Looking Back

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Flashback!

The awful memory pops up and crashes over me like a wave.
I kick.
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.
I sink.
My arms are raised but I am lifeless.

Still frozen.

A strong grasp.

He
rescues me.
His firm grip pulls me to the shore.
I hold on while
He
untangles the debris.
He
breathes fresh life into me.
He
pours living water over me.
He
Cleanses me in the brightness.

Now

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.

Loved.

 

Getting Unstuck

Journey Pink

I’ve been stuck. 

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.  

God, really? 

Really. 

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.   

Journey Pink

I was in bondage. Hidden. Afraid. Tangled in lies, fear, shame, and secrets. It was so dark. Remember what it was like? 

Journey Pink

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. 

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He rescued me. He brought me out of the darkness and into His light. I Am Loved.   

Journey Pink

He set me free, and I am clinging to Him.  I am no longer hidden, but out in the open air of freedom.  

Journey Pink

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.

Journey Pink

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.  

What about you?  What helps you to get unstuck?

 Scripture: Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12:1-3 New International Version (NIV)

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…

Grave Clothes

IMG_1467Today at church, on Mother’s Day, I shared how Jesus removed my “Grave Clothes.”  The Pastor’s sermon was on the power of Jesus to raise Lazarus from the dead.  At the end of the sermon, I shared my personal testimony of how Jesus removed my grave clothes.

When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”  John 11:43-44

Run towards HOPE

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When I sat on my counselor’s couch for the first time in 2012, I told her I did not want anyone to ever know my story. I just wanted to heal as quickly as possible. She assured me that I was safe to share with her and that healing would take time and hard work.

I could hardly say the words – childhood sexual abuse. I certainly couldn’t see myself ever sharing my story with anyone, especially my husband and children.

No way. No how. No never.

But God.

Fast forward to 2019… I went to Leland, NC for the Hope Run with Journey to Heal Ministries with my mom and daughter.  My brother and his family joined us as virtual participants.

HOPE RUN

It made my heart swell to have them with me. I was no longer hiding in the shadows of shame and darkness. Over time, God helped me to step into the light.

I can’t describe to you what it was like to get to the run, step out of my car and see the people.  It was surreal.

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In the sea of people, there were survivors and others were supporters, but you couldn’t tell them apart. Everyone gathered together in this one place and it demonstrated: “Your story matters, and we care. This is a big deal and we want to do something. It has to end!”

I truly felt seen and loved.

Childhood Sexual Abuse completely isolates you. The secrets are all yours to hold and manage. It is an incredibly lonely way to exist. But on this day, it was clear: survivors did not walk alone. They were surrounded by other survivors and supporters.

It was a beautiful sight.

It was time for the race to start and they were giving instructions.  My daughter was running in the 5K and I felt a slight panic rise in my chest as I thought of her running alone.  All the “what if’s” flooded my ‘I need to be in control’ mind.  Even as those thoughts pounded, I recognized how far God had brought me and it helped the panic to subside.  I used to be THE helicopter Mom, and never wanted her out of my sight. He’s taught me how to let go and to trust Him with my daughter. 

Journey To Heal Ministries

When I was no longer able to see her blond ponytail bouncing in the wind, we started our 1-mile walk. As I walked, I was so overwhelmed thinking back to that sofa in my counselor’s office in 2012. I was a frazzled mess, and finally desperate enough to run towards hope. It was painful, messy, hard and scary. I had no idea what healing would look like or where it would take me. I just knew I could no longer stay covered in the muck and mire of shame. I longed to be free.

I ran towards HOPE and He met me in my mess. He washed away my shame. He set me free. 

Do you long to be free? Does shame keep you hidden and afraid? Do you feel like you are all alone?

Run towards HOPE.

You are not alone. There is hope and freedom for you.

Step into the light of His love and His hope for you.

Running towards Hope is not always easy, but it is always worth it.

We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go.  Hebrews 6:18 MSG

We left after the race and spent the afternoon on the beach. I thanked God for all He has done in my life and He gently revealed the next layers of healing ahead for me. These layers deal with food, health and my body.

I took a walk on the beach with my daughter and shared with her how next year, I wanted to come back and run with her. It will be painful, hard, messy and scary. But, it will be worth it.

She said, “Mom, we have 364 days ahead of us. You can do it! One day at a time.”

She inspires me, in more ways than one to keep running towards Hope.