So, the journey this morning has come to a screeching halt! I want to get off the path and continue to live somewhere out in the field away from it. You’re probably wondering what in the world I’m talking about. Let me explain. About a week ago I had a message given to me from Jesus which wasn’t an entirely new one, but it was rather clear. Last Sunday I had a person share a scripture with me that he said God had given him to give to me. The scripture was the same message. I told Kathy about it and have since waited with nothing happening. In my devotional time this morning I read in Every Day in His Presence by Charles Stanley, “God’s silence to you is not to dishearten you but to bring you to a new level of intimacy with Him. So do not despair and do not sin.” So there it is–that word: INTIMACY.
Of all the things abuse leaves a victim with, I believe the worst or one of the worst is the inability to handle intimacy. When I hear the word I want to run, flee, work until I fall flat on my face, change the subject or anything but deal with it. Inside, I tighten up with anxiety and fear and try to steel myself from whatever the consequence of intimacy will be. So, do you think God is wanting to help me deal with this? Yes, I believe so. The other part of this message is the part about while one is waiting in God’s silence, “do not sin.” This time has always been when I would run to my cave. Intimacy makes someone totally vulnerable. I guess that is why someone who has been sexually abused struggles so much with it. My counselor and I dealt with it many times and poor Kathy has had to live with me during all of this. That’s why I love her so much. She has been awfully understanding and patient with this.
So, I’m writing this in my blog today because I do not want to flee any longer. I want to face this demon in my life once and for all. I feel a lot like the little boy standing on the dirt trail as I write this. I do not know what the silence will teach me; I do not know how long it will last. I do not want to flee to a cave any longer; I want to wait and see what God is going to teach me about faith and trusting. John 11:40 says, “If you believe, you will see the glory of God.” Well, I am going to believe, in fact, from this present time to the end of the journey, I am going to believe.
If you struggle with this message as I do, know I am praying for you. I will likewise appreciate your prayers for me. Thank you.
This morning upon writing my blog I am going to my oldest granddaughter’s 8th grade graduation. She is a GEM. She texted me yesterday asking me to come. Now isn’t that a nice gesture! I’d never have known it was going to take place otherwise.
Yesterday I got a message forwarded to me from my daughter in Oklahoma. A person she knows had read the book and had sent a message to her about its impact on her. She had been sexually abused for several years in her childhood and is working through it now. I do appreciate knowing that the book is being used for God’s purposes and for His glory. Somehow, I minimize the damage abuse had on me because I don’t want to think it had/has such control over me. However, when I read a message like the one sent to me, I wake up fully to the extent of the damage and yes, to me too. God’s blessed gift of Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit is so comforting at times like this. But I must say that the gift of one another is sometimes the first level of intimate help. This person who wrote the message to my daughter is reaching out to someone in her church who gave her my book. If we don’t reach out to one another, the impact of the damage within us will rip us apart. God bless her for reaching out and God bless the person helping to lift her up.
I have my own soft side and weak side. I don’t like to talk about it but I do and I need to address it so it doesn’t become an entrance for Satan’s attacks. Lets use our support team well. God gave us one another as well as His Son Jesus and His Holy Spirit. Let them help us as we open up to them.
I unfortunately told you yesterday I’d let you know how it went staying out of the cave in the aftermath of giving my testimony. I think the first thing I want to say is that it was a lot easier liking myself when I was in denial to many of the human weaknesses I have. Waking up to all the human characteristics isn’t fun. I use to dismiss these moments in my mind almost instantly so that I wouldn’t compare them to being like my brother or my dad. Now that I’m awake to my humanness I realize I’m simply one of them. That is neither good nor bad, just a reality.
