Tag Archives: domestic violence

Breaking the Silence (Guest Corner)

My guest today is Kim Hawkins, she is one of the co-authors with me and 21 other women in The Art of Brave Living Book. Today she is sharing about breaking the silence of domestic violence.

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“Now, you know he loves you, he didn’t mean anything by it.”

“We don’t need to be airing our dirty laundry around to God and everybody.”

“It’s just that he had a few to many last night. It will be alright.”

Shhhh!!! Seriously, when does it stop? When does the glossing over the details, turning a deaf ear, and ignoring the blatant misconduct come to an end?

There was nothing significant about that final day. It could have been any day of the week, it wasn’t a holiday, and the weather was the same as it was the day before the straw broke the camel’s back. The neighbors could hear what was happening, it wasn’t the first time. No one came to the door to ask if I needed help. Someone did call the police, again. My screams filled the night air, but people just wouldn’t get involved. After all, there are all kinds of crazy out there.

What made this night any different than any of the others I will never really know, but I was done. I couldn’t keep going on this way. Something had to give and I had given all that I could. I was broken.

As desensitized as our society has become to violence, domestic violence is a horse of another color. It’s a strange shade of discomfort wrapped in fear viewed with a blind eye because no one wants the elephant in the room to speak and prove its existence is real.

Domestic violence is a real thing. It’s not a simple misunderstanding between a man and a woman or intimate partners. This thing is not all of a sudden. It’s subtle and plays tricks on the mind. Warped by smooth talk and constant word manipulation, you won’t know if what you thought you heard was what was really said or if you’ve mistaken what was said.

Tweet: Domestic violence is a real thing. @kshineonline #beavoice #domesticviolence #DomesticViolenceAwareness

The seduction and charm suck you in and before you realize what’s happening, you find yourself isolated riding waves of jealous fits and other forms of manipulation. Criticism replaces what once was compliments and sheer flattery. The mean streak appears and it is generally meant for your eyes only, but if it happens to expose itself in the presence of others you can expect a dutiful “I’m sorry,” but never a repentant heart.

It took time for me to leave, but I finally did. I’m breaking the silence.

No more shhh-ing and hushing about the truth of the matter.

The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) provided these national statistics:

• 95% of men who physically abuse their intimate partners also psychologically abuse them.
• Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner
• Only 34% of people who are injured by intimate partners receive medical care for their injuries

I share these particular statistics because there are signs to watch for. Listen for changes in the way someone speaks—lack of respect, constant criticism, vicious or cruel words are a red flag. Fear can cause you to make unwise choices and refusing medical attention when an injury is inflicted by an intimate partner can create a pattern you don’t want to keep repeating. Perhaps they didn’t mean, but maybe they did.

Fairy tales are not real life. There is no prince charming, no knight in shining armor. When someone shows you who they really are, believe them, especially when they are no longer charming. It’s okay to make a mistake in a relationship but when you let the mistaken behavior continue, that’s a choice. You get to choose to break the silence and be a voice.

Tweet: You get to choose to break the silence and be a voice. @kshineonline #beavoice #DomesticViolenceAwareness

If you realize from this blog post that you or a loved one is in an abusive relationship, please find help. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE, or locate a safe house in your community.

Bio:
Kim S. Hawkins is a Social Media Consultant, Certified Christian Life Coach, and women’s ministry leader. She is passionate about simplifying the way women do social media for business. What tugs at her heart is the need to increase awareness about domestic violence. She is a living testimony that there are safe ways out. She lives in South Texas with her husband of nine years and her rescue dog. You can find out more about Kim by visiting http://kimshawkins.com/.

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The Art of Brave Living

I am excited to announce that I am a co-author with 22 Christian women who share their brave stories in this beautiful new book called “The Art of Brave Living”. First of all I praise God for allowing me the opportunity as I have known for many years that I am a writer that would one day write books. My freshman year high school teacher Mrs. Bjorklund would chase me down in the cafeteria to encourage me to enter writing contests. I had no desire to be in any writing contests at that time of my life but I knew that English was my favorite subject and I enjoyed writing poetry.

