God, the Best Father

August 15, 2014

You know how I have been feeling. I’m confused, and I need clarity. Speak to me. I need to hear your voice.

Do you think I am mad at you? That’s what you’re feeling, isn’t it? That feeling is a phantom, not reality. I’m not angry with you any more than you were yesterday when your daughter was afraid you were. Let that feeling go. It is born of spiritual abuse.

Thank you for seeing me, knowing me better than I know myself. You are not angry with me. You’re my Daddy. I am your daughter, and you love me. Thank you for that.

You’re right when you say spiritual abuse is the biggest dragon you have ever fought. You’re beginning to recognize it as the thing that has kept you buried all these years. I know you grieve for the 20 years you have spent in depression, feeling as if this time has been wasted. But NO. It has not been. I WILL redeem it. Every day, every hour of it will be to your benefit. Do you believe I can do this?

Honestly, it is beyond my ability to grasp. But I believe you can do anything.

I will do it, and you will be amazed. As for today, like so many days, you are imagining what must be done and planning for it. So often when you do this, you end the day filled with regret. Let’s not live that way today. Let’s take today as it comes. Will you take my hand and walk through it with me?

Yes. Thank you. You’re such a good Daddy. You know just what I need.


This post is part twelve 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: Rafal Olechowski, Shutterstock, https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/mother-holding-hand-her-daughter-spring-100800745?src=JzZfGsKOB8uTHa2xHNPn1A-1-47

The Abused Abuser

May 31, 2014

Only you know all that is going on in my heart and mind today. Only you understand completely. Only you have the answers. God, I need your answers. Please speak to me.

Apologize. If it’s not right for your daughter to do, it’s not right for you.

Okay, I’m hearing you. I have been hearing you lately talk about hypocrisy. My husband and I are hypocrites to our kids. We tell them to speak kindly while yelling at them. We use foul language and tell them not to. I tell them to work hard, but I don’t show them what hard work looks like. We are hypocrites. No wonder one daughter is bitter and the other is confused.

I admit it. I can also admit I feel powerless to change. I don’t feel I can just make myself more patient, kind, or loving. And here we are to the fruits of the Spirit again. You and you alone are the answer. Help, please!

Don’t try to change her. Find out who I made her to be. Do you think I would treat her the way you do? You have been spiritually abusive to her, perpetuating the abuse you received. It’s time to break this cycle of abuse. You must STOP mistreating her and saying you’re doing it on my behalf. I don’t mistreat people. Stop portraying me to her that way. If you stop thinking of yourself as her parent, it will help. I AM her parent. She is MY responsibility. You are to direct her to me. I get angry when my little ones are mistreated. But I am full of compassion, forgiveness, and mercy.

Oh God, forgive me! Please have mercy on me! I will change. Lead me in your perfect ways. Make your path straight before me. Heal the wounds that still fester inside me because of the abuse I have received. Break the cycle of abuse. Heal me. Heal my husband. And heal my children. Make us all new as only you can. I place myself and your children in your hands. I take refuge in the shadow of your wings. You are our hope.

Those who put their trust in me will not be ashamed. Meditate on verses like that. You will NOT be ashamed. Let that really sink in.


This post is part ten 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.

I Feel Like a Failure

May 23, 2014

Fail, fail, FAIL! It seems everything I set out to do I fail. Is it any wonder I hesitate to set any goals at all? I cannot write here the depths of my sadness and regret, the intensity of my self-loathing.

My husband has been gone on a business trip since Monday. I’ve missed him, but I’ve had a great week. I had planned a thorough cleaning of the house to surprise him when he comes home. Monday we worked very hard, got the bedrooms almost done.  Tuesday we were less motivated, got the girls’ room almost dome. Wednesday I helped one resheet her bed, and after I was so exhausted from fibromyalgia I went to bed for 3 hours. Yesterday was the girls’ school end-of-year party at an amusement park. It was fun, long, and tiring. Nothing got done. Today, my husband comes home and the house looks worse than when he left.

