|A few days ago, I posted a prayer about being authentic with God, which Matilda, who lives in Australia, liked. It prompted her to write about her own journey of recovery from sexual abuse.
Today, when I woke up, I recalled the day I was sexually abused at the age of six. I recalled how much I loved and trusted the lady who abused me. Every day, I do things she taught me that I still love.
I love dressing up. I love curlers and clothes. I love performing and being on stage. I love using makeup and colour to enhance an effect. It was the lady who molested me who introduced me to stage craft first. There were many others who taught me more but they were building on the foundation she had laid.
At the same time, I am glad about these wonders that still delight me I am sad that the choice she made to molest me permanently damaged my relationship with everyone. By her choice, I was cast into an inner darkness and left there all alone. I was a prisoner inside my own body because I no longer trusted it. I hated it.
For some fifty year,s no one but God knew I was missing. I walked and talked and my body moved like anyone else’s but the part of me I call “I” was not there. I had abandoned my body as it had become a source of excruciating pain I could not endure. A pain I was only able to briefly face with God’s help and then I begged Him to take it away again.
Some years ago, I read an article that said children had a defense reflex that could lead them to feinting when being sexually abused. That is why some children die while being molested. Their airways block and the abuser doesn’t notice it till it’s too late. I asked God to show me if that happened to me as I had a blackout memory for some of the time I was being molested.
For the briefest moment, I felt the weight of my molester on my pelvis. My spine was partially dislocated and excruciating pain shot up my spine into my head. The pain became a crown on my head as if a crown of thorns was being pressed into it. It burned inot me like fire. I begged God to take my body memory away as I could not bear it. Thankfully God did.
To this day, I still suffer the legacy of the damage to my body that was never detected at the time. It affects my ability to walk as my legs can go numb so I do remedial exercises every day to ensure I can do some walking.
With God’s patient help, the inner me I know as the real me can talk. The persona I developed to manage this dysfunction knows how to open the door for my real inner me and take over when she can’t go on. She cries a lot when she tries to talk. Sometimes she is brave and just comes forward like yesterday – but she is unrecognized and often ignored so she retreats again like she did yesterday.
The lady sitting next to me at the table smacked my hand as if I was a naughty child when I took my third slice of bread. She chastised me saying “Dianne, what about your weight?” In an instant I was gone – back to my inner prison that has become my safe place where I know God can find me like he does every time this happens.
My body remained though and no one knew I had left the table.
I told my husband what had happened when he got home from work and he asked me “Why do you keep going to these lunches.” I sighed and answered “This lady cannot help herself – it’s like a reflex and she had done it on automatic.” You see this is not the first time this particular lady has done this to me and I know her intentions are well meaning from her point of view.
I strive to be authentic but it’s hard. I have a reflex reaction to the stress of any hint of rejection and I run away and hide while I am in the middle of a crowd and no one knows I have gone. This is the skill I learned when I was sexually abused.
As God said –“Be still and know that I am here.” “I am also here too.” It’s nice that he is so glad to abide with me. I would like to abide with others in our world but so I often I face condemation and rejection when I am real and it hurts. It hurts a lot.
I am pretty sure there are other like me out there. So I just want to say Hi.
Archive for March, 2012
Posted in Abuse, Amazing Grace, Betrayal, Christian, Denial, Family, Forgiveness, God, Healing, Hurt, Jesus Christ, Low Self-Esteem, Pain, Prayer, Purpose, Recovery, Scriptures, Sex, Shame, Spirituality, Wounds on March 29, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
You are the Master Architect
Engineering the events of my life,
Providing an opportunity for me
To rise to the occasion each and every day.
At times, Your leading seems clear,
While at others, it’s remote, appearing to be
So far away that I can’t find You,
Regardless of how hard I try.
Even when Your presence alludes me,
I know that You are there.
You are always guiding me—
Always present, always vigilant.
As my life becomes increasingly visible
And people occasionally look to me for guidance,
Let my life speak of what You have done—
Not by my words, which seem so inadequate,
And may appear to be petty, trite and shallow—
But by my actions, which are observable by all.
Oh, how I loathe the pompously religious—
Those with self-aggrandizing, arrogant, unyielding hearts.
May I never be like them—like those
Who talk of Your love and guidance,
While seeking an advantage over others
Who foolishly trust them completely.
Let my witness be viewed by my actions,
And not by my mellifluous tongue,
Which I know can be self-serving and serpentine.
Make me know Thy ways, O Lord; teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Ty truth and teach me, for Thou are the God of my salvation; For Thee I wait all the day. (Psalm 25:4-5)
Posted in Abuse, Anger, Behavior, Betrayal, Bitterness, Christian, Dysfunction, Emotions, Forgiveness, God, Hatred, Healing, Hurt, Jesus Christ, Love, Pain, Patience, Prayer, Pride, Purpose, Recovery, Religious Abuse, Scriptures, Sex, Shame, Spirituality, Stress, Wounds on March 22, 2012 | 4 Comments »
Now that I have opened myself up completely,
Being as honest and forthright
As I know how to be,
Having also admitted my faults to another,
I want to ask You as humbly as I can
To change anything in me that You desire.
