Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘Wounds

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On January 28th, Casting Crowns will release their newest album, #Thrive (See video below).

As I watch the promotion of their album, and the “month of giving” on their Facebook Page (here), I began to wonder, “How can we thrive in life if we live in brokenness”?

We all face brokenness at one time or another in our lives, but for those who have lived through childhood sexual assault, brokenness becomes a way of life. The norm. Many times, just the thought of living outside the realm of “broken” is scary. It’s all we know. But, if we choose to move forward, is it possible to actually thrive while still in the state of brokenness?

I believe so.

Thrive is defined as:

to grow strongly and vigorously, to do well; prosper.

Growing Stronger:
In order to grow stronger one must be willing to seek healing. As long as the past continues to control the present, becoming strong isn’t possible.

When I first began my journey to healing, I could barely speak of my rape and molestation without breaking down. My past would suffocate my words and choke them off in my throat. As I allowed God into those broken areas, something marvelous began to happen. The intensity of the pain began to lessen. I could talk about my past easier than before. Today, as I look back, my past does not hold the same emotions it once did. I am able to speak to a group of women without breaking down. Oh sure, I still get choked up every now and again, but it does not cripple me. I have grown much stronger than I was on day one.

Growing stronger doesn’t mean you aren’t going to have bad days. You will. Growing stronger means, on those bad days, you work through the emotions — cry, journal, pray, talk with your counselor, etc. You aren’t content to stay and wallow in your pain.

During the early period of my healing it was tough. My emotions were out of whack, to the point I could barely function. I viewed myself as an empty shell then. My counselor encouraged me to begin writing down what I felt. She told me to be honest; don’t hold back but to write down everything that came to mind about my abuse (she also encouraged me to find a hiding place so my thoughts were kept private — I encourage you to do the same). I followed her advice. One look at my old journals will tell you what stage I was in. There are a lot of angry entries. Hateful entries. “Why me?” entries. But, there are entries that show improvement. Entries of forgiveness… hope… encouragement. Growing stronger meant, I didn’t remain in my anger, or hatred. I worked through them to forgiveness. I worked through “Why me?” to hope. And finally, to encouragement.

To Do Well:
Part of healing is being broken. Broken enough to allow those emotions to come forward. To seek God, and seek wholeness from him.

This journey to healing isn’t a quick trip. It won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. Time and a willingness to continue forward is a sign of doing well. Sure, you’ll have setbacks, everyone does, but those setbacks don’t hold us back.

Do you remember this quote?

it doesn’t matter how many times you fall .. what matters is how many times you stand up, shake it off, and moving forward .- Unknown

It’s true.

You can hit the dust 1,000 times, but as long as you get back up, dust off, and take another step forward, you are doing well. You are moving forward. God isn’t looking at how many times you’ve stepped backwards. He isn’t worried that you fell. He is interested in you getting up… He’s cheering you on. He is beside you, whispering in your ear, You can do it! I believe in you!

Thrive

3 John 1:2 says,
Our beloved, I pray for you that you will prosper in all things and be well, just as your soul prospers (ABPE).

God wants us to do well. He wants us to thrive.

In order to thrive, we need to know who we are in Christ Jesus. We can’t understand who God says we are if we aren’t reading his word. Our soul prospers as the word permeates our insides and changes us. Changes our hearts, our minds, our thought process, and our actions.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Cris Corzine, counsels sexual abuse survivors every day. She believes in teaching her clients about their spiritual identity.“Because knowing who we are in Christ is the key to victorious living.” “My favorite scripture for all time” Cris relates, “is 2 Cor 5:21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (NIV).”

We are righteous because of Christ. Accept it. Embrace it.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~

Each time we allow God into those areas of our heart that are wounded and hurting, we heal. As we heal, we grow. As we grow, we get stronger. As we get stronger we begin to #Thrive…

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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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You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed
Psalm 139:16 (NIV).

It was a struggle for me to understand.
Before I was ever born, God knew what would take place in my life… and he let it happen. He knew what those men would do to me, even before they were ever born… and he allowed them to be born. He allowed them to grow into men who would sexually abuse little girls.

Why?

That question plagued me for years. It was the source of my discontent with God. The wall that separated us.

Why? God seemed distant. Cold. Uncaring.

Why became the reason of disbelief.

