For the Woman Who is Struggling to Heal from Child Abuse
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Child-abuse is more common than most of us would like to admit.

 

A while back, I did a poll on my Instagram story and received many direct messages of “Thank you, I don’t feel alone.” A lot of sisters were shocked at the numbers. However, I wasn’t shocked at all. Statically, at least one in five women have been sexually abused. I have personally found the numbers to be a lot greater.

 

As one who has experienced many types of abuse, I know the difficulty it is in trying to move forward in the healing process. Most of my friends would describe me as: goofy, an avid learner, writer, a lover of the little things, and a coffee hugger- cause coffee is definitely not a ‘little thing,’ my friend! Some of those titles were once used to mask the pain that I felt for so long. I was abused for the first 18 years of my life, and nobody knew.

 

I was told that I couldn’t tell anyone. That pain doesn’t go away just because you don’t speak of it. It gets hidden back in the brain, and it eventually shows itself in a way that we don’t normally prefer. For me, my body cratered one night and I had over 25 seizures, resulting in an emergency room visit, where I was heavily sedated.

 

After a long journey of visits to doctors and the hospital, we finally realized that my body was responding to what I thought I had been successfully hiding for 23 years. My body was literally making me deal with what I had been avoiding. I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

 

The Lord really did make us fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:14). Our bodies will protect us when they need to be protected and it will make healing happen when it feels like it can. I thought it was just me, but so many women experience health issues like anxiety, depression, seizures, flashbacks, and nightmares. All of this is a way the body often tries to deal with what we refuse to acknowledge.

 

I can testify that the journey to healing is hard. I’m not gonna lie, it’ll make you want to quit. I remember wishing with Job, for the relief death would bring (Job 3:11). Let me tell you, I can’t count how many tissues I went through and that's not a metaphor. That’s for real! (The ones with lotion in them are the best kind, just for future references.)

 

God allowed me to be in such a dark place. I didn’t even know such a pit was possible. I was in so much pain, yet so numb at the same time. I now see that the Lord was taking me through the process of healing. During that time, I learned more than I had ever received from sermons or Bible studies. I discovered what it meant to truly experience the presence of God. I learned what it meant to fellowship with Him. To crawl back to Him again and again. Sometimes with words, and sometimes just with a heart that knew He understood. A nearness to Him was developed...and that, sister, is priceless.

 

However, it was still grimy. I looked down at my ‘hot-mess-self’ every day, and He said, “Come to me…” every single time! And still, “Come to me…” He continues to call (Matthew 11:28).” Some days, I spent the whole time in bed or on the floor whimpering at the memories and the grip they seemed to have on me. I couldn’t shake them. Trauma isn’t nice, sis! This is the kind of stuff many don’t want to talk about. Why? Because it's so ugly.

 

People are hurting in silence! I think it’s very important for us to acknowledge the fact that healing is hard. Spiritual surgery on the heart hurts. But, it doesn’t last forever. God works on the wound so that we can continue on in victory!

 

If we place our hope and future in the hands of our unchanging, unflinching God who never leaves us or forsakes us, we’ll find healing and freedom. We’ll be able to see something on the other side of all the pain.” Lysa TerKeurst

 

God loves us so much. His love will not allow us to sit in our childhood abuse, feeling helplessly shackled to the pain and memories. We are not in slavery anymore. God‘s children have been set free by the blood of the Lamb. It may feel like we are chained, but it’s false. And God will deal with this in the most gentle way… Though it might feel like He is pulling out teeth without Novocaine.

 

He is for us and not against us (Romans 8:31). But, sometimes being for us means making us have no other choice but to look the pain squarely in the eye without any emotional shield. Then, we will realize it can’t kill us after all! Not with our Captain by our side!

 

The Lord graciously allowed this to happen in my life...and continues to! I still have memories that bother me. Each time is an opportunity for further healing. I once used to think it was a fail. "I'm still sick. When is it going to finally end?" But, sister, it’s like sanctification. We are being continually refined! I still have to make the choice to get back on that table before my perfect Surgeon, letting Him do His work again. Trauma is not a drive-by experience. But, once you have experienced measures of healing, you begin to trust God with the process. It becomes easier to surrender and embrace the pain, that will one day turn into a testimony. Eventually, the memories slowly become just... memories. You can look at them, but they no longer hurt. They tell a story. Painful memories still come up for me and I have to intentionally decide to feel and work through them with the Lord.

 

This is a gradual process the Lord takes us on and it takes a great amount of patience. Also, many (including myself) have frowned upon medicines. However, it can really help with the process. I say this from experience. I do strongly recommend counseling when healing from abuse. You have to face what you are afraid of.

