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.

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

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.

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.

Rhythms of Grace

Good Morning, God. I keep thinking about the incident with my daughter last night. I’m sensing part of her anger toward me is related to the new limits I have placed on Internet use and that I’ve linked it to helping out around the house. Give me insight and help me understand how to restore connection with her.

There are rhythms to grace. The waves crash on the shore in an unending cycle, year after year. Tides rise and fall. Storms come and go. One wave is higher or lower than the next. So it is with your expectations. They are always there, consistent, steady. But one day they may be high, another low. Don’t try to force your children into daily sameness. Let them surge when motivated and rest when needed.

Show yourself the same rhythms of grace. Don’t try to work up a high tide when it just isn’t there. You will find my expectations of you are also as the waves. I know when you are ready to surge and when you need to rest. I allow for these cycles. In fact, I created them. And I created you and your children to flow with them. Get familiar with the rhythms of grace. Watch them. Listen to them. Flow with them like a child playing in the waves. Yes, life can be this fun!

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