Tuesday, July 22, 2014

This Little Light of Mine

Yesterday as I was reading through the She Reads Truth devotional on "The Sermon on the Mount" my thought process changed a little. You see the reading was over Matthew 5:13-16 where Jesus talks about believers being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. I think you know what I'm talking about (here's the text):
13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.
14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

While I was reading this I started thinking about this skit I did in youth group. There were 8 of us standing in a line, holding candles, singing "This Little Light of Mine". As we sang, someone pretended to be Satan and he would go around each one of and list off sins and then blow that person's candle out. That person would stop singing. This happened to every person down to the last singer when that person said "Romans 8:1 says 'There is therefore, now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.' In the name of Jesus Christ, Satan be gone." And then that person would turn to the next re-light their candle and they would start singing again. 

This reminded me that Satan wants to accuse me. He wants me to believe that have no value because of my sin and the sin done to me. He wants me to believe that because I was sexually abused, masturbated, sought out boys to make me fee valuable, had sex outside of marriage, lied, manipulated, feel anxious, doubt, judge others, etc. that I have NO value. And he wants to blow out my light. A light that Jesus lit. And I forget that I am NOT condemned because I am in Christ Jesus. I have value and worth not based on anything I have done or will ever do, but because I am a Child of God and 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells me that "If ANYONE is in Christ He is a NEW creation. The old has passed away and the new has come."  When God looks at me He sees that new creation. He doesn't see who Satan is talking about. He sees me as holy and blameless because Jesus paid my debt in full!

So if Satan is lying to you about who you are, rest in the word of God. Remember that You do not stand condemned before you Heavenly Father...the old has passed away and the new has come.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

On Being BRAVE!

I'm not sure where to start this post. I'm not sure what all I want to say here in this space. I have so much to say, but I don't know where the words are to say it.

I do know that I'm finding my voice, and I'm not going to let anybody stop that. I want this to be the time that I find the strength and the courage to use my voice to claim truth. To use my voice to encourage others to find and use theirs.

I feel like when it comes to sex we allow our voices to be quieted. We allow shame to come in and take root, and we allow our voices to be silenced. What we need to be doing is being BRAVE! We need to talk and talk and talk until we feel better. And then talk and talk and talk until we feel even better and then keep talking because we have found our voices, we have told the shame and the guilt to  "Go to Hell!", and we help each other heal.  (Thanks Ritz!)

In January, I decided I was going to do a word for the year and I chose the word BRAVE. When God laid the word Brave on my heart I thought He was asking me to adopt, go to Haiti, go on a mission trip...

I didn't realize that when God asked me to be BRAVE this year it was because dealing with sexual abuse was going to take every amount of courage I could muster and then some. I didn't realize that I was going to need my friends and family to stand in the gap for me when I had no bravery left. I didn't realize I was going to have to be brave by sharing my story with those people who are standing in the gap for me. I didn't realize that it was going to take being brave to tell God how I really feel about who He is because it's easy for me to look at Him as a far off impersonal God not one who weeps over the sexual abuse of His child and then continues to weep as the effects of sexual abuse continue to hurt for many many years. And I am learning that He cares about what I have to say when it's good, when it's bad, when it's honest. He is big enough to handle my doubts, my fears, and my anger. And He can help me overcome it.

So if you are reading this, and thinking "I get this! I feel this way!" use your voice and be BRAVE. Start with God. Start by being honest with Him, and then keep talking to everyone who will listen, and even those who won't because your voice is beautiful and your story is valuable and you never know what that person will hear and how it will encourage them.


Friday, July 18, 2014

A Story Worth Telling

Last week a group of bloggers went to Rwanda with IJM and Noonday Collection to meet women and tell their stories of redemption from some very dark places. There were many critics of this trip, but those people have probably never been in a place so dark that they wanted to scream their story to all who would hear it.

Over this past week, I too, have realized that I have a story to tell. A story that is sad and so scary. A story that I have prayed I would forget over the past 27 years. A story that haunts me as a wife and a mother, but I have a voice that will not be silenced and my story is worth telling.

When I was 5 years old I was sexually abused by a foster child that lived in our home. A place where I thought everyone would be safe; he took safety away. I remember very very vague details. I remember him coming to my kindergarten classroom to check on me, and I laid on my mat during nap time PRAYING that my teacher would think I was a sleep and send him away. I remember when I was in first grade I walked by his room and he asked me what I was going to be for Halloween and I told him a yellow crayon and then he asked me to have sex with him. And I said yes. I said yes. He told me not to tell. I remember nights of him being on top of me with a pillow over my face. I remember laying on the floor in front of my door waiting for him to come in because he was going to come, and my dad finding me and telling me to go back to bed.

What I don't remember is when it started, but I do remember when it ended. It ended when I watched something on TV about AIDS and became terrified that I would get AIDS from him and told him to stop or I was telling. He stopped so I didn't tell. He took my voice. After he left my home, I told my parents. And after that we didn't talk about it. And for years I haven't talked. For years I've allowed my voice to be silenced. For years, I've worried about what others would think so I didn't talk I just pushed it all inside. I never healed and I felt like my story was not worth telling.

And now I'm married and I have 2 beautiful daughters, and I daily live in fear that someone will sexually abuse them and take their voice and they will feel that their story is not worth telling.

And I'm tired of living in fear.

I'm tired of feeling unworthy.

I'm tired of pushing my feelings inside and fake smiling.

I'm tired of someone else silencing my voice.

I'm going to speak up.

You see, I'm worth healing. I'm worth living free of anxiety and depression. I'm worth be healthy. I'm worth it.

That 10 year old boy may have been abused, but that did not make it okay for him to abuse me. He knew what he was doing to me was wrong and he told me not to tell. He took advantage of a 5 year old girl and then left me to deal with the ramifications for the next 27 years.

Make sure you understand this: Healing will come for me.  But my voice does not need to be silenced. I don't need to get over it and move on. This is part of who I am, and I'll be damned if I'm going to shut my mouth any longer.

Don't tell me that I should've talked about it sooner. Don't tell me that God works all things for the good. Don't tell me that I need to trust Jesus and this will go away.

The pain of abuse reaches far and wide my friends F A R AND W I D E. This abuse effects my parents, my siblings, my husband and my children just as it effects me. And the effects of abuse don't go away. They are there forever. They are scars are on my heart and my soul. There will ALWAYS be evidence of it in my life. As long as there is evidence of it in my life then I'm going to tell my story because someone else has a story that is similar and they need to know they are not alone, just as I need to know that right now.

So when you meet someone who has a history of abuse in there life please let them tell their story. There is value in it. That person's life is valuable and to not listen to their story makes it seem like you don't value them. They need to know they are valuable because someone has told them they are not, and the wounds need to heal.