 

If I can share anything with someone who has experienced abuse, I want to tell you that you know it was abuse. Many times we try to hide behind the mask that it ‘wasn’t that bad.’ But, if you experienced abuse, it was bad! I want you to know that you are not alone. The statistics show it. I want you to know that the only way is through. You gotta walk through the wilderness with Jesus. He is your Healer! He is your Hope! He is your Rescue! You gotta lay on the table, open to the gentle hand of the perfect Surgeon.

 

Also, you have to tell somebody. I don’t know if you have anybody around you but find someone. The enemy will like to lie to you while keeping you in isolation. He would love to whisper in your ear false statements like, “you can do this alone.” But you can’t do it alone, you need someone speaking truth to you when all you hear and see are comfy lies. You need the Body of Christ. You need intercessors. You can’t do it alone! Ask God to show you, someone, you can trust this with. For those who have been trusted with the information that a loved one has suffered abuse, love them, even though you may not understand what it feels like. Be gentle. Point them to Christ, and help them get counsel. They may not want you to. However, chances are they are operating from a place of fear. Pray and seek to do it in a way that is discreet and best on their end. However...get them help. Last but not least, I want to tell you that it will be a long journey.

 

Don’t give up. God is walking right beside you, sister. Remember, this will not break you just to break you. Your Father is building something beautiful in this mess of what seems like never-ending brokenness. He is bringing beauty from ashes, though you don’t see it yet.

 

Keep walking. You might trip and fall. But get back up. When the enemy is throwing so much at you, stand with the Armor of God on (Ephesians 6). It’s hard… It is hard! But God knows and understands. Christ has experienced pain like no other, on the cross! Go to Him. Wait. Seek. Stand. Kneel. Pray. Cry. Fall. Get back up. But, don’t give up. The way to healing is through!

 

 

>>>Josephine is the creator of the blog stonesofdiverelines.com and the Instagram page @diverselines. Daily, she strives to love God above all, while pointing others to the Christ who brings true salvation. Her passion is for women to find the freedom in being authentic before a loving and sufficient God. She has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and lives in Mississippi.<<<

Ashley JacksonComment
For the Woman Who Suffers from Infertility
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I get it. You read the title of today’s post and you felt the weight of this word resting upon your shoulders. Infertility. You taste the bitterness of wanting a child so badly and yet …. still you wait. You’re not alone. You may know the statistics, that one in eight women will deal with this word, and yet, you’ve never felt more alone in your life.

There are triggers everywhere. You walk into the grocery store and see a mom delicately setting her toddler into the cart. You turn on the TV and are hit with a Pampers commercial and tiny baby coos. You walk into church and it’s child dedication week and you fight to hold back the tears. You grab the mail and there it is, another baby shower invitation.

When will it be your turn?

You shuffle through so many emotions in one day. 

Anger. Why is God letting you go through this?

Sorrow. Will it ever be your turn?

Fear. Was it something you did? Is this a punishment?

Numbness. It’s been so long, can we put up a wall around our heart?

Worry. What if you never beat infertility?

Shame. How is it possible to feel this broken?

Excitement. What was that twinge you just felt?

Girlfriend, pull up a chair next to me today. Let me hand you a cup of tea and a cozy blanket, and tell you I understand. I stood in your shoes for nearly a decade and can taste the grief rising up in my mouth as I write this. Things aren’t going the way you thought they would go. You had a dream for your life, a vision. Nothing is going the way you had planned. Where is God in all of it?

Let me tell you a story. 

A handful of years back, I was on vacation, floating in a pool, reading, when the heavy emotions of infertility started to swirl. Everywhere I looked, there were children and families. I watched a mom rubbing down her little boy with sunscreen. I watched a dad wrestle the arm floaties on his toddler. I watched a set of grandparents taking a hundred pictures. I watched as a mom floated by with her tiny baby, whispering words to him and making him giggle as he splashed gently. And as I watched, I felt so sad. Broken. Lonely. Grief-stricken.

I suddenly felt hot from the inside. My heart felt like it was crying crocodile tears. I was frozen. The sadness started to creep from my heart up my neck, tightening. I felt so empty. I couldn’t process the sudden sadness. 

A few hours later I found myself lying down in the spa area with a cool washcloth over my face, trying to sort out all my emotions. And as I lay there, the tears finally burst through, like a dam, flooding my washcloth and speaking words of grief to my Father that only tears could. I felt like I was being covered in a physical blanket of sadness and sorrow.

