thepalmofhishand

What in the World is God up to?

Month: September, 2013

Nicks, Cuts, Scrapes, Bruises and Burns…

You know, a body can take some big hits physically and, if properly attended to, can recover to 100% in many instances.  Sometimes, it can recover even without the professional attention.

The spirit, as well, can come back from some heavy blows, albeit more slowly, I believe, than the body does.  And I think it doesn’t do well without some professional help, and even then, God forbid if you pick the wrong professional.  The wounds to the spirit that are not taken care of in the proper way seem to just multiply into more damage.

The body can receive so many nicks, cuts, scrapes, bruises and burns that it experiences so much localized pain and an overall feeling of great discomfort that the person that inhabits that body just wants to stay immobile in a comfortable position, or, if possible, sleep as much as possible.

A spirit that has taken heavy hits over the course of a lifetime, without having help recover, struggles a great deal to function in this life.  One that enters a span of time where there are nicks, cuts, scrapes, bruises and burns nearly every day on top of the old hits is a spirit that starts to hold less and less tightly to the buoy of hope.  It’s not even a matter of not being able to hold on—it becomes a matter of not wanting to hold on.

People will tell you God will not give you more than you are able to bear, but that is not scripturally accurate.  That was said in relation to temptation.

I have no dreams or desires anymore.  I don’t feel entitled, and if I don’t dream of anything better, then I can’t be disappointed.

There’s not a place in my spirit that has not had some kind of injury inflicted upon it.  So while I will not leave this life by my own hand because I love my grandkids too much to give them that to deal with, I don’t think what I’m doing most of the day anymore is living.  It is just surviving.

Is this the abundant life?

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It would appear that I am getting a little better…

One sign of my healing and “recovery” has to be how less often I post here, and write in my journal.  For so long, the frustrations, aches, anger and pleas just had to be written down.  My journal was an every day thing, sometimes twice a day.  This blog was a nearly every day thing when it started, but it’s been a while since I wrote here.

I’m so glad to be back with my original therapist.  He never tosses out some little “cuteism” just to sound cool.  He is thoughtful about the things I say to him.  He’s young (31), but he knows the responsibility that comes with working in the therapy field.  I don’t think my “fiasco therapist” gave a s**t; he was more concerned with being “hip” and the witty guy.  That’s why I think he is a narcissist.  However, after having a very teary session with my original, I did send the “fiasco” an email forgiving him for his behaviour and his sorry-ass excuse for that behaviour.  I just need to leave him behind.

God has been doing amazing things with my husband.  I’m slightly jealous, but I’m more happy for him than jealous of him. 

We will have a new grandchild in about 5 weeks.  The gender is still unknown because that’s how the parents wanted it.  I like that.

I am still praying a lot.  Haven’t been in my sexual abuse workbook this week; too much else to think about.

But I do think I am getting better. 

 

43 items on my list…

I am going through a workbook with my therapist.  It is for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

In one chapter, it has about 7 pages with lists of ways that the abuse affected me.  I wrote down 43 of them.  43.

This is just one aspect of my life that is out of whack, and I’m not even halfway through the workbook yet.  So, one aspect of my screwed-up life has 43 items that need to be addressed for me to recover.

Is it any wonder that some days I just think I can’t go on anymore?

Gaping, Open Wounds…

The last two days have been emotionally and mentally exhausting.  I’ve thought about suicide a lot–I have three adorable grandkids and another on the way; that should give you an idea how ragged I feel.  Today, I have honestly felt like there were claws ripping t my heart, and it seems like it’s never going to end.

To pray or not to pray, that is the question.  Can we Really change God’s mind with our prayers?  If we can’t, what’s the point in pleading with Him to rescue me.  If we can change His mind, what am I doing incorrectly in the way I pray for it to have made no difference.

Doing the exercises in the workbook for childhood sexual abuse has not been as “easy” as I thought it would be. (I’m not even to the chapters that deal with the Actual abuse yet).  But even the preliminary stuff reminds me of how I felt as a child and that’s not much fun in certain respects.

My best friend in town has become a grandmother and I rarely hear from her anymore.  I know how much fun grandkids can be, but I don’t think I’d give up being with an adult I enjoy to spend all my time with them.  I guess it’s different for her.

I feel old, worn and wounded…and I’m not sure I will ever feel better again.

Blessings

Sin is Like Bamboo…

My husband and I have a dear friend who comes to our house every Tuesday to have a Bible study.  This man was an incredible blessing for my husband last year when my husband was trying to recover from his arrest for trying to shoot video up women’s dresses.  LOTS of “church” friends and family turned their backs to us, but he didn’t.

