Humble or Humiliated

May 25, 2014

I had a disturbing dream last night. My take-away is that when I see others as hating, disliking, making fun of me, I respond with my own anger and hate. A friend of mine said I need new “glasses,” that in truth, people like, even admire me. She said when I see people through God’s eyes, I might be very surprised.

As I work through the spiritual abuse issue, I begin to see people differently. The guest speaker at church yesterday made statements I agreed with and some I disagreed with. Here’s the cool thing. I found myself able to both agree and disagree while still feeling love and respect for him, AND I didn’t automatically doubt or berate myself because of his message. I saw him as a lover of God sharing his heart, not as a messenger from God with 100% truth. This allowed me to find his truth and let it have a place in my heart without being guilted into something untrue.

In the past, I have seen myself as “falsely humble.” It had to be false because according to my faith tradition, no one is truly humble. In fact, all this time I was being humiliated by spiritual abusers and their hyper-spiritual, people-condemning rhetoric.

I’m beginning to see my ideas and opinions are just as valid as those of others. As I validate my own humanity, I am better able to validate others, even those who disagree with me, without feeling threatened by them.

And there is true humility. When you realize that you are infinitely valuable because I made you exactly as you are and say you are good, the natural next step is to see that everyone else is just as infinitely valuable as you are! Your abusers were so full of pride themselves, they couldn’t see the value in anyone different from them. But the value of humanity is in it’s diversity! You love others not because they are just like you, but because they are unique, rare, one of a kind! That, my precious child, is humility.


This post is part nine 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: Nasrul Ekram, https://www.flickr.com/photos/inrime_nasrul/997415862.

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.

The Crucible

April 19, 2014

Wow! Big dream. Lots of images from my past and present. I was plagued by fear. People could easily manipulate me because I was afraid. I heard you say, “liquid character.” What are you trying to say?

Fear is a crucible. People have different melting points, but at some point most people’s character liquefies in the face of fear. I want to raise your melting point.

Uh oh. Sounds really scary, like you’re going to turn up the heat.

Some might see it that way. But are you willing to see me as FOR you, WITH you in difficult circumstances? I want you to be who YOU ARE in the face of critics, in the face of people who want to manipulate you.

How can I tell when it’s people manipulating me and when it’s you molding me?

Perfect love casts out fear. If fear is involved, it’s not me.

So you’re telling me not to fear, but people are about to turn up the heat?

Yes, but fear is the crucible. You don’t have to be IN the crucible.

I don’t have to live in fear, but in love.

What does love look like in this metaphor?

It’s not the fire, or the heat. It’s the light.

Yes! Live in me, in the light, in love! You don’t have to live in fear.


This post is part six 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: Dan Brown, https://www.flickr.com/photos/thepuzzler/5439493601

“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.

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.

Reincarnation?

I want so much to be a universalist, to believe that because you love everyone and want everyone to accept you, they eventually will, that you NEVER give up on anyone, that your love really does win everyone to you.

Perhaps that’s why when I saw an article about a Christian mother whose son has vivid  memories of a past life, convincing her and others that he indeed lived that life and reincarnated as her son, I was surprised by my own reaction. Whereas I am usually a skeptic, I found myself inexplicably drawn to this story.

I know you’re big enough to handle any question, stronger than any of my doubts or fears. Still, I wonder if I’ve crossed an invisible line. Have I, in my longing to understand all that you are, wondered about something that would cause you to reject me?

There is no doubt, fear, or question that can separate you from my love.

When I listen to your voice in my heart, I hear only love. In you, I see love personified. But when I read much of the Bible, I see an angry, vengeful God, one who puts to shame all who reject him and eventually casts them into a lake of fire.

How can these two pictures describe the same God? How can you say you want everyone and yet at some point give up on so many people?

What makes me special? Is it just because I prayed a prayer as a child? Is this act of mine all that separates me from “the second death”? The verses I read this morning seem to point to a person’s eternal destiny depending on what they do in this life. But so much of what we do or choose depends on where or when we’re born, how we’re raised, and what we encounter in life. You say you judge with equity, but that doesn’t sound at all equitable to me.

So I have begun to consider the idea that people reincarnate to give them many chances to find you. But so much of what I read in the Bible seems to rule out that idea. When I think of reincarnation as a real possibility, I feel a great love for all people, even those who have wronged me. When I return to these verses about your wrath and judgement, a sense of division and contempt returns. My heart says love points in the right direction, but the Bible seems to point in another. This is a huge issue for me. Please help me sort it out.

What if I give someone every possible opportunity, and in every case, they simply don’t want me? I won’t force myself on them. Am I to indefinitely hold off my promises to those who love me in order for the outliers to have a chance, yet another chance, to change their minds? Do you not agree that there must come a time when enough is enough?

Yes, I suppose so.

And at that point, what is to happen to them? Are they to live eternally in some sort of void in which I, love personified, am not? Would that not in itself be cruel? They don’t want me. Do I simply ignore this? Or do I show them mercy by allowing them to cease existing, to die one last time? And when death and my enemies are no more, I can finally fulfill my promises to those who love me.

But what about equity? Can one go-around on this planet possibly be enough for everyone to have a chance to find you? And what about the stories about people who have seemingly lived before? Am I to just chalk it up to demons as the church teaches?

Whether in one life or many, can you believe that as I do judge with equity, and I do see everyone’s heart, that I do give them every possible chance to find me?

Yes, I can believe that.

Then just trust me with the details.

That last sentence doesn’t sound like you. It sounds more like something I would say.

I know you do trust me, but your heart is filled with many questions. Give me time to show you more. I do care about your questions and want to answer them. But you are bound by time, and I can work with that.


Please view my next post to learn how God used time to clarify many things for me.

Photo credit: Marketa, https://www.flickr.com/photos/toffee_maky/7928636728.

 

Welcome!

Ever wished you could ask God a question? Wanted his advice on a specific aspect of life?

The fact is, a growing number of people are discovering that we can ask God anything, and he will answer! It’s called listening prayer, and it has become the most enlightening and healing thing in my life.

What you will read here are some of the conversations I have with God about my life and family. God’s answers to me are meant for me and may not apply to your specific situation. But don’t be surprised if you see something that triggers his voice in your own heart. He is longing to speak to you too.

I don’t pretend to have any special knowledge of God, just a heart that longs to hear what he says and share it with others who may benefit. Mostly, I hope to inspire you to listen to God for yourself.

If you are interested in learning to hear God’s voice, check out my About page for a great video to get you started.


Photo Credit: Vic, https://tinyurl.com/jwp7n32.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: