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Click the heart to sponsor my service work at Valiant Hearts throughout the month of October. In their weekly support group, I will offer practical steps to overcoming the effects of childhood sexual abuse. For more information about this organization, visit www.valianthearts.org
It all matters.
All of you.
All that's happened to you.
And all you must face as you muster the resolve to show up for life each day. Life is not an X-Box game. You can't mute the swear words inside a broken heart bleeding real blood. There's no pause button for the overwhelmed. No high-score to obtain for the number of times you force a smile in one day and proclaim to be fine when you're not.
Not everything that happens to you is okay. Some experiences are not okay and are not ever going to be okay. Ever.
All manner of abuse is not okay. Whether or not the person who's hurt you awakens to the harm they've inflicted is inconsequential to the story of how you are going to be okay.
You can be more than okay. You can. But you must keep moving forward in a journey likely to require a fresh take on what it looks like to move forward. Within the realm of personal experience, I'd say religious programs at large, have moving forward, well, backwards.
Pumpkin, if you've suffered indignity, indifference, and injury--be it emotional, verbal, and/or physical and you recognize it as abuse, you are moving forward.
If you've recently separated from an abusive partner, you are moving forward.
You are moving forward.
Take heart. When you find yourself in an immobilized heap on the floor, you are still moving forward.
When rage supersedes your ten-week Bible study and the capacity to walk with your head held high in "Christian countenance," you are moving forward.
The mornings you laugh out loud at something completely inappropriate--after having cried yourself to sleep, you are moving forward.
The long nights you stare blankly at the ceiling, wondering if God sees you, you are moving forward.
When you shout to heaven with clenched fists, "Why don't You care?"--you are moving forward.
The shoes you charge on your credit card.
The Chardonnay you consume 'cause you just can't take it anymore . . .
This is all of you, moving forward.
And it all takes place in the palm of God, who holds the whole world in His hands. This includes you, Pumpkin. And everything you schlep into a Bible story of faith and frailty because this time, you are the main character.
It all matters because ALL of YOU matters.
All of you.
All. Of. You.
You are not alone. Signed,
All of me.
Published on Thursday, August 11, 2016 @ 6:30 PM CDT
Channel surfing, I came across the Life Today show. Beth Moore was teaching. She shared that one of her daughters was hospitalized as a child due to excessive vomiting. During her stay she received several homemade cards from her fellow classmates: "Get well soon." (Things of this nature.) One of the cards was so endearing, it was gently placed in a mother's keepsake box. In a precious child's writing, it reads: I thrupt too!
Beth said this card resonated with her because although we always need and appreciate the prayers and encouraging words of others, sometimes, what we need most is for someone to identify with our pain and suffering.
I get this. This past year has been one of the most confusing and painful years of my life. Believe me, I've run the gamut of good and bad days. Just last night a friend asked me how I was doing, to which I replied, "I'm well. Thanks!"
She smiled one of those half-belief smiles and asked, "How are you really?"
I, in turn, smiled an okay-if-you-really-want-to-know smile and confessed, "I really am well, which in Hebrew, means safe, and protected. And God is faithfully healing me a little more each day. BUT, occasionaly, if hate were people--I'd be China."
We both laughed. I'm not really full of hate the size of China. But twice this week, I sure felt like I was and I needed to laugh about it. To me, the hardest part of healing is the unexpected waves of intense emotion that can re-visit after a long reprieve. Nowadays, it's easier to remind myself "this too shall pass," just like it did the last time. And the time before that. And the time before that.
I've been thinking a lot about what all I might say in the months to come. Originally, i'd envisioned a neatly packaged ministry where I share my "experience, strength, and hope"--as they say in twelve-step programs. But truth is, I'm compelled to share my weaknesses as well. It appears, women benefit more from this. I think it's because Christ's strength shines the brightest when we're honest about our very human struggles. More than anything, I want you to feel validated in the midst of healing, when intense emotion arises after a heart break. I suppose, this website is my way to say to you: I Thruptoo!
Here's the grown-up version.
Have you ever:
been betrayed by your best friend? Me too.
been deceived by your spouse? Me too.
loved someone who battles addiction? Me too.
raised a rebellious teenager(s)? Me too.
suffered childhood sexual abuse? Me too.
been emotionally, physically, and spiritually abused? Me too.
been hurt in church? Me too.
had a baby out of wedlock? Me too.
used drugs or alchohol to cope with the pain? Me too.
been divorced? Me too?
been a single mother? Me too.
And I know in my bones, the love of God is faithful and unfailing. It's my heart's desire to be honest with you, really honest, about how His love manifested in my life in the midst of each and every one of these circumstances and how He continues to love me today. And if for some reason, today you struggle to know in your bones that God loves you, I believe for you.
You are not alone.
Published on Monday, April 13, 2015 @ 12:10 PM CDT