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.

 

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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…..

Change

Change is hard!

Yes indeed it is. I do not like change. I realized this early this year as my life was moving quickly from one change to another. I used to think I liked change but the reality is I just get comfortable with where I am and unless something really forces me to change, well a lot of times I don’t change.

Even the thought of writing about my dislike of change brought me to a place of procrastination. This is actually pretty much my regular repertoire. God is working on me though. He is really stretching me to step out of my comfort zone. This blog is really a stretch outside of my comfort zone to be honest. But if we don’t allow Jesus to change us then we may never realize our true potential.

It has been three weeks since I started this post. The content flowed really well in my head and then somehow I just couldn’t bring the words to the keyboard. I have written and revised many times already but today I decided that it has been long enough so I need to get this done and posted.

As I was walking to work on October 7th I was admiring the beautiful trees that had been changing colors and the leaves on the ground. I was feeling really lazy that morning and I didn’t really want to walk to work. It’s literally a 9 minute walk but there’s this hill that I absolutely dread every time. It’s really not a big hill but for me it has been a challenge. So as I am walking up that hill I was praying about how I didn’t like the hill and the Lord reminded me of something that was said to me not too long ago about how when things get hard I tend to stop and withdraw. Ouch! The reality of that truth hit me hard.

I began to think about the hard things that I’ve endured in my life as I considered the idea of change. When I encounter change that is hard I tend to quit, give up or stay stagnant. Well life changes all the time. We have to either roll with it or we do become stagnant and quite frankly stagnant water stinks. When I was living under tremendous stress from abuse it took me a while to get out from under it because even though the situation was difficult it was something I thought I could control. I didn’t know what would happen if I just stepped out of that situation. All the “what if’s” were flooding my mind. What if I can’t get away fast enough? What if he finds me? What if something worse happens? What if I can’t find another man? What if I can’t handle raising my kids by myself? What if_______?

I have to wonder how many women stay in abusive situations because it is just so much easier to endure than to change. I remember the first day I spent at a domestic violence shelter. I wouldn’t speak to anyone there with the exception of the staff. My head hung down and I never looked up to speak to anyone when they tried to talk to me. I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to have my life turned upside down. I just wanted to go back home to the life I was used to and even though it was difficult I knew the routines. I knew how to walk on eggshells and I was familiar with playing the game of pretending that I was happy. Now I was in this house with 8 other women who had their own stories. It took me three days before I was able to talk to anyone. There was a sweet woman on staff who took me aside and forced me to look at myself in the mirror. She challenged me to say I love you to the reflection that stared back at me all battered and bruised. I couldn’t say it. I cried. She challenged me to keep going back to that mirror until I could say it. It took a while but a few days later I said it. That simple act helped me to begin to speak with the other women.

It would be many years before I could truly look in the mirror and say I love you to myself. Even though I was able to say it back then at the shelter and it helped a little bit the real change of beginning to love myself didn’t start to take affect on my life until I began to surrender my life to Jesus. Still it took another several years for me to really understand love and to receive love.

All these memories came flooding into my mind that breezy beautiful morning three weeks ago as I walked up that hill. When I got to the top of the hill I smiled and yelled “Thank You Jesus”.  I walked the rest of the way with a quickness in my step and a smile on my face as I realized that just as I had conquered the hill that morning I could conquer anything because truly I can do all things through Christ. So I planned to write this blog post that day and somehow I just couldn’t get it together. The result of that day and then the candlelight vigil the next day began a journey of self discovery over the past three weeks. Now that I have finally finished this entry I believe I can go on to share some of the lessons I have had over this short period of time. I will continue to talk about change in the next post.

God bless each and every one of you that has read this blog today. I would appreciate your feedback.

How many times?

Joshua 1:9 NKJV
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

How many times will The Lord tell me that He is with me? How many times will He tell me to NOT be afraid? How many times will I hear the words and it just doesn’t sink in? When will I get it? When will I live it?

This is a command not a suggestion. I have to wonder if Joshua was like me in that he heard the words but didn’t really believe it. I mean God told Joshua several times as well and we only know the times recorded in the scriptures. I’m sure that there is a reason that He told Joshua several times and if I’m right then Joshua and I have some things in common. Lack of confidence! Fear! Feeling weak and vulnerable! I’m sure it was a little different for Joshua since he was a man and all. I just know that for the past four years God continues to remind me of this command.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

He is with me wherever I go. God is with me wherever I go. Wow! That’s powerful. So if it is true that God is with me wherever I go then there really is no reason to be afraid. In human perspective I guess it’s like having your big strong father or big strong brother with you all the time. No bullies would think about messing with you when you have a big strong father or brother with you. Right?

