Stories that Shine on an Awesome God

Archive for the ‘Childhood Abuse and Trauma’ Category

Testing God’s Way

Rose-Marie* stood at the sink washing dishes. By hand. One pan was so dirty it needed special treatment. Like her heart.

She knew God loved her, but her ability to love and forgive seemed wretched. How did God’s way work for her? Or anyone?

She twitched her head. Think of all the scenarios of evil in the world that God’s love has to work through—has to have an answer for—a way to heal and restore without force or coercion. Is it even possible?

She found a scouring pad and spoke aloud.

“God, I haven’t always done well in Your school, in letting You teach me, but now I’m tired of spiritual limbo. Your way must work in every circumstance, for real problems. It needs to work for all cultures and situations. That’s what I want to test.”

“So, what is faith?” The Spirit posed a gentle question.

“It’s naked trust, and I haven’t had much experience.” She bore down on the pan.

“What kind of experience do you need?”

“Experience with trusting for the ultimates.”

“What are the ultimates?”

Life, death, health, economic security. An ultimate for me is to find my reason to be. My place. Who I am. My place of belonging. Another ultimate is to love and be loved. For Your way to mean anything, it must be tested in these ultimates.”

The metal at the bottom shone through. She rinsed the pan and left the kitchen.

That was over thirty years ago, and Rose-Marie, aka Merita Atherly Engen, has had plenty of faith-tests in those ultimates. Some she passed. Some she failed.

Love, however, has never failed.

Most recently, I have gained deeper insight in how God’s way works in some of the most horrendous situations. Specifically of how His love has restored and is restoring the lives of those who have endured childhood spiritual, sexual, and ritualistic abuse and trauma. The more I learn, the greater God becomes.

He’s answering my prayer of years ago. He’s showing me that no matter what the Enemy, the Father of Lies, the Evil One, concocts through human agents, God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is able and willing and powerful to restore.

If you have been trapped by dark-side abuses, struggling to be free, invite Jesus into your situation. Cry out for help. Believe in Love’s way. It probably won’t happen overnight, but one step at a time, the light of Love will dispel the darkness. Then stand back and be amazed at the power of His might.

He sent from above, he took me, he drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from them which hated me: For they were too strong for me. They prevented me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a large place. He delivered me, because he delighted in me.

Psalms 18:16-19

*Rose-Marie is the fictional name I’ve given myself in my yet-to-be-published book, “Heartache of Promise.” The story is based on a section of my life, so yeah, Rose-Marie is yours-truly.

Making Do

Compared to others, my family didn’t have much money, but one thing we shared with our community was the Culture of Silence.  If something bad or questionable happened, it was all hush-hush or became part of the gossip mill in which I was seldom included. Hard issues like abuse or trauma—even my own—were never dealt with directly.

I became adept at ignoring the obvious, and I could for sure make-do. Making do with what I had financially and emotionally became a well-honed skill. I learned to do the best with what I had.

(These ladies are making-do well before my time)

Mental health was never talked about, but like most humans, I sought love, joy, and beauty. This pursuit became my life-saver.

When, in 1990, my repression of silence broke free and I was ready to process the hidden, dark places in order to heal, my ability to look for beauty among ashes served me well.

Long before that date, I was given the gift of quilt-making. When I was fourteen, a dear friend’s mother invited me over to help her quilt. Later, during the winter of my first child’s birth, my husband worked away so I was alone for days. I gathered scraps from past sewing projects and pieced a sunny quilt top.

Quilting filled the void of my husband’s absence. The scraps refreshed happy memories of clothing I had made for myself and others. It afforded beauty. It was also inexpensive.

I made-do with what I had.

When I first married, someone donated a depleted couch that was covered in stains. I was determined to hide the ugly. This time, I crocheted a large granny-square afghan that stayed on that couch for years.

Later, in order to make my home beautiful, I quilted bedspreads and sewed curtains.

Like choosing a pattern and fabric, I’d been given just so much to work with in life. I had to do the best with what I had, but I could create beauty.

And so can you. No matter our past, each of us can create.

Our creativity comes from our Creator God. If you don’t feel it, try something simple. A coloring book and crayons are pretty basic. A pencil and paper costs little. Digging the ground and planting  flower seeds works too.

It’s amazing what difficult issues we can process when our hands are busy creating.

