Living My Own Story

One day, for a change, I turned on my television—something I seldom do—and watched part of a movie that I had never seen before. And I am so glad that I did, because there was a line of dialogue at the end that really rang true to me. It just kept whirling around inside my head, and I even wrote it in my journal so that I would not forget it. Here’s the line: “No man can walk out of his own story.” This quote just kept speaking to me.

My own story. My own story? At that time, I did not want to walk my own story. I wanted to be someone else and live her story, not mine. I did not want to be the one who had been molested as a child, and who still lived with the effects. I did not want to be the mother of a child who also had been molested and who was struggling with her own issues. I did not want that story! I wanted the story in which only good things had happened to us and continued to happen to my children and me. I wanted to rewrite my story and then to run and jump right into it. But alas, that happy story was not for me.

For some reason God had allowed me to live a story that was filling me with heartache and despair. And I cannot, no matter how much I would like to, walk out of my own story. But one thing that I can do is to choose how to respond and react to my story. That is something that I can change. I alone can change my attitudes and thoughts concerning the things that trouble me. I alone can choose not to dwell on the negative, but to change my mindset to the positive and remember all the good things that are a part of my life, too. I know that if I were to place all the negative things and all the positive things in my life on a scale, the good would absolutely outweigh the bad. So why did I focus so much on the negative?

Romans 12:1-2 says, “I urge you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect (NAS).” Our world today is full of negative things. This world is Satan’s domain, and he wants to kill, steal, and destroy all that is good.

I needed to be transformed. I needed to be different from the way that I was. I needed to transform my mind and my life to what God has planned for me. Through this verse, God promises that, when I choose to renew my mind, I will find the story that God has for my life. He promises that my new story will be good and acceptable and perfect. This verse does not promise that everything that happens to me will be good and acceptable and perfect, but it does say that God’s will for my life, if I choose to live it, will be all those things.

It is hard to understand how that works. But when I choose to live and to believe the promise, then I am worshipping my God. So my choice is this: To know and believe that I am living the story that God has given me, or not to trust and believe but to grumble and complain and be unhappy. So I choose to dwell on the good that God has brought forth in my life in spite of all the hurtful things from my past. As a result, my faith has grown and my relationships are better. I have found true friends who are helping me through this journey.  These are just a couple of the wonderful positive gifts that are a part of my life now.

So, what about you? Is your mind dwelling only on the negative parts of your story? Do you want to run and jump into a different story that is not your own? Today, let us allow God to renew our minds and to show us the story that He has written just for us. He has promised that the story He gives us is good and acceptable and perfect. I want that story. Don’t you?

Blessings – Lisa

Looking In From The Outside

Depression is such a crazy, confusing, frustrating thing. I absolutely hate it, but I find myself there more often than I care to admit. Unfortunately, other members of my family also struggle with depression. We are all on the road to recovery, thankfully, but we are at various stages in counseling and in different phases of depression. As the mother and caregiver for two daughters, I find great difficulty in dealing with their emotions while I am walking down the same path myself.

During those stressful days when both of our daughters had moved home out of necessity, one week in particular was just horrible. There were days upon days filled with the girls’ crying, angry outbursts, selfish behavior, and even shutting themselves in their rooms.  I was constantly saying the wrong thing to them and making matters worse. Sometimes they would not even get out of bed in the morning, so it became my responsibility to get them up and out of the house. I had to keep our day-to-day lives going: wash, clean, cook, iron, pay bills, and do whatever else it took to keep the household from falling apart. On some days, I longed to be the one who was crying, who stayed curled up in my bed in my room. But I just kept going.

Finally, one Saturday, I had just had enough. My heart hurt. I needed encouragement or a word of wisdom from God. So He gave me a picture. As I stood at my kitchen sink, looking out the window, our cat suddenly jumped up onto the window ledge outside. She just sat there, staring at me with her huge yellow eyes. She watched me as I worked in the kitchen. I could feel her longing to be inside the house with me, but she was outside looking in. I realized that all she could see from that windowsill was me, working in the kitchen. 

