May 1 2017

Making Your Way Out of the Pit

pitWhen you are down in the pit, there is only one way to go: Up. I have been down in the pit for a long time. I’m not sure when I first fell into the pit, but it seems like its been more like a rabbit hole, where I just kept falling and falling, endlessly. It wasn’t until I started doing my inner healing that I finally landed at the bottom of the pit. It was where I had a firm place to land finally, and allow Jesus to bring me into safety.

Free falling for my whole life has been terrifying at best. I have never known what was going to happen next, or if I was every going to be OK. I only knew that everything inside of me was chaos, and everything outside of me was torture. Only Jesus was able to soothe the chaos of my soul so I could stop falling and finally have hope. Hope had been elusive to me my entire life, yet here I am, bringing the hope of Jesus to everyone else. What a miracle He is.

Even though Jesus brought me to a place where I could stop falling, I was still at the bottom of the pit. The pit is just as scary as the endless rabbit hole. It is dark, it is lonely, and your never sure if you will actually make it out. Yet Jesus brought His light into that pit, and that is where hope entered in. Hope said, you are going to make it through this and see that all of this will indeed bring you something good. After a life with little goodness, it was hard to hang on to that thread of hope.

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew 4:4

It was the firm foundation in the bottom of that pit that allowed me the stability to completely fall apart. That may sound counter intuitive, but it was exactly what I needed. I had tried so hard to keep it all together for so long I didn’t realize I was single-handedly trying to hold each one of the pieces of my broken soul in place. Once I was able to let go, Jesus was able to come in, and His Holy Spirit was able to start doing the job I had been doing all on my own; holding me together.

It was only in that place of brokenness that I was able to start giving Jesus my soul, one piece at a time. Once I began to see that Jesus was indeed safe, I was able to hand over chunks instead of pieces. Two years later I am no longer at the bottom of the pit, but climbing my way back out. It has been a long and intense journey, but I am finally on the upside. I am nowhere near done, but I am no longer drowning in the deep end either.

It can be a scary place, going into a journey of the inner most recesses of your soul. You have no idea what you are going to find there, you only know it’s probably going to be ugly. And worse than having to deal with it yourself, is allowing God to see it as well. Who wants to air all the dirty laundry of the dark places they’ve been hiding to the One who created everything? It seems far to shameful and painful to do.

Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.

Isaiah 61:7

Jesus is not ashamed or afraid of these dark places. He is the light and He brings hope. Without Jesus, those dark places inside our soul are going to flourish instead of diminish. They are like a stagnant pond that mosquitoes breed in and it just keeps growing and growing. If we want to bring healing into our hearts, we need to allow the Son to come upon the darkness and wash it all away; just as though it has never been.

That is exactly what Jesus can and will do, if we would only allow Him. We cannot hide from the King of Kings. He sees and knows all, including our deepest and darkest secrets. There is no hiding from the One who created us, and we shouldn’t have too. Only the lies that we are ugly and terrible keep us from His truths, which will bring us the freedom that we so desperately desire.

I know the pain and shame that come. I know the fear and the denial that they bring. Yet these things are not born of God, nor are they born of His love for us. The love of God will drive out fear, pain, and shame, and bring us into the light. Instead of cultivating a cesspool within ourselves, we grow a beautiful garden. Our garden of trust, and love and truth, that will be a sweet-smelling sacrifice to our Lord.

But now thus says the Lordhe who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. 

Isaiah 43:1-2

Love is what overcomes all evil. There is no evil too great for the power of love. God’s love with break down every barrier, slay every enemy, steal back every victory we lost, and reclaim every promise. Our Father wants to do all of this for us, we just have to be willing to walk with Him. He never promised the walk would be easy. What He did promise was that He would be right there, in the midst of all of it, bringing us out of the pit we have endured for so long. I am living proof of it.

So today, look out to the promised land and know that the God who led Abraham into His destiny, is the same God that will lead you into yours. The same God that stopped the sun and the moon in the sky, and brought the Midianites to their knees with jars and trumpets, is the same God who is going to protect you and fight for you. You are not alone, no matter how badly it feels. You are not going to stay in the pit forever, no matter how hopeless you feel. You are a son/daughter of the King, and He is right there with, you right now.

Believe in the hope and glory He has promised you, and fight for it. Never give up fighting to hear His voice, trust Him, believe in His promises, and seek His face. No matter how hard it is. You are worth the price He paid, every drop of it.

