What started my day with grief from one experience led to grief from another and here I am. This is messy, life is messy and that's ok. (I'll keep asking God to help me believe messy is ok until I believe it).
Earlier today I was sitting listening to one of my favorite little person's counselor explaining to me the different signs and symptoms of trauma and discussing an assessment he had taken on this little person.
I was reminded of my own experience with trauma at a young age.
He was telling me about how depression looks different in children than it does adults. For children, depression often expressed and felt as anger. That made complete sense to me because as a young teen dealing with trauma I often felt and expressed my depression in anger. I do remember as an older teen hitting some pretty deep depression where I isolated and detached from people and activities but as a young teen it definitely displayed itself in anger. Those that felt the brunt of this most were my family members. I often was able to "hold it together" at school but when I got home I was mad at the world and everyone knew it. As an adult just a year or 2 ago I remember my mom saying something to the effect of: "I just couldn't figure out why you were so mad at me. I had done all I could to support and help you and you were still so mad at me." I wasn't mad at her but she felt like I was. I can see why looking back. I wish I had been given the space to feel how I felt and been supported in that but it honestly wasn't something my parents were taught or knew how to do. To my mom she felt threatened by my strong feelings and actions and she didn't know how to allow space for those feelings. I grew up not knowing how to give myself the ability to feel and I also projected that on Marc (my husband) as well. It wasn't until the conversation my mom and I had when she told me she couldn't figure out why I was so mad at her that I realized that she was taking responsibility for my feelings and I wasn't able to feel them and that that is EXACTLY what I had been doing to Marc all these years (and he to me as well). That's only something I've learned in the last few years myself through God showing me some of these things in my recovery group teachings, codependency class/study, and counseling. It was a huge aahhaa light bulb realization for me and I've been learning to let Marc feel what he feels ever since.
I'm not saying my mom didn't support me because she did in every way that was possible for her. She did all the things that she could do. She took me to endless counseling appointments weekly for years and I am forever grateful to the early healing I had during that time. She tried to reach out to me and she tried to be compassionate and I know she bore a lot of feelings of inadequacy, grief, pain, sadness, and despair in what had happened to me and in trying to know and do what she could to help me. My dad also did what he could. He told my youth group pastor (Hule Goddard) what had happened to me and he or Hule told the youth counselors he had working with him and I'm forever grateful to my Dad for that. Those people were the biggest avenues of healing for me during those formative years next to God Himself. I can still think of and Name every single one that impacted my life. Annamarie Hamilton, Nina Pneuman, Missy Meyer, Hal Hamilton, Hule Goddard, Karen Mason, Jennifer Mackinnon, Jennifer Brumm, and the list goes on. I just can't even imagine the hours and hours some of these amazing youth leaders spent with me in silence. Just taking up space with me and allowing me to be and not be alone in that. They didn't push and prod (Unless I needed it). I to this day can't tell them thank you enough or even try to express what life long effects they have had on my relationship with Jesus, my healing journey, and even my identity in Christ. They were Jesus to me.
About the anger thing, my mom still talks about the Florida/Disney trip my Mom, Brother, Grandma and I took right after the court trial that convicted my rapist. She still refers to it being the trip that I made everyone miserable on and ruined. I just remember being so incredibly angry. Now looking back when I look at pictures from that trip I see this young girl that was still just a little girl. I am stunned by my innocence, how young I look, and how much I was just trying to deal with life. I had no idea I was reeling from the deepest most shameful and degrading experience of my life to date. I had no idea the far reaching effects that one night would have on my soul. I had no idea that I was incredibly brave and strong and beautiful. I was just angry. Looking back I don't remember what I was angry about except I do remember thinking I didn't want to go on that trip because we had JUST had the court trial. I remember being incredibly irritated with everything and wanting to be alone. I remember getting a horrible sunburn and being so miserable I didn't go to Epcot that day and I was glad to be alone. Now looking back I can see that my heart was in pieces and I didn't know what was what and I was just trying to make sense of it all.
Why am I reminiscing about all these things today like I have so many times before?
