Morning friends

It warmed my heart to read through the discussion last week. One of my passions for women in destructive marriages is to understand how important it is to do their own work. It is so tempting for you to focus all your energies on understanding, and trying to change your destructive partner, that you lose all perspective on figuring out what you have to do to stop being the repeat victim of his attitudes or behaviors. 

Today’s blog is written by a woman who has made that transition. For years she was focused on what her husband’s problem was. She tried to understand him, she tried to figure out how to speak to him so that he would get it and change. Finally, she realized that the only person she could change was herself. She began her own work and has grown by leaps and bounds. I’ve invited her to share some of what God has been teaching her in this blog.

Arise, Beloved (1 of 2)

By

Dawn Stephenson

Tucked away in the depths of 1 Samuel 25 we find Abigail, my biblical hero. Take a minute, check her out! As a Proverbs 31 woman of gargantuan-sized faith, she is everything we dream of becoming. She is wise, discerning, and faith-filled. Abigail ran her household well, managed the assets and staff honorably, which was no small task considering its size and scope of influence in that day. She was strategic. She “owned” her home. It all appears to run like clockwork when you read the story from her side … except for the cog in the wheel. She was married to Nabal. He was the proverbial fly in the ointment of her chapter. Nabal rained on the parade of her stewardship. Let’s take a look today at how she handled this ongoing issue inside of her marriage. Abigail can be used to provide the Psalm 16:11 “pathway to life” for many marriages, maybe even yours.

If we look carefully, we can draw three techniques, or tools, that she utilized to help her navigate what is described as a next to impossible situation. Abigail understood the importance of these three things:

To align, arise and ascend in relationship to God both inside and outside of her marriage. 

Align: All was not well in Abigail’s world, mainly in her marriage. Nabal embodied the meaning of his name, “fool.” Proverbs described a fool beautifully as one who refuses instruction, hardens his heart, doesn’t accept discipline, and doesn’t delight in understanding. Nabal proves himself throughout the chapter time and time again to perfectly depict these characteristics. 

Here’s how Abigail circumvented that by aligning properly … in mainly tenuous circumstances. First and foremost, we see she was deeply aligned with truth. She understood who she was as an attachment to Nabal. According to 1 Samuel 25:17, even his servants said, “He is such a worthless man that no one can speak to him.” 

Later in the chapter, as she speaks of Nabal to David, “Please do not, my Lord, pay attention to this worthless man, Nabal…” she confirms this.   

Out of her painful alignment in matrimony to Nabal, she pressed into the arms of her God. Her first position of alignment was to Him, and in Him, apart from Nabal, as evidenced by the fruit of her discernment. Abigail’s discourse with David in verses 29 – 32 enables her to recognize David for who he is, God’s chosen king. Her discernment is a by-product of her time with the Master, as is ours.

The message here for us, sisters, is to align properly. That happens when we allow ourselves space and time to come into alignment with the reality of our circumstances and what we are dealing with. This comes when we set aside time to renew our minds in the presence of our God. Things become clearer then. Abigail shows us the fruit of this truth as she speaks it. We simply must cease doing what doesn’t work. Her time with God allowed her to look like Him, to see with His eyes. She was able to recognize God’s anointed and deal with David wisely. 

Notice she didn’t waste anyone’s time or energy going to Nabal to persuade, argue with, or try to fix him. My guess is she had been down that road before. This time was to be different. Casting her pearls before swine was no longer a wise use of her time or her resources. Her change in alignment saved her household that day. That alignment changed the course of her personal history as well. Had her alignment been solely with Nabal, she would have resembled him. My guess is that her conversation with David, and her ensuing destiny, would have resulted in a much different ending to this chapter.  Align properly, sisters.

Arise: In order to arise, we must understand the necessity for and possess the solid foundation of our proper alignment with, and in, Christ first.

This happens in our direct relationship with Him … aside from our husbands. Christ gives us this truth directly in His dealing with the Woman at the Well (John 4).  In a direct affront to cultural norms, He calls her to Himself for healing first. Once she is properly aligned in her belief system and her understanding of whose and who she is in that paradigm, she becomes free to address her life issues. It is a process. After finding freedom in Jesus, she is now able to arise in her anointing and pursue the full calling on her life.

Abigail exemplifies this as well. Her moment to arise came out of her understanding of these same foundational principles.  Culturally to do what she did could have been a death sentence for her. Where did she gain the strength and understanding to move in that direction? Certainly not from Nabal. In the right timing, with much discernment, she made a drastic play outside of her alignment to Nabal. This was God’s plan.

Her ability to align herself with her identity in God, first and foremost, is what enabled her to move into alignment with Him to save her life and her entire household. God’s grace in that alignment even extended as far as saving Nabal, at least initially. This was her arising. In Abigail’s arising she was able to harness her biblical authority and power to ascend. It was born from the firm foundation of her alignment in her God. Where are you aligned foremost, sisters? From where is your understanding of yourself and your position drawn?

Ascend: This is an interesting concept, especially for those who come from backgrounds laden with the lies of abuse. The clear biblical definition of ascension comes from Ephesians 2:6. Here we are told that “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.” 

Like crawling before you walk, and walking before you run, we must arise before we can ascend.Click To Tweet

When we are in proper alignment, we are free to arise and understand our position in Him ~ our position, both inside and outside, of our marriage. Our wise discernment allows us to know when and how to navigate, and operate, in both arenas. Abigail shows us that. She knew when to move outside of her alignment with her husband, in accordance with God’s will. With great strength and courage, she did so in a way that was both truthful yet honoring to her household. Her bold arising allowed for her ascension. She operated in her God-given power and authority in her CORE strength.

Her arising to meet David honored him for both who she knew he was, and for his contribution to her household. She was a peacemaker. Her ability to walk in honor and go back and still serve Nabal proved that. She did the right thing, again arising. Abigail kept moving in the right direction. 

It proved deadly to Nabal not to change his heart or his ways. The Lord provided for Abigail’s ascension to rise in freedom, through Nabal’s untimely death. This was how He chose to orchestrate her provision of release. She continued to arise in strength and truth, honorably. God continued to organize her ascension … without Nabal. 

Abigail was able to ascend to take her new place because of her past obedience. She aligned. She arose. She ascended to become the wife of the King of Israel. Let’s not blow through that too quickly, sisters. This was no small victory!

I don’t know what ascension looks like for you in relation to a specific outcome in your marriage but we can stand solidly here. When we are aligned with Him first, when we arise and operate in the power and authority that we have been given by Him ~ in love and honor, He has promised to finish the good work that He began in us in Philippians 1:6. He takes us as His Beloved Bride with or without our earthly husband. That’s quite an ascension. 

So perhaps today, like Abigail, we can learn to ask the right questions. Ask yourself these questions and then let’s discuss them in the comments below. 

Where do I find myself aligned? What tools am I lacking that would enable me to arise? How do I honor God first and then myself in Him? Do I possess the tools and strength to ascend? If not, why not? 

Sisters, it is time to align, arise, and ascend. He died for our privilege to do just that. 

109 Comments

  1. Laura on June 28, 2017 at 8:54 am

    Wow, I’m so glad I took the time to read this today! It spoke right to my heart and to where I am in my marriage. Such an affirmation for me to keep following the path God has me on out of alignment and obedience to Him first and foremost. I will continue to arise as God leads me. Thank you once again!

    • Dawn on June 30, 2017 at 3:50 am

      Thank you for reading it Laura. I am thankful for your seeking Him to affirm you. As we lean in and drill down our roots into Him we become the Ps 1 firmly planted, not easily shaken believer.
      I will pray for the ancient paths of Jer 6:16 where there is rest for your soul and the good way in which to walk.
      Call forth the path of life from Ps 16:11 for you that leads you to His joy filled presence. Beautiful as we sit. Blessings and provision as you move forward.

  2. Amy on June 28, 2017 at 9:37 am

    This makes arising so clear! What a wonderful message. I have struggled with stepping out into my calling for so long. I have learned so much from this. The knowledge of who I am in Christ can take me places I’ve been afraid to go. I am so glad God isn’t finished with me yet. I can move forward knowing he doesn’t give up on me either. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • Dawn on June 30, 2017 at 4:10 am

      Oh Amy!
      Thank you! What an encouragement you are to my heart.
      You are oh so right. Once the foundation of the aligning work has been laid, we are free to step into our anointing and fulfill the good works of Phil 2:10 that He has prepared and created and equipped for us to do… only we can do them. Isn’t that kind of love He has for us beautiful.
      Arise, Amy, Arise! Move into the full stature and anointing of the calling He has on your life. Ascend to take your seat next to Him as His Beloved bride, Joint Heir.
      That, My Sweet Christ Sister, is what we were created for. That is why we were made. Brave onward!

  3. JoAnn on June 28, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Beautifully written, Dawn, and so encouraging. Thank you!
    This morning, in my time in the Word, I enjoyed this verse, which I think speaks to what you have written. Hebrews 10:38-39, “But My righteous one shall live by faith; and if he shrinks back (in fear), My soul does not delight in him. But we are not of those who shrink back to ruin, but of them who have faith to the gaining (preserving, saving, possessing) of the soul.”

    Surely this is a call to align, arise and ascend. Grace be with you!

    • Dawn on June 28, 2017 at 9:18 pm

      Joanne! I love this verse. I have never had it jump out at me this way — especially the don’t shrink back part. Love it.
      It took me a long time to learn that I can just give myself permission to “do it afraid”!

  4. Wendy on June 28, 2017 at 10:49 am

    Dawn, thank you again for encouraging me to continue to sit at His feet, and align myself with His truth.
    Where do I find myself aligned?
    This is a question I wake up to and ask myself every morning. Putting this discipline in place as my number one priority was not easy. Asking Him to take from my heart and soul any lies and sin, and transform me by the reading of His word is how I have learned to align myself. When I was defeated in my spirit, and blinded by my fear and pain, it took much dedication and focus to put this into place. For me personally this was the hardest battle, as simple as it sounds, to dedicate myself to being vulnerable in the presence of Jesus. At first I found resistance and a lack of trust this was difficult for me to look at. It took Him having much patience with my anger, unforgiveness and pain to get to the place where I could align myself with love. My soul was ripped apart by abandonment and lies. Why would a beautiful God want anything to do with the sick heart and soul. However, He wanted everything to do with it. He patiently and lovingly took me kicking, screaming,begging and crying. In HIS power begin to line me up with HIS truth and HIS love.
    What tools am I lacking that would enable me to arise?
    I was crippled literally lame by the lies and deceptions I had come to believe. I wanted to just crawled into His lap and let Him hold me. However, I felt completely unworthy of Love. I believe I had excepted that I was unworthy. The tool that I needed, the thing I was lacking was the act of submission. I had to reclaim this word and apply it to my savior, and choose to make Him first no matter what my flesh felt. We want to feel good. We will not feel good. We will have to fight our flesh to submit to sitting at his feet. I had to get through this first test in order to line myself up.
    How do I honor God first and then myself in Him?
    I had to honor Him by reading one verse applying it to my life and believing it. I literally would focus on one verse apply it to my daily life dissect every word, memorize it, until I believed it. I would ask myself do you believe? Do you believe He is God? I then had to begin seeking to know Him not to use Him to get through my circumstance. I needed to fall in love with Hin. This is where He began to honor me by showing me how much He loved me. This beautiful dance then became my every day addiction to a very personal walk with Him.
    Do I possess the tools and strength to ascend?
    This is also a question I must ask myself every morning. I lay my thinking down every day. I literally asked God to take over my mind take anything from me that is false. I ask Him to give me the tools, strength,joy and peace to rise above anything my eyes see. Please do not misunderstand me, every day my flesh will hit me with an anxious thought and try to pull me back and tell me I am no good. Every day the devil comes with his weapons and his tools to lie to me and try to make me feel guilty. Every day I must ascend in my thoughts and apply HIS word and truth to everything I feel in order to ascend. When we are hurting and we feel hopeless this can sound like so much work. Again, I pick one verse apply it believe it. When we feel too weak to even pick up the Bible or bend our knee, do it anyway. Move in His direction and then He will give us the tools and the strength to ascend. This is the great miracle of a personal walk with Him. One step in front of the other, one day at a time.
    His goal with me was to develop an intimate relationship with me. He wants me to be able to hear his voice and to ask for all that I need in the most detailed way. I then can see Him work in the smallest of things and begin to have the faith and trust for the larger ones. This is how He grows me and this is been the greatest blessing of my life.
    Sisters, let us encourage each other that today is the turning point, that to become and Abigail we first must choose to give it all in submission to the bridegroom who is coming for us one day. Choose with me to believe He is faithful and true in every single heartbeat, in every single situation. Choose to believe He absolutely will work no matter what you see or feel. He wants to rescue and save us from our situations and make us better. He will not just pull us out, He is patient, kind and loving so He will teach us how to arise and how to ascend. He will begin to show us how to wear our armor and use our tools. He works with us, His ways are not our ways, but we must arise and trust Him in all things. That’s who He is. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and HE WILL direct our path. Do we even believe that one verse? Do I even believe it today?

    • JoAnn on June 28, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      Wendy, to this I say, “YES and AMEN!!!”

