Thank you all for alerting me to the problem still infecting my website. I’m so sorry for the foul pop-ups you saw. After the CONQUER CONFERENCE, we discovered that my website was hacked. We immediately got tech support working on this and by Sunday morning it was removed. What we didn’t know is that there was also some malware attached that recreated itself and attached itself to various other parts of my site, including the blog. I believe it is all removed now but if you see any other suspicious weird things, please e-mail my assistant, Martha right away at Martha@leslievernick.com.
Thank you for your prayers for my move and health. I have bronchitis, which is normal for me this season and it’s slowing me down some. Most of our furniture has been sold but I still have a ton of packing to do. I have two weeks to finish it all, as the POD will be picked up on November 14th. Pray I am able to finish and that we don’t have too much stuff that it won’t fit in the POD.
For this week and next, I invited Dawn, one of the women in our community to share a bit of her story in her journey towards healing. I think you all receive so much blessing hearing one another’s story. Any of you are welcome to submit a blog story if you’d like to share something on your heart. I will review them, and during weeks where I am either sick, out of town, or overwhelmed with life (like now), I will use them.
Don’t Leave Home Without It (What to Know Before You Go),
By Dawn Perry
In reality, it was anyone’s guess as to how long she’d been laying there unconscious in that bathtub with a needle still sticking out of her arm, or how much longer prodding and poking hands would be mapping her body … invading her in the most intimate of spaces.
The current hands, unlike the ones that left their signature imprints like autographs over her entire frame, were healing hands. They were there to reconstruct a story of destruction. Yes, heroin, yes, rape… the DNA evidence indicates four men, yes contusions, yes.
Yes to all the typical questions that ride shotgun with a horror story of this magnitude in relationship to the damage to her physical being ~ not to mention her psyche. As an ode to a night of hell (shall we say most of her adolescent life) we can add permanent kidney failure and partial paralysis; at 24 years old that loomed ahead of her as a life sentence. Bad choices do have bad consequences … in every one of our lives.
I listened horrified, really trying to grasp the scope of the story unfolding on the other end of the phone. The talebearer of this gruesome chain of events was one of the healers. They had been most impacted from the sidelines. We lamented over the circumstances that brought this patient to this point ~ and more importantly, how all of this would impact the patient’s four young children. If there’s a bright spot in the story, it was when she regained consciousness two days later and said, “I need help.” I hung up thanking God for the healers … the healers everywhere, in every circumstance. The ones that are waiting at anyone’s rock bottom.
Before I began judgment, in the quiet hours later that night, I recalled the sacred space we call Rock Bottom. It is the cataclysmic battleground of good and evil. The tickets we purchase to gain entry can all be color coded differently, but they all land in the same God-awful arena. Some do damage with a needle, some with a bottle, some by parking in destructive spaces for extended periods of time ~~ heroin dens, bars, or toxic relationships. Instead of picking up the first stone, I had to own the fact that to some extent we are all, or have been, the girl in the bed. This is for those of us who woke up in the Rock Bottom Arena and quietly mumbled, “I need help.”
The saying goes, “The teacher appears when the student is ready.” Recovery’s road somehow seems clearer, more prescribed, when it’s a needle or a bottle. Yet some of us take a bit longer to decide to take the journey out of destructive relationships ~ especially in the church ~ where the road out is less of a highway and more of a machete hewn pathway … that you hack yourself.
We wait until we look like the girl above ~ whether that is physically or emotionally, the collateral damage is just as real. We put on our makeup, cover the physical or emotional bruises, and march into life, into the church. We teach there, we lead worship, we sit in the seat at bible study, we take care of your children.
We will also often recite the mantra of the uneducated in church leadership when there’s a “Cycle of Crazy” flare-up ~~
“Every couple argues.”
“You don’t want to separate, it could lead to divorce.”
“There are marriages in this church that are far worse than yours.”
“Think of the damage to the children if you divorced.”
“It would be easier if he just hit you, then at least there would be bruises to see.”
These were the slogans chanted from the sidelines on my race to Rock Bottom by the leadership in the church ~ the one’s who were supposed to be protecting me. Then we arrive at the door ~ emotionally (sometimes physically) bruised, bloodied, looking like the girl in the bed. Once inside, you begin to understand, in all of its dark beauty it’s akin to a scenic overpass ~~ it’s not a place you dwell for long.
While the roadmap out for each of us is as individual as we are, these are five things I wish I had known 15 months ago as I pushed the start button on the car that day to head towards help. The student was ready, and the Great Physician Himself was about to launch me on a journey of intensive healing. In hindsight, this is what I would have wanted to know 15 months ago before I left ~ somewhat of a tutorial on trail hacking.
Go When You Know:
A decision to leave (even briefly) a destructive situation is usually not as clear-cut as it seems. There can be many mitigating circumstances as to why people don’t go. As witnessed in my case above, it is usually not the black and white, ultra-supported position in the church ~ even sometimes in the case of physical violence. However, when you find yourself the one in the situation that is unchanging and spiraling downward; you ask yourself, “When is enough, enough?”
God revealed that to me clearly after a lengthy time of consecrated prayer. I can point to the exact moment when I was “released” from the insanity that was taking place in our home. It was during an intervention-style family meeting with a request for repentance and an offering of grace that was refused. In that instant, I felt the literal weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders. To me, it felt like a prisoner set free ~ physically, emotionally, spiritually. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, I was released.
The moment I had prayed for over the course of many long months, and it was unmistakably and undeniably finally here ~ except for one thing … I stayed. In hindsight, I crafted excuses as to why I couldn’t go ~ mainly out of fear, a lack of an extended term exit plan, and most poignantly a lack of faith. My last of four children had to finish high school ~ what would that look like with no mother in the home. I was financially unprepared ~ I mean I hadn’t worked in over 20 plus years unprepared, and was just starting a fledgling business.
I had no working knowledge of our estate or access to finances (a source of power struggle). I can also tell you looking back, a most powerful truth: that lack of faith coupled with my ignorance and delayed obedience made for a very dangerous and slippery slope over the next two years. I remained in the home hoping against false hope. It would lead to some of the darkest nights of my soul that yielded consequences and scars I will live with for the rest of my life. This as a result of my languishing in anguish from a place I had clearly been released. That leads to Point No. 2…
Partial obedience is disobedience; when you know, go! (Click to Tweet)
In next week’s blog, I’ll talk about four additional things I wished I had known before I left.
Friend, if you decided to go, when did you know it was time? How did you know it was time?