I thought it was me.

I thought it was me. 

Maybe there was something wrong with me that caused all of this. Was there a sign on my forehead that said “Abuse Me”?

Maybe something was wrong with my body, or maybe I smiled wrong or was too nice? Was it my clothes?

What was wrong with me?

These thoughts swirled around in my mind for years. My secret shame-filled worries constantly reminded me that I was deeply flawed, used and beyond repair.

I lived like the lie was true.

I had no voice.

I never said no.

I always froze.

Sometimes I just left in my mind and went away.

It was how I survived.

What happens to a young girl like me? She finds herself sometimes with people who make her uncomfortable and maybe they say or do things that are inappropriate.

They keep crossing the line to test her to see how she will respond. Will she yell? Will she run?

Nope. She does nothing because that’s all she knows. This isn’t her first rodeo.

Almost over.

Not much longer.

So much shame.

And finally, as I am sitting alone on the couch hunched over in a therapy session, the truth finally starts to sink in.

My counselor pulled out a big flip chart and grabbed Sharpies and she sat on the floor in front of me. We made a timeline. She was writing it all out as fast as I could say it.

My hidden secrets were all splattered on the clean white page.

And like dominoes falling, I saw how the harm from the abuse blazed a path of destruction throughout my life.

There was nothing wrong with me.

It wasn’t my fault.

It was never my fault.

And with tears falling, I wanted to hug the little girl inside of me. She wasn’t dirty and shameful to me anymore. I loved her.

She was resilient.

She was brave.

She survived.

She was loved.

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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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How Great Thou Art

Deuteronomy 4:9 I was a hot mess in church today.

It’s been a while. It used to happen almost every Sunday. I would stand there during worship and just move my lips to the words and sob. I was hardly able to utter a sound because my heart was fragile.

It didn’t take much to send me over the edge: songs, verses, flashbacks, memories.  One minute I would be fine and the next minute not at all. Sometimes the tears stopped as quickly as they started. Other times, they poured and poured.

It mostly happened on the second pew in church on Sunday’s and on Thursday’s on the couch in my counselor’s office. Both eventually became the safe places where I was able to get in touch with those tender places with Jesus and receive healing.

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Washed White As Snow

Though your sins are scarlet , you will make them as white as snow. Isaiah 1:18 NLT

I sat at my desk by the window, and opened my laptop.  Instead of typing anything, I just stared at the blank page and the blanket of snow outside.  The snowflakes were dancing to the song “Like An Avalanche” by Hillsong.  With a single candle burning, I paused in that moment to Thank Him for His grace. I thanked Him for taking my blood red sins and making them white as snow.

I never thought it would be possible.

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