Stories that Shine on an Awesome God

Posts tagged ‘abuse’

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.

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

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

Upgraded Passion

This is the story of one writer’s journey. It’s also a story of one awesome God. Both are mine.

God and I birthed this blog seven years ago. The blog grew. It faltered with neglect. I tended it and it blossomed. Fortunately, it never died. Writing a full-length-fiction-based-on-my-own-story consumed blogging time.

And other excuses.

In that first blog, I wrote, “Nothing thrills me more than to discover a new example, a new angle, of God’s love at work. Nothing.” That passion motivated me. It continues to motivate.

Now, God’s added another passion.

My journey to this new passion started in the fall of 1990 when I began to write for my own catharsis. I edited, re-edited, let life take over, and stopped writing for years. In 2013, I spent money and time to hone the craft of writing (I still have much to learn.) More re-writes ensued.

The manuscript “completed,” I pitched it as a “love-lost-found” story. I envisioned my audience as women who had not let God lead in their youthful choices and who could share the book with their children as guidance. A few editors showed interest, but only with a complete re-write. I understood their point. For a story of that theme, the end needed to come first. My gut said, “hold back.”

But, when, God? When?”

My timing is perfect. Wait on Me. In fact, put your love-lost-found story aside. The time is not now. Work on your sister’s story.

I began to research and write a second fiction-based-on-a-true-story. This work is about survival from abuse and integration from DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). It caused me to look more closely at how the events in her life affected mine. Boy, did they ever!

A Culture of Silence pervades both stories. This culture enabled me to lose that young love and to deny the truth of my heart. This culture demanded my sister lose her complete, God-given identity.

In the process of writing her story, my first book took on a different theme and the idea for a series I’m calling Sisters of Silence was hatched.

So, now, I have a new theme and a new audience—adult survivors and their siblings of childhood abuse and trauma who are breaking through the silence. It was a cognitive realization. But how to reach that audience? What to say? Where to go?

“I’m not getting any younger, here.”

In My time, sweetie. Just chill.

Last month, my sister and I visited a little-bit of a woman with great faith, a dedicated plot of ground, and a supportive husband. She’s a survivor too. She’s also an author. She’s been working publicly a lot longer than I have on these issues through her ministry, Broken Pieces No More. www.brokenpiecesnomore.org

As she told me about the hidden abuses in her area, God’s Holy Spirit moved my heart with an upgraded passion. In the days that followed, I heard my Savior say,

You’ve lived under the shadow of abuse all your life, Merita—in that culture of silence. In fact, you were molested and deeply impacted. All these years of writing the “wrong” story was your training ground. Continue to work closely with your new friend and with your sister. They have much to offer.

Plus, I’m calling you to seriously reach out to other survivors. They are more than an audience that you mentally catalogue and market. They are real people with similar experiences. You love them and can empathize.

Remind them the deceiver often mixes religion into their abuse so they grow afraid of anything spiritual and become unable to truly heal. Tell how the dark side pits it’s victims against the truth of My love. Share your stories of how My light broke through for you and others—how it sets the oppressed free.

Your mind has been engaged for years. Now, your heart is too. Because you’re heart is now all-in, it’s time.

Evidently, my journey is only beginning. I breathe in deep, humbled by the thought.

“I’m just a newbie writer, Lord, but here I am. Send me.”

“For we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”





God’s Choice

“Where was God?” A friend shuddered after I shared a few specifics of the story I’m currently writing. As we prepared for a picnic, I spread mayonnaise on two slices of bread then blurted a glib answer.

“God can bring good out of evil and He has a purpose for everything.” I added a slice of cheese and began to cut a tomato.

“I don’t buy that.” I immediately agreed with her vehement tone. “That sounds like an idea from my religious abuse.”   She shook her head with a finality that spoke of a hard-fought battle to break free from guilt-producing platitudes and inept interpretations.

She was right. Who could believe in a God who pre-planned a child suffer abuse at the hands of a monster? Had He arranged it with an ulterior motive to bring about some bit of good for His glory? What kind of a human, much less a god would do that?

“Why do you think bad things happen?” I asked, as I rinsed a handful of lettuce.

“There’s choice.” Her answer—the only palatable one—hit my brain the same instant she spoke.  She finished her own lunch creation while I added apples and chips to the picnic basket.