    • Dawn on June 28, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      Wendy,
      You are always such an encouragement to my heart. And yes, if we have to be committed to something it should be Jesus.
      Your hard work is beautiful. It’s just as you described… hard. But as my trainer used to tell me, “Pick your hard!” You took that control you had of yourself and laid it out for Him to use to reshape you. What a Glorious Unbecoming!
      Thanks for sharing your heart! You are always such an encouragement.

    • Dawn on June 28, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      Wendy,
      You are always such an encouragement to my heart. And yes, if we have to be committed to something it should be Jesus.
      Your hard work is beautiful. It’s just as you described… hard. But as my trainer used to tell me, “Pick your hard!” You took that control you had of yourself and laid it out for Him to use to reshape you. What a Glorious Unbecoming!
      Thanks for sharing your heart! You are always such an encouragement.

  5. Wendy on June 28, 2017 at 11:24 am

    JoAnn, I love this verse!
    Arise- Have Faith- Be Saved!!

  6. Connie on June 28, 2017 at 11:28 am

    Thank you so much, both Dawn and Wendy. My journey has been similar, probably slower though, but precious anyway.

    I have been attending a ‘Bible Study’ of ladies who are enamored with a popular name it and claim it televangelist. I go because of the fellowship (lovely ladies), though I have big problems with the material. I keep thinking, “What is it that bothers me the most here, and how would I explain it?” This post helps me to understand better. For example, last week the book said to meditate on God’s Word. Then it went on to say that the best way to learn that was to buy more books and tapes by this guy. Huh? Besides that some of the teaching is outright wrong, it is second-hand knowledge, instead of direct. I pray each week that I can drop seeds of wisdom, without offending anyone, because I believe they are all sincere followers of Christ. Probably we’ve all been there in one way or another.

    • Dawn on June 28, 2017 at 9:22 pm

      Good for you to know, Connie! Kind of like a missionary at Bible Study. I am glad that you have love and grace for all that is unfolding.
      What a treasure they have in you being there!

  7. Wendy on June 28, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Wow Connie I can totally relate with what you are saying. When we have been hurt in this area of trust we need real truth. It is a blessing and a curse as I see it in my life. The curse to me of course is the hurt, pain and loss. The blessing was becoming so hungry and thirsty for direct truth from Jesus Christ. Realizing the world I was looking at brought me so much lies and darkness, I longed and hungered for the life of the truth. Listen to that voice keep reaching for His truth personally delivered into the darkness of your life. For me when that little bit of light personally given to me from his word flooded the darkness of the lies I was believing, it was the greatest treasure and blessing I ever received. One that no one could take for me.

  8. Aleea on June 28, 2017 at 1:04 pm

    Thank you Dawn, that was nicely structured and well written.

    “What tools am I lacking that would enable me to arise?” . . . .A what-you-do-not-yet-know-is-more-important-than-what-you-already-know-style, revelation. The place of entire dependence on God. I want God Himself —not someone’s ideas of God.

    “How do I honor God first and then myself in Him?” . . . .I am willing to sacrifice enormous amounts of time to get alone with Him, to study in depth, and to give Him time every single day to work in me, and to keep up the link of connection between myself and Him.

    “Do I possess the tools and strength to ascend? If not, why not?” . . . .I don’t see that we can ascend before we are transfigured. . . .That metanoia (—a change of our minds based on repeated repentance) really is continually necessary and the Bible shows it is a mental product of love, internal to ourselves. . . .The times it has happened it has been an experience with God’s unseen power. —And for me, it has nothing to do with self-regarding sorrow for “legal transgressions.” It is an ecstatic self-emptying. It is a change of mind about the mode of my thinking and my being. The times I have gone that route, others have changed because I have changed. All levels of ascension involve letting go of things that hold us back.

    Re:letting go of things that hold us back.
    . . . .So, let me give a practical example of that from my life pulling from a composite of examples in the Old Testament: . . .Let’s say you are miserable and unhappy. Okay. . . Here’s a cure: Find what’s really valuable and sacrifice it to God. So, maybe it’s a relationship you have. In my case, it was my relationship with my mother. —And that relationship was pathological but *very* important to me. I was locked into it. I valued it. —And no wonder, it’s a relationship with my mother!!! —And I was suffering terribly because of it. What do you do? Maybe you let it go. It’s a sacrifice (—just like we see in the Old Testament and you sacrifice the good stuff to God, the stuff you really wanted to keep.). —And the idea is that this sacrifice will clear the future for you (—it did for me). Very frequently when people are suffering terribly . . .Not always, cause sometimes you just suffer . . .stupidly, blindly and without recourse. . . .For example, you get cancer and then you die. . . .But sometimes the reason that you are suffering is because you just won’t let go of the thing that’s biting you. —And I would think: “I can’t let go of my mother.” “I can’t stop communicating with my mother who phones me six times a day everyday of my life and never says anything that isn’t unbelievable critical and demeaning.” “I can’t let that go!” Well. . . .I did. The funny thing: too often, when people let something like that go, it goes away, sorts itself out and then comes back (—that is my hope too!). —So they don’t even end up losing it. But unless we are willing to let it go, to *sacrifice* it, we make no headway whatsoever. So one of God’s rules seems to be: If people are impeding your development (—your aligning, arising and ascending), you sacrifice your relationship with them.

    “Sisters, it is time to align, arise, and ascend. He died for our privilege to do just that.” . . . .Absolutely, He loves us, we have the greatest value. He gave His life for all we are worth! —All we can do is keep seeking God in Christ and let Him direct us.

  9. Nancy on June 28, 2017 at 1:42 pm

    Dawn, Wendy, Aleea,

    I too, Love Abigail.

    So here’s what has struck me from you three. Wendy, you likened aligning to submitting. This is POERFUL for me. This year, I am learning the work of John 6, ” to believe in the One The Lord has sent”. The work of to RECEIVING His love. HUGE.

    Why is it so huge? Wendy, you said it. Receiving requires submission. It is to OPEN myself to His Love. Submission is to be vulnerable. I CAN’T be vulnerable. Being vulnerable is what made me so sick. I took in EVERYTHING. Everyone’s feelings, ideas…especially my mother’s. Receiving my identity in Christ, as His most precious daughter requires vulnerability to Him. I have constructed an anti-vulnerability wall around my heart that I don’t know how to dis-arm.

    And Allea, your comments about sacrificing your relationship with your mom is, well….timely. When I hear from my mother and am not ready for it, it can unleash a RAGE and a PANIC. As I become vulnerable to God with these feelings underneath is a terrible grief for the mother I never had. This morning I got a simple email from her asking to celebrate Canada day together, and I was thrown. I can’t respond. The FOG is back. Mostly the G of FOG – Guilt.

    I think I have victory ( last time I had a conversation I was able to lovingly set limits with her, and leave the conversation well) and then I get thrown by ten words in an email.

    Guarding my heart is essential. Now God is asking that I do the exact opposite with Him! I am so ticked off with the roller coaster that is my relationship with my mother.

    Eugene Peterson said in an interview with Bono about the Psalms that the trick is to permit ourselves to swear at God without actually swearing at God.

    I don’t think there are strong enough words that can capture my feelings about my childhood. *!?+#!!!

    • Aleea on June 29, 2017 at 10:02 am

      “I got a simple email from her asking to celebrate Canada day together, and I was thrown. I can’t respond. The FOG is back. Mostly the G of FOG – Guilt.” . . . .I get those too, the problem with surviving is that you end up with the ghosts of everyone you’d ever left behind riding on your shoulders. —I’m a haunted house *filled* with ghosts and piles of unfinished business. That presence haunts me and I need Jesus to help me make peace with the grief, the sadnesses, the insecurity, the anxiety, the guilt and to, somehow, let it go without picking it all up again and again. I spend a great deal of energy in attempting to avoid my truth by endlessly overworking. I construct an image of myself that shields me from a confrontation with all my ghosts. . . . .But, I still encounter them late at night and in the corridors of my dreams, ―also while praying. . . Nancy, people generally don’t suffer high rates of PTSD after say natural disasters, instead, people suffer from PTSD after moral atrocities. ―Our “moms” knew better. The legacy of a helpless, vulnerable, humiliated child creates a mess, such a *huge* mess. . . .And yet, the more we are able to forgive, the more we are able to really love. . . We have to forgive everyone and everyone includes ourselves and it is so, so hard when we are still deeply hurting. Forgiveness takes everything we have: intelligence, discipline, imagination, persistence, mental toughness and courage. But to forgive is to refuse to contaminate the future with the horrors of the past . . . .or as my counselor, Dr. Meier, always tells me: “Aleea, this is your life, ―don’t play hard to get!”

      “. . .Eugene Peterson said in an interview with Bono about the Psalms that the trick is to permit ourselves to swear at God without actually swearing at God. I don’t think there are strong enough words that can capture my feelings about my childhood. . . .” . . . .So, I have done that in the past (swear at God without actually swearing at God) just by running down all my issues with God from childhood: God *why* were you always so, so hidden. God *why* were you always so silent. God *why* are you so often inert. God *why* is the evidence of your help often so, so inadequate, etc. —Lord God if I start with the evidence, and then figure out what the best explanation of it all really is, regardless of where this quest for truth takes me. . . . .well, Lord, you know where it takes me! —And Lord, eternal suffering awaits anyone who consistently questions Your infinite love??? —That’s unbelievably twisted, Lord!!!

      . . . .But it doesn’t work. It never works! All my tough words are meaningless because I *love* Him and I *want* Him and He knows it. I have to recognize my inability to love before I can love the way God loves. His version of love is so unfamiliar to our worlds: sacrificial, selfless and the most beautiful love you could experience. —I know you know. —And as Dr. Meier always tells me: “When love comes easy, forgiving is hard and forgetting even harder.” I say “Dr. Meier, honestly, I don’t even know what that means. . . . but I do understand why I am incapable of understanding why God does what He does.”

    • Dawn on June 30, 2017 at 4:30 am

      Ahhh Nancys I love your commitment to the John 6 work of believing. It IS a huge work.
      God bless you for drilling down into it for it is the soul in which our deep roots in Him will be established. Ps 1.
      The work of receiving … another huge work for our damaged souls. He is faithful and safe to trust. He will not give us rotten gifts – sometimes the packaging of the gift can appear a bit “iffy” :). He is a good father. He has proven Himself over and over again to me.
      Praying for clear boundaries w your mom. For a peaceful resolution for you.

  10. Wendy on June 28, 2017 at 2:29 pm

    Nancy, Aleena,
    So much of your words touched me and I can relate to. As I too just got done with the season of dealing with the guilt and range of my mom. I am on my way to work and so blessed to have been a part of this thread today. I will read more later I am praying for us all today and thanking God for this ministry.

    • Aleea on June 29, 2017 at 11:11 am

      Wendy,
      Thank you for the prayers. Prayers are the best gift ever. . . .re: Rage leading to guilt over our mothers. . . . I’ll tell you, if mental abuse was a punishable crime, a lot of parents would be in jail serving a very long term. . . .But, it must be so hard to be a parent. . . .They should love you, just as you are. Parents should love their kids, right? ―You’d think so. . . .Treat them with the same love and attention we all wanted from our parents while growing up.

  11. Sunshine on June 28, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Ok ladies, help me out with this one. Received email from abusive husband whom I have a restraining order against. He writes “the kids want us back together” (they are married adults), “I am patiently waiting for you to stop being afraid of me” and “I want my new friends to meet my wonderful wife.”

    Delusional, right? Hum.. let me think.. why would one be afraid of you? Might it be the restraining order? New Friends…people you are deluding into believing your fake persona you mean.

    Oh, I forgot to add, “I am ready to be the man of your dreams.” So, the man of my dreams isn’t abusive. Sorry, buddy, you blew your chance.

    So, this is my gut reaction. How would you ladies apply our teaching to this? Arise..etc..

    • Dawn on June 29, 2017 at 9:49 am

      Ahh, Wendy, I love your words: “The curse to me of course is the hurt, pain and loss. ”
      I would actually encourage you to perhaps alternatively frame the pain as a deep, rich part of the blessing. Yikes! However, once I began to see the pain as the “fuel” that got me from Point A — living in shear insane pain to Point B — living in pain that had purpose. Transformation al purpose. I was able to see it as the catalyst that kept me moving further and further into Him.
      Ahhhh… then it became beautful. Because then I knew it would heal.
      He is faithful and safe to trust.
      Ahhh… this is the fruit of “working out our salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God, who is at work in you, to Will and to act according to His good purpose.” Phil. 2:12-13.
      We have the privilege of cultivating / bringing to fruit , through obedience, and belief the salvation He has so freely given to us in grace through the blood of His son. We do the “painful” work of aligning, arising, and ascending and we receive that beautiful healing that our salvation sees sprouts. Ahhh His love. When we learn to become good receivers — we eat the good fruit of His love.

