Thursday, January 22, 2015

He saw, He loved, I remember

I'm always so amazed at the way God puts His finger on things, at just the right time, and does just what we need and can handle... yet doesn't leave us there. He brings things back to us, as often or as much as we need and to the depth we allow Him because He desires for His children to come into deeper healing and deeper relationship with Him. He isn't willing to allow anything to hinder or come between us and the fullness of His love. He has many time over many years went to some deep dark corners and has exposed and broken some heavy chains. He does it with great gentleness and compassion. 
About 3 years ago I had a really harsh trigger that reminded me of  when I was rape at 13 years old. I started having flash backs and I was in a bad place. A precious friend went with me to see my counselor. During that session it felt as though I was right there, in that car, with that man being raped all over again. I was shaking and felt like I was hyperventilating. My counselor asked me to pray a simple 1 sentence prayer.... "God, show me where you were at when I was being raped". I could hardly utter the words and as I half heartedly tried everything in me screamed NO NO NO I don't want to know, don't look, don't tell me, I don't want you to see me, I don't want to know!!! For months, if I thought about it I would say no. No Jesus I don't want you to look and see me lying there naked, ugly, exposed, dirty, ashamed. I don't want to go there with you. Shame just dripped from my heart and eventually it wasn't something I thought about. 
About a year ago when I was reading a scripture I felt like God said to me "Becky that night, my eyes were looking into your eyes, we were one that night". The thought that Jesus was just seeing my eyes, that was comforting to me. After all, that meant He didn't see my ugly exposed body. 
About 2 months ago I went to a healing night of praise and prayer that my church and another local church does. I went up for prayer... mainly because I was struggling with how I view myself and how God views me. I felt compelled to ask a friend's dad who is a pastor to pray with me because I was needing fatherly love. He said He felt like God wanted to speak to me about my name and what it means and who Rebecca was in the bible. He also told me that my bipolar, being raped, and having a broken family and childhood and the way God has brought me through all that was my story. He said "this is your story, embrace it. Accept yourself and give yourself grace and forgiveness and LIVE YOUR STORY."
I know that part of my calling in this life is to live a life of suffering for Jesus. To speak up and speak out for the truth and for God's love and redemption. I feel passionate about the fact that satan uses our silence as a way to keep us bound in chains. He wants to keep us from the freedom God wants to give us through opening up, baring our souls and allowing the love of Jesus to break into our darkness and expel the lies of the enemies. 
Satan wants those of us who have experienced sexual assault/abuse/rape or any type of abuse for that matter to believe that we are dirty, worthless, victims who should be silent and not speak up about the shame and pain we've experienced. If he can hold us to the lies that we are broken used goods that should be ashamed he can keep us in the darkness and paralyze us into silence. God says "we shall know the truth and the TRUTH shall set us free". He also says that "the light shines in darkness; and the darkness can not overcome it".  God desires us to be real and true and the only way to the light is to expose the darkness to the light and allow God's truth to permeate every dark corner until the light shines in them all. Satan wants to keep us bound, but what satan means for harm God will use for God. We have to stop allowing satan to have what wasn't his in the first place. 
So after talking with Steve Seamands that night at the healing service I spent some time over the next week looking into my name and it's meaning.... 
Rebecca means: Captivating, to bind, bound. 
Rebekah in the bible is described by gateway as "The wife of Issac, A woman of godly character but not without her human weakness."
 I LOVE THAT.  So describes me... I am quite aware that I have quite the human weaknesses!!!!  It goes on to describe Rebekah as:
"a caring heart, very beautiful, a woman of godly character. Something of great worth in God's sight (1 peter 3:3-4)   Also described as "a woman of discernment, a woman of prayer, and a servant." I read several different references that referred to Rebekah as beautiful. I started to hear God calling me Beautiful Becky. That's what a precious friend has called me for quite some time but I had never believed it. 
I've known my name means captivating, I use to have a picture on my bedroom wall with a butterfly, my name and the meaning. I never much cared for it. I mean captivating... what's the big deal. 
Until about a month ago when one of my best friends spoke at renewal and shared her story. It wasn't her story, as I've heard it many times but it was the way she used the word "Captivating and captivated" like 8 times during it!! She had never before used this word to describe things that I can remember. During her speaking God was speaking directly to me... so strongly that I got out my phone and started writing it down in my notes...
"Becky, you are captivating to me. Will you allow me to be your captive audience? That means you will have my full attention just as you have my favor". That went really deep because God had also been talking to me about why I haven't been able to trust Him and how my earthly father and our relationship growing up had affected my relationship with my Heavenly Daddy. I had tried to win my dad's approval and I had watched as my sister always captured it! (Dad I know you will read this and I want you to know I love you with my whole heart and Praise God He's healed and He's redeemed our relationship!!) So that night as my friend spoke and God spoke directly to my heart.... when He said "you will have my full attention"... it went deep, so deep. It meant that my Daddy would notice me, He would see me and he would have His eyes on me! That's all I had ever wanted from my earthly Daddy. HALLELUJAH!!!!  What freedom!!!!!!

