Healing

Surviving the Pain of Parental Alienation – Part 4

by Rick Nischalke on November 22, 2013

Does God exist? – cont’d

This post is the fourth in a series on how to survive parental alienation. If you haven’t read the previous posts I would suggest doing so before reading this one.

In my previous post #3 of this series we looked at the first 3 reasons in the following list. Today we will explore the last 2:

It’s been my experience through the years that there are really only a handful of reasons that people refuse to believe in (or acknowledge) the existence of God.

  1. Some of us have never really given much thought or done our own research on the subject, so we end up accepting and repeating what some authority figure in our life told us we should believe.
  2. Some believe that our cultures’ “current version of science” has all of the answers and they are under the false belief that no one of above average intelligence believes in Intelligent Design and Creation.
  3. If God does in fact exist, this truth may require changes in their lifestyle that they are unwilling to make.
  4. Many become angry and appalled with the injustice, evil and pain in this world. They ask “If God exists how could He let all of this happen”?
  5. In some cases people that used to believe in God change their view because they feel that God has let them down in some way. They become disillusioned by their own false understanding about who God is and how He operates in our world. They believe that God has an obligation to answer every prayer the way that they think He should or He must not be real or trustworthy. Or worse yet, if they are in deep enough pain and confusion they simply walk away from a relationship with Him. Sometimes they profess not to believe in Him at all, but most of the time they are just angry, hurt and disillusioned by their pain so they refuse to worship, follow or even acknowledge God’s existence anymore.

Addressing the 4th reason on our list let me start by saying that all of us should be angry, shocked and appalled with the injustice, evil and pain in our world. Each of those things should cause us great consternation and deep reflection about the world we live in and the very meaning of life itself.

Many of us just haven’t been able to make sense of how a loving and all-powerful God could allow evil to permeate our society. We earnestly wrestle with this seeming disparity and are at a loss as to how to reconcile these two “opposing truths”. If you find yourself in that situation, I would refer you back to the 2nd post in this series for insight into this perplexing issue. Specifically go to the section that says: “Let’s begin exploring God’s existence by examining some the basics of the Christian faith.” Although this may not answer your questions in their entirety, it’s certainly a good start. I have also recommended several books that will discuss these matters in depth.

But here’s where it gets dicey, the conclusions we come to about these difficult realities of life, can be heavily influenced by the first 3 reasons listed above. If someone hasn’t invested the time and effort to come to a proper understanding of who God is, and they refuse His offer of salvation because they don’t want the accountability that goes with that, then they use the atrocities of life to reinforce why they shouldn’t “believe” in a God that would allow those things. The sad but interesting thing is that these are usually the very people that push God away (out of our schools, public meetings, court etc.) and deny Him every chance they get, yet they rail against Him when there’s a natural catastrophe or a sociopath goes on a rampage etc.

The 5th reason on this list is much more complex and difficult to explain with a brief explanation. There are really only a few core reasons that people “stop believing in” or turn away from God.

I’ll take the sadist but easiest reason first. They never really “believed” in Him in the first place. Many people make a profession of faith at some point in their life. But not all of them come to a saving faith in Christ. Many are moved by the emotion of the moment or perhaps a friend, family member or peer pressure that encourages them to profess their faith in Christ. Any of us could “believe” that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. But that belief alone isn’t an acknowledgement of sin or faith in Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation is it? That type of superficial faith or belief, will never see us through the hard times and complexities of life. Look in your bible in the book of Matthew 13: 1-22 to see what Jesus had to say about “the parable of the sower”. The good news is that if you fall in this category, today is a brand new day! Don’t count on anything from your past. Ask Jesus to give you the faith to believe and follow Him today and to forgive all of your sins.

Then there are those of us that have truly believed to the point of salvation but have gotten lost along the way. This life is brutal! Sometimes the pain and disillusionment is so intense that we turn away from God completely for a time. Most of the time, it’s because we feel that God has let us down in some way. Often we become disillusioned by our own false understanding about who God is and how He operates in our world. We believe that God has an obligation to answer every prayer the way that they think He should or He must not be real or trustworthy.

There are two deadly teachings in many Christian churches today. One is that once you become a follower of Jesus Christ you won’t experience hardship, adversity or persecution in this life. The other is that if you “do all the right things”, only good things or blessings will come into your life. And if God doesn’t answer your prayer the way that you think He should, than either you don’t have enough faith or there is un-confessed sin in your life. Both of those teachings are a lie. In scripture Jesus disputes both of these false beliefs.

Jesus promises us that when we follow Him we can expect persecution for doing so. This means that when we walk with Him, those that hate Him will hate us and everything we stand for. Obviously, that doesn’t mean when we do something wrong or sinful and there are consequences to our actions that we can say we are be “persecuted for Him”.

So what happens when we pray for “good” things and God doesn’t give us the answer that we prayed for? What if we read our bible, say our prayers, go to church, treat others kindly and try to be the best person we can be, and then He still doesn’t give us what we want? These types of circumstances cause many to have a crisis of faith. Now is the time you will find out what your faith is really made of.

Have you been worshiping a much smaller god that you have created in your own mind, one that is a magic genie of sorts, where you can make a wish and he will grant it? One that operates based upon what you see as real and important and is limited by your perspective? Have you ever wanted something bad enough to pray for it only to find out later that is was a really good thing you didn’t get what you prayed for? Maybe there were other factors involved that would have made it a terrible thing in your life if you got the thing or circumstance you asked for. Do you really want to follow a god that is that small?

Or do you have faith in the Omniscient, Omni-present, Omnipotent, all-powerful, loving and wise God of the bible? A God that is all knowing, not limited by time or space, and so powerful that nothing in the heavens or on earth can stop Him from accomplishing His purposes. A God that loves us so much that sometimes He allows this sinful and fallen world to drive us closer to Him so that He can meet us at an even deeper level, to show us His love and compassion for us.

We are so limited. We are finite beings and He is not. God has revealed much of His plan for mankind in His Word. He has also revealed many aspects of His character including His great love and compassion for His people, His holiness and righteousness, His willingness to forgive us while we were yet sinners through the provision of His son. But much of His plan is still a mystery.

Here’s what you need to decide. Can God be trusted? Can God be trusted with your children? Can He be trusted even when lies and evil seem to prevail and darkness seems the victor? If He is a loving and all-powerful God than how could He allow such injustice and evil to seemingly prevail? Those are great questions, questions that only He can answer. And He wants and invites you to seek Him for those answers.

Even as you read this, please remember that I have not been in my sons’ lives since 1999. I lost all contact with them when they were ages 4 & 7. I have seen my share of lies, darkness and corruption prevail. So even though I draw my conclusions based upon how God has revealed Himself in scripture, I have also walked with Him through the darkest days of my life.
I have decided to trust God no matter what. He sees what I cannot. He knows what I do not. He has revealed Himself in scripture and in my life as the only one who can be completely trusted. He will never leave or forsake us (or our children). My children were a gift from Him and I thank Him for every day I had with them. Although I hope to be reconciled to them again on this earth, I know I will be with them in heaven for eternity.

Romans 8:28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Look at the stories of Job, David, Daniel and Joseph just to name a few examples of the fulfillment of His promise.

This life is not the end of your story or His plan for us. Justice, real honest unflinching justice will prevail in the end. Just please make sure that you are covered by the blood of Jesus when His judgment day comes.

In summation, trust God’s character and promises even when everything around you screams that He doesn’t care. He cares more than you know. Look to Jesus and you will find assurance of His love for you. May you find the healing, peace and hope that only He can bring.

Have a great day!
Rick

Surviving the Pain of Parental Alienation – Part 2

by Rick Nischalke on September 2, 2013

Does God exist?

I thought that I had better deal with this subject first because so much of the following content in this series about surviving parental alienation will depend upon your decision about faith for its foundation.

One of the most important questions a person can ever ask is “Does God exist”? The answer to that single question has enormous implications on your views about life, humanity, morality, good and evil and most importantly your destiny. It also has huge ramifications for those of us that have been targeted parents of alienation. And it will greatly affect how and if, we are able to work through our emotions and circumstances and move toward a better future.

Let’s begin exploring God’s existence by examining some the basics of the Christian faith.

  1. God created everything. Man and woman and the earth that we live on were all created by Him.
  2. God placed Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden where they lived in total harmony with nature, animals, each other and God himself.
  3.  Adam and Eve both sinned (rebelled) against God. Eve followed satan’s lead and Adam followed Eve’s. Both of them disobeyed the command that God had given them for their own protection. Just like in our current culture today, they decided that other desires or relationships were more important than their relationship with the loving God that had created them. That is when sin and death entered our world. God didn’t bring sin or death into the world man did. When God created mankind, He placed them in paradise. But man and woman in all of their “infinite wisdom” desired to turn against God in their quest for knowledge and power. Not much has changed has it?
  4. Satan is real and he is a liar. He seeks to bring destruction to all human beings because we are created in God’s image. He enticed Eve with a lie and has been lying to each one of us ever since. (One of his biggest and most successful lies is that he doesn’t exist.) An “unseen” spiritual war is being fought to this very day. Although we may not be able to see the forces of good and evil fighting this war, all of us would certainly agree that we can see the results of a war between good and evil on a daily basis, both in the world and in our own lives as well.
  5. As the creator of mankind God had every right and reason to say “I am done with mankind. There is nothing they can say or do to obtain my forgiveness and favor ever again. They are ungrateful, obstinate, selfish and foolish. They voluntarily chose to betray my love and trust. They disobeyed the specific instructions that I gave them for their own protection. And then instead of confessing their sin and rebellion and asking for my forgiveness, they blamed others for their choices and actions. They had their chance and rejected me so I will reject them. I will let them live with the consequences of their sin forever. They can live in the fallen world they have created and be destined to an eternal hell with no chance of salvation, because of the curse they have brought on themselves”. Or God may simply have said “Fine, I will destroy mankind and create another race that won’t turn against me.”
  6. Instead because of His great love for us, God sent His own son Jesus Christ to live the perfect life that we could not. To voluntarily sacrifice Himself on the cross to pay for our sins. To defeat the curse of sin and death that we had brought upon ourselves. And to not only provide a way for our salvation, but to actually allow us the privilege of becoming His children. We will live with Him in a new heaven and earth for eternity with no more sin or death! The sacrifice that Jesus made to save us from our sins and eternal judgment was costly, agonizing and humiliating for Him.
  7. Many people are offended by the concept of eternal judgment and hell. They say “It’s not fair that anyone should go to hell. A loving God would never sentence anyone to an eternity of suffering”. Yet God has made it very clear that His offer of salvation and atonement for sin is free and extended to everyone. He already paid the price for our sin, unbelief and rebellion. All He requires of us is to admit our weakness, sin and need for Him and to confess and believe that He is Lord of all and ask for His forgiveness. Anyone that refuses to humble themselves (like He did first) by accepting God’s provision for our sin is sentencing themselves to an eternity of pain & suffering. God doesn’t want anyone to end up in hell. People sentence themselves to hell.
  8. The Christian faith is the only faith that I am aware of where a follower of that faith can’t “earn merit” or “justify themselves” to appease whomever they are following in their faith. The Christian faith is clear that we can never earn or merit salvation and a right relationship with God by any works of our own. With every other religion or faith that I have seen, there is always a list of things that an individual can do (or not do) to earn favor with whatever deity they are following. These faiths all encourage certain actions, ways of life and methods of worship to gain favor with their gods. The Christian faith makes it clear that there is only one way to end our alienation from God. And that is to accept His free offer of grace and mercy for the forgiveness of our sins. Many simply refuse God’s terms like Cain (the son of Adam and Eve) did and come up with some other “system” of works to make themselves acceptable to God on their own terms instead of His. Other religions say you have to “clean up your act” or “earn your way by good works” to make yourself right with their deity. Since He created us, Jesus Christ understands that we don’t have the capacity to live the sinless life required to be in a right relationship with him so He did it for us. He extends an invitation to come to Him just as we are, in all of our brokenness and pain and He will change us through His power not ours.

