Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘hurt

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“Me”?

I point my finger at my chest, and question, almost in utter disbelief. “Surely, you don’t mean me?”

“Yes,” He said. “I do mean you.”

I tried to wrap my head around that thought. Me. A Jew asking me, a Samaritan for a drink?

I continue to draw water into the earthen pot. I didn’t expect to see anyone here. Usually, I make a point to come to the well long after the other women have gone. I don’t like the looks they give me… or the contempt – I have enough of that for myself. I really don’t need them to tell me what a failure I am. All I have to do is go back home to a man I am not even married to, or think about the amount of suffering I have endured from the hands of men since my childhood. Men using me for their own gratification. These women only care to see the outside, and they will assume what they want to assume. They don’t care to look beneath the surface. But, this man speaks to me of secret things he could not possibly know about me. His words strike my heart. My soul is set ablaze by the words he speaks. I want to hear more.

As I ponder his words, I offer him a drink. How does this man know these things about me? He doesn’t look familiar. I don’t believe I have seen him here before. Certainly, as a Jew, he is breaking all the rules of the traditions the Jews hold in high esteem. Ha. Ha. Can you imagine what the other women would think about this?

“If you knew who it is speaking to you, you would instead ask me for Living Water. This is the water, that, if you drink of it, you will never thirst again.”

“Are you serious”? The words came out so fast, I couldn’t stop them. I slapped my hand over my mouth. It was the strangest concept I have ever heard! “Sir, are you telling me I could drink this water and, magically never thirst again? That is the funniest thing I have ever heard. You have nothing with which to draw water from the well. How am I to taste of this water, sir? Are you greater than Jacob, our Father, who gave us this well? Please, sir, give me a taste!”

His eyes were gentle. His face kind. “First,” He said, “go and get your husband.” His eyes penetrated my soul with such love and warmth, I felt as though my insides were melting.

“My husband?” I stammered. “Sir, I do not have a husband.”

“You have spoken the truth. You have had 5 husbands, and the man you are with now is not your own.”

I dropped my pot to the ground as his words penetrated my heart, yet again. His words burning my whole being. He bent to steady the vessel for me. “You must be a prophet, sir. You know, our ancestors worshiped here on this mountain, but you Jews claim the only place to worship is in Jerusalem.”

Believe me, woman, a time is coming when those who worship God won’t worship him on this mountain, or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship, yet you do not really know who it is you worship. We worship God whom we know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet, I tell you the time has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth. These are the true worshipers the Father seeks. Do you understand that God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth?”

“I know, sir, the Messiah will come, and when he does, he will explain it all to us.” My heart skipped a beat. For the first time I could see a smile spread across his face. A twinkle lit his eyes.

“I, the one speaking to you now – I am he.”

Such profound words falling upon my ears. I didn’t notice the Disciples walk up. The realization of who I was talking to was still sinking into my heart and soul. Somehow, I already knew. In the way his words cut right through me; straight to the heart.

The Disciples didn’t seem pleased Jesus was talking to a Samaritan, and a woman at that! But they didn’t say a word. They just looked on with eyes wide open. But, I didn’t care. The Messiah was standing right in front of me! The One who was coming to free us all. He was here, speaking to me, a woman of great sin.

I have to go. I must run back to my village and let them know who is here and how he has come to set us free! The Messiah is here! And he has chosen me, a woman of lowly stature, and ill repute, to go and preach the Kingdom of the Gospel of Christ.

Do you see what he has done? He has come, even for the likes of me. An outcast of society, he has come to save. He has come.

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If you recognize this story, it is from John chapter 4, “The Woman at the Well.” An idea of the conversation that may have taken place on that day.

Award winning, poet and author, Cheryl A. Thompson, has been a single mother to Trey, Charlie and Brett since October of 1989. Through the trials of her childhood, and the struggles of single-parenthood, Cheryl has learned the importance of a heart attitude toward life and God, and how that attitude impacts a person’s soul and their relationship with God. She is a 1983 graduate of Christ For the Nations, Institute, in Dallas, Texas, and a 2012 graduate of Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, Kentucky. Cheryl has been published in the FaithWriters quarterly book, FaithWriters online magazine, and a contributing writer for the Christ For the Nations—60 Years of Service coffee table book released in October of 2009. She has published articles in Heart Magazine 2012 and WHOA Women Magazine 2013. Her first book, Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault, was published in November 2009.

