Tag Archives: healing

June Memories Part 2

June 9th and 10th…oh the memories these two days hold. First terror, second new life and third new career. It’s amazing how God can turn things around in our lives when we surrender to His plans and purposes.

First there was one of the worst days in my life. Twenty one years ago, a night like no other. Nine hours of violence, torture, fear and pain. God prepared me for that night but I just didn’t know what it would look like. I learned that night that you could cry with no tears. Throughout the situation I prayed in my head and trusted that God would hear my prayers. I will spare the details of what happened but suffice it to say that I should have been hurt much worse but because of my size and weight I was spared any broken bones. I survived.

Was it God’s plan for me to go through such a horrendous circumstance twenty one years ago? No, but He saved my life. He made a way out for me and even though it was one of the hardest seasons in my life, His grace was sufficient, His banner over me was Love and His peace is what sustained me.

Three years later, after trying to fix my life my own way God stepped in and moved me to a new location. A place where I never thought I would fit in. A place that would turn out to be the best thing in my life.

Four years later, I stepped into a new career. A job where I would learn and grow. A place where I would eventually cultivate close relationships.

Here I am today, twenty one years later looking back over the years. There have been many hard times and yet I’m still moving forward. Each year I have found myself becoming depressed in the month of June. Each year I have re-lived that one night from twenty one years ago. While so many people would be celebrating graduations and birthdays and weddings in the month of June when summer finally brought forth sunshine and beautiful skies, I would just sink back into the miry pit that God had rescued me from so many years ago. It has been a cycle of depression and despair for so long.

But today I truly feel that it’s over, it’s done and my healing is complete. I don’t feel the pain anymore. It’s just a memory, a time in my past that I can call a victory because I survived. I don’t feel the depression anymore and I can truly say I’m ready to give back now. I’m ready to help someone else who might be in the thick of the miry clay. I spent ten years trying to figure it all out on my own and then the next ten years letting God lead me and I have to say that it’s much better when we surrender and let God guide us.

Written June 10, 2015

  

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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…

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“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.”