“It doesn’t matter what people say
If they are trying to lead you astray.
When others’ views of how you are
Matter more than truth in your heart,
Muster up the strength you’ve earned
And put to practice what you’ve learned.”
What would you tell the little girl or boy who was used and tossed away like a rag. Would you tell them there is no hope?! Would you ignore what they have been through? Would you devalue them by dismissing their pain and telling them to just get over it or that it didn’t really happen?
If we as adults, who are in charge of our own decisions, do not learn to deal, wrestle, and heal – what do they have to look up to? What if you had had someone teach you how to be real. How to journal and talk about your pain. How to have outlets for it, instead of stuffing it. How to be a person that can help others when they need to talk. How there is a God who wants nothing more than to meet you in the midst of your struggle and free you of it. I say this gently understanding that our thoughts of God are often confusing and muddy.
How different would your life be today?
Some of our friends and family were those children. How we care for them could make all the difference in their healing.
I had a dear friend recently share about her first panic attack. She didn’t see it coming, which is quite normal. They are swift and undetected. Until you learn what is causing them. I am here to say there is hope! And, there is an end to them. But, I’ve spent the last few years (and I’m grateful it hasn’t been longer) trying to figure out: how do I hang on?!
Since that conversation, I’ve been reflecting on how now a days I am able to handle things I couldn’t handle a year ago or more. Talking with friends on a trip that I haven’t talked with for 3 years or so. I left when I was very much at my worst emotionally. Smack dab in the middle of dealing with facing the effects of the abuse I encountered when I was about 6 years old.
The panic attacks I started to experience were the signals I needed to take my pain seriously. And, in some way, I am thankful I had them. They couldn’t be ignored. And, our pain shouldn’t be ignored either. It is important to address our pain to allow healing. Do not belittle yourself by thinking you should just get over it, whatever it is. REACH out for help. Never stop looking for help. It is there.
The way I see it, all the stuff I didn’t know how or didn’t want to talk about – or did talk about but felt so vulnerable and sensitive it made me regret it – was bubbling to get out of me.
And, in the form of panic and anxiety, I was attacked. Seemingly from the outside. But, truly, it was my internal battle that was the real war ground. The external triggers simply acted as detonators for the mines inside of me.
I would have black out moments, migraines, blurred vision, heart racing, eyes twitching, body trembling, struggle to breathe, let alone concentrate or do anything normal like work or clean the house. All I could do was endure it. Cry and get frustrated. Felt so helpless and out of control thinking I was going crazy. Afraid I’d never recover. Being in relationships were just nearly unthinkable. What did I have to offer anymore? I needed so much.
It would literally take me at least 2 days to recover from one. I’d spend that time feeling depressed, sluggish and just worn out. The burdens we carry inside often make living life nearly impossible. But, how was I supposed to unload? And, on who?! I was hard pressed to find people that could handle what I shared. But, I did find a few. And, they are diamonds to me to this day. People that can hear your pain and see you in it, stop and really go there with you – you never let them go. And, now, I strive to be that kind of person.
Once I found the courage to fight for myself, a different kind of journey began for me. I had to let go of the norm and everyday in order to conserve enough energy to look inside of myself. With the help of solid counseling, journaling and a God that never let me run too far from Him.
My healing came by engaging God even when I was mad, truly grappling – it’s part of the fight. Otherwise, I would’ve allowed myself to stay numb and find more ways to just disconnect. And, eventually wither away. And, God knows suffering and abuse. He knows first hand what I battle. So, even when others do not understand, I now can find comfort in knowing He does.
Now when I look in someone’s eyes and they are sharing, even though you can tell it’s not really all they want to say, but all they can say – you see, that is the look of the fight.
Hanging on is letting go of being embarrassed, or being afraid to say what’s really happening in us, or of our friends looking at us like they don’t know who we are anymore. Letting go of being afraid of admitting we don’t know who we are anymore.
Letting go of thinking my life had to look like everyone else’s around me. As a woman, I hear all the time the question of am I going to have children. I have people tell me I would be a great mom. I have my mom friends that love it and encourage it, and I have the ones that have struggled and are more realistic about the challenges of it with me.
Facing this decision I always came up inadequate. People that have been abused struggle greatly with intimacy on any level. Marriage is just that much harder. My limitations in intimacy severely exposed. And, shame settled on me.
So, for me to hang on, I let go of that norm. I decided I didn’t need to focus on that like most of the women around me. I risked being different yet again from the people around me. But, it was good for me to let it go. And, the sweet peace I have is making it worth it.
One day I realized how much had been truly taken from me because I was abused. I need so much help to do what I see so many people doing without any struggle at all. But, I decided – no more.
I’m letting go of being robbed. I’m hanging onto God’s promise that He can make all things work together for good. All things. Romans 8:28. And, He promises that He can do abundantly more than I can think or imagine. Ephesians 3:20.
So, I have let go of my deprivation. I have let go of thinking I’m destined to be this way forever. It’s just not true. I’m hanging onto my new dreams. Hanging onto forgiveness because it really does set me free.
It’s remarkable how far healing can bring a person. And, how hard you have to fight for it! I don’t even feel like the same person I was when I last around these friends. I feel…strong. And, calm – and peaceful. Not confused. Allowing myself to make the changes I needed in order to deal brought me to this place – a place of new faith. I have fought for it, too.
I have suffered and struggled and wrestled with the hard questions. Some questions I still don’t have answers to – but, I had to lay those down in order to have peace. And, accept I may never know all the answers.
But, the things I do know for sure – those are the things I hold onto.
Resources from people who have fought and are overcoming. I have seen both in person I can tell you they are the real deal.
Victor Marx, Christian, Survivor, Marine, Martial Arts extraordinaire: http://victormarx.com/the-victor-marx-story/
Beth Moore, Christian Author, Teacher and abuse survivor, speaks on Claiming Your Right to a Sound Mind – I found this video one very hard morning and felt God met me there: http://lifetoday.org/video/claiming-your-right-to-a-sound-mind/
Bethany Dillon, musician – a dear friend sent this song to me and it meets the most tender hearted of souls where they are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFf-WaFJRTI
“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31