Presentable

August 15, 2014

I’m so tired. Instead of going to church, I wish I could go to sleep.

Why can’t you?

My hair is wet and needs to be styled.

Why?

So I can look good to the people at church.

Why do you care what they think?

Is it wrong to care? Is there not value in being presentable?

Presentable. Yes, you are a gift from me to others, like a present. Are you not then intrinsically presentable?

Even with rumpled hair and no makeup?

Haven’t they seen you like that before, when camping for example? Why is this day somehow different? Why do my people place such a high value on being presentable to others on this day? Is this in the Bible? Where do I say you must dress up for church? Don’t I tell you to rest? Don’t you need a nap now?

Yes, I just don’t know if I can get one with my family’s needs.

Can you trust me on the Sabbath to care for your children a little bit?

Is it really this simple?

It is.

 

Like a Slinky

I refuse guilt. There is no condemnation. But I see the futility of doing things in my own strength and on my own schedule. It just doesn’t work. I know you embody all truth, and even facing my own weakness points me to your strength. Bottom line: you are calling me higher as a wife and mother. Help me. Show me. Point the way.

You’re like a slinky. When I lift you higher, more of you flows down to your children, husband, and home. I lift you up; you pour down. You are still all you, but more of you is available to flow to others. And in turn, I lift others to pour into you. It’s not a fearful thing. It can actually be fun! But it’s my power, not yours; my strength, not yours; my goals, not yours; my timing, not yours. I do it, not you. Just don’t fight me as I do it. Remember there is no fear in love, no fear in me. I am light, and in me is no darkness.


This post is part seven of a series in which I share past prayer journal entries documenting my process out of spiritual abuse and into the freedom God intends for all of us. To read a synopsis of my story, click here. To go to the first of this series, read Looking Back.

If you feel this conversation is important, please share on social media.


Photo Credit: By Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA (All work and no play) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons.

Violated in Church

April 20, 2014

Yesterday, my pastor showed a clip of “The Passion of the Christ” in the church service. People all around me were moved, but I was stoic. I’ve never wanted to see that movie. I was really angry that in church, where I am supposed to feel safe, I was being assaulted with horrifying scenes I had successfully avoided to this point. Is something wrong with me? Why do I avoid the grim details of the crucifixion?

It’s just a movie. You don’t want to see Saving Private Ryan or Lone Survivor for the same reason. But you’ve read Lone Survivor and you’ve read the passion. You’re not avoiding the stories. You’re avoiding the graphic violence depicted on the screen. It’s okay. You have a tender heart, so tender that images like that undo you. It’s that feeling you’re avoiding. It’s okay to feel undone, but right now the feeling is overwhelming to you. It’s just a movie. You don’t have to watch it.

Thank you for understanding me and helping me understand myself. As I closed my eyes and tried to block out the violent sounds, I felt so alone and afraid in that dark sanctuary. I felt like I was somehow defective, broken. And I was so very afraid.

I know. I’m angry that you were subjected to that. Boundaries you had set for yourself were violated, and because of where you were and who you were with, you felt something was wrong with you. Truth is, something is really wrong when a person does not feel safe and unconditionally loved in what people call a “sanctuary.” You’re okay now. I’m going to show you how to be who you really are and not be ashamed. I’m going to show you how to stand up for yourself so that no one will be able to do this to you anymore.


This post is part five of a series in which I share past prayer journal entries documenting my process out of spiritual abuse and into the freedom God intends for all of us. To read a synopsis of my story, click here. To go to the first of this series, read Looking Back.

If you feel this conversation is important, please share on social media.


Photo Credit: Jane Fox, original image modified: cropped. https://www.flickr.com/photos/runjanefox/9214235312

God Gets Angry

March 15, 2014

Okay, you’ve been speaking to me all night. Thank you for the dreams you gave me. Clearly you are saying that a lot of my feelings of anger are rooted in things that have been stolen from me.

That’s right. And they have been. Yes, it’s okay to feel that way. And yes, it’s okay to make a list. Yes, stolen. STOLEN. It’s okay to feel angry about that right now. These things were as dear to you as the clothes on your back. But it wasn’t people who took them away. It was my enemy.

Okay, I don’t know if I want to make a list now. Do you want me to?

Just write down the main things you can think of right now.

Three different jobs that I loved, my innocence (BIG one), my joy, my father, my brother, my music (enjoyment of it), my health,  wealth (why do I not want to say my here?), my first 3 children.

How do you feel thinking about all that?

Depressed. Angry. Powerless. Weak. Hopeless. I feel regret for what has been stolen.

Is it your fault these things happened?

You know, I have been blaming myself. But you are so telling me these things were stolen from me by your enemy. That’s not my fault at all, is it?

No, it isn’t. Yet so often you blame yourself, hate yourself over what has been lost. I’m telling you it’s NOT your fault these things happened. It’s okay. How do you feel now?

Relieved. Tired. Disappointed. Violated. Angry.

I’m angry too. I have been all along. Not at you, but at my enemy! He is my enemy, and he steals from my kids to steal from me! But I don’t let him get away with it. I’m the Restorer. Look up those verses.

