The picture was discussed and then we moved to the next photo, one of a 13 year old, her eyes showed an absence of self, she also looked sad and rather lost.
Then to the next photo, that of the sixteen year old, who continued to look sad and unsure of herself.
One may wonder, is she just a miserable character or has she been made to feel the way she looks? The thing is, I know that person, and I know there are a great many pictures of her smiling and looking full of joy, not a worry in the world, certainly not affected by any sadness or harm…. she abides in me.
Last week, on the 13th of an 18 week counselling plan for healing from childhood sexual abuse, an attempt to do a gentle form of regression took place. I don’t think my counsellor has met anyone like me before. I am certain that most clients are deeply emotional and even angry at what has happened to them. Justifiably so…but I feel quite resigned and over it, really, I think.
So why am I receiving treatment for something that is not really troubling me? Good question. Because it is known that the acts of sexual abuse go far deeper than the physical and emotional, but to the spiritual…and it is there that I need healing. I have forgiven my abusers, long long ago, I can even excuse the third abuser, much to the disgust of some. I was told I am justifying his action…displaced loyalty/love? Who knows….but God. But my answer?…they will have all been held accountable by now, as all three are deceased…
We are told to not live in our past. To let the past go, to live in the here and now and look to the future. Good advice. But if your past continues to damage you, unwittingly, if it keeps an evil grip on the very core of your being, then it must be dug out, examined and put away. The past must be, perhaps, cleansed before closing and moving forward. It is not good to dwell on the things that are unlovely, but in the right circumstances, with the right people…..and so this is what I must do…again and again, until there is nothing left to hinder my tomorrow. Like a good gardener, digging out the roots of the weeds to make room for new growth and pruning the dead wood.
So to move on…not to dwell on self but to look outward and to other’s not self. To love as you love yourself…to not be self seeking, self satisfying, self needy. To serve others brings joy, there is more to giving than receiving, and by giving we inadvertently receive that which is so much more than if we had not given.
Which brings me to where I am in the present. I have been in a difficult place, a no man’s land, trying to go somewhere, not sure where, waiting on God to direct me, feeling frustrated, health declining, putting on weight and generally not feeling like progress is happening…feeling stuck in a rut, useless, unworthy, bereft, not myself. If you ask anyone who knew me before 2000 they would have told you that I was seriously organised, efficient, fast worker, “sorted”, thriving best when pressured and stressed and blooming when giving or being needed. The trouble with that was a drivenness to be what I thought everyone needed me to be, a constant seeking of approval, people pleasing, perfectionist etc. No leeway for being just me.
But then, I was hiding and I have hidden for so long I am lost. The labels which gave me “identity” have long gone, and the newer label of “not required” hangs heavily. So the compassion but dismissiveness over the little six year old is superceded by the horror of having all you have known and loved removed from your life. The anger and tears come over those situations, far more than the disgusting act of removing my innocence at such a young age.
Coming to terms with all that has been stolen is a heck of journey to take over an eighteen week period. I am not sitting here weeping as I write, I am simply stating the bare facts in a matter of fact manner. There is no self pity at this precise moment in time.
This place I am at, on my journey, is a middle ground, a place where more healing is being received, a place of reflection, of thankfulness, but also a sense of urgency to press forward, to move in and move on. As the counselling is coming to the end, I am also preparing for surgery to my right foot and possibly later to the left…then there is next year….always looking forward hopefully….being free, growing closer to God, being well and being fruitful. Oh how I long to be fruitful.
This is merely a journey. Joy is coming.
I really enjoy this writers posts. Thought I would share this with you as it highlighted my feelings of unworthiness and how thankful I am that God chose me as one of His many lowly houses in which to dwell.