I felt much like that cat concerning my daughters. I wanted to come inside their heads and know what was going on in their minds, but all I could get was a small glimpse into their lives. I could not understand them because, like the cat that could only see into my kitchen, I could only see the girls’ outward behavior. What was going on inside their hearts, souls, and minds was hidden from me. I longed to know my daughters’ struggles and what caused them to cry, why they turned away from me and hid inside their rooms. There were so many unanswered questions. Living with them but knowing that I could not “fix” them or protect them was very painful for me. The hurtful past was still influencing their lives these many years later. I was so sad. I left my kitchen, went away and wept.

But then God spoke to me through my tears. He reminded me that my girls were not alone in their houses of grief. He promised me that He was there in their houses with them. All I could see was the girls’ kitchens—and I could not see God there—but in the other rooms of their houses He was working. I needed to believe that. Just as my cat had been sitting on the ledge looking through the kitchen window into that one room, I realized that I could only see a small portion of what was happening in their lives. I could not see God in their lives, but I had to believe that He really was there.

Matthew 7: 24-25 says, “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine, and acts upon them, may be compared to a wise man, who built his house upon the rock. And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and burst against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded upon the rock” (NAS). What my girls needed from me was prayer for their spiritual foundations, so that their houses would not fall. I had been neglecting my prayer time for them, but I now realized that I needed to repent and pray for them as they struggled on their paths to wholeness and healing.

Do you know someone who struggles with depression? Do you feel helpless, not knowing what to do to help her? Pray for her foundation. Pray for her to allow God full access to all the rooms of her house. He is the only One who can keep her life from falling apart. We can only peer into the lives of our loved ones through small windows, but God alone lives in their houses with them. Start praying today.

It’s Time to Stop and Rest

On my road to wholeness, I have worked hard to be steadfast and constant in my effort, driven to do what needs to be done. I have faithfully attended my weekly counseling sessions, unpeeling layer after layer of hurts and pains. But after all these weeks and months of “doing,” the healing process seems to have stopped suddenly. I have had to sit still instead of forge ahead, and I feel as if I am accomplishing nothing.

But, boy, am I wrong. It turns out that God has decided to test me, to see whether all that I am learning is just head knowledge or whether His Truth is really permeating my soul. In His great wisdom, He has designed this test in the form of tremendous changes in my life. The first major change came when both of my daughters moved back home. One of my girls has moved home just for the summer, but she is really unhappy about being here with her dad and me. And the other daughter, who moved out on her own seven years ago, has had to move home for an indefinite stay to recuperate from extensive foot surgery. She is so incapacitated that I have had to help her with literally everything and, like her sister, she is angry about the loss of her independence and freedom. While the girls are here, I have no time for weekly counseling.

On top of that situation, my mother-in-law is dying and is not expected to live much longer. And my grandchildren are scheduled for a week-long visit at my house while their parents enjoy a much-needed vacation. There’s no time for counseling. I can hardly even leave the house.

This is not good. I have more issues that need to be resolved, but how am I going to complete my recovery if I cannot go to counseling? What am I going to do? Instead of healing, I find myself shutting down, and old fears have started to reappear. Wait a minute. Haven’t I already worked through all those things? But my family situation has made me tired and worn out, with little time for myself. I am so overwhelmed that I have even stopped reading the Bible and praying. What a mistake! In my mind I have started condemning myself again, and my thoughts are troublesome.

But wait. There’s more. A hailstorm has put our new car in the body shop for repairs, road debris has wrecked the rental car, and the possibility of a career change looms over my husband. My stress level is rising. I have started to long for someone to talk to about what is going on in my life, but who could that be?

As I lie in bed, chewing on my circumstances, I can feel God telling me that He Himself is the only one to whom I should go. What a novel thought. I know that (in my head), but I have not been practicing it (in my soul). I must go to Him alone. I must stop and rest in Him alone. I feel as if I don’t have the time to stop and rest, but I am wrong. I can make the time, and I have made the time. James 1:2-6 tells me,

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea, driven and tossed by the wind (NASB).”

