Beauty From Ashes (pt. 2)

Confession…once I decided to let God be the hero of my story, I had an incredibly hard time figuring out what life would look like from that point forward. I had lived life as a victim for so long; I had no concept of what it meant to live otherwise.

Yesterday, I encouraged those who were wrestling with a deep past pain to consider the possibility of a life free of those chains. I knew immediately, I would need to write a follow up.  I don’t want to be another person telling you to pick yourself up and move on with life. I realize it isn’t that easy. There are ideas you hold about yourself that might be based on a lie. There are perceptions of yourself you might not realize are seen from a skewed lens. Let me give you a personal example.

One of the things I grew up believing about myself was that I had invited the pain into my life. If I hadn’t been so outgoing; if I hadn’t dressed so provocative; if I hadn’t been so affectionate; if I hadn’t been so noticeable none of the bad things that happened would have happened. Basically, if I hadn’t been me I wouldn’t have been assaulted.  Let me say first of all, no one has the right to violate your body. NO ONE! There is never a reason to overpower another human being and take their sense of safety, security, and innocence. NEVER!

That being said, that is not what I was told and so I believed that I had the power to make my pain stop. I changed so much about myself that I often had no sense of identity or individuality. I didn’t know who I was for a really long time. I became whatever I perceived would be the safest and least noticeable. I suppressed all God had created me to be and attempted to kill off the parts of me I deemed dangerous. I realize now that was unnecessary. God created me to be all that I am for a purpose. The enemy tried to distract me from discovering my purpose and identity in God and I let him win for too long.

I saw myself differently than God saw me. I saw myself as bad and dangerous. I saw myself as a target for pain. I changed all I could about myself so that I could keep myself safe. I bet you’ve done the same thing. You’ve believed some things about yourself that you are trying to change, even now as you read this post. What lies are you believing about yourself right now? What things are you trying to change about yourself in order to make the pain stop? Did you know you alone can’t make the pain stop? You know I’m right because you’ve tried so many times on your own.

I am an outgoing chick. I love life. I love my family and friends deeply. I am loud and often times, hard to miss. Those are not bad things. Those are not dangerous things. If they are not submitted to God’s will they can be quite annoying and often lead me down dangerous paths. However, my curiosity, my desire to love, and my boisterousness are all a part of who God created me to be. If I kill that off inside of me, I, in essence, tell Him that what He made is bad. He doesn’t make bad things…or people.

God. That’s the answer. God. I’ve included a couple links to resources that have really helped me as I walk in God’s strength to healing. It is an ongoing journey. I’ve still got work to do, but I’m not where I was. Check them out. What have you got to lose?

Letting Go Of Your Past – Josh & Katie Reich

Disgrace & Grace – Mark Driscoll

Breaking Free – Beth Moore

Praying God’s Word – Beth Moore

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Beauty From Ashes (pt. 1)

Confession…I don’t like blogging about my past, but as go through my past journals I realize it might be something I need to do. It might be helpful to someone who is going through some of the same things I went through. So here we go.

Recently I went through my  journals from 2005, and I came across a few entries that I had forgotten were there.  Here is the first.

God does these awesome things for us and we’re so busy feeling sorry for ourselves or pouting that we miss it and lose the impact of it. We are unable to see the greatness and grandness of what God has done. We are so silly! We’re pouting about what we didn’t get and we’re missing out on the opportunities in front of us because we are pouting.

During this period of my life, I was allowing my past assault to be my focus and spending a lot of time being angry with God that He would allow such a thing. I was afraid of everyone and everything. Fear ruled me and I allowed it to rule. People would tell me that they understood the fear. I had every right to be afraid. Based on my past assault, it was a normal response. Few challenged my behavior because they knew the pain I had experienced was deep. However, I was missing out on a husband, with whom God had chosen to bless me. A husband who loved me and wanted to walk with me despite my brokenness. I was missing out on kids who were happy and healthy and safe and wanted me to engage in their lives. I was missing out on the joy of the present and choosing to stay angry and live in the pain of my past.

I’ll be honest, I never really felt like I wanted to emerge from that fear and pain. I wanted to stay in it. However, God made it very uncomfortable for me to stay there (that is another story for another day). I had to choose, with His help and strength, to move beyond that fear and pain.

Here is the next entry.

God, it is hard to imagine that you are in control of my whole life. It’s hard to imagine that all I am is on purpose and not some accident that has happened by chance. Right now, my priority is loving my husband and raising my kids in a  godly manner. I feel so ill-equipped. I really need your help. I need your help to be bold. I need your strength to be courageous. I need your help to continue when I wan to quit. I NEED YOUR HELP!

He has been there to provide the help. ALWAYS. It hasn’t been easy, but God has been faithful to keep me moving forward when I want to quit.

So what is my point? I say this with all of the love in my heart, from the Great Healer of broken hearts and lives. From one overcoming victim to another…We are not entitled to sin because of sin committed against us. We are responsible for our behavior. I say this because I have had to embrace this truth for myself. I used my pain to sin against those I loved. I sinned against my husband by not being a godly help meet. I sinned against my children by not being a godly mother. None of that was their doing, but they were made to pay the price. It isn’t the life God intended for me or you. He has such fullness for us, if only we would chose to move beyond the fear and pain. It is a choice. You will not want to make it, but it must be done. You do not have to do it alone. God promises to be there. This will be a first step, but it is a crucial first step. I invite you to make it.