The Restoration of Truth

Every once in a while I like to go back over the years and read journal entries from this day to see what things have changed since then and see the growth and progress I’ve made. Last year, I posted several songs that really spoke to me, so I thought I’d write an entry touching on how it impacted me and the process I went through and where I’m at today with it. God has done so much inside my heart this year. He’s so amazing.

Try by Colbie Caillat ~ I’ve never been great at doctoring my physical appearance to be what I came to believe was beauty. I struggled with brushing my teeth and showering regularly. I struggled with making healthy diet choices. I struggled with clothes I wore. I struggled with doing my hair. I never realized I didn’t like me, but I could never measure up to being who I thought was a beautiful person. I still struggle with these things, but now I’m accepting that I don’t have to try so hard, I just need to be open and raw about stuff. It might make others uncomfortable because I’m still working through things, but the people around me care enough to love on me through it. In doing so, I’ll overcome these struggles… and I am. I’ve actually come to a place that I like me and that’s how I’ve gotten there.

Because of You by Kelly Clarkson ~ The lies I’ve believed led me to make some choices that stifled my own growth. Wounds I had experienced by the lack of parental influence and presence in my life resulted in me trying to be something that was impossible to be – anything other than open and raw. I tried hard to shut all the pain down so as to not hurt others, but it didn’t heal my own pain. It made me ashamed of my pain, that I felt any at all, that I couldn’t move forward, that I wasn’t strong enough, brave enough, good enough, to get over it. But the reality is, because of it all, I am grateful to say that I may see glimpses of it in my character, but I will never be what happened to me. I am breaking away and I’m free and my children know a different life, and thus I’ve ended the cycle.

Piece by Piece by Kelly Clarkson ~ I needed my father in ways he both had no clue about and was emotionally and physically unavailable to do anything about. As such, I felt abandoned. Each time I tried to approach the subject as an adult, he attempted to validate it, but I was still left feeling like he was justifying it rather than just accepting that he’d hurt me and that his mistakes, no matter the reason they were made, resulted in wounds that he was responsible for. It’s because of this, that years prior, when my husband walked into my life, and he began to provide a kind of love from a man that I had longed for, it was monumental to a point that others didn’t understand. They felt I didn’t recognize their love for me, because of the type of love I needed wasn’t met by them. I in fact needed a man to love me, hug me, tell me I was beautiful and worthy – I needed a specific man – my dad. He didn’t love me as I needed and as a child I found a counterfeit version of it in my abuser. He took advantage of those vulnerabilities, he violated my mind and my body, he stole my trust and betrayed me because my father wasn’t there as I needed him…. and through my husband, those things were restored to me. I love my father… but those scars are still there. Those years are gone. We can build off of what happened, but the tears still surface when I think of what might have been… maybe someday they’ll cease, but for today, there is still pain mixed with my healing.

Catch My Breath by Kelly Clarkson ~ I’ve struggled with rejection for most of my life. I was not as athletic, as pretty, as funny, as cool, as well dressed, as xyz… I’ve spent most of my life trying to play it off as no big deal and trying not to let others know how much it hurt me. I’ve spent most of my life, turning my cheek, shrugging it off so as to not ‘hold a grudge’ or be ‘too sensitive.’ Then when I came to a moment of standing strong for myself I was viewed as self-righteous or judgmental. I felt like I was fighting to just live my life and took a breath. I screamed this song as it played, releasing all that pressure built up inside of me, to release the rocks of pressure I’d gathered up inside my soul… and then I could breath. I had wasted so much time trying to please people who didn’t even notice how hard I was trying to earn their love. They were oblivious to my pain and the struggles I faced on a daily basis… and this moment was a moment of no longer stifling my healing and victories in order to not offend. Not because I wanted to offend, but because I had made my own life less important, my own health, and thus the effect of all that on my kids less important.

Rise Up by Andra Day ~ As a result of realizing I was important and that it was okay to care for myself as such, I declared that I was going to rise up! I was broken down… spinning in circles… fighting an endless battle in all the wrong ways… so I rise up. In spite of the ache, I chose to rise up. In spite of how hard it was to breath, I chose to rise up. And I began rising up time and time again…

Not Ashamed by Abigail Duhon ~ The moment had come… would I live in shame or be bold and as I rose up, I became bold and unashamed. Unashamed of what had happened to me, unashamed of what I’d done or become, unashamed of my needs and my wants… and I looked to the One to manifest His strength in all the weaknesses I was wrought with. I continue to grow in this… shame is not a part of my spirit anymore.