Fast forward a few years and my goal in life was to become a print journalist. That goal was tossed aside when I was interviewed for a story in a newspaper and the journalist twisted my story. She apologized and told me the hard facts about print journalism. I knew that writing would somehow be a part of my life as I loved to read but unless I was going to write an underground newspaper I would not be going into print journalism. At that time I was working at a job where I created a monthly newsletter which I thoroughly enjoyed.

For approximately 10 years now I have felt a strong prompting to begin writing my story. I literally have tons of journals with enough material for several books but I was always afraid to take the steps to actually write the books. I also knew that there was much healing that needed to happen in my life before I could actually share anything anywhere. That healing began in 2009 and has been ongoing ever since. I was presented with the opportunity to join a group of women to share their stories about being brave. I knew it was time to take a step forward to being a published author. I thought this would be a great introduction into the world of books.

I have learned so much about birthing a book over the past 5 months. It’s a brave action to take for sure. I am especially thankful to Diane Cunningham for the opportunity to join her in her 7th book and my first as a co-author. I learned a lot about being brave from Diane several years ago when she had a Be Brave email challenge for 30 days. It was just one of the many people and tools that God would use to propel me to where I am today. I didn’t mention Diane in the story that is written in the book but I want to publicly acknowledge her in this blog post today. Visit her at http://dianecunningham.com/

If you are interested in an autographed copy of the hard cover book you can order here The Art of Brave Living Book

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Waging War on Domestic Violence

Today I just want to share a little of my heart with you all. I am not one who likes to ask for help…ever! However, there comes a time in all our lives when we must ask for help. So today I am asking for your help. Would you please click on the photo below and read my GoFundMe page? Would you share my GoFundMe page with your network? Would you prayerfully consider donating to this important ministry?

My heart is to assist individuals affected by domestic violence. Over the past year I have been working on developing a ministry team that will provide services and programs for those affected by domestic violence. We are in the final stages of preparation and will be launching all services publicly very soon. We give honor and glory to God for entrusting us with this important and much needed ministry. We cannot begin this work without your support.

Would you consider giving today? No amount is too small. If many people give just a few dollars it will add up very quickly. Would you trade your Starbucks coffee today and let your donation help someone in need?

Thank you all and may God bless each and every one of you.

Gofundme Fundraising Page

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Diary of an Abused Woman Part 4

The diary entry that follows is purely fictional. None of the situations expressed are linked to actual persons living or dead. Although some things may resemble actual events, the intent is not to relay a true diary but a fictional character that can express many different stories of women who have been abused. The intent is merely to bring awareness from the inside out since we mostly see abused women from the outside looking in.

Trigger warning – The content below contains wording which may be triggering to domestic abuse survivors.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month But for Me, It's also JAN, FEB, MAR, APR, MAY, JUN, JUL, AUG, SEP, NOV & DEC

Diary February 16, 2016

I have not updated my diary in a long time. Gosh I don’t even know where to begin. My life went into a major whirlwind at the end of October. I became highly suicidal and was hospitalized for a few weeks. Even though I was being treated for my suicide attempt, being at the hospital was actually nice. I mean I had three meals a day, people to talk to, a warm bed and it was a safe place. It was certainly much nicer than being in those crummy shelters. People just don’t understand that when you are homeless it doesn’t mean that you are a bad person. Sure there is bad and good people in every area of life but shouldn’t people be allowed to have a little dignity in whatever station of life they find themselves in?

I suppose I should be grateful. The last shelter I stayed at was an awful mess of a place. It was located in a run down old church building in the basement where they had rows of cots. The place stunk to high heaven but it was better than being out in the cold. I could never sleep at night so I would go up and talk to the volunteer who was there 3 nights and 4 days a week. She was a sweetheart, middle aged and very intelligent. I could tell she came from a wealthy family but something in her just oozed with compassion for homeless people. I talked to her for hours on the nights that she worked. I couldn’t believe that she was just a volunteer. Who does that? Who spends 56 hours a week with a bunch of homeless people? Cora did, that was her name. She was an angel. The night that I tried to commit suicide she actually accompanied me to the hospital. She sat in the emergency room until she found out that I was going to survive. When the nurses allowed her to come in and see me as they were waiting on the transport to come and move me to a room on the behavioral health unit she told me that she had been praying for me all night. I asked her why, she said she loved me and Jesus loved me. I knew she was an angel. She gave me her phone number and made me promise to call her every day to update her on how I was doing. I told her that I would and thanked her for caring.