So during this time, I have been facing various trials—a freak hailstorm, an unavoidable obstacle in my lane of traffic, an unexpected life-changing job offer—all so sudden and piled on top of my family troubles. What am I to do?

I am to consider it and then count it as joy. But for this to happen, I must ask God for wisdom. Instead of freaking out and becoming distraught, I will rest in Him. I will not doubt, but will believe and rest in Him and count it all joy. Then the result will be a perfecting of my faith as I walk on the path that He has set before me. Have you found yourself stopped dead in your tracks, right in the middle of your path to wholeness and healing? Are you wondering what in the world God is doing right now?  Does your whole life seem to be going haywire, and you just cannot figure it out using your own power? Then just stop. Sit still. Consider what is going on around you. Count it all joy. Ask Him for wisdom on how to proceed.

What perfect work is God trying to accomplish now? Let’s rest in Him together and find out.

Blessings – Lisa

NOT WHISPERS, BUT SHOUTS

The human mind is an amazing thing. It holds thousands upon thousands of bits of information gathered by the senses—things that have been seen, heard, touched, tasted, or smelled. Our brains catalog and store all that information. Then sometimes a particular sight or smell will trigger a good memory. Or perhaps, on the other hand, a certain taste or noise may bring back a bad memory of a hurtful situation.

Going to counseling has helped me to realize that specific sights, sounds, tastes, smells, or sensations often trigger memories of situations from my past. When this has happened, I would tense up and feel afraid, or I would hyperventilate and feel smothered, or I would scream inside and feel shame. It was as if I were experiencing again the pain and trauma that I had been dealt in my childhood.

Unfortunately, this type of sensory trigger affected my marriage in a significant way. I had come to hate the noises—the usual, natural sounds—that occurred during my intimate time with my husband. Part of the problem was my fear and embarrassment that our children might overhear us even though we were in different rooms. But another part of the problem was the feeling of deep shame that I associated with those sounds. My journey to wholeness was progressing as I dealt with issue after issue, but this one difficulty seemed to intensify as I became more aware of it.

How could I talk to my husband about this without hurting his feelings? Would he understand? Would he ridicule me? How was I going to overcome this situation? My counselor had two suggestions. First, she instructed me to play music in my bedroom and then go to each of our children’s bedrooms and lie on those beds and listen. To my surprise, I could not hear the sounds coming from my bedroom. I was so relieved! That simple little exercise took care of one of my anxieties.

My counselor also instructed me to interject some sort of alternate sound into our bedroom during my private times with my husband. So I chose to play music from my phone to provide a sort of auditory focal point. However, before I could put this strategy into practice, I had to talk to my husband and tell him what I was doing and why. That was a very difficult task for me. He and I had never talked about that. But I opened up and told him. He loves me, so he understood and we made a plan.

As my counseling continues, and I work through the bad memories associated with my molestation, I know that the shame that I now feel will be defeated and that my intimate relationship with my husband will flourish. I wanted a Bible verse to claim, and God whispered to me to read the book of Zephaniah. So I got out my Bible and found these verses that He wanted to speak over me. Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The LORD your God is in your midst, ‘a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing’” (ESV). I needed to hear that God is near me and loves me.

Verse 19 continues, “Behold, at that time I will deal with all your oppressors. And I will save the lame and gather the outcast, and I will change their shame into praise and renown in all the earth.” I heard Him say to me that He Himself will help me deal with all of the oppressors who are battling against me, and that my shame will be turned into praise. What a glorious thought! One day, all of my feelings of shame that have been buried deep inside of me will be forever turned into praise. I cannot wait. And just think: He is going to do all the work.