God Has Friends In Low Places. https://unshakablehope.wordpress.com/2015/04/01/god-has-friends-in-low-places/
The other day I was sitting out in the backyard listening to an audio book and getting a much-needed dose of vitamin D. Two Mockingbirds were darting back and forth just feet in front of me and were making so much noise that it was becoming difficult to hear my audio book. I knew that they had a nearby nest and were only trying to protect their young from a potential threat (apparently Mockingbirds don’t understand that paralyzed people in a wheelchair don’t pose a threat).
Then I saw two beautiful Bluebirds sitting in a nearby live oak tree just minding their
own business. Like me, they seemed to be doing their best to ignore the noise and the antics of the paranoid Mockingbirds. Every five minutes or so, one of the Bluebirds would fly over and land on the roof of a dilapidated birdhouse that Mary’s been meaning to replace. After observing this for almost an hour, Mary came outside and told me that the Bluebirds have a nest in that old birdhouse.
I was thinking that there must be a serious birdhouse shortage in our area for these beautiful Bluebirds to have chosen this run-down dwelling to build a nest. Then I remembered that Jesus was born in a smelly stable. Maybe there was a pair of Bluebirds was nesting in that stable too.
I had somewhat of a revelation about the beautiful and holy taking up residence in dwellings that are far beneath them. It’s the one thing that distinguishes genuine Christianity from every other belief-system that can be named; the Holy Spirit (literally) resides in the followers of Christ.
“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
It’s not a coincidence that Jesus was born in a place that most homeless people would have avoided. But, even if Jesus would have been born in the greatest palace on earth, it would have been far beneath Him. It’s as if God chose the lowest of places to emphasize this.
It’s also not a coincidence that we see this same pattern with the birth of the Church (Acts chapter 2). The Church began with the Holy Spirit indwelling a bunch of very ordinary men and women that were gathered together in a room. From a Holy God’s perspective, that “upper room” was a very “stable-like” scene. But even if the Holy Spirit began His work in the hearts of the holiest of men on earth, it would have been far beneath Him.
The disciples were grief-stricken after Jesus explained to them that He would have to die. He comforted them with the following words:
“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you.” (John 1:16-17)
Later Jesus told the disciples that all of them would abandon Him. Peter stated emphatically that he would die with Jesus before denying Him. We now know that, out of fear of being arrested, Peter ended up denying Jesus three times within hours of making that vow.
But after being indwelt with the Holy Spirit (the “helper” and “Spirit of truth”), this same Peter stood before thousands of the very people he once cowered before and boldly declared that Jesus is “both Lord and Messiah.”
This man that was so afraid of being associated with Jesus on the night that He was arrested that he denied even knowing Him, years later would ask to be crucified upside down because he didn’t feel worthy to die in the same manner as his “Lord and Messiah.”
Biblical knowledge is so important, but theological knowledge alone cannot transform a person the way Peter and the other disciples were transformed: only the Holy Spirit can do that. And this kind of radical transformation is the true and lasting message of the Easter story.
“But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.” (Romans 8:11)
Often feel weary and unworthy of calling myself a Christian. My human instinct is to hide but I have a wonderful husband who covers me through these times with prayer and love, encouraging me to attend church and to pray.
I am so blessed to attend a church where the teaching, preaching, fellowship, worship and prayer is so solid, so heavenly, so God centered. Further blessed by facebook friends who tolerate my outpourings of angst, who reach out their hands and offer support and encouragement as I struggle against my inner torments.
Then there are those who seem to have an inner knowing, an understanding, of who I really am and who I am to become. They know the mask, the horrible wall built up around me and how much that needs to be demolished so that freedom is accomplished and His great works can begin in me.
I have nothing to offer except thankfulness.
This song was suggested by Alan, a well loved and respected man of God and Pastor in Lincoln, one of those unique people who seem to have a deeper understanding.
Although one would never wish these feelings and places of darkness upon another living soul, it is always encouraging to know that you are not alone, it gives hope when you know many of the people who have struggled at this depth have conquered and triumphed through it all.