Yesterday, while he was here, we talked about the root of sin and how that causes all of the sins in our lives.  One of my kids is fighting bamboo in their backyard, and I realized how similar the problem with getting rid of bamboo is like getting rid of sin.  So I wrote this:

Bamboo can grow up to 40 feet tall here in the U.S., and to a thickness of 6 inches.  It can have a rate of growth of 36 inches in 24 hours.  A small stand of bamboo can take over your yard in a matter of months.  The individual stalks can be all sizes and widths and they are a pain to hack down.  But the real problem with bamboo is trying to get rid of it.  You can hack down the shoots, but the culprit is the  thick rhizome which sends runners out underground. These are uniformly thin and long, with erect culms or further horizontal rhizomes branching off them at intervals. These will grow dozens of new bamboo shoots yards away from the original stand.  If you don’t get rid of the hidden rhizomes, you will never be completely rid of the bamboo, which can take over a lawn.

Why am I talking about bamboo?  Because sin is like bamboo.  There are “big” sins and “little” sins in most people’s theology.  The sad fact is there is an inner sin that all the others grow from.  It is the sin of not believing God is good and God loves us.  What sin doesn’t grow from that?  I do not have a sin that does not grow from my inability to honestly believe that God loves me and He is good.  My worries, fears, anger, hunger for material things, and selfishness, the things that choke out the beauty in my life,  all rely on that “rhizome.”

If you have a stand of sin that you are dealing with, you can keep hacking away at the shoots, but if you don’t dig deeper and get rid of the “rhizome,” you’ll be fighting those sins that “show” the rest of your life.

Blessings

Do I…?

Today has been a rough, rough day.  This morning, I was just wasted by such negative feelings.  Got home from work and just sobbed as I pleaded with God for something, ANYTHING.  Went to therapy (and let me say again how deeply grateful I am to be back with my original therapist), cried through most of it, but JP is very thoughtful and deliberate in what he says.  He doesn’t say “cute” things off the cuff like the fiasco therapist did.  No, JP actually has a plan, but is also able to take the bad days, like today, and talk me through them.

I have not wanted to tell any more of my friends about my abuse, but I may have to.  I don’t have much of a support system and I need one.  But, quite honestly, I’m afraid of giving them drama fatigue, and there is always the chance someone will spook and drift away because the knowledge is unpleasant.

What to do, what to do, put some mustard in your shoe…apologies, Ogden Nash.

I’m nearly punchy from so much emotion today.

Blessings

There’s a Reason…

Definition of Sexual Abuse

According to mental health professionals who treat sexual abuse victims, sexual abuse is one of the most crippling experiences a child can endure. This violation occurs when a child of any age (including adolescents) is exploited by an older or more powerful person for his own satisfaction while ignoring the victim’s immaturity or inability to fully understand the situation. Despite a persistent myth, strangers harm only a small number of children. Family members abuse 30 to 40 percent of victims, and another 50 percent have been abused by someone outside the family whom they know and trust.

Sexual abuse takes many forms and does not necessarily involve penetration or physical harm. Overt forms include sexual kissing, fondling, other inappropriate touching, oral sex, or penetration with body parts or objects. Sometimes the adult performs sexual activity on the child; sometimes the adult asks the child to perform sex acts on the adult; and sometimes both parties engage in sexual activity with each other. Statistics about sexual abuse cover all these behaviors (usually without discriminating about the specific abusive activity).

Effects of Sexual Abuse

Survivors often say that sexual abuse creates “a hole in the soul. Sexual abuse is a deep violation of all that ought to be safe, and it affects every aspect of a person’s being: physical, mental, emotional, relational, and spiritual. Most survivors do not realize their problems stem from their sexual abuse. Many suffer from undiagnosed mental health issues or physical problems like gastrointestinal distress or unexplained body pain.

Survivors of childhood sexual abuse share certain characteristics in common. The most crippling is an overwhelming sense of shame. Victims do not believe something bad happened to them; they think they are bad personally and that is what caused the abuse. The debilitating shame perpetuates the secret and keeps victims silent. Over 30 percent of survivors never disclose the abuse to anyone. Of those who do disclose, approximately 75 percent disclose accidentally. Almost 80 percent initially deny abuse or are tentative in disclosing. Additionally, more than 20 percent of those who disclose eventually recant even though the abuse occurred.