When we express ourselves through our own creations, we are coming out of silence. When we create, our mental health improves and, despite our pain, we begin to catch glimpses of beauty.

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:9 KJV

And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.

Exodus 28:2 KJV

More Than Survival

The seed lands in gravel. No one notices. No one cares about the life stored within. It’s on gravel, after all, atop hard-baked ground next to a plain, metal building. Alone. Without worth.

Rain on the roof drips from the edge. Softens the seed. Life sprouts. What else can it do but try?

Sun warms. Below gravel, tender roots grasp soil of clay. Pitiful nourishment.

Cool mornings.

Blistering mid-days.

Dark nights.

A tinge of green uncurls into an environment it did not choose.

Rain. Sun. Rain. Sun. Rain.

Leaves uncurl. A blossom forms.

Sun…sun.

More Sun.

Exhausting.

Unending.

Abuse.

A few green leaves. Perhaps a flower will unfold, but drought forbids fruit.  

A woman seeks relief from the abusive heat. Reading as she walks, she glances aside, noticing what the seed has tried to produce.  Her thoughts, otherwise wrapped in an epic story of human survival, pause amazed at how beauty arises from harshness. The plant has somehow survived. With a flower like that, it has more than survived.

The woman continues her reading. It is one survivor’s story among many.

A seed.

A root.

A leaf.

A blossom.

The stories are coming to life, producing fruit. She is writing one herself.

A child is born. What else can it do but try?

Yet, who wants to merely survive? Who wants to be known only for their exhausting, constant struggle for identity and life? People commend what is survived. But when one is drowning and struggling for air, who among us would want to only be told we’re strong?

Action laced with words of love and care are better than pats on the back for endurance.

And what of the struggle? Will it ever produce? If only a leaf or, by chance, a bloom forms, will that be enough?

Chances are high any person we meet has experienced life-altering abuse or trauma. They may be in the root stage, the leaf, or perhaps the blossom. We can be Love’s hands and voice and action for intervention. We can provide the water of refreshment and the warmth of truth and light.

Let’s be kind.

Think before we judge or speak.

Be aware of pain.

Follow our hearts.

Seek to understand.

Take root.

Blossom.

Produce.

And, if you’re still a dry seed, there is life inside and it is enough.

“For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy, I dwell in the high and holy place, with him ALSO that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones…I will heal him; I will lead him also and restore comforts unto him.”

Isaiah 47: 15 & 18

“And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday.”

Isaiah 58:10

Here’s a link to the epic story mentioned above. I am acquainted with the writer and his wife. The story, while long and at times unbelievable, is true and is another example of how God navigates through the network of evil to protect and provide and to “restore comforts.”

https://m.barnesandnoble.com/w/33rd-degree-married-lewis-miles/1139714716?ean=2940162521556

A Safe Place

Condensed from guest blogger, Misty Dawn, at Shakam Boqer

You can be a safe place.

You can be a safe place for the victim. Being a safe place means allowing their feelings and hurt to be fully expressed and regarded as valid in the face of the emotional, verbal and physiological, or even physical, sexual or financial abuse they have endured.

Simple questions like, “What happened?” “What are you thinking?” “How do you feel?” will help show your support. Reflect back what they’ve shared so they will know their feelings and hurts are valid.

It’s okay to say, “I hurt for you.” “This makes my heart hurt.” Or “This makes me angry for you.”  This validates the victim’s sense of anger. However, be careful not to overstate your own emotions to the victim. Simple statements that make the victim feel cared for, validated, and heard are best.

Don’t make them feel like they have to take care of or protect you or themselves from your emotional response. Hold your anger until you can express it away from the victim.

Support people may need to call the abuse what it is. Even as an adult, I needed the words.  I needed short, simple, declarative statements such as:

“Calling someone names is verbal abuse. It’s not okay to be called idiot, stupid, quitter, coward…. It’s never okay to be cursed at. It is verbal abuse, and I understand why you feel hurt.”

“Taking sex by force, even in marriage, is rape. It’s not love. It’s sexual abuse. You have permission to be hurt and angry.”

“Punching or shoving in anger is physical abuse. It’s inappropriate behavior and not okay.”

“Discipline of children doesn’t include a balled up fist, regardless of the child’s age. That’s abuse. You have a valid reason to be angry.”