I share this with you so that you may also know hope, that whatever you may be going through right now is only temporary and to hold on to that hope that better things are most definitely coming…it is promised.
I have always enjoyed reading Proverbs, dipping in and out from time to time, it all makes perfect sense, I am aware of nodding my head in agreement, as I am sure many do. However, one particular verse struck me recently and then, several other writings landed on my lap to impact me further. The verse…”Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Proverbs 1:28
Personally I know this to be true…I know God hides His face when you refuse to be obedient. Having set me free in 2007 I was hungry for him, and despite the pain of separation from family I was in total obedience to Him, which was when He revealed Himself to me. I have pondered upon those events many times during the last six years.
I entered into a friendship/relationship with someone which totally absorbed my time and energy and finances. It was, clearly, an ungodly friendship and despite a few verbal concerns from close friends, I continued as though in disobedience. In my heart, I knew, but my flesh wanted companionship and as I had lost so much, I sought the warmth of closeness with one other. Foolish, utterly foolish. One can make all sorts of excuses as to why one does things, but there is nothing like accountability.
Anyway, long story short, that association came between me and my God. It does not have to be an ungodly association, of course, that can come between you and our maker…distraction, worldly otherness, idols etc etc. It is putting other things, or people, first. It is only when that alternative “first” has gone that you are aware of the distance you have gone from God…you cannot “find” Him and usually at a time you desperately need to be aware of His presence. It is a devastating but common happening.
Time passes and one thinks that reconciliation can take effect tomorrow, but tomorrow comes and the effort of confronting ones own sin is put off until the next day. So it goes and years pass. The effort of making things right becomes harder. It is only by laying our hearts open and surrendering ourselves to God that we can even begin to make the wrong, right. That is the beginning and that is the easy part. The hard part is being obedient, is being consistent, is humbling yourself day in and day out and staying on track. It is so easy to slide sideways. Time passes. Other things come along and interrupt the process of getting on track. In my case a ton of unforgiveness.
There are certain people in my past that I have to forgive time and again, people I don’t want anything to do with but I keep praying about, telling God that I want to forgive them and forget them. Even with my own mother, I chose to forgive her and I did, easily, but I did not want to have a relationship with her. I was fearful of more hurt, more pain, more false accusations. So I kept her at arms length, just touching base three or four times a year. However, in the last four years, we have built a relationship and heartfelt forgiveness on both sides has taken place. The incredible release on removing the boundary, trusting God by being obedient to His will. When we use boundaries as self protective armour we end up creating walls to keep others out. And the close relationships that we do have will be fragile and filled with anxiety. We were born for intimacy and we must let nothing steal our ability to be vulnerable or confrontable. Boundaries cause separation and confusion.
There is a trend today that encourages separation especially if a relationship is toxic. Separation is never right unless one party cannot desist from actually harming the other. Usually there are many ways to confront or deal with such situations. There are plentiful counsellors, but be discerning on who counsels you, more harm can be done, and in Church there are people who can step between and create a safe place to discuss and resolve such situations.
Gentle loving resolution is the way forward. Honesty and understanding is all that is required. Sadly people take the easy option today and cut themselves off from such situations unaware of the devastating effect it can have emotionally, and spiritually on all associated with this relationship, and there is the knock on effect of generational damage.
I closed the door on my mother and if I had been well and had the right support around me at the time, I may have approached it very differently. I too have had doors closed on me by my children, (although delighted and thankful that reconciliation with my younger daughter has taken place) …the ongoing despair and trauma of that, has been devastating, especially as no one has explained to me what it is I am supposed to have done to have deserved that…nor have they been willing to have mediation or seek help through the right the channels Who knows what damage that is causing them and the knock on effect to any children they may have. Spiritual connection between relatives is, generally, looked upon as myth, hocus pocus, even today. I do believe that families have generational issues, I am living proof of such “myths”. Prayer, deliverance, healing are very necessary. Grace, understanding, Forgiveness, are powerful tools that need to be used to keep family whole.
