Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

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“It’s in the past, get over it.”

How many times have you heard that?

Exactly what is meant by “get over it”?

Do they mean:
Stop being so needy?
Quit crying?
Act normal?
Quit being a drama queen.
Stop rehashing the same old story?

Throughout my journey to heal people quoted that exact phrase to me. People, who did not understand the process of healing. Well meaning people who didn’t understand why I couldn’t let go the past. They didn’t understand the underlying issues associated with sexual abuse. I was accused of being a drama queen. Of loving attention. I heard, “It happened such a long time ago, Cheryl, you just need to let it go now.”

They were well-meaning, but they were wrong.

Most of the time, when I heard those words, I became angry. Angry because, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn’t “get over” what happened. I couldn’t flip a switch to turn off the internal roller coaster. I tried to get better by reading self-help books– I devoured them. I tried talking to myself positively and ended up berating myself for not believing. I did bible studies only to believe God must intend pain and suffering for my life. I did everything I knew in order to “get over” the years of rape and molestation. Yet, my pain and anguish of yesterday still ruled my today’s.

I couldn’t “Get Over It.”

For the longest time I felt as though something was mentally wrong with me. I thought, “I must have some kind of psychological problem, and that is why I can’t “get over” my abuse.” How many times have we told ourselves that very thing? That has to be the reason, right? Otherwise, I would be strong enough to overcome… wouldn’t I?

Isn’t that what we are taught?

Ignore it, it will go away.
The past doesn’t matter, it’s over.
Don’t talk about it, it just brings up bad memories.
The past is just that; past. It’s over, don’t dwell on it.

Those phrases almost sound like good logic. And there are plenty who talk a good game, but you know what? The past doesn’t stay in the past. It resurrects itself in the present. The past creates problems now. It oozes into your relationships, and spills out into every aspect of your life. In reality, your childhood trauma not only affects you, but it affects everyone around you. Maybe that is the real reason we’re told to “get over it.” If Childhood Sexual Assault stayed in the past, where it belonged, those of us who have been abused would lead happier, more productive lives. But the past doesn’t stay buried, does it? The pain of childhood rape and molestation does not understand it should not show up in the here and now.

You can’t just “Get Over It.”

Childhood Sexual Assault is not an illness one recovers from quickly. There isn’t a prescription we can take to clear it up. We can’t wash it away with a few scented baths. We can’t talk ourselves out of the pain. We can mask it, we can cover it over and think we have healed, but unless we experience true healing, our past will continue to affect us. It isn’t easy to just “Get Over It.” It takes real healing, not to “get over it,” but to overcome every single issue of Childhood Sexual Assault.

Healing is a journey — a series of small steps — lasting years. A journey designed to uncover every issue affecting our lives, and one that must be walked out day by day. One step at a time. One issue at a time. One layer at a time. Peeling back each layer and inviting God to deal with the wound.

My hope, through the things I post here on Whispers, is that those who have never been assaulted at any time in your life, will find an understanding into the heart of the one who has. Maybe a post will help you understand your sister, your mother, your friend, your neighbor or your co-worker. Maybe you will have more patience when you hear their story for the one thousandth time. Maybe, by reading this blog, you will find more compassion for the struggles and set backs those who are overcoming sexual abuse face. If nothing else, maybe the words, “It’s in the past, get over it,” will never be said again.

Cheryl Thompson is an award-winning poet, and author, and single mom to Trey, Charlie, and Brett, and “Gammy” to Dillinger. She’s got a few degrees, but most of her learning came from very difficult seasons in her childhood, and adulthood. Through it all, Cheryl learned an importance for keeping a heart tender for God. She is a freelance writer and blogger, who has been published in the FaithWriters quarterly book, FaithWriters online magazine, the 2009 Christ For the Nations—60 Years of Service coffee table book. She has published articles in Heart Magazine 2012 and WHOA Women Magazine 2013. Cheryl’s first book, Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault, was published in November 2009 and awarded the Christian Choice Book Award 2010.

You can follow Cheryl on Facebook here: and Twitter here:
You can purchase Whispers From My Heart here:

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I was on a rampage last night.
I had read an article stating the American Psychiatric Association was going to re-define pedophilia as a sexual orientation.
I saw red.
I wanted to blast the APA.

Then today I read this:

“APA stands firmly behind efforts to criminally prosecute those who sexually abuse and exploit children and adolescents. We also support continued efforts to develop treatments for those with pedophilic disorder with the goal of preventing future acts of abuse.”

You can read the entire article here:

I made a huge mistake.
I let my emotions take over instead of researching it totally.
I let my anger rise up and wanted to lash out.

