Friday, February 26, 2010

It wasn't that long ago...

It was not to long ago at all, that I was desperate for the pain to end. I was filtering through some extremely painful memories, not even able to escape them in my sleep. I would think about the trauma all day long, wanting desperately for someone to come along, pick me up, dust me off, love me, and take the pain away. Then I would cry all night, because day after day it didn’t happen. Nothing could touch the pain, the only thing I could do was lay in bed, envisioning myself in the arms of Jesus, clenching my bible, and falling asleep in a pool of my tears.

It wasn’t that long ago at all, that I felt if I ever came through the pain, it would be a miracle. If I could ever function again, or go a day without crying, it would be a complete act of God. It wasn’t that long ago that I saw myself as nothing but a victim, and let him continue and continue to victimize me with thoughts of worthlessness and shame over and over and over again.

Why do I tell you these things? Because I am just stepping a little bit out of that pain-where I can function in a tiny bit of joyfulness, rather than simply celebrating a lack of suffering. I want you all to know this because, I think it is important for all of us to understand, weather we have been victimized ourselves or not, we need to understand the pain that comes. It may not come immediately, it may fester for many many years, and then spew out like a gyser. But, rest assured it is there, and when it comes out it is not pretty. But, it HAS to come out.

And when it comes out, it is not a one time thing. It is not like you tell your story, and one eventful act of healing takes place-As I hoped it would be. No, it is telling it over and over and over again, and releasing yourself from the shame over and over and over again. Until eventually, you are released, just a little bit, and you are finally able to breathe again. And then it may latch back on, and you have to release it again, and again, until finally you find some freedom in Christ.

I truly believe that Christ is the ONE and ONLY one who can set us free from the destruction that victimization can bring. And as I come out with my story, I find that almost every single one of us can identify in some sort of way with victimization. So, I guess what I am trying to say, in a long drawn out way, is be patient with others and with yourself. Healing is a process-and even when it seems like you can’t survive another second of the pain, you can, with Christ you can. He will give you the strength even when you feel like you are paralyzed and will never be able to move another inch.

And PLEASE don’t be afraid to ask for help, not a single one of us was meant to walk this journey alone. I have been so blessed with others who have helped me every single step of the way, when I was willing to ask, or put down the mask of perfection. People must know you are hurting to be able to help. And I hope you all know how much many of you have been a support for me, you all are amazing. I know that God has led me through this healing, painful as it may have been, so that I can walk with others truly empathizing every step of the way, and gently guiding their hand to their Savior, because he is the only one who can truly set us free.

Hop hop hopping away.

Okay, so I was at the gym the other night. And I just can’t help myself, while I am on the elliptical my eyes just wander. I am a people watcher at its best. This time I saw one thing that just fascinated me. Okay-so get ready to build your visual picture, here goes. There are two men, one standing in front of the other. One guy is holding this big long rubber band looking thing, and the other has it tied around his waist. Then the guy in the front proceeds to hop through a ladder looking thing on the floor while the guy in the back pulls with all his might to hold the guy in the front back while he hops through the rungs of the ladder thing. Looked like an awesome workout. And the guy in the front was just pouring sweat, but I was just over there laughing, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if the guy in the front suddenly lost his strength and went flying full speed to the guy in the back knocking them both to the ground. Does that ever happen? I don’t know, but I thought it sure would be funny for me if it did, not so funny for them.

So as I kept working out, I couldn’t help but visualize God in the back holding on to me, as I hop aimlessly looking for this or that, sweating the whole time, and all the while God is still standing there, the strong one. He has got the band of love and grace wrapped around me. But thank goodness it’s stretchy, cause I keep bunny hopping away, looking for something in each rung of the ladder. I hop to one, hoping it will fill my emptiness. Nope. So I hop to the next one, surely this is the one that will fill me up, nope. And I hop and I hop and I sweat and I hop, and I sweat, all the while the tension building on the band. Till finally I lose my strength, and thank goodness, wammo, I go slamming back to where I started from. Falling right into God’s loving kindness and grace.