On this mountain the Lord of hosts will make for all peoples
    a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,
    of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined.
And he will swallow up on this mountain
    the covering that is cast over all peoples,
    the veil that is spread over all nations.
   He will swallow up death forever;
and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces,
    and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth,
    for the Lord has spoken.
 It will be said on that day,
    “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us.
    This is the Lord; we have waited for him;
    let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

Isaiah 25:6-9

October 17 2014

Pain, My Friend

I remember as a child I felt so unloved. The loneliness was so unbearable. My parents worked long hours and then came home and spent most of the time in their bedroom. I woke myself up, got myself ready and off to school while they were at work. I came home and did my chores and my homework while they were still at work. The loneliness was haunting. I was sure no one loved me. Not even my parents. When they were around they were angry and disappointed with me constantly. I always felt like a failure. I know my parents never meant to make me feel this way. As a matter of fact, I’m sure they had no idea.

lost

I once heard a story of a little boy who was waiting at the bus stop for school one morning. He was so sad that no one loved him and he just dropped dead right there at the bus stop. I just knew that story was true, and that it told of my own fate. That maybe my heart would stop beating or my soul would just disappear, without love. I hate to say that it only got worse from there. As I grew into my teen years I often thought of dying. Of taking my own life. I became obsessed with death even. I began to write poetry about death and despair.

Pain, pain

my friend, my dear

hold me tightly, draw me near

wrap me in your rough, sweet arms

That is one of the first poems I can remember writing at about age 13. It wasn’t long before I began cutting myself. In my mind it was an attempt to take my life. I would pry the blades from the razors that I found in the bathroom. Then I would hide in my room and get up enough courage to start cutting as deep as I could bear into my wrists. I so wanted to die. I realized that it was going to take much more than that to actually complete the act. But the pain became my friend. Comforting. Because the pain of those cuts would dull out the deep emotional pain I felt. At least for a little bit. And I would crumple onto the ground in tears and despair until I could pull myself together enough to bandage my fresh wounds.

There was always a secret part of me that wished someone would see these cuts and care. Just care, that’s all. It was my cry for help, but I was too afraid to voice it to anyone. Because I knew I was beyond repair.

As I sit back now and read this, I am saddened. I feel so far removed from this girl who was so alone. You see, my life no longer resembles that picture of despair and hopelessness that I once had. I did live most of my life wandering in that darkness. But I don’t any longer, now that I have found the other side of darkness.

 

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October 17 2014

Desperate Love

Cutting Glass 04I was so desperate for love as a child. I felt so rejected and alone, so lost. That feeling continued into my teenage years where I met my first boyfriend. I was 14 years old when I met him. I was so nervous, but so excited. He thought I was special, and cute. As a matter of fact he loved me. It was amazing, yet so scary. I had been so long since I had been complimented, been appreciated, felt love.

He asked me to do things that were uncomfortable for me. I was so shy and timid. My first kiss for starters. I was so not ready for that. Then he wanted to come over after school while my parents were at work. But when he did we would just lay on my bed and he would hold me. Oh how amazing that was! I had longed for something like that for so long! I just knew that was what love felt like. Real love.

We spent as much time as we could together. I was completely enamored. As always in a world that is surrounded by darkness and despair, that was to end too. That came early the next year, on Valentine’s Day as a matter of fact. I’m sure I was excited at the thought of my first Valentine’s Day with an actual boyfriend and someone to be romantic with. I honestly can’t remember now, because only one thing stands out in my mind from that day. The one of the gifts he gave me was a condom. I was a virgin, and sex was not on my mind. It was not something I wanted to do, or was ready for at all. Apparently the gift was a sign of what was to come.

He has decided we were going to have sex. That was that. He was going to come over early one morning because we had a vacation day from school and my parents would be at work. Then we were going to do the deed. He informed me he was tired of being a virgin at the ripe old age of 15. I protested much, but in the end I told myself I would do it because I loved him.

The day came and he was at my door bright and early that morning. I felt sick. I did not want to do it. I told him as much. He was adamant that it was going to happen. He chased me around the our tiny duplex trying to get my clothes off. Finally I submitted. I did it because I loved him. That is what I had to tell myself to get through it. Because that is what love does.

I did not enjoy it, not one little bit. His feeling was not mutual. He wanted to have sex all the time after that. I did not. I argued and told him no, time and time again. Relentless as he was, I could not keep up the fight. After all, I did not want to lose my only love. So again and again I gave in. I went numb inside, cold. My depression and despair grew deeper. But it was not rape and that was never a thought in my mind. I was desperate for love.

The relationship lasted about a year. So it was later in that year that I finally broke up with him. And in that freedom I realized that all those times I laid there and let him have sex with me, it was wrong. It was rape. The realization came rolling over me like a tsunami, but one that comes in slow motion. It crashed over me with a destructive force. How could I have been so stupid to think that was love? I was disgusted with him, and ashamed of myself.

I didn’t give up on love though. I was a drowning girl looking for a life vest in any form I could find. Anything that would save me; anyone that would love me.

It is hard to sit and write this now, 24 years later. I stuffed that memory down for so many years. It came up during various points in my life and I tried to deal with it, to forgive and come to terms with it. It has caused me many problems in my relationships over the years. Trust. That has been a big one.

I can’t say I am 100% over my trust issues, but I am moving into a new and wonderful place with trust. I have had an amazing healing power that has begun to restore me recently. A power so strong, to think about it is causing me to weep. Tears of joy and of thanksgiving. Yes, that is the beauty of walking out of the darkness, and into the light.