      • Wendy on June 29, 2017 at 12:55 pm

        Dawn, thank you for your words. The beautiful dance of the pain and Jesus Christ is the most beautiful one ever! As I wake up and my body feels pain or my spirit feels pain I drag it to the altar. I place it in front of the One who created me, my bride groom and strength of my soul. When I submit all my thinking to Him He turns my world upside down. All that the world has told me that I am is no longer the reflection that I see. I stand clothed in His beautiful righteousness surrounded by angel armies of protection, seated in the heavenly’s and given the very authority and power that raised Christ Jesus from the dead. I would not trade my journey in life or the pain that God has brought me. I have never had so little and felt so very rich. I know that in this season, one I feared the most of being alone and healing, He will resurrect a powerful woman equipped for the real battle. Equipped with a heart fully submit it to her Lord.

        • Dawn on June 30, 2017 at 4:41 am

          Wendy!!!
          This is truly one of the most beautiful truths I’ve read. You ARE that woman. Everything about your commitment to Him bears that out. You have fierce love for Him. It is the love born of deep adversity. There is NO other way to get that front line warrior love. You defend Him with honor because He has saved you out of the miry pit of Ps 40. Your love towards Him followed Him anywhere He led you through the land of want and plenty — like Paul you have found contentment in whatever state you are in — because He’s there. That is great worship, trust and faith.
          So very proud of you, Brave Warrior.
          What a glorious ascension!

    • Aly on June 29, 2017 at 12:11 pm

      Dear Sunshine,

      I can only speak from my own journey so far with going no contact with my own ‘parents’ who are still married living out their own deceptions.

      Also, how does one contact you while also having a restraining order.. not sure of the extent of the terms but would you also be breaking the terms if you responded?
      I’m not familiar with the legal options here.

      I really liked Wendy’s reply and can see the healing in her own personal journey and the choices she made that promoted her response.

      I can speak from my own situation and I can relate to you with the grief of being contacted by such non-truthtelling individuals that are in denial. So painful. I’m sorry for the abuse you have suffered from this person, but you sound safe (now) and quite realistic in my opinion.

      For my journey … dealing with such crazy and underdeveloped individuals, it took different turns. I did a lot of inventory of what was taken (stolen) from me. I continued to seek God and ask for wisdom in how I can become a healthier person who is empowered with Gods truth and Love. Healthy balance of power, freedoms and many others things were stolen from me.. (alsomy own weighted opinions and definitions that I needed to weigh with God),
      So for me to align .. I would want to also model certain aspect of Jesus’s teachings and interactions with such individuals. This would be my hope.

      My response would be brief and would say something like:
      “Dear ex h,
      Unfortunately the marriage failed, Your definitions of what being a ‘husband of my dreams’ are far from how I or the Lord God would define that. Blessings for your journey”.

      Sunshine,
      Destructive people define their own beliefs ( many of which are passed down and given from family of origin and of course cultural influence) and those beliefs are expressed in destructive behaviors in relationships especially those in close proximity.

      Prayers and love for your journey Sunshine 🌅💕

      • Sunshine on June 30, 2017 at 9:44 am

        Thank you. Well, less than 24 hours after the super sweet email came his intimidate and control email. So I am back on track.

  12. JoAnn on June 28, 2017 at 11:14 pm

    I like your point about letting go…There is a real blessing in that. Let go of the things that are holding you back. I have done a lot of letting go, and the blessing comes right back.

    • Aleea on June 29, 2017 at 10:16 am

      JoAnn, . . . .that is so wonderful that you can let go like that. For me, except in the case with my mother, it is so hard to know what to do. With my mother, it got to be like a forest fire with forty-foot flames. I had to run. Other situations seem so complex and nuanced. . . .I guess when we can return to the roads of our past and see nothing but the beautiful view, then we’ve truly moved on. . . . I am nowhere near there. It is such a process, this forgiveness, and we can only control our own actions and decisions. I guess. . . in reality, the moment we see beyond our personal desires to be felt sympathy for, that is the time we can actually start the journey to that final destination of true forgiveness.

  13. Wendy on June 29, 2017 at 1:06 am

    Sunshine, I can remember when I first left how I had to break off all communication with my abusive husband. It would make me sick in my gut to hear his words because I knew he was not being truthful. He would say all the things I wanted to hear and his words words cut so deeply into my soul. For I was so hungry for him to mean those words that he was saying. But I knew they were lies. How would you apply arise to your situation is the question you are asking. My dear sister, I can only tell you the road that I took. I stopped listening to him. I broke off all communication. I needed to allow the truth of Gods word to wash over me. This is so hard to do. Breaking off all communication can make us feel very lonely even when the attention is coming from an abuser. Can you break off all communication with him? Take some time just to focus on Bible study and prayer. I did not have understanding of all that God wanted to do in my heart. It was very difficult for me to see the spiritual world. I was so wrapped up in thinking about what my husband was doing and finding out the truth and understanding why he was so sick that I lost sight of Jesus. I had to begin the journey of a new way of thinking. I had to completely unplug and take one day at a time trusting that along the way Jesus would help me rise above the lies. If we do not give God the time to heal us we will get so lonely that we will choose to substitute the place in our hearts that should belong to Jesus Christ, to things that will hurt us. I am praying for you tonight my friend. I know the pain and confusion is so real, but there is life beyond it I have learned. I’m so thankful I chose to submit to the great healer of my soul. This is a journey it will take time.

    • Sunshine on June 29, 2017 at 2:52 am

      Great answer. Thank you!

  14. Starlight on June 29, 2017 at 8:17 am

    Thank you Dawn! I appreciate the encouragement to keep moving forward in His strength, looking beyond the immediate and reaching for the fullness that Christ has for us during a difficult marriage to a fool or a man with a truly evil heart and after we have escaped we still have to be aligned so we can arise and ascend to all Christ has for us! This helps me lift my head & let ok up, thank you!

    • Starlight on June 29, 2017 at 8:18 am

      *look up!

    • Dawn on July 2, 2017 at 1:46 am

      Yes, Starlight,
      It is a constant daily cycle of aligning, arising, and ascending. He has so much to offer us. You are doing the hard work of believing that Jesus speaks of in John 6.

  15. Dawn on June 29, 2017 at 11:23 am

    Joanne! I love this verse. I have never had it jump out at me this way — especially the don’t shrink back part. Love it.
    It took me a long time to learn that I can just give myself permission to “do it afraid”!

  16. Lynn on June 29, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Sunshine-I am in a similar situation as you. I have been separated from my husband for some time now and he is constantly texting me, calling me, asking me to give him another chance that he wants us to heal. That with God we can heal our family but I have to give him a chance to let that happen. I have asked for time and space so I can be alone with my thoughts and have time really search my heart and figure out what God really wants me to do. I can’t do it with him always being there. Dawn’s message was wonderful and really spoke to me. It takes strength like Abigail to get us through this. And I have days where I don’t think I can anymore. I think Wendy’s advice is solid too…cut all ties. I haven’t figured out how to do that yet. He makes excuse after excuse to come over, to just talk. It’s exhausting. I will pray for you for strength and healing.

    • Connie on June 29, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      Lynn, my xh would call me and relatives, saying, “How do you know I haven’t changed if you don’t take me back?” This is common manipulation. That was a long time ago when I knew so little, but if it was now I would say, “The fact that you do not respect my boundaries shows clearly that you have not changed. The more you push, the faster I’ll run.” Or something like that.

    • JoAnn on June 29, 2017 at 11:34 pm

      Lynn, I agree with Connie….why do you even open his texts or emails? It obviously hurts you to read them? You can even go so far as to change your phone number and the locks on your doors. If he cannot respect the boundaries you have set, then he has not changed. Please don’t let yourself get dragged back into a destructive relationship with him.

      • Dawn on July 1, 2017 at 7:13 am

        Agree!!!

      • Ruth on July 5, 2017 at 4:04 pm

        If you have an iPhone you can block his incoming calls and texts. Then he’ll be forced to use email only

    • Sunshine on June 30, 2017 at 9:41 am

      This does sound difficult, Lynn. My communication is only through email, which I requested in the Protection order and the judge agreed. It must be harder for you because you still see him. Every conversation cane be an attempt to keep his indoctrination of your brain with his thoughts going.

    • Dawn on July 2, 2017 at 1:55 am

      Lynn
      Good path to seek God’s pathways of life for you.
      It is so extremely difficult to know sometimes.
      Perhaps seeking Him and asking, “What is in my heart that keeps allowing this person to have such a strong hold over me?”
      Much love for your journey.

  17. Nancy on June 29, 2017 at 1:07 pm

    Thanks Aleea.

    This is about forgiving her….again. And again, and again.

    Thank you

  18. JoAnn on June 29, 2017 at 11:22 pm

    Aleea, a real turning point for me came as I was asking the Lord why….why did all those things happen to me? All my suffering was at the hands of others, people who weren’t intentionally hurting me, but hurting me nevertheless. Why, Lord? and then He showed me that His intention all along was first, to heal me, and then that He would use my suffering and healing to minister to others. I saw that the person that I had become was just what He intended: compassionate, empathic, kind, and available to others (unselfish?), and that those virtues came out of my suffering. That perspective has helped me to overcome a lot, especially to forgive. Forgive those who caused my pain, and release them to God to deal with. Why should I hold on to those offenses, when to do so only hurts me? I agreed to let the righteous God deal with my abusers, and as a friend told me once, “the best revenge is to heal.” So, we offer to the Lord our brokenness and all the pieces of our broken hearts, and allow Him to put us back together in better condition than we were before the abuse. This is His way.

    • Dawn on June 30, 2017 at 2:58 am

      Joanne,
      Thank you for this very wise perspective. I agree. To heal is the best gift we allow ourselves to experience. It’s His gift that He paid dearly for us to experience.
      Once I begin to fill my heart w Him. To arise and ascend we are able to remove ourselves from the lower level thinking of hand to hand daily battle and enjoy our position of ascension as His Beloved Joint Heir. We are free to release the toxicity of dealing w the constant mental gymnastics of revenge and replay of these events and give them to Him to exonerate. He is a God of the heart who will recompense justice and righteousness accurately in a system of grace. We live in His healed fullness and the realization that those used for our refinement are simply that. Tools. Thank you, Joanne, for stating this so eloquently.

      • JoAnn on July 1, 2017 at 7:36 am

        Yes, and from our ascended position, we can see things so much more clearly. That is when we can truly know how to pray, from His position and perspective and in true oneness with Him. But we can’t ascend when we are loaded down with anger, hatred, unforgiveness, and bitterness. It is so freeing just to let all that go.

    • Aleea on June 30, 2017 at 10:42 am

      “. . . .Why, Lord? and then He showed me that His intention all along was first, to heal me, and then that He would use my suffering and healing to minister to others. I saw that the person that I had become was just what He intended: compassionate, empathic, kind, and available to others (unselfish?), and that those virtues came out of my suffering.”
      . . . —that’s really beautiful JoAnn! —I see it. —I do.

      “the best revenge is to heal.” . . . . Absolutely. Part of me wants justice for this. . . . But, I know that comes from never causing harm to another. Life can be savored only if we look to the future and leave vengeance to God. When God gets involved, it gets so, so ugly (—from a human standpoint) you would not wish it on anyone. Jesus himself has no fuzzy talk on hell but speaks of a “fiery hell”, with “eternal punishment” in an “eternal fire with eternal torment ” where there will be unending “weeping and gnashing of teeth.” —It is so, so extreme. It always makes me very sad.

      “So, we offer to the Lord our brokenness and all the pieces of our broken hearts, and allow Him to put us back together in better condition than we were before the abuse. This is His way.” . . . . . —I know, . . . .I know. It’s true, even though I can’t understand it. . . . Sort of like. . . .I’d never known that I could feel this broken and whole all at once.

  19. Dawn on June 30, 2017 at 3:18 am

    Yes Aleea,
    I love your statement about forgiving. It is a choice we make daily. Rather than focus on the why’s of ny past, I found it more beneficial to myself to use that energy to dig through the dung piles looking for the lessons He has for me there. They are often rich and profound — they can hold healing for not only myself but others. I found the most painful areas where I harbored the most unforgivebess and need for retribution to be the most heavily laden w treasure — yet if the enemy could keep me focused on the pain and questioning … he won. I would be so busy over there, I couldn’t find the lesson, do the healing, help the others. Enemy tactics are so sly that way. So now I work to use those “ugly feelings” as my triggers to begin the search for the gold – always asking Him first if this is the “ancient path” of Jer. 6:16. He wants me to call for.
    Sometimes I hear Him telling me “No, I want you to simply rest in Me, quiet your heart before Me and simply receive”. That is actually harder for me than actually doing something.
    I love your persistence and commitment to truth finding, Aleea. It’s such an encouragement to me to keep leaning in! Thank you, Brave Christ Sister!

    • Nancy on June 30, 2017 at 4:40 am

      Hi Dawn,

      We have to be careful, though, not to spiritualize suffering. I get that asking God ‘why’ can lead to a rabbit hole, but I have to allow myself to ask it. Suffering at the hands of abuse is real, and so too, is my desire for justice.

      This is what the imprecatory Psalms allow us to do – enter into a real dialogue with God.

      Forgiveness comes from God. Not from my own moral ability to do so. My point of entry in dialoguing with God about what I’ve been through begins with me allowing myself to be human before the God of the universe. Allowing myself to be thoroughly pissed off before my God.

      Prayer cannot be about me being spiritual ( or nice for that matter) before God.