“Being told you are damned to hell for ending the abuse cycle is spiritual abuse. It’s okay to be upset by those words.”

“What you experienced is trauma. It’s okay to have a trauma response, to have panic attacks, a hard time breathing, or talking, or putting together sentences.  Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself those responses.” 

Support people can give the victim permission they deeply need.  They can give permission to the victim to be angry. To be hurt. To cry. To wail. To vent. To get help. To find a counselor. To say hard things. To hold boundaries. AND most importantly, give them permission to leave the abuse.

Giving permission to leave is different them telling them to leave. Don’t tell them to leave. I heard, more than once, “You need to leave his sorry ass.” But that wasn’t helpful. I needed permission, not advice. Give them permission to leave, to be done. They have to make the choice on their own, and they need to know that you will support their choice.

I once saw a child who had been given the permission by professionals around them, to hold boundaries with their abuser. I’ve never, in my life, seen a child run and play as freely and largely as that child played that day! I swear if they’d had wings, they would have flown! As it was, they climbed higher, spun faster, ran more swiftly, skipped more exuberantly than I’ve ever seen that child or any child play. I will never forget that day. 

Give the victim permission to have and hold boundaries. That’s often all they need. 

Lastly – speak life! Speak to the victim’s value. Speak to the love of God for them! Compliment their character, their creativity, their passions.

Victims have most often been told and therefore internalized some massive lies about their worth, value and beloved-ness. The effects of this verbal and emotional abuse was recently described as a “weighted blanket of negative words” that holds the victim down. It feels all warm and cozy because that’s all the victim knows, but their psyche is dying. They are likely depressed and may even be suicidal.

Your words of life are the antidote. They will help lift the blanket off.

Speak life!

The Lord your God is in you midst. A Warrior who saves. He will rejoice over you with joy; He will be quiet in His love [making no mention of your past sins]. He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.”

Zephaniah 3:17 AMP

Caught in a Cycle

Guest Blog -Condensed from Misty Dawn’s Blog on Shakam Boqer

There’s a cycle of abuse. It’s a cycle that often takes a long time to recognize for the victim, but eventually those who are survivors, who recognize their worth and value, step out of the cycle.

Leaving abuse isn’t easy. Many victims of domestic abuse will leave and go back seven to twelve times before they’re finally “done.” Usually, the abuser lashes out and will use anything in their power to regain the “relationship.”

ANYTHING.

 And EVERYTHING.

 For YEARS.

That’s why many support groups recommend a “no contact” policy with the abuser. Of course, in certain situations, usually when children are involved, that’s impossible. Then, it takes far longer to truly get out of the cycle.

Here’s the cycle 

1.    Building Tension

Lots of controlling behavior from the abuser. Walking on eggshells by the victim. Trying to keep the abuser happy. The victims may even be “happy” with some connection, intimacy, and joyful moments, but under the surface, the victim is on edge, waiting for the next proverbial shoe to drop. Which it will.

2.    The Drop

The abuser acts out. Is violent in some way—verbally, physically, etc.  The victim sustains deep wounds—body, soul, or both. They begin to bleed out—emotionally and/or literally. 

3.    Self-Protection

The victim enters full self-protection and defense mode and will do anything to make the abuse stop. They will tell the abuser what they want to hear, or clam up, or placate. Whatever it takes. Just stop. ASAP.

They may also be in “self-protect” mode for the marriage or relationship and will do things that seem off to the onlooker as they try to hold the idea of the relationship together while also defending themselves against the abuser.

Sometimes victims stay because of the “idea of marriage”, the “hope of being loved”, the “person he could be”. Sometimes, it’s because they were raised with the idea that “God hates divorce.” which is another blog in itself. Whatever the case, they may self-protect the “marriage” and therefore the abuser; even while self-protecting themselves against the abuser.

4.    The Honeymoon

At some point, the abuser’s anger dissipates. They apologize, shed tears, and/or blame the victim. The victim usually accepts the apology, has hope, and thinks, “The abuser is really going to change now.” The victim may take the blame. They may apologize for whatever small infraction caused the blow-up. This brings the relationship to some sort of “peace.” 

This part of the cycle is called a honeymoon, but it isn’t a honeymoon. The victim is still reeling in pain, trying to find sure footing. The abuser is manipulating the victim to keep the victim from leaving.