Is there some area of your life on which shame has a grip? Is shame stealing the good from your life? Remember this verse with me and let us claim the promise together. One day there will be great praise for us. God will rejoice over us with shouts of joy. Not whispers, but shouts! Let us take our victorious warrior’s hand and walk with Him now, as He fights this battle for us.

Blessings – Lisa

STEP BY STEP

During the process of my coming out of the closet—literally coming out of my bathroom closet to dress and undress—I received a new assignment from my counselor. She encouraged me to go shopping for a new nightgown, one that did not hide who I was as a woman. At that time, I usually wore un-feminine sleepwear that covered me up and made me invisible. Honestly, I was very skeptical about this assignment and doubted that I would even be able to fulfill it.

But I got up my courage, and went to the mall, and found the lingerie department of a well-known chain store. (There was no way I could have visited Victoria’s Secret or a similar store. I was not far enough along my journey yet!) So I shopped around in the department store and found a nightgown that was modest, comfortable, and soft. But when I tried it on, I stayed inside the dressing room a long time, talking to myself. I was trying to convince myself to leave the dressing room, go to the checkout, buy the gown, and go home. Finally, I did just that.

However, once I got home, I stuffed the new nightgown, bag and all, into a dresser drawer. And I left it there. For weeks, I was at a stand-still. For days and days, I thought a lot about that nightgown in that bag in that drawer, and I even thought about opening the drawer, but I didn’t do it. Every day, I tried to rake up the courage to open the drawer but, alas, I always turned around and thought, “Maybe tomorrow.” Then tomorrow arrived, and I actually took the bag out of the drawer and looked at it…and put it right back into the dresser drawer. I had discovered that I really could open the drawer and take out the nightgown-in-the-bag, but it was a few more days until I opened the drawer again. But eventually, I did open the drawer again, I took the bag out of the drawer, and I laid it on the chair next to the bed. Whew! I had finally gotten the nightgown out of the drawer, so now I could start thinking about actually taking the nightgown out of the bag. It would take a couple more days of walking past the bag and thinking about it before I could move on to the next step.  But I took that next step. I took the gown out of the shopping bag and laid it on the chair. Of course, I covered it up so that no one could see it. I alone knew that the nightgown was there on the chair. Finally, I tried it on and then hid it once more on the chair. Then, at last, I put on the gown and wore it to bed. This was not an easy task. There were many steps, and days would elapse in between the steps. The process was exhausting, emotionally exhausting.

Philippians 4:13 assures me, “I can do all things through Him Who strengthens me” (NAS). I was not able to put on that nightgown in my own strength, but God’s strength and encouragement through those weeks are what kept me on track. I CAN do all things. That is the message that God wants me to receive and understand. I had been working so hard for so long to make changes in my life, and I was feeling like such a failure in this area. But what does the book of Philippians tell us? We can accomplish all things, because He gives us the strength to do the hard things. He gave me the strength to go shopping, to buy a new feminine nightgown, and to wear it.

What hard thing is God asking you to do on your road to healing and wholeness? Does this task seem impossible? Let us remember the Truth that God has for us in His Word—that we can do all the things that are needed for our restoration, no matter how large and overwhelming or how small and insignificant they may seem. In verse 19, Paul continues, “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Do you see that wondrous Truth? God strengthens us and then He supplies our needs richly.

What about you? Is there some difficult assignment that you must fulfill before you can move on to the next step on your road to recovery? Believe that, when you complete that step, He will help you with the next one, and then the next one, and so on until you find yourself basking in the riches that He wants to bestow upon us so freely and lovingly. My message to you is this: Do not give up! Keep on relying on His strength and help. Someday, in glory, we will finally be completely whole. Until that day comes, let us walk our road here on earth in His strength. Grab His hand. Let’s go.

Blessings – Lisa

Healing Our Emotions: Let’s Get to Work!

As I worked on improving my self-image and healing my relationship with my husband, my counselor gave me some new assignments. First, she told me that I had to read Song of Solomon. This may sound like an odd assignment, but I had previously mentioned to her that I could not read that book of the Bible. In fact, I hated that book. But my aversion to Song of Solomon really grieved me, because I have a love for God’s Word and His Promises and His Truth.