Ruth 4:14-17

14 The women said to Naomi: “Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! 15 He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.” 16 Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. 17 The women living there said, “Naomi has a son!” And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Isaiah 58:5-12

Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustic and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free  and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, 10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday. 11 The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. 12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up the age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

Yes, you are indeed the restorer. May you be to me as you were to Naomi and Jacob. May you restore to me all that your enemy has stolen from me. Make it so!

Note: After this, God told me to wear all white to the church service I attended that day. He said, “Today, I have removed your reproach.”


This post is part three of a series in which I share past prayer journal entries documenting my process out of spiritual abuse and into the freedom God intends for all of us. To read a synopsis of my story, click here. To go to the first of this series, read Looking Back.

If you feel this conversation is important, please share on social media.

Listening to God

March 14, 2014, morning

This is the second time this week I have heard an audible voice call my name.* I like it. What do you want to say?

I want you to keep listening to me. I have a lot to say.

Do you mean right now or in general?

What I have to say will take months, even years. And it’s going to involve everyday moments. It’s time to bring you out of that dark place and into the light. I want to shine my light on all the dark places in you.

Sounds kind of scary.

It is to someone who has been in the dark so long. But I am your light. Do not be afraid. I am coming to rescue you. You can trust me.

I feel such a peace.

Good. That’s all I want to say right now. Meditate on my words for a few moments. Keep relaxing in that place. And keep listening.

Your words illuminate Psalm 27 like never before. Thank you. I love you.

I love you… so much more that you know.

8:59 am

See how much you love your kids? You are a good mom.

12:33 pm

I’m back. I’m tired and would love a nap. Do I have your permission to take one?

You’re thinking of this wrong. There’s nothing wrong with taking a nap if you’re tired. You’re putting this burden on yourself. It’s not from me.

But what about…? Well, now that I think about it, it does seem resting is one of your key themes. It’s when I strive that I become angry.

Good memory. Hang onto that and let me show you how to rest even when you’re busy.


* Background: I thought I heard my husband say my name. It sounded like his voice. The first time he was next to me in bed asleep, and I thought maybe he had talked in his sleep. The second time he was in another part of the house but sounded like he was in the room with me. I asked if he had called me and he said he hadn’t. This reminded me of the incident in 1 Samuel 3 when Samuel though he heard Eli calling him, but it turned out to be God. So I responded as if it were God and listened to what he had to say. This has happened to me a total of 3 times to date.

This post is part two of a series in which I share past prayer journal entries documenting my process out of spiritual abuse and into the freedom God intends for all of us. To read a synopsis of my story, click here. To go to the first of this series, read Looking Back.

If you feel this conversation is important, please share on social media.


Photo Credit: db Photography, https://www.flickr.com/photos/demibrooke/2470252246.

Looking Back

It’s been three plus years since you first began taking me on this journey out of fear and into your love. As I read through my old prayer journals, I am amazed at what you have done in such a short period of time. I want my readers to hear some of the things you have said to me that have brought me to this place. And so I begin by looking back.


March 11, 2013

You’re calling me to yourself, but I want to crawl up in a ball and go to sleep. The sadness is so profound today, so deep.

I know. I see the darkness. I feel what you feel. I am intimately acquainted with your grief. I am here. You are not alone. You are like those lost treasures in Monuments Men. You’re a priceless work of art stuck in a salt mine where only I can see. Most people don’t even know you’re there. They can’t see you, touch you. It’s dark, and it’s lonely, and you feel worthless. You’re damaged by the mistreatment of others. They don’t know how deeply their carelessness has hurt you.

You will not stay here forever. You will not be destroyed. With gentle hands and steady step I will carry you out. The light will shine on you again. Others will see what I have created and preserved and restored, and they will rejoice because of it. Your redemption is near.


Note: Heartbeat of Grace is where I have blogged about my recovery from spiritual abuse.  In January of 2015, I wrote more about this journal entry. You can read that post here.

This post is part one of a series in which I share past prayer journal entries documenting my process out of spiritual abuse and into the freedom God intends for all of us. To read a synopsis of my story, click here.

If you feel this conversation is important, please share on social media.


Photo Credit: Susanne Nillson, https://www.flickr.com/photos/infomastern/13982836004.

The Rut of Comparison

Sometimes I feel like such a good mom, like I can do no wrong and easily meet every need. Not today. I feel so inadequate, weak, and hopeless. I am so concerned about the deficits I see in my children, and I blame myself for them. I compare myself to other moms and my children to their children, and I only see their shortcomings. This makes me harder on myself and harder on them. But this can’t be the right way to handle these feelings. It doesn’t help anyone, and it hurts everyone. How do I handle these feelings then?

Do you think I compare one flower with another? Do I criticize the late bloomers? Or do I simply enjoy them each for what they are? A rose will not bloom sooner if I am angry with it. It blooms in its time and in its way, and it pleases me by doing so. I enjoy all the steps in the process, and I love it no less as a bud than in full bloom.

So it is with you. You couldn’t be more pleasing or loved today if you were any way but as you are. Your children and you delight me today as much as you will when you are more mature. It’s you I love, not just who you have been or who you will be, but you, today, in all the glory that IS you today. You can’t make me love you more or less. You are already ALL that I want you to be today.

And when you remember this, and see yourself and your children as I do, you will cease striving and simply enjoy the beauty around you and within you.

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