I DON’T WANT TO BE FAT, UGLY AND STUPID!

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“Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”. Those words ring in my head as I recall myself saying them in a sing-songy way with my red pony tails flapping on either side of my head to the boys who were hurling insults at me in second grade. I learned early in life how to handle those insults by stuffing them deep down in the reservoirs of my heart and making sure nobody knew how much they hurt me. My mother hurled insults at me regularly but people in the family told me not to let it get me to because she was sick and really didn’t mean it. As I got older the words became harsher but I had learned how to be a bully by then and I knew how to fight back with words. My mom and I hurled all kinds of ugliness at one another and my dad said we acted more like sisters than mother-daughter. Actually as I got older my dad and I hurled insults at one another as well. I just stuffed all those words deep in my heart pretending that they didn’t affect me.

You’re stupid, you’re never going to amount to anything, you’re fat, you’re ugly, you’re slow, you’re just like ______, you’re an underachiever, you’re a mess, you’re a loser, you can’t do anything right, you’re a _____! That’s just a sampling of the things that I struggled with as an adult because I heard those words over and over in my head. Then I used those very words against my own children, at times I still go into a place where I beat myself up for bringing those words into my own vocabulary against my beautiful children. The verbal abuse that I had sustained was not just from the boys on the playground or from my parents but it was from my boyfriends too. It tainted my perception of love.  I didn’t really understand what love meant because love to me was a series of insults without apology. Oh there were family members who didn’t use those words and didn’t belittle me. They tried really hard to show me what love was supposed to look like and I was very grateful but it just wasn’t enough.

All of the words that were spoken over me that were negative took root deep in my heart and caused me to believe that these things were true. So if it was true that I was fat, ugly and stupid then I was going to be the best fat, ugly and stupid girl I could be! My eighth grade teacher told my dad that I was an underachiever right in front of me. I figured well I will be the best underachiever I can be! My boyfriends added to the mix lots of vulgar words and heaped more insults on me in addition to re-enforcing what had already been spoken over me. So I would be all those things because since so many people had said those things, it must have been true. I believed it all to be true or else my mind wouldn’t continue to play those old tapes over and over. I became a very bitter and angry woman as a result. I withdrew into what I like to refer to as my turtle shell. Inside my shell no one else could hurt me. Outside my shell I was angry and people thought I was mean so they left me alone.

I remember when I gave my my life to Christ I thought that I was completely set free from the affects of all those words and to be honest, I was, because the finished work of Christ made it possible for me to be free. However, walking out that freedom would be a laborious task for me. See I thought that all that stuff I hid in my heart would just go away. Well I found out that Jesus doesn’t work that way, He walks us through the pain and then we are set free. It’s a process though. It was a long process for me that began in 2006. I had to learn how to live, how to love, how to think, how to act and how to just be. I was like a little baby in Christ even though I had been a christian for several years. What was missing in my life was discipleship. I knew the gospel but I just didn’t know how to walk it out.

One of the biggest lessons I needed to learn was how to recognize love. True love, the love that comes from God. Then I needed to learn who I am in Christ. Here’s one of the scriptures that I needed to understand that was a challenge for me.

Colossians 2:9-10: – “For in Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form,  and in Him you have been made complete, and He is the head over all rule and authority;”

What? I have been made complete! No, that’s not possible because I am a broken, tattered and abused woman so there’s no way I am complete. I mean hey, I am fat, ugly and stupid! Remember?

John 1:12 – “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

What? I am God’s child.

Romans 8:1 – “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.

Wait, no condemnation?

Ephesians 2:4-5 – “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,  even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved)”

He loves me? God loved me even when I was dead in my transgressions?  But, but, but??

No, there are no buts. It’s true I am no longer the same tattered and abused woman that I used to be. All those words that were spoken over me no longer have power over my life.

Galatians 2:20 – “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.

Christ lives in me and He has made me to be a new creation. A new woman. A loved and complete woman of God. I wish I could have believed those scriptures the first time I read them but it took a long time for the truth to get deep inside my heart to pull up the tangled roots of lies that I believed about myself. It was a long process but today I know who I am and I am not fat, ugly and stupid anymore. If someone thinks that about me, well, that’s just their problem.

