Thursday, March 19, 2015

Part of the journey

Tomorrow morning I will be speaking to the Embrace women's group who meets at GCF. I will be sharing my story. It's been a crazy week and I am just today sitting down to prepare for tomorrow. As someone who likes to write/journal I do my best thinking through writing (or in this case typing). I get my thoughts out and I am able to process.
Writing has always been a safe thing for me. I began journaling when I was in 6th grade I think, but I began really writing after I was raped when I was 13. Writing became a time with God. It was something that felt safe but also helped me not feel alone. Most of my journaling over those next 8 years or so (before I had kids haha) were in the form of prayers to Jesus. Spending that time with Him, unhindered, without insecurity and worry of what people thought, I felt most myself. 
So today as I struggle to figure out just what I want to focus on and what I want to speak about tomorrow I find my way back to writing. 
I have found in the past I don't do so well at writing out notes, doing bullet points or steps when I share my story. When I do steps/notes I find myself getting distracted by them by trying to stay in order and it tends to actually distract my focus enough to make it choppy. I tend to write out notes and points so that they are more organized in my head but don't follow them when I speak.  But, today I'm a little concerned about just winging it considering I've been struggling with depression for the last month. I find I'm not as focused, things feel "foggy" and I worry that I won't remember important things or won't keep my train of thought as well. Depression in general tends to make me feel insecure and less confident. I feel more disconnected to people during this time. That's not optimal for speaking in a group! 
So, I pray. I pray that God gives me just the words He wants me to speak. I pray that He gives me clarity and sharpness to speak clearly and keep my mind on track. Then I trust. I trust that He knows what He has planned for tomorrow and He knows what He wants to speak through me and I trust that He will equip me to carry that out. 
It's not just my story, It's HIS story. It's all His story.
His story of creating this beautiful girl. He created me with a heart that loved to care for the sick and hurting, He created me with a desire to encourage people and gave me this crazy love for babies. He created me with a heart to love Him.  
Sadly, I bought into the lies of the world and thought I wasn't worth much. I allowed the shame and dirty feelings of being raped to shape my thoughts about myself. I allowed childhood abuse and brokeneness in my family to tell me that I wasn't important, that I was a bother and that I was a problem. Satan stole from me. He robbed me of much of my childhood and he tried to get me to believe I wasn't worth anything.  It's a regular struggle for me. 
But being a child of God, he can't take that away. No matter what he did to me or has caused, no matter how many lies he plants he cannot take away the TRUTH. The truth that I am a beautiful child of God, that I was created for God's pleasure and good purposes, that I was bought with a price and that I was more than able to overcome and victor over ALL of the traps and lies that satan threw at me.  I play a crutial rule in all this though: I can choose to believe the lies of satan and allow them to cripple and paralyse me OR I can say NO and I choose Jesus. When I choose truth and proclaim it all of those things have no power over me. They just fall right off of me.  I find speaking scripture out loud when I can't seem to speak truth or fight lies helps me to come to the place of saying YES to Jesus and No to satan's lies. 
The more I seek the truth, the more I seek the face of Jesus, the more I can embrace His love for me and His freedom and grace the more the chains fall off and the more alive I become. 
There is so much CHOICE. I can choose to pity that girl that had a crummy thing happen to her, I can pity the woman who struggles with bipolar illness, I can pity the woman who fights just to stay alive or I can choose to embrace her and love her and live in the truth that God loves her and God has compassion for her. 
God knows us. He knows right where we are. 
It's my choose if I choose to believe the lies and believe that I am not capable to overcome my struggles and my brokeness or it is my choice if I choose to embrace Jesus, embrace that beautiful girl that He has made me to be. Embrace the true person that I am. Embrace myself in my brokeness and pain and see myself as I truly am: Broken and beautiful yet being made whole in Christ minute by minute day by day. 
We have a choice. We can look at our struggles and see all the defeat and give in to it or we can look at our struggles and see Jesus and ask Him to walk through it with us so we can live true, be ourselves, embrace all that He died to give us and believe that we can do all things through God who gives us strength. 
Satan has stolen much from me yet he couldn't take my life and he can't prevent God from giving back to me that he has taken. God restores the years the locust have eaten. God restores the brokenhearted and He binds up their wounds. 
So much hurt, so much rejection, so much pain. Yet so much love, so much hope, so much redemption, so much gain. 