A cataclysmic event takes place when families collide or divide. A spiritual seismic eruption takes place, especially when it is between a mother and her children. A chasm is created which not only affects the people involved here and now, but will continue into the generations to come unless there is a wholehearted reconciliation. It can be too late! Tomorrow may never come. The person you are holding at arms length, the person you have not forgiven, the person you spread lies about may die tomorrow…reconciliation cannot happen. Who are you causing anxiety to? http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/how-to-move-from-forgiveness-to-reconciliation Is God hiding His face from you? Trust me when I say, there is nothing, absolutely nothing that is better than being with God in that secret place. Indescribable. Incomparable. The ability to humble oneself in full acknowledgement of the part you, yourself, have played in the breakdown of relationship, whether it was wilful, accidental, inadvertently or filled with motive, is necessary. To seek forgiveness and to forgive. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:15 And so it is with our relationship with God….. Then they will cry out to the LORD, but he will not answer them. At that time he will hide his face from them because of the evil they have done. Micah 3:4
Sinfulness causes separation and confusion. “This isn’t the kind of scripture we generally like reading, but it does give us a clue about the people God hides Himself from. It’s those who refuse to humble themselves before Him and turn from their sinful ways. Instead they continue to practise evil deeds. They are the ones who won’t be able to find God when they call out to Him. Why can’t they find God? The writer of Psalm 91 gives us a clue when he refers to ‘the secret place of the most high’, and says of those who dwell there that God will rescue them, protect them, answer them when they call, and show them His salvation. There are those God’s hiding from, and there are those who are living with God in His hiding place!” excerpts from Seeds of the Kingdom. How can we enter, and live permanently, in that secret place with God, hearing His voice and knowing His presence. Psalm 25:14 says ‘The secret of the Lord is with those who fear Him, and He will show them His covenant’. ‘Obedience to God is always for our good and His glory. You can never go wrong when you choose to obey Him. The cost of obedience is small, compared with the cost of disobedience.’ Be wise and seek Him. 2015 looms, more time has passed it is time to be wise.
It is amazing to find, although not unexpected, that when you think doors are closed and your life is really not going anywhere, and is perhaps over, that all you have to look forward to is a daily drudge of waiting for it to end, you find that actually the doors are not closed, they were ajar and simply waiting for the right people to invite you in.
Most who know me well, know that I am bold in proclaiming my faith, eager to share it, passionate in discussing it, terribly insecure in backing things up with scripture (for I cannot retain my studies) and of praying out aloud in the presence of other people.
Well things are moving, doors are opening and I almost dare not breathe with the anticipation of it all. So many people have said, so many times, especially in the last year, that God is going to use me. I have been thankful for their encouragement but terribly sceptical, wondering whether the words were merely words and not actually prophetic. I have had a foot in each camp, one that believed God would not use me unless I wised up in all things scriptural. Unless I was well. Unless I was healed emotionally and spiritually. The other foot is on the side of “I am worthy”…that God will use me and time and again I would (when alone) ask Him to do so. But maybe he knew my heart was not full enough, too many fractures, it leaked.
I attend an amazing fellowship….where the pastor does not take no for an answer, where the leadership is powerfully gentle and where discipling is par for the course. It is fantastic. Not forgetting that I am married to an anointed man of God, who is revered by so many and will never retire from ministry has probably helped somewhat!
So there I am, dreading the day someone will expect me to pray for them aloud on the spot and trying to overcome my hideous imprisonment in this field when our pastor calls Keith out to pray for anyone who would care to go forward. He also called my name, but there happens to be another Amanda in the church, so I assumed he meant her…but no, he called me. Mumble mumble. My husband prays like no other (that I have heard). He is loud, passionate, wordy, faithful, scriptural, and he prays like he means what he is saying, he prays like he expects the prayer to be answered. I suppose I could hide behind him? But it is not like me to be a parasite and that is how I would feel. Mumble mumble. Oh I felt so inadequate, but I mumbled…..where is my conviction?