“Right and what’s God’s response to a bad choice?”  My question settled between us. I mulled it over well past our simple meal under an oak at the top of the mountain.

Certainly, we cannot suggest that evil is God’s will. I’m thankful that grace abounds all the more when evil increases, but the God I trust prefers no evil. However, if we humans, of our own free will, determine to do an inhumane act, what choice does God have? What is left to the One who gave us freedom? What is His option?

Healing. That’s it. Healing.

When oppression, injustice, abuse, or torture happens, God’s only choice is to begin the healing process. He knows how to restore every last fragment of a traumatized, fractured mind. He did it, does it, will continue to do it. Every sliver of human person-hood and identity is precious in His sight.

God’s ability to heal motivates me to craft a story on a subject that we are all loath to consider. It’s a consuming work in progress, but He knows when and how it will be ready to share.

In the meantime, as we allow (choice again), He continues to work within the different levels of our pain to restore our brokenness.

Because, once we make that choice, all He can do is heal.

Provider of Poems

Guest Blog, Poetry, and Photography by JerryAnn Berry

Finding my way to identity while filled with the shame of sin and abuse was like a maze of mirrors. I never knew if what I was seeing was my reflection at all. In the end I realized God found me and He knew where I was the whole time. The past 20 years of recovery are coming to a close. It has been a long journey out of shame and pain, walking into the healing light of God.

Poetry was one of the only ways I could express the situations in which I found myself. When reality had been processed and distilled down to its simplest, most authentic form, poetry was my heart’s elixir. This came through my connection with my Creator as He led me step by step. His view blended with my view, simplified the intense complexities and in the succinct words of a poem I could see clearly, often for the first time.

These three poems are examples of the progressive work of His Spirit mingling with my spirit. They are in sequence of experience and discovery. The last one I wrote this past weekend. Each one has come with new revelation of a God who knows how to touch me and heal my heart. In His presence each experience turns into silent words fitly spoken.

 Jeri's LifeLight Postcard - poem on image of stone hall

Shame, the darkness of not “BEING” right. Satan first introduced it as a subtle thought to the perfect pair that God has just joyfully completed. Not “being” right in the not knowing. “Such a horrible state of being–Not knowing. Such an easy thing to fix.” Satan told the Eden Pair!

And shame was accepted when the satanic reflection was accepted. And change was sought. And God’s perfect work was thrown away for a change of “being” – a new knowledge.

And it seems God went into hiding after that. Not because He wanted to but the shame of not “being “ right made God an unwelcome visitor. Humankind had accepted the reflection instead of what was real. But it wasn’t God that held the mirror.

Jeri's Maze of Mirrors Postcard - Poem on Image of glasses & vases

And now life is full of mirrors.  Lost in a maze of mirrors we turn from side to side banging into the solidity of the deception in our attempts to find escape from shame. Many give up long before they find freedom. Many knock themselves out banging against what isn’t real.

Only as God begins to restore what is real can it be distinguished from the shameful reflections. Only His light shows the way through the mirrors that result in more shame.

We all experience in some way the maze of mirrors that magnifies our shame. We all need to find our way out of the maze and into freedom.

God did not leave us without a way to know freedom. He says it simple and plain. It is in Truth that we find freedom. Not reflected “truth” from any other human, only the Truth that He gives. Truth that is discerned deep within the individual heart and seen through eyes touched by the light heaven shines into the soul.

Positioning is the main tool we have to access this healing. And the starting position is pretty low. Much lower than we find comfortable. Much lower than our protective minds are willing to take. Heaven knew we needed a friend in low places. And so one came and went there in the agony of shame. So we could go there too. And know the joy of resurrection. Today the Conqueror of Shame gives us hope. Only HE knows the way out of this mirror maze.

“He Endured the Shame for the Joy that was set before Him.”

Jeri's Image of the Desert will blossom Postcard

Yom Kippur Atonement
by JerryAnn Berry

With a long list of sins
I come to you
Not because you demand me to eat crow.
But because I know
You hold the fuller’s soap
The refiner’s fire
The Life giving blood.
I can exchange this dead stuff for
Your light
Your goodness
Your joy
Your restoration.
The closer I get to you
The more I see Your goodness.
My stack of “important” sins
Trickles through my fingers
Like sand.
You have forgiven them already.

