The awful memory pops up and crashes over me like a wave.
The smell knocks me under and water pours in.
I can’t breathe.
Evil wraps around my ankles like seaweed and pulls me to the bottom into the dark abyss.
My arms are raised but I am lifeless.
A strong grasp.
His firm grip pulls me to the shore.
I hold on while
untangles the debris.
breathes fresh life into me.
pours living water over me.
Cleanses me in the brightness.
I watch the waves, unafraid.
Taking slow, deep breaths
Going deep, never alone
I resurface, clean.
In the Sonshine
Sand dancing between my toes
Soaking it all in.
I haven’t posted much this year and I feel like I am so behind. I don’t even know where to start.I haven’t shared much here because I wanted to focus on writing my story.
I came to a defining moment in my story and I struggled to write it.
There were all of these emotions and personalities, and I was trying to write without saying too much. I always feel like I have said too much, as if I’ve already said it all.
But, when I look back at my blog posts I see they are all written in code.If you can relate, “code” language means I haven’t really said much.I say just enough to safely pull back if needed.
I am fluent in the language of code. It was my survival.
When I reached this defining moment in my story, I found myself writing in code again.I was trying to say just enough but not too much.
And, I couldn’t do it.
I closed my laptop on that chapter, and didn’t want to pick it up again.I didn’t pick it up again.
In the stewing, I came to realize that I can’t tell that moment in code.It has to be real, even if it is messy.
I couldn’t understand why I would write so many words, and then suddenly feel this overwhelming burden to be real. Really real.
So, I am writing it with this new perspective and it is challenging.
Writing (or speaking) in code shields my own heart from delving into the emotional sea of betrayal and pain. If I can keep it as flowery as possible, then I can smile as I type as if I am dissociating from the words on the screen.
But, when I deep dive I usually end up in tears and I struggle to pick it up again. Why go there, when you can watch Netflix and eat ice cream?
It’s a vicious cycle.
So today, on my walk I was listening to a sermon and when the verse in Hebrews 12:2 was mentioned, I thought … “Fix my eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of my faith.” Jesus, the author.
Let Him be the author. I want to be in control, but what if I let Him write it and be obedient to what He is asking me to do? God, be my author. Help me to write it. Write through me and help me to keep my eyes fixed on you and not on fretting.
As I snapped some pictures along the way, these images spoke to my heart and my struggle.
I was in bondage. Hidden. Afraid. Tangled in lies, fear, shame, and secrets. It was so dark. Remember what it was like?
I dared to believe that there was hope. I realized I was not alone. There were others like me.I wanted to get to the other side.I wanted to be free.
He rescued me. He brought me out of the darkness and into His light. I Am Loved.
He set me free, and I am clinging to Him.I am no longer hidden, but out in the open air of freedom.
Obedience makes a difference.Am I willing to obey? Imagine the impact of obedience. What does that look like?
The other voice in my head smirked, “Who do you think you are? No one cares and it’s already been said. There’s too much risk.Are you crazy?” It’s loud, but just as I round the corner there’s more beauty.
The harvest is plenty… but the workers are few.Don’t believe the lies.Do the work.
Are you feeling stuck? We all get stuck at times, but we don’t have to stay there.The first thing I tend to do when I am stuck is isolate myself, but that is not helpful at all. What helps me the most is to admit that I am stuck. This last time, I went to small group and it was just the leader and I. She started asking questions that led me to share what I was going through with her. She prayed for me and continues to encourage me. She also continues to check in with me and it has helped me tremendously. We were never meant to run the race alone.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for delivering me from the pit. You are the author of my story. Help me to keep my eyes fixed on you and to give you my all. My heart is encouraged when I imagine running across the finish line and jumping into your arms. Your love amazes me.
Worship: This song has been my jam, especially the remix. God Only Knows [Timbaland Remix] by for King & Country…
I was leaving work and the song “Against All Odds” came on by Phil Collins.
As I sat waiting in traffic, I remembered…
Sitting on the riding lawn mower listening to this song on my Walkman and crying my eyeballs out. I think I was in the 4th or 5th grade and a girl in high school had committed suicide in our town. They said she did it because her dad had died and she missed him so much. I remember imagining her laying still on the ground with pictures of him all around her.
With the music playing in my car, I could almost smell the freshly cut grass and I felt the emotion like it was yesterday. What would I do if he died? What if he killed himself? I would feel so guilty and be so sad. It would just be awful.
I didn’t want him to die, and if I ever told anyone our secret, then he would die. And, it would be all my fault.
I knew I could never tell a soul.
It would be too risky, and besides, “he’s the only one who really knew me at all.”
“So take a look at me now…”
As I pulled out of the parking lot my eyes filled with tears. The emotional part of the abuse is so painful. The burden. The shame. The heavy responsibility.
I was just a child in elementary school thinking and believing that I would be responsible if he died. My fault. My problem.
I was still crying when I got home because I couldn’t imagine or fathom how anyone could put that on a child.
Worry was my normal.
Will he kill himself?
Will it be my fault?
Will anyone find out?
What will happen to me?
Will I die?
Should I die?
Eventually my tears stopped. My sadness turned to anger and then later turned to sadness again.
This memory has been triggered before, but this time it was as if the heaviness of it crashed onto me in a new way. A deeper way.
It just seemed so overwhelmingly cruel to threaten a child with suicide – but it certainly kept me quiet for a very long time.
But not forever… because “he wasn’t the only one who really knew me at all.”
That’s one of the many lies that shaped my identity.
Healing from Childhood Sexual Abuse has helped me to untangle those lies, one lie at a time.
On this journey, I discovered the truth. I was intricately known and loved by my Creator. He did not create me to be abused. He did not design me as His masterpiece to be violated.
I’ve had to lay down the lies, surrender the worry and cling to the Truth daily, sometimes hourly.
I am seen.
I am known.
I am loved.
He’s writing my beautiful story.
It’s beautiful because Jesus has personally delivered His light into the darkest parts of me. He’s given me the Courage to take every step and He’s never let go of my hand. His Truth breathed fresh Hope into my soul. He’s gracefully torn down my walls, he’s broken the chain of lies that bound me and through Him I’ve experienced true Freedom.
I’ve given Him the paper and the pen. This beautiful story is His story.
It may not always look beautiful or feel beautiful, but it is because He’s taken the messiest parts of my life and created purpose.
Nothing makes my heart pound so wildly in my chest than when I’m taking the next step of faith with Him.
I don’t know what lies were whispered in your ears in the darkness or what freezes you in fear. I don’t know if you struggle with anxiety or what all you deal with, but I do know His grace is sufficient.
Where do you start? I didn’t pray eloquent prayers. Sometimes I just sobbed, “Help me. Help.”
That’s still my go to prayer, and He’s still faithful. Every single time.
He’s a good Father.
He is faithful.
He rescues, redeems and restores.
He knows everything about you and He’s writing your beautiful story too.
Will you let His strength give you courage when it seems so impossible?
Will you be still and let Him breathe wild, fresh Hope into your soul?
Will you let His Truth chip away the walls and lies that have held you back?
Just reading the word Sabbatical sounded like a vacation on a shoreline to me.I scrolled on to the next post, but I kept coming back to hers. I am a big fan of social media. I love it and I use it personally, professionally, and in ministry so stepping away would be a big deal for me.
Reluctantly, I took the plunge and removed all of the apps from my phone except the Bible App.
Besides the obvious benefits of having more time and being fully present and engaged, the one thing that shocked me the most was feeling my anxiety levels decrease.
I felt lighter, slept better and was able to breathe easier.
I had no idea how much being on social media caused me to worry.
I worry about you.
I genuinely care about your crisis, your online business, your milestones, and I especially worry about what you think of me.
None of this is bad, but when it all piles on in 30 minutes (which easily becomes two hours), it makes my heart feel a lot heavier when I finally x out.
The tape in my mind starts playing on repeat, “People are hurting. They are offended.They need to sell just a little bit more.There is a birthday, an anniversary and more.”As the tape continues to play, I worry did I miss someone’s birthday? Did I say enough? Should I comment? I don’t even know which emoji to add because I am not even sure how I feel.The pressure builds and it is overwhelming at times.
I worry about myself.
I wonder if I said enough, or did I say too much.Now that I have teenagers, they read what I post and they don’t always like the pictures I share of them so I am more sensitive to their eyes and hearts. I start to doubt my calling and it slows me down. I see others celebrating huge victories and I am thrilled for them!It encourages me at first, but then comparison creeps in, followed by insecurity and ultimately I am filled with doubt. I worry about what I think of myself.
The tape in my mind starts taunting, “Did God really say? It will never happen for you. Why bother? Who do you think you are?” Am I saying enough? Am I doing enough? It is too much?
But there is One…
When I was able to escape the awkward high school halls of social media for a bit, I was able to pause in His Presence. It was there that I discovered this truth:
There is only One whose opinion of me matters. Just one: Jesus
My word for the year is Joy, and the verse is Psalm 16:11:
“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.”
Taking a break from Social Media helped me to see the Bigger Truth in that verse.
Joy will come in His Presence.He will make known to me the path of life in His Presence.
When I am in His Presence I am fully aware of who He says I am, and what He has called me to do. I am fully aware of His strength, His power and His healing.
When I am in His Presence, it is not about me.
In His Presence, I believe all things are possible. Doubt, panic, worry and anxiety wither away in the fullness of His Glory.
When I reached day 21, I put my little toe back in the waters of social media and I quickly retreated. I wasn’t ready. So I took a few more days and I waited a bit longer.When I went in, I stayed in the shallow end for a bit but it didn’t take long for the waters to rise and the tapes to start playing.
So, I am stepping away again.
I have tasted.I have seen.I believe.
He will show me MY path and fill ME with joy in His Presence.
I want to be intentional to meet Him there. Join me?