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Psalm 119:107
I have suffered so much. Give me a new life, O LORD, as you promised. God’s Word ® Translation

I read Psalm 119:107 during morning devotions a couple of days ago. I was struck, in particular, over the sufferings of several friends and families. So many postings on Facebook about the death of loved ones. Personal trials. Heartache. Medical issues. Hurts. Pain. Suffering.

I also was taken back to my own personal sufferings. The life of sexual abuse I endured as a child. The fear suffered through adolescence and early adulthood. They abuse I suffered at the hands of my husband. The heartache of my divorce. Raising my three sons without a godly man in their lives. The sufferings of a single parent: not enough of anything. Loneliness. Depression. Heartache. And, as an adult, suffering through the memory of my childhood. The struggle to become free from the past. Suffering. And, surveying the landscape surrounding me in this space and time, suffering from the loss of my job over two years ago. Running out of savings. Uncertainty of the future. Suffering the loss of my mother — who lived with me for the past 18 years — and the loss of my car, and the loss of my house — all three within six months time.

Pain. Heartache. Suffering.

My life isn’t that much different from anyone else. The whole world suffers. Turn on the nightly news and the suffering of mankind is right in front of us. Well-dressed men and women recite the turmoil, heartache, and debasement of mankind at six, twelve and ten.

Some people suffer for no other reason than pure evil.

There is no rhyme or reason to the suffering of innocent children. Abuse. Abandonment. Starvation. Trafficking.

There is so much suffering!

I won’t lie to you. I don’t have all of the answers. I think I have a tiny piece of understanding that helps me make sense of it. I address the subject in my book Whispers From My Heart more in-depth, but I’ll try to give you the shorter version without compromising the heart of the answer.

Did you know Jesus, the Son of God, had to learn obedience?

It’s shocking to think of, isn’t it?
Wasn’t Jesus the only sinless person who ever walked the face of the earth? He was. Yet, we are told, Jesus learned how to be obedient. Look at the first part of Hebrews 5:8

Hebrews 5:8 GOD’S WORD® Translation
Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient…
Other translations say the same thing.

Why would the Son of God need to learn how to be obedient? Didn’t he already know perfect obedience?

The Perfection of God took on the imperfection of humanity: Human Flesh. Flesh in its fallen state. Drawn toward the propensity to sin. Not only did Jesus fight temptation in the desert for forty days after his baptism, he had to fight against the daily lure of sin in his flesh just like we do. His body was 100% human, and his flesh waged a war against his spirit just as the bible says it does against our own flesh (See Heb 4:15, Gal 5:17, James 4:1 & 1 Peter 2:11). We learn through scripture that He was tempted in every way, just like us, but he did not sin. The one thing we haven’t seen yet is how he learned.

We all know we learn through lessons. Hands on experience. So did Jesus.

Let’s read the entire verse of Hebrews 5:8 Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.

So, through suffering, Jesus Christ learned to be obedient.

Hebrews 2:10 GOD’S WORD® Translation
God is the one for whom and through whom everything exists. Therefore, while God was bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was the right time to bring Jesus, the source of their salvation, to the end of his work through suffering.

The word suffering in the Greek is

:pathéma: that which befalls one, i.e. a suffering, a passion. In particular for verse 10: 1. that which one suffers or has suffered; a. externally, a suffering, misfortune, calamity, evil, affliction

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says this:

Whatever the proud, carnal, and unbelieving may imagine or object, the spiritual mind will see peculiar glory in the cross of Christ, and be satisfied that it became Him, who in all things displays his own perfections in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. His way to the crown was by the cross, and so must that of his people be.

If Jesus did, and we are to follow his example, then we, too, learn obedience through the things we suffer.

1 Peter 4:13 GOD’S WORD® Translation
but be happy as you share Christ’s sufferings. Then you will also be full of joy when he appears again in his glory.

