Hands upon hands were placed strategically upon me today at church as Pastor Kevin asked for those who are suffering any kind of turmoil to allow him to pray over them. After I found the courage to stand up, which is of course somewhat embarrassing in its own right, I mean, who wants to say to the world, I totally suck at life? No one. But in admitting that we are in a place of need is when those in our army can truly go to battle for us. So, I stood, my husband immediately followed as he always does to support and lead me, and then so did all the people around me in a beautiful echo of communion fortifying a will to pray against the forces that want to see me fail on the worst possible world stage possible.
As our pastor’s anointed prayer began I felt a community of touch all over me. Now not many people know this about me, but if I’m not prepared to be touched I kinda freak out. For a sparkly-pink loving girl, I knock out punch and a mean handshake. Basically, I can mess you up, and I wish the reasons were simply because I am totally bad to the bone. It actually comes from a place of deep sorrow that no person should ever have to endure. It is a defense mechanism. It is my survival tool to combat the evil touches that have precluded my youth. But in this tender moment when the fighters around me took to battle, in prayer and laid hands on me, all I felt was overwhelming peace and love. This being one of the great moments of my life.
I am a Christian. A wife. A mother, An author, A lover of compassion and uprising. I am deeper than most and speak what I feel when I can’t hold back. I am also, a survivor. Of sexual assault.
Like all too many women, I’ve been objectified, judged, and received unfair treatment due to my outer appearance. I also know what it is like to be groped without consent. Hands on me when I wanted to run, scream, and bellow for a savior from the depths of torrent this kind of situation poses. But…I didn’t. I just stood still, not sure how to react, contemplate, to retaliate. Mostly because, it was someone who I trusted, valued and loved deeply.
That is the core horror of my situation. I trusted, loved and adored someone, and he stripped me of my innate belief principle because of a physical urge that my predictor could not control. Which ultimately drove me, the victim to seek control over my own life in extremely destructive ways. I have literally lived in a cold, gray, prison for all the life I have memories of. Despite achieving many astute and lovely things, my abuse has always been there, nagging, digging its claws into my self-esteem and pain point throughout my whole life.
I have starved myself in order to beg to the powers that be that I simply disappear. For being thin and non-existent felt much better than real, honest and facing the truth of an unthinkable nightmare I was forced to live.
I have stuck a finger down my throat to regurgitate food I forced into my body feeling powerful and filled in a fleeting breeze of pleasure. Then at the moment of the purge, I felt free of the physical delight of having food. Free of a burden of plenties I believed that I did not deserve.
I have drank too much and taken prescription pills to forget the moment I was in. If I didn’t have to live in the “now” that usually produced images of black and white-hot and cold- with a vivid vision of safety and then ultimately, hell.
I have strived for success at any avenue. If I commit to something, not only will I win, but I will prevail in the wildest of ways. Winning, yes I know this well. For if I am perfect I am loved, right? If i tell you I’m a best-selling author, you smile, If I tell you I’m a figure skater that performed in eight ice shows your eyes glisten, if I share that I’m an award winning public speaker, you accept me even more. The horror of my core is pushed deeper, and I navigate through pain, lack of sleep, physical torture, so I can prove to you all. That I am here successfully standing, but mostly that I am not deplorable.
Because that is really how I feel deep inside.
I tell myself that I deserve the torture that I sentence myself to because ultimately I feel dirty, taken, and abused. Worthless. Innocence was taken without being asked and then tossed to the side without a second gaze. Abuse potentates self-harm, which produces insecurity and lofty images of distancing from all the things inside me that cry that I am worthy, loved and bountiful in His image. God calls me by my name and reaches inside my darkness proclaiming a stake on lightness. Yet all I see is bleak, darkness, that tells me I should hide my face, body, and reality of abuse.
I was reminded of a funny yet powerful expression of wanting to throw in the towel in the midst of the worst pain imaginable today talking to one of my girlfriends. When I was in labor with my first son, having never experienced the threshold of pain in the form of every single fiber of my body being squeezed outside of itself, I was a bit despondent. Unable to feed off of the numbing potion of an epidural due to a rapid first delivery, I was left to feel every single contraction of my introduction of Caleb into the world. As my body seamlessly engaged what we know as “transitional labor” better known as the fire ring of the worst pain possible, I decided that I was done, I quit, love y’all but I’m out! I wanted nothing of the impossible expectations of strength that was being expected of my body, spirit, and mind. After a particularly horrid contraction that I was sure expelled my liver, spleen, and for sure bowels, I gathered my bag and walked out the door. I was done. Goodbye, I yelled as i waddled down the hallway of the labor and delivery floor. “Where are you going?” My husband and the nurses chased after me in a panic. I dropped to the floor with another one of those earthquake level contractions that cracks the world in half. Picking myself up off the floor I declare to my audience, “I changed my mind. I’m good, I’m going home. This isn’t at all what I thought it was going to be, and simply I cannot do it.” I got about two steps down the hall and another blow took my breath away forcing me to realize, too late, sweetie. You’re committed. You have to deal. Minutes later I gave birth to one of the greatest loves I could have ever fathomed possible. God is so Good! After we go through the fire we deem impossible is when we reap the greatest possible result.
An ah-ha moment came when I was describing in the throws of my counseling session how I had no idea how difficult it was for me at this time to fight the good fight. I told counselor dude how I am a WINNER! I overcome! It’s simply what I do. But in this season of my life I find it next to impossible to set aside the crutches I’ve utilized my whole adult life, and as much as I am ready to accept the calling that God has CLEARLY placed on my life, I am stuck in the abyss of struggle.
I went with him.
He asked me what my process, dealing with my inner child being abused has been like. And I stated what seemingly felt to be the obvious,
First I was in denial. …Nope, this didn’t happen. It was just a bad dream. It wasn’t THAT horrible. I mean, girls have it way worse than me, right???
Then anger met me at her doorstep with hurricane force winds and power. …I’M SO HOT WITH ANGER THAT I WILL BREAK YOUR HANDS IF YOU COME NEAR ME. Okay, I still have a little bit of that in me, but the rage brewed, swelled and came out in the worst of times on the ones I love the most.
Now, I’m in the stage of vulnerability. The denial has been dismissed the anger controlled and now I’m stuck in this boiling pot of reality, memories, and feelings. No wonder I’m completely and totally stuck in a huge hot mess of yuck, struggle, and agony.
Because, in all reality, who truly wants to be left naked and open to the feelings and memories that haunt us in the deepest caverns in our heart? Yeah, um, no one.
God will win, He will take the pain and use it to further the kingdom and minister to the countless women and men who have suffered as I, but first I have been called to go through the fire of vulnerability. The chastise of truth, and the bellows of “why me, take me, free me from this torturous place, this barren land, and bleak future. God, just come, PLEASE NOW!” That is the inferno justice of honoring our true self and feelings, where we have nowhere to run but into the arms of our Lord and Savior. For none other has any kind of a shot at healing the brokenness, anger, denial, and raw pain of such an invasion. Through it all I’m embracing the truth that He knew me before I breathed my first breath, and will take my last. He has my purpose in the palm of His hand, and all I have to do is take it and run like mad to fulfill it.
But first my friends, beforehand, I have to fight the fire of my vulnerability, heal, and prosper to the other side.
I honor and pledge that I will overcome odds, to fulfill His greater destiny for my life, and I encourage you to join me in the same venture. Because that is truly living, loving, and ministering to the highest of soaring levels. Healing is imminent we simply have to go through His process to provide His greater purpose on our journey toward complete healing while growing us into the everything He has promised for us to be.
Please be inspired by the song that inspired this blog: