Sunday, October 31, 2010

Mighty to Save

I love the power of music - the power to encourage healing, worship, tears, freedom of thought and so many other wonderful things.  It has been a powerful agent in my life over the years - one that I am so grateful for.  

I want to start offering some of my favorite songs here with the most moving lyrics - songs that have touched my heart for one reason or another.

So, the first one is one I just happened to hear in church today.  I've never been a huge fan of this song, but the words made me think of you today and I wanted to share it with you.  And I bet it is going to become one of my favorites.

When you've been hurt you need great compassion, mercy and even forgiveness to reign down on you.  To help you through the obstacles and challenges of the healing process and the journey after abuse.  I pray that these words will minister to you today and remind you that Christ is mighty to save you - in every way.

Mighty To Save
Everyone needs compassion,
Love that's never failing;
Let mercy fall on me.

Everyone needs forgiveness,
The kindness of a Savior;
The Hope of nations.

Savior, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.

Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

So take me as You find me,
All my fears and failures,
Fill my life again.

I give my life to follow
Everything I believe in,
Now I surrender.

My Savior, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

Shine your light and let the whole world see,
We're singing for the glory of the risen King...Jesus (x2)

My Savior, He can move the mountains,
My God is Mighty to save,
He is Mighty to save.
Forever, Author of salvation,
He rose and conquered the grave,
Jesus conquered the grave.

My Savior, you can move the mountains,
You are mighty to save,
You are mighty to save.
Forever, Author of Salvation,
You rose and conquered the grave,
Yes you conquered the grave

Friday, October 29, 2010

Not With Desperation

When I review the posts I've listed so far I'm noticing a theme.


I'm sorry that is what has come across so far because that is not what I'm experiencing most of the time and that's not what this blog is about.  Although the last month or so has been very difficult I'm not feeling or wanting to fall into a hole of despair.  I want to have this blog be about something else.

I want it to be about perseverance and hope.

I think desperation is a common feeling at some point/s when you have encountered abuse.  Either from not seeing a way out or from the feelings you are left with as a result of the abuse.

It doesn't have to stop there though.

My relationship with God has been a giant roller coaster.  I have literally told Him I was walking away.  I couldn't imagine how He could be real or worth worshipping if He was real because of the feelings I was experiencing at that time.

He keeps coming back though.

You may be skeptical of His existence or His presence in your life, particularly if you've attributed characteristics of your abuser to Him.  The only thing I can say if you feel this way is this:

We all need something to hope in.  Without hope there is truly nothing.  Is there anything to lose if you hope in God?

If you feel despair, if you feel like you don't know where God is or if He even exists, simply try this - ask Him to show up.  Say or even think something as simple as this, "God, please show up.  Please show me if You are real.  Please be with me.  Then see what happens.

You may get an answer right away.  You may feel like you are waiting a long time for an answer.  I feel like I've been asking Him to show up for a very long time.  There were many times when I felt that happened - that His presence, or the coincidence of the day's events or discoveries were too ironic to be from anything or anyone else.  There were other times that all I felt was continued desperation for a while.

this time I'm feeling hope.  I'm feeling like He is chipping away at the huge ball of ice I've put Him in.  I've put Him in a place where He is cold, harsh, unfeeling and cruel.  He's chipping away at that image right now.

I don't know why He's picking this time in my life, but I'm so very thankful that it is here and that He kept showing up.

He WILL make Himself real to you - in some way.

I'm praying for you.  Please ask Him to show up and see what He does.

Saturday, October 23, 2010


Its funny the reaction I have toward both of my parents when they advise me to do something.

When I was learning how to drive, my parents had a standard drive vehicle.  They traded it in because we all knew I would never get my license in that thing!  I just had no ability whatsoever to drive it.  My dad thought that was so funny.  It wasn't a joke that really bothered me except I didn't want to be looked at like I was too flaky or incapable to drive a standard.

The second car I purchased was a standard drive Saturn coupe.  I bought that car BECAUSE my dad didn't think I could drive a standard.  I so wanted to prove him wrong.  I continue to feel that way for whatever reason when my dad is skeptical of my ability to do something.  I want to prove I can do it, especially if he doesn't think I can.  No matter what.

Total different story with my mom though.

I went shopping with my mom several months ago and there was a very tacky picture we both saw.  She said, "Hey you should get that because it has butterflies on it and you like butterflies."  You know what my immediate response was - "I should get that.  I think I'll go ahead and pick that up."  Slightly stepping back and realizing what I was doing was a surprise for me.

Since not talking to my mom I'm noticing I'm feeling almost panicky about the decisions I'm making.  I depend on her confirmation and affirmation for everything.  I feel lost not asking for her opinion and like I'm doing something wrong.  I feel like God is not going to bless some of the situations I'm going through, even though I'm seeking His will, simply because my mother has not been involved in it.

Shamefully, I believe I'm engaging in idolatry - seeking my mother above my God.  And that is not okay.

I think changing that is going to require actual courage because I feel so far out of my comfort zone by not asking for her opinion and direction with everything I'm doing.  It's a rotten feeling.

But at the same time I have hope because I am finally starting to admit, out loud, what I have been wondering about and scared of in my head for such a long time.  And now I can deal with it and seek Him first.  And I'm definitely looking forward to that.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Setting Boundaries

Boundary Line HDR

Have you ever read the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud? 

I read through the book several years ago, but I think I need to read through it one more time - at least.  :)

I'm learning that there are healthy boundaries that need to be applied in your parental relationships.  When you stay too close things get ugly - at least at some point.

There are so many ways we can get tied into the same tendencies and behaviors from when we were growing up.  The reminders - tones of voice, actual words and behaviors, expressions, etc. - are increasingly prevalent the more time you spend with your parent - no matter what kind of relationship you had as you were growing up.

When those are painful memories and reminders the boundaries and spaces that exist must stretch out longer than they might need to if those memories did not exist.

I was reading the story of the creation of Adam and Eve and at the end of the story it says that Eve was created from Adam and for that reason a man should leave his parents and be united with his wife.

I have thought about those verses before, but they struck me in light of the conflict I'm experiencing right now.

The unhealthy ways I have been attached to my parents have not all disappeared since I've married.  As a matter of fact most of them have not.  I've grown so accustomed to needing their approval that I seek their approval ahead of my husband's.  Most of the time I don't take the time to even figure out how I feel about something, let alone pray about it and consider God's will.  I just accept my parent's will as the way to go.   That is completely unhealthy.  I need to be setting more boundaries so my marriage and my life have the chance to grow into that which Christ wants for me.

How are your boundaries with your parents?  Are boundaries with your parents easy for you to establish?  Do you struggle at all?  How are you working through your struggles?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Guilt

I had a conversation with a friend tonight.  I had talked to her about being a basketcase earlier last week and tonight she asked me about it.  I kind of blew it off but later in the conversation I mentioned something about being down lately and she asked me why.

So I told her.

I told her the crux of the story - limited version.  And I felt guilty again.  The thing is that I KNOW I am sinning in all of this - not necessarily by talking, but being that I am of a sinful nature I know that my sin is present in those conversations - in these conversations.

I wish that didn't get in the way.

I feel guilty about my sin that is involved here.  I feel guilty for sharing some things my parents have done but not sharing the things I have done in such direct detail.  I feel like a traitor.  I feel horrible when I know how upset my mom would be if she could hear me talking.

I know I'm sinning when I speak cynically of my mom and what is happening between us right now.  We haven't talked in several weeks now and I don't know when that is going to change.

I feel sick inside and I can feel myself hiding.  I didn't want to share my story tonight or talk about it.  At least I don't think I did.  But I shared it anyway.

I always feel like I'm letting people down when I share that story because it isn't nearly as climactic or dramatic as one might hope.  It's just kind of there.

And many people have similar stories.  My friend encountered emotional and verbal abuse.  She talked about it matter of factly and seems to be dealing really well with it - setting appropriate boundaries and calling it what it is.  She isn't struggling like I am.

I feel like I'm always going to be struggling.  And I feel like a wuss because of it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Does God Even Fit In With This?

38/365 Puzzled 
I can't tell you how many times, in different ways, I have wondered this.

Where could God be when a child is being abused?  Where could He be when the perpetrator is considering what he or she is going to do or when they have lost control.....again.

Does He see?  Does He care?