My counselor encouraged me to read Song of Solomon and to replace the distortions I had about relationships with the Truth. To fulfill my assignment, I was to ponder God’s idea of sex. So, as difficult as it was, I began to read through the book for my devotion every morning while I prayed for God’s help for my situation. Reading Song of Solomon broke my heart. It broke my heart because I realized that I did not have the right emotions inside me toward my husband. Instead, I felt numb and frozen.

At my counselor’s urging, I began to write in my journal daily about the good qualities that I found in my husband. Every day I wrote that he is my best friend and I love him. Then I began to write that he, too, is “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I started looking for his strengths and for the qualities that I like about him. My lists became longer and longer, and my feelings about our situation gradually changed.

My husband and I began having a devotion time together every morning. Those devotions helped immensely, forging a bond that drew my heart closer to his. I realized that I had the power to change, and that I could, after all, have the loving relationship found in Song of Solomon. My healing process would involve a lot of healthy self-talk, but I knew that I had to gain the head knowledge first, before my deceptive emotions could turn around and the good and true emotions could become a real part of me.

To help with this process, God gave me a vivid picture of what had been happening in my life. I can laugh now about the image God gave me, but I did not laugh then. He gave me the picture of a stained commode as an illustration of my life. In my house, the children’s bathroom was not being used on a regular basis and, as a result of my depression, I had not been as diligent as I should have been concerning cleaning that bathroom. When I finally did go to clean that room—yikes!—I found a serious hard-water stain in the toilet bowl. I was not happy about this situation. But then, God sent a message to my heart.

That commode was my life, and those mineral stains were the result of all the years that I had allowed negative thoughts and hard feelings to reside in my heart. Satan wanted to stain my heart and to make my life ugly. He wanted to convince me that I would never be able to feel healthy emotions or have a normal married life. God, however, whispered to me that, with a good scrubbing and much hard work, those stains would be gone and my life would shine again. Just like that commode, I would be able to function in the way that He intended. Such a crazy picture! But it brought hope to my heart.

Yes, I had to get the gloves and cleanser and brush, and I had to work hard. But I could clean up that stained commode. I could also clean up my stained heart, if I were diligent about my thoughts and feelings and believed the Truth that I find in God’s Word. I made a conscious decision to replace those negative thoughts with good and pleasant thoughts. I found a promise in Song of Solomon. Chapter 2, verses 10-13 says,

“My beloved responded and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along. For behold, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone. The flowers have already appeared in the land; the time has arrived for pruning the vines, and the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land. The fig tree has ripened its figs, and the vines in blossom have given forth their fragrance. Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, and come along!’” (NAS)

God was inviting me to come along with Him, to know that my winter was passing, and that a spring full of flowers awaited me.

Are you in the winter of your journey toward healing? Do you struggle, wondering if you will ever be a whole spouse again? Do you have stains and feel ugly? Listen. Do you hear Him calling you and responding to your plea? He says that it will take some hard work on our part, but we must clean and scrub away the thoughts and feelings that have stained our hearts. But as we do so, He still calls us His “darling” and His “beautiful one,” and He wants us to come along with Him as we walk toward that promised land that is ripe and full of good things. Let’s go along with Him as He responds to our cries and says, “Come along!”

Blessings – Lisa

How Precious and Vast is God’s Love for Me

I am very assignment-driven. But one of the most difficult homework assignments that my counselor ever gave me centered on my closet, or more specifically on my need to dress and undress inside my closet. For you see, I did not want my husband ever to see me without clothes. I had not always been that way but, as my sexual issues became more and more intense, I became more and more adamant about not being seen naked.

I did not want my dear husband to see me while I dressed or bathed. I demanded that my “bathroom time” be totally mine, even though my husband and I share a bathroom and walk-in closet. Admittedly, some of this reluctance was due to the weight that I had gained through the years, but mostly I just did not want to be seen.