You are Almighty God; and I am not.
I am weary of trying to walk a path,
Which has not been intended by You.
As I continue to purge my soul
Of all the toxic emotions that remain,
I know I need to go one step further.
I need to absolve those who have been abusive,
Forgiving them completely from all culpability.
I have nursed my anger and bitterness
For far too long, and I have paid
A heavy emotional price for doing so.
I believed I was punishing them
By my steadfast refusal to forgive,
But I have only punished myself instead.
I do not want to live like this any longer,
Having to pay a huge price for being callous.
I forgive them—just as You have forgiven me.
I release them completely—just as You have released me.
Give me the strength to put away my pain and anger,
Which will allow me to walk into the future
Free from these debilitating encumbrances.
Pursue after peace with all men, and after the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by it many be defiled. (Hebrews 12:14-15)
Posted in Emotions, Forgiveness, God, Healing, Jesus Christ, Love, Prayer, Purpose, Scriptures, Spirituality, Worldview, tagged Choosing God's Way, Choosing Gratitude, Gratitude on March 20, 2012 | 1 Comment »
I’m so grateful for all that you have done,
So honored that you would love me,
And pay attention to my needs.
On my best days, which seem to be rare,
When I am peaceful and tranquil—
When I am confident that You are in charge
And that I need not worry,
I know how blessed I am.
Help me live in this truth each day.
Help me show others that You care
And that You are always available.
Let people see by my actions
The depth of my confidence in You;
Let them see that Your ways are always the best—
That they are always wise and prudent.
Teach me to refrain from boastful arrogance;
And let pride be far from me,
Knowing that this too would be my witness;
Pushing those You care about further away,
Rather than drawing them nearer.
Teach me to be mindful that
Whatever I do, whether positive or negative,
It is a reflection of me but also a reflection of You.
Come and hear, all who fear God, and I will tell of what He has done for my soul. I cried to Him with my mouth, and He was extolled with my tongue. If I regard wickedness in my heart, the Lord will not hear; but certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer. Blessed be God, who has not turned away my prayer, nor His lovingkindness from me. (Psalm 16-20)
Posted in Abuse, Alcoholism, Anger, Bitterness, Burn Out, Catholic, Christian, Dysfunction, Forgiveness, Guilt, Healing, Hurt, Pain, Prayer, Purpose, Scriptures, Spirituality, Wounds on March 16, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
As the vicissitudes of life have turned against me,
And it seems like nothing but misfortune
Will be in my path for the foreseeable future,
Anxiety and fretful worry fill my days.
When I awaken in the middle of the night,
I am filled with dread and foreboding.
My mind races and my heart churns apprehensively.
Nevertheless, at the deepest level of my being,
A quiet persistent voice tells me to never give up.
When I rise in the morning, I am filled with resolve,
Knowing that this quiet voice came from You.
As the days pass and my pressures increase,
I feel battered and beaten at every turn.
It seems like everything that can go wrong certainly does.
Maintaining a positive outward demeanor,
I remain determined to do the next right thing,
Regardless of what that might be.
I have no other choice but to follow this path.
Despite my resolve, my insides feel numb and crushed,
As pressures from my circumstances intensify,
Weighing me down, relentlessly grinding me to despair.
As I bow my knee and ask for relief,
Which I know can only come from You,
I realize that I have no answers within me.
In the quietness of my heart,
Your voice continues to resonate,
Telling me to never, never give up.
As the weeks turn into months, with no respite from my travails,
Having been abandoned by all who once wished me well,
All that remains are those who desire me harm.
I feel undone, fearing that my heart will break,
But I have no choice but to press forward.
There is no alternative, and I cannot abandon my purpose.
It’s not in my nature to do so, and that will never change.
With that in mind, I bolster myself repeatedly affirming
That I will never give up—never, never, never give up.
Lord, my life is in Your hands, and You alone know
What day my complete restoration will come.
Until that time, I know what I must do.
I must relentlessly press forward
And never, never, never, never give up.
Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36)
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Here is a link for you to download the e-book version for free. I just want you to know about who we are as Americans. You’ll like it.
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Nothing is how I planned it to be,
As I thought it would be,
As I believed it had been promised by You.
Perhaps my aspirations were nothing more
Than my own wishful thinking,
But the despair from my failure is real.
Nothing could be more real
Than how heartbroken I am,
Knowing that my life didn’t have
To be what it has become.
As a youth, when I turned my life,
My will and my purpose,
Over to You for safekeeping,
I believed I would experience abundance,
But that has not been my lot—not even close.
It seems like I have failed
At everything I’ve been called to do,
And when I’ve needed You the most,
You have become very distant from me.
My enemies delight at my misfortune.
The pain from their sharp, cutting looks
Is ever before me, stinging and debilitating me,
Crushing my soul and my spirit,
Derailing my desire to get back on my feet.