Lately in the media I've heard a couple people say that religion is a way of postponing common sense - something people do so they don't have to consider reason and so they can justify their bigotry.

I happen to disagree.  Even without all the concrete proof, which is a greater risk? - believing there is a God and living your life that way, or choosing to believe there is not a God and trusting in yourself to be a god?  I don't believe having faith is the suspension of reasonable thought.  Nor do I believe it is a crutch.  To me it is the source of all reason and all answers and all hope.

Just because I believe it is the source of all reason doesn't mean I have all the reasons/answers.  I certainly don't.  But I believe Someone does.  I believe He knows it all and sometimes that is the only thing I have to or even can trust in.

I never really asked where God was when I was growing up.  I think I just believed He had His back turned on the whole situation.  He certainly wouldn't want to find Himself there in all that mess, I figured.

There was one time in particular I remember thinking of Him though.  My mom had asked me to point out all the Bible verses describing how children were to submit to their parents and I had to read them all to her.  I KNEW there was a verse in there about parents not exasperating their parents.  I prayed silently that God would help me find it.  I never did.  Not until long after that particular incident.  I felt, in those moments, that He betrayed me.  Later someone asked me what I think might have happened if I had found that verse and read it.  I had never considered that before, but I don't think it would have gone well at all.  Instead of seeing it as a situation of betrayal I see it now as a situation of protection. It took years to think about it that way though.

I have recently come to the peace that these verses provide....

Proverbs 3:5-6....Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.

Lean not on your own understanding.  I think that's where this all comes down in these situations.  They are simply impossible to understand.  There is no human explanation.  But somehow, for some reason, He does understand and He was there when it happened and He didn't intervene to my knowledge in a direct way.  He has a good reason for those things too.  I have to trust in that because His word promises me that is true.

It also promises that He is there - He never forsakes or abandons us if we have trusted in Him.  He loves us with a never ending love.  And He will work all things together for good.  Work.  It doesn't magically happen.  It works its way out.

Asking the question of where He was/is feels terrible to a person who trusts in God.  It feels like it's wrong or like we should feel guilty for not being "chipper" with Him.  I believe God believes in truth and light and life and asking those questions and trusting in Him for the answers is something He wants from us.  He doesn't WANT us to doubt Him, but He understands it and I think as long as we don't remain in that mentality, He will make those answers a little clearer as times goes on.  He'll at least let us speculate toward the answers.  And He will make them clearer later.

Be patient with me today and wait for the process and hope that will come as we trust in Him.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Definitions of Abuse

I want to be clear about what we're talking about here by defining the different types of abuses I'll be talking about here through these definitions I have found to be helpful. 

  1. Emotional Abuse - This particular definition comes from the book Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel.  She's not a Christian writer, but her words have really made a lot of sense to me in this particular book.  Emotional abuse is a pattern of behavior occurring on a continuous basis over time.  It is a pattern of behavior that attacks a child's emotional development and sense of self worth and can include verbal abuse, placing excessive or unreasonable demands on a child that are beyond his or her capabilities, being overly controlling, emotionally smothering a child, and/or rejection or emotionally abandoning a child. (Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel p. 17)
  2. Emotional smothering - includes being overprotective or unwilling to allow the child to create a separate life from her parents. (Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel p. 17)
  3. Verbal abuse - includes constant criticism, ridiculing, blaming, belittling, insulting, rejecting and inappropriate teasing. (Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel p. 17)
  4. Physical neglect - failure on the part of a parent or caregiver to provide for basic physical needs including food, water, shelter, attention to hygiene, medical needs or adequate supervision  (Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel p. 18)
  5. Emotional neglect - failure to provide the nuturing and positive support necessary for a child's emotional and psychological growth and development (love, support, guidance, inattention to the child) (Healing Your Emotional Self by Beverly Engel, p. 18)
  6. Physical child abuse - physical injury inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent. Physical abuse can be the result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child physically.  (
  7. Sexual abuse - includes fondling a child's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials.  (

We're talking abuse here.  Not day to day or once in a while parental mistakes.  These are things that are very damaging to a child's soul/body/mind.  In no way do I want to be giving a parent who is trying their best a place to be slandered, but the child who either exists or has existed in you a place to become free.

{In}couraging Words

This is an older post - almost a month old  now, but it is so powerful.  I just wanted to share it with you and the site it is found at -  Over the last several months I have found this to be an amazing blog to follow - truly encouraging.  I hope you find it to be the same.

"There is something to be said for the hardest, most difficult, gut wrenching times in our life. While we are going through them, we may be numb to what is going on. Our minds have a way of protecting us and keeping us from what would otherwise be overwhelming. But when it comes to the surface, the pain is just as fresh as if it had happened that day. It is all still there. Time does not heal all wounds. Only God heals these kinds of wounds. Wounds of the heart. Wounds of the soul. Wounds of the spirit. Wounds that can only be healed by Jesus.

My wound was like this. It was one I had buried for years. It was actually quite a productive little wound. It went a long way in pushing me towards pursuing my degrees. Although, I would soon be disappointed that even after the degrees, the hurt was still there. That wounded little girl was still cowering inside. No amount of education, money, affirmation, or addiction would heal her. In fact, I spent a long time wondering if there was anything that would ever heal her, and for that matter, why my loving Savior let her get wounded in the first place.
I still don’t know if she is healed completely, or that she ever will be. I don’t have answers to all the questions, and that is okay. Like I said, the wound is part of what has gotten me to the place I am today. But…I do know that I love her, and I know that Jesus loves her too. I do know that He never abandoned her, and that she no longer abandons herself. I do know that she is beautiful. I do know that although she blamed herself for years, it really wasn’t her fault. That there is a difference between a 29 year old woman wishing she would have made different decisions as a 15 year old and a 29 year old woman blaming a 15 year old for an assault that she did not ask for. I do know without a doubt that I love her. Which, coming from someone who less than a year ago wrote words to her that she would never have written to her worst enemy, is a gigantic step.
I know that God would ask us to be humble and forsake ourselves for the love of others and for Him. However, for some of us, it is easy to interpret that as, “it’s okay to hate myself as long as I am doing things for others”. And it is absolutely not okay. If it was, why would He have commanded us to love others as we have loved ourselves?
If there is a part of yourself that you have cut off, that you have buried alive, maybe it’s time to bring her back to the surface. Maybe it’s time to let her breathe again. Maybe it’s time to forgive her. The road is long, and the journey is difficult, but it is worth every step. It is worth it to know that you have nothing to hide. That you can love others and God with your whole heart, holding nothing back. It is worth it to know you can love yourself again. It is worth it to hear your Savior whisper I love you in your ear and be able to whisper it back to Him knowing you have given Him all of you, faithfully, forever."
Mark 12:30-31
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.
By Stephanie Allison Clayton

Friday, October 15, 2010

Why Am I Doing This?

During the course of the past several weeks I've been feeling like it was time to share my story.

I started to share my story when I was 18.  The only one who knew my story was my brother, 2 years my junior.

The catalyst was an event at the college I attended on campus safety.  I don't know why that was a trigger.  I think it was because they talked about rape.  

I wasn't raped though.

It just served as my trigger.

I opened up to a counselor, a pastor, a friend a little at a time, never sharing the entire story with anyone.  My husband is still learning things.  

As time went on, close friends, and even more counselors, came to know my story.

I'm feeling like it's time to share it more.  I've been praying about it for over a month now.  I know that's not a long period of time, but it's long enough to feel like it's probably the right thing to do.  I went to a very dear woman who has a couple of decades on me and one of our pastors and told the abbreviated version and they also felt like it was a good idea to share it.

But the guilt is setting in.

I don't know if this is common for people who have undergone any type of abuse, but I'm feeling guilty.  Guilty that I'm betraying my parents, my brother, even my children.  Like I'm doing something wrong.

Is that normal?  Do you feel that way?

I Don't Want to Hide

How do you start a blog like this?  What kind of post do you write to start off?

I surely do not know.

I don't know if this is something I'm called to do or just something I want to do. 

I want to get all of this off my chest.  I want to stop pretending things were not what they were.  I want to stop protecting everyone around me.  I want to heal.  I want to do these things in love, as God wants for me to.

I want to find the joy He has promised for me.

And I hope to help even just one hurting heart out there - one who feels so alone.  Because they aren't.  If it's you, you're not alone.

If you want, say hi.  I'd love to meet you and travel with you on your journey.