I kept praying it would go away. And then God stopped me, and He reminded me in that gentle, soothing way only He can, that it’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to want a family and to wonder when it’s going to happen. It’s okay to grieve the loss of dreams and wonder what the purpose of this is. It’s okay to acknowledge there’s a gigantic gaping hole in our heart. God is big enough for our sadness.

It was in that moment I felt like God stepped into my blanket of sorrow and closed both of us back up in it. He wanted me to acknowledge my emotions with Him by my side. He wanted to validate my feelings were okay. 

You see, God is big enough for your questions. He is big enough to hold you close when you are crying and big enough for your dreams. I know it’s hard. I know it really doesn’t get easier. I encourage you to not only invite God into your pain, but to also be brave enough to let others in as well. 

I wish I could promise you that it will all turn out okay in the end. I wish God would give you a timeline so that you knew how to handle another month with a negative test. And while I can’t do that, what I can do is reassure you that God is still in this heartache with you.

Each and every day, you are learning in a painstaking way, that it’s possible to experience joy that isn’t dependent on your circumstances.

Now let me leave you with some encouragement. God is bigger than infertility. God knows exactly how your heart is feeling. God used women struggling with infertility all throughout the Bible in BIG ways. Remember Hannah? 1 Samuel 1 shares her brokenness over the fact that her womb was closed, and yet God answered her prayers in His timing and Samuel was born. Remember Elizabeth and Zechariah? Luke 1 outlines the fact that they were barren, and yet God proved He was bigger than infertility and John the Baptist was born, at precisely the right time. These are just two examples where God reminds us that infertility isn’t without purpose. It’s not a sentence God has placed on us, but instead an opportunity. Yuck, I know. It’s a painful opportunity, but one that God can use, if we let Him, to display His goodness. 

Month after month, I whispered and cried out with my own prayer of brokenness. I routinely had to plead with God to help me trust that His plans were greater than my desires. I knew He could work a miracle, and so my prayer became that of the father in Mark 9, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!" My lack of control reminded me that God best demonstrates who He is when we are paying careful attention, when we are seeking Him instead of being fixated on our emotions.

I’ll leave you with this verse dear friend, because I don’t think it was put into the Bible by mistake. I believe God left us these words in Psalm 113:9 to encourage our hearts and remind us that He is in the business of working big miracles: “He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.” 

You are not alone. God is bigger. You can trust Him. Lean into His strength today and let your knees buckle. He is right there to catch you. 

With love,

Chelsea

 

 

Chelsea is a Midwestern girl who loves connecting with others about infertility, motherhood, and living authentically. She’s been married to Josh for almost 13 years and recently welcomed twins, Kirsten and Logan, to their family after nearly a decade of waiting and loss. Chelsea loves a good cup of coffee, a cozy bookshop and mindless reality TV. She co-authored a 6 week woman's devotional called "In the Wait", which helps women lean into God while living intentionally in seasons of waiting. She values engaging her faith and embracing difficult seasons with joy.  You can find her on her blog and Instagram. 

For the Woman Who is grieving the loss of a parent
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This is my story. It’s a story about loosing my dad here on this earth but it is a story of grief, disappointment, and the loss of hope. Grief comes in many situations and doesn’t have to be connected to death. I also carried a lot of shame for the way I felt, acted, and reacted to my situation. I admire those who clung to Jesus in their stories tighter than I did, but I want to give myself the grace to recognize that I probably clung to Jesus more than I realized. Each person that walks a similar journey can relate - or not. Details vary. What I do know, in every story of grief, is that the Lord remains the same. He is good, He is faithful, and full of love. He brings healing to the brokenhearted.  Here is my story.


If you had asked me in my early twenties what my biggest fear was I could have easily told you it was to loose my dad. I was fortunate to grow up in a house full of love, with both my parents in a small prairie town. My dad was a farmer and I never wished for any other life. He was kind and loving and adored being a father of three girls. His hope for us was to know and love Jesus, the biggest love of his own life. His faith was something he could have taken for granted but he travelled the journey to make it his own. His favourite promise is found in the book of Isaiah, "But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31) I loved my theological discussions with him - Bibles open and me so curious about the Lord my dad knew so well.


One August weekend and a trip to the emergency room turned our simple small town life into a reality many families walk through. The following days were filled with tests and too much time to think. Finally the dreaded diagnosis - cancer. But there was hope. His form of leukaemia, we were assured, would be something he would live with but it wouldn't kill him. Above that, we had so much hope in the healing hand of our Heavenly Father.


A few months later I found myself rushing away from church a week before Christmas. My dad had had a stroke and it wasn't looking good. The medical team was right, it wouldn't be the cancer that would kill him.