Why? You must not love me. If God loved me, he wouldn’t have let this happen. He would have protected me. He would have answered my pleas for help.

Why became my reason for rebellion.

Why? If you don’t love me enough to keep me safe, then I won’t love you. God doesn’t deserve my devotion. I will live my life for myself. I will do what I want to do. I will use men the way they used me.

Why became self preservation and protection.

Why? Since you don’t love me enough to protect me, then I will live for myself. No one will get close enough to hurt me that way, ever again. I will keep relationships at an arms length. I won’t be vulnerable again.

Why became the fuel for my anger.

Why? You don’t care! God doesn’t care, so why should I? God doesn’t protect people, he is a distant, angry, uncaring deity that doesn’t deserve me. In fact, I hate him! If I could, I would slap him in the face for tricking me into thinking he did care about me.

Funny, even in my anger I didn’t deny God existed…

It’s hard to reconcile a loving, caring, personal God with the bad taking place our lives. One who knew everything there is to know before we even existed. We associate love and protection together. We love our own children and we protect them… or, we love our brother, sister, spouse and we protect them. We do everything we can to make sure they do not suffer. So, when bad things happen to good people (especially) we can’t wrap our minds around it. It is almost unfathomable to us that an All-Powerful God, who certainly has the ability to stop bad things from taking place, doesn’t.

It’s taken me the majority of my life to come to terms with it. Why? no longer haunts me. Sure, I still have questions, but those questions don’t stand in a gulf between God and me. God really doesn’t mind the questions.

In all of the days God saw for me, before even one of them began, just as our verse states, some one else was making plans. Someone who did not have my best interest at heart. Someone whose plan was to destroy my life with God before that relationship ever had a chance to begin.

The scriptures tell us, in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Satan is the god of this world.

Look at what I John 3:7 & 8 says:

GOD’S WORD® Translation
Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you. Whoever does what God approves of has God’s approval as Christ has God’s approval. The person who lives a sinful life belongs to the devil, because the devil has been committing sin since the beginning. The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy what the devil does.

By his Word, we know those who are not following God — obeying his commands — follow Satan, whether they accept it or not. Those men and women under Satan’s power are influenced to behave as he would have them behave, to accomplish his end. He [Satan] used those men, in their sin, to create havoc in my life. The ultimate purpose was to destroy my relationship with God (See John 10:10). To thwart the good plans God had for me (See Jer. 29:11).

God gave those men in my past a choice. They chose to sin against God by disobeying his command. And, they chose to sin against me by giving into their sin. Their choices had no bearing whatsoever on God’s intention for me and my life. Not then, and not ever.

Does that make sense?

One of the greatest things God gave us, other than his Son dying for our salvation, is the ability to make choices. We aren’t robots. We have a conscience that should help control our actions. But, when sin has such a grip on us — and child molesters are definitely held in the grip of that sin — personal control may or may not be that easy.

In my opinion — and this is just my opinion, I haven’t done any research to back this up… yet — Sexual sins are harder to control because of the physical pleasures they produce. The chemicals exploding in our bodies during sexual pleasures are very intimate and personal, and once they begin, are hard to get back under control. This is how I view my rapist, and my molesters. Men, so deeply trapped in their sexual sin, unable to resist the urges that plague their minds and their bodies.

Even though I understand what happened back then, it neither excuses their behavior, nor does it absolve them. I believe, with every fiber of my being they will be held accountable, and if the blood of Jesus has not covered their sin, that particular sin of rape and molestation will be the nails securing the lids on their coffins. They will have to stand before the Living God and answer to him.

Yes, God saw every one of my days, including the ones where terror and pain existed, before even one of them ever came into being. He saw them and provided the way in which those days could be overcome.

Isaiah 61:1 Jubilee Bible 2000
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to preach good tidings unto those who are cast down; to bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound;

That is the message today. God saw every one of your days, before they ever began. He knew the pain and terror that would fill some of those days, and he provided the way for you to overcome. He provided Jesus, not only as salvation for your soul, but as healer for your heart.

Be Blessed and #WalkInTruthToday

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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The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will take me safely to his heavenly kingdom. Glory belongs to him forever and ever! Amen. II Timothy 4:18 ISV

I’m drowning.
Turbulent waters cover my head. I fight against the current but I’m not strong enough to push through the water. Dark, murky water swirls around me. All of my senses tell me its no use to fight. These chains drag me down, entangled around my limbs, but I can’t give up.