So, how did I do yesterday? I did go through a moment of struggle in the afternoon, but it wasn’t too bad. I persevered. Last night’s lesson in Celebrate Recovery was “Grace”. It pointed out that God is far more interested in who we are rather than what we do. I told my share group following the lesson that I keep needing to be reminded of this fact. Somehow my internal me wants to be doing good all the time so I’m worthwhile. God reminded me this morning that He wants me to “be” loving, kind, gentle and forgiving. These characteristics are His and He wants me to share them for others. Actually, I want to do that too but notice I said “do” that. I’m driven to do and not often awake to “be” that. This lesson continues to have lots for me to learn. I go to work today with a school district so I will be doing, but I will strive to “be” while doing so.
Today is a rare day–I actually wanted to stay in bed and go back to sleep–I actually did when it first hit me at 1:00 am. Allergies are high today for me. My eyes are watering and itchy and my head feels like it is full of allergens. Well, that’s enough of my pity party!
Last night I journeyed to Emmett. Kathy and a friend went with me and another one from our Celebrate Recovery group also came. Our pastor friend from Emmett came also which I really appreciated. I mention him in my book. He is the first man I told my past to. He lived in Vancouver, WA at the time which is 400 or so miles from here. I thought it would be safe to tell him. He didn’t know anyone in our valley at the time so I didn’t think the word would get back here. I’m talking about 32 years ago when I say this. On the way home Kathy asked me how I thought it went. I really don’t like that question–at least I don’t that soon afterwards. I feel raw and exposed after an experience like that so all I really feel is more like–I lived and no one got up and left during it. Now this morning I can process more clearly. It did go well and many people commented on how it touched them. A man came up to me and said what I often hear, “That took a lot of courage.” I told him thanks, but I am on assignment so courage or not, I don’t feel like it is a choice, even though I do realize the choice is there. When God has given freedom from intense bondage that I lived with for so long, it feels much more like a privilege to share the story than courageous.
As I go into today, I do so with obedience and surrender on my mind. After a time like last night I always fight the urge to go into the cave–get away and try to feel numb to the emotions of the past. Today, I don’t want to accommodate anything along that line. I give my self to Jesus Christ and yield myself to any nudging The Holy Spirit places within me. This is a new step for me. I’ll tell you how it goes tomorrow. In the meantime, God bless you.
“This is the day the Lord hath made, rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalms. 118:24. Today, actually tonight, I have the opportunity to give my testimony to a Celebrate Recovery group in Emmett, ID. I’m told the group hasn’t had a live testimony until mine tonight. They’ve been using video ones. A few days ago I wrote that Jesus told me He wanted me rejoicing in getting the opportunity to share “our” story with others. This allows others to experience seeing and hearing how God takes a mess and makes it a message of His love and grace. I got up and started my devotions and the fear and doubt started to set in as it does on days like this. I recalled what Christ had directed me to do a few days back and so instead of dwelling on my fear I told Satan I was glad for the opportunity to share and was looking forward to it in Jesus Christ’s name. I’m probably going to need to do this several times today, but for now, I really do have a sense of anticipation for tonight. “I will be glad in it!”
I delivered a book yesterday afternoon to a man who had contacted me saying he wanted to read it. He and his wife had children years ago that went to the school where I was principal. It was nice to visit a few minutes with them. Then, later in the evening, someone who has become a dear friend told me she is reading my book to her husband. She knows there is unspoken abuse in his past which he doesn’t share. I was so touched that she is being so loving to her husband with this. God bless her and him.
God is truly working with me on obedience. Obedience I know is something that use to be hated by me as I grew up. Obedience looked like being silent for hours when we kids were in a room with dad and he didn’t want to hear us. It also looked like endless work with promises that went unfulfilled. It also looked like abuse that couldn’t be stopped. God has abundantly let me know that obedience to Him is not at all like this. Obedience to Him is the direct path to freedom and joy. Obedience to Him doesn’t look like twisting what I do to add an element of my wishes into it. That I’ve learned is called disobedience. God is perfect in every way. I want my obedience to Him to be as close to that as possible. To God be the glory!