Then again we were called out….same thing. Then invited to join the prayer ministry team, how can I say no. Churlish, safe box. Now I know that some who may read this might think this is such a ridiculous place to be at…I have been asked questions that have ridiculed me over the years, and yes, it is ridiculous, but so are all hang ups and we all have them.
First prayer ministry session I was just growing relieved that no one had come forward and no, I had not prayed that no one would come. Honestly. So we were about to abandon post when someone approached and after she had been prayed for by the other person I was also able to say a small something. Felt stupid, didn’t feel real. But hey, you have to start somewhere, yes?
That evening at church I had planned to go forward for prayer but I was called, with Keith, to come and pray for others, again! Now I know God has a sense of humour, but…..Well there were several people and I started to enjoy it! I was not sure that was right, but that is what I felt.
Another thing, those who know me know I don’t do all ladies things! I don’t like all female anything. I like mixed sex everything. I feel intimidated with groups of women. So there…another confession, another hang up. Well I joined the church ladies meeting…long story short…last week only three of us turned up. It was raining heavily and it was the Thursday before half term so…? Anyway, it was decided we would not carry on with the study but do something different. PRAY. Good grief. Did the person who suggested that know of my issue? Yes she did.
When you trust someone you feel released in being yourself and not someone who needs to pretend. You don’t feel the burden of that other persons’ expectations. I knew there and then that God had been leading me to this moment and I knew that the person leading the group was who He had sent to deal with this issue. I have often prayed and sung in worship that I surrender myself to Him. This was a moment to surrender. I also knew that it would be painless. Difficult, but pain free. It was. I can’t say the walls have tumbled down, yet, but they are certainly less thick and tall.
A new beginning and I am believing that it will grow, it will get better, and prayer will be answered as I give my all into it. It has taken a very long time to get to this bottom step, but at last, I am there and can only climb upward.
An afternoon musings.
I want to walk into those prophecies…the words people have spoken over me. I want that anointing, I want to do great things for God. I want to be remembered for being a woman of God who fought the good fight and not the broken vessel that I am. I know, since becoming a Christian, that I have been remolded a number of times… I know that God will continue to reshape me …. regardless.
Surrender, sacrifice, listening, obedience, praying, sensing the direction of the Holy Spirit (which can be a physical manifestation) discernment, patience whilst waiting on the Lord for his direction in some aspects. Confession, seeking forgiveness, (don’t forget to forgive yourself as well), remembering His promises made to you (and all who are saved ). Fellowship. Love. Loving the unlovable! Forgiving the unforgiveable. So many aspects of being a Christian, a daily work. Checking ones thoughts, checking ones words, checking ones actions. Being accountable.
An evening ramble
Relating is not relationship. To have relationship is to surrender oneself, to make oneself vulnerable to another. It is impossible to think you can be in control of your relationship with God. So many put boundaries around their lives and how they relate and relationship with others, including God. You may hide from people, but you cannot hide from God. He knows you intimately, He knows your thoughts before you even think them. Watch yourself! Remember, you will be accountable, you will be judged, by Him. You are saved, you are forgiven, but you will be judged. Judged on how you treat other people. Judged on your behaviour, thoughts, actions. It is well worth accepting that fact and addressing your future actions…you may think you have the rest of your life and be sorry at the last minute…but why take the risk?
There have been a number of discussions on facebook of late, on the lines of greasy grace, hyper- grace, passivity The Mirror Bible and so forth, which bundled together discuss the opposing thoughts and beliefs of Christians in different “camps”. Although we all share the love of Christ, Grace, Salvation, we don’t all agree on what that actually means.