It’s not pretty.
We, as his followers, are to share in the sufferings of Christ. Just take a look at the way the new church in Acts was treated. Look at the way Christians in third world countries are treated. Martyred. We are greeted with words like, “Love not your life until death,” “He who endures to the end,” and “Pick up your cross.” Those are not words of comfort and ease, my friend. They are words of hardship and trials.

Here in the United States, most of us suffer from the things we bring on to ourselves. We disobey God and suffer the consequences of our own decisions, then get mad at God because he is allowing us to suffer. But suffer we should. That suffering, even if it is of our own doing will be our teacher. We will learn.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary has this to say:

1 Peter 4:12-19 By patience and fortitude in suffering, by dependence on the promises of God, and keeping to the word the Holy Spirit hath revealed, the Holy Spirit is glorified; but by the contempt and reproaches cast upon believers, he is evil spoken of, and is blasphemed. One would think such cautions as these were needless to Christians. But their enemies falsely charged them with foul crimes. And even the best of men need to be warned against the worst of sins. There is no comfort in sufferings, when we bring them upon ourselves by our own sin and folly. A time of universal calamity was at hand, as foretold by our Savior, Mt 24:9,10. And if such things befall in this life, how awful will the day of judgment be! It is true that the righteous are scarcely saved; even those who endeavor to walk uprightly in the ways of God. This does not mean that the purpose and performance of God are uncertain, but only the great difficulties and hard encounters in the way; that they go through so many temptations and tribulations, so many fightings without and fears within. Yet all outward difficulties would be as nothing, were it not for lusts and corruptions within. These are the worst clogs and troubles. And if the way of the righteous be so hard, then how hard shall be the end of the ungodly sinner, who walks in sin with delight, and thinks the righteous is a fool for all his pains! The only way to keep the soul well, is, to commit it to God by prayer, and patient perseverance in well-doing. He will overrule all to the final advantage of the believer.

We’ve all suffered. Here on this earth, in this fallen state, we will continue to suffer. And, by those things, we too, like Jesus, will learn how to be obedient to our Father, even to the point of death. Once this life is over, our reward is eternity spent in God’s presence.

This is the life God has promised to those who follow him.

The Apostle Paul tells us the glory waiting for us far outweighs the suffering. I like how the Aramaic Bible in Plain English says it:

2 Corinthians 4:17
For the suffering of this time, while very small and swift, prepares us great glory without limits for the eternity of eternities.

If you would like to do a more in-depth study, you can find more scriptures on suffering here.

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Psalm 109:22 “For I am afflicted and needy; my heart is wounded within me. (NASB)

I don’t believe there is a single human being on the face of the earth, who can say, “My heart has not been wounded.” Sometime, throughout our lives, someone, somewhere, will do something or say something that affects us deeply. So deep, our hearts feel the impact of their action.

In the Hebrew, the word used for wounded in this verse is “Chalal” and it literally means, one has pierced my heart.

The Psalmist cried out to God in the middle of pain and anguish. Saul was after him. He wanted David dead. Ahithophel, David’s trusted friend and advisor, betrayed him in favor of Absalom. He knew God’s favor was on him. David did what he thought God wanted him to do, and yet, horrible things happened to him. He was so wounded of heart that he prayed for God to repay them. Sure, David offered several suggestions in verses 6-13, and again in verses 19, 20 and 29. “Here is what you need to do God… cut him off from the face of the earth… let his descendants be cut off… may there be no memory of him… may a curse be attached to him…”

Harsh?

Maybe not.

David was being afflicted from every side. He was at the end of his rope. Saul hunted him to kill him. His heart hurt over his friend’s betrayal. He was starving. His body was weak from lack of nourishment. David needed help, and he needed it now!

He spoke out of his wounds.

I think about the prayers I prayed before my wounded (pierced) heart was healed. Many times I, too, prayed for curses to be on my abusers. I prayed for their demise. If I could have hunted some of them down, I would have. I wanted more than just their descendants to be cut off… and I wanted to be the one to do it. I not only informed God how he should “repay” them, I fantasized ways of how I could repay them.

I spoke from my wounds.

I think we all do that.

Proverbs 4:23 tells us to guard our hearts for out of them flow the issues of life.
In my book, Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault, Proverbs 4:23 is a key element. Childhood sexual assault creates a number of issues that overrun a person’s heart. Those issues are life altering. They drive our emotions. The afflict us. Make us needy. They flow out of our hearts and affect everything we do. We are weak. And, we know there is only one who can truly help us. One who can save.