I just needed to see
You had the way
to put them in the
Bottom of the sea.
Where all sand should be.
No condemnation here.
Only life and the beautiful curl of a wave
Glistening in the Son’s light.

Jeri's image of Hatteras Sunrise

Destiny Designer

 She called me this morning, thrilled to the core.

For years now, most of her calls have been upbeat, but this one was over the top. This one faded other conversations into oblivion.

Over the years we have conversed about her:

        dating debacles         teaching degree           wedding plans

        daughters’ births          homeschooling          married life

     living under construction               divorce proceedings

     nursing degree          heart-wrenching abuse memories

    parents’ deaths       new love          photography

job challenges           traveling dreams          family dynamics

       honest, Spirit-led fellowship and the lack thereof

              God concepts

Three months ago she quit her well-paying nursing job to assist in a non-paying ministry. (click to discover her ministries) Left all except her supportive, patient husband to follow Him.

Left all. Followed Him.

“I just know that now is the time. I’m convinced. This is where God wants me.”

Quit job. Left income-producing, fishing nets behind. Followed Him.

“I’m trusting You, Lord.”

Then she started pipe-dreaming, obsessing actually, over her longing to travel. She researched RV’s and motor homes.

“Why, Lord? Why am I thinking about this? I don’t have the money. I just want to help the fatherless and widows and the abused who are being held captive. So why an expensive RV?”

This morning the Light poured in.

“An RV is how you will help rescue the captives and reach those who are fatherless. An RV will be a safe place for them. From there you will help heal the abused. An RV will take you to fellowships willing to be taught how to relate to the rescued. This, my darling daughter, is your destiny, your reason to be.”

THOSE calls, those other calls over the years, every one significant, had been but mere pieces of her life’s puzzle. THIS one was her fit, her long-sought answer.

Her destiny.

Planned by the Father of Lights. Her Lover above all lovers. The Healer of her fractured life. The Giver of her dreams.

Her Destiny Designer.

Have you discovered your destiny? Share how your Destiny Designer revealed your reason to be.

“For I know the plans I have for you . . . .” Jeremiah 29:11

This is Me and I am Free

“That’s your handwriting,” you say after two decades of no mail.
Terrible handwriting. Too jerky, too tense. I’ve hated it.
But you are glad and now I am a school girl practicing my name.
This is mine. This is me and I am free.
Loops rounding out the tails in letters spilling.
How I form them tells you who I am —
Tells me who I am.
I’d rather write than type.
I’d rather you see my hand working down the line
Caressing the page
Soothing the sounds like musical notes of ecstasy for you to play
And then return with yours.

hand writing

“This is Me and I am Free . . . .”

I was twenty-eight when I wrote those lines. Twenty-eight, with years of wondering behind me. Years of wondering what I would be when I grew up. Not that many people asked. I was a middle child after all, elbowing my way out of the nest packed with three other siblings. Except for mothering, uh, bossing, my younger brother, I was the quiet one trying to live up to others expectations. What I would become seemed inconsequential, really.

In very early childhood there were isolated, yet contemptible acts inflicted on me that I was forbidden to acknowledge. The forced hiding had snuffed my heart’s honesty, teaching it to disown itself.

Well-meaning words that edged me toward denial had also been dropped:
“You shouldn’t feel that way. . . .That’s not what God would want . . . . Just lift the corners of your mouth and make-believe you’re glad . . . . Why don’t you get over it?”

An identity was not easy to come by.

“I am ____________,” was a difficult sentence to finish.

Fortunately, despite it all, I believed in the Great I AM. He knew, without asking, what I would be when I grew up. Throughout my roles of student, secretary, wife and mother, He drew me to Him, letting me get to know Him so that I could know myself.

Then, in my twenty-eighth year, my day of freedom came. I saw my heart’s truth. I walked out of denial. I obeyed Him. Because I obeyed Him, I experienced unconditional Love. It was a Love that I could trust. It was a Love that allowed me to be vulnerable.

So I wrote.

This is me, and I am               free              

All thanks to the great I AM.

 

Have you been freed to know who you are?  Please share how Love has played a part in your freedom.

 “And you shall know the truth,and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

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