I am definitely not an authority on what it means, unread, uneducated, untrained, untamed, certainly don’t know scripture well enough to quote it left right and centre and only been listening to sermons for the last seven years, read quite a few books in a short space of time a few years back and came to know God intimately through relating to Him in prayer and supplication. Some of you may have read my, now deleted, blogs and know of the presence I experienced over a period of three evenings? Yes, I know my creator, my Father, my Saviour. So although I may not be qualified to discuss theology, doctrine and so forth, I do believe I have a place from which to state my beliefs.
I have a sense of urgency, a concern for those who are non doctrinal in their walk. Why take risks with your future. Yes your future is certain, but what sort of future. Does it not say we will count the cost…how many treasures have you stored in heaven. Good works don’t count. It is your heart, it is your obedience (not forgetting the ten commandments), it is love. Few treasures means a lesser place….remember that place is for eternity. I don’t know about you, but I want to be right up close to Jesus. My walk so far has been short, but my life has been long and prior to salvation I lead an unrighteous life. How many treasures can I store in the little time left? What if Jesus comes tomorrow?
Don’t throw the bible out because you have found a pseudo bible better suits your feelings. Please.
I asked a question the other day and it went unanswered…maybe you can help? (without being too technical) Can you become unsaved?
All previous posts have been deleted. That book is closed.
” It is difficult for people with a crushed spirit to fulfil their destiny in God because of all the lies and wounding that are affecting their ability to hear and know God. For our purpose and calling under God, is intimately tied up with our spirit”. Peter Horrobin
This year we were fortunate to be invited to attend a discipleship course, Freedom in Christ. Using scripture to give us the tools to overcome strongholds that prevent us from growth. To build us up and set us free. Tools we will be using for the rest of our lives.
Now we are on week 11 of Ellel 365… a personal transformation online course. Personally, I wish I had known about it years ago, it is enlightening and life changing. From my husband, a Christian, writer, pastor, preacher, theologian….. “fantastic“.
Ellel has been life saving as far as I am concerned. Diagnostics and treatments abound. Personally, I have been delivered from soul ties, generational curses, prayed over, and found to have been born with a fractured spirit (the poor counsellor was in tears when she relayed that information to me). To be told by those who have, over the years, counselled, listened, and treated many, that you are the most broken person they have ever known is somewhat frightening, an acknowledgement that my past is a heavy burden and I should be thankful I have survived albeit not very well. Battle scars abound. But not to dwell on those things, and to seek healing to enable growth is the stance I choose to take.
Acknowledgement and accountability stand… the past has afflicted much, but the future is bright and I am thankful (most of the time).
Today, as I write, I must acknowledge that I still struggle and probably always will, but God alone is my comforter and as I lean on Him more and more I know I will struggle less. So thankful for all my friends…those who have been loyal through the years and for the new ones I am making through a new fellowship. Betrayal leaves you phenomenally insecure but learning to trust is part of the future.
It is about finding the way to allow the truths of His promises to sink deep into my spirit and heal the fractured part of me which does not allow me to grow or move forward. It is being self disciplined in my responses when hurt or confused. It is about trust in Him in all things.
Thankful for my home, food, clothes, car to get me to church and visit friends, computer to enable me to do courses and communicate, but more than that, church, friendships (old and new), family, dog, a safe place to express myself (England) and last, but not least, my husband. This man came into my life at a difficult time and has remained through difficult times, promises to stay no matter what the future brings and has loved me through it all. This man says, when I collapse under the weight of the pain of the past from time to time, “it’s you and me against the world”. Assurance that no matter what he won’t let go. Thank you Lord for your provision.
I am so thankful for the reconciliation or reconnection which has taken place with one of my children and her family. There has been much misunderstanding and misinterpretation.
To have rekindled a relationship with my mother and to have received her forgiveness and to receive her admission of guilt and an apology was a huge release.
There is a long journey ahead and many, many hurdles to overcome. I will find my way around those mountains that will not be moved!
“The Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard.”
Isaiah 52:12, ESV
God always provides.