Psalm 40:1-2

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.

 

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

 

 

 

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I DON’T WANT TO LIVE ANYMORE!

Yes those were the words that I found myself saying over and over before I surrendered to the Lord all of my past and all of my pain.  I don’t want to live anymore! That was the cry of my deeply wounded soul. It was such a pain filled thought and yet it was at the forefront of my mind every day. I was a believer in Jesus Christ, I knew I was saved and I knew that God held my life in His hands. Many times I would write in my journals, if I wasn’t so afraid of going to hell I would kill myself.

This was never a thought that I would share with anyone. After all when you are in the depths of despair you really have trouble reaching out to someone with this type of thought. What will they say? What will they think? How will they react? Will they call the police on me? Will they commit me to a psychiatric ward somewhere? How do you tell someone that you are in so much pain that you just want to die?

I remember the time that I drove up to the train tracks and sat right there in the middle waiting for the train to arrive. Tears poured out of my eyes as I screamed at the top of my lungs “I don’t want to live anymore”. Honestly I firmly believe it was the Presence of God that filled my car that night and moved me to drive away from those tracks. I remember driving to a friend’s house after that and just sitting in front of her house. She didn’t know I was there and I never made it to her front door. How could I tell her what I was planning to do? What would she do? The last thing I needed was a lecture. I didn’t need her to tell me what the Bible said or anything like that but I was desperate to just find someone who would hold me and say “it’s going to be ok”.

The next day I saw her at the church lunch and told her what I had done. She hugged me and asked if she could gather a few people to pray for me. Yes of course.  I can’t recall if it was three or four people but each of them loved on me and prayed over me. I am so thankful for that moment in time over 8 years and I will never forget it. It was a beginning for me so to speak. It put a desire in my heart to be like those precious non-judgmental people who just loved God and loved people.

This subject comes up because a couple days ago a woman jumped in front of a train in my town. It caused me to pause and wonder what happened? What was going on in this woman’s life that would cause her to jump in front of a train? It grieves my heart each time I hear that someone has taken their own life. I grieves me because I know that I’ve been there. I’ve been at the place where I could not see anything good in my life. I couldn’t see anything to live for because my pain was so devastating and I could no longer handle it.

As a Christ follower I know that this is a subject that is kept pretty quiet in the church. It’s not something people talk about very often. It’s a difficult topic but the truth of the matter is we need to talk about it. We need to know what to do when someone in our midst is hurting so bad that they just want to check out of this world.

Save.org states that suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year. That’s 109 people every day. That’s 4 people every hour. In the time that it has taken me to write this blog 2 people have taken their own lives. That should cause us to weep.

I have experienced two sides of people trying to help within the church. I have encountered times when I was so deep in the pit of the miry clay that I couldn’t see any possible solutions to my pain. I couldn’t even see God because I was convinced that He didn’t love me anymore. On the one hand I had a very well-meaning sister in Christ push me overboard by sharing scriptures at me and trying to re-assure me that God still loved me. I asked her to just leave me alone but she persisted and I found myself parked at the corner of a busy intersection in the parking lot of Walgreens just weeping. I stopped there because I just wasn’t convinced that my foot would not go along with what my head was thinking. I wanted to just put the pedal to the floor and slam my car into a brick wall. Right there in the midst of that horrible moment in my life I believe God sent the right person to talk to me. However, I couldn’t even talk to her at that moment. She respected my wishes when I said I didn’t want to talk and we hung up the phone. I didn’t tell her that I was sitting contemplating my death or anything like that. But I know that I know that I know when she hung up she prayed for me. I know that because soon I felt a peace come over me and I was able to drive home.

How can we help someone who has come to the end of their rope? How can we be sensitive to the needs of others who are in so much pain that all they want to do is die? I don’t have the answers. All I know is that we need to pray and cry out to the living God on behalf of these loved ones and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to those deep wounds. We cannot heal them, we cannot change a thing in their lives. We have to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s prompting of whether we should call in authorities or just allow God to work on their hearts. It’s such a sensitive subject and I only know what I have experienced in my own life. I have a close friend who has always shown me a great example of what to do when you just don’t know how to help someone. She prays and she listens to the Holy Spirit and if He says don’t press she leaves me alone and if He says go forth and speak she speaks the truth in love to me. We all can learn from her example.

