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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30 Days of Truth: The Lord will surely comfort

Truth 25:  The Lord will surely comfort

The Lord will surely comfort Zion and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing. Isaiah 51:3 NIV

Boom!

So hard and lonely

At times

Feels so alone

Like bombs are exploding

Missiles falling everywhere

Tornados spinning out of control

Hail pounding down

causing damage

Walking through land mines

of a lifetime

And everyone else is oblivious

Snap out of it they say

What is wrong with you?

They just don’t know this war.

They have no idea.

I wrote this on a very fun and relaxing vacation in May 2013.  It wanted to describe what it felt like to walk through the zoo trying to enjoy time with my kids while awful flashbacks and images kept popping in my mind.

I was surprised at how I would see, hear, or smell something and it would take me back. One minute I was laughing and the next minute I was looking off remembering. Sometimes my heart would beat fast, and other times tears would fill my eyes and spill over.

Past, Present, Future. The elevator with three floors, and sometimes when the door opened I never knew which floor I was walking on.

I felt so alone and disconnected. I would stare off and my eyes would glaze over, and then I would snap back and try to engage again.

Stay present. Stay focused.

It was effort, and it was hard. I couldn’t stop in the middle of watching the giraffes and talk about it with anyone. When I felt like I was all alone in the rubble, this promise in Isaiah 51:3 gave me hope. I took the name Zion out and replaced it with my name.

The Lord will surely comfort Michelle and will look with compassion on all her ruins; he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the Lord. Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.

I was not alone.  

He was holding my hand in every explosion (past, present and future). He was with me all along…all this time.  He never let go, and He never will.

The Eternal One will relieve the troubles and worries of Zion and bring comfort to the rubble of its destruction. God will turn deserted places into a flourishing garden like Eden of old; happy voices will ring out in the Eternal’s garden; Buoyant music and thanksgiving will fill the air. Isaiah 51:3 VOICE

To start at the beginning and read the first post click here —> 30 Days of Truth – I am a Masterpiece

30 Days of Truth: Those who hope in the Lord will soar.

Truth #24:  Those who hope in the Lord will soar.

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 NIV 

Four years ago today, I took an incredibly hard step and faced the reality of my abuse.

At first I felt relief.

But then, I felt pain like I had never experienced before in the depth of my heart, soul and being. It all hurt. Everything.

There were moments of intense emotion. Anger, sadness, grief and pure rage.

I had a break between my individual counseling session and my final group therapy session so I made my way to a nearby shopping center and just walked the aisles because that typically helps.

Only this time, I was a mess and I could not shake it. I was sobbing as I processed it all while trying to get grounded by smelling candles, touching towels, and browsing framed art.

I thought,  “I am so wounded… So incredibly wounded!”

On the way to my car, I saw a bird sitting in the middle of the parking lot.  I stood there staring at this completely still bird. At first, I thought maybe it was dead but then I saw the eyes move. I moved a little closer and took pictures. I thought, “God what are you saying???  Pink Skies, Birds – you have my attention! What are you trying to say to me?”

This poor, wounded bird was freaking me out and it wouldn’t move. It just sat there, frozen.

Then it started to chirp,  and I started to video. Here is  the 49 second clip of what happened next …

It started chirping, hopping around and stretching its wings.  It was awkward, but that bird was trying hard to move.

I was crying again and I called a friend before going into the group session to say, “I am so wounded… But eventually I will fly!  I just need to start chirping and spreading my wings … Taking steps that may come out awkward or look different at first, but eventually … I WILL FLY!!!”

I believe the Lord used that bird to give me the courage to speak up in that last group session… the courage to say hard things. We were given a sheet of paper to draw or write on and then share with the group.

I wrote the words Childhood Sexual Abuse in the middle of the page. I made it blurry because it was hard to say.

Then in green I wrote the lies and how it made me feel.

In pink, I wrote the truth.

I read every word out loud.

I felt shame, but I also felt hope.

I wanted to soar.

But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.  Isaiah 40:31 AMP