Perfect and Complete

The truth of God’s great love for me was not the only truth that I found while dealing with Ugly. After working for a while on my list of the physical attributes that I liked about myself, I started getting comfortable with it. Then my counselor started meddling again. (Please understand that I say that with the greatest respect.) She gave me a new assignment, to list the specific ways that God was showing His great love for me. So I began to list them in my journal.

Here’s a part of that list:

  • I am fearfully and wonderfully made. (Of course this is first on the list, since I had been writing it daily for weeks and weeks.)
  • I am a new creation.
  • I am a person worthy to be liked.
  • I am loved by God and very special to Him.
  • He guides me.
  • He protects me.
  • He shows me His ways.
  • I receive His Grace and Mercy every day.
  • He made me unique.

Now, let me clarify something about writing these lists. When I am writing one, it usually takes me about a week, and I cry a LOT! I never knew that a person could cry so much. When someone like me, who was sexually traumatized but then stuffed it away for forty years, starts feeling and healing — well, the emotions just come and come and come.

God started sharing a truth with me through two verses.  Colossians 2:10 says, “[A]nd in Him you have been made complete” and Philippians 1:6 continues, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He Who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (NAS).  It was not by my looks that I was made complete, nor by what others thought about me, but it was Christ Himself Who completes me. I am not ugly because Christ made me, and He made me complete.

God also promised me that the work He had started in me will one day be perfected. As I looked at these verses again, I realized that it was not just any work but a good work that He wants to complete in me. So I began to write these two precious Scriptural promises in my journal every day. I believed that God was using what had happened to me in the past; the mistakes I had made; the struggles with Dumb, Stupid, and Ugly; my unforgiveness of others; the fears and phobias I was facing; and my deep, deep depression to complete the good work He was doing in my life. Someday I would be perfect! Oh, what a blessed thought.

Do you need to see that TRUTH today? Do you need to know that God is able to work through all the horrible times in your life, through the hurts, the pain, the loneliness, the loss of hope, or the fear of what you have experienced? Then cling with me to those precious promises. We must believe and live knowing that one day we will be made complete and whole. We may feel like damaged goods at times, but God uses our damaged vessels and He will make us complete because He loves us so much. Oh, how I long for it even now.

Complete. Whole. New.

I believe. Will you?

Blessings – Lisa

Ugly is Fading Fast, and Hey, I AM Pretty!

Ugly was a very difficult foe to eject from my life. God showed me great truths that I could embrace as I fought him, including making a list of what I liked about myself. As I worked on this list, I realized that there really were some things that I could appreciate about how God had formed me. One of those things that I liked about myself was my hair– my prematurely white hair– and I chose not to color it. For some reason, that choice became very important to me and, in fact, I believed that my white hair was something I should be proud of.

My white hair reminded me of someone whom I had loved dearly and who had loved me dearly, too–my grandmother. My grandmother had had pretty white hair, and now God was giving me that same gift. I had always felt loved and accepted by her. As I battled Ugly, I needed more reassurance that I was beloved not only by God but also by the people close to me. God answered that need in a dramatic way through a friend of mine who made a comment to me that changed my life.

Only my counselor knew that I was struggling with this issue, reminding myself every day that I was fearfully and wonderfully made. After a particularly good counseling session in which we had prayed about getting rid of Ugly, I left to see this friend. Her daughter was studying cosmetology, and I had made an appointment for her to cut my hair while I visited my friend at her house. After the haircut, my friend looked at me and said, “You look so pretty.” She paused, and then she added, “You know you are just so pretty on the inside already.” Wow! I just wanted to weep and weep. God had answered my prayer in just two short hours.

Now that may seem like a trivial thing to some people, but it was huge for me. Someone loved me and thought I was pretty. I felt God wrapping His arms around me and just giving me a bear hug. When I got home, I immediately wrote about the experience in my journal. I wanted to have a record of how much my God loves me. Ugly was finally beginning to fade in my life. He was a liar and now I had evidence to throw in his face.

Oh, friend, God wants to encourage you, too, in your healing walk away from the damage caused by your sexual trauma and toward a life of wholeness. Cry out to Him and He will show you His love in tangible ways. You must believe His Word when He says in Romans 8:38-39, “For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (NAS).

Let me add to that list: Neither Dumb, Stupid, and Ugly, nor those who had hurt me when I was little, nor the mistakes I have made in acting out in response to my abuse, none of these things can separate me from the love of God. What do you need to add to this list? Dear one, write it out. Write out all the things that you believe might keep His love from you and believe instead that NOTHING can separate you from God’s love. Ask Him today to show you, and He will. Believe it, and bask in His love for you.

Blessings – Lisa

 

Step Aside Ugly, I’m Going Shopping

Ugly’s dominance in my life influenced what I wore on a daily basis. I started wearing loose-fitting clothes. I gained weight. I never bought new clothes for myself. Baggy shorts and pants and t-shirts became my uniform. I needed help to rid myself of Ugly.

My counselor gave me an assignment. Go shopping and buy some clothes that are flattering and dressier than my t-shirt collection. But that was one thing that I really could not do by myself. If I had gone into a store by myself at that time, I probably would have just stood there, and then left. Thankfully, I had a good friend who literally stuck me in a dressing room and brought me clothes after clothes to try on. Later, she even went shopping for me and brought bags of clothes to my house for me to try on.

