What do I do now? 

I look at my 14 year old daughter and imagine myself in the shoes of my mother and father when they learned that a 34 year old man had sexually violated me for over a year. I imagine knowing it was happening and trying to find a reason that would/could justify it in my mind in any way that could prevent me from stopping him and protecting her. I imagine looking in her face in her moment of rebellion and teen angst and asking her who her father is and angrily suggesting that it was the man that brought such deep devastation to her. I imagine looking at her face and telling her in response to her telling me that he violated her, that it was just love.

I imagine it and my stomach turns and I feel sick at the thought…

The words and actions of our parents are loud… even over all the other support and love received…

As a 34 year old woman now, having heard my parents speak the words again as an adult, justifying their actions and their words even if just an attempt to explain why they did nothing, it’s no wonder I’m still working so hard to reaffirm to myself that what was done to me was wrong. I don’t want harm done against my parents, but how can I feel safe and trust someone who didn’t and doesn’t consider the pain of what happened to me and how they abandoned me during that time of my life… and still continue to abandon me.

I’m a survivor… and I’m sad to say that I feel like even if they said all the right words at this point, I wouldn’t believe them. It’s so hard to have such a void in my chest where a desire for connection, healing, hope, and love used to exist. It’s just empty.

The documents in the court case against the man who assaulted me stated that there was “no relevance to the dates” other than my birth date… he wasn’t charged with the emotional and mental damage he inflicted leading up to my 14th birthday, he wasn’t charged with exposing himself to me, manipulating me with gifts, or encouraging me to lie. He wasn’t charged with forcing me to watch porn with him or guiding my responses to his touch. He wasn’t charged with telling me to kiss his chest or attempting to force me to give him oral sex. He wasn’t charged for making me afraid of losing everyone I relied on. He wasn’t even charged with sexually violating me at 13 years old because it was too close to my 14th birthday. He wasn’t charged for the 6 months of sick perversion that led to me being coerced into being sexually assaulted.

I feel trapped in this truth of what happened to me… I move forward, but it’s so hard because the ball and chains are still on my ankles. I don’t let it rule my life. I make the changes needed so that this story is never the story of my children… but not without the ball and chain I am still dragging. I want to take the chains off… but I still don’t know how. Even after all this time… but then I look at my daughter and my heart aches at the very thought of something ever happening to her and I’m reminded that something *did* happen to me and my parents did nothing.

I’m 34 years old and yet I’m still that scared, isolated, violated, and broken little girl who just wants her parents to scoop her up and make it better… but they can’t make it better. It’s too late. Instead of putting pieces back together, they took the pieces and broke them into smaller pieces…

Lord, help me. I’m still so broken and hurting. I’m still so ashamed and hiding in my nakedness. I should never have known I was naked… but I was deceived. Woe to him who deceived me… but now what… what do I do now?

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I Won’t Lose Heart

I don’t want to be lukewarm in my faith, neither hot nor cold; I don’t want the Lord to spit me out. I know I need His guidance, love, and reproof. I don’t want to be miserable, pitiful, poor, blind, or naked and ashamed. This year is an opportunity to walk out my salvation as God continues to refine, purify, and cover my shame. I’m opening my eyes to see, allowing God to correct me and change my heart that I might live. No emotion or manipulation of people will lead me; only the Lord because all He does for me is from a place of love. I won’t lose heart, I will hold fast! God is in every bit of this year to come as He has been in all the years leading up to this moment. I’m His daughter and I’m so grateful for a Father like Him. 
 
“Those I love, I rebuke and discipline. Therefore be earnest and repent.” Revelation 3:19
“And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons: ‘My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, or lose heart when He rebukes you. For the Lord disciplines the one He loves, and He chastises everyone He receives as a son.’ Endure suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father?” Hebrews 12:5-7

A Year of Promises Coming to Pass

The end of another year, and quite a year it’s been. It’s been wrought with risking it all, and doing it with bravery, vulnerability, raw and real emotion, and in complete trust and faith in God, even as I’ve wrestled through doubt and insecurity.

I’ve been challenged to be who I am in the midst of all the fears that the little girl inside me hold. I’ve been faced with choices of reckless abandon, and trusting that the Lord knows what He is walking me through. I’ve been faced with broadening my perspective to include the perspectives of others. I’ve been faced with humility and seeing where I’ve missed the mark. I’ve been faced with seeing the state of the nooks and crannies of my heart and allowing God to heal me in all those places. I’ve been faced with lies and accusations and I’ve stood up against them. I’ve been faced with manipulations, but I’ve stayed true to what I felt was right despite what the feelings it stirred within me.

This year was full of emotion – intense, sometimes overwhelming and all consuming emotion. I was faced with trusting the Lord in what I was led to do despite those emotions. In doing so, I saw all that God was doing with it, in me and in others, allowing the dead leaves to die with autumn and be buried under the snow so that new life can spring forth with the budding of spring. All the dead things in me, in those around me, breaking off as we allow our flesh and earthly desires to die, and we allow the Holy Spirit to lead us.

It’s been a year of restoration and healing, reconnection and building up, empowerment and being real even if real was ugly. It’s been a year of chances, giving the benefit of the doubt, vulnerability, watching and observing, being on guard but not shut off, feeling but not being led by emotion. It’s been a year of promises coming to pass, fears being faced, bracing myself for the worst, preparing for the best, holding on for dear life, and jumping in the wind that I knew would carry me…

It’s been a year most prominent in intensity for me – feeling like I’m in a glass box of stars with my favorite song on with the volume on high. It’s not a glass box that restricts me, but allows me to be free and transparent; I’m dancing and in awe of everything I’m seeing and hearing, but no one else is there with me but the presence of God. I’m loving, grieving, aching so intensely… but surrounded in stars of peace. Everyone on the outside seeing me, connected to me, but disconnected from this intimate relationship I hold with the Lord – this personal, one on one connection I have with the Lord; that we all have or can have with the Lord. I’ve never felt so close to the Lord as I have this year and I’m so looking forward to seeing what God does in this year to come.

