It’s been a grueling couple of weeks. Without going into details, we moved suddenly and are headed to a vacation rental for a month to figure out our next steps.
That said, my life is upside down and sideways which has left me clinging to Jesus in a desperate and fulfilling way. He is good. We know he is doing good and bringing good, but in the meantime, I’m exhausted and need – oh, maybe a year – to recuperate.
Therefore, I’ve got nothing for this last post in August.
Except, to introduce you to an exceptional, new author on the scene who writes about food – his first love after my daughter and their kids. I swear I’m not biased just because he’s my son-in-love. He really is an incredible hobby chef and emerging author. I think if you check out his blog, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at his “tongue-in-cheek” writing as well as his food recommendations and critiques.
From the moment I answered God’s question affirmatively, my life became one revelation after another. Suddenly, I saw wounded places in my heart that I had never noticed before. I had a new understanding about my abuse and recognized the truth that God was showing me. I learned so much about myself and how I related to others. Then, as I began to change, my family changed. Not all my circumstances changed, but the way I saw things did, so the circumstances were no longer the main focus of my life. Jesus was. The things God showed me opened up areas of my life to his comfort and healing.
But when I first said yes to God’s question about getting well, it seemed like my life spun out of control!
Because it did. At least, out of my control. But that was the point, to get my life out of my control and into God’s. It was difficult and frightening at first because I had been comfortable in my old ways even though they were destructive. Everything I had learned to rely on, all the patterns I had employed to protect myself and all the defenses I built to make myself feel secure were actually hindering the better situations God had for me. I needed to learn new, different ways to live.
Kind of like when my kids were very young and learning about money.
They would proudly show me their five pennies and I would attempt to exchange them for a nickel. No way! They would adamantly refuse. All they could see was that five was more than one. It didn’t make sense to them to trade something they thought of as more for only one coin. Then, I would try to give them a dime for their five pennies. That was worse in their little minds! Now they perceived I was trying to steal their five coins for one coin that was even smaller in size! They could not grasp the concept of the dime being twice as valuable! Even though I had doubled the value, they felt I was trying to rip them off when I was actually trying to give them something twice as good. Until they learned more about money, they had a terrible time trusting that I meant them good, not harm.
Jeremiah 29:11 tells us that God has a plan for our future and it is to bring us good, not harm.
We can trade what we have made of our lives, even the destructive areas that seem safe to us, for something exceedingly better. We simply have to let go of our “pennies” and let God give us something twice as good! But until we learn more about God, we may have an awful time trusting his intentions.
In the beginning, I felt scared, shaky and unsure of everything in my life and heart.
I felt like crying, and sometime screaming a lot of the time. I was tempted to fill the void created by letting go of my old patterns. Before I fully learned new patterns of living, the empty places screamed at me to replace them. For me one of the biggest replacements was busyness, but it could be alcohol, food, shopping, reading romance novels (all of which I once battled) or any number of “comforts.” I would say “yes” to every request or perceived responsibility and take on more and more until I exhausted myself.
If I accomplished a lot, I felt good about myself and when I was busy I didn’t have time to consider the messed up places in my heart. That old pattern still threatens sometimes when my past fears get triggered. But now I’ve become aware of that tendency and instead of letting it control me I embrace the opposite. When I feel compelled to take on more than is reasonable, I recognize that old pattern, and I take a break or a time out, maybe even a nap.
God has a double portion of good for us if we are willing to relinquish our control.
Letting him lead us may seem crazy because his ways are opposite of the patterns we’ve employed to make ourselves feel safe. But if we will agree to his making us well, he will have twice as much good for us than what little we’ve been clinging to.
What have you been clinging to that God wants to exchange for something better?
I heard another story of a brokenhearted woman this week.
Hard circumstances followed her through life and relationships never seemed to turn out right. Deceived by men over the years, she wondered if anyone would ever love her purely, rightly, completely—at all. She hates the life she’s found herself trapped in, but doesn’t know how she got there or how to get out. Despairing and lonely, this woman cries out to God asking “what’s wrong with me?”
Her name could be Susan or Jane or Crystal. Or Fantine from Les Miserables.
While the women have different names, the story is the same. Sexually abused as girls or young women, we now search in vain for true love and acceptance. Our hearts live in a confused, turmoiled state of unrest, if not every day outwardly, at least in the secret depths of our souls.
As grown women, we wonder why we feel targeted or lost; why we can’t find a good man or keep any; and why compulsion or addiction rules us. We question our sanity and worth. The only value we seem to possess is derived from doing enough, making enough money or offering our sexuality as a sacrifice for “love.” Sometimes it’s the same thing.
I was such a woman.
Now I long to reach out and grab hold of each one whose eyes hold deep secrets. I want to say I understand. It’s not your fault. You didn’t imagine these twisted nightmares or create such craziness. Perhaps you don’t remember anything but bits and pieces of tortured pleasure; or maybe you’re haunted with images you wish would disappear forever.
The bottom line is that sexual abuse creates an emotional, spiritual, mental and physical environment for the repetition of a broken, abusive life.
It may be that you are stuck in a relationship with someone who is abusive, or that you abuse yourself with cutting or food or drugs. You may have deeply related health issues. Perhaps you have found a wonderful man who is kind and loving, but you can’t allow yourself to believe he actually loves you. You may visit your abuse on your children through the same type of circumstances you endured, or in eruptions of rage that fly from you unbidden, unexpected and unwanted.
Whatever your situation, I am so sorry it happened to you.
Hope seems non-existent, but I promise it is there. God’s heart breaks with yours and longs to unravel and redeem all the broken, hurting places of confusion and pain. It may seem impossible. It may take a long time. The truth seems lost in the lies, but light shines in the darkness; there is hope for you. Cry out to Jesus. He hears. He answers. He heals.
If you’ve started on the journey to wholeness, don’t quit.
So many times I’ve wanted to give up. I’ve felt that the deepest issues couldn’t change in me. I’ve often cried in despair (even recently) thinking that no healing was available for the tiniest cracks in my heart. But Jesus doesn’t let go. In the darkest moments of confusion and pain, he holds me close and comforts me if I let him. He whispers,
I love you, truly. Don’t despair. I’m everything you need. Rest in me. Be still because I am God. I created the entire universe and I am holding you right now. You will be alright.” Jesus
Beloved, can I pray for you?
Jesus, because my heart breaks for these women, who have suffered abuse and suffer from the effects of it still, I know your heart breaks. Please draw them to you. Change their perception of you so they can see that you love them and long to comfort them. Please embrace them with all the grace and strength and gentleness of your spirit. Thank you that while you accept us where we are, you never leave us there, but instead take us into new life and healing. Amen
If you need prayer or want to discuss your situation feel free to comment below or contact me privately at: email@example.com