Sexually abused people have problems with trust. Victims expect to be hurt, and they can be extremely critical, demanding, and easily disappointed in an effort to protect themselves. Because the vast majority of perpetrators are people the child trusted, experience has shown them people are not trustworthy. Survivors have difficulty believing someone, including a pastor, is safe and willing to help. A pastor must earn the victim’s trust and be patient while the victim regularly tests that trust.

Control is another big issue with survivors. Some become perfectionists as a way to cope. Because they are powerless during the abuse, victims often feel a desperate need to control themselves, their surroundings, and other people. This characteristic often makes interpersonal relations difficult.

Sexual abuse victims usually have trouble regulating their emotions, especially anger and fear. Sometimes survivors overreact to small transgressions with unreasonable anger. At the other end of the spectrum are those victims who are so afraid of the rage within that they shut down emotionally. Underneath the anger is deep-seated fear. For example, victims are often afraid of the dark, of their nightmares, of being alone, of being touched, of people, or of authority figures in general.

Childhood sexual abuse victims suffer disproportionately from mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, one of these difficulties, along with substance abuse, is the most common presenting problem for survivors, not specifically the sexual abuse itself. Often the abuse is only revealed after the person is stabilized in regard to the psycho-behavioral problem that brought her into treatment.

Finally, sexual abuse survivors struggle with spiritual issues. If during a child’s early years the significant adults in her life harm her, she transfers those negatives into her view of the Heavenly Father. If the abuser was a member of the clergy, the effect is especially catastrophic. The victim loses faith in a loving, trustworthy God, and she questions His role in her life. If God did not protect her, where can she turn?—————

I posted this excerpt from a write-up that is on a website for survivors of childhood sexual abuse.  In the bold type, are the statements that are so gut-wrenchingly how I feel.  I am 56, trying to get my entire life back on track after the arrest of my husband and all the crap that came with it.  But I am still dealing with the abuse that ended over 40 years ago.  The line about “a hole in the soul”–I don’t know how many years I have felt that, how many times I have said it while trying to explain the emptiness I felt.

I just read someone’s blog who said there is no Biblical reference for God not giving us more than we can handle.  He said He would not allow us to be tempted more than we could withstand, but there’s nothing about God not layering us in stress, trials, pain, grief and humiliation.  If you are suffocating under a dozen scratchy, wool blankets of hurt, abuse, rejection, loneliness and sorrow, that is not good news.

Neither are promises that God made to the children of Israel in the Old Testament.  Not every promise made in the Bible is necessarily for us today.

I’m not trying to depress anyone; I’m trying to share the reality of my life for the last 14 months.  Yeah, I get through the days, but it is not very often in a pretty way.

Some people are just drop-kicked by life more than others.  Trying to get God to explain that is pointless.  How else can I explain the layers of pain that have been added to my life in the last 14 months, even to the point of a narcissistic therapist treating me like absolute crap?

 

Yeah…I’m Not Sure I Believe You.

For months now, I have struggled to believe that God loves me unconditionally. Lots of folks have reassured me time and time again that, of course, He does. God loves His children unconditionally, He is love, He is good and He loves us always.
I have been praying to God for this to become a reality in my heart and soul. But I don’t think any of the people who have been telling me it’s true over and over really believe it heart and soul, either.

Wouldn’t the city where I live be drastically different if just a dozen people REALLY believe that God loved us completely and unconditionally? That we believed He was never out to punish us, even just a little? I’m convinced if there were just a dozen folks who believed that within a 15 mile radius, everyone who lived inside that area would know something was radically different.

And here’s my dilemma–if I am going to believe in God the Creator and Father of us all, and Jesus Christ as His son and my salvation, then can I really not believe that He is good, that He loves us unconditionally and unmeasurably? Do we really get to pick and choose what we will believe about God if there are multiple scriptures that tell us His attributes?

I know many Christians differ in what they believe about God. Some even believe (although I don’t know how) that we can lose our salvation. But scripture after scripture tells us God is love, that He loves His children, that He loved us before we even knew Him.

Here’s the kicker–the demons in my flesh are always willing to be so “helpful.” “Oh, you don’t have the faith to believe God loves you unconditionally? Wow, you should really feel bad about that. You’re not a very good Christian.” Helpful…yeah, like the demons of my flesh ever want to help me. It’s such a twisted deal; satan, so willing to agree that REAL Christians are supposed to love God, so I should beat myself up and struggle to accept any grace whatsoever because I’m not a “good” Christian. satan, the father of lies, who can make those lies seem so plausible.

Dearest Father, forgive me. Give me patience and strength to believe the truth. It is overwhelming. But I so want to be undone by it.

Blessings.