Overcome by Jeremy Camp ~ I laid it all down, taking it all in that The Father would give it all for me… He overcame it all so I could overcome, so we could be together, so that victory would be won. How worthy of gratitude and praise He is… what else can be said? I sit in the awe of Who He is and I’m wrecked by His love for me. I’m overwhelmed by His enveloping presence, overwhelmed by the mighty God He is, overwhelmed by the sacrifice of His Son that He could be near to me. He overcame and thus I will overcome.

It’s Not Over Yet by for King & Country ~ I might still be in a war with myself in some ways as I still journey through the pain and experience wholeness and healing, I know it’s not over yet. I keep fighting and I keep hoping and I keep trusting. I am not fighting a pointless battle anymore… I’m not spinning in circles… I’m coming out of the darkness of oppression and into the light of freedom and life. The voices that tell me otherwise are lies… God is in this and it’s worth pushing forward.

Mine by Hollyn ~ I’m in His hand and He has and will continue to pursue me. He’s the one Who’s gotten me this far. He’s mine and I’m His. He’s my Abba Daddy and it doesn’t matter how many times I mess up, I’m His precious and adored baby girl. I am not a child anymore by the world’s standards, but I’ll always be his little girl and He has always been there fighting for me to protect me and keep me safe, He continues to wipe away my tears and kiss away my boo-boo’s. He’s my Daddy and He’s my home.

Music has been used on my journey towards the restoration of truth to my spirit. I believed lies for so long, but I am finally seeing those lies being replaced with truths. Truly, praise God for that.

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He’s Doing Amazing Things That We Don’t Even See

I’ve been having an interesting day today… a mix between nostalgia and a sweetness, and yet I’ve been moved to tears. I don’t know if it’s hormone related, but there isn’t anything particular I can put my finger on. I’m listening to some music from when I was a bit younger and remembering different times. Hard times, but good times wrangled into it. The pleasant with the confusing, the loving wrapped up with heartbroken, and the fun entangled with fears of rejection and abandonment. It’s amazing how much goodness can exist in the midst of such grief. I was broken and so fully aware of my limitations but so clueless to just how deep my wounds were. I was walking around with gaping holes inside of me and I had no idea. Now, those wounds have been treated in a huge way and are healing well, but still have some time and work to do before they are fully mended and restored to a healthier place.

I recall dating my husband… getting lost in moments with him, lost in each other as we found ourselves in each other, as I found myself trusting and being vulnerable with him, all the while being so unaware of how brave and huge that truly was for me after what I had been through. He wasn’t perfect and a lot of the beautiful things he did wasn’t to help me heal, and yet everything he was, who he was, and His partnership towards a deeper relationship with God was everything to what I needed, to walk through what I needed to walk through.

I must have been a confusing masterpiece to onlookers, especially everyone who had known me up to this point but had no idea of what was working itself out inside of me. I can only imagine how intriguing and contradictory I was to my sisters, to my parents, to my friends. I was finding out who I was from scratch while walking neck deep in filthy lies but believing that the filth could be washed away by the blood of Christ. How confusing to be so wrecked and enamored by my Savior, and indescribable as to how I was found to be so precious to be used or a part of His amazing plan and purpose, feeling so unworthy of such a love that still felt so far away even while being so close to it.

I felt like nothing and I would see glimpses of how He was using me in small ways. It wasn’t to suggest that *I* had done anything in the very intimate and personal walks with Christ around me. I in no way took or take any credit for how God has moved in the lives of my sisters, my parents, or my friends… I simply was so relieved and thankful and honored to be a part of witnessing their love for Him. This was misunderstood sometimes… I was misunderstood sometimes… and I realize now it is because I didn’t know who I was, so how could anyone else have known me?

All these thoughts make me ever so grateful for what I’ve learned through all that… that my daughters and sons may not know who they are, and I may only know so much about them, but one thing I can show them, one thing I can give them is the truth of their value and how they’ve impacted my life, my person, my walk, and my journey. I see now I just wanted to be important to someone… but I wasn’t in the way I had hoped. That’s truly okay. That’s because of what was taken from me, not because of anything they failed at. Impact does not necessarily equal intent and I see now the difference between intention to harm and maim for personal perversion vs. intention in our very human and hurting way in our feeble actions in attempt connect while also preserve our safety; trying to avoid being hurt more than we already were. We can’t love others if we don’t love ourselves and perhaps that was the root issue to all of the hurt – what we all had taken from us had confused our view of ourselves and we didn’t, couldn’t, love ourselves as God did… at least that’s how I think it was for me.