About that night, the night when I was naked and exposed, broken and in my eyes tainted and ugly.... God spoke to me and revealed to me that I was captivating to Him. He told me that He SAW my naked body lying there, He SAW me being wounded and broken, and He saw my body as beautiful. He didn't have to look away, cover His eyes or shutter like I had imagined. He watched, he felt, he SAW and He too was broken. We were one. I wasn't alone.
And now this week... another trigger.. and I was taken back to many many years ago....  BUT this time it's so incredibly different. I KNOW that God is wanting to heal new places in me and give me a love for myself and the ability to receive the love He has for me in deeper more real ways than ever before. Normally in the past when I've thought back on the rape I've felt a lot of shame and inferiority and yuck. I haven't been able to love myself in those places. 
This week I've been watching that little girl's story unfold in my mind and as God takes me from experience after experience I am seeing that little girl, myself with so much love and awe at how brave I was, how trusting in God I was, how hopeful and thoughtful I was. God's love in me, He was in me working and helping me. I couldn't have made it without Him. I prayed the whole time I was being raped, I prayed through the days, weeks, months, years that followed. I did tons and tons of asking why, I sought HIM. I felt suffering and I felt closer to Jesus during some of the darkest nights of anguish because He and I we were one. I felt the suffering of Jesus and I will never be the same for it. 
I am looking back and allowing Jesus to walk me through and I see countless ways that He walked me through, He carried me..... HIS LOVE. He loved me through it. There was nothing except His love that got me through it. I see people He put in my path just for me.
I remember a youth counselor calling me on the night I had secretly decided to take my own life. She called right  after I had looked at the cheesy picture of my Smiling Jesus on my wall and half heartedly cried out to God to "Show me He was still there somehow". She said she had written a song for me and proceeded to sing it (and played her guitar) on the phone... it was exactly what I needed.
 I see one of my most precious youth leaders, a precious friend and mentor to this day... she is 8 months pregnant there at the court trial with me, sitting in the back, just there to stand in the gap for me.
I see my youth group leader friend who sat with me for hours in her car each week after she would take me home from youth. She and I joked about having a shirt that said "I don't know" because I was constantly asking why. She never rushed me and didn't try to fix me. 
I see my friend and I in her seminary dorm room sitting and just being together. I see her praying with me on youth retreats. 
I see my Mentor, my 2nd mother, praying with me, tucking me in when I spent the night, telling me over and over that God will bring good out of it even when my response was often just a shrug. 
I see my youth leader/ 2nd father throwing a paper wad at me on the bus on the way to talk to the lepers in the village in boma dominican republic. I see him loving me caring about me. I see him so much in my story. 
I see my Youth Pastor and I see myself kneeling at the alter and I see the hands, the angel that were lined up behind me.... I feel my Youth Pastor like a father with his hand on my head praying over me. I see myself stand up and turn around and no one is there... yet I felt them there. 
I see myself standing there outside my teacher's classroom, the teacher that I told. She was the first person that spoke the word "RAPE" and put a name to the horror I had been secretly and silently living with for 3 months. She sat by me at the court trial. 
I see my daddy coming to the school to get me (on testing day no less!) because he knew that I had taken a small pair of scissors to my face the night before in hopes that someone would see that though the trial was over I was still hurting and I needed someone to notice, I see the earrings and shirt that he bought me that day, I remember the love I felt in getting a gift, my love language satisfied. 
