you would be answerable to them as their child for the rest of our life, and you would not be given the respect you deserve as a grown person. So, it's time to grow up, sever the cord, and live your life. Each of us has to do it at some time or another. It's time for you to ignore the guilt, drop the fear, and move on.

    They won't die because of it, though they might try to guilt you into thinking you're killing them. God gave you to them temporarily so they could raise you to adulthood. But then, at the appropriate time, they were supposed to let you leave the nest. They were ideally supposed to help you leave the nest because their role as the controllers and protector over you is now over. They can still guide you, but you are no longer answerable to them.

    They only have as much power and influence over you as you allow them to have. Time to turn over a new leaf. It's time for a change.
    Jesus saith unto him, "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." John 14:6

  15. #15
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    I have narcissistic parents. It almost destroyed me. The Lord healed my emotions. It's a miracle.

    Thanks for that link, Sydney. It's a good one.

    The thing that has helped me the most recently: I learned from the book, Why Is It Always About
    You?, to offer non-defensive responses to their criticisms & attempts to control.

    This is life-changing!

    So when my father says, "You've gained as much weight as I have". I just shrug and say, "I'm
    sorry you feel that way". (I've gone no contact now. No more abuse). He just wrote me a 10 page
    letter filled with fear-mongering, guilt trips, etc. I didn't respond.

    Also, it helped to finally accept that narcissistic parents do not care about anyone, including their
    children.

    So to the OP, not sure your folks are narcs, but try that non-defensive response. It's great!

    gin
    Fasten your seatbelts, it's going to be a bumpy flight!

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mommytoa3rdgradeboy View Post
    See, that is the thing. I have put more space between me and them. I moved 5.5 hours away from them. I am in my mid 30s, and yes, I am an only child. I had an ‘ideal’ childhood. I know my parents love me very much, however, that is the problem. They love me too much. I even told my Mom that she loves me more than she loves God, whether or not she wanted to admit it. I told her that she has made me an idol. She hesitated, then she said that she guessed that I am right. As an adult, I have had many, many things happen in my life that most people may have only one (or even none) of those things happen. When I told my parents I was moving, that I had secured a job someplace else, they immediately flipped! I was told that I was being selfish and ungrateful and how in the world could I do this to them, that I can't leave, and that I have no business being so far away from them. My Mom stood there and told me that I ‘took a knife and stabbed it in her heart, and twisted it'. I will never forget those words. I do believe that was the most hurtful thing that anyone has ever said to me. Like I said, I have been through a lot, and I think they are just way 'overprotective' because they don’t want to see me hurt, but still, that is not an excuse for them to pressure me in to things. Also, I just feel horrible because, like most children, I DO want my parents’ approval, yet I am letting this become a sin because I feel like I am placing their wants/desires for me above approval (which I know I can’t earn) above God's. I feel like I am rambling now. I am very grateful and thankful for all of their help, so I don’t want anyone to think I am ungrateful or unappreciative.
    My daughter is an only child too and I was critical of many things she did only because I wanted
    the BEST for her.
    Maybe that's why she got into drugs? I don't know.
    Anyway, it took the crisis of dangerous drugs to get me to cry out to God and I have put her
    100% in his hands. He took me to the point of absolute helplessness to give up trying to control
    her.
    I am blessed that she lives in the same town as me and hope she never moves away but she
    belongs to the Lord, not to me.
    You have to stop seeing yourself as your parent's "child" and instead as the adult that you are.
    Living in the land of the reprobate minds...

    Please pray for Lindsey's salvation. I can't thank you enough.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Awakened View Post
    This is my mother, she refuses to forgive my father for hurts/mistakes he made in their marriage. It is so bad that she told me she will sell her cemetery plot, next to my dad, and be buried elsewhere.
    My dad bought extra plots next to my mom so some of the relatives can't be buried next to her.
    He doesn't plan to use them, just make sure others can't.
    Living in the land of the reprobate minds...

    Please pray for Lindsey's salvation. I can't thank you enough.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robinbobbin View Post
    First, read the book Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud.