The behavioral health unit was dark as I was transported up to my room. It was a private room and I was so happy to have a bed instead of a cot to sleep on. I wrapped myself up so tight in those blankets and fell quickly off to sleep. The next morning I met the team of “professionals” that were going to be helping me back to a place of healing. I wasn’t listening to a word they said to me, they sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher “wha wha wha wha wha wha wha wha”. HAHA it’s funny now but I suppose I should have paid more attention at the time since they were trying to help. I think I was at the hospital for 10 days when Cora came to visit me. The staff allowed it because I had no family or anything and she was on all my paperwork since she was with the ambulance that brought me there. She gave me a big hug and it was a little awkward but nice. She told me that a woman had come to the shelter looking for me, an older woman with gray hair named Minnie. Tears immediately fell from my eyes as I remembered meeting Minnie. She was the woman at the church lunch who invited me to stay with her. But how did she find me? I was confused. Cora said she had looked for me at every shelter in town. Who does that?

I didn’t know what to think about knowing that Minnie had been looking for me. I mean I only stayed with her for one night. It wasn’t like we were best friends. I remembered that she too had been abused and she really got me. She didn’t get that look of terror in her eyes when I told her my story like most people. Cora revealed to me that she actually knew Minnie from her church. They worked on a women’s bake sale together once to raise funds for the youth group. She had no idea that I had even been to her church because apparently the day I went was the one Sunday she had to cover for another volunteer at the shelter. She told me that Minnie showed up at the shelter the day after I was admitted to the hospital and they had been praying for me ever since daily at noon. I had to ask Cora to leave, this was just too much for me to handle and I couldn’t see why anyone would care that much about little old me. It was too much emotion for me to handle. I yelled at her to just get out and leave me alone. I saw a tear roll down her eye as she looked back at me while walking out the door.

To be continued…

 

Diary of An Abused Woman Part 3

The diary entry that follows is purely fictional. None of the situations expressed are linked to actual persons living or dead. Although some things may resemble actual events, the intent is not to relay a true diary but a fictional character that can express many different stories of women who have been abused. The intent is merely to bring awareness from the inside out since we mostly see abused women from the outside looking in.

Trigger warning – The content below contains wording which may be triggering to domestic abuse survivors.

DVAM-with-Purple-Ribbon

Diary Thursday October 22, 2015

I can’t do this anymore. Why couldn’t I just stay with that sweet woman who was so kind to me? I just didn’t feel like I belonged there. She was so good to me. It is so cold and rainy tonight but I am thankful for the church shelter. The cot is uncomfortable but it’s better than sleeping in the rain on the cold ground. My thoughts are all over the place tonight. I keep thinking about that woman, she really wanted to help me. She gave me a brand new outfit and I had the best shower at her house. Her guest room was so beautiful and she was willing to let me stay as long as I wanted but I didn’t want to be a blemish in her beautiful home. I don’t deserve such kindness, I don’t deserve to have anyone care about me. She understood me though, she had her own story but I couldn’t grasp the idea that she had really been through what I have been through. She was too happy. She just oozed with an inexplicable joy. I can’t relate to that.

Are you kidding me? These people in here are ridiculous. Don’t people understand rules? Two people just got escorted out by the police because they started fighting. I hate to see people fight, it brings back so many awful memories. I’m not going to be able to sleep now. I just want my life back. I just want to be able to function without going back to those memories. Will they haunt me forever? I can’t even see to write anymore because the tears won’t stop. I can’t stand it that every little thing triggers the pain and memories. Oh God if you can hear me, would you please help me sleep tonight?