It IS manipulation, because if the abuser was truly sorry, they would stop abusing. As my counselor has clearly stated, “If you apologize, you may only do so once. Apologize and change. If you apologize and do the same thing over and over you will lose all credibility.”

If the abuser is apologizing, just to repeat the pattern next week or in a month just to lash out again, it’s not an apology. It’s manipulation.

If the abuser is blaming the victim, it’s manipulation. If the abuser was healthy, they would take responsibility for their actions. Period. Full stop. Always. They wouldn’t put their woes over on everyone but themselves.

If any of this feels familiar, I encourage you to look at other commentary on abuse cycles and the power wheel. Learn the words that describe what you’re experiencing.

This cycle is NOT loving. It does NOT reflect the heart of God. His word makes it clear that those who are His will love Him and others.  He makes it clear that He didn’t send Messiah into the world to condemn us, but to save and heal us. He will give you wisdom and courage to break the cycle.

You are loved, right here, right now, just the way you are.

“And I will betroth thee unto Me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord.”

Hosea 2:19 & 10

A Survivor’s Dream

I’m pleased to introduce my daughter, Misty Dawn, as my guest for the next few weeks. Her blog, Shakam Boqer (Hebrew for “early in the morning”), is an eclectic gathering of her own deep thoughts centered on finding hope of bright joy after a night of distress. 

Following is the first of several segments derived from her most recent blog. These are lessons she learned from surviving abuse. We hope these segments will help you or someone you love. 

I had a dream last night. I love it when, in my dreams, I do what I would do in person. It usually means that I’ve finally processed a thing deeply enough that my heart and psyche have caught up with what my head knows. 

In my dream, I made no excuses. I called abuse what it was, and I stood firm on the boundaries set. I held space for the victim. My dream was a reminder that my processing has, over the last few years, shifted. I usually have to live through something and come out the other side before I can write about it. It’s taken years to get here. I needed to heal. My children needed to be safe from repercussion. 

For the present, I’m not going to share my story in detail. Not yet. There are other hearts involved that aren’t ready for those disclosures. For now, I’ll share what I’ve learned along the way and trust you to trust me when I say, “I know this deeply.”

These aren’t just words on a page. This isn’t psychobabble.

This is an overview of my experience, and the experiences of those who are flesh of my flesh. I’ve felt it to my core. I know it in the very fiber of my being. This is what I’ve learned. Well, some of what I’ve learned.

To start, here are a few truths:

  • You are loved, by God. You were created in His image. Because you bear God’s image, you deserve to be treated with respect and kindness. Period. Full stop. If you’re married, your spouse deserves the same. As a married couple, you both deserve love, kindness, and patience expressed in verbal, emotional, and physical ways.
  • God is very clear that abuse towards women and children is not to be tolerated. In fact, in Scripture, God took His people from a culture that didn’t value women or children to a place where they realized immense personal worth.
  •  Knowledge is power.  If you are an abuse victim, you need to understand the abuse cycles and need words to describe your experience. If you care for or know someone you suspect is being abused, you need the power of that same knowledge.

I woke from my dream, and I have words!

I want you to have them too.

Next time, Misty Dawn will outline The Abuse Cycle.

Please visit her blog at: Shakam Boqer

Of Tadpoles, Creeks, and Choosing Love…

It didn’t matter what she did, it wasn’t good enough.

Evangeline let the door slam behind her. Her mop of curls bounced auburn at her forehead. Stones nipped the callouses on her bare feet, but there were no stupid rules along the creek bank.

Turtles and tadpoles didn’t care if she drank eight ounces of warm water first thing. They never forgot to turn on the cold for three minutes before they left the shower.

Those daisies along the path—pure-white petals sparkling with morning dew—weren’t concerned about going to church to have old ladies with hardened eyes check their skirt length or note if they’d painted their nails.

The remains of her father’s mandatory raw almonds stuck to her teeth. Her tongue raked them loose. She spit.

If God was this, there had to be a different choice.

* * *

It mattered what she did when it came to others.

Evangeline rose from her desk of polished walnut and glanced at her watch. Lunch with the mayor in fifteen minutes. A slip of joy coursed her heart. Together they would accomplish nothing but good. Kids would enter college. Single moms would find meaningful employment. The arts would be funded.

Three teenagers smiled up from a desk photo. Her children. How she loved them. She patted at her curls, then shrugged into her tailored jacket, but no straight-jacket religion for them. Church was optional.