      Jesus asks us to pray for our enemies, but I have to remember that the ability to do so comes from Him. The imprecatory Psalms give me permission from God to be utterly broken, vengeful and angry before Him.

      They give me permission to be human.

      • Dawn on June 30, 2017 at 10:57 am

        Yes! Totally agree Nancy. I love that about the scripting of The Psalms. We are so frail and human and He is so graciously aware that we are of dust. We can spill there, safely in His presence. Get it all out. Release ahhh yes. And then the Psalmist does the Selah work of pausing — I liken it to the place of a fulcrum. He is now ready to ascend– to the heavenly place now that he is empty of self. He is ready to receive and acknowledge all that God is and our position in Him. These psalms provide such a great framework for how to do that sacred work of emptying. So grateful for His instructive paths. Thank you for pointing them out.

    • Aleea on June 30, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Dawn,

      “. . .dig through the dung piles looking for the lessons He has for me there. . .” + “. . .— yet if the enemy could keep me focused on the pain and questioning … he won. I would be so busy over there, I couldn’t find the lesson, do the healing, help the others. Enemy tactics are so sly that way. So now I work to use those “ugly feelings” as my triggers to begin the search for the gold – always asking Him first if this is the “ancient path”” . . . .Absolutely, the journey through the dung piles means encountering our personal shadows  — the parts of ourselves we repress or deny. The caves we fear to enter. . . those nasty caves hold the treasures we seek.  —We go into the underworld, encounter our own dragons of chaos and come back with the Lord’s gold. When I am speaking properly, I experience a feeling of integration and strength. What I need to do is practice only saying things that make me feel stronger in Christ. Those ancient paths, as you say, they help us delight in God. It is hard to comprehend Him by reason, —really hard. . . I think we must apprehend Him by our affections. There is no other way to determine the difference between the will of God and the crafts of Satan.

      “No, I want you to simply rest in Me, quiet your heart before Me and simply receive”. That is actually harder for me than
      actually doing something.” . . . .I agree. Being still and just waiting on God: —hardest assignment ever.

  20. Dawn on June 30, 2017 at 4:21 am

    Ahhh Aleea, I would offer that we can make great determinations about when we’ve moved on through our ability to see reality, right. Sometimes having to go back we may know we’ve moved on by our ability to accurately assess the view and call it what it really is. It may be beautiful yet it can also be a smoldering pile of ash.
    I remember having to go visit my mother on her death bed and the Lord reminded me that I was just that … a visitor. I no longer called that space home. So while I may be called back to visit, it’s no longer where I reside. It is then free to take on an entirely different meaning. That was the day, I knew I had moved on. Praise Him for the healing He so graciously bestows on us.

    • Aleea on June 30, 2017 at 10:55 am

      “It may be beautiful yet it can also be a smoldering pile of ash.” . . . . That’s really true Dawn. That is far more accurate than what I said. Good point.

      “I remember having to go visit my mother on her death bed and the Lord reminded me that I was just that … a visitor. I no longer called that space home. So while I may be called back to visit, it’s no longer where I reside. It is then free to take on an entirely different meaning. That was the day, I knew I had moved on. Praise Him for the healing He so graciously bestows on us.” . . . .So sad, but I see what you are saying. It’s operating in a different registry at that point.

  21. Nancy on June 30, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    So….all week I led the Bible Discovery station at our church’s Vacation Bible Camp. Guess who the Bible story was about today???

    Abigail ❤️

    Guess what the message those kids are learning today is?

    “God made you for a purpose”. They learned that one of Abigail’s purposes was to bring God’s Peace to an angry situation.

    • Dawn on July 1, 2017 at 7:17 am

      Ahhhh!! Nancy!! I LOVE that!! I love how He is at work all the time tying things together for us.
      Moreso, I love that you shared this. We would have never known if you didn’t.
      P.S. I hope you shared that God often uses women in scripture to usher in peace 😉

  22. Aleea on July 1, 2017 at 6:07 am

    Dawn,
    . . . “Where are you aligned foremost. . . . .From where is your understanding of yourself and your position drawn?” . . . . I guess in our postmodern culture, which is screen dominated/ totally image sensitive and morally vacuous, the alignment is to personality (personality seems everything, —even at church) . . . .and character, —well, the most important thing: character, that seems increasingly rare. . . .But like we discussed, the greatest gains that we will ever experience arise from the greatest sacrifices. —And that is like a clarion call to the 7000 remnants who had not yet bowed their knees to Baal, to arise and come out of the wilderness to take charge of the guard that would lead their Nations and church to the Promised Land. . . . It’s just so hard to keep hoping. The only thing I know to do is “arise my soul and praise the Lord”. —What was true of those ancient communities of Christian believers struggling with powerful and appealing philosophies is also true for Christians in a postmodern context.

    . . . .We cannot be protected from the things that frighten and hurt us, in the law we call that “willful blindness” (intentionally keeping ourselves unaware of facts) . . . .but if we can identify and align with the part of our being that is responsible for transformation (—And Jesus is transformation), then we/He is always the equal, —more than the equal of the things that frighten us. What is our friend? The things we know, or the things we don’t know. First of all, there’s so, so many more things I/we don’t know. —And second, the things we don’t know are the birthplace of all our new understanding! So if we make the things we don’t know our friend, rather than the things we do know, well then we are always on a quest in a sense. We are always looking for new information in the off chance that somebody who doesn’t agree with us will tell us something we couldn’t have figured out on your own! It’s a completely different way of looking at the world. It’s the antithesis of opinionated. . . .Luciferian pride states: all that I know is all that is necessary to know. That pride is totalitarian assumption of omniscience. It is the adoption of “God’s place” by “reason” and let me tell you, that inevitably generates a state of personal and social being indistinguishable from hell. This hell develops because creative exploration —impossible, without (humble) Christ-dependent acknowledgment of the total unknowns —constitutes the process that constructs and maintains the protective adaptive structure that gives life much of its acceptable meaning. . . .

    . . . . “Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.” . . . .When I leave willful blindness, I find mind-boggling uncertainty. But, I know that Christ can lead me through the maze, when I acknowledge Him in all my ways. . . .It is not until we change our identity to match our life blueprint in Christ that we will understand why everything in the past never worked. —Self transformation. When what you value and dream about doesn’t match the life you are living, you have pain. Misery and desperation can lead to change, but only if we are willing to learn, explore, and try. . . . (—aligning, arising and ascending). . . . —Always: Another crossroad. . . . .Jesus doesn’t bring us all these horrible lessons to close our hearts. He brings us lessons to open them, by developing compassion, learning to really listen, seeking to understand instead of speculating, practicing empathy and developing conflict resolution through communication. If He always brought us great people, how would we ever learn to spiritually mature?

    “I found the most painful areas where I harbored the most unforgiveness and need for retribution to be the most heavily laden w treasure” . . . .Absolutely!

  23. Dawn on July 1, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Aleea,
    Yes!! I know this to be true
    What you’ve stated here:
    “What I need to do is practice only saying things that make me feel stronger in Christ. Those ancient paths, as you say, they help us delight in God. ”
    Yes!!! When we speak out loud and write and sing HIS thoughts of us directly from His word, we have the capability to shift the atmosphere over ourselves and our homes.
    Daily I write in confession seven affirmations of who He says I am in His word. Those then become the basis for my time w Him that day. I also write seven lies I’ve believed about myself from my past. Then I denounce them and claim His word to be true — part of the process of renewing my mind as We are instructed. I
    Yes, I find as well that reasoning can lead me to many dead ends as I tend to be a consumate overthinker.
    It is an active part of my John 6 work of believing to come to Him as a child as He requests.
    I’ve been watching my four month old grandson with my daughter (His mom). He nuzzles up against her, grabs and crawls with everything he has just to get his head into the crook of her neck … where he presses in, exhales deeply and settles. His whole body and countenance changes. It’s beautiful. He is finally at peace there. I want to be like that in Jesus lap.
    It has often helped me to watch that baby so I can see how I need to go to Him.
    I love your comment about the dark scary caves and going into them for treasure. Yes! I am now learning that I need to only go into the ones He asks me to, not the ones of my choosing. Too exhausting. He shows us when we call forth the ancient paths of Jer 6:16. And the biggest treasure is… He doesn’t make me stay there one split second longer than I need to. Whereas I would let myself stew and anguish there forever in my own flesh. Digging through corpses picking them up coddling them. Trying to revive them.
    I was consumed w the fixing of the cave. Trying to make it a palace.
    You are right , Alexa, when we stay in that God space (the crook of His neck) we operate differently. Just like He wants us to.

  24. Dawn on July 1, 2017 at 7:26 am

    Jesus doesn’t bring us all these horrible lessons to close our hearts. He brings us lessons to open them, by developing compassion, learning to really listen, seeking to understand instead of speculating, practicing empathy and developing conflict resolution through communication.

    Yes, Alexa! You are right in this. I think it is what Jesus was telling Simon Peter in Luke 22:31-32.
    After the “Satan Sifting” that was about to ensue, He directed him to take what he had learned and use it to “turn back and strengthen the brethren”.
    You’re right living in the vacuum is not it. We are fed to feed.

    • Dawn on July 1, 2017 at 7:29 am

      Aleea so sorry your name keeps auto correcting to Alexa 😳

      • Aleea on July 2, 2017 at 8:39 am

        . . . .ha, ha, ha, ha, ha . . . .don’t *ever* worry about things like that: Alea, Alena, Alexa, Axxxx. . . . “It isn’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to” my Grandmother says. —Well, I answer to all the variants. . . . .ha, ha, ha, ha, ha. Call me more things, anytime.

        . . . .“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift each of you like wheat but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith will not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”. . . .Dawn, what I “know” usually does not build up people’s faith. It deconstructs it. However, I’m working very hard with the Lord to try to figure out how to use what I know for good. For example: The Architecture of Your Real Beliefs. In my limited understanding, what is coming out of people’s mouths (mine too) has very little to do with the way they really feel and what they really believe. Real beliefs are not at the level of our egos. Real beliefs are the highly nuanced cognitive biases that are encoded deeply in our actions and symptoms, —not our words. Words are so often pretty worthless in really knowing people and you see that in the divorce rates and “married divorced” rates we see in the churches. I think it is true that the real “you” is formed before verbal memory was fully developed and then defensively dissociated later on . . . .but that causes all kinds of disconnects. Hardcore atheism and agnosticism are as symptomatic of rigidity and narrow-mindedness as is extreme Christianity/ religiosity, and highlight an inability to understand alternative, opposite systems of values (—Black and White thinking). Think about the “feelings” argument. In my Bible church (—which I deeply love), they are often *very* angry about the liberal, postmodern ideas that what you feel is true is the truth. —But not when what they *feel* is true is about Jesus, well then it’s a valid argument all of a sudden. The irrationality of this special pleading—knowing full well we can be mistaken in what we feel about the supernatural, and that in fact almost everyone is (re: other religions)—is well explored in all the outsider tests for faith. . . . .When we walk into a church setting, it seems very important to reinterpret the religious symptomatology if we want to find/uncover the real roots. As you may know, Religious Trauma Syndrome (RTS) is a term to name a recognizable set of symptoms experienced as a result. It is akin to Complex PTSD, which is defined as you know as “a psychological injury that results from protracted exposure to prolonged social and/or interpersonal trauma with lack or loss of control, disempowerment, and in the context of either captivity or entrapment, i.e. the lack of a viable escape route for the victim.” Though related to other kinds of chronic trauma, RTS trauma is very unique because the logic of lots of Christianity is circular and blames the victim for lots of their problems (you know: sinners that refuse to repent, submit, etc.); the system demands deference to spiritual authorities (pastors, elders, husbands, etc.) basically no matter what they do and the larger society may not identify any problems or intervene in cases of emotional, physical or even sexual abuse, even though the same symptoms of depression and anxiety and panic attacks occur.

        . . .Anyways, I seek first to understand and that takes like forever!!! But that is what I am trying to do. What I think I “know” is nothing against what there is to know. Evil = ignorance. The only true wisdom is in knowing you know so very little. . . .I always pray: Lord God, I *seriously* lack wisdom but You said “. . . .if anyone lacks wisdom, let them ask of You, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given. . . .” Help me Lord God, please give me wisdom! . . . .and like I see in so many here we must be kind, for everyone we meet is fighting a *very* hard battle, it just often does not look that way to us. As you know, when you let go of control and commit to Christ, it is so much easier to offer compassion and forgiveness. This propels us from the past, into the present. People that are negative (—my mother and the way I was taught to think, me), spend so much time trying to control situations and blame others for their problems. Committing yourself to positive-Christ likeness is a daily mantra, for me, something like “I have control over how I plan to react, feel, think and believe in the present. No one gets to guide the tone of my life, except Christ & me!” So, maybe sometimes the reason God doesn’t show up to win our battles is because He has already put inside of us the power to end it. Like I had to do with my mother (above) but I don’t even think of that as ending it. It is giving it a *chance* to redeem itself in the only healthy way: reflection, awareness, metanoia —transformative change of her heart. —That may get overturned by newer research but that is the way it looks to me now.