I see the angel, the tiny little angel my Mom got me and gave me the morning of the court trial. It had a little saying about it being my guardian angel to watch over me during my trial. I see my Mamas hand writing and all my family's names. 
I see the card my dad gave me with the little teddy bear on a rocking chair and the words inside "I am holding you in prayer" and my favorite scripture to the left. Jeremiah 29:11.. I clung to those words... NOT to harm you... a future and a hope. 
I see the police man turn around during the court trial and say that the man had an IQ about 2 points higher than a field onion" and how special that made me feel. 
I remember the man who was my Dad and Mom's friend giving my parents a card that said something about taking me shopping and buying me something special. I remember that it made me feel known, and seen. 
I remember the first time I shared my testimony at a youth retreat with lots of other youth groups in PA. I remember going silent in the middle. I remember my friend discouraging me from doing it because she was scared it would be too hard for me. I remember the people, the leaders especially... I remember the tears they shed for me.. and for themselves. I remember the time I gave my testimony at a summer camp I counseled at during our night devotion time. I remember the guy that came up to the alter that night and wept for the sin he had committed to another girl. I remember him asking me to forgive him and I remember the forgiveness I felt. 
I remember the time a Youth leader came to me after I shared my story at Indian Springs, I remember where she was standing in our cabin and how she asked in anguish how she could ever forgive the man who had done the same to her. 
I remember my sister telling us the story of how God supernaturally spoke to her and her friend when she was thousands of miles away in a different country telling them to pray for me. Later that day she got a letter from my mom that reminder her to pray for me at 9am on July 1st during my court trial...  that day... it was July 1st and she and her friend had been prompted to pray for me.
I remember the night sitting at the reservoir pleading to God and God gave me a vision of Jesus dying on the cross, the pain the bleeding, the terror and then I saw this man, this man who had taken my innocence. I saw that God loved this man and Jesus's death on the cross was for that man too. That night I forgave that man.
I remember a youth leader telling me I was brave and they were proud of me after much deliberation I did the trust fall on a youth retreat. I remember looking back into the eyes of a friend and seeing that his eyes were full of jesus love, and not the eyes of the man who had taken a piece of who I was from me... And I was finally able to fall and trust. 
Those little things, tons and tons of them... experiences that look little and silly to some were huge pieces of the puzzle of healing on my journey. The way the principle would move the big trash can against the conference room door when the detective would come talk to me at school. All the while my teacher was right there beside me holding my hand...
They are all "I LOVE YOU'S" from my sweet Jesus. These experiences, I never walked any of them alone. God was so present.  He uses His hands and feet, the body to help heal my brokenness.  
So today I walk down memory lane, I remember. But I HONOR. I honor myself and the battle I fought,  but most of all I honor my Jesus and the battle He fought and I realize a little more that He did it because He loves me. He LOVES me. He loves US so. 
I have a feeling this is just the beginning of remembering for me right now... but I'm not scared and I don't mind. Looking at my brokenness through the lenses of Jesus and His love is TOTALLY different than looking back and remembering through satan's shame filled lies!  It's time for satan to step down and Jesus's love to flood me with truth. It's time I embrace the love that Jesus died to give me and it's time to believe in myself again and see that little girl for who she was and who I am.... brave, captivating and beautiful.

The link to part my story:

more of my story about my childhood and bipolar struggle as well:

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