I am overwhelmed with gratitude for your deeply personal interactions with my, well, rather depressing blog posts. Your responses from last night’s post Let Down with Let-Down and from earlier in the month, Disappointment have filled me with a peace that I did not expect, even though I will continue to struggle with the long term effects of the abuse, you have given me new perspectives, of strength, of grace. Mercy.
I have been blessed, encouraged and sobbing over your stories of your own struggles. I am RIGHT NOW compiling a list to create myself a “healing/nursing book” for when those moments overwhelm me. On the back page I am putting a list of all of you who are also struggling with healing from past abuse who have shared with me your struggles so that I might be able to pray for you the way you have prayed for me. Please PM me if you want to be included in my private prayer list.
Because of the nature of the content of my previous post (and the vulnerability that I do NOT want to take advantage of from your stories) I am going to carefully share some of what has been sent to me in the ways of prayers, verses and encouragement in case it may also bless you. I am not including the personal prayers that you have written for me, they are beautiful, but I do not want to infringe on your beautiful words. But they are in my “book” so that I can read your words and also use them to pray for others. Thank you.
Included in my book is the complete set of photographs from this art show that was at the Lookout Gallery at Regent College through January 2012. I cannot find it on the internet, I cannot find a book with them published in it – WHEN I do find such a collection, I promise I will share it with you. The cards were a gift from my husband’s co-worker, Rosi, when she stopped by the hospital (with ice cream in hand). She had also shared the cards with James Houston (one of the principal founders of Regent College, prolific author on Christian Spirituality and a man with a gift of seeing through your walls and causing you to grow). I wish I could share these cards with you now! When they become shareable, I will.
Firstly, a couple of people shared with me that the name for God “El Shaddai” may come from the Hebrew word meaning “breast” which could mean “God who nourishes/sustains us.”
This IS healing for me. When I first recognized my abuse as abuse I was in college and someone prayed healing for me with a picture description as a small child on Abba’s lap. My first memory of abuse was as a small child, around 4 years old, and having that protection of being in my Father’s lap (both Heavenly and earthly) was a very comforting thing. Having my head resting against the heart-beat of One who created me. Healing.
When I am feeling weak and vulnerable, when I am suffering with nightmares (PTSD flashbacks, or fears for my children) I go back to that image of a small girl on Abba’s lap, being cradled against His chest, and pray, and feel His peace and comfort.
A link that introduced this idea (El Shaddai) to me includes a series of verses about breast feeding and what the Bible teaches about it: Mothering From the Heart
Here are both healing verses and verses about motherhood that YOU have shared with me:
because of your father’s God, who helps you, because of [El Shaddai], who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breast and womb.
- Genesis 49:25 NIV
Yet you brought me out of the womb; you made me trust in you even at my mother’s breast. From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother’s womb you have been my God. Do not be far from me, for trouble is near and there is no one to help.
I will declare your name to my brothers; in the congregation I will praise you. You who fear the LORD, praise him! All you descendants of Jacob, honor him! Revere him, all you descendants of Israel! For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one he has not hidden his face from [her] but has listened to [her] cry for help.
- Psalm 22:9-11, 22-24 NIV
“Rejoice, Jerusalem, and all who love her, celebrate! And all you who have shed tears over her, join in the happy singing. You newborns can satisfy yourselves at her nurturing breasts, Yes, delight yourselves and drink your fill at her ample bosom.”
God’s Message: “I’ll pour robust well-being into her like a river, the glory of nations like a river in flood. You’ll nurse at her breasts, nestle in her bosom, and be bounced on her knees. As a mother comforts her child, so I’ll comfort you. You will be comforted in Jerusalem.”
You’ll see all this and burst with joy-you’ll feel ten feet tall-As it becomes apparent that God is on your side and against his enemies.
- Isaiah 66:10-14 The Message
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, [sisters], whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable — if anything is excellent or praiseworthy — think about such things.
- Philippians 4:7-8 NIV
but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us.
- I Thessalonians 2:7-8 NIV
He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.
- Isaiah 40:11 NIV
Lift your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these?
He who brings out the starry host one by one, and calls them each by name.
Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.
Why do you say, O Jacob, and complain, O Israel,
“My way is hidden from the LORD; my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know? Have you not heard?
The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
- Isaiah 40:26-31 NIV
I have been deprived of peace; I have forgotten what prosperity is.