  25. Cher on July 1, 2017 at 7:29 am

    This is just beautiful and sent by God to me today. I have been memorizing Colossians 3 which has helped me to realize that my “life is hidden with Christ in God”. This is where our identity is found, in HIM. This post develops this truth for me and has given me some more to think about on the journey of healing and restoration in my marriage to a very difficult man. THANK YOU, Leslie and guest blogger!

  26. JoAnn on July 1, 2017 at 7:30 am

    Thank you, Aleea, for your sweet response. The Lord is working….He never stops working. Praise Him!!

  27. Nancy on July 1, 2017 at 8:10 am

    Dawn,

    Thank you for sharing the imagery of digging around in a cave, looking for corpses, coddling them and trying to revive them ( gross, but it is so accurate!).

    It is one thing to submit to His healing work by entering the caves He asks me to enter, but quite another to become morbidly addicted and attracted to the scent of death.

    My counsellor once told me, “you didn’t just grow up with an elephant in the room – that no one talked about – you grew up with the rotting corpse of an elephant that no one talked about”. That was extremely helpful to me, to make what had been invisible, tangible.

    I suppose the stench of death is something I am familiar with and am likely very attracted to.

    This disgusting imagery has helped….a lot.

    Thanks 🌷

  28. Free on July 1, 2017 at 9:00 pm

    I just wanted to share that I got to church early and started reading the bible in the church pew. This verse gave me a jolt. Proverbs 19:19 A hot tempered man must pay the penalty; if you rescue him, you will have to do it again. Wow, exactly what I needed to hear.

    • Dawn on July 2, 2017 at 1:42 am

      Yes, Free! I just needed that verse over my own life in a space where I “lost it”.
      I’m thankful today for God’s grace that reaches and rescues me over and over again.

  29. Wendy on July 1, 2017 at 11:55 pm

    Isn’t that the truth! Thank you for that reminder Free!

  30. Dawn on July 2, 2017 at 2:09 am

    Nancy,
    I love your counselors image of being raised with a dead elephant in the room.
    The corpse coddling is quite graphic — my apologies.
    Perhaps this is what Jesus meant in Matt 8:22 when He said, “Let the dead bury the dead.”
    That leaves us free of the deadness of our pasts to quickly arise and follow Him.

    • Starlight on July 2, 2017 at 3:24 am

      I never understood that before Dawn! Let the dead bury the dead! The spiritually dead!

  31. Nancy on July 2, 2017 at 9:06 am

    “Pain isn’t the worst thing. Being hated isn’t the worst thing. Being separated from your loved one isn’t the worst thing. Death isn’t the worst thing. The worst thing is failing to deal with reality and becoming disconnected from what is actual….What I do with my grief affects how you handle your grief; together we form a community that deals with death and loss in the context of God’s sovereignty, which is expressed finally in resurrection.

    We don’t become mature human beings by getting lucky or cleverly circumventing loss, and certainly not by avoidance and distraction. Learn to lament. Learn this lamentation. We’re mortals, after all. We and everyone around us are scheduled for death. Get used to it. Take up your cross. It prepares us and those around us for resurrection.”

    • Aly on July 2, 2017 at 9:35 am

      Nancy,

      So well said! 🌅

      • Nancy on July 2, 2017 at 2:37 pm

        HI Aly,

        I agree. It’s Eugene Peterson 🙂

  32. Aly on July 2, 2017 at 11:30 am

    Aleea,

    I do agree with you that ignorance can most definitely lead to enabling more evil. I also believe that choosing ignorance is also something that many are modeled & ingrained to do. When the gospel separates.. the battle is on. Many choose to not be teachable and not face I guess the corpses or reality around them.

    For me, the elephants in my family of origin were and are alive … they are breeding and growing in my opinion.. and my experience..because they drown out so much of the health and healing.. they take us so much space that family members are used to it, desensitized by the environment…and this drowns out the desire to ‘see others’ in the living room!

    They don’t want to be left in the room full of elephants … but they at least want to know your there, if your there then the so ‘called normalcy is satisfied’.

    Well, I eventually had to remove myself, & my own little family~from exposure to getting used to the stench and the growing population.

    Here’s the pain for me: I continue to get occasional letters from my mom (after going no contact)
    In the short letter I’m asked to have a change of heart?

    The true I did have a change of heart, my heart changed from believing that eventually they were going to acknowledge the elephant population!
    So here is more of the family abuse options.. if we can convince the one who has taken a different route &that they are the problem we can blame shift the issue.
    We can continue our own anesthesia of not dealing or fealing ~ than you Nancy for your other very well articulated comments earlier too!

    The truth is toward my mom.. that I am not the one who now needs ‘a change of heart’, how twisted!! How much this saddens me to have to read her words.
    If anyone needs a change of heart it would be her, but when you feed comfort, denial and inability to see another person or pain of a situation then you get more and more walls protecting that person from seeing their own bondage on (non-change). It’s very excruciating & sad.

    All she wants from me is to enter back into the family room and lie about her surroundings.
    I can’t contribute, I believe I love her more than that, more than she can understand or ‘choose to’ about love 😥

  33. Pauline on July 2, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    Abigail is a terrific example for me. I really like how she acted other than under his authority or she would have been a picture of him. That take direction and wisdom from God, gotten only by spending time with him in his words. Amen sisters

  34. Nancy on July 2, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    HI Dawn/ Aleea,

    Thanks for sharing about your family Dawn, and your response to your mother’s letters.

    Like yours, the degree of denial in my family of origin is oppressively thick ( many elephants in the room, as you say….just not sure if they are alive or dead!).

    Anyways God in His mercy, 15 years ago, sent me major losses to ‘wake me up’. My h and I were dealing with infertility and I had no coping skills for that level of pain ( it would be 10 more years before I would accept The Lord). Because of my lack of ability to identify or articulate my feelings (they were complicated and guilt ridden because of an abortion from years earlier) I had a psychotic break from reality. The day I got out of the hospital, my father was admitted for cancer that had just been discovered- he died three months later. But because I was so fragile emotionally, I was able to walk with my Dad, as he died.

    Walking with my Dad during those three months, as he took up his cross, was one of the greatest gifts of my life. I wouldn’t have been able to do that had I not been completely broken, just prior.

    Gradually my old ways of coping, by running from the pain ( denying, rationalizing, intellectualizing, spiritualizing) all started to come back. Through many more interventions ( not so extreme as – what one of my friends called – my Job period) The Lord worked in my heart to draw me into reality. Hallelujah!

    I pray for my brother and sister but am simultaneously scared for what The Lord might do to wake them up. My mother too. Especially my mother. But as you say Dawn, when the gospel separates, the battle is on. Your reference to Jesus saying “let the dead bury their own dead” has struck a deep nerve. There is something deep in my heart that continues to allow my spiritually dead family to have such a STRONGhold over me. To let them go is to open the depths of myself, to the healer.

    To become that vulnerable, that submitted is, well…numbingly, paralyzingly, terrifying.

    Please pray that I will trust Him. Completely trust Him.

    • Nancy on July 2, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      The above post is for Aly and Aleea. Oops 🙂

    • Aly on July 3, 2017 at 10:58 am

      Nancy,

      I will pray for your trust Nancy and I have continued to pray for your family and the counseling with your husband.

      First, I just want to acknowledge what shared above Nancy, I’m so sorry for what you went through early on with infertility and the depths of that type of pain, sharing it with safe people who care about you can be so comforting and healing.
      I also see so many blessings that you were given as you watched closely your fathers’ faith exposed and it certainly has given you a promise to follow.

      I do think for some of us the metaphors help seeing patterns, I don’t think the specifics matter on whether those elephants are dead or alive. The grief and the toxicity is the point. You and I clearly share in a family system of similar places of deep painful denial. My family happens to be quite large in size and is very enmeshed, so for me, the elephants keep breeding into the next generations .. sadly.

      I’m not sure who in this comment area originally brought up ‘Jesus’s message on “let the dead bury the dead” but it’s very fitting for many of our dialogues.
      For me, I’ve always understood it to mean that the dead are those dead in spirit and not ‘physically dead’ yet. They are not Christ followers exactly and the risk is that they have others around them (those that will ultimately bury them) that are being influenced by them.
      In simple form I believe the man Jesus was talking to wanted to know how to follow Him and be a disciple but he also wanted to have his family traditions and religious upbringing too.
      This was a conflict of priority to Jesus because the man wanted to symbolically tend to his family of origin matters first (quite possibly his inheritance too) and then go follow Christ as a disciple. The man was weighing the importance of his responsibility of his family of origin over The priority of carrying his cross and following the ‘life giver’ ultimately.

      Ultimately I think the point was a heart issue … what was motivating his return to ‘bury the dead’ which in that culture it meant that he was going to go back and wait for his father’s death.
      So what did he want to be loyal to? his earthy role and family traditions or to Jesus’s teachings and how to trust and follow him?

      For me, I believe Jesus calls me to be loyal to him first, (I fail often), then to (my husband & children) my own family that I have a important responsibility over which is temporary. I’m responsible for stewarding in who Jesus is for my children and sharing my ‘own imperfect faith’ lived out as well as teaching them the scriptures. (Actually this is also a responsibility God gives grandparents too in Deuteronomy)

      I mentioned in my previous post about my mother wanting (me) to have a change of heart, I did. The Lord continued to give answers to the slow leak in our family of origin and especially how they wanted me ‘out’ and silenced. ~They wanted to be the influencers of our children through many areas even to say that they have these personalities which actually I believe are (injuries) covered.

      They wanted to share and teach my children how to ‘peace fake’ and share how to live among the others that are lost, no realizing themselves that they are following and getting more and more normalized by maybe ‘Jesus being a small part of their life’ but most certainly not a center.
      To me and especially my recovering h, the influence became more and more dangerous especially as I pleaded for some healthy interactions with them. I was dismissed as usual and scapegoated for bringing up the multiplying elephants.
      The Lord showed me as many times as I needed that this was a family pattern that began a long time ago.
      So my grief for my siblings too is painful! I do pray for them and I can relate to your pain of this:

      ” There is something deep in my heart that continues to allow my spiritually dead family to have such a STRONGhold over me. To let them go is to open the depths of myself, to the healer.”

      I will leave with you hearing that I’m praying for this Nancy. I do understand this and have such pain also. I’m sorry too for this.
      But I know one thing: just one thing I know you know it too;
      His Love 💜 Is greater than the stronghold. It will always be. He will walk you through the pain and the grief of it and will never tire of reassuring you of His love for you being His own.

      Hugs and continued prayers Nancy, your heart is a beautiful reflection of His promises🌈

      • Roseanne on July 3, 2017 at 5:37 pm

        Aly, per chance are you part of the Brethren? I have a friend of the mennonite faith who is suffering under the “peace fake” you describe as part of her expected community behavior. She is struggling to remain in this faith and to comprehend why she must “peace fake” with an abusive husband. Her elders are taking a few meetings with her so she is hopeful. How do with help our sisters who suffer while in communities of faith which do not acknowledge abuse as wrong? Rather, my friend has been taught that she needs to be more patient and loving.

        • Aleea on July 4, 2017 at 6:31 am

          . . . . Sincere Christianity and tested science are similar in that their assertions can be argued logically and objectively; otherwise, you get false cults. . . .It could be that there is a pretty easy way to figure out if you’re in a cult: If you’re often wondering whether you’re in a cult, the answer is probably yes. . . . .As everyone knows, if you lose your ego, you lose the thread of that narrative you call your Self. People, however, can’t live very long without some sense of a continuing story but a narrative is a story, not logic, not reason, not evidence. Yet without a proper ego, nobody can create a personal narrative, any more than you can drive a car without an engine. . . .But once you’ve consigned your ego to someone else (―my mother, my childhood pastor, church), where on earth do you go from there?
          The worse psychological compulsion is when you are acting under constraint but remain under the impression that you are actually acting on your own initiative. That is why Christ alone is our anchor. The victim of mind-manipulation does not know that she is a victim. To her, the walls of her prison are invisible, and she believes himself to be free. That she is not free is apparent only to other people. That is why we need others and especially people who do not think exactly like us. . . . .My friend Christine (Ph.D. archeologist) who I have coffee with now and then resets my world. You just can’t get a cult in a truly open exchange of ideas. . . . .Always be aware of information management (―for your own “good”, of course) suspension of individuality and critical judgment, promotion of total dependency on the group and fear of leaving it, etc. all usually designed to advance the goals of the group’s leaders. You would not think that would be possible in a post-modern world but it so is possible.

          For so many years and now even at times, I make decisions based on my fear of God, instead of my love of God. “Religion” is the most powerful entity on earth. It has conscripted hundreds of millions to give and sacrifice their lives without so much as a minuscule query about their chosen beliefs or particular ideology. ―And today, thousands of years on, despite the huge advent, discovery and the advance of forensic science, millions are still prepared to do the same. That is why I say: “Truth serves Life” . . . In other words, what promotes human flourishing??? ―Certainly not abusive marriages, Theocratic shunning in church groups, abusive families. Inside those structures is inflexible thinking in black-and-white. (―And I so love that stuff. It is so appealing “to know” vs flexible and contingent rainbow thinking.) The problem with black-and-white thinking is that it gives us the illusion of certainty and security. Most “truth” comes in levels of probability of it being correct (confidence intervals). That said, the certitude of black-and-white thinking, while fallacious, is highly appealing, ―for me too!

