It Didn't Start as Abuse

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I wasn't going to say anything this year. I had told myself that part of healing was not sharing painful stories. However, I have also said that if my past helps even one person find the strength to escape, then it was worth it. I had two messages from people yesterday. Randomly asking advice about abuse. All last night I tossed and turned and thought of what to say to help. Truth is I don't know. Each situation is different. But I do know that God gives each of us a mountain. And sometimes it is to show others it can be moved. 

I can tell you it didn't start as abuse. It started as a friend. A friend in need. A friend who didn't seem to have anyone else and who listened to my problems. A friend who made me feel wanted loved, and above all of that needed. It started with a guy who was fun, made me laugh, and made me feel special. Little by little, it started changing. Looking back, of course, I see the red flags now, but at the time I would write them off. He was having a bad day, he got mad easy because he felt alone and I was all he had, he didn't want me to be with my friends because he only had me. He needed me. He got angry and yelled then apologized and said the sweetest things. Yes, it hurt but hey. When you love someone, you are supposed to stay with them and help them right? And even in the emotional turmoil I never once thought he would hurt me. I have never been more wrong in my entire life. 

For 4 years I dealt with the emotional. Draining myself of everything I was. Never feeling happy or good enough. Always feeling drained and like my entire life was looking over my shoulder watching and waiting for the next blow up. He hit the wall, but he didn't hit me. He hit the car and broke the side mirror, but he didn't hit me. He even hit himself, but he didn't hit me. He needed me to not have my friends and family. She needed me to be home and always be available. So I stayed. I was needed. You stay with those you love. So I stayed. 

I can't tell you where your story will end up. I have heard all the excuses of "he won't do that" because I used them myself. I know where mine ended up. I ended up under a Christmas tree being trapped under his drunken angry and demanding self. He raped me while I stared up at a Baby Jesus ornament. He raped me while our kids were right down the hall sleeping peacefully on Christmas Eve night awaiting Santa the next morning. He raped me. That's where my story ended up. And he was so drunk that the next morning he didn't remember any of it. Woke up happy and smiling. After all, it was Christmas. 

My story ended with a 9 mm pistol to my forehead watching his finger on the trigger and the look in his eyes. That's when I was able to gather a small portion of strength and leave. 

No, I can't give you an answer as to what to your monster is going to do. But he will get worse. You deserve more than that. You are better than that. You do not have to stay because you love someone. You never have to sacrifice yourself like that for true love. I can tell you it is going to get much much worse so please leave. I will help you do that. I will listen. And you don't deserve that life. 

I looked at this tree this morning and just stood in awe at how far I have come. Yes, this time of year is still very very hard, but the sign hanging beside the tree is what got my attention most. 

"God can restore that which is broken and make it amazing. All you need is faith." 

God has certainly done that for me and he can for you too.

By Christina

Filling the Gap

I recently heard a message that encouraged listeners to think about the bravest prayer they could pray. As I thought hard I was humbled as I realized how little I step out into brave prayers. Maybe it’s the fear God won’t answer, or we feel our needs are met or maybe we won’t like the answer. After being encouraged by a recent Facebook post a girl shared how as singles we should pray for God to fill the void of a spouse in our hearts with himself, this caused me to think about my bravest prayer.

I often pray that God would send that person into my life that would one day be my spouse, not because I need someone to make me happy or help take care of me. God is my fulfillment and is doing a wonderful job taking care of me all on his own. I am actually quite happy being single, but rather that I might be able to have a partner to do life with. So, with that I developed my bravest prayer “Lord, I am not asking to you send me a person any longer, but rather you would completely fill the gap of that person not being in my life in every way.” My plan for God was that he would take away every desire and thought and leave me with perfect peace. Notice the “my plan” statement and how foolish that must sound to God. Praying prayers with my own small intentions to an infinite God.

This prayer only brought frustration for me, as I struggled with my own human nature. I cried out to God asking him why he wouldn’t just take away the desire, like he did for this other girl! In my plea for an answer, I was shook by the very reason I was afraid to pray my bravest prayer. I didn’t like the answer. I knew in that moment for me it would be different, the gap wouldn’t be filled like I hoped. He wouldn’t take away the desire for a partner and every thought of one until that person arrived.  For me he would leave the void, causing me to continually go to him as my source. God is a good Father and a loving God, but he is jealous for time with us. I was asking him to take away something that was allowing him to comfort me, love me and protect me through the process.

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So many times, throughout my life I have asked him to take away the hard things, heal my brokenness and fill the void. But as my awareness of God grows, so does my awareness of my own inadequacies. These moments have all brought me closer to him. Every emotion of pain has strengthened our relationship, closing the gaps in my life. I envision myself standing with my own brokenness and faults before a loving God, as his Son fills the gap between us. All perfectly united and because the gap is filled He accepts me and calls me sanctified.

My bravest prayer might seem insignificant and there are times I wished I lived a more fascinating life so my prayers could be bolder, but this is the season I am in. My prayer wasn’t answered how I hoped. But I received something better. A message straight from the Father that he values his time with me. He loves when I come to him for help. He is my partner and provider. He is The Gap. So, don’t be afraid to pray your bravest prayer. He loves you more than you could ever know. And even his no’s are beautifully crafted to bring us closer to him.  

Daisy 

The Thirsty Heart

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A heart, fragile yet so enduring, was designed for human connection. For relationships to build us and strengthen our character. Our downfall as human beings is that in the process of connecting, we find ourselves damaged. Left to pick up the pieces of another person’s freewill. We reflect on the damage of our lives, pinpointing what left us with the greatest hurt. We can easily see reminisce of the trauma that can be characterized in each of our lives. Whatever name it might be even it is still visible and charts the trajectory of our lives. Some overcome more quickly, while others fight the hurt for the course of their lives settling in with a bitter heart.

What if we think outside the trauma we have experienced? Beyond the physical, to uncover the deeper unknown. Our fragile hearts have also been affected by the things we haven’t received. The affirmation we so desperately longed for and never heard. The affection we prayed for that was withheld. The acceptance we wanted to feel and never received. In the book “Heart Made Whole” Christa Black Gifford discusses these two types of trauma as Trauma B which is “all the things that happened that never should have”, which often leaves us victimized. And Trauma A which is “the absence of all the things you should have received, but didn’t”.

Understanding this concept was life changing for me. For so long I felt there was something wrong with me as I needed affirmation from others.  I felt happy, confident and whole but still needed affirming words from the people closest to me. It’s when I realized that somewhere along the way my need for affirmation was neglected. Leaving me with a longing to be filled, a trauma I didn’t even realize I had experienced. It wasn’t an event I can recall. It was years of my greatest desire to be loved not being fulfilled by others. I felt as though my heart was being starved to death and was left thirsty. It’s then that I realized this need could never be met by other people. Only God, who created me and knows this deepest desire can fill my need. He is my affirmation. He is the one that covers all that I never received and makes me whole. He allows my heart to be fully understood and known.

What we experienced or didn’t experienced is the past now. We have the present to decide how our trauma dictates our future. As Gifford explains so beautifully, “The space inside of your heart is the only place where you will ever have full ownership and authority. You are the guardian of your heart, and as the final say over your inner realm, you’re the only one who can decide what happens next.” My prayer for you is that can lay your pain down and allow God to be your healer. For him to fill your greatest desires and allow you to be fully known. Only then can we move past our pain and step into our beautiful healing.

~Daisy