So I suppose I’m at a new juncture of my journey… finding new ways to embrace me as a whole and not just parts of me. Embracing my needs and wants, my desires and longings, my joys and my sorrows, my strengths and weaknesses… God sees me right where I’m at and He will help me to find that wholeness and healing that is already in me, that He gave me when I invited His Holy Spirit inside me, the power and authority to be everything He sees in me. I’m not fully whole, but I’m not trapped in this state – He is with me, near to me. I am not alone and I can love all parts of me, even the broken parts.

You, reading this right now, you are beautiful too. He loves you… and the power of God is inside of you once you allow Him to give it to you, gift it to you when you give your life to Him… or perhaps you already have given your life over to Him, then it’s already there. You don’t need more power, more of Him, you only need to discover what He’s given you and that is my prayer – that God would continue to reveal and make us more aware of His power, His presence, the authority He’s given us, and His awesome grace over our lives as we walk out His best offer for our lives. He’s so good and I’m truly grateful that in my sin, He saw me. He didn’t leave me to figure it out, He’s been with me… and I’m grateful that despite our confusion and the division that can be created in the midst of our hurting hearts, that He will bring people into our lives that encourage love and healing… that despite the division, restoration can still happen, no matter how big the gap, how deep the pain, how lost we are – He is greater and can do mighty and amazing things. He’s doing amazing things that we don’t even see. 

He Calls Me Blameless

If someone causes one of these little children who believes in me to ·sin [lose faith; stumble], it would be better for that person to have a ·large stone [large millstone; L millstone of a donkey] tied around the neck and be ·drowned [L thrown] in the [L depths of the] sea. ·How terrible for [L Woe to] ·the people of the world [L the world] because of ·the things that cause them to sin [temptations to sin; L stumbling blocks]. ·Such things will happen [L It is necessary for stumbling blocks to come], but ·how terrible for [L woe to] the one ·who causes them to happen [L through whom the stumbling block comes]!” Matthew 18:6-7

This has been something I’ve struggled in anger with the most. What David did and the lies that I believed, they caused me to participate in things that I’d not otherwise have participated in. They caused me to sin. Sin isn’t simply disobeying God – it’s participating and accepting behaviors that are against God’s best offer for our lives. The enemy doesn’t care if you’re ignorant to what God’s best offer is, he still wants you to use the evil in men to cause you to sin. He strives to do so through trickery and deception, even using scripture out of context of it’s intended purpose.

I struggled in this truth… I was a sinner despite not knowing what sin was. I was walking in sin despite my best efforts as a child to do the right thing. I was sinful and unworthy because David stole things from me, things I wasn’t even aware of, and I was too young to see the depth of harm such a thing was inflicting on my core. I was ignorant to the evil and without even yet having faith, he blew out the light of childlike faith that was growing inside me; a light the Lord would have to pursue me to light again and I’d have to fight hard to trust again.

You see, a sinner isn’t wicked because of their lack of value. It’s not the offender that is without God’s affection. It’s the act of anything less than God’s best for us. The action. When I see my child hurting because of a choice they made that was outside of my best for them, it breaks my heart. It makes me angry that they’ve had to learn that way. Not at them, but at the evil and pain that is in the world. I think that is a glimpse of God’s heart towards the sinner who sins in ignorance, out of deception, or walking in the lies they have been believing. I think God’s heard towards the sinner who doesn’t yet see Him is that of deep compassion, not of wrathful vengeance.

However, His heart is different towards those who knowingly deceive, trick, and harm others; those who have no repentance or desire to do good in any form. David was one of those men. He tricked, deceived, and harmed several of us girls. We were lonely and vulnerable and he was a predator, preying on our innocence and weakness. He caused us to sin and had no shame… and after he was released from jail, his death brought an end to that. He could no longer cause little girls to sin, to lose themselves, to experience such confusion throughout her life. It doesn’t matter what else he did when that is legacy – violating young girls for his own perverted desires of control, manipulation, and power.

I realize now that the words that I’ve felt attacked by – blamed, unworthy, dirty, sinful, etc. didn’t mean what I had internalized. I was lacking wholeness (blamed), no longer comparable to who I once was (unworthy), robbed of what made me holy (dirty), snared and shocked as I stumbled along struggling in my faith (sinful). I was not a villain as portrayed in movies. None of these were indicative of the value I have in Christ, that God sees in me. All of these only magnified my value: God desired to keep me whole, but would work to make me blameless once again when I was broken; He would lift me up out of the ashes and make me new and beautiful; He would wash me in the blood of His redemption and call me holy; and He would pull me out of the pit of lies I was believing and reveal Himself to me so I could find The Truth and be set free.