Then, as if this problem was not bad enough, it escalated to include my not wanting to be seen during our intimate times. That meant that sex occurred in total darkness—no lights, under the covers, and wearing as much clothing as possible. Of course, this was a very difficult and frustrating problem for our marriage.

When I confided in my counselor, she gave me a new set of assignments. I was to stand in front of the mirror at home fully clothed and make a list of the things that I liked about my body. After that, I was to repeat the exercise but without clothing, making a new list of what I liked about my body. And all the while, I was to remember the verse that had been with me since the beginning of counseling and to say that verse aloud every day: “For I am fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14, NASB). The Psalmist continues in verse 17, “How precious also are your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!”

Revisiting my journal from this time, I realize that it took me a full week to write anything positive after looking at myself fully clothed. Then I needed an additional two weeks before I could undress and look at myself in the mirror. It was a very difficult assignment. However, as I tried my best to fulfill my counselor’s instructions, I finally started seeing a few things that are unique to me as a person: my hands, my good complexion, my hair, a little crooked place on my left ear. I had a list!

About this same time, I saw an episode of What Not to Wear that centered on the unhealthy issue of using clothes to hide your body. The client receiving the makeover was experiencing exactly the same problem that I was fighting. Like me, she felt shame and guilt, and longed to be invisible. Through the television show, God reminded me that I am not alone. I’m not the only woman going through such a journey.

I wish I could tell you that I was instantly healed overnight. Thankfully, things have gotten better. I still have a way to go, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. I believe that God’s thoughts toward me are precious and vast, and I remember that my husband loves me very much.

Do you dress in the closet and try to hide yourself from your loved one? Has this impulse caused a problem with your spouse? Then I want you to repeat along with me, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Say it again, and believe that God’s thoughts toward you are immeasurable. All the oceans of the world could not contain them.

Do not let your abuser win this situation and take those priceless truths from your mind. No! Again I tell you from God’s own Word, YOU ARE fearfully and wonderfully made! Believe it, and come out of your closet. Come out of the darkness, out from under the covers. You are so very precious to our God, and He wants you to live a life of light and freedom. Let’s believe it, and let’s start today.

Journeying To A New Land

As I walked along my journey and finally began to address my sexual issues, strong new emotions began to surface. As soon as I opened one door, the feelings that had been stuffed away for so long flooded over me. One of those emotions was anger. I was angry because I felt so alone. I felt as if I could not tell anyone else about my problems with my husband. I had a terrible secret that threatened to explode from within me. I became furious with my husband over minor infractions. For example, he was late one day when we were helping our daughter move to a new apartment, and you would have thought that he had committed a felony by the anger that washed over me. Poor guy.

As weeks passed, my anger flared up more and more often, and over the littlest things. So, again I knew I had to discern the truth about the situation. The truth was, of course, that I was not alone concerning my sexual problems. God was with me, and the knowledge of that truth was enough to help me. God gave me Psalm 37:7-9, “Rest in the LORD and wait patiently for Him; do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes. Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; do not fret, it leads only to evildoing, for evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the LORD, they will inherit the land” (NAS).

Satan certainly wanted to carry out evil schemes against me, but I was commanded to rest in the Lord and not to fret. I had to release my anger because anger only leads to evildoing. As a result of letting my anger go, I would inherit a new land, and this new land is my marriage. God had promised me that my marriage would be restored. I chose to believe God’s word and to be patient in the work that He was doing in my life.

Another of the emotions that attacked me was hopelessness. I did not feel as if I were changing fast enough. In fact, I did not feel that I would ever really change. Again, I had to look at the truth of the situation, the truth that my marriage could be restored and that God can work miracles. I cried out to God to help me believe this truth and soon began to feel peace and hope. In Psalm 37 I found another promise. Verses 10-11 say, “Yet a little while and the wicked man will be no more; and you will look carefully for his place, and he will not be there. But the humble will inherit the land, and will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” Abundant prosperity—that was what I was going to hope for. Then one day I would be able to look back and see that my hopelessness had been replaced by healing and wholeness. What a promise to cling to in my time of need!