This journey I (we) are on is often times a mystery except for the black and white of what is to be done within the day. I have been often gripped with fear when I try to think ahead and then that fear paralyzes what I do with the clarity of the day. I know this is wrong and as I stated yesterday in the blog entry, I don’t want to repeat that practice anymore. As I was reading the Bible during my devotional time this morning I was struck by Joshua’s leadership and God’s leadership to Joshua. God promised to be with Joshua just as He had been with Moses. Now that the reality had hit where Joshua is not being told of something that will happen, but he is leading what is happening (talking about the destruction of Jericho), the head of God’s army appears to him. God’s angel army was already working and all Joshua had to do was be obedient in leading the children of Israel in doing their part. How often I forget that God’s part is abundant and clear in our spiritual world. In our human world, this spiritual part is confusing and mysterious. However, in the spiritual world, clarity is not missing. We just can’t see it and know it with human senses only. In our human world Christ tells us to practice trust and faith. These are human terms connecting us to the spiritual world. Clarity comes as the day arrives.
When we accepted Christ in our heart as Savior and turned the leadership of our lives over to Him so He can be Lord, He gave us the Holy Spirit. He calls us a new creation in this process. The awakening and growing in this new creation is much about growing in our awareness of this spiritual world. The Power of Heaven is already at work continuously. God asks us to join Him in this Kingdom work. I want to be far more attentive to this aspect as my journey continues.
PS I also get to mow the lawn today so I do appreciate a few of these tangible, human elements of life. I also feel that way about my Folgers in the morning.
Kathy and I will head home today from an enjoyable time with her sister. The party (shower) for the upcoming baby was fun. It ended last night with two of the couples staying and visiting. In the course of our conversations we talked about numerous topics. I stated briefly that I had learned much from the therapy I’d had addressing my childhood sexual abuse. Once we were all done and the guests were leaving one of them came to me and said we’d need to talk more. She wanted to compare notes on what I’d learned from my counseling and therapy as she said, “I too was sexually abused as a child.” God just never stops working.
This morning upon coming to the kitchen and pouring my first cup of coffee, I retrieved my cell phone to see I had a couple texts from a Celebrate Recovery young man who is in South Africa for a few months attending a seminary there. God had given him a couple verses he was wanting to share with me. The verses confirmed a message Christ has given me four days ago while I was journaling. I am rather curious to see what God is going to do with all of this.
My devotional this morning in the book: Every Day in His Presence was entitled Absolutely Convinced. It said, “Trust God. Believe with every fiber of your being that He will faithfully fulfill His promises….” I do not know what all this is leading to but I do know whatever it is, I will follow His lead in my life. The devotional goes on to say, “But what if I misunderstood Him? Then the Father will gently correct you.” This is a common statement I often make when I fear God’s leading. This time I will not succumb to fear. We will see where this leads. I’ll appreciate your prayers.
Today is a celebration day in the house where Kathy and I are visiting. There is going to be a baby shower and the grandma for the baby has gone all out in making the house “cute”. As I look around me all I see is pink this and that. The kitchen is filled with all kinds of “goodies” that no one can touch yet (except when Kathy and her sister are in the other room and I can sneak something)! I’ve only been to a couple baby showers in my life because we men don’t usually get invited, yet I’m told I will not be alone today so we will see.
Last night Kathy and I went to the home of the couple that introduced the two of us a little over 34 years ago. She use to teach for me. I’ve talked about them and this story of introduction in my book. It was fun to give them a copy of the book last night and personalize a note to them in the front of it. It reminded me all over again how good God is and how important it is to trust Him and those He brings around you. This couple knew me better than I knew myself and even though I’d told them “no” to meeting Kathy for almost a year, they had her come to their house with her thinking she was meeting me with my excitement and permission. Little did she know the truth of this. Yet, all these years later I have nothing but thanks for their faithfulness in following through. Somehow they knew we were meant for one another. They were right–I did need her and the grace she gave to me when I really didn’t know much about this Godly characteristic in relationships.