Oh, she had done the church thing and gotten burned and betrayed in the process. No bitterness, though. She did have a choice about that. She did have a choice to love.

Choices—logical, well-considered…and helpful—impacted lives. Now and for the future.

God’s rules and expectations only muddied the water.

* * *

What had mattered most?

Cradling her coffee, Evangeline settled onto her porch swing. She tugged at a wisp of gray, then flipped the strand away from her face.

 A rosy dawn eased over the mirrored surface of the lake. Her favorite view. She lifted her cup and breathed in the soothing aroma.

An empty nest. Retirement.  Financial security. A healthy, still active body. A husband, asleep inside, whom she wouldn’t call a soul-mate, but could always admire. Siblings who waded with her out of their shared spiritual abuse….

Through it all, had she found her own identity? Or was it mixed with expectations that made demands from her parents’ graves?

A kingfisher skimmed the water’s surface. Its squeal of freedom echoed the shoreline. She shook her head, feeling the curls. When she looked within, whom did she see?   

I’m a woman who’s chosen love, and that is good.

Along with her sip of coffee, the truth slid its warmth through her body.

I don’t know about God, but I’ve chosen love.

* * *

“God is love.”

1 John 4:8

“…Everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.”

I John 4:7

Untangling Forgiveness

The woman sits in the front pew, expectant and eager. Her grandchild will be baptized. It’s a time of celebration, but church hadn’t always been so joyful.

Most of her early pew-sitting and hymn-singing was nothing but an inner struggle from a lifetime of double-speak.

The conflict of many words. Way too many words.

She lifts her gaze to the stained-glass. Jesus loves me this I know. When she was six, her abuser had her sing that song while he did his evil.

What kind of love was that? She shudders and opens a hymnal. If only it had stopped with Jesus Loves Me.

Songs, sermons, scripture…any religious term could be used to imply the sexual. She’d stayed alert, always in survivor-mode. Years of sifting through adult innuendoes had even caused trouble in her marriage. Simple instructions from her husband often seemed unclear and hard to process.

The pastor takes the podium and begins to speak. His compassionate tone resonates. She closes the hymnbook.

“Let’s talk about forgiveness.” Her chest tightens. Now there’s a conflicted word. Hope he’s got this one right.

How long had it taken her to untangle the forgiveness concept?

Because, you know, “good little Christian girls forgive their abusers and, if you don’t, shame on you. However, if you forgive, then everything will be okay and we can do anything we want. Whatever we do will be fine. The responsibility is on you and you’ll forgive. So, let’s have at it.”

Yeah, crazy-making stuff. An internal shiver courses through her.

If I do all the forgiving, even to make myself feel better, but it doesn’t matter what others do, what good is forgiveness? Doesn’t repentance and forgiveness go hand in hand?

Yes! Yes, they do. And aren’t you glad we’ve worked that through? The inner voice she’s come to recognize as Jesus’, who really does love her, speaks its comfort. Remember, forgiveness isn’t just about making you feel relief. It’s not just a gift you give yourself. That idea is a dark side counterfeit.

She clasps her hands. Age spots and bulging veins form a crisscross pattern.

It’s taken years, but this is what God has taught:

Forgiveness needs a place to land—a heart that is repentant and can accept it. Yes, her own relief is part of the process, but providing a place where forgiveness can land is God’s truth—His ideal cycle of healing and restoration.

The pastor warms to his subject. She follows along, a step ahead with her own conclusions.

God’s ultimate goal is restoration of relationships. Restoration can’t happen unless there’s a change in the part of the person who did the wrong.

BUT…. She closes her eyes.

God is always ready to forgive, yet He also needs my permission to make the forgiveness cycle complete. Yep, God respects my boundaries—my need to stay in control, to hate, to become bitter, or to take vengeance, so He waits for me to give all that to Him. When I forgive and give Him permission to restore relationship, my piece of the puzzle is in place.

Only God knows the heart—theirs and mine. Only He knows if my abusers are truly repentant and a safe place for my forgiveness to land, but their repentance piece needs to be there too. He knows when it’s in place. I don’t have to worry about it. I can rest in Him. He can impress them with the wrongness of what they did—to convict and bring them to Him.

Her heart swells with the beauty of such a God.