David called out to God in his time of need.

In verse 20 of Psalm 109, David prays, “May the Lord repay my accusers in this way, those who say evil things about me! “ Again, in verse 26, “Help me, O Lord my God! Because you are faithful to me, deliver me!” David knows God is his source. His hope. His help. Notice that David acknowledges God as the one who repays. Not David. He knows the faithfulness of God to deliver him, and he counts on it.

We can each take a lesson from David. No matter what we have been through. Whether we have been sexually abused, maligned, betrayed, misused, lied to, or cheated on… no matter what, God is the one who can restore us when we are needy and afflicted, and he is the only one who can heal us when our heart is pierced within us.

Psalm 109:22 “For I am afflicted and needy; my heart is wounded within me. … 26 “Help me, O Lord my God! Because you are faithful to me, deliver me!

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Have you ever dressed up and felt like you were someone else?

When I was a little girl, I used to go upstairs in the attic of our house to play, “Make Pretend.” I would take my mother’s knee length (to her) wedding dress and put it on. I would find high heels to put on my feet. I put lipstick on and those earrings with the screw on post. I’d also get my mother’s make-up and mascara, and make my face look as beautiful as I could. When I finished, I would tease my hair and hairspray it in a bouffant hairdo before getting a tiara and placing it on my head. Then, I stood in front of the full length mirror I became someone else.

I became someone else.

Escaping reality. For a brief moment, as I twirled the full skirt of the wedding dress, I was a princess. I was loved. I was special. Soon, a prince, on a white stallion with a flowing mane and tail, would ride up and fall in love with me. The moment he saw me, he jumped off of his beautiful horse, get down on one knee and exclaimed his undying love for me. He would take my hand as he stood up and kiss me, on the lips. Then, sweep me off of my feet into his strong, muscular arms and we both rode off together, in the setting of the sun. We lived happily ever after. Just like in my favorite fairytale; Cinderella. Fate smiled down on an abused girl and sent her a rescuer.

Who would rescue me?

In my fairytale world, I wasn’t that little girl men used for their own sexual gratification. I wasn’t bullied and beat up by my classmates and siblings. No one caused my insides to break and bleed. Men didn’t take dirty pictures of me. Or lead me away from safety to rape me. In my own little make-believe world, I mattered. I was safe. Popular. My make believe friends heard the words I said, and noticed when something was not right.

I day dreamed a lot.

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I found an old report card when I was in the first grade. My teacher had noted how I had gone from a friendly, smiling, outgoing, straight “A” student to a very quiet, withdrawn, sullen student with a tendency to daydream and stare out the window. I no longer participated in classroom discussions. I wasn’t doing my homework anymore. I was failing. My teacher was concerned. I don’t remember my parents being too concerned, though. Of course, my mother was dealing with 5 other children, mainly on her own. My father, since he was in the Navy, was gone a lot. He insisted that I needed to study more. Do my homework. Quit acting childish. Stop being stupid. But, really, I don’t blame my parents anymore.

My family was broken.

Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, child rape and molestation weren’t topics anyone would discuss openly. Those were things that were swept under the rug. Hidden in a closet. Out of sight, out of mind—so they thought.

All of my siblings were sexually abused. Each of my three sisters, my two brothers and me.

My Parents were broken.

My parents separated, twice. Each time, because of their 6 children, my parents would reconcile. When they fought, my mother would provoke my father on to the point of smashing his fist through the bathroom door. He never hit my mother physically—though he wanted to. My mother verbally stabbed my father in the heart any time she could. She reduced his manhood in an angry statement. Once she got him good, she twisted it deep. My father usually reacted and when he did, my mother would condemn him for losing control. My father, I think, took some of his frustrations out on his children. Overreacting to simple things. Using his belt, roughly, to discipline for minor infractions. Slapping to prove his point.

Yes, we were fractured every which way.

So, I drifted into a day dream world every chance I got. At home. At school. During sexual abuse. When my parents argued. Anything was better than reality I was born into.