I'm grieving. So many times I think I've grieved enough and I'm done now and then God brings me to a new layer, a new piece in the puzzle of my healing. Today I remembered some of the things that little girl inside of me lost that day and then days, months, years that followed and how some of those loses still affect me at times. I
I'm also grieving for where I'm at with the Lord right now. I'm grieving things I don't even know or understand but I do recognize the emotion. I don't like that but I am thankful that today I can at least recognize it and allow myself space to feel and do so and that to be ok. I have a lot to grieve. had a lot taken from me. I had a lot of loss from that one single night that changed my whole world. I also had a lot taken from me in other areas of my life because of that trauma. I feel like I lost big pieces of my childhood. I lost relationship with my family.. and I could go on and on. Satan took a lot from me and I want it back. I freaking want it back. I'm starting now at 40 years old and 27 years later am finally asking God to give back to me the things satan stole from me through that. I have a lot of years of not allowing myself to grieve. I have a lot of unfelt feelings. (does that even make sense)?
Today as I sat and listened to the counselor describe every symptom and effect of trauma on a child I related. I remembered and I left there and haven't been able to shake those thoughts and feelings.
I had flashbacks. I had nightmares. I was afraid of people. I was afraid of men. I thought I was dirty. I was angry. I was depressed. I had PTSD. I remember being triggered like I was right there again. I was irritable. I couldn't focus. I didn't do well in school. I felt ugly. I felt "wrong". I had a lot of fear. I was scared of being alone. I dreaded nighttime. I had severe insomnia. Many nights the I remember wishing and hoping and begging for daylight because the nights were so incredibly long and dark. I will never forget those dark long nights. I remember trying to stay awake when I could sleep because I was so afraid of the nightmares.
I remember feeling like my dad didn't care about me. I remember trying so hard to gain his approval and his attention. I remember feeling like my sister could capture it but I just couldn't. I didn't know until I was about 35 that this was because my dad hurt so so deeply because of what happened to me that he literally could not look at me sometimes. I didn't know that he sometimes would walk into a room and see me and have to walk back out so he could weep. I didn't know that it was really that he loved me so incredibly much that he hurt so deeply that he couldn't be what he so desperately wished he could be for me.
God spoke to me about that a couple years ago. I never liked the meaning of my name Rebecca. It means captivating, or binding. I thought that was kind of lame until one night I was listening to a friend share her story at our recovery group and she kept using the word captivating (which wasn't normally in her vocab). I had been asking God to reveal something to me about my name because Steve Seamands had told me God wanted to speak to me about my name about 6 months prior to this.
God said to me: "Becky you are captivating to me. If you let me I will be your captive audience and you will have my full attention just as you have my favor." All I ever wanted from my dad and God was offering it to me right there. Pieces of my healing. I know that God works in layers and seasons and He loves me so much He keeps revisiting things so He can do deeper healing and more freeing as I can handle and am ready and willing.
I'd like to say that night sealed it all for me and I've walked in and believed and operated out of that truth ever since. I know I had some deep healing through that truth. Truthfully though I'm struggling a lot right now with that concept. The idea that God even notices, likes, cares, sees me. I struggle with it. I know it stems from my desires as a child to be noticed, cherished, seen by my dad. I'm praying for full freedom and healing in my ability to accept God's love for me just as I am. I'm praying that I'll be able to see how much He loves me and in that be freed up to love myself better and in that be able to be outward focused and able to love others better. I want that. I want healing and freedom there. But there's so much fear. Fear that I'm not enough. Fear that He will leave me. Fear that I'm not enough to others. Fear that I'm missing the mark. Fear that I'll never be truly free and walking and operating in that wholeness. Ultimately a deep fear that I'm disappointing God. There I said it. I feel I disappoint God and that I'm not good enough and that I'm completely failing Him. I don't love Him well. I don't love others well. I'm selfish, self centered, needy, broken, fearful, undisciplined, unreliable, inconsistent, shamed, did I mention broken? I miss the mark. I'm not enough. As I type those things my mind says nah that's not right. Those are lies. I *know* that in my heart or my head... one or the other but they aren't in agreement and then that brings me back to the "I'm failing You God because I'm not walking in Your truth".... I'm not doing and being what I should and could and all those great things that take me from grace to bondage and from mercy to contempt.