The concept continues to take shape:

If the abuser doesn’t repent, vengeance flows into that space. And if a victim doesn’t forgive, chances are, they will become abusive because of their bitterness. Vengeance will flow into that space too.

Cleansing air fills her lungs. She releases it, slow and sure. Peace floods her spirit.

Not only did my forgiveness free God from me trying to take control of vengeance, it also allowed me to heal so that I wasn’t a hurting person hurting others.

Another stained-glass window catches her attention. Christ hangs on the cross. Moisture wells in her eyes.

I didn’t even have to go to them with my forgiveness. I just had to forgive them to God. I GAVE their actions to God BEFORE they repented.

Hmm—Fore-Gave.

“Jesus, You did this in the midst of torture. In the middle of our abuse, we had no idea how to forgive their horrendous acts, did we, Jesus? How could we, when we hurt with so much pain? But what did You do? You gave Your forgiveness to the Father. You asked Him to forgive them. You even tried to understand their actions and said ‘they don’t know what they’re doing.’”

 The pastor finishes his discourse, which happily parallels her own. Her grandchild enters the baptismal pool.

Her heart quickens with joy.

Forgiveness and cleansing….

It’s been a long hard road, but her abusers have been fore-given to God.

Now it’s up to Him.

Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

Psalm 90:8

“Thank you, Father, for a merciful countenance.”

Treasures of Darkness

It’s dark on top of our hill out here in the country—miles from any town. Very dark, with no electricity. I love to sleep in total darkness, but I don’t want to live in it. I slip away from my bed and wander outside.

I’ve been interacting with survivors of childhood trauma who are desperate for answers, resources, hope…anything to bring them relief.  I think of them, as, high above, myriads of stars shine their glory.

A verse at the front of the story I’m currently writing comes to mind:

“And I will give thee treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.”

Isaiah 45:3 KJV

“Okay, Lord God, I’m trying to hear You, but….”

Is there anything darker than the mind of one abused in childhood? Especially abuse mixed with religion that disfigures Your very character? Is there any place more impossible for light to reach?

How can riches be hidden in a heart that has absorbed the evilness and lies of the perpetrator—when the only “secret places” are the secrets one is forced to keep? When one’s personal identity is obliterated with each cruelty, what, please tell, is this name of which You speak?

His stars blink back a silent answer of constancy. Perhaps the morning will bring answers. If only there were a manual.

I text my sister. “Can you recommend a resource I can share?”

Within minutes her reply glows on my phone:

“From my experience, without God, you have no way to really know what you even need. Your abuse doesn’t come with a recovery manual.

God created you. Only He knows who you were created to be. But you can be certain it wasn’t to be abused. All of us have been lied to because it’s lying people who abuse. And because of that, I knew only God was big enough–was wise enough, was safe enough and true and faithful enough to trust with my story and to write a different ending than the only one I thought possible.

He was the only one willing to love me enough to die for me, but more important to live for me every day and work out all I needed.

His promises had power and hope and the outcome only He could create one step at a time. One question at a time. One tear at a time. His love is what has broken down all my walls and fulfilled my dreams better than I could have imagined. And He doesn’t stop! Healing from Him covers all the need and raises me up to more than I knew possible.

You want a manual? Just walk with Him. He has the pathway all planned and ready. And He will only go as fast as you are ready to go and slow enough to give you all the processing you need. He will only lead you, never push you.”

I turn off my phone and sleep until sunlight rises over the eastern mountain and splashes the tops of the trees outside. Bird song floats through the cool breeze. I breathe deep and, from a grateful heart, whisper a prayer.

God’s healing power to reconcile through Jesus Christ—to restore and make whole—is the a treasure that can shine from the darkness of abuse.

Of course, He uses therapists and those who have studied the workings of the brain, the effects of trauma on a child, but it is His love that does the healing, restores identity, and calls us by name.

Paul (2 Corinthians 4:6&7) refers to this treasure as the “light that God commanded to shine out of darkness.” He said this treasure has been put in the earthen vessels of our hearts to shine and give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, who, it turns out, is an accurate depiction of God’s character.

Through His love and acceptance, God provides healing. He will walk alongside through the fear of remembering. He will call you by name, and you won’t be afraid to answer. His Treasures of Darkness and Hidden Riches are there for the asking.

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.  But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.”

Psalms 4:18 and 19 NIV

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