Friday, August 29, 2008

Not Alone

Usually I hesitate to blog when things are not going wonderfully in life. In all honesty, I've completely avoided blogging when I'm struggling. I've always wanted this blog to one that brings glory to God and encouragement to those who read it. However, today I realized that only transparency and truth bring glory to God and that people are more likely to be encouraged by a person who is willing to say, 'I've been there' than one who hasn't struggled. Today, I was at the lowest point I've been at in quite awhile. I was crying; not the 'ow-I-hurt-my-finger'-crying, but the 'crying-so-hard-I-can't-speak-or-breath'-crying. I was sobbing. My heart was broken because I hurt the man that I love most in this world. Actually, I heard the depth of his pain and the severity of what I have done.
I have been so wrapped up in my own pain - actually, the process of avoiding my own pain, that I have spent a great part of the last 8 years hurting my husband. And today, it finally became too hard for him to suffer in silence. He told me about how difficult its been for him to express his love for me and to have it be "inconsequential" to me. He has offered me nothing but stability and love but I've still pulled away. I've been unable to accept his love. I don't believe that he really loves me even though his actions definitely say that, indeed, he does. I have never, ever cheated on him, but I've sought the approval and affection of other people as a method of boosting my own self-esteem and as a way to convince myself that I'm worthwhile. My past has convinced me that I am not worthwhile. His heart is hurting because he thinks that his love should be enough for me. What he gives me should be enough to allow me to accept my past, deal with my hurts, accept myself and move on. But my actions have made him believe that he's not enough, no matter what he does, it's never enough. Unfortunately, he shouldn't have to be the person filling the void in my life. I need to accept myself and I need to let Christ heal me. But I've been scared... And, honestly, I don't know how to even get started... I don't know how to truly forgive - either myself or someone else, and I don't know how to deal with a past that I can't face.
Tonight I asked myself what I'm so scared of... I lived through it, so what could be so hard about facing it... And I got my answer... I am afraid that I might be somehow to blame, that I may have encouraged it, or that I may have even liked it. Don't think I'm nuts, keep reading... As I was sobbing, instead of having a little angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, I had a counselor on one shoulder and a little girl on the other. I was counseling myself as I was facing this question. The horrible answer is yes, I probably did enjoy at least some of it. This is the saddest, sickest part of sexual molestation because God made those parts to be touched and fondled, and for it to be enjoyable! That was His intent and when abusers use it against kids, it is incredibly confusing for them. For me. And I'm just now beginning to face it.
Just beginning. That was the problem today. I've had 12 years of support and love from Lowell and yet I really haven't made any progress toward healing. I've been avoiding and abusing my husband in the process. All this time I've either been deluding myself into believing that my actions didn't bother him, or I've just been so selfish that I wasn't paying attention to who I was hurting. I believe it to be a combination of the two. And hearing about it tonight - hearing about the pain I've caused him was horrible.
Without wanting to sound like I'm belittling his pain, because I'm absolutely not, I am thankful for today. I took a big step today toward healing. I faced the answer to one question. And I realized, as Lowell said, that I'm allowing my past to contine to hurt me because I'm allowing those nights to steal my todays. I'm not the mother that I want to be because of my anger issues, and I'm definitely not the wife I want to be. I need to do something about it.
More than once I've been on the floor begging, pleading, demanding that God heal me. I've cried and negotiated and pled my case. Now I've come to accept that He's not going to remove this thorn miraculously. But He's not going to abandon me either. He's going to walk every difficult step with me, and probably going to have to carry me quite a bit. But I am going to go through it. I am going to accept what happened to me and I'm going to forgive both my abusers and myself. And I'm going to get better. God is going to be there with me every step of the way during my own personal healing and for the healing of my family. And, Lord only knows why, but Lowell is going to be there too. I need to accept that. He really does love me. I know I don't deserve it, but its being offered and I'm so thankful. I'm humbled and blessed and scared. But I'm not alone. Thank you, God, I'm not alone.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Search for the Truth

