30 Days of Truth: The Truth will set you free.

Truth 30:  The Truth will set you free.Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 NIV

It was almost 5 years ago when I whispered and shared the secret that I had kept inside for years: “I was sexually abused as a child.” But as I said those seven words, light spilled into the darkness and my healing journey began.

The secrets that thrived in the darkness had filled my mind with lies.

Lies about me. Lies about God. It was all twisted.

A big part of my healing journey was discovering the truth.

I had to face the truth of what happened to me.  I had to peel back the mask and see the reality of my circumstances. The first book I read was The Wounded Heart” by Dan Allender.  It helped me to understand sexual abuse and the path of devastation that it leaves on the heart, soul and body.

I grew up believing that something was wrong with me.  Maybe God made me this way?  Maybe there was something on me that made this happen? Maybe it was my fault? Maybe I am just bad?

These lies filled me with shame and made me feel completely worthless.

The truth set me free.  

I started to discover the truth about Jesus. He made me and He loves me. He truly loves me. 

There was a huge void in my life when I was hiding the secrets and shame of childhood sexual abuse. I was in that shame-filled void all alone. I didn’t let anyone in, especially Jesus.

As the mask peeled back and the walls around my heart fell, I gave it all to Him. All of my brokenness. Every broken piece.

The memories, the flashbacks, and all of the pain.

He held me and comforted me. He collected every tear.

I am loved and no longer alone.

He also helped me to discover the truth about myself. I am not a piece of trash. I am His child, a princess. I didn’t believe it at first, and then one day He displayed His love for me in a beautiful pink sky. The color pink reminded me that I am a daughter of the KING, and I am adored, cherished, and worthy.

The truth set me free.  

I grew up feeling green (shame), but the truth is I was pink all along. The truth is I am a Princess In Need of A King (PINK). Jesus is my King, and He has given me hope, courage and freedom.

I know what it is like to feel stuck and all alone in the prison of Childhood Sexual Abuse. I know the key to bust open that lock is His TRUTH.

It is a process and it takes time, but it is worth it.

You are worth it.

Be free.

The truth will set you free.  

The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. Psalm 145:18

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30 Days of Truth: He will make your paths straight.

Truth 29:  Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6

A note from my journal:

Plans for Me.  Aug 26, 2012 

I sent email to a Christian Counselor who listed childhood sexual abuse as one of her specialties…and this was her verse: Isaiah 61:3..to give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness that they might be called trees of righteousness…that He might be glorified.  *Panic*

I did it!  Aug 27, 2012  I called to make the appointment and the receptionist said she is no longer taking patients at this time. She scheduled me an appointment with another counselor.  I explained that I really wanted to see the Isaiah 61:3 counselor because I am looking for specific help with CSA.  She encouraged me to try this counselor as her profile indicates she can assist as well. I am sure God already knew this so I will just keep walking.

I remember my hands shaking when I picked up the phone to dial the counselor’s office and make the appointment. I had my heart set on the Isaiah 61:3 counselor, and I immediately felt intense disappointment and doubt when she said that counselor was not taking new patients.

As I was trying to listen to the receptionist, those unkind, mean and confusing voices in my head started yelling at each other all at once.

Maybe I shouldn’t go. Maybe this is not the place. 

Why am I even doing this?  

God, I thought you wanted me to see her! 

Maybe I can’t be helped.  I am crazy.

I will never get well! 

It’s too late.

Thankfully, the receptionist patiently encouraged me to make the appointment with the other counselor and to give her a chance.

God used the verse to point me to the right place, and the receptionist to point me to the perfect counselor, for me.

I just had to keep walking and trusting.

That was the beginning of my healing journey and that pattern played out over and over.

I wanted a map. I wanted the path to be perfectly clear, and then I would put my foot on the pavement and move. I wanted to know how it would all play out.

I wanted control.

Slowly, but surely God was whispering to my heart, “I want you to trust me.”

With healing, I had no idea what was going to happen next. I didn’t have a map, and I could not even see a path.

He was teaching me to listen for that quiet whisper to my heart, “This is the way, walk …”  and I would reluctantly step into the unknown.

God was patient with me.  

I wanted control. I wanted it my way. I wanted what made sense to me.

I made very strong statements to my counselor while gripping rocks in my hand on her safe sofa:  “I will not tell… I will not confront… I will not forgive!”

In those moments, I was relying on own limited understanding and operating in my own flesh, power and strength. My map was limited, and my control kept me frozen…

…and then God would whisper, “move…this way.”

I would take another step into the unknown, and He would prove faithful.

He was turning my “will not’s” into possibilities.