So why do I still fear, lack courage and become dismayed? Unbelief. I don’t really believe it. I don’t like admitting that but it has to be true. We act on our beliefs, right? So if I truly believed that God is with me everywhere I go then I would never be afraid. I could walk in confidence knowing my Heavenly Father has my back in all circumstances. All! As in everything! Everywhere!

I pray that this will become a truth in my life. I pray that the Holy Spirit will bring such revelation to my spirit that I will no longer need The Lord to remind me of this verse because it will be so ingrained in my life that no reminder will be necessary. It will be lived out in every breath I take, every step I take, every moment, every day of my life. Let it start today Lord. In Jesus name.

Candlelight Vigil

I attended our town’s Domestic Violence Awareness Candlelight Vigil tonight on the town square. Even though I am a survivor of many years this is the first time I have attended a vigil. I would never go because I was afraid that someone would see me and know “that girl is tainted”.  I really agonized over going as if it was a major event like going to see the Queen of England or something.

You see when the scars fade and the wounds heal no one knows. I think of all the times I have suffered abuse from many sources and the one thing I was able to do was hide it. I was able to pretend like nothing was wrong. I kept to myself, I didn’t talk to anyone. People just thought I was like a mean bully or something. Seriously I had someone tell me that. But the truth is I was protecting myself. I was protecting my heart inside a stone brick wall because I had promised myself that no one else would hurt me. That wall kept me from building relationships at work, relationships at church and relationships inside my very own family.

There was an angst inside me when I went to the vigil and I stood there listening to a survivor tell her story. The courage to open up and say look at me “I’m a survivor” is huge. I listened as she talked about the reasons she stayed and I recalled my own reasons. There are always reasons. Abusers fill their partners heads with so many lies that it’s hard to know what thoughts are their own. Abusers manipulate and control their partners to the point where that have no voice, no friends, no family, no resources…only the abuser. Then once you are so accustomed to the isolation and the lies take over your very own thoughts…you can not see a way out.

It takes much courage to walk away from everything you know and start over.

Change is hard.

But change is necessary. It’s actually a constant in life.

Change.

Tomorrow I want to share a message with you about change that I put together yesterday morning while walking to work. I hope that you will return for the message.

Below are pictures of me from tonight’s vigil. I didn’t know what to expect and they asked for people to come up and read an inspirational quote. I went up there and did it. I looked out into that audience and it did not matter if they knew I was a victim of domestic violence because the truth is I’m a Survivor!

Thank you for stopping by today! God bless!

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Official Launch!!!

Today is the day! Today is October 4, 2014 and I am going public with this new site and blog. This is long overdue to be honest. I started this over a year ago but it never seemed to get off the ground. I had many people encouraging me along the way and wondering what was taking me so long. Truth is – I was nervous and fearful. I have blogged for many years but didn’t share too much. I would start up something and then it would fall to the way side. This site – Beyond The Miry Clay – is my story. It is my life that I have carefully kept in the dark. I have carefully let only a few people into my little corner of the world. I have shared my weight loss journey on my Losing4Christ blog but when I began that blog I knew there was much more that I would be sharing.  Here’s a snippet from my first entry on that blog:

So just to give an example of some of the things I intend to lose on this journey, I’ve created a short list below:

  1. Weight
  2. Sin
  3. Bondage
  4. Damaged Emotions
  5. Lack of discipline
  6. Fear
  7. Control

That short list ended up being even shorter because my sole focus became my weight. I had ups and downs, successes and failures but I mostly wrote about the failures once they turned to successes. Sadly I only saw the failures in my life. Well I have come a long way from that mindset not that I have arrived and don’t struggle but today I can see my successes as well as my failures. The victory in that is I am able to celebrate my victories and I don’t focus so much on the failures.

Today I am committing to keep both of these blogs alive. My weight journey will remain at Losing4Christ and my life journey will be here. First I want to say that I chose this day for my launch because as I looked over the path that my life has taken over the years and have found pivotal dates where I know I can say for certain that I had a life transformation. Saturday October 4, 2008 was one of those days. Besides that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and I am a survivor! I hope this site will become a place where people who are living under abuse and trying to get out will be able to come to for resources, hope, prayer, encouragement and at some point tangible help. I know that many people who visit here will not believe the way I do and I am OK with that. I can only share what Jesus Christ has done for me and be a safe place for people to come and be encouraged.

