Thursday, August 25, 2011

How long will you grieve?

1 Samuel 16:1 "Now the Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul...?"

Saul has just taken matters into his own hands, disobeying God's order to destroy the Amelikites. And because of his defiant disobedience God has rejected him as king over Israel.

And Samuel grieved. He grieved for the person he loved and the person he thought Saul was and would be. He grieved over a lost hope.

I think many times we have to grieve when someone deeply hurts us. When they "betray" the thought of who we thought they were.

That's a realization I've walked up to this past week.

I realized what I've been doing with my mother was waiting for her to take the fall. Waiting for her to admit what she had done that had hurt me. Waiting for her to apologize and admit that her actions toward me had hurt me and altered my life from what it could have been.

And I realized that wasn't going to happen.  She was not going to take the "fall" for those things when she couldn't even admit they happened.

It took over 3o years and 1 entire year of conflict for that to sink it and become a reality - I have been grieving the lack of hope in that relationship for the past year.

But how long, Reagan, will you grieve?

I don't know how long Samuel grieved over Saul before the Lord told him to move on. Perhaps it was days, maybe months; who knows? But at some point God said, "Okay, Samuel, let's move on." In my mind God was acknowledging to Samuel that he was grieving and that was okay to do, but at some point, God says, its time to move on.

He, of all people, understands betrayal and loss of hope in humanity. We are frail, failing objects of divine creation. We mess up. We hurt others. Others hurt us. It's okay to grieve. And then its time to move on, accepting the face of reality and dealing with it in the present.

I feel like this week God took my hand and said, "Let's go.  It's time for some new territory to cross."

And it is strangely hopeful.

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I've made a big change. And one I didn't think I could make.

I've let go.

I had to wait for an authority figure I trusted okay it before I could.

He said, "You've tried hard enough here. (with mom, aunt, etc.) You need to let go." I cried in acknowledgment of that. Letting go of a huge part of your life, your family, all of a sudden makes you feel like an orphan.

But it has brought tremendous peace.

Not joy - peace. Not healing - peace.

I've landed on a boundary I can deal with. And that is one of respect.

That was something my mom stressed over and over again to me as I was growing up - I had to respect her.

Yet, there was no room for respect for me in the process.

But that needs to be different.

She deserves respect. And so do I. And if I'm not treated respectfully I am going to have to ensure that for myself.

My aunt has a big party over the 4th. Man, it was lonely knowing I wasn't going this year. It just hurt. And I know the very fact we didn't show up is going to raise questions from the rest of my family who may not know what is happening. And that bites.

But, why would I go somewhere I know I'm going to be completely ignored? That's not respectful or loving. So, I voluntarily excluded myself this year.


But at least it's simpler.

Have you had to let go of family members? How did you set your boundaries?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Keep Breathing (Kerrie Roberts)

I started this blog as a way to chronicle my journey of healing from sexual, emotional and physical abuse. As a way to let people know there were others out there who could make it through these injustices in their lives. To give them hope.

Instead of this being encouraging and hopeful as I hoped it would be it has instead been a place for me to share the incredible pain I've been experiencing as I let go of things that should have been let go of years ago. Idols I formed as a result of the emotional manipulation I experienced.

I'm ready for this last 10 months to be over. I have felt more suicidal and depressed than I have been since I was in college I think. That was years ago (unfortunately :)).

This week it seemed to come to a head. I have been so tired of wondering when things are going to "break" so I would feel a sense of peace again. I kept hoping that break would come. And it just hasn't.

A few days ago I was working on planting our garden and listening to music so I would not hear the road noise (completely different, and crazy story) and I was listening to Kerrie Roberts.

This woman is amazing and has the most empathetic and understanding music I believe I've ever heard. I don't think she has been through abuse, but she gets it anyway. Every song is incredibly encouraging and real.

Well, as I was listening to her album, Kerrie Roberts, I had this urge to run. Totally unusual for me. My husband runs and I have no idea why. He actually finds it enjoyable! I find laying on the couch eating brownies enjoyable....

I asked my husband if I could have 20 minutes. I didn't tell him what I was doing and he said, "Yes." I shut the door to our house and just took off. I just started running. (I can hear the Forrest Gump jokes now.)

I ran over a mile. When I got home, the song "Keep Breathing" by Kerrie Roberts was playing. I just sat down on the rock at the end of our driveway and listened and cried and prayed. I prayed one word, "Help." Over and over again. Just help. And I focused on each breath I took. I just kept breathing.

The essence of the song is as long as there is breath, as long as you are breathing, you can not give up. Keep breathing. Keep going.

I don't know where you are today. I don't know if this blog is for my eyes only and meant to be a place I can talk without my kids reading it someday or if its a place to touch someone.

If you're a someone who is sad, wondering where the hope is, wondering where God is, wondering where YOU are, take a listen to this song. You are not done. Just keep breathing.

You wait in darkness
For answers that you can't see
You know what you deserve
And your wondering why your life is
Not what you thought it should be
When the knife breaks
Your heart still aches
How can you face the day
You just

Keep breathing
you'll make it
Don't give in
You're not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
Don't let go
Just hand on tighter
A little longer
When you feel like your dying
Keep breathing

Don't give up
Don't give in
No you're not done
Don't give up
Don't give in
Don't let go

When every moment
Is almost more than you can take
You've got to know some
Tomorrow will bring you a breakthrough
Is the reason why
You got to get through the today
When the knife's gone
You will be strong

Keep breathing
you'll make it
Don't give in
You're not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
Don't let go
Just hand on tighter
A little longer

With every breath
You're bringing hope
You're letting go of all your doubts
When nothing is easy
You got to keep going
Even when you don't know how
You don't have to know how, no

Keep breathing
you'll make it
Don't give in
You're not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
Don't let go
Just hand on tighter
A little longer

Keep breathing
you'll make it
Don't give in
You're not done yet
Sometimes all that you can do is
Keep breathing and believing
Don't let go
Just hand on tighter
A little longer

Keep breathing
Don't give up
No you're not done yet
Don't give up
Don't give in
Don't let go
No you're not done yet

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Styrofoam Bridge
Does this look like something you'd build a bridge out of?

I didn't think so.

I do all my best thinking, as I mentioned last week, when I'm completely alone with nothing even near the horizon to distract me.

I was praying over the situation with my mom last week.  I was wishing I could articulate what I am thinking and why I'm behaving the way I am with her - why I'm not calling her or pursuing any type of relationship with her.  I wish it sounded healthy.  I don't know if I'm looking for ways to justify my behavior or just be able to explain it.

But as I was laboring this over in my head I decided to just pray and say those exact words to God.  So I did.

"Dear God.  I want a way to explain this.  I know there are reasons why I'm doing what I am but I can't explain them.  I feel like I'm doing the right thing but I can't articulate why and I want to."

And just after saying those words a picture came into my head.

A picture of  a styrofoam bridge.

That is what my mom is wanting from me and what my aunt is wanting from me.

There is a gaping hole between two mountainsides.  I am one side; mom is the other.  And the hole exists because of the pain of the last 10 months coupled with the pain that was never dealt with from years ago. 

Instead of dealing with the situation by:
  1. Honestly addressing the reality of the situation.  "Hey look.  There is a huge hole here and there is no way we can see eye to eye without some sort of bridge here." 
  2. Acknowledging that one person can't fix it alone and have it be worth anything.
  3. And using substaintial and stable tools to fix the situation,

we're going to do this.....
  1. Maybe acknowledge the other mountain.
  2. Yell at the person occassionally from my mountain to tell them what I'm thinking and have it rarely if ever understood.
  3. Or if all else fails and we decide to try to get from one mountainside to the other, have someone throw a slab of styrofoam to cross the bridges and expect to safely pass.

I don't think so.

My mom is asking me to not truly address this and not acknowledge the truth with the end goal of having things go back to the way they were while pushing everything under the rug.  Actually, with me pushing everything under the rug.

The problem with that though is that I've crossed that styrofoam bridge before.  Except I didn't get the whole way across it.  I got somewhere near the middle and it broke. 

I'm not up for that anymore.  Not unless there is something real crossing those mountainsides.

You know what else I'm not up for?  My aunt being on my mountain and telling me to throw a slab of styrofoam over to my mom's side.

So I've made some decisions.  Here is a key to decode my vision here.
  • mountainside = life
  • bridge = relationship and everything that goes into relationship
  • steel and wood = necessary tools to maintain a healthy relationship
  • styrofoam = false means of maintaining relationships = always leads to dysfunctional relationships
Here goes.....

  1. Stay on my mountain:  I'm going to keep my distance for a little while.  I don't know how long.  Until I find the tools of faith, courage, forgiveness and wholeness to even start to build a bridge I'm going to stay on my own mountain.
  2. Evaluate my mountain:  I'm going to honestly evaluate my mountain to see what exactly I'm dealing with - who I am and what potential God has given me before I start building bridges all over the place.
  3. Evaluate the other mountain:  Honestly evaluate what I'm seeing on her mountainside.  Pretending the things that hurt and the realities of our relationship and interaction with each other doesn't exist is not dealing with the truth.  And if I am unable to deal with the truth I can not be set free with it.
  4. Escort people off my mountain:  Ask my aunt to get off my mountain.  She needs to be dealing with her own mountain.  Being on mine and yelling at me is only threatening the survival of our relationship and her own mountain and bridges.
  5. See other mountains as separate:  Realize that I can't ask people to get on my mountain with me and see things solely from my perspective.  They need to stay on their own mountains.  My children have their own mountains.  My husband has his own mountain.
In case this is completely not understandable let me provide a personal example.

My mother used to see my kids at least every other week.  If we went 3 weeks or longer without them seeing each other that was strange.  And she used to talk to the kids at least 1-2 times per week.

I can literally count the times in the last 10 months that she has spoken to them on the phone on one hand.  She has seen them maybe 10 times in that same amount of time and 3 of those times have been in the last 6 weeks.  2 months ago she told my son she would go to his school and have lunch with him before the school year was over.  There are literally 3 days left for that to happen and she hasn't even called.