Aren’t we glad that no matter how far we hop away, God always keeps that band around us, pulling us back to him. And no matter how far we hop away, he doesn’t ever let go. He just waits for us to either turn around and come back to home, or if you are like me you prefer it the hard way, where battle and battle till you lose strength, because by gosh, you can do it on your own, until WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH, you go sailing back through the air full force! But thank goodness it isn’t flying back into a brick wall, it is flying back into the cushy wonderfulness of his loving arms that can break any fall, no matter how hard.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words

This is Lauren's room. LOL. And sadly it looks like this all the time, and actually this is 2 days after extensive cleaning. I just had to post it because it makes me giggle. What is life without a sense of humor :) Love you all, and remember even if your life looks like this (yeah mine kinna does, lol) God still wuvs you very very much :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Our Struggle is not against flesh and blood

If he would just love me more, my marriage would be okay. If she would just be there for me when I needed her, I wouldn’t feel so alone. If I could just get that promotion, I would feel so much better about myself. If we just made a few hundred more dollars a month, I wouldn’t be so worried. If my child would just behave, I wouldn’t feel like such a failure. If he hadn’t abused me, I wouldn’t be struggling with this addiction. Feel free to enter your own, if…….then…..right here.
All of the statements may be true to some degree. But I have found that in my own life, all too often when I get the IF the THEN hardly ever follows. I thought if I got another degree then I would feel better about myself. Negatory. I thought that if my husband was home more then I would feel more loved. Negatory. I thought that if Ryan started making better grades then I wouldn’t feel like such a failure. Nope. And the list could go on and on and on.
In the bible it says that our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against evil. It is my tendency to make the battle about the people in my life. If they could just straighten themselves out, or let me straighten them out, I would be GREAT! However, that is so not true! I think that maybe Satan likes to lie and tell us that the problems we are having are just about the OTHER people in our lives. That way we will waste countless time and energy trying to get whatever it is or whoever it is that we believe will make us feel okay, and all the time we are completely ignoring the real problem. The battle, the real problem, is Satan. Oh he may use others to get to us, but ultimately the battle is against him.
If he can get us to be resentful about people we love, to refuse to forgive the one who victimized us, to be angry at the principal for not meeting our child’s need, to be paralyzed by our victimizer where we cannot even move-then he can fool us into completely focusing on whoever and whatever it is-and completely losing our focus on loving others and seeking God with all of our hearts.
We may have some genuine problems going on with the flesh and blood in our lives. They may cause some genuine hurt and pain, and there may even be some relationships we need to let go of because they are unhealthy. However, the ultimate battle is against Satan. And the good news is, the battle is already won. When he died on the cross, IT WAS FINISHED. That sin that keeps sucking you back in, that lie that you keep telling yourself (mine would be that I am worthless), that event that was so terrifying that it continues to haunt you-it is finished. You are not defined by any cycle of sin, victimization, or negative thought pattern. You are defined by grace. You are defined by the truth that you are a daughter of Christ. You are defined by the spirit that entered into your innermost being the moment you accepted Christ as your savior. The spirit that is light, and in him there is no darkness. That is what you are defined by. And you have everything you need to fight the battle, all you have to do is ask.

Ephesians 6:12
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Friday, February 19, 2010

This is the way, WALK in it

I am always aware that God is present, weather I can feel it or not. In my mind, I know he is there, and I know my prayers are not just bouncing off of the ceiling, although oftentimes Satan fools me into thinking that they are. But sometimes just the physical presence of another person is necessary. And don’t get me wrong, my husband is amazing and is always there for me no matter what. But there is just something about a hug from the heart of another woman who has been through the same trauma-it’s almost like God reaches down through her and hugs you just to let you know you are not alone.