How different is the person I am today from the person I was 10 years ago? How about 15 years ago? How different are you? I know I've matured (well, as little as possible! :)) but other than that obvious change, how else have I changed? This question comes because I'm trying to write about myself as a young teen. I want to meet myself as a 12 or 13 year old. I want to know how I thought, what I believed in, who I loved and why I loved them. Its funny to think that I don't know myself but I don't remember being that person. When I look back, it is with the eyes of a 27 year old - from the outside looking in. I can't step inside myself and feel the angst of being a tween. I've noticed this about all my memories - I don't relive them, I observe them. Is that normal? I wish I could relive certain moments. But then there are those moments, those memories that I avoid with every ounce of strength I have. These "special", horrible memories are the reason I'm trying to again be 13 actually. I'm working on remember innocous details about my life then so that I can also try to remember things from the past that I've been trying to avoid for 18 years. I'm not sure this is a good idea, but I'm doing it with a lot of support and prayer. And I really feel like its time. I've had a lot of confirmations from outside sources and I've been given peace about the whole thing. I know that God is with me and that through Him I'll be able to face what I fear. And I'll be able to use these difficult months of healing and these terrible moments of grief for His glory and for the benefit of others. I'm not looking forward to the coming journey, but then who looks forward to pain? What I am looking forward to is knowing that on the other side lies a healthier me, a better relationship with my husband, a better mother to my kids and a great story to use for empathy in my practice.

One step in this journey involves talking to people who knew me then. I don't trust my memories explicitly and so I want outside validation. Barbara Kingsolver said "Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin". And Aldous Huxley said "Every man's memory is his private literature". I've been doing a lot of studying about memory and how much it can be manipulated and how much it can be trusted. My husband is great about keeping me focused and reassuring me that I'm not losing my mind. He keeps me grounded and centered on Christ through this process... Without his influence I don't believe that I'd be able to successfully address the things that need to be brought to light. Just another example of how blessed I am. :)

On a lighter side, I decided today that it's a little ridiculous that the profile picture I use for everything is over a year old. I avoid photos. No, that's not true, I ADORE photos as long as I'm the one behind the camera! :) So, *gag* I decided to update my profile picture today. I took 33 pictures of myself and deleted 33 of them... :) Nathan finally took one that I semi-like and so, I'm being brave and posting it. Another benefit of this process... I may finally learn to accept myself. Lowell and I were talking last night about my inability to accept his love for me and I finally connected that I can't understand him loving me because I don't love myself. It seems obvious now, but that truth had elluded me for a long time. :) My life makes me laugh some times... I think Christ is really working to make me a good therapist... I've been able to experience a whole lot of things in life that will allow me to empathize with a lot of people. :) There is good to be found in everything!

"My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I will delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am made strong." 2Corinth. 12:9-10

Sunday, August 3, 2008

So much to be thankful for

My husband has definitely been having a rough time lately. His family situation is disrupted and confusing. His work situation has left him feeling belittled and taken advantage of. He has been looking for another job but since he still hasn't found one, he has begun to doubt himself and his ability to succeed. His heart sincerely desires to do what is right and his flesh rebels at the unfair, corrupt world we live in. He struggles to remain right while dealing with people who only desire to hurt him. Between walking that line, trying to support a family, dealing with feelings of regret and self-doubt, I can only imagine the weight that he carries. I try to encourage him to turn his focus to Christ, I try to remind him that being thankful for our many blessings is the antidote to despair but in times of great distress I'm afraid that his anger gets the better of him. He begins to feel wronged and hopeless. I sort of know where he's coming from because of my own struggles with depression and despair. Thankfully, I can now say that God is healing me. I am not 100%, but I don't know if I ever will be. Right now, I'm thankful for the improvement! I'm blessed by my medication and by the strength that He provides through prayer, through His word and through worship. I'm not taking a Bible class this quarter and I miss it so much! I miss the accountability that comes with having to report to a class about what I'm reading. But more so, having direction about what to read and what to look for when I'm reading. I think that has been what's missing from my personal devotional times. I feel blind when I open my Bible. I don't have a direction or a purpose other than just to be with God. (Which is certainly a noble goal on its own!) I just feel like I got so much more out of my Bible when I was reading and really studying a topic; comparing book to book or author to author. It is my prayer that I can find a Bible study that stimulates me like my classes did. Or that I can find a Bible book to follow that directs me so that I can do it on my own. I certainly feel a difference in myself now versus when I was deeply involved in my Bible on a daily basis. I know that I benefit from spending time with my Lord, but I think I can be of more help to my husband too when I'm deeply rooted in the Word. I desire to be the wife that I've been called to be, and I know that will only happen through hard work and the grace of God. On that note, I think I'll go look through the many reference books I have and see if one offers the kind of study I'm looking for. Does anyone have any suggestions? God Bless!