And now the pressure I feel every day, that lifts when he leaves and descends as he returns, is back. I know it’s related to my upbringing, spiritual abuse, and the arguments my parents used to have over the state of their house. It’s also in part from something my mother-in-law said to me once. “The last thing my husband said to me when he left me was, ‘You’re the worst housekeeper in the world.'” Am I going to drive my husband away with my lack of housekeeping? What am I teaching my children? Am I failing them as well? Would they all be better off without me?

I know I should listen to your voice right now, but I’m afraid to. I don’t want deep religious insight. I want this problem to just go away. I want to have physical stamina, a pain-free body, and intestinal fortitude. I want to be young again, skinnier, and not depressed. And it seems all I want is beyond my grasp. I don’t want to fail my kids or my husband, and yet I do daily. Failure perpetuates failure ad nauseum. I don’t want to hear your wisdom right now. I just want to know you care how I feel, love me as I am, and are with me in the depths of my despair.

May 24, 2014

Thank you for listening to me yesterday. After I wrote all that I began to bounce back. Thank you for bringing my husband home safely. It’s good to have him home. He’s even noticed some of the work we did. The kids are so full of excitement to be with him! It’s wonderful to see.

And now I really want to hear what you have to say. Please speak to me.

It’s okay. I do understand how you feel. And I know all the reasons for it. Some came from inside you, and some, MANY, from outside. Your “personality” isn’t now what I designed it to be. It’s full of coping mechanisms you’ve put on to deal with your experiences in the world. Can you give me those coats and hats and mittens and galoshes?

If I do, how do I live? How do I weather the storms?

Take refuge under my wings.

Wow. Sounds easy. Somehow I doubt it is. This will require some thought.

Take your time. Imagine how a mother bird protects her young from a storm. Under her wings they are safe and warm. That’s where you are, safe and warm under my wings.


This post is part eight 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.

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.

“Spiritual Abuse”

Author’s Note: Next to the day I was born and the day I was married, March 29, 2014, was the most significant day of my life. It was a Saturday morning, and I woke with the words “spiritual abuse” circling in my head. I had heard the term once or twice, but had never given it any thought. I grabbed my phone and searched it up. Soon I was reading pages that fingered my conservative Christian college as spiritually abusive. I was stunned. I mulled this over all day, and the next day, I began to write.


March 30, 2014

I’m beginning to see. I’ve always thought the source of my 20-year depression was what happened to me 20 years ago, but you’re showing me it stemmed from my college and even my upbringing. Thank you for opening my eyes. I want to understand the effects of those years on my life. I’m seeing this morning that my fear, the stronghold I’ve talked about so much here, is rooted there. And the years that followed, when I ran from you, were rooted there too. Please repair the damage that was done there.

Apokalupto: to take off the cover, to expose. That’s what I’m doing. I’m exposing your abusers for what they are. I’m uncovering the hurts they have caused. I’m removing the veil.

It was not your fault. The dynamic that caused you to run from me was so much bigger than you. You were not rebelling against me. You were rebelling against the god your abusers had painted me to be. I hate that picture of me. It’s so distorted, so ugly. No wonder you’re afraid of me. Will you let me show you who I really am?

Oh yes! Please show me!

I will. You’re going to be surprised.

April 13, 2014

I’m not afraid. I see you painting a new picture of yourself in my heart. It’s so different, so surprising! Yesterday I began to realize how many man-made rules I try to follow, some from others and some of my own making. For example, what I do or don’t do every day. If I set a goal for myself and don’t accomplish it, I have felt condemnation from you. But you DO NOT condemn me! As for what I do day-to-day, I am free! I am always free in you! I’m starting to get it!

Yes, you are. To you, it feels like you’re breaking out of tight bonds. To me, it looks as if you’re blossoming like a rose. You are blooming where I have planted you. It’s lovely to behold.


This post is part four 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.

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.

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