Diary Tuesday October 27, 2015

I am so discouraged today. I feel like my life is going down the toilet. God seems very distant and I feel like I have been dropped into a ditch somewhere and left to rot. Who am I to think that I should get special treatment from anyone or think that anyone should care or want to sympathize with the fact that I am struggling today, I am at the end of my proverbial rope and I cannot see any hands reaching out to help me. I don’t know what to do, what to think, what to feel, how to respond. I just know that I am a walking zombie right now. I am going through the motions of life only because I am familiar with the day-to-day schedule. Everything I do is only achieved because I have been doing it for so long that it is a habit. I wake up, I survive, I cry, I sleep and I wake up to do it all over again.

I have prayed but probably not enough. I’m just not getting to the place where I can let go and just be. My mind is constantly moving and I’m always thinking and going over things in my mind. The abuse I sustained, the abuse my daughter sustained, my daughter’s death, the verbal abuse all around, other people, the whole scenario. I am nowhere near being stable in my emotions and I am horribly aware of that to the point where I am terrorized in my dreams even. I have no friends to share my pain with and I have no one who would even care to listen to me at that.

I don’t know. I just feel like my guts have been ripped out of my body and strewn all over the place and I can’t put it all back together. I feel hopeless and miserable. Hello! Can someone hear me? Can anyone hear my pain? Can anyone help me? I doubt it sincerely. The only hope I used to have was God. He is so distant right now. Or at least that’s how I feel. But it could be my fault too because maybe I’m not listening for Him as closely as I should and maybe I can’t be still long enough to know that He even exists. Maybe this is a time in my life where I just have to learn to be lonely.

Diary Thursday October 29, 2015

My mind just races with all these thoughts and I can’t make them stop. Maybe that is why I can’t hear the voice of God when He speaks. But how do I stop the voice in my head. I mean it’s me, it’s my thoughts, it’s my concerns, it’s my pain, my memories, my logic trying to make sense of it all. It’s me and how do I stop me? How can I flip the switch on my thought processes to make them work differently. I can be talking about one thing and thinking about a totally different thing. It’s ridiculous. Then of course when I talk about anything in my life, here comes the flood of tears. Who wants to hear me talk? Who cares that I cry all the time? No one cares. I used to have friends, not many but a few that I could actually call friends but they have all disappeared. Why is everyone so afraid to ask me what is wrong? Why is it that I can ask someone about their problems but no one can ask me?  No one wants to really ask me, How are you? and actually expects a truthful answer.

I can’t take this anymore. This life of running to and from shelters while battling these tormenting thoughts in my head. All these people around me have their own stories. They all have their pain, their bruises, their wounds and yet no one really cares about any of us. Just give us a cot and some slop to eat and maybe a warm blanket. Why did I leave from the one place where I felt safe if only for just one night? Why couldn’t I receive the love that she was so desperately trying to show me? Why can’t I hear God anymore? I used to be so close to God, once upon a time. I cannot even raise my eyes to look up to see if God is waiting for me to come back to Him. No, no, no I am not worth His time. I am not worth anyone’s time. The one good thing about me being suicidal is that my fear of death outweighs my wish to die.

Diary of An Abused Woman Part 2

The diary entry that follows is purely fictional. None of the situations expressed are linked to actual persons living or dead. Although some things may resemble actual events, the intent is not to relay a true diary but a fictional character that can express many different stories of women who have been abused. The intent is merely to bring awareness from the inside out since we mostly see abused women from the outside looking in.

Trigger warning – The content below contains wording which may be triggering to domestic abuse survivors.

DVAM-with-Purple-Ribbon

Diary Sunday October 18, 2015

Today was a good day. I was walking along the road this morning when I met a woman who invited me to come to her church. She said they would be serving lunch after the service and I was welcome to come. She offered me a ride to the church and while I was nervous about taking the ride, something in her eyes told me that I could trust her.

Trust. A concept that I didn’t think I would be able to have for anyone again. I sat through the service with tears streaming down my face as they sang beautiful songs of praise to God. The sermon was about the good Samaritan. Was that a coincidence since this woman was surely a good Samaritan to me today? With tears streaming down my face I drifted off into a memory of when my husband and I were first dating. We would go to church whenever the doors were open. He proclaimed his love for Jesus and we talked of becoming missionaries one day. It was a dream that I shared.