If you would like more information about God and His son Jesus Christ I suggest getting a bible and reading it yourself. Start with the 4 gospels Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. You can also read “Evidence That Demands a Verdict” by Josh McDowell or “The case for Christ” by Lee Strobel. There are also many fine churches that would be delighted to have one of their pastors speak with you and answer any questions you have.

If you would like to answer Jesus Christ’s invitation to come into your life right here and now it’s easy to do. You don’t need to take a special class or read anything to accept His invitation. In fact, since none of us knows what the future may hold, I would encourage you to ask Him into your life without any delay. Remember, you don’t need to have every question answered, or clean yourself up a bit to accept His invitation. He loves you just like you are (but too much to let you stay that way! ☺)

Here’s a prayer that you can pray if you’d like. It’s not a perfect or magic prayer of some kind just pray from your heart in all sincerity and God will do the rest.

Lord, I am not a perfect person and I haven’t lived a perfect life. I confess all of my sins to you and ask for your forgiveness. Thank you for dying for my sins and for your grace and mercy. Please come into my heart and help me to follow you all the days of my life. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer feel free to post that on this blog or send me an email to let me know so I can be praying for you!

It’s been my experience through the years that there are really only a handful of reasons that people refuse to believe in (or acknowledge) the existence of God.

  1. Some of us have never really given much thought or done our own research on the subject, so we end up accepting and repeating what some authority figure in our life told us we should believe.
  2. Some believe that our cultures’ “current version of science” has all of the answers and they are under the false belief that no one of above average intelligence believes in Intelligent Design and Creation.
  3. If God does in fact exist, this truth may require changes in their lifestyle that they are unwilling to make.
  4. Many become angry and appalled with the injustice, evil and pain in this world. They ask “If God exists how could He let all of this happen”?
  5. In some cases people that used to believe in God change their view because they feel that God has let them down in some way. They become disillusioned by their own false understanding about who God is and how He operates in our world. They believe that God has an obligation to answer every prayer the way that they think He should or He must not be real or trustworthy. Or worse yet, if they are in deep enough pain and confusion they simply walk away from a relationship with Him. Sometimes they profess not to believe in Him at all, but most of the time they are just angry, hurt and disillusioned by their pain so they refuse to worship, follow or even acknowledge God’s existence anymore.

My next post will deal with each of the reasons listed above. But before I go I wanted to share another interesting fact and perspective with you.

Do you know when the first incidence of alienation occurred according to scripture? When did the whole concept of turning someone against someone else begin, and who started that mess? It was satan and it happened in the Garden of Eden. He effectively drove a wedge of doubt and sin between The Lord and Adam and Eve. This resulted in their (and our) alienation from God. Jesus came to reconcile our relationship with God again. Here are a few scripture verses that describe this:

Colossians 1:19-23 (New International Version – NIV)

19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behavior.22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

Adam and Eve were created by God. Since they had no earthly parent, He was in essence their parent. Satan’s tactics have never changed. He does everything he can to destroy the relationship that we have with our children through parental alienation. Unfortunately, there are many that have learned his tactics and like him, are selfish enough to implement them for their own selfish goals of control and power, destroying anyone they consider an enemy along the way.

Have a great day!
Rick Nischalke

It is amazing to me that people aren’t content with destroying our lives once, they want to continue to destroy it over and over again. It is a very sick world that we live in. Rick and I have lived with and experience this kind of pain on a daily basis, so I know to a small extent what you are feeling when the pain comes again and again. I have been thinking about writing this post for months.  I know for some of you I have switched to meddling.

