Facing Memory – Day 31

It’s the last day.

I didn’t write the last couple of nights because I needed to rock a snotty baby, I needed to take lots of pain medication, I needed to think about something OTHER than the darkness I’ve held onto in my heart.

Although I didn’t write every day (I knew I was too focused on writing when my wandering day-thoughts were “I could write about this, or this or this”) I think exposing the darkness to light helped me to garner a little control over the memories and fears that have plagued me for so long.

was molested.

I was sexually assaulted.

was raped.

WAS

But now,

I AM MOTHER to five children, even though I WAS infertile.
I AM WIFE to a very handsome, man who makes me feel safe and beautiful, even though I WAS dumped many-a-time.
I AM PRINCESS to the KING even though I WAS a screw-up.

I am not a victim. I don’t even think of myself as a “survivor.” I am saved.

Even though sometimes I feel a bit broken inside, I am all here. Pieces have to be knit back together (like that darn pubic symphysis) but even before I was conceived, God had a plan for me. I haven’t overcome all my anxiety, fears, doubts. They are part of me that I am learning how to use, be strong with instead of against, grow out of, grow from.

So, tonight, 22 years later, with a baby at the breast and children trying to get one more piece of candy out of their stash before coming up to bed, I am alive…with joy. Things could have turned out differently – I could have become angry at God because he allowed these things to happen to me.

But I didn’t, well, I did for a short time, a whole 2 years of my life I lived my double life. BUT I know now that I didn’t need to be angry at God and throw away MY life in the meantime. Fortunately, God didn’t let me throw away my life. He renewed passion in me. Saved me, again, from the dark alleys and dead end streets. (Colossians 1:13-14)

I am grateful that God has a perspective that I don’t have, He knows the end story, He sees the tapestry being woven, when all I can see is the blood-red colour, or the charcoal that seems to be dominating my days, there are times of blue, of orange – and growth. The people who are woven into relationships with me, the challenges that come my way, the nights staring at the clock after another nightmare wakes me and shakes me to the core. All these things have the ability to be used by God to be turned into something beautiful.

My life is busy. But not glamourous. Not anything to be excited about – but it is good. It’s a good story of how God does work things together for fabulousness. (Romans 8:28) Our story is always full of “just so happened” moments that make all the stories amazing. You know, those “coincidences” that completely change the outcome of a story? Like a pair of luxury suites in a vineyard for our family at 1:30 in the morning? Or a baby conceived with contraception to two people with infertility? Or a coffee bar conversation because someone was smoking marijuana on the air intake “thing” at the grad school. Our life is an amazing series of stories. But they aren’t ALL beautiful. Some of them are dark. Scary. Fearful. Some of them are about cancer. About disease. About rape. About miscarriage.

And, I am so grateful that I was able to share with you the parts of me I want to hide all the time. When I hide this part of me, or at least TRY to, I hide the real me, the part of me with fears, with weakness, with hang-ups around being perfect. That you are reading my story – even the dark parts. The not-so-fun parts. And praying. Encouraging. Sharing.

Thank you.

Thank you for helping me to be proactive in this month. To not try to hide from the reason I’m afraid – but to face it so that I had control over it (to an extent).

Bless you.

•••

My final submission for Facing Memory

Facing Memory – Day 28

I skipped day 27.

On day 26, I had the word “Enough” come to me in a couple of different ways.

After I wrote on Friday, I slept. It wasn’t exactly a nap, it was more of an escape. When I awoke, somehow in my bed under covers, 3 hours later, “enough” was in my mind.

And I was reading responses (email, Facebook) and someone had emailed me a prayer. I thanked her. She emailed back that the word coming over to her again and again was “enough.”

•••

I have had these memories for over 30 years.

I’ll continue to have them. To need to deal with them.

But for now, I have done enough. I have said enough. I have hurt enough.

I have been self-focused enough to put me into a depression that I cannot shake. I had hoped that facing some of these memories would free me – and in some ways I KNOW it has helped – but being so self-focused has also left me with a darkness that I cannot switch off.

Today I am skipping church (I have kids with snotty noses, that is my excuse). I’m sitting in front of the fire. I have candles burning. I’m indulging in creature comforts while the sickies are piled on the couch with blankets, mandarins and Winnie the Pooh.

And going to give one last long post about me. Because I know that my depression is because I’ve been staring at my dirty belly button all month. I haven’t been counting my blessings. I haven’t been rejoicing. I’ve been freeing the darkness, and not getting it out of my soul – does that make any sense? I’ve been looking at all the crap, but not seeing how it has changed me…finding the gratefulness that is inherent in the growth…

what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…

So, today, I’m going to see if I can list 31 things that I can be grateful for as a person who has experienced what I have experienced. Then tomorrow – I’m going to stop focusing on MEmory and focus on JESUS’s work in my life over the last 35 years. Holy cow, I’m getting old.

  1. A hypersensitive instinct about people
  2. Empathy
  3. Fighter
  4. Aware of others needs
  5. Take on challenges others don’t want
  6. Learning not to need perfect
  7. Forgiven
  8. Learning forgiveness
  9. Learning that anger isn’t always “bad”
  10. That anger can be the motivation for change, good change
  11. Protective
  12. Desiring to create a safe haven
  13. Knowing what brings me comfort
  14. Knowing what makes me feel safe
  15. Being able to identify what makes me sick
  16. Knowing Jesus HAS saved my life
  17. Trusting God HAS saved my life
  18. Miracles are in the every day
  19. People who abuse have been abused
  20. People who hurt others have been hurt themselves
  21. People who bully, are bullied at home
  22. Compassion is having a passion with another’s perspective
  23. Counseling works
  24. My weakness is where God shows His Strength
  25. I have seen answers to prayer
  26. I have been blessed with Dear Husband who makes me feel safe – even in the midst of self-inflicted depression and anxiety while facing memories of assault and molestation.
  27. I am not alone. I will never be alone.
  28. There are many women who have been through what I have been through. Much worse than what I’ve been through. Without the family support. Without the husband support. Without the Jesus support.
  29. Prayer works. Even if sometimes it’s “just” changing my perspective.
  30. Victory
  31. Peace comes

•••

This has been a post inspired by The Nester and her challenge to write every day for a month.
It’s hard to admit I haven’t been perfect at writing each day for a month. But I am learning that grace is better than perfection. At least with myself. Maybe. Or maybe I still feel really guilty about not writing here every day and that I need to go back and write something for those days.

Sigh

•••

Facing Memory – Day 26

It’s raining.

It’s grey.

I’m chilly, even with hot tea, a sweater and candles.

I want to be in bed. I want to be asleep. Instead, I am sitting on the couch with two bibles open beside me, my budget book unopened and an empty box of play doh.

I keep trying to fight this depression. Forcing myself to do things that will make me feel like I’m doing what I need to be doing.

I’ve stayed on top of the laundry this week (including actually changing MY OWN sheets). I’ve made a few meals from scratch (including the pizza sauce that is in the fridge for tonight’s dinner). I’ve even made cupcakes.

Chocolate. Hazelnuts. Yummy.

But NOTHING that I do seems to be flipping the depression switch off.

I kind of want to go shopping. Or re-arrange the house (I’ve done that this week, twice). Like some kind of major change/purchase will turn all my sad, tired thoughts around.

Or go buy a peppermint mocha, or a salted caramel mocha. Something chocolatey, sweet and caffeinated.

But that hasn’t worked this week either.

I almost ate an ENTIRE COSTCO-SIZED BAG of potato chips yesterday.  Still, no relief from this depression.

I keep thinking that there must be something I can do to go back to normal. A pill (no, even the upping of my antidepressant hasn’t been the magic cure). Facing the Memories (uh, yeah, I’m here writing through my memories, some aren’t fit for the general public, so they are journalled, others I’ve blogged here). Working through all the crap.

None of these things I am doing is working.

And, I know it’s about being but I don’t know how to be in this skin. I don’t know what to expect of myself. What the still, small voice is telling me to be. I don’t know who this woman is, with five kids, with a past full of Jesus and blessings – but tainted with trauma.

How did I let the trauma define me. Be me? Who am I without it? When people see me, do they see the trauma, or do they see a frazzled mom chasing after 5 kids? Usually I get questions like “What, did you start when you were 10?” which is sometimes flattering, and sometimes I want to punch the person in the gut. Because, of course I don’t have the common sense to be parenting five children. Flattering that they think I’m not almost 40, insulting that they treat me like I don’t have 20+ years of experience as an adult.

In my Threadbare Momma’s group, one of the women posted Matthew 5:3 this week – as an encouragement.

” You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” (The Message)

But even if I admit to being Poor in Spirit – how do I actually succumb to His Will? How do I keep MY VOICE from interfering with HIS VOICE? How do I keep the images of a perfect home and perfectly behaved children, and perfectly browned roasts from tainting The Kingdom images?

Last Night’s Roast

•••

Abba,

I am weak. I know that. But I so want to be strong. On. My. Own.

And I keep breaking. Sometimes physically. Usually spiritually. Emotionally. Mentally.

And yet, I don’t depend on you. I am terrified to ask that you help me to lean on you. I suddenly imagine you taking away from me all the things I love and depend on (primarily my family, coffee and avocado).

I can’t do this. I know it. You know it.

This depression has consumed me. I can’t dwell in it because I have children to raise. As much as I want to sink into this couch and drink tea for the rest of my life, I have to go change diapers, pull a mermaid child from the bathtub, pick up kids from school.

Teach me to let go of those things that don’t matter. The expectations of the world. The kingdom of want. Help me to clean to what is real, what is necessary. Grace.

Grace.

Mercy.

Amen.

•••

and in all honesty. after I wrote this prayer, I reopened my pocket bible to this:

So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you:
Take your everyday, ordinary life – your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life – and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Romans 12:1-2, The Message

•••

Immaturity of the world. Verses the discernment of the Will of God – his good, acceptable and perfect will.

I’m off to pray some more, while changing diapers…

And maybe convincing this naked 3yo that it’s too cold to be such.

 

Facing Memory – Day 25; Five Minute Friday – VOICE

It’s a “flash mob” of writers. Every Friday at 12:01am a few hundred (or is it closer to thousand?) women pop on over to Lisa-Jo’s page to find out what the word of the next 5 minutes will be.

No over thinking.

No editing.

No extreme planning and linking and photographing.

Just FIVE minutes of writing to see what comes out.

Five Minute Friday

This week the word is

voice

 

•••

Voice.

The negative words on repeat crashing, echoing in my head. The one that says “idiot, klutz, b___”

The “Martha Stewart” voice as I look around at my cluttered home and pick up the floor for the first hour of EVERY morning.

The voice I prepare to respond to the banker as to why my account is overdrawn, or the landlord as to why the garden isn’t weeded, or to the kids as to why I don’t make cookies for them everyday like so-and-so’s momma.

I talk to myself. To keep myself on course (who hasn’t walked upstairs to get chapstick and suddenly found themselves decluttering a closet?); to keep myself from listening to the sadistic voice in my head, in my heart that tell me I’ll never measure up.

Because.

I won’t.

But I am no longer expected to measure up.

I don’t HAVE to be perfect. Yes, sin separates us – but HIS VOICE and HIS LOVE and HIS DEATH have rescued me from being “perfect.” I am made complete, perfected because of His love.

So why DON’T I choose to listen to HIS VOICE?

Do I still need to have control over every little thing? To measure up? To please someone?

I need to hear HIM. To dwell in his words of love.

•••

As last week, I am forgoing a post on Facing Memory to participate in Five Minute Friday. I could have written more about having a lack of voice – as a child enduring sexual abuse, but I didn’t think I could do it in 5 minutes without bursting into tears.

So, instead, I’m gonna ask for you to pray for the children who have no voice. Not only the sexually exploited, abused, neglected children who live in our neighbourhoods. But the children around the world who have no voice in who they will marry, what they will eat, or drink, or wear. God loves them. He will give them what they need…

but are we doing all that we can, should, need to be doing? I know he has the power to do it without us. But maybe we need to do it to change ourselves?

•••

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Facing Memory – Day 24

I cannot write today.

Heavy, burdened, depressed, collapse.

My dreams are of drowning, of the world crashing in around me, of cars and (I realize this is crazy) tankers full of tax papers.

I even splurged on a tall decaf half sweet salted caramel mocha

And that did not lift my heavy mood.

I am flailing in this healing. It’s like the ocean of tears inside me are trying to drown me. But, I cannot cry-whether it’s the anti-depressants or the fear of what will happen when the floodgates open-I am just burdened with the heaviness that one feels before a soul-cleansing weep.

I cannot weep.

My chest is crushed under the weight, but the demands of my life keep the “weak me” at arm’s distance.

And after a day of avoiding and pressing on, I collapsed. The relief of sleep was necessary for my brain. Bless my teen who cared for everyone (and a large selection of movies) until Dear Husband made it home.

I am going to ready my body for rest. I hope my dreams do not continue into the dark fear.

•••

Thank you to all of you who are continually praying and blessing me thru social media.

Your words come at just the right time everytime.

Thank you for encouraging me through this dark journey.