When my son was a baby she spent so much time with him.  Enough time that occasionally he called her "mama".  As he has gotten older, he has wanted to do more boy things and spend more time with his male grandparents instead of her.  She told me, before this whole thing started, that she didn't know how to relate to him anymore or what to do with him and she just wants to be "someone's favorite".  She, through the normal course of development, is no longer his favorite.  In the last several years, since this started happening (his growing distance from her), she started favoring my daughters much more.  Special weekends for their birthdays, playing with them, etc.  She has not done the same for my son.  She does not know anything about what any of the kids are doing at this point unless my aunt is telling her.

Here are my thoughts based on what I said above.
  1. Staying on my mountain - I'm not going to call her about this.  I'm not going to remind her.  I'm not going to scold her.  I'm going to leave it alone.
  2. Evaluating my mountain - I am furious.  Maybe she's going to treat me with distance but my kids don't deserve it at all.  IF she calls about this before the school year is over it is going to be really hard to not tell her off in anger.  It is incredibly painful to see her dropping off the face of the earth from them when they did nothing to her at all.
  3. Evaluating her mountain - She is showing a pattern of using people (including my children) for her own self worth.  If she is not their favorite she will move on to someone she has a shot at that with.  Someone who makes her feel good about who she is. 
  4. Escort people off my mountain - Not mention a word to this to my aunt nor entertain her words if she brings it up, respectfully of course.
  5. See other mountains as separate - This is a little trickier because my kids aren't independent yet.  They're little.  And it is my responsibility to protect them and prepare them for life still.  IF she does call to see if she can have lunch with my son I need to inspect the shape of the bridge from his perspective and make the decision based on that.  Not based on the shape of my bridge to her.
This is hard.  My sinful nature totally wants to win out on this one.

What do you think of this analogy?  Is it helpful or horribly confusing?  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Preventing This Stuff..............Or At Least Defeating Some Repercussions

I do my best (and most) thinking when I'm alone with my thoughts, which typically only happens in the shower and on the lawn mower.

I was doing some thinking tonight while I was mowing.

I started sharing my story when I was in college after hearing a campus safety talk, of all things.  Very, VERY loose connection to sexual abuse.  Sexual assault --> sexual abuse I guess.

Anyway, I remember thinking so many times in high school when things in my family were so chaotic... "I wish someone would ask me.  I wish someone would SEE me.  See what is happening."  There was one occassion when my biology teacher pulled me out of her classroom to talk to me.  I was sure it was going to be then.  I was sure she was going to ask.  And I know I would have told her because I was crying out on the inside and I completely respected this woman.  Turns out it had to do with my grade.  I was happy with the grade I was receiving but so disappointed.  I was hoping she had seen.

I was thinking tonight....  What if some kind of presentation had been given earlier in my life?  What would I have done?  Would anyone have noticed I was acting strange all day after that?  Would any teachers have noticed the look on my face?  Would I have said anything?

I think I may have.  At least to someone.

Is anyone talking in our middle and high schools about the statistic that at least 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused?  And that doesn't even include domestic violence. 

I just looked up bullying statistics and 1 in every 4 students is bullied every month.  Same numbers.  And if you have child in school you know there is an incredible amount of programming focused on bullying - prevention and dealing with bullying.

Bullying is very serious.  And so is sexual and physical abuse in the home. 

And the longer its hidden the worse it will be in the long run for the victim.  In my opinion our schools can help deal with this problem.

What do you think?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Maybe Some Potential

Well hello!  It's been a while since I wrote last.  I guess when you keep a blog you're supposed to show at least some consistency in writing so I'm going to work on that, if for no other reason than to log my own journey more regularly.  Journals are wonderful things.

I wish I could say things are totally different than they were the last time I wrote, but I can't.  Some things are better though.  And here is my favorite different thing....

I'm feeling hopeful.  I'm feeling more freedom than I have ever felt, I think.  Because I'm finally starting to find out who I am.

I was terrified, not long ago, of making any changes in my life; of finding out who I truly was.  Mostly out of fear of the change but also because I was afraid of what I might find.  Will I be recognizable to others if I changed?  Would my husband still love me?  Would I even like myself?

As painful as this whole thing has been with my mother, I am thankful.  I'm finding out, for the first time in my life, that there is potential for me.  That I can try and fail and get back up again.  That I can try and succeed.  And it feels SO GOOD!! 

So many times I heard that I would not amount to anything.  That I would be a miserable person that everyone hated.  That no one would have any respect because I was unworthy of receiving respect from others.

But I don't think that's true anymore.  I actually think that was all very, very wrong.

I am finding a joy and happiness in seeing my own worth that I never could have imagined.

Do you have the hope of joy for what God has created you to be?  I pray you do.  He has created beautiful you.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I want to keep it simple tonight. So, here's a beautiful song by Watermark called "Light of the World". I'm just going to let the song speak for itself. I hope it is as encouraging to you as it has been to me in the course of the last week.