Especially when I read things like this: An Italian Appeals court reverses a 5-year prison sentence against a 60-year old pedophile because the 11-year old girl professes to love him. They were found in bed together, naked, at his seaside cottage. What makes this worse is, the child is from a disadvantaged background and the man, who works for social services took her in.

The Italian court will further victimize this girl if they allow this man to go free.

Then I read this: Where a convicted pedophile has YET to serve out one day of his 43-year sentence due to a rare bond that allows him to remain free while the case is tried on appeal, which could take years. Meanwhile, the victim lives in fear and the father anguishes.

And then there is this one: where a judge gives such a lenient sentence for a convicted pedophile, even after the judge heard letters from the girls and how the abuse affected them.

I don’t understand this.
It boggles my mind.
Not to mention what it does to those kids who were brave enough to break the silence in spite of their fear.

What kind of message do we send the victims when Judges are lenient? Or worse, when they ignore the abuse altogether?

I know eventually there will be a judgement seat where all sins are judged righteously. There will be no political correctness; no media spins; no threats, just God requiring of every man and woman an account of their lives. Then true justice will be served.

Until then we must speak up.
We need to take the power away from those who abuse little children.
The silence must be broken.

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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

Boy, it’s hot!
Are we there yet?
I’m thirsty.
The sand is burning my toes!
It’s really hot.
And, I’m really thirsty… and hungry.
Why can’t we go back?
I want to go back!
We should have never come!

The children of Israel had witnessed miracle after miracle in the few short weeks since they left the confines of their prison. The land of Egypt. Pharaoh. Forced labor. Cruel taskmasters.

God showed them his might and power. His strength. He had parted the red sea. He went before them in a cloud by day, and a column of fire by night. In this time, he had provided them and all of their livestock with enough water to keep them hydrated. God went over and beyond what was necessary while leading the children of Israel around in the desert for forty years.

And yet, they grumbled.
They weren’t satisfied.
They were hot.
They were tired.
They wanted a Big Gulp.
Well, okay, there weren’t any 7-Eleven’s back then, but they were thirsty.
They wanted to go back to Egypt.

Wait.
Why would they want to go back to a place of slavery? A place of turmoil and hard, cruel labor? A place of sadness? Where taskmasters beat them for any and all reasons? It certainly couldn’t be for the pots of meat they said they missed. Ok, well, maybe the did miss the onions and the leeks… they didn’t have a garden in the desert. And, Safeway wasn’t even a thought in anyone’s mind at this point.

They grumbled and complained.
They weren’t satisfied.
On a trip that should have only taken them ten days, they wondered for forty years. Round and round and round they go…

Why?

Why wouldn’t they make a straight B-Line to their land of Promise? Why drag over a million people through the desert sands?

Deuteronomy 8:2 tells us:
Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way these 40 years in the desert, to humble and test you in order to make known what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. (ISV)

Ew.
We have the privileged of hind-sight for the Israelites.
I’m pretty sure they flunked that test.
With flying colors.

Egypt, and its paganistic way, was revealed to be deeply ingrained within the heart of the children of Israel. It’s idol worship — as evidenced by Aaron making the golden calf so they could “worship” a god they could see, even while Moses was on the Mountain receiving the ten commandments. You can read the account in Exodus 32.

The children of Israel may have left the land of Egypt, but Egypt did not leave them.

The bible goes on to tells us an entire generation perished in the desert because of their disobedience (See Numbers 32:13 – the NIV states: until the whole generation of those who had done evil in his sight was gone). They were not allowed to enter the Promise Land. Only those born in the desert, save a few (See Numbers 32:12), were allowed to cross the Jordan. They grouched and complained that Moses had drug them away from Egypt… the entire forty years. They held on to their idols… they complained… they demanded to go back to Egypt…

They couldn’t let go.

I liken the prison of Childhood Sexual Assault to the slavery of the Children of Israel in the land of Egypt. CSA is cruel, harsh, and demanding to the one who is enslaved by it. It becomes ingrained in the heart of its captive. A parameter of what is known. A way of life. Those of us who are survivors learn to adapt to our surroundings.

Once we begin to walk away from our cruel taskmaster, and believe me, God wants us to walk out, everything that once was taught to us as normal or acceptable must be released. God will deliberately take us through our own desert in order to reveal all that is in our hearts. We cannot allow even a remnant of ground for our former taskmaster to gain another foothold.

We must let go.

The length of our journey depends on us. Our attitude. Our reluctance to let go. Our idols.

What did we pick up along the way?
Fear?
Low-self esteem?
Anger?
Hatred?
Bitterness?
Pornography?
Identity issues?
Sexual Promiscuity?
Prostitution?
Or, the fear of the opposite sex?
The list could go on.