Then came the big day when I had to actually wear one of my outfits when I went out to lunch with a group of friends. I pulled on the pants, and started crying uncontrollably. I had to call my friend, because I didn’t think I could do it. Ugly was trying to wreck my freedom. He didn’t want me to look good. I cried and cried, but I finally got dressed and went out to lunch. When one of the men in the group paid me a compliment and noticed how nice I looked, I didn’t get up and run away or feel the compulsion to gorge.

I was finally beginning to believe the truth that I really am fearfully and wonderfully made, and that God loves me bunches. What a huge hurdle I overcame that day! I was able to dress in an attractive, appropriate outfit without wondering whether I was drawing too much attention to myself or somehow enticing unwanted notice. Of course, there were many more hurdles to come, but it has been these baby steps that have given me the confidence to keep going.

Dear friend, have you been hiding yourself behind your clothes? Would you rather just disappear and hope that no one notices that you live on this planet? God assures us in Psalm 139:14 that He made you just as you are and that His workmanship is wonderful. He wants us to be confident men and women and to live out among people. Would you rest in that thought today? He loves you very much. Say it. I know God loves me very much!

Blessings – Lisa

 

Ugly – The Unwanted Protector

After getting rid of Dumb and Stupid, I knew that with God’s help I could tackle Ugly. Ugly had become my protection. As a child, I had believed that I must have looked a certain way for my abuser to want to do those things to me, and Ugly helped me cope with that assumption. I never wanted to look or feel pretty, and Ugly helped me hide who I really was as a person.

My counselor told me to bring some pictures of myself to one of our sessions. She wanted me to bring an assortment of pictures of myself from around the time of my molestation, so I did. I remember how much I liked one of the pictures in particular and how much I disliked one of the others. I was so cute and pretty in the one, but in the other I was so ugly. Suddenly, I realized that I really liked the photo taken before I was molested, but I really hated the one taken afterwards. The time frame was obvious. I was stunned by how my attitude toward my appearance had been changed by what had happened to me.

I never intentionally tried to look bad during my childhood, but after my marriage Ugly became my constant companion. As a woman, any time a man complimented me on my looks, I wanted to eat and eat and run away. I started wearing loose-fitting clothes. I gained weight because being thin might show my figure. I never really dressed up or wore much make-up or jewelry. I never even bought myself new clothes, and I became content to wear baggy shorts and t-shirts during the summer.

As my counseling continued, and we stripped away Dumb and Stupid (see earlier posts), Ugly began to grow inside me and tried to take up all the space that Dumb and Stupid had just vacated. I became more and more self-conscious about what I wore and how I looked. Just the thought of some simple adornment such as painting my toenails was tortuous to me. Ugly taunted me over and over about how dirty I had been made by what had happened to me in the past. I was bombarded with the words, “Dirty! Dirty! Ugly! Ugly!” I didn’t believe that anyone could ever see me as pretty ever again.

But, Ugly was wrong. God says in His Word that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. And, to prove that to myself, my first assignment was to paint my toenails. It took me a full week to be able to accomplish that one little task, but finally I did it. Next assignment: Make a list of things that I like about myself. It took some hard searching, but I did manage to find some things that I like, such as my hands, my complexion, my notch in my ear.

I had one more assignment that I will share with you next week. So, I will leave you with this thought for today. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Do not let someone like Ugly tell you any different! God wants you and I to know that no matter what someone else has done to us, it was not our fault. He loves us very much. Think about that today. Believe it.

Blessings – Lisa

SHOWDOWN WITH STUPID

Stupid had frozen my life and I was tired of it!! I was tired of feeling like a failure and the depression that had taken over my life.

So I went to counseling. My counselor asked me to start writing down the evidence that I am not stupid. But I could not think of a single thing – literally not one single thing – that I could do to prove that I was not stupid. I burst into tears instead. I really believed that I was stupid. I wept and I hugged Stupid tightly against me. He was not going to go away gently. He was not going away without a battle.

With my counselor’s encouragement and guidance, I started naming some of the everyday things that I can do. Yes, I can clean house. Yes, I can cook. She asked me, “What are your strengths?” and I realized that I do have some strengths. I can budget, and I can organize. I had homeschooled all three of my children. So I finally began to write. I cried and I wrote and I cried and I wrote. Eventually I had a whole page of written evidence that indeed I am not stupid.

The time came for me to say those four simple words, “I am not stupid.” Releasing the death grip that I had on myself, I was able to say with conviction, “I AM NOT STUPID!”

Writing this today has again brought tears to my eyes. How long had I lived believing that I couldn’t measure up to the rest of the world! But, even though I had rebuked Stupid, he continued to harass me and to sneak up on me when I least expected it. To protect myself from him, I found an index card and wrote myself a reminder that I am not stupid. I still have that card. At first, I had to carry it with me everywhere, at all times, but now it lives on my kitchen counter.

God gave me this verse for my index card:  “The steadfast of mind Thou wilt keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in Thee,” Isaiah 26:3 (NAS). Until I overcame Stupid finally and completely, every day I had to tell God that I was going to trust Him with my mind and my intellect so that I could have perfect peace. I refused to allow the enemy to take away that peace of mind.

Oh, friend, is there a Stupid in your life who wants to take away your perfect peace and cause you sorrow? Cry out to God and trust that He Himself can keep your mind in perfect peace. Call out to Him today. Do not delay.

Blessings – Lisa