I was doing well and on a great healing journey. I had been focused on recovery and growth ever since I had been diagnosed with bipolar in 2010 and started going to renewal (recovery ministry group)....
And then yet another crisis hit my life in 2012. I was in a season in my life where I was in a good place. I was working hard in recovery to deal with my illness and was become healthier. I felt mentally stable, emotionally well, spiritually active, physically healthy (I had lost 60 lbs by eating whole healthy foods) and I felt my marriage was in a place it hadn't been in so many years due to my illness and having 6 babies back to back while dealing with an undiagnosed mental illness. Marc and I were finally in counseling and facing some of our years of stuffing down emotions and just surviving in our "survival mode" years.
We were celebrating our 15th anniversary and were on a special trip to celebrate.
I remember telling Marc I felt like things were so good.
In one moment, with just one sentence of confession my world once again came crashing down around me. I suddenly was faced with the reality that I had not been enough for Marc and all I had thought to be true didn't seem so true anymore. All the security and pillars and idolizing I had done to my husband (after all he was put in my life to be my knight in shining armor and to make me happy ever after right? I mean surely he was responsible for my happiness) came tumbling down.
I did what I had always learned to do though. I made sure to cross my t's and dot my i's and check off all the things I should be doing and how I should be reacting and thinking and feeling and I tried my best to deal with it all as proper as possible. I worked and worked (keeping busy working my business) avoiding what had happened, how I felt about it, avoiding God and how I felt about him since this had happened, and avoiding how I felt about my husband even for fear of losing him (again). Fear. that all too familiar friend. Fear has been a companion. It is a companion. One I don't want but one I feed and protect and give it to. I worked and avoided for honestly years and remember many times thinking "at some point I'll stop and deal with this but for now I just have to keep doing and going". All the while my relationship with Jesus was so broken. Suddenly the person in my life that I believed could or would ever possibly betray me or not be who I thought they were had failed me.
I wasn't enough. (Let me rephrase that, I felt like I hadn' been enough, true or not). He had chosen another and maybe that meant that Jesus didn't chose me either and maybe it meant that I wasn't enough for Jesus either.
This is where the scripture Gal 5:7 enters my thoughts. My counselor (and recovery leader) asked me a question from this scripture just a few short weeks ago when I found myself back at my recovery group after not going for a good year or more. He said "Do you every feel like someone or something "cut in on you"? (sorry for my horrible grammar/punctuation... I had other concerns during the time I should have been learning it) lol. When He asked me that (during a prayer time) I literally laughed out loud because it was so dead on how I've felt. YES I know what and when I felt "cut in on".
The scripture says: You were running a good race. Who cut in on you to keep you from obeying the truth? Gal 5:7
I was doing so well and then the one I loved and trusted most betrayed me. Enter in all those broken little girl feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, and feeling insignificant and unnoticed. I must be so wrong that I wasn't even enough for my loving Godly husband. I was so busy making sure I claimed my part in the whole thing. I wanted to know and change issues I had that had obviously been part of what got us to where we were at. I didn't want to just say "Xyz" happened and it's all his fault. I had seen that happen in others marriages and I was fully aware that my baggage mixed with my illness had been a huge component of where we were at. I was aware that satan takes us down where we are weakest and in our focus on feeling and dealing with things we had stuffed (especially Marc because he wasn't able to or given space to feel for so many years because I was the one who wasn't ok and he had to forsake his own feelings for mine). I am also aware as I write all this that this is all full of a big fat mess of unhealthy stinking thinking and lies. I'm just writing out my feelings. Messy, raw, ugly, beautiful, whatever you want to call them is fine by me. I'm just doing it publicly because 1-I told God I would many years ago. 2-it's healing for me 3-I hope somewhere in the mess of my random crazy thinking someone will be able to say "me too" and know they aren't alone. 4-satan loves secrecy, he loves us to wear our pretty little Sunday morning masks and he wants to keep us all voiceless and hidden... keep us in the dark. 5-writing is therapeutic. I know and have heard plenty from especially family members that I should leave things in the past and not "dredge them up" "dwell on them" and lots of other things but for me this is healing. Allowing God to take me back to those times, giving me the ability to feel my feelings and hear His heart and my own heart is healing and freeing and each time I'm able to leave more pieces of my brokenness and pick up more pieces of His wholeness. This is my journey and sometimes I feel like I'm completely missing it all and other times I feel the spirit of God well up in me with truth and I can firmly say "He and I we've got this". He loves me. He IS for me. I am ok. I am enough for Him. My husband loves me. I am worthy of love. My Jesus is for me, who can be against me? I know all this in my heart. It's my heart that knows and my mind and the old tapes that play that try to convince me of those things that are not true. Speaking truth is power though and just as I type these words I remember, I feel, I know that my savior loves me, He sees me. He knows me. He tells me I am His own.