    Second, when you got married you left your parents to cleave to your spouse. You can not be both his wife and your parents' "little girl" because they are trying to keep you their "little girl". They will control you for the rest of your life if you let them. Speaking from experience (FIL is like your parents), this WILL destroy your marriage like cancer destroys the body.

    Third, if you are comfortable with it, get into counseling with a Christian therapist. Your insurance will likely pay for it. You need to learn how to put up boundaries with your parents and re-write the relationship. A qualified marriage and family therapist will be able to help you learn to establish those boundaries and will help you talk through the situations as they arise. The fact that your parents tried to get between you and your husband's desire to establish your own family, assuming you two are supporting yourselves and not relying upon them to support you, is ridiculous.

    Your parents are not going to change until you force them to change. Manipulation and emotional abuse works for them - they get what they want by doing so. It's up to you to force the relationship to change, and a marriage and family therapist (particularly from a Christian therapist) will be able to help you negotiate this tight-rope walk.
    I have that book and it helped me!
    Living in the land of the reprobate minds...

    Please pray for Lindsey's salvation. I can't thank you enough.

  19. #19
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    Bless your heart. I've been where you're at, and even still, I have to remind some of my family where their life ends and mine begins. There are some members in my family who do not know the difference. These are the same ones who have difficulty setting boundaries in their own lives, and allow others and circumstances to control them, though they don't realize it. Boundaries is a good book. It has been a great help to me.
    I speak the word of God to them in love. Mind you, it doesn't go over very well at first, but if they are truly seeking to do the will of God, eventually, things do improve.

    One thing I do, is allow the answering machine to take the calls, and I do not return calls immediately. I do it at a time that is convenient. I have learned that most emergencies are not something I can do anything about but pray, and then I let it go. Yes, I caught some flack about it at first. Everyone was so used to me being available and dropping everything at a moments' notice. I don't do that anymore. My life is much more peaceful.

    Stay in prayer and the study of God's word, and put on the full armour of God when dealing with them. You'll be amazed how He intervenes in this situation!

    Note: Once He does begin intervening, resist the temptation to "take it back" or "pursue it back". Enjoy the peaceful times, knowing He is working in your life.
    Come Lord Jesus and bring us home soon!

    "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-not by works, so that no one can boast."
    Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV

    I may not be perfect, but Jesus thinks I'm to die for!

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by futurehope View Post
    They only have as much power and influence over you as you allow them to have. Time to turn over a new leaf. It's time for a change.
    Quote Originally Posted by Sydney Spider View Post
    I wish we could have had a closer relationship but I realise now that it wasn't possible and I couldn't change her.
    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy S. View Post
    You have to stop seeing yourself as your parent's "child" and instead as the adult that you are.
    3 very important points to fully grasp!

    My sister and I used to think we were the only ones dealing with such parents. It was liberating to finally find out that we were not alone. Both my sister and I were estranged from our parents for the better part of 16 years. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of times we would receive "out of the blue" letters telling us how horrible we were as children, pointing out our mistakes as adults, and filled with fear-mongering and guilt trips as ginseng stated. These letters would bring us to tears and in a sense would only intensify our feelings of low worth. Thank God we both have wonderful supportive husbands. My sister and I were always willing to try and repair what had been broken, and sometimes things would be good, although, I might add, my parents would never allow us to be in a relationship status together with them. (For instance, 1998 was a good year for my sister, while 2000 was a good year for me). I might also add that my sister and I have a wonderful relationship and have never allowed our Mom to come between that.

    My Father passed away in 2009 of lung cancer, 8 weeks after he was diagnosed, and it was during this time that my sister and I rallied together to be supportive to our Mother. We chose to do this, she never asked, and we have showered her with as much love as possible. To make this story short, just to point out, she hasn't changed. She never will. But I have grown to accept and respect her as she is, and made clear our boundaries. There have been a few obstacles, but the relationship is slowly moving forward.

    The only advice I know is this: To know and understand who you are in Christ. Stay constant in prayer (for them and for you) and reading the Word. Set reasonable boundaries, and above all, don't allow anyone (even Mom and Dad) to make you feel any less about who you are or the choices you have made!



    meshee
    "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:1-2 NKJV

    The word for "sun" in HEBREW is שמש/she-MESH!

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