I'm working on a non-fiction project called Bohemian Forgiveness: 5 Unconventional Paths to Forgiving What You'll Never Forget.
I have a literary agent. And submissions to publishing houses are underway. Meanwhile, a graphic designer is creating a collateral design that will feature 25 excerpts. This is a sample!
I'll keep you posted as we progress!
copyright 2018. Ame B. Design
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
[This blog is from my archives. I read over it this morning and decided to post it again. I marvel at how it applies to my life today--though within a different context. And I'm humbled at how God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I can count on Him today as much (even more) than I did over a decade ago when I faced some pretty harsh wounds. I hope it blesses you.]
Once I summoned the courage to face a childhood riddled with sexual abuse the days morphed in to a desperate haze of pain and confusion. Mind you, the pain was nothing new. I hurt. Life hurt. Pain was familiar--an old friend, whom I loved and hated.
The confusion I experienced was another matter altogether. Was I ready to embrace a healing process that threatened how I managed to get from one day to the next? "Coping skills" may be nothing more than artificial light, but I'd come to depend on that light to navigate around the shadows of something I'd spent most of my life avoiding.
But it was time. It was as if God had placed an alarm clock inside my heart and programmed it to alert me in 2001. Of course I did what most people do when alarm clocks go off. I hit the snooze button. I continued to hit the snooze button until my heavenly Father allowed life circumstances to supersede my outward ability to cope. He out-managed me!
I had a deep sensing that the very life I'd prayed for was about to leave me behind if I didn't get up and get going. So, I got up and got going. I contacted an organization that provided group therapy for survivors of child sexual abuse. I kept going, and attended weekly meetings. I complied with the counselor's instruction. I learned. I worked hard. I did everything I was asked to do, but I wasn't free. Something was missing. That something was the word of God AND words with God.
Without realizing it, I'd resorted to the management of my own healing. Yes, the steps I'd taken were positive, but apart from the word of God AND words with God, the counsel of man (or in this case, woman) could not heal me.
I searched my Bible and held tightly to verses such as Psalm 32:8: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Then I got busy telling God everything. I told Him what I'd learned in therapy. I told Him I still hated the way I felt most of the time. I told Him it wasn't fair and I didn't understand why healing proved to be such a long and difficult process. Didn't He think I'd already suffered enough?
I talked. He listened. I prayed. He listened. I confessed. I cried. He comforted. And taught me to listen. One day a new alarm went off inside my heart: I cared. I cared about me. I cared about Him. The healing I'd sought was not nearly as important as the time spent with my Healer. Christ was and is the prize. I remember thinking, if I don't heal, I have Him. No attack from the enemy can eclipse the Love and light in my heart. He rescued me from "coping." My heart was under new management.
I continued to seek healing from the effects of sexual abuse. I read Scripture daily. I memorized it; spoke it aloud throughout the day. When I couldn't sleep, I meditated on specific bible verses. There were nights when I slept with an open Bible across my chest. I struggle to explain how this works. I only know that somewhere along the way the counsel and instruction of God pierced the deepest pain in my heart and darkness scattered. The time it took was a blessing, not a curse. (The building of ones faith doesn't happen over night.) Bonus: Today I live freely from the effects of child sexual abuse.
Has an alarm gone off in your heart? How many times have you hit the snooze button? Perhaps it's time to face a painful past or walk through a current circumstance you purposely avoid.
I encourage you today to get up and get moving. Do one thing different that doesn't require your "life management" skills. Choose a scripture that speaks to the deepest need in your life today. It'll either "jump off the page" when you're reading the Bible or resonate in your heart when you hear it.
You cannot go wrong talking to God. He's a great listener. The best. In fact, I'll go as far to say that His faithfulness to listen to me, fostered my faith in Him and enabled me to hear Him.
Prayer: God in heaven, thank You for internal alarms. It's time to heal. I invite You to instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. Help me to take refuge in Your counsel as You faithfully watch over me. And prompt me to be receptive to those you place in my path to help me along the way. In Jesus' name, Amen.
What do you feel prompted to face today?
You are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 10:39 AM CDT