Those I’ve trusted have used and misused me,
Finally rejecting me without casting a backward glance.
Like a fool, I never realized what was happening.
As I recoiled from my wounds, I called on Your name,
But You were nowhere to be found.
At least, I don’t feel Your presence.
I didn’t want to fail, Father.
You know that I didn’t—but I have,
And I can’t change the outcome of the past.
Many doors have now been closed to me,
But my journey is not yet finished,
And other opportunities will eventuate.
Help me to learn from my mistakes, Father,
Because I don’t want to ever be in this
Hopeless, tortured place again.
Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And besides Thee, I desire nothing on earth. My flesh and my heart may fail; but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from Thee will perish; Thou has destroyed all those who are unfaithful to Thee. But as for me, the nearness of my God is my good. I have made the Lord God my refuge. That I may tell of all Thy works. (Psalm 73:25-28)
I haven’t seen you lately on Facebook. Always love to see what God has for us from your experiences.
I started studying Recovery From Religious Abuse last week. Oh my, that so hits home. I’ve been recovering from religious abuse ( in our mission) for the past 20 years, so lots of what you share I’ve already wrestled with.
Stopped at step 6, however. That helps to see what the abuser mindset looks like, oh, so clear. And the reality of refusing to become like that is a great challenge. I can see those times when I have reacted in self defense/anger, etc. I’ve also seen a new situation with a friend/leader that is not a healthy relationship. She’s a leader and can’t be wrong.
How God has worked these many years for me is to teach me that I can only change myself. It’s not my job to judge or try to convince anyone else. But I can pray till the cows come home that what I see as “abusive” in another would be replaced by God’s love. With this eye opening again, with this other friend/leader, that is the approach I’m taking.
Can’t wait to read on and see where else your learning can take me. Step 6 (maybe 7) also pointed out to me that we get a set of rules even as a mission that is the “acceptable” norm, and any deviation (or God’s leading even) is bashed. We must conform. But also in your book, you said once you have experienced abuse, you never want to again. So I speak out and often get bashed. But, I’m happy in Jesus and hoping for great things from Him. The story’s not finished.
Posted in Abuse, Alcoholism, Anger, Behavior, Bitterness, Denial, God, Hurt, Prayer, Purpose, Recovery, Scriptures, Self-Absorbed, Sex, Shame, Spirituality, Stress, Wounds on March 7, 2012 | 3 Comments »
I don’t just think I’ve been mistreated,
I know I have been mistreated.
And You know I’ve been wronged as well.
I’ve told You what happened repeatedly.
Everybody in my life knows my story.
Now that it has been a while since my abuse,
Everybody else seems to have progressed
With their lives—except for me.
I remain stuck in my debilitating mindset,
Which has not changed appreciably,
Despite the passage of so much time.
It’s infuriating and unfair that I’m the one
Who continues to experience so much pain.
Those who used, abused, and discarded me
Should be the ones to pay, but they haven’t.
I’m the one that continues to languish.
By refusing to move on with my life,
I know that I’m not hurting them—not one bit.
I’m only hurting myself and those around me.
It’s not fair. It’s not fair at all,
But I can’t live like this any longer.
I don’t want to waste my future harboring resentment,
Rehashing my drama repeatedly in my mind,
But it’s going to be difficult to get back on track.
I didn’t realize I had drifted so far from You, Father.
I didn’t realize how willful I had become,
But now I do. It becomes clearer each day.
I have blamed others for my plight for so long,
That bitterness seems normal—even comfortable,
Which frightens me for what lies ahead.
Show me how to find my way back to You.
Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let you mind dwell on these things. (Philippians 4:8)
I come to you broken,
With a continuous heartache
That I’m certain will never end.
At times, it’s hard for me to even breathe
As fearful, cold chills race through me.
My loss is so great that I’m certain
I will never be a whole person again.
At night, I awaken, knowing something is amiss,
And then grim reality floods my consciousness.
Startled, that’s when I become fully alert
And completely aware of my circumstances,
As my countenance shrinks and diminishes appreciably.
I am bowed down and emotionally cowed.
That’s when I come to You;
That’s when I seek Your face;
That’s when I weep and mourn.
That’s when I’m consumed by pain and loss.
I desperately want my grief to go away;
I want You to kiss my wound like I’m still a small child.
I want You to “make it all better,”
So that my suffering will cease,
And I can know peace and joy once again.
That’s then it seems like You are saying,
You need to feel this pain for a season,
My child, but only for a season.
For I know the plans I have for you—
Plans for a future and a hope.
I understand your pain and your loss.
I, too, have experienced such a loss.
I, too, have felt such a deep pain.
But what I have gained through My loss is you,
And you are worth the price that has been paid.
When I understand this and it resonates within me,
I feel humbled and cease from being self-consumed.
That’s when I bow my head, bend my knee, and say,
“Father, You give and take away,
You give and take away,
You give and take away,
Blessed be Your name.”
Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way. (Psalm 139:23-24)