The hospital stay was three months long. Our faith as individuals and as a family had never been so strong or so united. We prayed long and hard and loud over my dad and his health. There were friends and family and strangers praying big faith filled prayers for his recovery. We knew our God was bigger than the obstacles in the way. We were believing for the supernatural in a very natural setting. I stood on many promises the Bible holds. Clinging to them and saying them over and over like, ”The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” (James 5:16)


When that game changer of a day in March showed up, I knew what was coming but I refused to believe it. I desperately told myself it was a day for a miracle but I remember choosing clothes that morning that I didn't particularly like because I would never want to wear them again. As I sat there and watched my dad struggle through his last breaths I just watched in disbelief. What happened to “the prayer of a righteous person was powerful and effective”?


Those next five years were not my proudest moments. I wasn't rebellious or making ‘typical’ bad choices. I simply lived in disappointment. My faith was bruised in a big way. I had really believed the Lord would heal my dad on this earth. I had lost the ability to hope and refused to pray about anything that mattered, or I should say, anything that I wasn't feeling in control of. It's not that I didn't trust the Lord, but I didn't trust myself. I didn't think I could hear the Lord correctly. Reading my Bible wasn’t happening either because I didn’t think I understood it very well. I did a lot of life without the Lord. I asked Him to stay at a distance - but not too far away. He loved me so perfectly through this heartbreak. Pushing me when needed but for the most part, being gentle as we slowly built up our relationship again.


I never wanted to turn fully away from the Lord. I knew He was still good and I knew He was still God  - but wow - I struggled with hope. My only hope was heaven because nothing else was a guarantee. All I wanted to do was protect my heart from ever feeling disappointment in the Lord again. It was hard to give Him more than just a little bit of myself -  but the Lord wanted all of me back. He pursued me with all of His love and the intimate knowledge of who He created me to be.  My heart’s desire was to be in full time ministry and soon I found myself, with my disappointment baggage in tow, working at a Bible camp. Slowly I was growing to trust the Lord again, and slowly I was going from a place of simply still loving God to being so deeply in love with Him again.


Hope was still a four-letter word for me when I left for Tijuana on my second mission trip with the camp. We arrived in San Diego to sign some paper work and collect our new t-shirts before heading into Mexico. I looked at the lime green shirts with disgust. Across the front said "Hope is...". I was not impressed to say the least. My outside was definitely not going to be advertising what I felt on the inside. The whole team wore these bright, and not at all subtle, t-shirts to church on Sunday and then through Wal-Mart that afternoon. I was stopped by a lady, a Wal-Mart employee, who spoke a bit of English. She asked me, "what is hope?" I had no words. How could I answer honestly? This was at the root of my brokenness.  She answered her own question in complete sincerity, "hope is everything".  Something happened in that moment that I can't fully explain but it was healing. On a trip to help a family with a material lack I was confronted with my own poverty. The brokenness in my relationship with my Lord.


The Lord had been in close pursuit of me, and here was the turning point of healing. I spent the next weeks diving into hope, learning what the Bible had to say about it and praying I would have a hopeful spirit restored in me. Proverbs 13:12 says that deferred hope leaves us with a sick heart. I had spent five years putting off hope and my heart had been so sick. But now I was meditating on the beautiful truth of Romans 15:13, "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." I am hopeful, I am joyful, and I have traded my anxiousness in trusting God to peace in believing.


A switch has been flipped but my journey continues. I still miss my dad in a big way. I still cry. I still ask the Lord to put him in my dreams. My comfort comes in knowing that the same Holy Spirit that was in my dad, is in me. When I need advice I can go to the same source he went to. I rejoice in the truth that to live is Christ but to die is even better. (Philippians 1:21) How can I be upset that my dad is in heaven? With Jesus! I still get an overpowering ache in my chest from time to time and holidays are hard. March is still the worst month of the year, but I am trusting the Lord will restore that too.


From that first weekend of bad news and all the way through to this moment, putting my story in written words, I have seen the faithfulness of the Lord. Recently I read these beautiful words in Exodus 19:4, "You know how I carried you on eagles' wings and brought you to myself”.  I finally understood that promise from Isaiah 40:31 that my dad loved so much. Looking back I can see how the Lord carried me on eagles wings - He sustained me and I found new strength - as He brought me back to Himself.



Holly enjoys small town life in the Canadian prairies. She loves coffee, ice cream, and heart to hearts. This works out great because all of these elements pop up regularly as she serves in full time camp ministry, loving on the campers, staff and volunteers. You can get in touch with Holly at hollyepp@gmail.com  

Ashley JacksonComment