There was a beautiful woman dancing during the praise and worship time, she had a beautiful flowing dress that followed her twirls delightfully. She danced with a long multicolored scarf that flowed up in the air and back down to the sounds of the worship music. I wanted to be her. I loved to dance and yet I have not danced in many years. How could I dance when my precious ballerina was no longer on this earth? How could I dance when my life no longer had meaning? I felt an overwhelming desire to run in that moment as the memories came flooding into my mind shutting out everything around me. I looked over at the woman who brought me to church and she smiled at me. Her smile was so warm and inviting. Somehow she eased my anxiety and I was able to stay for the entire service.

Lunch was amazing. There was so much food and desserts to choose from I could not believe my eyes. Breakfast casseroles, tacos, barbecue beef, chili, homemade bread, hamburgers, hot dogs, chicken and dumplings, fried chicken, every kind of fruit you could imagine, cakes, cookies, pies and my favorite homemade bread pudding. I filled my plate with just a little bit of everything I could fit on it since this was the best meal I have had in a long time. So many people came up and introduced themselves and seemed interested in knowing me. I still can’t make sense of it all. Why would they want to know me? I’m sure I look like an old dirty rag and probably smell like one too. Every person who spoke to me seemed to look beyond my shabby looks and I felt like they all were looking deep into my soul. It made me nervous and I would begin to shake. My new friend would put her hand on my shoulder and silently pray for me. It was if she knew the rage that was going on inside my head. The swirling thoughts of unworthiness to be at this table with beautiful, happy people. It was truly overwhelming.

A sudden crash caused me to lunge underneath the table, my heart was beating wildly and I thought I was being attacked. I could do nothing but sit under that table and rock myself holding my knees close to my chest. No it can’t be happening again. No, please make it stop. I could hear voices around me praying to God to help me. I heard one say it’s ok, it’s ok, it was just a punch bowl that crashed to the floor and shattered. I had tears streaming down my face as the memories of being taunted and beaten with a baseball bat flooded my mind and would not stop. I could hear myself crying out “please stop, please stop”. As the prayers continued around the table, I looked up and my new friend was on her knees in front of me praying and crying. I began to fix my eyes on her and slowly the anxiety and panic began to subside. I didn’t even realize that she was holding my hands. Suddenly the realization of what was happening overwhelmed me and shame entered into my consciousness. How could I ever come back to this place? How embarrassing?

I was helped up off the floor by my new friend. I expected people to look at me like something was wrong with me or call the police or kick me out of this place but they didn’t. An older woman across the table asked me if I had been abused. I hung my head low and said yes. She came over and put her arms around me and began to share her own story of abuse. What? Wait, where am I? I am sitting in a church. People don’t talk about abuse in church. It was why I left the church years ago. I listened to her story in astonishment. She understood me. She could relate to my terror and agony. I couldn’t believe it. Every day people pass me by and act as though I am invisible and yet two women made me feel like a human being today. I am not sure I know how to process this in my mind. It’s new to me.

The older woman invited me to come and stay with her family for the night. The softness in her voice made me feel that I could go with her. I felt like I made two friends today. Friends. All my friends had abandoned me long ago. They couldn’t relate to my struggle. They couldn’t understand my never-ending sorrow and pain. I’m not sure if this is all a dream but I hope that if it is I don’t wake up from it. I am sitting in a beautiful guest room in my new friend’s home. The bed is so inviting and I must rest. I have not slept in an actual bed for weeks. I have a strange feeling of safety here. I hope this day never ends.

Diary of An Abused Woman

It is now the middle of October and I have been neglecting to write and bring awareness to Domestic Violence Awareness Month. As I thought about what to write tonight, I thought about the many stories I have heard over the years. I have always been one to keep a diary, a journal and random notes everywhere. I write on paper, electronic notes, napkins, emails, blogs, letters, etc. The idea to write from the perspective of an abused woman actually started from a journal entry regarding a woman I met several months ago. It’s a little different style of writing than I typically write here because I am usually telling my own story but today I just want to let my imagination run wild and see where it takes me.