          Re: “The Body of Christ” “The Brethren” “Anything Predominately Apocalyptic that uses Theocratic Shunning”
          Some partial answer may be in the “D’s: de-construct, de-idolize, de-weaponize. In all questions, it’s a healthy thing to hang question marks 💡 ❓ on the things we have long taken for granted, ―me too. We see sincere people claiming Christ but still manipulating others with fear, superstition, threats or promises of things they “know.” When you let go of certainty, the opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow ―not easy. I want to know I’m doing the right things but salvation comes inside unknowing and uncertainty. Inflexible thinking in black-and-white (―I so love that stuff it is so appealing “to know” but it is mostly illusion) vs. flexible rainbow thinking. It has taken me a long time to understand that certainty and knowing have never been our possessions, but rather, our illusions. . . .What’s left: Companionship on a journey and the hope that the reality of Christ will be at the journey’s end. ―Oh my, that is so, so hard for me. I want to know that I know that I know but that is not honest. I will not pretend to know things I do not know, ―so help me Jesus, ―so help me God! That is the inflexible, black-and-white thinking of a child. . . . 1st Corinthians thirteen: When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. . . .I still don’t like it all that much but because He lives. . . . .I put the ways of childhood behind me ―at least some of them. Now, I listen to way more perspectives, I strive to use logic, reason, evidence and always remind God in prayer of His promise to give us wisdom if we ask Him for it (e.g. James one, et.al.)

      • Nancy on July 4, 2017 at 7:04 am

        Hi Aly,

        My family themes are similar. Enmeshment and denial are the main two ( and as a result, emotional abuse). And the pain of being scapegoated….I know how you feel 🙁

        I spoke to my mother yesterday – she’s such an angry person. I never saw her like that, I couldn’t see beyond the facade she was projecting (‘good Christian woman’). The Lord is giving me eyes to see.
        He has released me from being her emotional caretaker but those brain pathways are well established. Creating new connections is something I need to completely rely on Christ, for.

        Thank you for praying for me, my marriage and family. The Lord is working miracles with us. We go back today to continue our work together. I just thought of something. John never uses the word miracle in his Gospel. It’s always ‘sign’, because a sign is not the end. A sign points to something greater. We can get caught up in the miracle. Imagine a group of tourists standing admiring a beautiful sign that says ‘Niagara falls 300 m ahead’, but they don’t continue on because they’re so caught up with the beautiful artistry of the sign. They miss experiencing Niagara Falls!

        The miracles that Jesus is working in our marriage are not the end. These are signs that point to Him.

        Our healing marriage is not the point. The point is that through this process we are getting to know Him 🙂 We are each learning to submit to Him, and one another. We are learning that He is the redeemer. None of this is by our strength. It is by His design and His enabling that we are able to ‘enter the promised land and claim it, for His glory.

        The outcomes of any of our relationships is secondary. Christ knows what each of us here need in order to draw us near. He knows the losses we each need to endure to be drawn into Him. He wants us to know Him – that’s the end 🙂

    • Aleea on July 3, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      “. . . I had a psychotic break from reality. The day I got out of the hospital, my father was admitted for cancer that had just been discovered- he died three months later. But because I was so fragile emotionally, I was able to walk with my Dad, as he died. Walking with my Dad during those three months, as he took up his cross, was one of the greatest gifts of my life. I wouldn’t have been able to do that had I not been completely broken, just prior.”

      —Oh my Nancy —horrible, so horrible but so beautiful. I see exactly what you are saying. . . . .We die a little every day and by degrees we are so broken that we are reborn into different people, really changed. . . .And who can fix broken people? Really it is only other totally broken people, ones who’ve already been just shattered.

      “Gradually my old ways of coping, by running from the pain ( denying, rationalizing, intellectualizing, spiritualizing) all started to come back. Through many more interventions ( not so extreme as – what one of my friends called – my Job period) The Lord worked in my heart to draw me into reality. Hallelujah!” . . . .It is so easy to run from pain. But we get hit the hardest when trying to run and hide from problems, from the elephants. We get blindsided.

      “Please pray that I will trust Him. Completely trust Him.” . . . Absolutely. I love to pray for people and pray for myself also. . . .God seems to always take us back to whatever we ran from . . .I guess because He knows we need to heal before we can move on. —And really, the greatest growth a soul can experience doesn’t come from doing service to strangers but from doing service to people that have hurt you or you have hurt them. To truly devote yourself to God is to travel down roads that are the hardest to revisit. . . . .However, it seems He will keep taking us there, until we have healed ourselves or others. I know that from my life. . . . .Because really, this journey with Christ is not about just going forward. A spiritual life is not just cutting ties with people in order to walk clean into the future. The journey home isn’t running away from obstacles. It is learning to really stand where you are now and handle people, assert yourself, set boundaries and never feel your happiness is dependent on another person’s approval of your choices, beliefs or spiritual needs. Where you stumble and fall, there you will find those treasures in Christ, when you stand firm with Him.

  35. Aleea on July 3, 2017 at 11:06 am

    Thank you so much Aly,

    “They don’t want to be left in the room full of elephants … but they at least want to know your there, if your there then the so ‘called normalcy is satisfied’.” . . . . —Hmmm, that’s really true. It is like the structure of normalcy is satisfied.

    Aly, I don’t know if I fully understood everything you are saying, but to me, you always have to go for the truth (—talk about the elephants) even if it sends everything crashing down around you. Christians sometimes make themselves into elephants afraid of mice. You have the Creator of the universe on your side; not to mention, you’ve been given eternal life. “Whom or what shall you fear?” To be afraid of anything other than God Himself is like an insult to God. . . . .And yet I’m afraid of so much, especially family conflict.

    “Here’s the pain for me: I continue to get occasional letters from my mom (after going no contact)
    In the short letter I’m asked to have a change of heart?” . . . . Aly, I get them too and I was ignoring them but then they started coming as certified letters so I have to sign for them so my mother knows I got them. I started just giving the letters to Dr. Meier (my counselor) and she reads them and tells me what she thinks is important. I can’t stand ten pages of insults. The moment I see her certified letters, there’s a rumbling in my chest, and my mouth is as dry as a desert.

    “. . . .if we can convince the one who has taken a different route & that they are the problem we can blame shift the issue.” . . . .That’s true, often it is about assigning blame to avoid responsibility.

    “The truth is toward my mom.. that I am not the one who now needs ‘a change of heart’, how twisted!! How much this saddens me to have to read her words.” . . . .that is twisted and that is why I don’t read my mother’s letters any more. But, I try to be open to any changes of heart the Lord asks of me, even when they are really hard. The most beautiful thing in the world is a heart that is changing. And, maybe, —maybe we don’t really change, maybe we just become closer and closer to who we already are in Christ.

    “. . . I believe I love her more than that, more than she can understand or ‘choose to’ about love” . . . .Certainly you love your mother . . . I think we all love our mothers deeply and it is so hard: “All I know is that I carried you for nine months. I fed you, I clothed you, I paid for your college education. Friending me on Facebook seems like a small thing to ask in return!!!” . . . .But, if I do that. . . well, I will get a constant stream of comments that are unbelievable critical and demeaning. “You ignorant little slug!” “You witless weed!” “You empty-headed hamster!” “You stupid glob of glue!” I edited them but you get the idea. It just seems so ridiculous, —Why? To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane. My mother way overstated the dangers of the world, invented threats, etc. . . .But you always want your mother’s love and acceptance. I guess I’m hoping and praying one day, well maybe I’ll get it.

  36. Content on July 3, 2017 at 1:39 pm

    Where do I find myself aligned? What tools am I lacking that would enable me to arise? How do I honor God first and then myself in Him? Do I possess the tools and strength to ascend? If not, why not?

    _____________

    I find myself aligned when I remember that God is sovereign and reigning over my whole situation and is not surprised by what has happened. He has a perfect plan that is being worked out. I’m aligned when I’m really resting in that and His immeasurable love for me. When I know that He is pursuing me and staying with me even in my times of shifting emotions, some of which have been flat-out anger at Him; defending me, battling for me, etc. (all things I never had with my husband).

    Whether it’s tools that I’m lacking in keeping me from arising or just the process of grief and what someone has to go through when they’ve faced up to the dead (corpse) marriage….the thing that keeps me from arising presently is just getting stuck at times in processing and replaying all the memories. Or getting pulled in to trying to figure out my future (will God restore our marriage, etc., etc.). I take my eyes off of Christ and who He is and who I am in Him and it doesn’t take long until I’m spiraling down.

    I honor God first by believing Him. It is impossible to please God without faith and I know that I honor Him by choosing to trust Him against every visible thing that looks horrific to the world’s eyes. With spiritual eyes, I choose to believe His Word and promises over every other loud voice of circumstances screaming otherwise at me.

    I believe I do possess the tools and strength I need — only in Christ. I am a broken woman, no doubt. Dealing with my own sexual addiction that was formed from a sexual encounter (abuse but by another child – and my issue is not sexually acting out with other people, not that I’m trying to make excuses) as a 4 or 5 year old. I totally believe God is using this time in my life to set me free from those old patterns. I don’t have any idea what to do for healing for that other than to cry out to Him and cling to His mercy and ability to do it. I have nothing to offer Him except to be obedient as He shows me next steps in that process. But I am very, very aware that it will have to be all Him.

    My tools and strengths lie in my weaknesses, maybe that’s what I’m seeing more and more. Boasting in my weakness and boldly declaring that everything I need is all in Christ and that I am so much more utterly dependent on Him than I ever knew I was. Proclaiming in faith that I know that He will heal me and set me free and set my feet in wide, open places. (Psalm 31:8; Psalm 18:19; 2 Samuel 22:20; Job 36:16).

    I have sat around the past two weeks using my emotional distress from separating from my emotionally abusive husband as a reason to do hardly anything, only the basics,:D, and feel like crap. But, last night, God used a book I read called “Forsaken” which is not edited very well, but is an excellent story and encouragement, to remind me that He does not want me waiting around wondering about my future or focusing on the past. He has good plans for me and yes, it is time to arise and step into all that He has for me ahead. I have no idea what it is – that drives me bonkers sometimes (waiting, wondering) but He asks us to keep taking that next step forward and in His good time and perfect plan, He will reveal.

    Honestly, when I first read this post, I was so much in my funk that I couldn’t relate to a word of it. Funny how God moved in me yesterday by His Spirit and showed me these same spiritual truths and then as I re-read, it ministered to me. He is so good.

    • Free on July 3, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      I think it is ok to be in a “funk” and to sit around sometimes. I think that is a normal occasional response to the emotional exhaustion of dealing with such a difficult life. Some days, I do little but sleep, read and do the minimal chores. The next day, I am alive, awake and ready to roll. I think the rest times are our bodies chance to reenergize for our difficult journeys. Although, we speak very freely with one another about our difficulties, the average person in a healthy relationship would be appalled by what we are enduring. I would say the reality check is that many of us are living extremely difficult lives. Lives that others can’t even begin to comprehend or understand. So, sit back relax and recharge your batteries when necessary.

      • Content on July 3, 2017 at 9:27 pm

        Thank you, Free. I have definitely felt permission to do that A LOT as I’ve walked through this, but right now, it feels out of balance and is leading me to feel worse about myself. But, on the other hand, I can’t seem to find a way to get out of it and start a new pattern.

        I do know that God has given me the luxury of being home with my two children for the summer and that once the school year starts, life will be much busier in many ways. Maybe this is what I really need …or maybe I need to exercise some self-discipline. I don’t know. I just feel stuck.

        • Free on July 3, 2017 at 9:54 pm

          Content, do you like physical exercise? That can really make a person feel good. Last night I took a walk in my neighborhood under the moonlight. It was beautiful. On a tangent, I have heard this is a fun thing to do with kids. Take a walk at night in your pajamas, by flashlight. Which lead me to the concept of play. I think we need to let ourselves play a little. Enjoy life and embrace something new despite our rough circumstances.

          Can you explain to me a little more what you mean when you say you feel stuck?

          • Content on July 4, 2017 at 1:44 pm

            I used to love physical exercise. It has always been a big part of my life but over the years, I have put other things above myself. I love using weights.

            Feeling stuck — well, for instance. With exercise, I know good and well I should be taking the time to do it, but I don’t. As you can see from my comment to Wendy about spending time with God, I see that my lack of self-discipline is affecting every area of my life.

            And, it’s kind of funny….because the advice is….well, just start somewhere.

            Haha. But, that doesn’t work for me. I know what I should do, I’m just not doing it. What is holding me back?

            Maybe there’s something deeper that I’m not seeing yet.



  37. Wendy on July 3, 2017 at 6:25 pm

    Content, as you share with is I can feel your pain. The wondering about your future and what will come. You are totally on the right track my dear friend. You will pass through this time of focusing on Him with all your heart. You will begin to hear Him more and more. I have just been working on knowing Him and healing my soul. I felt Him give me a word Sunday morning before church. It was from Song of Songs 2:10- 12. I am His beautiful one and it was time to arise. I felt the pull at church when they asked for testimonies. I stood up and shared our message to arise as the beloved Bride of Christ that we are. I spoke to the woman. After church two woman came up to me and gave me their phone numbers for prayer and support. God also spoke to me a few months back about going to school to study writing. He has begun a new work in me.
    He will do the same for you my beautiful sister!!