I have shared my story more times in the past month or so than I ever thought I would be able to in a lifetime. A year ago, I had never even shared it with one, not even my husband. But living in a vacuum is a lonely place to be, and a very fearful one at that. But out of sheer desperation for some healing, I have shared it numerous times lately. And although in the past I have felt that sharing my story was selfish, and why would anyone want to hear me talk about such pain, I have found that I am finding connections with people that I have so longed for. I am FINALLY for the first time ever beginning, and I recognize it is just a beginning, but I am beginning to fill the void left by victimization and years of closing myself off emotionally.

And there is just something about a hug for me. I think that it is because I am so demonstrative, that I just need the physical act of someone binding up my hurt to start to feel better. Words are awesome, words are great, but hugs can bring some real healing, for me.

I feel like am moving to a new place, a place where it is becoming more and more safe to be who I really am. To know that there is no one in my life who is trying to victimize me now, and I don’t have to protect my heart anymore. It has been sealed off with an iron wall, not letting anything out, but unfortunately not letting anything in. It has just been starving to death for some genuine love and affection. And God is providing more immensely than I ever thought possible, through his own presence yes, but also through countless others, and I love all of you. And I want to thank all of you for everything you have poured into me, and your patience as I have had to walk a difficult road.

Healing really is a journey. It takes time, and often much more time that we would like for it to.

Isaiah 30:15, 18, 21
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.
Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; he rises up to show you His compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice.
Blessed are all who WAIT for Him!
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, “This is the way, WALK in it.”

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hidden Among the Baggage

I have a little angel on my desk. It is one of those willow tree angels that someone very special to me gave me as a gift. She is beautiful, and when I received her I thought, how nice. But, I am not courageous. That will never be me, really, I can put off an air to others like I am courageous, but inside, no, I am not.

So today, she sits looking at me on my desk. Perhaps I am noticing her today for the first time in a while because last nights bible study was on courage. Courage to overcome generational bondage, or even just our own bondage and baggage, although I would argue that most stuff we consider “just our own stuff” is generational if we really take the time to dig that deep.

Beth Moore used an example from 1 Samuel 10:22. Saul had been chosen among many to be crowned King, but when they looked for him, they could not find him. He had hidden himself among the baggage. Now that just makes me laugh and smile. Oh how long I have hidden myself among the baggage. Always believing that God was all powerful, but not powerful enough to bring me out from among the baggage. There is just too much I would always say, It is just too hard, I just can’t do it.

And my angel of courage beckons me, are you courageous enough to come out from the baggage, or do you just want to disguise yourself as just another worthless suitcase. God take our baggage if we let him. He can crown us princes and princesses if we let him, if we are willing to come out of hiding. So I guess the question we all have to ask ourselves is, are we courageous enough to let him. Do we trust him enough to leave the baggage behind and come out to live in victory?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Sometimes it’s just hard to let go. Sometimes it’s hard to know when to let go, and how to let go, and what to let go of!

God puts people and things in our lives for different reasons and different seasons. Sometimes they are there to stay, and some come and go. And we do our best to enjoy the time that they are there, and to fulfill the purpose God has for us in their lives, and to receive the blessings and growth they are to bring to our lives. Even painful relationships can bring growth.

However, letting go is never easy. Letting go of people or things can hurt deeply. Especially if we have placed them in an inappropriate place in our life. Perhaps, idolized them to some degree. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking idols only come in the form of silver and gold. No, idols can come in any shape and form, person or thing. Idols are anything that we put before God. If you just take a quick peruse of the mention of idols in the bible, you will find that idolatry can lead to demise and distance from God so quickly we don’t even recognize what hit us!

In my journey for healing, I have idolized many a person and thing. I have sought healing from numerous books, articles, meditation exercises, yoga, counseling…and don’t get me wrong…all of these things have been of immense value. However, the truth is that they can never bring healing. They can help to deal with the hurt and the pain, and let us know we are not alone in our suffering, but they can never ultimately “replace the bondage with a bandage” as Beth Moore would say. Only God can do that.