As I became an adult, my make believe world was transformed. I no longer played dress up, and I had long given up on a Prince riding up on any horse. My reality had not improved much since childhood. I was still broken. Now, I gravitated toward those things I hid from as a child. Anger. Hurtful words. Control. Fists. Sexual abuse. But, I still found myself drifting off, day dreaming away from reality.

I was still pretending.

I still did not want to be myself. Instead of putting on a pretty dress and lipstick, I now hid behind a smile and obesity. I dressed myself up as happy. The world saw a happy, albeit large, extremely sweet person with a dazzling smile.

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But, if someone had taken the time to research the look in my eyes, I’m sure they would have found the brokenness inside. Messed up. Hurting. Dying.

What does your smile hide?

Counseling has helped. Allowing Jesus Christ access into the caverns of my heart, and letting him expose the wounds so that I could deal with the issues, has also helped. I’ve grown since my first session. I’m no longer that scared little girl. I now understand how much I am loved even when I am alone. And, I understand who my enemy really is. I know that way back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, Satan tried to steal my heart and soul away.

And, I know Satan has tried to steal your heart and soul away.

I Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” NIV

But, Jesus is greater and we no longer need to fear what he tries to do.

I John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

Be blessed and walk in truth today.

~Whispers

Pain.

Sorrow.

Heartache.

Tears.

Many of us have experienced these things at one time or another during our lifetime.

We’ve prayed, and have not received an answer. We have confessed our faith, and then experienced loss during our first trimester; the child we so desperately wanted. We’ve believed, and watched our spouse lose their battle with cancer.

Every day, throughout the entire world, people suffer. Most of us turn our eyes heavenward and ask the question; “Why?”

“Why me?”

“What have I done to deserve this?”

“Why is God punishing me?”

Each of us has had these thoughts enter our mind. It is part of human nature to want an answer for the things that bring us such pain. To validate it and to give it purpose. We do not want our suffering to go unnoticed.

But is God the cause?

Has God orchestrated events that create pain just to teach us a lesson? Would he cause heartache in order for us to grow? I believe God is very much aware of the circumstances that touch our lives, and he allows them to happen. I don’t pretend to understand the reason fully, but I will attempt to offer some explanation.

We live in a world that is fallen from the original glory in which God created it to be. Because of sin, even the earth groans underneath its weight. As long as this is true, there will continue to be symptoms of sin; i.e. sorrow, pain, heartache and tears.

Our world will continue to fall apart. Our hopes will continue to be shattered. We will experience death and destruction in various forms until God calls us home, where the stains of this world can no longer touch us, or, Jesus comes back, and the corruptible puts on the incorruptible.

God never promised us a life free from sorrow or pain. What he did promise is that he would always be with us. He promised to be there in the bad times, just as he is in the good. We can count on him.

Jesus reminds us we are not of this world. The symptoms of this world may touch our lives—such as the loss of a baby during pregnancy, or in my case, rape and molestation—however, those symptoms do not have the right to touch our soul.

Forgive.

Forgiveness goes both ways. God forgives us as we forgive him. I know it sounds weird to say, “God, I forgive you,” but, in our unanswered questions is the emotion of anger. We hold anger toward God because he did not protect us from pain. Our anger rages for the loss we have experienced. In that anger is ill will. We feel like God owes us something and we’re angry because he doesn’t pay up. Forgiveness relinquishes that “right of repayment” we feel we are owed for our suffering.

Romans 8:28 reminds us that God causes all things to work together for good to all who love him and are called according to his purpose” (NKJV)

The pain we experience, though it feels like the end of the world, is not the end. It is the beginning of the rest of your faith walk. It is at this cross road, if you chose to walk forward, that your faith, rooted and grounded in a faith that could only be possible by the things you suffered.

Are you still holding on to God?

Have you entrusted your future to his hands?

If you aren’t there yet, don’t worry. There are still processes you have to go through, emotions you need to vent, but in the end, where will you go?

One verse resonated with me through the years of my struggle.

“Where else can we go, LORD, for you have the words of life.”

Peter uttered those words after following Jesus became hard to take; after the crowds, disillusioned by his words, abandoned him. Jesus asked the twelve, “And what about you?” (See John 6:60-68).

He still asks the same question today.