My Beautiful Story

Music triggers me.

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?

This story… His story is going to be beautiful.

I can’t wait to read it.

Ephesians 2:10

We have become his poetry, a re-created people that will fulfill the destiny he has given each of us, for we are joined to Jesus, the Anointed One. Even before we were born, God planned in advance our destiny and the good works  we would do to fulfill it!

Looking for a sign to keep going?

All along my journey, there have been times where I simply wanted to quit and give up.

I have balled up my fists and with clenched teeth sputtered, “What is the point?”

It often happens when I am in position to do the next thing, and right before I move to take the next step, a strong wind of defeat and disillusionment will blow in and send me reeling in doubt.

Have you ever been there?

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The Little Princess

Easter Offering - A StoryOnce upon a time long ago, there was a little princess named Reina born to a mighty King.  The princess had straight brown hair with a cowlick on the left side.  She had rosy cheeks and a gap in her front teeth.  She also had a small red little strawberry birthmark on her knee.  These features made her different and unique and the King loved them.  He would brush her hair and tell her she was beautiful, and when she would brush her teeth he would say, “I love to see you smile!”  When people would ask how did she hurt her knee, he would answer,  “This beautiful strawberry birthmark will be with her always because she is my child.”

They lived in a beautiful palace surrounded by woods. In the front of the palace at the main entrance, there was a huge statue of a big green dragon named Dracon. He stood tall and shiny, and people would come from all around to admire Dracon. There were tales of how mighty and strong he was and how he was placed at the gate to ward off evil and to protect the princess.

One night, the princess heard a knock on her window, and went to look out and Dracon was there. She almost screamed, but he covered his mouth and told her “Shhhhhh!  Come with me!  I want to show you something fun!” She was a little scared and confused but everybody loved Dracon, so she went with him. He put her on his back and took off deep into the forest. As he went around the trees, her hair was just blowing in the wind.  He finally told her she could talk so she just shrilled with excitement under the stars!  Quickly, he returned her to the window, and she climbed back in bed smiling peacefully as she slept.

When she awoke the next morning, she thought it was a dream.  It just didn’t seem possible that Dracon would take her out of the palace for a ride through the forest!  She ran to the window and looked out and there was Dracon standing tall and still.  Later that night, she could barely blink because she kept looking at the window waiting to see if Dracon would be there.  Right as she was about to fall asleep she saw him at the window with his finger over his lip telling her to be very quiet.  She closed her mouth tightly and climbed on his back and off they went.

As they entered the forest he told her she could talk now.  He started to go really fast and she was laughing, but then he went faster, and farther, and even faster.  She was starting to get afraid because she knew the King did not want her going this far away from the palace.  Dracon told her he wanted to show her all she had been missing.  He wanted to show her all of the things the King was keeping from her.  Some of the things he showed her were scary to her.  She said she wanted to go back to the palace so he took her home and told her to never ever tell the King.  Ever.

The next few nights he came to her window again and each time he would take her deeper into the forest.  She was afraid to go with him but Dracon was stronger and much bigger than her.  Dracon told her she could never tell anyone, especially the King,  about the trips to the forest.  He told her the King would be very upset and not love her anymore.  If she told anyone at all, then the palace guards would come pick her up and take her far away from the palace and she would be all alone.  He told her she had to keep it a secret.

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Almost there

I nervously made my way over to the bloggers retreat at The Cove.  The first session was on “Living Inspired” with Jess Connolly.   She was beautifully transparent and real as she reminded us that while we may feel pressure to be inspiring, our main role is be inspired!  We need to be deeply rooted in Christ and assured of our identity in Him.

1 Peter 2:9

I have 27 pages of notes, and the thought of condensing them overwhelms me, but there was one big thing that happened at this conference that blew me away as I felt the unfailing love of my Savior pour over me.

Fireplace at the Cove

That evening, I went to the main lobby and was greeted by a warm fireplace and the smell of spinach artichoke dip.  I made a plate and sat alone in a corner all by myself.  Two ladies came and sat by me, and in our delightful conversation I ended up sharing my heart, my passion, and my story before heading to my room with tiny snow flakes dancing on my face.

The next day as Jon Acuff was digging into the heart side of blogging, my pen was anxious to capture every word on paper.

  • He orders the steps of the righteous not the leaps and bounds.
  • Bravery is a choice not a feeling.
  • If you want to change the world, change one person’s life.

Then at the very end of his presentation, he talked about how sometimes small things lead to bigger things.  He shared about speaking to a large group of teens and having them write down how they saw themselves and why.  One girl had written something like “touched by a boy at 7, touched by a man at 12, worthless.”

At this point I was frozen, and I stopped writing.   Of all the notes I had taken, this was what I came to hear.  I felt it in every bone in my body.

He went on to say,  “We were never meant to suffer alone.  Your story is a lot of other people’s stories and they need you to be brave.  Blogging is going first. When you go first, you give others the gift of going second. Go first. Your story matters.”

I sat there staring straight ahead.

When I finally got up to disappear in the bathroom, I met one of my lobby friends who placed her hands on my shoulders and said to me, “Did you hear that???  That was for you!”

With tears streaming down my face, I said, “I know, and He had me share with you last night so I wouldn’t doubt it.”

And then I stood in the hallway and snapped this pic.Psalm 16:11

Here is this scripture from the Message version:

Now you’ve got my feet on the life path,

all radiant from the shining of your face.

Ever since you took my hand,

I’m on the right way. 

Psalm 16:11

I spent some time in the prayer room gazing at the beauty of His Creation, before returning to the final sessions.

View from the Prayer Room at the Cove

On the drive home, my heart was full and the smile on my face stretched from ear to ear.  I sang praises to Him as I watched the sunset behind me and the clouds turn pink before me.  Almost home, almost there. Almost ready to go first.

Show me your ways, Lord,
 teach me your paths.
 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
    for you are God my Savior,
    and my hope is in you all day long.

Psalm 25:4-5