Pink Elephants & A Faithful God

IMG_09302016 was a rough year. It was also the year I was intending to put a lot of energy into my ministry, Journey Pink.  I wanted to write a book, which I affectionately called my Pink Elephant. Pink because I loved the idea of it so much, and elephant because it seemed so ginormous and overwhelming.

I’ve been to conferences and I have taken online writing classes, but the reality is writing and speaking about Childhood Sexual Abuse is taboo. It’s off limits. It’s too dark. It is not a popular topic. It is not encouraged.

But, like the Samaritan woman at the well who finally found THE living water in her life, I have tasted that living water and I want to share it with others who are thirsty and longing for refreshment from the mud and the mire of shame.

This pink elephant was HUGE, and my mind was filled with doubt and insecurity.

Me: God, you have picked the wrong girl! This is Bigger than me. This is elephant size BIG… but it is also pink.
God: How do you eat an elephant? 
Me: One bite at a time.
God: My grace is sufficient

Just when I started to take small bites, the big pink elephant was suddenly surrounded by baby pink elephants.  These baby elephants needed my immediate attention. Baby pink elephants like my daughter getting hospitalized and the months of unknowns and recovery that followed.  Or, the stalker situation that landed me in court and on Amazon purchasing Pink Mace. Fear hit very close to home with those baby elephants and He was  faithful to show me how to take one scary step at a time with Him.

When the intense fear was at its peak, I spent a weekend in Charlotte at a conference and the keynote speaker shared about overcoming fear.  She had experienced a similar year with an injured child and a stalker. I knew God was speaking to my heart. I longed for peace and healing from my overwhelming fears. I rushed to the altar in tears, and acknowledged that I was terrified and tired of being terrified. As the worshippers sang and prayed over us, His amazing love covered me and gave me great peace.

He also brought me confirmation.  That same weekend, at Bethel Worship nights, a man gave a word that there was a pink elephant in the room. I have no idea why he said that and he did not elaborate, but once again – God had my attention. I smiled as I thought, “I will keep going. God is with me.”

And yet, I couldn’t stop the whispers in the back of my mind from that mostly mean voice that demands protection and safety.

“Do you really want to go after that pink elephant?  Look what is happening in your life!  Maybe you should take a hint and just chill out.  Better to play it safe.  You are playing with fire. Who do you think you are???”

Who do you think you are?

Side note – this is a very frequent thought that pops in my head and it can hold me back the fastest. I’ve learned over time that having an immediate answer will shut it down.

Who do I think I am?  I am a princess, and Jesus is my King. I am his daughter, and I am loved, cherished and precious to Him.

Not all small pink elephants are challenges. There were times I wanted to give up, and the image of a pink elephant reminded me to keep stepping, one foot in front of the other.  One day, when I was so weary and full of doubt, my youngest brought his prize from the gumball machine to me and encouraged my heart.

IMG_0928

It reminded me that every bite is worth it.  Yes, God I trust you. I will keep going. Help me to not be afraid.

He knows I struggle with trust and fear, and this tension keeps me from walking in my calling.

But God.

He is faithful, and it all came full circle last weekend when I shared at the Hope Restored Women’s Conference.  At check-in, I was surprised to find out there was a package waiting for me from my friend, Angela. I met her at my very first writing conference in 2014, and when she asked me what I wrote about I couldn’t answer her and finally just said, “I’m not going to tell you.”

She kept asking and I remember how hard it was to finally whisper to her, “I write about healing from childhood sexual abuse.”

Angela knew this was a Pink Elephant weekend for me so she sent me a care package full of my favorites. Besides the caffeine and the yummy chocolate, her gift reminded me of how far God has brought me and how He continues to open doors and give me opportunities to write and speak.

It’s still not easy to speak and write about childhood sexual abuse, but it is so important and worth it! My calling seems so BIG and Overwhelming to me, but Jesus can handle Pink Elephants. I just have to fully trust and surrender, and let Him guide me, one bite at a time. I will savor every bite and remember all the ways He has met me.

His grace is sufficient.

He opens doors no man can shut.

He makes a way when there seems to be no way.

He left 99 for one and He calls us to do the same.

He has brought me this far, and He will not leave me.

I am not alone.

You are not alone.

You are loved, cherished and precious to Him, princess.

Lord, even when your path takes me through the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have! You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near. Psalm 23:4 TPT

What feels like a pink elephant in your life right now? Maybe you have a Pink Elephant Dream? What keeps you from walking in your purpose and calling? Is there an image or vision that helps you to keep going?

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Advertisements

Finding Peace in the Storm

Finding Peace in the Storm
The storm is coming

It forces open the curtains 
and pushes its way in

Heart crushed
Body splintered 
Mind fragmented
Soul ripped 

There is no where to hide 

The storm is always looming 

In the quiet and calm
of smiles and laughter
The storm taunts 
Shattering the peace 

There aren't any No Trespassing signs 
No 'keep out' written in crayons 

The storm wins every time 
There's no use trying to fight it
Just ride the storm out 
Not much longer

In the distance, more storms 
brew in the darkness 

Sound the alarms!
Brace yourself!

Frozen in fear
Yet far away 
So far, I can barely feel the wind 
As the waves crash over and over 

The storm always leaves its mark. 