    • Content on July 3, 2017 at 9:32 pm

      You will begin to hear Him more and more
      ____________

      That sounds good. I am looking forward to that. I know I hear His voice, but there are times that I feel like I can’t go on another minute and that I need to literally hear Him speak an out-loud audible thing to me or I need to see a vision of Him to move on and take courage. But, anyway, I will hold tight to the fact that I will begin to hear Him more and more. I feel desperate to hear His voice and to know that I will not stay stuck in this grief and healing forever. Right now, it just seems so, so slow. I am eight months separated and I was recently told that since I’ve been married 25 years, to give myself 5 years to heal (1 year for every five years of marriage!). I do not like the slowness of this grief and healing. It’s not fun. It’s hard. It hurts. It’s messy. I know that God is the healer and I can cooperate, but healing is in His hands. I’m grateful for the confidence I have in the fact that He will heal me. I just wish I could rest in the timing of it all!

      Thanks for your encouragement. (How long have you been on your journey?)

  38. Wendy on July 3, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    My dear sister, you know when you have that moment where you feel like you’re staring into someone else’s soul because you feel the exact same way. This is what I am feeling. You are mirroring my journey. I am in no way saying we are one in the same. However, we have the same God. Just this Sunday morning I woke up begging him to push me through I felt ready to be pushed through and I could feel the change come over me. Meaning, it has been one year for my journey. I chose to listen to only Christian music. I chose to listen to sermons by Joyce Meyers, Beth Moore, Tony Evans, and Charles Stanley. I put him first in every single morning. I had a women’s ministry that I loved with all my heart. My husbands lying and manipulation ran so deep I had to abandon everything that I loved. That is how I felt at the time. I found myself wanting a future wanting hope more than I wanted HIM. If I may be so bold as to get to the heart of my own truth with you. He needed me to completely die. He needed me to hand over every desire every dream that I carried so he could rebuild it. He humbled me as I remained faithful to come to him first to put him first every day. I am not saying that you must do this however, how bad do you want him. We have been so hurt in our souls and he longs to guide us this takes our quiet devotion to him. It sounds to me my dear sister like you are devoting your time to him. Learn his name this brought me such comfort. He wants to show off for you. He wants to be the one first in your life the lover of your soul and he takes his time to build a relationship with you. Trusting him takes time. Learning he is faithful takes time. Learning he has given you all the authority over sin in your life takes time. I rejoice in this pivotal moment in my life in ways that I cannot express. I would have given anything to have someone speak into my life and say I was just there sister. I was begging him in the dark every day. Little by little one small step at a time one day at a time the miracles begin to happen. I begin to notice that as each day became so important to me that I could not miss my time with him he began to show me great truth about myself. One day in God’s kingdom can make all the difference. If I would have missed one day with him I would have missed an intimate guiding moment. Feel your pain, let him have it. take hold of bible verses and don’t let go. He means what he says he is not like we are. His love is perfect it never fails it never wavers he never changes his mind. He is the healer Jesus Christ came to heal he is love nothing can change that. He absolutely will restore your life grab hold don’t let go not for one day not for one minute no matter how much pain you feel. He is there he will come through and you will have a new ministry built on such power such a strong foundation that hell itself cannot come against it. This is not what I think this is absolutely positively without a doubt what I know. PUSH THROUGH!!!! Please ask anything you need too. The only thing I know is Jesus loves me. And how I surrendered to him. The journey the hardest thing I’ve ever done. The reward the greatest treasure that no one even death itself can ever take from me. Worth every second worth every day. Every day your feet hit the floor tell them they belong to Jesus Christ no matter what they feel! Tell them that you believe he is going to take you to your freedom to your ministry into a life filled with his power. I am sorry for misspelled words or things you don’t understand. My heart is so filled with the desire to hug you and encourage you on your journey. Every little thing he will use to speak to you choose to see him in it. Even the things that hurt you even the things you’re afraid to believe and work through them trust that he’s in every single little thing. Because he is that’s how much he loves you my precious sister.

    • Content on July 4, 2017 at 1:40 pm

      Wendy, thank you so much for the encouragement. Wow. I needed to hear all of that. I want to write more, but can’t right now. Just know that I appreciate you taking the time to reach out and encourage me.

      “If I may be so bold as to get to the heart of my own truth with you. He needed me to completely die. He needed me to hand over every desire every dream that I carried so he could rebuild it. He humbled me as I remained faithful to come to him first to put him first every day. I am not saying that you must do this however, how bad do you want him. We have been so hurt in our souls and he longs to guide us this takes our quiet devotion to him.”…..

      This especially speaks to me. I am in the Word, I know He guides me, but I have never had the spiritual discipline of having time alone with Him set apart every day except for right after I became a Christian 12 years ago when I was so on fire with His love that I couldn’t wait to get alone with Him. I don’t know where and when that slipped away, but it did. A long time ago. I feel this is an area that He is going to work in me and bring me to and I long for it, but even in this, I am so weak. Like I said, I read His Word, I speak to Him during the day, I pray, just not in a quiet time. My reading and listening are spiritually rooted; I don’t desire to watch junky tv or spend my time on things that don’t bring life. To be honest, I’ve sometimes resisted the idea of quiet time as I am very much resistant to any message of “You must do this” to earn God’s favor. But, I know that’s not what you mean by it. It’s not a matter of earning His favor or keeping Him happy with us, it’s a matter of making time for the Lover of your soul. Why would I not want that time with Him? I can honestly say I don’t know what holds me back from it other than the idea that in the morning, I prefer to be in my warm bed over taking that time by faith to sit at His feet. Spiritual laziness? I really think that’s at the root as I don’t feel there’s any area where I am purposely withholding from Him or not wanting to hear what He has to say to me. I am well aware that I am His, I am clay in His hands and He can and will do with me as He will as He is committed to completing the good work He began in me.

      Thanks again for all you said. It was exactly what I needed to read last night as I was fighting with all I had to keep my eyes on Jesus and not be swayed by the barrage of dark thoughts trying to overtake me last night before bed.

  39. Nancy on July 4, 2017 at 6:23 am

    Aleea,

    Thank you for the encouragement and the understanding. Thank you for praying for me.

    • Aleea on July 4, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      . . .Certainly, I love to pray for people. Prayer is so important. . . .I also liked your explanations of σημεῖον: miracles + signs + indications, marks, tokens. . . .etc. “The miracles that Jesus is working in our marriage are not the end. These are signs that point to Him.” . . .Nancy, while “The miracles that Jesus is working in our marriage are not the end”, not the ultimate point, it is still so beautiful and evidence of Him working. I love to hear things like that!

      “He wants us to know Him – that’s the end” . . . . —Absolutely. God Himself. Not joy, not peace, not even blessing but Himself. That is the *always* question: How do we really, truly, consistently access the limitlessness Love and the very Life of Christ by knowing Him??? Once you become aware that the main activity that you are here for is to know God, well, you have the goal. . .One of the most challenging aspects of that for me is that He is formless and experienced on levels that relate directly to the condition of my own heart. Bible study or sign study “Niagara falls 300 m ahead” without Bible experience is aimless. Just like knowing Psalm 23 is different from knowing the shepherd. Only things that flow from the heart of God transform the lives of people . . .and silence is the language of God. I have such a hard time with silence but silence before Him unites us to God. . . .Sometimes I have to force myself to be silent. Can we trust Christ whose take on life and death and suffering and joy is so very, very different from our own? Only if we really know Him. May God give us all ever deeper experiences of the knowing Him. . . .I’m praying for your mother too.

  40. Wendy on July 4, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    I am so encouraged by your honesty. And yes I wrestled with feeling guilty as well. The chapter that really opened my eyes that I bathed in until it became a part of me is 1 Eph 1.
    He did it all! He chose us! All we have to do is surrender. He will give you what you need you don’t have to do anything but meet him there. It is so beautiful to rest in his presence. Have a glorious day in him my sister. You are so honest this is a beautiful character trait. He will move quickly with you and your life. I will pray over your strength to get up and meet him in the morning. As we all conquer our laziness LOL. I have enjoyed our time to share God bless you.

  41. Nancy on July 4, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Thank you for praying for my mother, Aleea. When I read that, my heart jumped.

    Today I realized that my mother is not interested in knowing me, she’s only interested in controlling me. She will not pay the price of change, she expects me to do it all. And so me stopping work on this relationship means there will be NO work on it ( the work she will invest will be to draw me back into enabling ( because she’s very ‘nice’ about manipulating I have mistaken this manipulative effort for a desire to connect with me)).

    What could I be getting out of this twisted ‘relationship’ that stops me from laying it down?

    If anyone has insight here, please chime in. I need to be convicted – there is some type of payoff that I get for my enabling behaviour with my mother.

  42. Lori on July 5, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    Hi Nancy,

    You wrote:
    “What could I be getting out of this twisted ‘relationship’ that stops me from laying it down?

    If anyone has insight here, please chime in. I need to be convicted – there is some type of payoff that I get for my enabling behaviour with my mother.”

    I don’t know you or your relationship well enough to conjecture an opinion, however, I can offer what for me was the pay off in my relationship with my mother: the need to be needed and important to her (to be seen). If I wasn’t busy trying to help her somehow, it seemed we didn’t have much of a “relationship” of any depth at all.

    In my enabling relationship with my father: “unhealthy loyalty to keep his secrets. If I stopped enabling him, I would have to have enough courage to step away from relationship with him. Payoff was to not have to risk change for myself by upsetting the apple-cart. Turns out, I lost my brother and sister also, because of their continued allegiance to his very ill and destructive life style.

    In my enabling relationship with my husband: pay off to continue was again, to not upset the apple cart. I would have to find courage, faith and strength to stop.

    Nutshell: payoff to continue enabling sick relationships with others (in my world) was to not have to step into some sort of life transforming personal change of my own. To not have to take the next step (usually of separation) away from the dysfunctional system. Not much of a pay-off really though, because it kept me stuck.

    For me, it has been a process of getting to a place where “stuck” was excruciating enough for me to be anywhere except “stuck”.

    Don’t know if that helps, but I hope somehow it does.

    • Nancy on July 5, 2017 at 7:12 pm

      Thanks for chiming in, Lori. It’s good to hear from you 🙂

      I can relate to what you said – especially the need to be seen and be important to my mother, as well as a strong desire not to upset the apple cart.

      It’s interesting that any attempt to differentiate from my mother (to be allowed to be Nancy -to be seen) is exactly what upsets the apple cart. She can’t handle anything not being about her.

      And yes, knowing this is stepping into a life transforming personal change. I am doing all the outward behavioural boundary setting, but my heart and mind are quite fixated on her. The ” stuck” place is getting pretty darn old, though.
      Thanks again for the input.

      • Maria on July 5, 2017 at 11:42 pm

        Nancy, I think, it is natural for children to want to please their parents, and want their approval. If this need for our parents’ approval is not met during childhood, I would imagine as an adult one would try to get that. It can be disfunctiontional if the parent is not willing or able to give this approval. And, if a manipulative parent senses our desire to please them, they can use it to gain power over us. I dealt with a similar dynamic in my marriage. I wanted to please my husband. He knew that, and intentionally withheld affection etc. one day, I asked myself why I was so eager to please someone who was so unwilling to to reciprocate the relationship. That was my turning point. A relationship is between 2 people. Then instead of focusing on pleasing my husband, I started focusing on pleasing Christ. I have accepted that my husband is unwilling or probably does not have the ability to be the husband I have desired him to be. Maybe this applies to your relationship with your mother.

  43. Maria on July 5, 2017 at 11:52 pm

    Nancy & Aleea,
    I am so sorry that your mothers have caused you so much suffering. Being a mother, I cannot imagine how one can do this. I know that there are times when I have hurt my kids (sometimes unintentionally), but they usually bring this to my attention, and I am filled with remorse. I don’t understand why a mother would keep hurting you as adults. It seems so unnatural. Praying for your healing.

  44. Nancy on July 6, 2017 at 7:31 am

    Thank you, Maria.

    My mother is not capable of Love. Her control is born of extreme fear and anxiety. She knows no other way.

    If Love were defined by the ability to hug, then my mother’s incapability came from her arms being severed, when she were a child.

    This breaks my heart in two ( and always has, since I as very young). My problem is that I am caught up in maintaining the illusion that she is so invested in – that she has two perfectly in-tact arms.

    My enabling of this illusion keeps me from grieving the fact that I never had a ‘hug’ from her 🙁

  45. Aly on July 6, 2017 at 10:59 am

    Dear Aleea,

    Sorry for my delay it took me a bit to locate this post of yours.
    I’m so sorry for the horrendous verbal abuse you have experienced and quite possibly still on occasion experience from your mother if you allow her in your ‘inner access’. That is just so awful and never ok. I know the Lord grieves over this deeply. Her very ugly expressions and manipulations are so unacceptable I’m not sure I can even express my own protest in words here!
    It’s quite obvious her self hatred is at a toxic level and destructive for you to be near at any distance. This is one of the farthest thing from ‘mother’ as God would have intended.
    I’m sad along with you but I do know the Lord will bind up these wounds set you free as His Word promises.