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October 21 2014

Broken Hearted

broken heart

After the relationship ended with my first boyfriend at about age 15, my life seemed to start to really spiral out of control. I became obsessed with regaining that first feeling of love and companionship that I felt. It was so wonderful to be loved and I just hurt so much. I was almost willing to do anything to have it again. I remained friends with that boy for quite a while. I did still care for him deeply, but somewhere inside me an anger raged against him. It was something I had no idea how to deal with. Besides, he helped keep some of the loneliness away.

My depression deepened and  I couldn’t stop cutting myself to try to relieve the pain. I threw myself into writing love stories and poems about death and despair. My stories were a fantasy world I could create where I could escape my life, even if the main characters didn’t fare so well. I also spent many hours listening to music. Rock music was a huge part of my world, and there was no shortage of songs that were full of bitterness, rage and despair.

At school I was on the hunt. I had to find a new boyfriend. I had to have that special someone who would fill this terrible void inside of me. I would get my eye on a boy and then obsess over him. I would stalk him, finding out what classes he had so I could try to run into him. Yet I was so afraid to talk to him, that I would just look away shyly every time I saw him. I would write about him in my dairy and think about how amazing it would be to be with him. And this would be a boy I had never even talked to before.

A couple of these obsessions turned into boyfriends. Very innocent compared to my first relationship. We would sit together and talk and listen to music and tell each other we loved each other. No pressure to have sex, which was a welcome change for me. The only problem was I didn’t feel love for them. I felt anxiety and fear that I wasn’t good enough, wasn’t pretty enough, wasn’t skinny enough. Did he really even like me? These relationships lasted a month or two at best, then I would just sink further into depression and despair.

I never liked myself back then. I didn’t like myself for a long time. I didn’t feel worthy to be loved and I felt ugly, fat and plain. I can look in the mirror now and smile. I am so happy with myself. I feel beautiful and special and so well-loved. It is amazing that I have come such a long way from that sad girl. It is such a precious gift to me, and I hope that you too have that feeling.

 

 

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October 23 2014

Suicide is Forever

When your life is a blur of pain and a hunger for death, not much else matters. When you find someone who can relate to those feelings, it brings a new light into your life. Instead of being miserable alone, I found a companion who was possibly more miserable than I was. We found solace in each others, spending hours talking on the phone about our lives, our pain, our desire to end it all.

He was my first boyfriend’s best friend. I had never met him, but we became fast friends. He didn’t live close enough to me that we could visit each other, but just in the next town over. I felt so very sorry for him. He told me horror stories about the abuse he received from his grandfather. My heart ached for him. I tried my best to comfort him. Maybe in trying to comfort him I found some comfort for myself.  Somehow over the course of our friendship we decided to be in a relationship.

There were times we would be on the phone that he would tell me he had a knife and was going to hurt himself. He would often talk about ending it all. We only saw each other once during our relationship, and it was two shy and awkward people who had no idea what to do. I think we just sat and held each other.  I think I actually had a little sunshine in the darkness. Until my whole world turned upside down.

Months into this relationship it was  revealed to me that this boy I had been bonding my heart too had another girlfriend. A girlfriend he actually saw all the time, and who was now pregnant. The news was mind-blowing. My heart began beating as fast as a little hummingbird flaps it’s wings, and I just felt sick. Lies. All lies. I had no idea what was true during all our conversations. I could not trust him, or anything he had ever said to me. For all I knew he wasn’t even depressed. I stopped talking to him and tried to put him out of my mind forever.

suicide

But I will never forget that poor boy. It was about a year later, maybe less, when he began calling me again. I was hesitant to talk to him at all. He begged me to talk to him. He said he was so depressed, that I was the only one who could understand. But I couldn’t believe him, and I told him so. He called me several times, and each time I just told him I could never trust him, never give him my time again.

Little did I know that was a decision I would regret forever. It was not long after that this boy took his own life. Suicide by gun. I was in shock when I got the news. I did not believe it was so. How could a young life really just disappear forever in the blink of an eye? It was just not possible. Except that is was. I was at his funeral in complete disbelief. It was so sad and it just sent my life even further into despair, because now I just knew it was all my fault. If I had just talked to him when he called. Maybe I could have helped him. Maybe I could have saved his life.

I knew after that there was no God. Because if there was something this tragic could never happen. Never. I became an atheist. You die, you get buried, and you go into the ground to rot forever. The end. Nothing else made sense to me. My dad tried to talk to me about God at that point. That is the first memory I have of him ever talking to me about God. By then I just didn’t care. It was too late, and my mind was made up. The end.

Thinking back on this today I realize that this boy’s life was not in my hands. While it is  true that I may have been able to talk to him and help him, I did not hold the decision for his death in my hands. That is far beyond my control. I do not struggle with feelings of suicide any longer, nor do I wrestle with depression. I have been a miraculous gift of healing from this torment in my life.

Many people in our world do still live in a world of hurt though, and you can reach out to them. We were not made to be alone, but  to live in community where we can reach out to one another, and help one another. I implore you to always reach out to those around you, whether it be for yourself or to help another. You are not alone.

 

If you or someone you know is struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, please get help. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK.

 

 

 

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