Am I a hot mess and a loony tune... yep sure am! Am I loved and accepted and crazy special to my Jesus just as I am? YEP I am. Do I feel it and believe it all the time? NOPE. But right now I know that is ok. I know I will be ok. I'm battling. I'm feeling incredibly inadequate, incredibly unfaithful and unworthy but I do have His truth sealed on my heart and I do know that He gets me and He isn't threatened by my doubting. So my mind battles my heart. So what. The truth doesn't change. My foundation is still firm. So my husband wasn't perfect and he failed me. So what. Jesus NEVER fails me. Our marriage is healing. I'm wounded. Marc is wounded. We still hurt, we still can't openly allow God to use the experiences to help others, we still feel like we both failed each other and we have super unhealthy thoughts and feelings about what that says about us. I know that's not good or healthy or true. I still feel it and I know Marc does even more.
But I still have security that God will use it. Even if it's not yet and even if it is still so hard this many years later that I rarely have talked about it. I do know deep in my being that God has us and God will continue to restore and redeem and heal.
I wish I were more faithful, stronger, more willing to just surrender and let Him get on with setting me free. I'm trying to rest and allow Him to love me yet at the same time I'm fighting it so much. Insert that great friend fear that I've known for so long. Sigh.
I do hope and pray with desperation to believe and know My Father's great enduring unchanging love for me with such depth and passion that I would live like I believe it instead of constantly trying to earn something that was given freely as a gift and cannot be confined to my conditions and boundaries. I long to live a grace filled life free to be myself and be comfortable in my own skin because I'm motivated by and operating in Jesus's love for me instead of living and operating out of fear.
I still try to earn things that have already been freely given to me.
This is the biggest mess of ramblings I think I will publish to date. (not counting all the babbling I've done during some dark depressions). It's full of my human fleshly thinking that I've so hard to keep hidden from a God who sees everything. So silly.
Jesus instead of surrendering and laying it all down at your feet I've wrestle with You and with myself for quite some time. I've felt betrayed and I've projected that on You when You didn't deserve it. I've felt rejected and I put that on You when you've never rejected me. I've spent so much time resisting you and giving into fear.
I'm tired. I just want You to come in and take over. I am desperate enough to say I don't have it all together. I don't have much of anything together right now except that I know I want and need you. I know I've been dying inside without you close by. Not because You went anywhere because I know You didn't but because I've turned my back to You when all I needed was to come running. I've heard you calling and I've resisted. I'm so sorry. Please come close. I miss you.
I need you. I love you. I know I don't deserve you but I'm surrendering. I'm chosing to jump back in on that race and run with Him instead of continuing to watch on the sideline and buy into the lie that everyone has passed me by and that It's not worth running. I may have sat down at the sidelines for a bit and I may have felt someone "cut in on me" but I'm not going to quit or stay there. I want to be changed. I want to be different. I want to run the race well and run free and wild and passionately. Please help me embrace your grace. Only You Jesus can do this in me.