Along with anger and hopelessness, I also experienced fear during this period of my journey, especially fear of making decisions. For some reason, I started feeling as if whatever I said or did had no value. I felt voiceless and worthless. I felt bad about myself, caught in that never-ending cycle of negativity. Would it ever end? As I discussed my predicament in counseling, I was given a new assignment: to be more assertive about what I really wanted to do in my life. That assignment was more difficult than it sounds, because I realized that I really did not know what I liked or what I wanted. I had to figure out what was important and meaningful to me. Over the years, I had retreated so much into myself that I had become a non-person without likes or desires. So this assignment turned into an adventure.

In Psalm 37:23-24, the Psalmist says, “The steps of a man are established by the LORD; and He delights in his way. When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong; because the LORD is the One who holds his hand.” With these verses, the Lord assured me that he delighted in me, and that I was a person with meaning and purpose in my life. If I did stumble, He was there to hold my hand and lead me in the way I was to walk. Oh, how I needed to hear that word. I chose again to believe the truth, that I am a person of worth.

What truths do you need to claim? Satan wants to steal, kill, and destroy your life, but God wants to give you a new land, abundant prosperity, and meaning and purpose to your life. Give Him those hurtful emotions and believe with me that there is hope, hope for a new life that is blessed and happy. Believe. Let’s take God’s hand and walk with Him in the delightful way He has for us.

Blessings – Lisa

An Inspiring Word of Hope

I survived sharing about my deepest hurt and sharpest pain! My counselor gave me a new assignment, to deal with the truth of my situation. And here is that truth: My husband is not my abuser. Every day I wrote that statement in my journal. Every day I meditated on the fact that my husband is not the person who had inflicted great pain on my mind, body, and soul. Then, the next week, I added another truth to my arsenal against the enemy who wants to defeat me. Like the first one, this new truth was critical to my healing. My husband loves me very much. During the following weeks, these two truths became imbedded into my heart and consciousness.

Whenever I sensed the approach of negative feelings about sex, I remembered these truths. Over and over, these two truths had to be written and rewritten in my journal. How strange that something that had happened to me when I was six years old could dictate how my body would react to my husband over fifty years later. Like all my other battles, the battle over my sexual issues has always been about truth. I needed to rewire my emotions. The devil is the father of lies, and his lies had filled my mind long enough. I decided to walk in the truth.

When I was finally able to confront my sexual problems, God gave me scripture from the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 1:4-5 says, “Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations’” (NAS). God reassured me that He has known me since before time began and that I am special to Him. He has consecrated my life to His Purpose and His Plan. As I write these blogs, I see that He has also appointed me a prophet to the nations, a voice for those who may need these words to find hope and comfort in Him during their journeys to wholeness.

Jeremiah 1:6-7 continues, “Then I said, ‘Alas, LORD GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.’ But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, “I am a youth,” because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak.’” Jeremiah was making an excuse. My excuse—my fear—was that facing my sexual issues with my husband was going to hurt more than I could bear. I was afraid that I would never be able to change, that I would never be restored. That fear had followed me for months.

But God responds to my fear in verses 8-10:

“Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD. Then         the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me,          “Behold, I have put My word in your mouth. See, I have appointed you this day over           the nation and over the kingdoms, to pluck up and to break down, to destroy and to           overthrow, to build and to plant.”

God tells me not to be afraid of the feelings and emotions that I have to work through, for He will deliver me from my bondage and pain. He encourages me and assures me that I will “pluck up and break down, destroy and overthrow, and build and plant.” What an inspiring word of hope! I know I must cling to those words, because all those actions take time. Those actions also take diligence and a plan. But I am ready to move forward and taste the fruit that will one day be ripe for the picking.