Today you know someone who has been or is being abused. How do I know that? Because the statistics tell me so. You are reading this page and maybe you have a friend who is in an abusive relationship and you have no idea what to say or do. Send them my way. I can’t help everyone but if I can help just one then it will be worth it. Check out my about page and see the other obstacles I have overcome because of Christ working in my life.

Before I end today I just want it to be clear that this site is not just about abuse. It is about a life transformed by the power of God! I am that life and I have been transformed. People who have known me for a long time can tell you I am not the person I was 5, 10, 15, 20 years ago. Frankly I am not even the same person I was a year ago.

I am a follower of Jesus Christ,  the One who brought me up from the miry clay and set my feet on solid ground. I believe that He is more than able to deliver and set people free from all the things that cause us to live in a miry clay pit of destruction.

Thank you for stopping by and please feel free to share this site.

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.”

Ouch

Life hurts. I woke up in the middle of the night last night and knew this would be the topic of my blog today. Life hurts! It’s a reality whether you are a Christian or not. As a Christian I have to remind myself that I have hope in Jesus. I have to remember that no matter what is going on in my life or how much pain I may be enduring, I have hope and I will still rejoice in Jesus.

The following verses have been a constant in my life when trials and painful situations arise. It’s just one of the scriptures that lets me know that the problems of life have been around for a long long time and yet those who put their trust in The Lord will always have hope and be able to rejoice if they choose it.

Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights. For the director of music. On my stringed instruments. (Habakkuk 3:17-19 NIV84)

The next verses were my life verses in the midst of some of the darkest days of my life. I held on to these verses for dear life and I learned through those painful circumstances that God restores, strengthens and establishes. He did it for me and He will do it for you too. Will you trust Him today?

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 5:6-11 ESV)

Love Your Enemies

These are the first verses of scripture that I read this morning.

“But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. (Luke 6:27, 28 NASB)

These are Jesus’ words to me and you today. I can hear you now, “say what? Love my enemies? But you don’t know…” Stop right there. Yes I do know because I’ve been there. I’m talking about living with the enemy, doing good to those who hated me, blessing those who cursed me and oh my how I prayed for those who mistreated me. Yes indeed, I did all those things in the midst of being used, abused and mocked for my faith.

The effects of being used and abused over long periods of time take a serious toll on a person. I’m not saying that I was able to do these things every time I was mistreated or abused by someone but I knew what the Word of God said and I purposed in my heart to try not to allow bitterness to grow in me. So I loved, I blessed, I prayed and I clung to Jesus for dear life. He saved me and set me free from every thing I have been through in my life. Every day I have the choice to follow His Words from today’s verses. I choose to follow, will you do the same?

Let’s pray.

Father in the name of Jesus I pray for every reader today to be able to hear your Words and follow them. You know it’s not easy to love our enemies but You set the example by not only loving Your enemies but dying for them. Soften our hearts today to set aside our self proclaimed “rights” and choose to follow your Words. Lord I pray that if anyone reading this blog today is in a situation that is unsafe that they will still follow Your example but get out of the situation as well. Give them the courage to reach out for help. Bless all who visit these pages. In Jesus name. Amen.

Until next time…..

Welcome!

Thanks for stopping by. This is the first of many posts that I intend to write about my journey with Jesus Christ. He is the One who lifted me up from the miry clay and set my feet on solid ground. I can now look back and see that awful miry pit of destruction and I am confident that I will not go back there again. As long as I keep my eyes firmly fixed on Jesus Christ then I know I will be okay. That doesn’t mean that life will be a bed of roses but no matter the circumstances that arise in my life I will stand firm in the faith and hold on to Jesus with everything in me.

Truly the words of Psalm 40:1-3 have become life verses to me.

1 I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 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.
3 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.

My prayer is that the Lord will use me to reach the many hurting people who may be stuck in the miry clay pit of destruction to help lead them to Jesus Christ who can save, deliver and set free today, right now! Let all that I have been through in my life be used for the Glory of God as I begin to unfold my testimony before the world.

Thank you for joining me today.

Psalm 40:2a – He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay,