Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Archive for April 2013

I am an over – comer. 

Through the struggles of a traumatic childhood and an abusive marriage, and entering another abusive, albeit brief, relationship 13 years later, I discovered a set of attitudes and mindsets that had conditioned me to accept abuse as a normal circumstance of my life. 

These attitudes and mindsets had been taught to me as a 7 year old, and continued to be enforced throughout adolescence as a victim of childhood sexual assault.  The circumstances of my childhood/adolescence carried over into my adult life and continued to be the driving force behind my actions and reactions.  After my second failed relationship, a wonderful thing happened as a result.  God allowed me to finally understand the answer to my question, “Why?” 

The prevailing attitude of the heart is one that believes what the lie teaches.  My abuse taught me a distorted perception of truth.  It gave me a false perception of value and worth, but since the circumstances of my life seemingly upheld what I percieved, I believed it to be a fact.  The Proverbs teach, “As a man thinketh within his heart, so he is.”  Or in modern day language, “You are what you think.”  Unfortunately statistics prove that 1 in 3 girls will be, or has already been sexually assaulted by the time she reaches 18 years of age.  That is a staggering figure, and that doesn’t even include those assaults that go unreported.  My own assault had crippled me emotionally, as well as spiritually, for well over 30 years, and robbed me of some valuable things; the right to remain innocent and the right to have a childhood. 

The truth is some of these women who are labeled, “Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Assault” will seek help in one form or fashion. Sadly, and realistically, many of these women will never find release from the past.  They will continue to fill the pews in their prospective sanctuaries on Sunday mornings with a smile pasted on their face, while inside they wonder what is so wrong with them that they are kept an arms length away from God.  Like the woman with an issue of blood for 12 years, these women will continue to believe they are unclean, and unworthy, of God’s love and help. 

My purpose is not to simply bring up horrible memories from the past, but to simply bring the promise of hope for those who remain locked in the emotional prisons of their past abuse.  To declare their freedom, here and now, from those things that keep them shackled to the past emotions.  My purpose is to let women know their lives are worth so much more than just what they can do for someone else.  My purpose is to inform women they can find freedom from the past, not just a cover-up.  My purpose is to bring women into health and healing within their hearts, minds, and souls so that they too can understand who they are in Christ Jesus, how much their Heavenly Father loves them and how much God does care about what took place in their childhood.  I am here to tell them the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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                Do you have a reoccurring nightmare? A dream so terrifying it causes your heart to pound and leaves you with the feeling of impending doom? If so, you are not alone. According to WebMD, approximately one out of every two adults still has an occasional nightmare. And two to eight percent of adults are plagued by them. Traumatic experiences, such as rape, incest, and molestation, are known triggers for nightmares.

For those who suffer from them, there is hope… READ ON!

What is a nightmare?

In ancient times, it was believed a demon or evil spirit would torment or oppress an individual while they slept. As Christians, Ephesians 6:12 tells us our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world. It is not a leap of faith, then, to believe Satan and his minions attack us at our most vulnerable time; during sleep.

Typically, nightmares are vividly realistic and disturbing dreams that occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep.

What Causes Nightmares?

                Nightmares are normally spontaneous, but there are a variety of factors and disorders that contribute to them, such as:

  • Snacking late at night – eating increases metabolism and sends a signal to the brain to begin activity.
  • Tranquilizers, pain medications, antidepressants and blood pressure medications, have also been linked to nightmares in adults.
  • Withdrawals from narcotics, alcohol or tobacco.
  • Psychological triggers – anxieties, depression, PTSD.
  • Sleep disorders – sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.

Re-Script Your Nightmare with IRT:        

                In 2001, Barry Krakow, founder of the PTSD Clinic at Miamonides Sleep Arts & Science Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico, put together a study of one hundred and sixty women, who suffered from reoccurring nightmares associated with sexual abuse and rape. Half of the participants were instructed in imagery-rehearsal therapy (IRT) – a cognitive behavioral therapy in which the sufferer, while awake, rehearses the dream in the way they want it to transpire. The other half were told to continue their current treatments. The IRT participants were then instructed to write down the disturbing dream, and change it in any way they wished. Afterward, they were to spend roughly twenty minutes a day envisioning the altered dream. At the end

of the study, those who practiced the imagery-rehearsal therapy reportedly had significantly fewer disturbing dreams.

 

Living Proof:

                At fourteen, I began to experience terrifying, paralyzing, demonic, dreams. One night my mother said, “Cheryl, the next time you have that dream, tell it, ‘In the name of Jesus, go away.’” My mother did not realize it then, but she gave me the information I needed to re-script my dream. Today, whenever that nightmare returns, I speak the name of Jesus (in my dream) and every single time, the nightmare “goes away,” just as she said it would. And, once I learned a little sign language, whenever the dream paralyzes my mouth, in my dream, I will sign “In – Jesus – name.”

                I know it’s a simple method. But it works. Try it the next time you have a nightmare. Take a few minutes to write the dream in detail. Then, change it, on paper, and envision it over and over again. Tell yourself not to open that door, or go down that hallway, or look out that window. Tell it, “In the name of Jesus, go away.” You will be surprised at the control you have over your dream.

Scriptures to Reflect On:

                God gives us his word – the sword of the Spirit – to defend us spiritually, and to comfort us in trouble. These scriptures have brought me great peace.

  • Psalms 91:1-4 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler (ESV).
  • Psalms 91:5 You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,(ESV).
  • Proverbs 3:24 If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet (ESV).