So…today I laid a lot of things down, and let go. And I don’t know that I won’t run back to pick them up again, and I pray that I won’t. But I laid them down, in hopes of finding the healing that I have sought every wrong place, believing that God is finally the right place. Yes, it hurts, for now, but the spirit keeps reminding me that I have taken the first step towards ultimate healing now from the God who never leaves or abandons and knows all my thoughts and my past and my fears. He will comfort me like no other, I just have to let him. Letting him.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Faith is all it takes to walk on the water

So many of us are swimming in our own seas and stormy water. It could be a sea of despair, a sea of doubt, a sea of hatred, a sea of brokenness, a sea of addiction, a sea of hurt, a sea of _______________. And oftentimes we are not the first ones to jump into the water. We may have watched our mother or our father, or grandparents, or cousins swim in this sea as well. We may have even been thrown in the water. In fact, I would venture to say some of us were born among the waters of whatever it is that binds us. And if we were born among the waters, sometimes we don’t even recognize what we are swimming in.
How much do you believe in your ocean? How much do you believe that your pain, and hurt, and bondage, and whatever it is that you are swimming in, exists for you? Do you believe it is real? Of course you believe it is real. If you are anything like me, it affects every decision you make every day of your life. Now let me ask you this. How much do you believe in Christ’s ability to set you free from anything in that ocean that hinders your ability to walk in perfect freedom with him? How much do you believe that he has the power to set you free from anything that binds you? I find that I am much more confident in the power of my own bondage than I am in the power of Christ to set me free. In essence, I believe in my bondage, my ocean of brokenness, more than I believe in the God of the Universe.
Faith is all it takes to walk on the water. Faith is all it takes to rise above our circumstances whatever they may be. Faith that Christ can break the chains of any and everything that binds you. Let’s ask God to give us the faith to walk on the waters. And then let us do everything we can to believe that he is who he says he is, and we are who he said we were, sons and daughters of the most high God, and because of this, there is no power on heaven or earth than can keep us from his love. He can break the chains that bind us, no matter how thick and heavy they may be. And he can lift us up from the oceans we are swimming in, and give us rest and a place to stand, a place to walk on the water. Let’s ask for a stronger and more powerful faith in him, a faith more powerful than the faith we have in our own bondage, a prayer like that he is sure to honor.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Better safe than sorry...I'm not so sure about that

Life is just hard sometimes. We find ourselves in places we never meant to go, saying things we never thought we would say, feeling things we hoped we would never have to feel, making decisions we hoped we would never have to make.

Sometimes these places leave us frozen, unable to move, stagnant in our pain and fear. Perhaps if we just stand still, God will sweep in and fix things. And sometimes he does, but it seems more often he prompts us to move-to seek guidance from him, and trust him to lead us in the right direction.

Fear paralyzes. Fear of our own feelings, fear of making the wrong decision, fear of saying the wrong thing, and ending up going the wrong direction. But I am finding more and more, sometimes it is better to risk making a wrong decision than to stay fixated and, this sounds awful, but to just rot away in the pit.

We will all fall down. We will all make mistakes. But the same power that raised Christ from the dead is available to raise us from any circumstances, be them circumstances we created out of our own sin or circumstances we were thrown into. So…I will take a chance. God is calling me to learn to love again. It requires me to trust him…that love is worth any heartache I may endure as a result. It is worth it. Staying where we are may be safe, but it sure is boring. Sitting in our pit may be secure, but it will never lead to healing. I don’t know about you, but its time for me to trust Christ for the ride, and take a step out in faith.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I love my duck

Last night Lauren and I were lying in my bed watching a movie. She was so cute; as she was laying there snuggling with her stuffed animal duck that she had gotten earlier this year at the fair. I looked at her, and said, “Lauren, I love you”. She looked right back at me and said, “I love my duck.” I started giggling; of course she loves her duck, LOL.

I got to thinking, isn’t that how we are with God so many times. He looks down upon us from heaven so longingly, and says my child, I love you. And we hear him, but we look at that thing in our hand, that thing that we don’t want to let go of, and we say, I love my ___________. And I hope he laughs at how silly we are, but I also think he might just long for us to let go of our duck, whatever that may be, and reach out for him saying “I love you too!”