I keep asking myself over and over, what do you really need to do to heal from parental alienation.  So many of us are victims of this horrific form of child abuse.  We have been the brunt of lie after lie, many of us have been destroyed financially, and worst of all we have lost our children because of the actions of  a very selfish individual.    We feel so powerless, the situation is totally out of our control and there is nothing we can do about it.  You are absolutely right, the sad reality is that no matter how hard we try we can not change our ex-spouses and we can not stop the abusive behaviour.  But we do have the ability to change some things.  The real question is what can we change?

I know from my own personal experience that as long as I held on to the hurt I gave my ex-husband power in my life.  I desperately wanted to be free from him and I found that freedom through forgiveness.  Forgiveness has helped me so much over the years in dealing with the courts,  my ex-husband, Rick’ ex- wife and all the losses we have experienced.

I have posted a brief exerpt from Neil Anderson’s book Bondage Breakers – chapter 12.  I hope that this helps you the way it has helped me.

Most of the ground that Satan gains in the lives of Christians is due to unforgiveness. We are warned to forgive others so that satan cannot take advantage of us. (2 Cor. 2:10-11). God requires us to forgive others from our hearts or He will turn us over to our tormentors (Mt. 18:34-35). Why is forgiveness so critical to our freedom? Because of the cross. God didn’t give us what we deserve; He gave us what we needed according to his mercy. We are to be merciful just as our heavenly Father is merciful (Lk 6:36). We are to forgive others as we have been forgiven (Eph.4:31-32).

Forgiveness is not forgetting. People who try to forget find they cannot. God says He will “remember no more” our sins (Heb. 10:17), but God, being omniscient, cannot forget. “Remember no more” means that God will never use the past against us (Ps. 103.12). Forgetting may be a result of forgiveness, but it is never the means to forgiveness. When we bring up the past against others, we haven’t forgiven them.

Forgiveness is a choice, a crisis of the will. Since God requires us to forgive, it is something we can do. (He would never require us to do something we cannot do.) But forgiveness is difficult for us because it pulls against our concept of justice. We want revenge for offenses suffered. But we are told never to take our own revenge (Rom.12:19). “Why should I let them off the hook?” we protest. You let them off your hook, but they are never off God’s hook. He will deal with them fairly — something we cannot do.

If you don’t let offenders off your hook, you are hooked to them and the past, and that means continued pain for you. Stop the pain; let it go. You don’t forgive someone merely for their sake; you do it for your sake so you can be free. Your need to forgive isn’t an issue between you and the offender; it is between you and God.

Forgiveness is agreeing to live with the consequences of another person’s sin. Forgiveness is costly; we pay the price of the evil we forgive. Yet you are going to live with those consequences whether you want to or not; your only choice is whether you will do so in the bitterness of unforgiveness or the freedom of forgiveness. That’s how Jesus forgave you — He took the consequences of your sin upon Himself. All true forgiveness is substitutional, because no one really forgives without bearing the penalty of the other person’s sin.

Why then do we forgive? Because Christ forgave us. God the Father “made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor.5:21). Where is the justice? The cross makes forgiveness legally and morally right: “For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all” (Rom.6:10).

How do you forgive from the heart? First you acknowledge the hurt and hate. If you forgiveness doesn’t visit the emotional core of your past, it will be incomplete. This is the great evangelical cover-up. Christians feel the pain of interpersonal offenses, but we don’t acknowledge it. Let God bring the pain to the surface so He can deal with it. This is where healing takes place. Ask God to bring to your mind those you need to forgive as you read the following prayer aloud:

Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for the riches of Your kindness, forbearance, and patience, knowing that Your kindness has led me to repentance (Rom. 2:4). I confess that I have not extended the same patience and kindness toward others who have offended me, but instead I have harbored bitterness and resentment. I pray that during this time of self-examination You would bring to mind only those people that I have not forgiven in order that I may do so (Mt. 18:35). I also pray that if I have offended others You would bring to mind only those people from whom I need to seek forgiveness and the extent to which I need to seek it (Mt.5:23-24). I ask this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.”