So I say, “My splendor is gone and all that I had hoped from the LORD.”
I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall.
I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me.
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope:
Because of the LORD’s great love
we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”
The LORD is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him;
it is good to wait quietly for the salvation of the LORD.
It is good for a man to bear the yoke while he is young.
For men are not cast off by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he will show compassion,
so great is his unfailing love.
For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.
- Lamentations 3:17-27, 31-33 NIV
Get everyone there. Consecrate the congregation; Make sure the elders come, but bring in the children too, even the nursing babies. Even men and women on their honeymoon – interrupt them and get them there.
- Joel 2:16 The Message
On my bed I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you;
your right hand upholds me.
- Psalm 63:6-8 NIV
St Patrick’s Breastplate Prayer
apropos considering we are discussing breasts, no?
Taken from excerpts of the Aidan Readings, March 1-10, Celtic Daily Prayers|Prayers and Readings from the Northumbria Community. Harper Collins 2002
March 6 (Celtic Daily Prayers, p 347)
You hem me in — behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
- Psalm 139:5-8 NIV
The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.
He will drive out your enemy before you, saying, ‘Destroy him!’
- Deuteronomy 33:27 NIV
When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified him, along with the criminals — one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for give them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
- Luke 23:33-34 NIV
Christ be with me, Christ within me,
Christ behind me, Christ before me,
Christ beside me, Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ in quiet, Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all that love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
CHRIST BENEATH ME
Beneath are the everlasting arms – and they bear the print of the nails. No matter how far I have sunk, He descends to lift me up. He has plumbed all the hells of this world that He may lift us upwards. He is our firm support.
CHRIST BEHIND ME
There He walks in your past. He walks in all the dark rooms you pretend are closed, that He may bring light. Invite Him into your past. Experience His forgiveness, His acceptance of you. Offer especially all that you are ashamed of … all that you wish to forget … all that still pains and hurts you … all the hurt you have caused others. Walk there in the places you are afraid of, knowing that He walks with you and will lead you on!
CHRIST BEFORE ME
He forever goes before us to prepare a place for us. He is on the road we tread. Wherever life is leading us, He has gone on before. Perhaps we have no clue about what lies ahead; we know who is ahead of us, so the future is not quite unknown.
-David Adam, The Edge of Glory
(quoted from pages 347-349 of Celtic Daily Prayer)
A Caim Prayer
When I do not know what to pray
(also from Celtic Daily Prayer, pages 297-8)
Circle me, Lord.
Keep protection near
and danger afar.
Circle me, Lord.
Keep hope within,
keep despair without.
Circle me, Lord.
Keep light near
and darkness afar.
Circle me, Lord.
Keep peace within
and anxiety without.
The eternal Father, Son and Holy Spirit
shield me on every side.
*replace “me” with name of person for whom you are praying.
My chiropractor quickly Facebooked me a list of supplements to fortify my body against Postpartum Depression. More vitamin D and more fish oils. Start juicing again. That beyond my malnourishment at the hospital, my pregnancy, my celiac disease, my six months of being in bed, surgery, and breast feeding are all taxing my body and I cannot make up for the losses with the food that available at this time of year. So supplements, and juicing we go!
I’m going to be uploading my Michael Card and Brian Moss CDs (along with any others you might suggest) to my iPod for relaxing, inspiring nursing music (including Michael Card’s El Shaddai – I might add Amy Grant’s version as well). I’m waiting (impatiently, although it’s to be released in only a couple of days) Ahna Phillips Arts Thesis Project and maybe finally buying some Gungor and Christa Wells? Any other meditative, worship-filled suggestions? My favourite lullaby CD is the Putumayo Celtic Dreamland, which we listen to a couple times a night, would love to “change it up” if you have suggestions! We’ve been using it for about 5 years I think!
How about some relaxation exercises or meditations? I was blessed while I was in the hospital by a music therapy student who, on Wednesday afternoons, came to sing or write songs with the moms who were on the antepartum ward. I had a chat with her the day before Cora Beth was born, after she sang to me, we discovered that she was recording with my brother-in-law! How incredible is that!? I seriously have a whole list of amazing things that I am composing for a post later…but she sang a relaxation exercise for me, and although it’s not on her myspace page, she has a LOVELY voice that just now put Cora Beth to sleep.