The diary entry that follows is purely fictional. None of the situations expressed are linked to actual persons living or dead. Although some things may resemble actual events, the intent is not to relay a true diary but a fictional character that can express many different stories of women who have been abused. The intent is merely to bring awareness from the inside out since we mostly see abused women from the outside looking in.

Trigger warning – The content below contains wording which may be triggering to domestic abuse survivors.

DVAM-with-Purple-Ribbon

Diary – Thursday October 15

Today I walked many miles asking for change whenever I saw a friendly face. Most of the people who walk by don’t even look at me. I am invisible. Don’t they see my pain, don’t they see that I too am a human being with hopes and dreams. Well my dreams died long ago. I have no family, I have nothing. No one will hire me for a job because I cannot stop shaking and crying when I see beautiful women pass me by with children at their side. It’s been eight years since I saw my precious daughter. She was so beautiful. I knew that she was going to be a ballerina one day. She loved to dance and she would just twirl and twirl and say mommy look at me. I can’t believe she’s gone. She would be 18 now and I know she would have had lots of boyfriend beating the door down to try to date her. Her soft blond hair would drape so beautifully around her face.

No more memories! No, no, no! I cannot take the pain, Lord. Why oh why did she have to die Lord? Why couldn’t it have been me. It was supposed to be me. She just got in the way. She wanted to protect me but her tiny body was just no match for her daddy’s strength. He didn’t even see her. It was me he was going after. Oh how can I bear to live with this guilt. When will it end? Why am I here? Why can’t I just go to sleep and never wake up again.

I remember when I was young, I had so many dreams for my life. I wanted to be an actress, a singer, a dancer. Secretly my greatest ambition was to win a Tony award. I could visualize myself dancing across the stage singing loudly in a re-production of The Sound of Music. I would get lost in my dreams sometimes and my father would tell me that I daydreamed too much. I just knew one day I would make it. I would make him proud of me.

The weather is changing and soon I will be able to sleep in the shelter. I can’t wait until they open up. It’s so hard to walk the streets and sleep on benches. I hardly get any sleep anyway because no sooner than I fall asleep some officer will come and tell me to “move it along lady, you can’t be here.” Don’t they know that I am human and I need sleep too. I’m sorry, Mr. Officer that I don’t have a home to live in anymore. I’m sorry that my family disowned me and cut me off from their lives because I was such a shame to them. How was I supposed to know that I had fallen in love with a narcissistic sociopath? It wasn’t like he had a sign on his forehead.

It wasn’t always bad. It was actually so romantic at first. Oh how I remember our very first dates. He always brought me flowers and chocolate. He knew how to win over my heart. We would talk for hours and hours on the phone and never wanted to hang up. He would walk along the beach holding hands by the moonlight. He told me everything I could ever want to hear from a man. He raved about my eyes, he said they were the most gorgeous green eyes he had ever seen. He said he could see right into my soul and it was beautiful to him. I would just blush and giggle. I should have seen the signs. I should have known it was more than just jealousy and concern for me when he began to cut me off from my friends and family. It was such a smooth process, He was so smooth. No one could ever imagine that he was a raging monster underneath his smooth, corporate executive exterior.

He took everything from me. He shattered my dreams into a million pieces after the wedding. He would not have his wife work outside of the home. He was the breadwinner and I would need to stay home and care for the children. He wanted six children. I only wanted two. I had no idea how hard it would be just to have one. He always blamed me and accused me of taking birth control behind his back. Didn’t he know I longed to have children too. It was always my fault when things didn’t work out the way he wanted.

I can’t think anymore, I can’t continue to remember all these things. How many times will I try to make sense of it all? How many times will I go over the events of the last 26 years? Does it even matter? Now I have a headache and I can’t even find a place to lay my head for the night. Perhaps I will walk to the emergency room tonight. They can’t turn me away if I tell them I have a severe headache and chest pains. Yes, that’s exactly what I will do. Gosh even if they don’t keep me in the hospital I can get a little sleep waiting to be seen. I can get warmed up enough to gather energy to make it through another day.