God has shown me that some of my greatest struggles have become my greatest treasures because they bring me to His feet, they nail me to His cross, they allow me to be intimate with Him in a way I can't touch without all that pain. 
I would like to say that I have complete healing from my bipolar disorder, that I have complete healing from being raped, from having a broken abusive home life, from painful marriage struggles, but I can't say that. What I can say is that I have had much healing, deep deep healing in so many of these areas and I am not without hope that there is much more to come. I am speaking out of a place of currently struggling with depression yet I speak with Hope. Hope because I know that I know that I know that I am NEVER alone, that I will never be overcome by these things because I have a God who loves me, a God who is deeply aquainted with my pain, that chooses to join into my brokeness with me and a God who LOVES to be with me... even in my messy places, even when I don't have it all together and find myself often having temper tantrums and fits over where I'm at with depression right now. He just wants us, right where we are, brokeness included, sin and ugliness included. He sees the beautiful person He has created and the person we are to become. He isn't hindered in His love for us the way we are with ourselves and each other. His love has no bounds. Praise God! 
Some of the things that I feel have been most important in my healing journey thus far:
1-I had to ask God to show me where He was at when I was raped. I didn't want Him to see me in that place. I didn't want Him to see me naked and helpless. But I had to allow Him into that horrid place in order to allow His love and truth and healing to penetrate my heart and bring healing. God showed me that He was right there, He was a literal human shield between that man and I and nothing went through that man's hands to me that didn't first go through the body of Jesus. He showed me that His eyes were on me and that He saw my naked body but it was beautiful and pure and innocent. His tears flowed with my tears. We were one. He chose to go there with me, in my darkest hour He chose to share my pain and he bore my shame. It took 24 years for me to allow God to take me back to that night with Him and to allow God to take my shame and show me what He really saw. 
2-I am never alone. Knowing God chose to be so incredibly close and intimate with me during the hardest most horrid experience of my life helps me realize and know that He is always going to be there. It gives me Hope when I'm in the midst of depression to know that God wants to be with me. He wants to share in our struggles, share our pain, He longs for us to let Him go there into the depts with us. He will only go where we invite Him though, He won't force Himself anywhere He hasn't been invited.
3-Satan loves secrecy and works his hardest to keep our pain and hurt hidden in the dark.  If he can keep us silent he can keep us bound in shame and fear and he uses that silence and shame to cripple and eventually paralyse. If he can keep us silent he tricks us into believing that we will never get better, that we will never get over our past pain and hurt. If we speak out, if we bring that darkness into the light the light overcomes the darkness. Satan finds that incredibly threatening. Whatever is hidden in the dark stays bound up in the dark, but whatever we expose to the light, the truth, to God's love and healing, it is overcome by light and the darkness is expelled. We must use our voice to speak out for ourselves and to speak out for those who have no voice. Speaking the truth is powerful.
4-I am beautiful and God treasures me on my best of days, and my very worst of days. Right now I am in the midst of a depression. During low times I often feel I am not measuring up and feel as though I am constantly failing.  BUT the truth is, I am a beautiful child of God, and He is just as pleased with me today as he is on my very best days. Just because I feel I don't have much to give doesn't mean I am not worth much. He bases His worth on who He is and who He made me to be. He says that I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He says that I am His beloved, His bride, He says that I am worth dying for.  And more than that He wants me to believe who He says I am, even when I don't feel it, even when everything screaming in my ear says that I stink, He wants me to look at His Word, His truth and claim it.  He wants me to take the authority He's given me and fight it and send those lies back where they came from. I'm working on this. I often wrestle with lies and feel I don't measure up but God is helping me make progress and He's showing me that it's not about being perfect, it's about making progress with Him. Progress not perfection.
5-I have a choice. When lies come I can choose to fight them with God's word. When depression comes I can choose to fight it and not lay down and give in. When failures seem to pile up and I feel less than I have a choice. I can choose to see myself through God's eyes or I can give in and pity myself and allow satan to rob me of the freedom Jesus died to give. Realizing I can choose how I respond to what life throws at me has been a huge huge step towards healing and health for me. It's one I have to learn in deeper ways day by day but it has been a huge agent of change for me.
So much more I'm learning...... off to make some notes that I probably won't follow tomorrow. HA!

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