The devotional Every Day in His Presence’s title for today is “The Purpose of Brokenness”. It talks to the way God relentlessly continues to bring out our brokenness to us until we learn to depend on Him with it rather than hide it within self thinking it is what (I) we must do. It was Kathy who relentlessly worked with God to show me I could take the risk to trust God and man in revealing all I thought must be hidden. My freedom today started with them: God and Kathy. They were the two who first completed James 5:16 for me: “Confess to God, yourself and someone you trust….” I will always be grateful for these two and for the couple that brought Kathy and me together. This journey to actual freedom that now continues today began some 34 years ago with God using these great servants called friends.
OK, now that this is written–it is back to making the house “baby-shower ready!”
So, I have to confess something this morning. First of all let me say that Kathy and I are visiting a relative out of state. When we were talking last night I was asked how my blog is doing. I said it was going ok I thought. I was then told that they hadn’t looked at it for about a week but they would be again. They also said it was hard to like a blog post because you have to take several steps to do such a thing with the provider of the blog I’m using. I wanted to write this because the very first thought that entered my mind was to get rid of the blog I had done Wednesday morning listing the progression of confessions I’ve done in my journey the past 8 years with the help of PTSD therapy, counseling and the work of Celebrate Recovery. I thought–I’ll get rid of it before anymore see it and I reduce the chance of getting judged.
In my devotional time this morning the thought hit me again because I always do the blog once I’ve finished my devotions. As I got to the journaling part of my devotions I asked Jesus what He wanted me to know from Him today which I do each morning. His response was immediate. He told me He didn’t want me changing anything from my blog posts removing His work in my life. Interestingly, He went on to say that instead of “fearing this” as I had posted yesterday, He wanted me to thank Him for the chance to tell others what a magnificent Savior and Lord He is. Not only does He save us from our sins, but with the help of His Holy Spirit He empowers us to share what our human nature always wants to hide. He said to use my steps as guides for others to do the same regardless of their struggles with sin nature. When we can take the step to share with others the very struggle kept secret, that is part of the healing within and also when the freedom from its bondage takes place.
So, OK, that’s my confession and I won’t be changing anything from any post. This journey I’m on is going to remain honest and thorough with Christ as my Guide and His Holy Spirit as my empowerment. Now that all of this is written, I do pray for anyone reading this who may be struggling to bring out in the open what may be imprisoned within. God is loving and faithful, what He has done and is doing for me, He will do for you. There was a gospel song called “It Is No Secret” which was popular when I was in high school. The words of the chorus were: “It is no secret what God can do. What He’s done for others, he’ll do for you. With arms wide open He’ll pardon you. It is no secret what God can do.” Believe this–it is true. God bless you.
Have you ever been on a journey where FEAR was so present you kept stopping thinking this must be a mistake or you wouldn’t feel the way you do? I have been paralyzed by fear many, many times in my life’s journey. My growing up years taught me how to live in the future by fantasizing in my mind. Somehow, in my adult years, when I thought I could just step out of that habit of living, I would do so and live in the present. It isn’t that simple. The character defect I’d developed was so embedded into habit, I didn’t even realize I was doing it. Today, however, I’m much more awake to this. I even sense fear as it begins to try and influence me.
This morning in my devotions there was much being said about fear. In fact my Bible reading was stating over and over again God’s directives to the Israelites to not fear. This was God’s message delivered by Moses in Deuteronomy. I AM WITH YOU. In every regard of their living God was telling them to not fear. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve needed to learn and relearn this truth–God is with me. In Celebrate Recovery the very first principle is about denial–stepping out of denial. I was in total denial about how much fear gripped me and influenced me regarding so many things in my life. I can honestly say this is far less true for me now.
Writing yesterday’s blog and stating the 6 facts was fear invoking yet I needed to tell the truth of me and what God is doing to grow me out of this fear. I told my share group this in Celebrate Recovery last night. The beautiful thing I am learning is the consequence of honest sharing in spite of fear. There is no judgment or condemnation in being obedient to God’s nudging. Even if there were an attack of Satan or man with judgment, God’s armor told about in Ephesians 6 will shield us. I love this truth and want to live in complete honesty from this day forward. No more secrets and no more paralysis in what I do from fear. Praise God.