What idols do we trust in more than God?
Self?
Ritual?
Jujitsu?
Revenge?
Religious practices?
Christian books?
Whatever we insert into the place of God becomes an idol to us.

When God begins to work on our hearts, to reveal everything we hold on to and trust in, our job is to let go. Let it go.

It hurts.
I’m afraid.
I don’t want to re-live that nightmare.
I don’t want to cry.

But, in letting go you become free. There is an entire land flowing with milk and honey on the other side of this desert…

I don’t want to let go of my anger.
I don’t want to release my bitterness.
I want to hold on to revenge…
I’d rather stab him in the eyes…

It’s hot.
I’m thirsty.
I wanna go back.

Let the children of Israel be a lesson to you.
Don’t be like them.
Don’t hold on to the past so tightly that you can’t enter into your Promised Land.

It’s going to be hard.
It’s going to be tough.
It might take you longer than a few years to get there, but with each step forward, you will get there.

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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.

It’s just not fair!

How often have you said that? Me, I’ve said it so often I own the copyright! Not really, I’ve just said it many times in my life, especially when life became hard.

Why is it that things in life can be going along just fine, and suddenly, one thing goes wrong, like too much month at the end of your money, or the loss of a job and not being albe to pay the bills. I’ve experienced both quite recently.

The very first thought to run the gambit of my mind is how unfair life has been to me, (I have a masters degree in the college of hard knocks, and working on my Ph.D. in strugglenomics). I question why God allows me to continue to squeak out a living throughout life—I’ve been a single mother to three boys since October 1989 and life hasn’t been very easy raising three boys alone. I question why God wouldn’t help me rise above the poverty line. I question why everyone I know seems to be doing well and I continue to struggle just to make ends meet.

Why me?

That’s another question that worms its way into my thoughts. Why is it always me?

When I’m in the middle of a particular hardship, it’s hard to see past the turmoil to the other side. I can’t see the strength and character this particular trial will produce because I’m wrapped up in the here and now. I’m focused on the problem I am facing and not on what that problem will accomplish in the spiritual realm.

Let’s face it, no one likes to face difficulties. Wouldn’t we rather have life happen to us with ease, with little discomfort and have every day filled with happiness? Of course we would, but life isn’t like that, is it?

No. It sure isn’t.

Life is full of struggles that won’t seem very fair, and it will continue to be so. God allows hardships in our lives to strengthen our walk with him. To break our dependence on things, and turn our dependence onto him and him alone. Trails are never to punish us, but to prove us—to provide evidence of our faith in God.

If you or someone you know is facing a tough situation right now, hold on! And remember, God is still in control. He is faithful and will not leave you on your own. He delights in watching your faith and character develop.

He is with you.

Image

Photo taken in front of Parliament, Hull, Quebec, days after 9/11

I’m not sure how it all began really. I didn’t start on this journey having a love affair with the written word.  As a matter of fact, I hated English.  As a high school student, I spent all four years in one semester of Freshman English.  FOUR YEARS!!!  On the last day of Freshman English in my Senior year, the teacher signed my yearbook, “You finally memorized the semester!”  His remarks didn’t boost my self esteem one bit!

All throughout my high school career I came to dread whatever English class I was forced to take in order to earn my diploma.  But, in my Senior year, Greek Mythology came along and I loved it!  I soared through that class with such speed–and top of the class grades I might add–that I even scared myself!  Thinking back, I connected more with the stories–given my vivid imagination–than I did with the structure of each sentence that made up the story.  I am still like that today. I would rather read something that has meaning than I would discover how the sentences are structured and why. Oh so BORING!!!

I may never get the sentence structured exactly right (that’s why Editors get the big bucks!), but I have a need to write.  Writing saved me.  It has given me an outlet to express the words that flow through my heart.  It gives me the ability to tell my story.  It gives me purpose.

Words tend to get jumbled up and misspoken when they pass through my lips.  I can clearly hear them in my head, but for some reason, once they roll off the tongue the words don’t seem to be as convincing as when I first thought them.  Emotions seem to be the driving force behind the length of the words I speak.  Shyness tends to decrease the amount of words, while anger and frustration tend to increase the amount of [uncontrolled] words that fly out of my mouth. Joy and sorrow also have a way of increasing and decreasing my words, but in each instance, the heart of what I want to say is missing.  That is what writing is to me–the heart of my words.

You get a glimpse of my heart, whether it is one of my poems or my first book ‘Whispers From My Heart’ which was published in October of 2009.  Writing tells the story that needs to be told; connecting with the heart of the one who reads.

As you read, don’t be too judgmental of my writing skills. Read the words with your heart open and hear what I have to say…you just might see that you are not alone.


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