What about you? Are there lies in your life that need to be replaced with the truth? Are you willing to believe that all that has happened to you has been consecrated by God so that you can do a work in His Kingdom? Do you believe that one day those wicked things in your life and mine, whatever they may be, will be broken down, destroyed, rebuilt, and planted anew? Oh, let us believe! Let’s get that plan together and move forward to bask in God’s love for us. I can taste that fruit now.

Blessings – Lisa

Hope, Not Shame: A Cherished Promise from God.

So far in these posts, I have not yet shared about the deepest hurt and sharpest pain that I have endured due to my being molested as a child. This particular wound has been the hardest one for me to face and discuss. It has to do with the subject of sex. Just writing that last sentence was painful for me. In today’s society, sex is commonplace, but for me it is hard even just to say the word sex.

But it hasn’t always been that way. When my husband and I were newlyweds, we seemed to have a normal marriage, healthy in all aspects. I cannot really tell you when the changes in our intimate life began, except that I remember starting to have problems at about the time that our son reached puberty. The timing makes sense to me now, since my molestation had come at the hands of teenage boys. Back then, though, when those memories were still stuffed away in my subconscious, I did not know why our sex life had suddenly become a problem.

In counseling, I have learned that women who are molested as children generally follow one of two paths as a result. Some victims become sexually promiscuous. Others go in the opposite direction and hate sex. Of course, this is an oversimplification, but you get the picture.

I chose the latter path. When I heard other married women talk about their husbands in glowing terms, I only thought about how much I hated to be touched. Going away on a romantic weekend was not my idea of a good time. These irrational feelings only made me believe even more that I was weird or that something was wrong with me. I hated to watch love scenes in movies, explicit or implied. I especially could not watch a movie that involved rape or the sexual degradation of women. I began to dress inside my closet so that my husband would not see me without clothes. Sex became torture for me. I gritted my teeth and felt actual physical pain. I cried out to God, but continued to spiral into deeper and deeper depression.

When my husband and I tried to talk about this issue I always came away feeling worse about myself than ever before. All the things he shared with me were true. He said I “should” want to be with him. I “ought” to feel the way a wife is supposed to feel. I knew all those things in my mind, but my body just would not cooperate. It really is a miracle that my husband stayed with me through all those years—a miracle, but also a great testimony of his love for me and his commitment to our marriage.

I began to derive my love and acceptance from my children instead of my husband, because my children didn’t demand any physical love from me. I turned the love that I should have had for my husband toward them. I knew that this was wrong and that I should love my husband first, but the sexual issues were too hard to overcome. My sexual problems multiplied ten times over when our daughter first started dating. I felt that I was in a pit of despair and found myself with no hope.

Then I found a counselor who helped me believe that there was hope for me. Oh, how I wanted to believe that I could be “normal” when it comes to sex. And the journey to wholeness began. Little did I know that I would have to confront dumb, stupid, ugly, unforgiveness, bitterness, and all the other pains and heartaches that I encountered along the way before I could actually start dealing with the issue of sex. Each victory over those other problems gave me strength and courage to believe that this struggle, too, would have a good outcome, and gave me hope in my future with my husband. I really could be the woman God created me to be.

Joel 2:12-13 says, ‘Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and […] return to the LORD your God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in lovingkindness and relenting of evil” (NASB).

I knew that now was the time to give myself wholly to my healing, because it involved more than just me. Only then could I claim the promise found in verses 23-25:

     So rejoice, O sons of Zion, and be glad in the LORD you God for He has given you the              early rain for your vindication. And He has poured down for you the rain, the early and        latter rain as before. The threshing floors will be full of grain, and the vats will overflow      with the new wine and oil. Then I will make up to you for the years that the swarming          locust has eaten, the creeping locust, the stripping locust, and gnawing locust.

But the most cherished promise of all is given in verse 26: “Then My people (including me!) will never be put to shame.” I have hope that all the years that were stripped from me will be made new and I will never again have shame!

I am ready to face this new challenge. Come with me, Friend, and He can do it for you, too.

Blessings – Lisa