I praise God today that He preserved my life. He kept me from following through on the plans I had to end my life each and every time. I know that many times it was the enemy attacking me and other times it was just my flesh feeling tormented and desperate. Each time the Lord saved me from those thoughts and kept me alive. He has a purpose for my life and he has a purpose for your life too.

Today if you feel that you are at the end of your rope and cannot see beyond the miry clay, be patient and look to Jesus. Seek help from professionals if needed and don’t be embarrassed to talk about it with your Pastor.  I don’t know all the answers but I know that Christ has all the answers.

If you need prayer, I would love to pray for you, please send me a prayer request on my prayer request page.

Psalm 40:1-2

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
And heard my cry.
He also brought me up out of a horrible pit,
Out of the miry clay,
And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my steps.

Looking for books about Suicide? Click here.

Praise is Not an Option

With all the serious topics I have been writing about, I prayed and asked the Lord if I could do a fun blog. He led me to a blog that I wrote 8 year ago and I feel led to share it with you today.  I hope you enjoy.

5/6/2006

Praise is not an option and I am slowly learning this truth. It doesn’t matter how I feel or if I want to praise God, I must do it because he is worthy of ALL glory, honor and praise. When Jesus was on the road to the Mount of Olives riding on the back of a colt, the Bible says that the whole multitude of disciples were rejoicing and praising God for all the mighty works they had seen. The pharisees told Jesus to rebuke His disciples but he told them if they should be quiet the stones would immediately cry out! (Luke 19:37-40)

When we read about all of the miracles Jesus performed while He was here on earth, each time the people praised God. All through the Psalms we find praises to God. With as many times as the word praise is in the Bible I think it is a high order and a mandate to us because it is in the praises where miracles happen. It is in the secret place where it’s just you and the Lord and you are just praising Him and right there – He lifts you out of whatever ugly mess you might be in and He dusts you off and sets you back up on your feet.

Without praise, we cannot enter this place of safety and security where we are hidden in Christ. We must praise God, not because of what He will do for us but for what He has already done for us 2000 years ago when Jesus suffered a horrible death for you and me to be able to live with Him for all eternity.

Each day I learn more and more about God’s grace and I refuse to be quiet anymore and allow my circumstances to cause me not to praise because I don’t need any stones to cry out and praise my God when I am fully capable of praising Him on my own. So my prayer today is that I will always remember to praise God regardless of how I feel because to praise Him is not an option but an honor to our Lord and Savior who alone is worthy of our praise. Thank you Lord for bringing this truth to me today.

 

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I DON’T WANT TO BE A SEX OBJECT!!

Today’s blog is the result of a conversation that I had with a friend this week. The Lord used this conversation to propel me back into the days of my youth when life should have been simple but it was not for me. This post is not easy for me to share today but I know that there is a purpose for it and so I pray that God will use it for His Glory.

One of my earliest memories of being exposed to sex was when I was around 5 years old. The little boy across the alley was over in my back yard and we were playing and I remember going into my house and then when I went back outside there he was calling me under the stair case. I walked over and he pulled out his privates! I told him to put it away and go home.  Then there was the boy in the apartment next door who would talk to me as I would play in my yard. He would ask to see different parts of my body and eventually after several requests I would oblige him from the window of my apartment since I didn’t want to be seen by everyone. I would dance for him and reveal parts that no boys should have been seeing at that young of an age.

Unfortunately I knew about women’s bodies already because of my father’s Playboy magazine collection. I doubt that he knew that I was looking at them because it wasn’t something that he invited me to read or look at and I always looked at them when he was out of the house or sleeping. I would see these photos and actually I remember wanting to be like them. I wanted to be pretty and sexy. I wanted to be able to wear sexy clothes but I knew my little chubby body was not like those photos.

