The next chapters of my life are the hardest for me to tell. These are the ones that brought about the deepest, most evil pain that one can experience as far as I am concerned. I thought it was necessary though to share a few lessons that I’ve learned about how we heal as victims of abuse. I don’t like the word victim because it makes me feel weak. I am not. What I am however, is still badly broken. The difference now is that I know there is hope.
You have no idea, if you are reading this in search of your own healing, how very much I want to be able to say that I am writing this blog because I have confidence that I have figured out what I need to know to make my life different, to make it better, to make the pain stop. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I didn’t start writing it because I stumbled upon some simple, magic answer that made everything okay and now I know that I can go out into the real world and not make choices that would cause me more of the same pain. I didn’t. And I don’t have all the answers. I don’t have anything but a promise, little bit of faith, and the ability to write those words in a way that makes people want to pay attention. I say a little bit of faith because on some days, muddling through my past and trying to make connections to my present and wanting so badly to see hope in my future, I have no more than a tiny bit of faith.
In her book “Lost and Found” by Sarah Jakes Roberts, she says, “It wasn’t that I didn’t believe in God. I just didn’t believe that He believed in me.” I struggle with that every day. You may know me or be reading this blog and be thinking “Wow, she’s strong.” Or “Crazy she’s come so far and been through so much, and she’s come out on the other side.” Or you may be thinking that I have found the answers to looking like I have my life and thoughts together enough to love myself fully. None of those are true. I am not strong on my own. I am stubborn on my own. That is a whole different character trait. I’m not writing this to give anyone a road map to healing. God has not blessed me with that task. I don’t know who gets blessed with that, but it is not me. Yet. I don’t know what God has in store for me. So, I will stick with what I do know.
I do know that while I write the words in these posts and tell the stories of my past, I worry. I constantly have to stop and give my worry to God because I am scared that the people in my stories will feel attacked. I worry that people will now see me as some sort of beaten down little flower or some other weak analogy. I worry that my kids will read it and I worry that they won’t. I worry that every single word I write may be driving some farther from the truths I intended to reveal that I found. I worry that Satan will find a way to throw something else at me that I won’t know how to handle because I am not healed, just less broken than I was a few months ago. And my worries are truly legit…because all of those things will happen. However, when I worry and give them to God, He shows me that He holds power over them. I know this because He is constantly telling me through prayer, other people who truly do love me (even though they are not perfect either), his Word, my mentors, and his voice that the reason I struggle with these things is because Satan is terrified of the power that God holds within me.
Remember I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Satan is a liar? Just for fun, I googled how many times Satan is referred to as a liar in Scripture. (Man, I love Google). Just that one word…liar…Satan is called that 52 times. There are other words that are close to liar but a little different. He is also called the Great Deceiver…which he is called 62 times. I don’t know about you, but if someone tells me 114 times that someone is a liar, deceives people, AND I have, myself, witnessed those times in my own experience, I tend to ride on the side of caution and stay away from them. The point isn’t to examine my depth of research but to show just how many times God has warned us that Satan just can’t be bothered to tell the truth. It doesn’t benefit him at all for us to see the truth, so he has to use lies within our hearts to get us to hurt ourselves.
One of the great lies that Satan gets us to believe is that we are powerless over our past. “Things happen to everyone, so why is MY pain so much greater? Something must be wrong with me because I can’t seem to get over it.” This is why I am so obsessed with the book Wholeness by Pastor Touré Roberts. He skillfully debunks that lie. I know it is a lie, but on many levels I still have trouble believing that God finds joy in who I am and what I have managed to get myself into and out of without asking him for help.
In the book, “Healing the Wounded Heart” by Dr. Dan Allender, (link included at the end of post) I found a way to verbalize one of the lies my past had me buying into. He asks one of his clients who was flamboyant and passionate and gifted what it would cost his to see himself as the little boy who was clever, artistic, and bold instead of the little boy who had been abused. The man’s answer almost felt like a punch in the face. He says, “I would have to grieve that no one but my mentally retarded abuser saw those gifts and delighted in me.” (I need to subtract the “r” word from this statement for personal reasons as that is not one that I allow myself to use. Also, none of my abusers were mentally handicapped, however, in some form they were all mentally or spiritually deficient.)
I took a minute to think about the gifts that God gave me. I am a natural investigator and I must ask “Why?” when someone tells me something. I am gifted with the ability to talk, ALOT. I am creative, stubborn, and compassionate. I am a good listener; I have a great sense of humor and my facial expressions are one of the things that people remember the most about me. If you know me personally, you know all these things to be true as well. (I didn’t say they were well liked qualities, I just said I have these gifts.) I have other talents, skills, and positive attributes as well, hidden among situations in my life where they were brought out depending on circumstances, but these are the ones I know to be most true to my character overall. These are also the areas in which I was attacked and punished the most.
Satan attacked my gifts through confusion and lies and the insecurities and brokenness of others. When God gave me the gift of words, Satan used my past to shut me up. When God gave me the ability to not take people or their words at face value, Satan used situations and abuse to push me into accepting that that was “just the way it is”. Satan used my sense of humor as a weapon instead of the gift God intended it to be, as sometimes I can be the most petty woman there has ever been and people respond to it because I make them laugh. Satan used my compassion to destroy my boundaries and teach me that my compassion for others would always be my downfall. I am a fixer. I love to help people…help them destroy themselves by loving them in counterproductive ways and to not make them take responsibility for the way they act. I am stubborn. You are not going to make me believe you are something until I decide (through hours of overthinking, usually) that it is true or not. I don’t give up. I know how to adapt to different environments because I am always uncomfortable no matter where I am, so being uncomfortable is like a second skin to me. I am very aware of the fact that I do not fit in, quite literally, anywhere I go.
I wanted to take this time to make sure that my readers understand that I do not have your answers. God just showed me who to ask. I am not a pastor or a counselor. I am not schooled in many things, and I probably won’t admit that if you ask. (I am still stubborn no matter how you slice it.) BUT, God gave me a way to understand that I am not perfect and I am not ever going to get healed and be whole and then my work is done and I can lead others to him. That’s not how it works. I wish, probably as much as anyone looking for these types of answers, that it did work that way. What God also gives me is comfort. I am not like others for a reason.
You may remember from my opening blog “Just WILD; Nobody’s Child” that I said I fell in love with the quote, “Not fragile like a flower, Fragile Like a Bomb” and it became the catalyst for the changes I have been able to make in my life. I became conscious of being different than everyone else in my life very early. I was still very fragile and so I just kind of accepted the fact that my fragility was different, but I never understood why. One day while I was writing down things I was angry about, God gave me the comprehension I was searching for to grasp the difference. My past gave me fragility. God never intended for me to be a flower. I was put in the situations I was put in because God would need me to be someone different for the lost kids I worked with. In order to understand what they felt and what they saw in themselves I had to feel those same things. I went through it alone, because back then we weren’t as “woke” of a people about what trauma does to children or even adults. I went through it with almost no understanding from the adults in my life because God was going to use me in a different way. When I looked around me all I saw was flowers. Other people were beautiful in their gifts and I wanted so badly to be like them. But, looking at the issues that my students face on a regular basis, and scores of them go through things that are a hundred times more damaging than what happened to me, God gave me this. He created me to be a bomb so that I could blow up the old ways that didn’t work for this new generation of kids. I could blow up the old ways of thinking that these kids just needed more discipline and less love and they had to earn respect in order to have someone respect their feelings. God showed me that all those other people were great and the world needed them too, but you can throw all the flowers you want at a pile of rocks and old beliefs and old ways of doing things that just create more abuse in our kids, or you can be smart and find a bomb to clear your path for you. I am that bomb.
Please, pray for me as I write the next chapters of my story. Pray for my heart and for the worries that I have in ending the silence that Satan has constricted my soul with. Pray for my family and my friends that they will see the path I had to walk instead of condemnation in my words at the events of my past. If you don’t pray that’s okay too…the prayers got me covered.
- “Wholeness” by Touré Roberts
2)“Lost and Found” by Sarah Jakes
The above link says that you can download this book for free online, but I have not tried it.
- 3) “Healing the Wounded Heart” The Heartache of Sexual Abuse and the Hope of Transformation by Dr. Dan B. Allenderhttps://theallendercenter.org/store/products/healing-wounded-heart/
(Dr. Allender has two books with this title and they are both resources, but the quote I used was from the second book)