My value is found in God’s desire for me to have His best for my life. My value is great and not dependent upon what wounds the evil of this world has inflicted on me but His great goodness that doesn’t leave me in that place. I was angry that I was a sinner before even understanding what sin was – I was angry because it felt so unfair of God to place that on me… but when I realized it wasn’t condemnation He was placing on me, but compassion, that truth freed me from the lies I had been believing about myself and how God sees me. God sees my beauty and seeks to protect it and for that I’m so grateful.

I was a brand new floor, but someone came in with muddy boots and moved things around, scuffing it up and causing destruction. The floor yielded to the invader and allowed itself to become ruined, but the beauty of the Lord is that He won’t leave that floor in such a state. That floor is no longer what it once was, but where value has been lost, He has come to restore to it’s original value that He established from the beginning. What had made seemingly ugly, the Lord renews into His precious and beloved again.

“…there is beauty in destruction and it comes in the form of restoration. Such a restoration comes through the process of discovering where value is truly found, which was established at the beginning of creation in the beauty of a Savior.”

ETA: I forgive myself for not doing something to stop what was happening, for needing affection and allowing that need to permit what was done to me, for not knowing how to stop what was happening and for staying quiet. I was wronged and God has such grace (favor, an inclination towards and desire to be near) to me. He does not desire that I live in shame or guilt for what happened or that it have any power over who I become. As such, if God has that kind of love and kindness toward me, I will not call Him a liar. I will love the Lord my God with all my heart, all my soul, all my mind, and all my strength; and I will love myself as He loves me, so that I can love my neighbor as I love myself, as stated in Mark 12:30-31.

Love Covers a Multitude of Sins

Love covers a multitude of sins…” 1 Peter 4:8b

In context, this scripture says, “Most importantly, love each other ·deeply [earnestly], because love ·will cause people to forgive each other for many sins [L covers a multitude of sins; Prov. 10:12Luke 7:46–47].” 1 Peter 4:7-8

From a previous entry, “Before everything, earnestly hold fast to our esteem for one another because preference and goodwill for one another veils a great number of failures.” (broken down using Greek translations of each word from bible.cc)

When I’ve heard that passage, I understood that to mean hide, cover over, and keep private. So as I ponder this today, I think of my relationship with my sisters and my parents, and the book I’ve written, and the blogs I’ve posted. With that I can see that I have not loved them deeply or earnestly. I have not loved. I have not allowed Christ to live His life through me towards them, actively done what the Lord prefers, embraced God’s best offer for my life towards them, nor obeyed His choices through His power in regards to them.

I have not hidden, covered over, nor kept their sins private regarding my wounds. If I had loved them as earnestly as I had in the past, I’d have continued to do so. So in my anger, I ought to have covered the offender while addressing the moral content of the offense.  I allowed myself to become provoked, exasperated, and so deeply discouraged that I no longer sought to cover them. For that I am truly sorry.

As I’ve studied from the passage addressing going to bed angry, I was not to fight it out and allow myself to be out of control and hurt others until it was figured out. No, in our anger we are not to sin. “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Ephesians 4:29-30

I am sorry for exposing those I felt hurt by publicly for their offenses. I could have addressed my pain in a more loving manner towards them while still processing through all I needed to work through, while addressing the hurts that so deeply penetrated my core, while working to find God’s grace to best understand how and why they impacted me as they had and have.

I sought to take redress in my own hands, when I should have taken what I was working through as an opportunity to challenge myself to work through my anger and control my tongue, to speak forth helpful truths to those around me, to let all bitterness be put away from me; to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving as Ephesians 4:31-32 states, especially seeing as that was the end result.

Does this mean I am not still working through hurt and anger, especially over things I can not control or even change? No. I am still wrestling through these things, however I strive to no longer hold onto discontentment in my spirit, to remove my impulsive outbursts of passion, to control my passionate feelings against the hurts I’ve endured, and to not be slow to call something good that is good and bad that is bad. I am a useful, compassionate, merciful, forgiving child of God, and I want to bless Him in all I do… it’s my prayer that I only continue to grow in these gifts from Him, to bless and honor those around me.

 Lord, forgive me for not loving in the way You prefer. I see how I could have addressed the struggle inside and the pains of trauma in a different way. Please use all of it as a goodness in the lives of those who love You, despite the mistakes I’ve made. Use this to be yet another testimony in my life as I seek to do better by You as I move forward. Thank You for never leaving me and for guiding me to live righteously, as I struggle in my desires of the flesh. More of You and less of me. Make me more aware of Your gift of power inside me and how to utilize it in a way that honors You with my life. Thank You for all You are doing and have yet to do in my life. Amen.