Continue to wreck me Lord, make me more like You.

I’ll Probably Return to Yelling

Some days I feel crazy… some days I wonder how other parents do it… some days I feel like I should be able to do it all and therefore I’m a failure…
 
Then days like today, I remember that I’m a mother of 7; my husband leaves at 7:30 on most days and doesn’t get home until 7:30 or later on most nights; I’ve only had a second vehicle for 2½ years out of the last 15; my free time consists of grocery shopping, laundry, late night visits with friends every once in a while, and going to church if I plan it well enough; and I’ve been pregnant, have nursing babies, and I’ve been wrestling with a fussy two year old for the last 14 years.
 
Free time through the day sporadically chat with family or friends and I educate myself on things I”m passionate about: I learn about self-care, research scripture, study up on communication and relationships, emotional health, child sexual abuse and how to recover from that, counseling training, and how to best homeschool and parent my children.
 
The rest of my day consists of training children from 6mos-14yo in the various needs each one has – emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical; trying to keep the house somewhat safe and clean not only so we can enjoy it but also out of self-cousciousness and what others might say about having so many children and not being able to be clean enough, in addition to trying to help my husband come home to less chaos after working 10+ hour days; trying not to yell, but yelling way more than I’d like; fitting in baths somewhere in our lives; while trying to be structured and on a schedule, eating at the same time every day and having a timely bedtime……
 
I think I’ve made my point. I’m not crazy but I sure do see why I feel that way. I am somehow doing all of this, though I still wonder how other parents make it look so easy. I can’t do it all, but thankfully I’m not just caring for little ones, I’m training them too so I do have help even though I have to follow everyone around kind of like a warden for it to happen. lol I’m failing daily at maintaining standards of hygiene in this culture, I’m failing daily at maintaining a level of neatness standards of hospitableness in this culture; I’m failing daily at speaking louder than what others deem kind…
 
What I’m not failing at though, is my mouth kisses boo-boos, smiles, and speaks words to guide, to build up, to train. My arms hug, comfort, soothe, and carry. My lap is filled with children of all ages – my youngest of 6mos finds safety there as well as my oldest of 14. None hesitate to come to me when they are in need of reassurance, encouragement, tenderness, and love. All have learned that they can trust me, be honest with me, share with me, and know they’ll be heard. My heart is full and love them, and they all know it.
 
So why do I feel crazy? Because I’m seeing myself through the eyes of those who don’t see the way we live our days instead of through the eyes of my Daddy, God who’s heart skips a beat at the sight of me; instead of through the eyes of my children who have such grace and love and see me for my heart and not as the world sees me. They hear our soft talks, they hear me teaching them how I’ve learned and how they will too, they hear that I fail but I don’t give up…
 
That… that is beauty. I love that.
 
And after I post this, I’ll probably return to yelling. Not because I accept it or think it’s okay or want to, but because I’m still growing and that’s the definition of not failing. That’s the definition of success. ❤

Word: Unclean/Defiled

“The Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If a woman conceives and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean seven days. As at the time of her menstruation, she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall continue for thirty-three days in the blood of her purifying. She shall not touch anything holy, nor come into the sanctuary, until the days of her purifying are completed. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean two weeks, as in her menstruation. And she shall continue in the blood of her purifying for sixty-six days.'” Leviticus 12:1-5

“While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father.” Luke 9:42

Hebrew: 2930. tame
Original Word: טָמֵא
Phonetic Spelling: (taw-may’)
Definition: Unclean; defiled; polluted

Greek: 169. akathartos
Original Word: ἀκάθαρτος, ον
Phonetic Spelling: (ak-ath’-ar-tos)
Definition: not clean; not purged; adulterated; not pure; wrong mix

[The antonym, 2508 /kathaírō (“clean“), means “free from wrong mixture” (unadulterated, unmixed).]

Webster’s Dictionary 1828 – Online Edition

UNCLE’ANadjective 1. Not clean; foul; dirty; filthy. 2. In Jewish law, ceremonially impure, not cleansed by ritual practices. 3. Foul with sin. 4. Not in covenant with God. 5. Lewd; unchaste.

DEFILEDparticiple passive Made dirty, or foul; polluted; soiled; corrupted; violated; vitiated.

~~

As I was reading through these definitions of the words unclean and defiled, I began to see them in a different light. The word unclean means altered from it’s original state/plan/design. It means not in its pure form. This can mean clean vs. dirty, but it can also mean that it’s been altered in some way… even adding a squirt of lemon to water makes it impure. It doesn’t always mean something bad… but not what was. Thinking deeper on that… I saw how a sexual abuse victim was considered defiled because they were violated and have been changed in some way – be it fearful, alert, lonely, ashamed, etc. A sinful person, whether committing theft, adultery, or murder, becomes impure/unclean because it was not God’s best offer for their lives.

What if this also references birthing, because all the work that goes into birthing a child can alter the hormonal state of the woman’s body. Because of this, the time after a child is born is set aside to allow the women to return to their pure state – unaltered, unchanged, whole.

I’m just going to mull over this until I learn more about it, but I couldn’t ignore it either… I had to write it down!