I don't have all my memories even now, and maybe I never will. And maybe, it's better that way. What I do know is that when your mind blocks out pieces of your life, it is for your own protection, because mentally and emotionally, you are not strong enough to face it yet. I have known those who have pushed themselves through therapy and hypnosis to remember(usually to help them prosecute their offenders in court)-only to fall into very deep depressions and in some cases face the fall out of a nervous breakdown. I have learned from others that the Lord has placed in my life along this journey, and I can tell you that I will hold God's hand as I face each memory or flashback and we will cross that bridge together as we come to it.
Facing my own s<#*@/ abuse has been by far the hardest thing I've ever had to face in my life. At times, I've nearly let it destroy me. Life experiences and the circumstances which we grow up in are what shape us into the people we are to become. For some of us it is an encouraging, nurturing environment, and for others it is a survival of the fittest -filled with crisis and chaos at every turn with every man for himself. And for some of us, it's a little of both. As I said before, when my mom stopped drinking and my parents made the effort with God's help to start healing, I made up my mind to shut the door on that part of my life and start a new one. My mom always said that going into rehab hospitals never helped her, but the Lord Jesus did. On June 1,1986, as we moved into a new home, in a new town, in a new state, momma prayed with her whole heart for the Lord to deliver her from the desire and temptations of alcohol. And He did just that. She felt that He instantly took it away from her, and she was ready to start over. For years we never even mentioned it, not even to each other. It was our secret. Secrets. I feel like my childhood was filled with so many secrets. And if I thought keeping a secret about our family was hard to cover up, gloss over and smile through, well I had no idea how hard keeping my own little deep dark secret was going to be. Pretending that you live in the perfect little family is one thing, but when you wake up in your own body everyday (a body that has been violated, a body that disgusts you, a body that is filthy and wretched and dirty no mattered how many showers you take, a body that has been stained and scarred by the evil of someone else's lust) it's a lot harder to pretend away.
I used to feel like an apple, all shiny and red on the outside that was brown, mushy and rotten on the inside. Why an apple? Well, I guess because it reminded me of Adam and Eve, and the story we hear as children. The apple that looked good to them on the outside, but held their very death on the inside. The death of their innocence, the death of their family and intimate relationship with their heavenly father, the death of all His hopes and dreams for them. They found themselves in filth, cut off from God and no matter how hard they tried, it would never be the same. How our Abba's heart must have broken in that moment. He had tried to protect them, but sin was already out to steal, kill and destroy. And then there is the flip side of that point of view, where an apple is perceived as good and wholesome, an aid in health and wellness. As a young girl, I wanted so badly to be that girl, you know, that all American apple pie girl. The sweet and innocent one. Even now, it may seem old fashioned and out of date to some, but it is an ideal I still hold to in my mind.
I could write a million posts on my thoughts and feelings about abuse and the devastating effects it has on young children. I don't think many people understand just how crippling it is or how hard it is to over come. I spent so many years scared, and angry and ashamed. TOO MANY YEARS. I hated my self for what I thought I had let happen to myself. (Which is only a lie from the pit, because I was merely five years old.) I tried so very hard to make myself better. I thought I had to work harder, just to be as good as everyone else. I tried to be the best girl,daughter, friend I could be- whatever it was the someone needed me to be -in order to validate the worth of my existence at all. Other times, I just prayed for God to let me die. I just wanted to escape. I fell into an eating disorder, for a few intense years when it really got bad, because it was the only part of my body I felt in total control of-(what a laugh.) I would binge to cover up and stuff down all the feelings I couldn't deal with whenever I started having an anxiety attack over a flashback. And it helped for a few brief moments- I would feel calm. But then, then I'd feel so ashamed and disgusted with myself that I would purge to get out not only the food, but the feelings and the filth and the secrets and the lies and all the things I hated about myself that I couldn't control. And again for a few brief moments I'd feel calm. I have to be careful, because even now, just writing about it, I feel such a high...I have to stop myself and say NO! I am attracted to my own insecurities and self destructive thought patters even now. There is a part of me that would love to be back there, in that place where at times I actually felt beautiful, accepted, and in control. But, I know now that it was all just an illusion another lie from satan.
And although food in some form or another (emotional eating or emotional purging and fasting,) is still a battle for me, it is something I am trying desperately not to pass down. I may not be an alcoholic, but I still struggle with the effects of "learning" addictive behavior. I pray everyday for the Lord to help me to break this pattern, and become a healthy woman, wife and mother. I want my daughter to grow with a healthy body image. She will have so many pressures to face from this world. I will not add to that, by the grace of God, I just won't! I will not have her watch me stare at myself in the mirror, pulling on my fat, belittling and degrading the temple the Lord has given me. I don't want her to ever see that and then look at herself and think there must be something wrong with me. And you know so many of us have done just that, not even knowing it. We see our mother's so unsatisfied and over preoccupied with their bodies. Naturally, we think they are beautiful, and how could they ever think they're not. (I think most little ones really think this way because they look up to their parents and love them so much.) And we think well my goodness, if she thinks she's fat then there must be something wrong with me. It's bad enough we face that kind of thinking subconsciously as we look at our friends, neighbors, or other women on t.v. As a mother, I want my daughter to be able to come to me or just be around me and escape the world's image pressures, if just for a moment. I want her to feel not just accepted, but, treasured. I just feel like it is important that in her own home, she ought to learn what a beautiful young lady the Lord created her to be.
Have I overcome all my own self-hatred, insecurities, and self destructive behavior that are a direct result of my abuse? No, I still have to lay it down at the foot of the cross over and over again, every time it comes bubbling to the surface. Does that mean that I don't trust my Lord or believe that He can and has wiped it all away for me? No, that is not what I am saying at all. But, I can say from experience that the devil will use anything he can against you to break you down or sift you as wheat. He will tell you that God doesn't care, that He can not forgive you, that you are not worthy of His love and acceptance. The devil will use your memories, thoughts, flashbacks, emotions and insecurities to try and destroy you again and again. And every time I feel that old feeling try to swell up within (especially when I face a new memory or flash back,) I rebuke it in the name of Jesus and I lay it down. And I will keep doing that no matter how long it takes. -And I know He will always be there right by my side.
There are a few verses that I hold on to in times of battle. 1 John 4:4 ~Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
Philippians 4:13 ~I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me.
And Romans 8:37~ Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
I am not just a survivor, I AM A CONQUEROR! I live my life as a promise of that fulfilled, EVERYDAY. I hold tight to that promise and to His love. I know now that no matter what fiery darts satan throws at me, Jesus is my shield, my protection, my shelter and fortress. I pray for this to be a promise fulfilled in your lives as well. Blessings to all!