I Am Healing; I’m Being Made Whole

As I continue to work through my experiences with abuse and processing the emotions I felt and feel, and the effects it’s had on me throughout my life, I become more and more aware of the amazing abilities God has given us to not only survive through what’s happened, but how we cope and continue to live life while wrestling with the wounds. I am seeing that while I was thriving in areas of my life, I was still stunted in other areas. I was walking out boldly in areas of my life while in others, I was still wrestling with undue shame and guilt; I was healing and triumphant in some areas in my life, while I was barely functional in other areas of my life.

I had the voice of ridicule and condemnation in my head that prevented me from moving forward, but all the while, living parallel with a life of self-awareness and understanding that I’ve grown to admire. I didn’t see this before, I only saw where I was lacking, what was taken, what was continuously brought to my attention as my short-comings. While the enemy used my hurts to torment me, God was right beside me as I addressed specific areas of my life that stopped the attempts to further destroy me and turned it into something for my benefit.

I don’t believe God planned or wanted me to experience the pain, betrayal, confusion, and grief I endured, I don’t believe it ‘happened for a reason,’ but I do believe the scripture that states, “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. So despite it being outside of God’s best offer for my life, outside of His loving will, He took me in my darkest moments and caused it all to work together for my good. As such, despite what was now my pattern of thinking, despite the lies I believed about myself, despite the confusion I was walking out, God didn’t throw up His hands and say – ‘she is so lost!’ He loved me through it and worked to show me the truth and to bring light to my confusion.

As working through all of this, it’s been confirmed that I’ve had to work through PTSD, anxiety, disassociative disorder, and there was a time that I also had an alternate personality. I have been accused of being fake or like I was hiding things, but the reality was, in one state I felt completely confident and true to who I was being and believed myself to be – while in another state, I was troubled, confused, and lacking confidence as I sought to find my place in this world. I was living a parallel life with myself, broken into two pieces. I wasn’t being fake, I wasn’t walking as my whole self. I was fragmented – one part childlike, a safe place to go when the harsh realities of anger and fear were too much to bear; the other a strong, independent thinker, and compassionate woman. Due to the fear of rejection and the anger inside of me, I would revert to the younger self – still my true self, just a fragmented and wounded part of myself – and I would become more dependent, emotionally insecure, unsure of myself, and deeply desiring someone to fill the holes that were created by neglect, abandonment, violation, and feeling the loss of my perceived caretakers along the way.

I don’t experience PTSD as often now that I’ve stopped talking with my sister J, though my anxiety is a daily issue that I have to work through. While J has made particular word choices in speaking with me that were rather aggressive, degrading, and dishonest throughout the time we were in contact, the impact they’ve had on me are rooted in issues that were created by my sexual assault because they perpetuated lies I believed as a result of the abuse I had endured. As a result, walking out of the abuse and under the treatment of J, whether intentionally or not, further resumed the abuse I had already been receiving. As a result, the trauma was being relived with each accusation, condemnation, or ridicule of flaws. The ability to address accusations, condemnation, and ridicule of flaws in a healthy way was damaged as a result of my sexual assault because I wasn’t simply violated in body, though that is harsh and tragic enough, I was violated in mind, body, and emotions – and that doesn’t even mention or address the spiritual trauma.

Since my many parts were violated, I was believing lies about who I was, feeling emotions of betrayal and loss of trust and safety, as well as a breach in physical boundaries and the safety/innocence of bodily autonomy. Additionally, as a person who feels loved and supported through words of affirmation, physical touch, and quality time, even the smallest offense in these categories after such an expansive infringement against my person impacted me in much the same way as if it were the original harm all over again, hence the traumatic response: panic attacks, overwhelming fear, and a desire to flee. Being that I would revert to a childlike state in these moments, but was also still a functioning adult, I learned to adapt to that condition and became deliberate with wording choices to try to gain control over the sudden period of intense reaction full of fear, with symptoms that included aggressive shaking, palpitations, dread, and tears.

It’s amazing to see how I’ve been living with these conditions without even being fully aware of them until these recent years. It’s equally amazing to watch them happen and understand what’s happening when before I believed I was being dramatic or over-reacting. It’s exciting to be learning through these experiences ways to continue to overcome and work through my healing, so that this is not a lifelong sentence I have to endure. I’m thankful to see myself becoming whole, wholly me and not fractured me, obtaining tools to regain control over these areas of my life and to walk out the changes I’m working through. These effects of the abuse I endured do not define me and do not have to control me. I can take back my life – all of it, and not just the parts I can emotionally, mentally, physically handle. I am more than the result of the transgressions done against me – I am healing; I’m being made whole. I am a victorious child of the King. “If God is for us, who can be against us?” Romans 8:31b

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Romans 8:37-39