    You wrote:
    “To describe my mother would be to write about a hurricane. My mother way overstated the dangers of the world, invented threats, etc. . . .But you always want your mother’s love and acceptance. I guess I’m hoping and praying one day, well maybe I’ll get it.”

    I get this Aleea and that desire is a normal healthy place between child and parent but the hope is where we can peer closer. Is there evidence of behavior and safety of your mom to hold onto that hope?

    Sometimes the people we love the people we would want to have relationship with are unsafe people. They can do harm to our souls if we continue to hope that they are capable of wanting or learning ‘how to be safe’ for others.

    In my own journey it’s been hard for myself to see and accept that not all people who bring children into the world want to love, nurture, protect, comfort, and ‘parent’ a child.
    But God still brings a child into this world and brings about a purpose, His purpose and His plan through it all.

    My prayers for your healing heart and for your recovery of those mother messages that are not yours to hold, my HE replace the true messages for your heart each day as He restores you His beautiful daughter! 💜

  46. Lori on July 6, 2017 at 1:16 pm

    Nancy,

    You wrote:
    ” I am doing all the outward behavioural boundary setting, but my heart and mind are quite fixated on her.”

    I understand. I do. For me, this “fixation” has gradually ebbed over time as I maintained the boundaries I knew My Lord had established for my well being. I wish I could tell you the “fixation” ceased the moment I established those boundaries, but it just didn’t happen that way for me. Perhaps it didn’t because I spent so much of my life altering my behavior (and trying to alter theirs) in order to be genuinely loved and seen by those I believed I needed love from or I would never be loved.

    This belief caused me so very much heartache in my life, perhaps even more than the inability of my loved ones to love me. Really, my effort to cause them to love me was what was killing me.

    I see it now as their crippled condition Nancy, not a reflection of my value as a person worthy of love.

    Sometimes the boundaries are not so much to “keep them out”, but so I don’t “go looking for love” where it cannot be given.

    The boundaries keep me in the broad place where my Shepherd has guided me. Here, His rod and staff, they comfort me, Here, I lay down in green pastures and can grieve my broken heart in fullness of safety with “He Who was despised, and rejected by men; a man of suffering, and well acquainted with grief.” Here, I am in the best of company and care. Here, the still waters of His word run deep and my roots have grown down beside the stream of life. Yes, my tears flow easily and steadily in this place as I am separated unto Him for His purpose and glory (as well as my healing in joy), but these are tears of healing and are sown in safety in the heart of my Savior.

    We are promised in His word Psalm 126:5 “Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”

    It is He who has separated me from that which was destroying me.

    When I ache from the need to feel my mother’s, father’s, husbands love, (all of which were unable to) I try to remember to lift my heart and head and draw close to my Jesus. He has never failed to fill me more fully with Love (He is Love) than anyone here on earth can. And so, each overwhelming moment of loneliness is an opportunity to press more fully into His wide, long abounding love for me which knows no ends. No boundaries in His love for you or I. Isn’t that fabulous? Here is where our hearts are healed, and our identities are forged! Here is where He has decided the boundaries to fall in our lives and He is a good, wise, Creator Who knows what is best for our hearts. Here is where I will pray Ephesians 3:18-19 for you: “so that you may be fully able, with all the saints, to comprehend what is the breadth and length and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

    I want to share with you what I have experienced of His care for me to perhaps encourage that tears are not the death of us, but the path to life.

    It has been a gradual path of healing with plenty of tears sown along the wayside. Not done walking it yet sister, but am learning that indeed, the boundaries have fallen in pleasant places for me.

    Love and prayers Beloved.

    • Nancy on July 6, 2017 at 8:22 pm

      Lori,

      “Perhaps it didn’t because I spent so much of my life altering my behaviour (and trying to alter theirs) in order to be genuinely loved and seen…”

      Me too, I worked extremely hard at being disingenuous (at first this was born of survival, then became an ingrained pattern that can only be broken by The Lord).

      As I read this I got an image of me splitting myself in order to do this: Mind (behaviour) separated from heart (emotion). I have always seen my early counselling experiences as building a bridge between my mind and my heart, and that that bridge was necessary in order to receive the grace of God. As that bridge is strengthened through becoming more emotionally healthy, I am increasingly able to receive His Love.

      I suppose I cannot expect wholeness overnight. I worked so darn hard at splitting myself in two for so very long. It’s odd how that split is comfortably familiar.

      “The boundaries have kept me in a broad place where my Shepherd has guided me”. This reminds me of a verse I have on my fridge:

      “Stay always within the boundaries where God’s love can reach and bless you” I think this is in Jude. This verse isn’t just referring to a piece of me, but to the whole of me.

      ❤️

      • Lori on July 10, 2017 at 12:36 pm

        Nancy,

        I have been thinking of your response for some time now. Especially:

        “I got an image of me splitting myself in order to do this: Mind (behaviour) separated from heart (emotion). I have always seen my early counselling experiences as building a bridge between my mind and my heart, and that that bridge was necessary in order to receive the grace of God.”

        I can relate to this “splitting myself” you refer to here and also have a “picture” of how this took place in my life and I want to share it with you.

        In my early years growing up in a family that was not equipped to deal with the truth of alcoholism, adultery in the marriage and co-dependence, I grew up “knowing” and “seeing” something very wrong in my family. However, if anyone tried to describe the elephant in the room, they were shut down immediately. Not many dared to try to speak to it, but I knew something was desperately wrong and “little Lori” had to stay “little” in order to survive. Unfortunately, she paid a heavy price as the “outward Lori” continued to grow in years and stature away from “little Lori”. Big Lori abandoned little Lori because big Lori was so dependent on physical needs of sustenance etc. from her family of origin. She wasn’t emotionally or spiritually strong enough to stay true to Little Lori, so she silenced her daily and shut her off in a dungeon inside her own heart.

        Big Lori is now in a place to apologize, reconcile and comfort, Little Lori.

        My desire is to bridge the gap the chasm has caused over years of neglect of my true self. Little Lori is so very generous in her forgiveness and so very grateful to have not been left there forever, but she still has very many tears and stories to share with me of how afraid and lonely she has been in life; how unloved she has felt for so long.

        However, she speaks to me of One Who has been with her all along and she knows Him very well.

        It has been a long painful process, but a journey well worth the undertaking as I witness the effects of the decisions of those in my original family who have made the choice to silence their “littles” forever. In their decision, they silence their own children’s “littles” daily and thoroughly.

        Perhaps we here on this blog all have some of this dynamic in common?

        I never want to let go of her hand again, as my own betrayal of her was more painful than any other persons betrayal of her. She needs to know I won’t split off from her again when the going gets so rough. I need her to feel secure in my love for her and I need to be secure in His love for me.

        Blessings in your walk with Him, may He draw you ever close to Him and comfort you with His felt nearness to you.

        JoAnn,
        Thank you for your encouragement sister. I want to “turn back and strengthen the brethren” and count it all joy if He were able to use anything in my life to bless a sister.

        • JoAnn on July 10, 2017 at 1:46 pm

          Thank you, Lori, for sharing that so eloquently. I, too, had a “little JoAnn ” who I discovered was holding my pain for me. It was a very sweet experience for both of us when I released her from that responsibility, and lovingly thanked her for doing that. A very healing experience. Grace be with you, Sister.

          • Lori on July 12, 2017 at 3:50 pm

            JoAnn,

            So grateful to hear how kind and loving while parenting your innocent child within. Really, this is what it is to make peace with ourselves I think. To heal ourselves.

            I find the “little” inside of myself has also been made to hold the shame and pain of my family members. She needs to be released from that responsibility. She does not have the power or ability to carry such a load or to fix any of it.



          • JoAnn on July 13, 2017 at 1:27 am

            At first I didn’t want to look at her. Maybe I was afraid of her, until I discovered how she had been trying to protect me from pain. I had been burned severely when I was 3 and spent months in the hospital with many surgeries over six years. She helped me with the pain. I had to relieve her of that burden. That really healed my soul. I do agree that this helped me to love myself.



        • Nancy on July 11, 2017 at 8:44 am

          Oh Lori,

          Thank you for articulating this split. Especially “so she silenced her daily and shut herself off in a dungeon inside her own heart.”

          Lately I have come to see that my defense mechanism is to blame and to project my feelings onto my loved ones. I have been crushed by this realization in a way that is so painful and yet I know that it is necessary. What is not necessary is what drives all the blame and projection – and that is a self-hatred that runs very deep.

          Maybe Lori….maybe what I need is forgiveness. I need to ask ‘little Nancy’ for her forgiveness. Maybe that’s what it means to ‘forgive yourself’. Maybe Lori…that tender, beautiful little girl holds the keys to my freedom.

          Maybe this is also why I cannot properly see my children for who they are. I catch glimpses but then, they disappear in a fog of confusion. I am mixing them up with ‘little Nancy’, I am projecting ‘little Nancy’ onto them.

          “Let the little children come to me, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” comes to mind.

          I am wondering a lot lately, how much further The Lord would have me fall. The height of my pride is astounding. And just when I think I’ve come to the floor of reality, nope, it’s a ledge He’s provided for me to allow me to catch my breath. Then, I pray and ask for more of Him, and again, I begin falling.

          • Lori on July 12, 2017 at 2:36 pm

            Precious Nancy,

            You are daring to be so transparent and vulnerable as well as humble about your self discoveries. I hardly think your pride could be as high as you might think given the nature of your disclosures here.

            Regarding this you said:
            “What is not necessary is what drives all the blame and projection – and that is a self-hatred that runs very deep.”

            I agree. It is such a painful experience to hate ones self so deeply, but where did we learn this? I am thinking I learned this early on in childhood because my father hated himself so thoroughly. However, he did not do the self work of releasing his inner child from the blame and shame of his families toxic dumping onto him. We must hate ourselves deeply in order to put such an innocent one into a dungeon for so very long.

            Yes, Nancy, I agree here with what you so beautifully expressed:
            “Maybe Lori….maybe what I need is forgiveness. I need to ask ‘little Nancy’ for her forgiveness. Maybe that’s what it means to ‘forgive yourself’. Maybe Lori…that tender, beautiful little girl holds the keys to my freedom.”

            I have been struggling very much lately to “align” myself and to stay “aligned” as my father is enduring his last days here on earth as I type. I have been estranged from him for 15 years now. Little Lori suffered horrendously from his behaviors as her father and Big Lori finally let her out of the dungeon (off the hook) and rescued her 15 years ago. Big Lori gave little Lori her freedom from the guilt of the crimes her father was guilty of but not being held to account for.

            Big Lori has to decide together with Little Lori if they will visit him in the hospital knowing he is soon to die. They think Little Lori doesn’t need to be exposed again to his destructive nature. They think Little Lori needs Big Lori to keep her promise to her of protection, regardless of what anyone else may think of her. Big Lori needs to be brave enough to handle the maligning that may come from family who will not understand her decision. Little Lori deserves her freedom and to know that the “aligning” is integrating well as one Lori.

            Big Lori wants to obey her Heavenly Father and walk where His boundaries have fallen for her, and they have fallen in places to keep her from destructive behaviors of others. She is courageous enough now to stay where He has called her.

            I promised Little Lori I would never hold her responsible again or blame her for her healthy expectations of safety and love from her parents. I assure her that her expectations are reasonable and healthy. I allow her to grieve now for the lack of those important provisions and the daily presence of harmful behaviors. I listen now to her small voice whispering her pain to me and I let her weep her tears without shame.

            I hold her like I hold my own children now. I listen to their hearts, validate their healthy desires and am pained for them when they are able to share with me where I have not been capable of providing for them as I would have liked.

            Mercy to my “little” and mercy to “theirs”.

            We are on track with aligning Nancy. It may be unfamiliar territory, but it is safer and where I believe our Shepherd leads us.

            I hope to encourage you not to be overly concerned with how much further you have to fall sister as He knows what is necessary and His hands are beneath you as a safety net. I get a picture of a beautiful little girl leaping from the side of a pool into her very capable Fathers arms and oh how far the leap feels to her as her breath is stolen from her. But OH how thrillingly joyous to feel the Strength of Her Fathers arms and enjoy His rapturous smile of pleasure with her trust of Him.

            Keep trusting Him sister, though He call you deeper in trust of Him. He holds our hand in His and will not let go….all the way home!



          • Nancy on July 13, 2017 at 8:05 am

            Thank you, Lori, for taking the time to articulate the interaction between your ‘big’ and ‘little’ Lori, with regards to the decision you have before you.

            It is very helpful.

            I thought that maybe I would carry with me a photo of myself as a young girl. That might be helpful.

            Also, your imagery of leaping into the pool is precious ❤️

            May God be with you as you take continued steps into the fullness of His healing.



    • JoAnn on July 6, 2017 at 9:38 pm

      Lori, I love what you shared here, and especially this: “It is He who has separated me from that which was destroying me.” Your journey is an encouragement to us all. Thanks for sharing it.

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