God was making my paths straight.

Place your trust in the Eternal; rely on Him completely;

    never depend upon your own ideas and inventions.

Give Him the credit for everything you accomplish,

    and He will smooth out and straighten the road that lies ahead. Proverbs 3:5-6 VOICE

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30 Days of Truth: He brought me out of darkness… and broke away my chains.

Truth 28:  He brought me out of darkness… and broke away my chains.  
He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. Psalm 107:14

I stood in the steam of the shower, blasting the song “Break Every Chain” by Tasha Cobbs.  “There is power in the name of Jesus to break every chain…”

Every chain? 

Even the chain of Childhood Sexual Abuse?

Childhood Sexual Abuse didn’t feel like just a chain.  It felt like a very dark prison, filled with chains:

The chain of loneliness.

The chain of emptyness.

The chain of lies.

The chain of deception.

The chain of unworthiness.

The chain of mistrust.

The chain of fear.

The chain of panic.

The chain of anxiety.

The chain of rejection.

The chain of eating issues.

The chain of catastrophic thinking.

The chain of insecurity.

The chain of guilt.

The chain of blame.

The chain of despair.

The chain of faking.

The chain of depression.

The chain of manipulation.

The chain of addiction.

The chain of oppression.

The chain of discontentment.

The chain of doubt.

The chain of shame.

I started listening to this song everyday. One morning it finally hit me to speak to it, and call the chain by it’s name.

I started to cry out and ask Jesus to break EVERY chain, all of them.

I no longer wanted to be bound.

I had worn these chains for so long, I thought they were a part of me. I thought these chains were me.  

And then I read this:

Awake, awake, Zion,

    clothe yourself with strength!

Put on your garments of splendor,

    Jerusalem, the holy city.

The uncircumcised and defiled

    will not enter you again.

Shake off your dust;

    rise up, sit enthroned, Jerusalem.

Free yourself from the chains on your neck,

    Daughter Zion, now a captive. Isaiah 52:1-2 (NIV)

I wanted to be free of the chains, and I believed Jesus wanted to set me free and break every chain.  I no longer wanted to be a captive.  I wanted to be FREE.

I sang along every morning with Tasha and I cried out to Jesus to break the chains of Childhood Sexual Abuse, along with whatever other chains came to mind.

I called them out, one by one. Sometimes I would just sob and say His name. Jesus gave me strength, and then I heard it.

I heard the chains falling.

Thank you Jesus.

He rescued them from the darkness, delivered them from the deepest gloom of death; He shattered their iron chains. Psalm 107:14 VOICE

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30 Days of Truth: Remain in my love.

Truth 27: Remain in my love.

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. John 15:9 NIV 

I felt like there were two of us.

Me and the wounded little girl inside of me.

Most of the time she was very quiet, unless she was terrified, paranoid, or anxious.  Then she was like a neon noisy panic button in my body.

In therapy, I started to acknowledge our pain. I desperately needed to get well, but I couldn’t do it without her.

We needed each other. We had to connect and work together.

At first, I was disgusted with her and could hardly stand to look at old pictures.  All I could see was shame and filth.

I tried drawing her several times, but she always appeared older. I could never make her small enough or innocent enough or young enough.

I kept her picture on my phone, and on my desktop.

Over time, her image brought me to tears instead of filling me with shame.  Eventually, I was able to grasp the truth: she was small, young, and innocent. Period.

She was also strong, resilient, and courageous.

I remember the night it all came full circle.

This was our night. Just us.  A time to be still and worship.

I was thinking about being the Beloved.

Every time you listen with great attentiveness to the voice that calls you the Beloved, you will discover within yourself a desire to hear that voice longer and more deeply. It is like discovering a well in the desert.  Once you have touched wet ground, you will want to dig deeper. ~ Henri Nouwen [Life of the Beloved]

I decided to paint.  As I painted, I realized how much I loved her, and I was very proud of her.  It was a process and it took time.  I knew God loved me and I believed it, but it was still hard for her. She still struggled at times.

I wanted her to believe it, to experience it and to know.

She was me, and I wanted all of me to be loved.

When we walked back into the sanctuary, this beautiful angelic voice was on stage singing my song, “He loves us, Oh how, He loves us.”  I sang along quietly believing it for her and myself.

And then, the song changed to “Jesus loves me… this I know.” It was for her! The little girl in me. I could barely move my lips.

She was me.

She was loved.

We were one, and we were loved.

He loves us. Oh, how He loves us.

I have loved you just as the Father has loved Me; remain in My love [and do not doubt My love for you]. John 15:9 AMP

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