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"Many times they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me" (Ps 129:2).
He was my mother's new love interest after my parents divorced. I didn't like it when he slept over. I peered into the livingroom one morning and saw him lying on the floor in the make-shift bed he'd made the night before.
I crept in the way children do when they've been warned not to get out of bed again at night. He pulled back the blankets and invited me to join him. I clenched my sweet gown with one tiny hand, shook my head "no," and took refuge in my room.
I wore a pink dress to the wedding. In pictures, I grasp the lightweight chiffon with the same clenched fist--powerless over the heaviness of unwanted touch. Leaving the room was no longer an option, and what followed over the years to come forged a humiliating template for adulthood relationships.
Fast forward: April 2013
Me: I've just spent eighteen years in a relationship that shouldn't have lasted eight days. I am not unintelligent. And I'm always in a ten-week Bible study. How did this happen?
Psychologist: When you were a child, leaving was not an option. You learned to survive. But now the very skill-set that preserved you as a child works against you in your adult relationships.
Have you heard of a book called The Betrayal Bond?
What I learned that year:
I absolutely hated how my husband treated me most of the time but not once did I look in a mirror and think I don't deserve this. My brain was as bound to him as it was to the man who sexually abused me when I was a child.
That's how it happened.
The success of #MeToo is not solely contingent on public cries for recognition and demands for social justice. (Though necessary components.) It must include tangible steps to reconciliation and restoration. A re-forging of skewed relationship templates, beginning with how we relate to ourselves and how we relate to God.
"You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself" (NAS).
I had no idea my mind played tricks on me--that "Mr. Right" was all wrong. After all, I'd prayed about our relationship before we married. But truth is, I'd yet to learn to love myself. Love for self came AFTER I conceded that God's thoughts are higher than my own.
There are two words, in my opinion, that every survivor should become well-acquainted with in the care of God:
If your "love" for a man extends beyond the capacity of your love for God and self, you will lack discernment in your decision making. (Trust me. I learned this the hard way.)
We get better together,
Published on Thursday, June 7, 2018 @ 7:58 AM CDT
- Drink water when you're thirsty.
- Do not skip meals when you're clearly hungry.
- Allow yourself a bathroom break when you first feel the urge to go.
- Allow for 8 hours of sleep each night.
For many years, I denied myself the simplest of human needs. If I had chores to do, I worked until I completed them--to the detriment of my health.
One day a wise woman asked, "If the needs you had today were the needs of a child in your care, how would you say you cared for that child today? Did you give her a glass of water when she was thirsty? Did you feed her? Did you allow her to go to the bathroom, or become impatient with the interruption? Did you tuck her into bed at a decent hour?"
I thought it over . . . the truth was staggering. I made a decision then and there to take care of myself. And do you know it proved to be one of the hardest things I'd ever done? I had no idea this simple exercise would stir so many emotions. The very act of taking care of myself physically became my earliest steps toward emotional healing. God works through everything. Everything.
Care for yourself each day. You are a priceless gift from God. These four steps are simple, but not easy. I encourage you to take these steps and allow God to heal you in unexpected ways.
Ask yourself at the end of each day: If the needs I had today were the needs of a child in my care, how did I care for her today?
Published on Sunday, July 8, 2012 @ 8:26 AM CDT