To be continued……

Where Does The Time Go? 1st Year Anniversary and a Contest

celebrateCan you believe it? I started this blog on October 1, 2014 and it is now over 1 year old by a of couple days! I cannot believe it! Where does the time go?

I have been so blessed by YOU. Know that I am here for YOU! When I write my blogs I am thinking and praying for you and asking the Lord to give me the topics that are relevant to you. I hope and pray that I have accomplished this.

I would love to get your input so to celebrate the past year I think it is time for a contest and giveaway! In order to gain an entry into this giveaway all you need to do is leave a comment and let me know what topic you would like to see here. That’s all there is to it!

Each comment will receive 1 entry per day. You may enter once per day as many days as you have a topic to share.through October 31, 2015.

I will hold the drawing at 8pm CST on October 31st and the winner will receive a $25.00 Amazon Gift Card via email. Remember, your comment or comments will only award you 1 entry per day. I want to make this fair for everyone. You may comment every day as long as you share a topic that you want to see here on this blog. I look forward to hearing from YOU! God bless you!

Official start time Midnight October 3, 2015. Drawing to be held on October 31, 2015 at 6PM. No purchase necessary.

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Am I Ready for the Next Level of Healing?

I blink fast to try to clear the blur from the water leaking from my eyes as I contemplate my surroundings. The hustle and bustle around me with voices ranging from joyous laughter to angry banter cause me to reflect on times past. Days of confusion and fear fill my memory of holidays oh so long ago. The aroma of alcohol and drugs are so strongly embedded in my mind that I gag shaking my head to try to dispel the scent. “Mommy, mommy look Santa came!” Yes, Santa only came because the lady at Head Start loved my family and looked out for us when we had nothing. “Mommy why is your eye red?” “It’s okay baby, go play with your new toy from Santa.” Sadly my 6 year old knew why my eye was red but what do you say to a question like that. The smiles of that day were plastic trying to shield the void in my soul and the fear that plagued every waking moment. Under my feet the crunching sound of eggshells filled my ears yet no one could know, no one could see, no one could help.

“Ma’am? May I help you?” The vision center worker broke through my thoughts bringing me back to today. “Yes, yes I’m here to order glasses.”

Driving home from the vision center, my mind reaches back once again to the days of old. Glimpses of my past have been entering my thoughts lately. I know it’s time for yet another process of healing to unfold for me. As soon as I think there is nothing more to work on in my life, God puts His finger on something and says “What about this?” My response tends to be “Let’s put that under the rug and leave it alone” but God says “No”. He always wins, after all, He is God and I am not, He knows best and His timing is perfect. Am I ready for the next level of healing? I hear Him whisper “Yes, my daughter” So with a heavy sigh I say “Yes Lord, let the next level of healing begin.”

What is the Lord putting His finger on in your life? Will you say Yes and let the healing begin?

LET’S TALK ABOUT DEPRESSION

Depression is not a one size fits all topic. It looks different for everyone but people who have struggled with depression can find common ground in many of their experiences. Today I invite you to take a peek at a time when I was very depressed and what I did to begin to turn my situation around. The following is from my own personal journal:

“I am so discouraged today. I feel like my life is going down the toilet. God seems very distant and I feel like I have been dropped into a ditch somewhere and left to rot. Who am I to think that I should get special treatment from anyone or think that anyone should care or want to sympathize with the fact that I am struggling today? I am at the end of my proverbial rope and I cannot see any hands this time reaching to pull me out. I don’t know what to do, what to think, what to feel, how to respond. I just know that I am a walking zombie right now. I am going through the motions of life only because I am familiar with the day-to-day schedule. Everything I do is only achieved because I have been doing it for so long that it is a habit. I get up, I go to work, I go home, I make sure all my family is home at the appointed times, I cry, I sleep and I wake up to do it all over again.