Battered, torn and scarred
On the sunniest of days 
The storm still hovers. 

Years later and the slightest breeze 
will cause full alert. 
Now there are "NO Trespassing!" signs
"Keep Out" is written in permanent ink

Sandbags are piled high for protection
It's too dangerous to get too close 

Anticipate danger
Find ways to cope

Always be prepared. 

Be aware. 
Fear the worst. 
Alone. 

Just in case the storm comes. 

And it blows in
Again. 

Unexpected. 

But this time it is a gentle breeze  
Calm 

I'm caught off guard
by the blinding light. 

Naked shame on full display
in the brightness. 

My head hangs low 
And this storm lifts it. 

This storm is peace. 
This storm is love. 
This storm is Jesus. 

In His relentless pursuit

He rescues 
He rebuilds 
He restores. 

Safe.
Never alone. 
Loved. 

His house is my shelter
and secret retreat. 
It is there I find peace 
in the midst of storm and turmoil. 
Safety sits with me 
in the hiding place of God.
He will set me on a rock, 
high above the fray. 
Psalm 27:5 

When you face stormy seas 
I will be there with you
with endurance and calm;
you will not be engulfed 
in raging rivers.
If it seems like you're walking 
through fire with flames
licking at your limbs, 
keep going; you won't be burned. 
Isaiah 43:2 VOICE

The Eternal is full of grace
and naturally just; 
our God is compassionate and merciful.
And the Eternal watches over the naive
Whenever I was knocked down, 
He reached down and saved me. 
O my soul! Return and relax. 
Come to your true rest, 
for the Eternal has showered you with His favor. 
God, you alone rescued my soul 
from the grips of death, 
my eyes from weeping, 
and my feet from slipping. 
I will come before the Eternal
as long as I journey
in the land of the living.
Psalm 116:5-9 VOICE 

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

Darkness into Light

You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
    darkness is my closest friend. Psalm 88:18 NIV 

“Darkness creeps into my life,
and robs my passion to live.
It swallows me whole and takes my breath
no kindness will it give.
I’m falling deep beneath the sea
and drowning in my despair
can someone take this away from me
Does anybody care?”

That was the beginning of a poem I wrote in college. I truly felt like darkness was my closest companion. Darkness wouldn’t leave me alone. No matter how hard I tried to be good, I wasn’t. I went to Bible Study, and then I went to clubs. I couldn’t get numb enough. The ache was always there.

Childhood Sexual Abuse causes extreme isolation. I couldn’t get too close to anyone because I didn’t want them to know.  It was too risky.  So, I kept all of the secrets to myself.

I had to wear a mask and pretend all is well.

But behind the mask, I was writhing in pain. My head hurt, my stomach hurt, and the voices were screaming…

The darkness is so very dark.  

The shame would crash over me at unexpected times. Maybe it was a comment someone made. I would read more into their comment and replay it over and over in my mind. Do they know? Can they tell what kind of girl I really am?

How do you hide from the darkness?
How do you run from the darkness?
How can you escape the darkness when it is your constant companion?

Shame’s raw aroma lingers far longer than the abuse.

The darkness says you are bad.
The darkness says you are guilty.
The darkness says you deserve it.
The darkness says God made you that way.
The darkness says there is no hope for you.

All of the secrets and memories fester in the darkness. The wounds ooze behind closed doors and eyelids.

And then there was light.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:5

Finally, in counseling I was able to use words to describe the darkness. As I continued to step into the light, the darkness started to lose its power over me.  The light brought me Truth, community, and love. I was no longer alone in the dark.

The Truth says you are wonderfully made.
The Truth says there is no condemnation.
The Truth says you are worthy.
The Truth says God made you in His image.
The Truth says there is hope.

There is hope, and His name is Jesus. When I gave Him access to my story and the darkness – His light and Truth healed me.

God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

Their Words Cut Like Swords

Listen to the filth that comes from their mouths; their words cut like swords. “After all, who can hear us?” they sneer.  Psalm 59:7 NLT

I could barely utter the words to my counselor. Vulgar words were whispered to me in the darkness to describe my body parts and they were playing over and over in my mind like a skipping record.

Who says that to a child?

An abuser.

Childhood Sexual Abuse is not silent abuse. It is incredibly loud. The words cut like swords and leave deep wounds in the heart, mind, body and soul.

Secrets.  Shhhhhhhhhhhh.

Words that were threats to keep me silent.

Words that made me think I deserved or wanted the abuse.

Words that made me feel responsible.

Words that made me feel like something was wrong with me.

Words that filled my tank to the rim with insecurity, fear, anxiety, paranoia, and shame.  

And while I smiled and did my best on the outside to show the world that everything was just fine, those words continued to taunt my insides.

My lips trembled when I spelled some of those words to my counselor with my head bowed in shame and fear. As hard as it was to share them with her, it helped me tremendously to get them out of my head and into the light.

The secrets were all lies, and they were being replaced with new words filled with truth.

I am not alone.

I have a voice.

I am worthy of love.

It was not my fault.

I am wonderfully made.

His truth replenished my empty tank with hope, faith, love, thankfulness, and courage.

Yes, the lies and secrets cut like swords.

But His Truth is sharper.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave