I’m writing my memoir of healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse. Today, I wrote about the year I broke the “code” and missed Christmas the first time. Celebrating together and visiting everyone was always a big deal. Perhaps the greatest act was to show up, smile, hug, and exchange gifts with my abuser.
It was the same year that Kelly Clarkson released, Just for Now. I listened to that song over and over. The lyrics that played over and over in my mind were:
“Bite tongue, deep breaths.
Count to ten, nod your head.”
“Get me, get me outta here.”
Can you relate?
Being frozen and on high alert wasn’t the best way to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but it was all I knew. It was how I coped.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
That first year was challenging. At times, I would cry. I allowed myself to be present and feel, and that came with all of the emotions. I wasn’t holding my breath anymore.
I was able to pay attention and be still.
I have two great memories from that Christmas. The first was from the Christmas Eve service at our church. My youngest was asleep in my lap, and we were singing Christmas carols. When we sang “O Holy Night,” I “heard” for the first time, “Til he appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”
He was doing that for me as He removed all of my heavy shame. I felt free.
The other great memory was watching a movie about the birth of Jesus with the kids on Christmas Eve. As the narrator told the story, he read, “Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her.”
I pressed pause on the movie and ran to get my Bible and mark that verse and date it.
He is faithful, and I still believe He will fulfill His promises to me.
We started a new tradition that year. We stayed home as a family in our pajamas all day. We still do, and it truly is the most beautiful time of the year.
Maybe you know what it is like to show up for celebrations, holding your breath in all of the complicated and messy.
This is your year to break it off.
Start new traditions. God did not create you to hold your breath and thrive in dysfunction. I longed for an excuse to escape, and this year we all have one. Take it and do something new for you.
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45 NIV