I don’t know. I just feel like my guts have been ripped out of my body and strewn all over the place and I can’t put it all back together. I feel hopeless and miserable. The only place I feel like I have any control is at work. Why is that? How can I possibly keep my head on at work and then lose it on the way home. Hello! Can someone hear me? Can anyone hear my pain? Can anyone help me? I doubt it sincerely. The only hope I have is God. And He is even distant right now. Or at least that’s how I feel. But it could be my fault too because maybe I’m not listening for Him as closely as I should and maybe I can’t be still long enough to know that He is still in control even though I can’t feel His presence.

My mind just races with all these thoughts and I can’t make them stop. Maybe that is why I can’t hear the voice of God when He speaks. But how do I stop the voice in my head. I mean it’s me, it’s my thoughts, it’s my concerns, it’s my pain, my memories, my logic trying to make sense of it all. It’s me and how do I stop me? How can I flip the switch on my thought processes to make them work differently? I can be talking about one thing and thinking about a totally different thing. It’s ridiculous. Then of course when I talk about anything in my life, here comes the flood of tears. Who wants to hear me talk? Who cares that I cry all the time? No one cares. I used to have friends, not many but a few that I could actually call friends but they have all disappeared. Why is everyone so afraid to ask me what is wrong? Why is it that I can ask someone about their problems but no one can ask me? Why is it that when someone tells you they want to be there for you, they disappear when you really need them? Why say that at all? Why can’t I be like some other people and just not care? Why do I have to care about every single thing and person in my life? Cause of course no one cares about me or thinks about me. No one wants to really ask me, How are you? And actually expects a truthful answer.

I know I am rambling today and I don’t know why. I guess I just feel that maybe if I put this out there in print that I will be able to overcome the pain I feel every day. I am so out of sorts. I am so disorganized and there are so many things I have to take care of so that I can actually maintain.”

During this time of my life I was very much isolated and when I say isolated I mean I lived in what I call “a turtle shell” I poked my head out just long enough to take care of my responsibilities but I refused to allow anyone inside my little shell world because it was not pretty at all.  I didn’t allow anyone to get close enough to me to know that I was struggling. I knew how to go through the motions of daily life but inside I was dying. Since I have always kept a journal and I really truly loved to help other people, there came a day that I decided that I needed to be by own advocate and so I began a series of letters to myself as though I were a friend. I had read in 1 Samuel 30:6 how David encouraged himself in the Lord.

1 Samuel 30:6 King James Version (KJV)
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God. (emphasis mine)

David was a man who knew about depression. Have you read any of his Psalms lately? Have you read about all the things that he went through before and after becoming king? When you are done reading my blog today I suggest that you go read about David, you can start in 1 Samuel.

Now, after I read that verse and heard some teaching on the verse as well I decided that I needed to try something new to encourage myself in the Lord. I began to write letters to myself instead of just writing in my journal. You might think that is weird but hey we all do weird things sometimes. I will share just a little bit of the first letter I wrote to myself.

“Girlfriend you have been carrying around way too much baggage and garbage and it is time to get rid of it all. I know that you have been through so much that has bruised, scarred and maimed you but how long are you going to let those things define who you are? When are you going to bust through that shell once and for all time and start letting people see you for who God made you to be and allow them to love you and be there for you and be your friend. Look around you dear one, what do you see? Do you see emptiness and sand like you once did? Do you see someone trying to destroy your self-worth and your very character and personality just for their own gain? Do you see egg shells? Do you see darkness? What do you see? You might not be able to answer that question right now but here is what you should see…A single road, a step, a path and it is leading to one place…it’s leading to Jesus Christ and the Light that you should see is your Heavenly Father showing you the way….”

I will end there as the last sentence was the key for me, this paragraph was the beginning of me learning how to encourage myself in the Lord. It was the beginning of me learning how to firmly fix my gaze on Jesus Christ and truly allow Him to begin healing me from the inside out.

 

Psalm 143:7-8

Answer me quickly, O Lord, my spirit fails; Do not hide Your face from me, Or I will become like those who go down to the pit. Let me hear Your lovingkindness in the morning; For I trust in You; Teach me the way in which I should walk; For to You I lift up my soul.

To be continued…