It was very early in my childhood when I was introduced to the sex act. There were men who took advantage of me and made me their sex objects. Some of these men never even touched me but I knew the look in their eyes as they undressed me in their imagination and it disgusted me to no end. I didn’t know that I was being molested but I knew that there was something very wrong with what was happening. My friends in school never talked about things that I was experiencing so I didn’t tell anyone. It was my little secret. In fact one of the men who molested me frequently referred to it as our little secret. If I told him I didn’t want to do the things that he wanted me to do, he would threaten to go to my cousins or my girl friends. No I couldn’t let that happen so I would comply with whatever secret acts he wanted me to perform. I learned quickly how to pretend I was not even there when these things were happening to me. I would just lay there and pretend I was somewhere else until it was all over with. The reality would always overtake me when it was over and I had to go and shower and get the dirty, disgusting smell of that man off of me. It was a dreadful existence and yet I couldn’t dare tell anyone about it.

My father was the only man who I knew was different. He didn’t look at me that way, he didn’t touch me that way, he treated me like the little girl that I was supposed to be. I wish I could have told him about the other men but I was too embarrassed and didn’t want to lose his love. My parents split up and were living apart so I only was able to see my dad on the weekends and it was during those visits with him that I felt like I was just a normal kid. I didn’t want to crush that reality by telling my dad how men would put their hands on me and fondle places that no grown man should touch a little girl. How could I tell my dad that? What would be do? What would he say? I didn’t want to take any chances! I loved my dad and I would do anything I could to protect that relationship. He was the one man I knew I could trust.

By the time I was 8 years old I was smoking cigarettes and marijuana. When my first daughter turned 8 and I watched her innocence it pierced my heart knowing that I never had that kind of innocence when I was that age. It broke my heart but I quickly stuffed it back down into the recesses of my mind so that no one would know the pain of my childhood. By the time I was 11 I was a full-blown alcoholic and pill popper. I remember sharing pills with my friends at school and ultimately getting into some pretty hairy situations where my life was in danger after one boy got really sick from the pills I gave him. But that is a story for another day.

When I was between 10 and 12 years old I recall making up all my boyfriends because no boy in my school or neighborhood liked me. All my girlfriends had boyfriends and I was jealous because not one boy ever asked me to be his girl. I wondered if they knew that I was tainted. I wondered if they knew that men had used me and thrown me to the trash heap so that I was just damaged goods. I was in a gang at that time and lots of boys hung out at my house and they would make out with girls all the time. One day, five of those boys that I hung out with every day and loved as my brothers decided to pull a train on me. Well I wasn’t going  to have any of that and with great force and thankfulness that I was a chubby girl I fought back and yelled at these boys. I must have really had a serious look on my face because they backed off and then played it off like they were just kidding around. But one of those boys was very serious and the following week he returned to my house alone. He made me feel briefly like he actually liked me and started kissing me. I pushed him away because I knew that he had a girlfriend and I didn’t want to be “that kind of girl”. Well that just made him angry and the next thing I knew he was on top of me and I couldn’t fight him. He raped me.

How many times would I be violated? That was the foremost thought in my mind. How many times will men and boys take advantage of me? I silently screamed “I DON’T WANT TO BE A SEX OBJECT”. I’m not even sure if those were the words I used but I knew that no matter how smart I was or how friendly I was, the only thing that boys and men wanted was to touch me and use my body to please themselves. It never once pleased me. It repulsed me. Soon after this event I got so drunk and high that I tried to commit suicide. I had carved my arms and legs with knives and razor blades. I don’t even know what really happened that night but when someone guided me home I didn’t recognize my own mother. I remember threatening to kill her and trying to hang myself with a jump rope. The next day I had a doctor’s appointment and my mother told the doctor everything I had done and the next thing I knew I was in a mental hospital. I remember the counselors asking me what was going on in my life to cause me to drink, do drugs and cut myself. I lied to them. I made up this really sad story about how my boyfriend was in a gang fight and he got shot and died. I was a pretty good story-teller. They bought it hook, line and sinker. The truth was I didn’t have a boyfriend. I just couldn’t bring myself to tell them that I was just a piece of meat for men to use and abuse. I couldn’t tell anyone. I just wanted to be left alone.

As I recalled all these things this past week, it caused me to take a hard look at some of the deep wounds of being a sex object for so long. I realized that this was the root of why I have had issues with weight almost all my life. Whenever I get to a place where I start losing weight and people say nice things about  my appearance it tends to cause me to fail in my efforts. I sabotage myself and end up gaining all the weight back. The Lord has revealed to me that this is because I have this faulty belief inside of me that if I lose the weight then I will once again become a sex object. This was a huge revelation to me. I have dealt with the sexual abuse from my past with a Christian counselor several years ago. I poured out all of my heart to Jesus over the sexual abuse from my past already and yet this one revelation never came to me until now. I had freedom in this area so why would this come up again.

Jesus knows when we are ready to move to the next step in our healing. He knows the right time, place and circumstance where we are able to look at the ugly ashes from past experiences and wounds. He redeems them. He heals those places. He has once again healed that part of my life and now I believe with all my heart that as I move forward in taking care of my body and losing weight that He will walk with me every step of the way. I won’t become a sex object, I won’t be subject to being used and abused again. No, I will be healthy and fit for His Kingdom purposes. So that I can walk in the calling and plan He has for me.  I don’t know if this post will help someone out there reading it or if it’s just meant for me but I had to be obedient to sharing these things with you today. So if you are reading this and you have similar broken places in your life and you have not found release or freedom from those experiences then I would love to talk to you. I would love to share my experience of the Lord healing me from these things. I would love to pray for you and walk with you to the cross of Christ to find freedom, healing, redemption, forgiveness and salvation. Please feel free to go to my “Prayer Requests” page and contact me.

Father in the name of Jesus, I pray for every person who comes to this page with a similar story that they have not yet laid at your feet to find healing. God would you meet them where they are right now and shower them with your love, your grace and your mercy. Lord I pray that I would continue to open my heart and hands to allow you to use me for Your Glory. You have redeemed me from the stigma of being a sex object and I pray that now You would teach me how to be the beautiful woman of God that you have called me to be. I love you Lord and I thank you for every reader that you bring to this page. Bless each one, in Jesus name. Amen.

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,
And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear
And will trust in the Lord.

 

Change Part 2

As I was preparing to share with you about some of the discoveries I’ve made over the past few weeks about my dislike of change I realized that from the beginning of my saying YES to Jesus and making Him Lord of my life I have been in a non-stop cycle of changes. The reality is that is the way it is supposed to be! Let’s take a look at this verse:

2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. “

When we make Jesus the Lord of our lives and receive His free gift of salvation we become a new creation. I believe that with all my heart. However, the reality is that sometimes we don’t walk in that newness of life unless we have someone to take us by the hand and disciple us. I cannot tell you how many times I went weeping to an altar asking Jesus to be Lord of my life before it really took hold and began to change me.

I was so messed up in my thinking and the baggage from my life was so huge that I was like the ones in the parable of the sower according to Mark 4:16-17 – “These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with gladness;  and they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble.

I had so much to learn before true change would become a reality in my life. I wanted to serve God and I did really well when I was in church on Sunday but as soon as Monday came I fell flat on my face. Fortunately Jesus never gave up on me and soon I was connected with a group of women who would begin to teach me the Bible and teach me how to pray. That was back in 1993 and I really miss those ladies, unfortunately I was only connected with them for about six months. This was the beginning of many changes that would take place in my life.

One of the biggest problems back then for me was that I was trying to live with one foot in the church and one foot in the world. I was trying to continue living in sin and then I would repent every week. I thought it was the right thing to do and no one told me any different to be honest. Oh I am completely sure that the Holy Spirit was telling me that I was in the wrong but I didn’t pay much attention. I didn’t realize that living with my boyfriend and having sex was wrong. Truthfully I didn’t want to believe it was wrong because then I would have to stop doing it. At that point I was too afraid to stop though because I was afraid of being a single mother.  Not only that I was too afraid to tell my boyfriend that we couldn’t have sex because I didn’t want to make him angry.

Thinking back to that time in my life I thank God that He didn’t give up on me. I know that it was just the beginning of my walk with Him and over time there would be many changes in my life. Some would be very hard and some would be easy. It wasn’t until 2007 that I truly began a journey of being healed and set free from all the abuse, sin and addictions in my life. It was a process that continues to this day. I truly believe that discipleship is key to being able to truly walk out the verse – 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. ”

To be continued…..