Insecurity chokes me.
What if my strength completely fails? What if I continue to fight when I should just give up? What if this is what I deserve? Is God disgusted with me, like I am with myself? Everywhere I turn I seem to fall into some trap. I can’t find my way out. It’s too dark. There is no light to follow.

God, help me!

It is the prayer I have cried out many times before.

Help me overcome.
Help me escape.
Help me to be stronger.
Help me to be wiser.
Help me to not fall again.
Help me to not be a disappointment to you.

I am here.

What?

I am here with you.

Why are you here? In this place? With me?

I have come to lead you out.

Me? But, look what I’ve done!

I know. I’m here to lead you out.

I do not deserve it, LORD! I am too sinful. Too dirty. I deserve to stay in this place… in my shame. Look what I allowed myself to do! Don’t you see it?

Yes. I have seen your struggles long before they took place. You have been hurt in many ways, and through that hurt you have searched for healing and acceptance in the wrong places. You sought comfort in the arms of another human being, when it is My nail scarred hands that hold the ointment to heal.

Do you know what has been done? They told me I didn’t deserve better.

It is a lie, My child. The enemy wants to confuse you. To complicate My Word. He has been doing so for many generations. Using circumstance of this earthly life to convince you that I am angry with you, or that I do not care. But, I am giving you eyes to see those things are not so. That is why I am here with you right now. I have come to show you the Way — the one true way to the Father. I am here to show you the Truth — the reality standing right before your eyes. I am here to show you that I am the Life your heart yearns for; the true life in the spirit not the life of this world. This world leaves you in need, but My Life satisfies that need. In seeing those things you will be rescued from the plot of the evil one.

After everything I’ve said and done, you are still willing to help me?

Oh, my dear one! What you have said, and what you have done are small matters compared to eternity. My Blood — the Blood I poured out through the cross — the very first time you came to Me, as a trusting child to give Me your heart, I covered your sin. All of it. From the moment you were born until the day you leave this earth, your sin has already been covered. I am here to help you, not because you are perfect, but because I love you. Because you have given your heart to me.

I crumple to my knees.
Tears stream down my face.
How could such forgiveness and love find me? Me, of all people? Here in this place?

I let His love wash over me.
The load has fallen from my shoulders.
I can breathe again.
I stand and turn, and walk away.
As I leave I hear the distinct sound of chains falling. Crumpling to the ground. I hear the sound of prison doors opening.

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Some quotes from others that have moved me in my soul.

“… A scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them. We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.” ― Chris Cleave, Little Bee

“In a futile attempt to erase our past, we deprive the community of our healing gift. If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame, our inner darkness can neither be illuminated nor become a light for others.”
― Brennan Manning, Abba’s Child: The Cry of the Heart for Intimate Belonging

“Some people see scars, and it is wounding they remember. To me they are proof of the fact that there is healing.” ― Linda Hogan

“Wounding and healing are not opposites. They’re part of the same thing. It is our wounds that enable us to be compassionate with the wounds of others. It is our limitations that make us kind to the limitations of other people. It is our loneliness that helps us to to find other people or to even know they’re alone with an illness. I think I have served people perfectly with parts of myself I used to be ashamed of. ” ― Rachel Naomi Remen

“The pain of an injury is over in seconds. Everything that comes after is the pain of getting well.” He gave her a heartfelt look, full of apology. “I’d forgotten that you see. Coming back to life … It hurts.” ― Tessa Dare, Twice Tempted by a Rogue

“Listen to God with a broken heart. He is not only the doctor who mends it, but also the father who wipes away the tears.” ― Criss Jami

“The wound you refuse to dress is one that will never heal. You gush lifeblood and never even know why. It will make you weak at a critical moment when you need to be strong.” ― Karen Marie Moning, Iced

“Remember that grief is a necessary pain. It’s your only way to heal. To starve it will destroy you.”~The Grimoire” ― S.M. Boyce, Lichgates: Book One of the Grimoire Saga

“Our task shouldn’t be punishing the villains in our lives, but enlarging the God who heals us from all wounds.” ― Mary DeMuth, Everything: What You Give and What You Gain to Become Like Jesus

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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