All You Need Is Love

In the Greek language there are four different words for Love.

By Party0 - from Flickr

Photo taken from Flickr – Lomo Love – by Party0 The Beatle song has it right.

When love is the God kind (Agape), that is all we need.  The other forms of love fall short of perfection.

1) Eros – is physical passion, gratification and fulfillment.  This word is not mentioned in the New Testament probably because its name comes from the god of love, Eros. Biblically this love is to be between husband and wife, in marriage. Ephesians 5:31-33 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.   This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

God gave us this kind of love as an earthly picture of the heavenly kind of love. God’s ideal of eros is that husband and wife are merged so completely that they become one flesh – if this occurs it is easy for the husband to love the wife as he loves himself and easy for the wife to respect her husband.  The Bible tells us that a husband should love his wife the way Christ loved the church.  Christ laid down His life for us.  If our husbands love us with that depth of love, it is easy to respect them. Sadly, many do not fall in love, they fall in lust. If a relationship is based solely on lust, the relationship lasts only as long as the lust lasts.

2) Storge  –  Is the natural bond between a mother and child,  a father’s love, children, family.  Some say, “Blood is thicker than water.”  It is familial love. There are families where this bond is strong and positive and all members of the family grow strong and confident together.  Then, there are families, like mine, where this kind of love was destructive.  When Storge love is damaged, it makes it hard for a person to trust Father/Mother God.

3. Phileo  – Is affectionate love.  The city of Philadelphia (the City of Brotherly Love) comes from this word.  It is an intense, warm feeling among people.  Often this love is based on feelings, and one can fall out of affection as easily as one can fall into Phileo. It is hard to have Phileo love for one’s enemies.

4) Agape – is God’s kind of love.  It is not based on feelings, it is a choice.  This kind of love seeks the welfare of others over and above our own, even the welfare of enemies. When Jesus went to the cross to die for our sins, even though He was sin-free, that is agape love. None of us can demonstrate complete agape love, but our goal should be to approximate it.  Here are some of the qualities of agape, pulled from First Corinthians Chapter Thirteen.

  • Love suffers long and is kind.
  • Love does not envy.
  • Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up.
  • Love does not behave rudely.
  • Love does not seek its own.
  • Love is not provoked.
  • Love thinks no evil.
  • Love does not rejoice in iniquity.
  • Love rejoices in the truth.
  • Love bears all things.
  • Love believes all things.
  • Love hopes all things.
  • Love endures all things.
  • Love never fails.

In each of the above bullet points, if you insert your name, the sentence is not true. If you insert God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, Mercy, Grace, or Love, the passage is true. This is what agape love is. It puts the other person before self. This is the kind of love that Abba, Father has for us.  It is why we can trust Him even when our earthly fathers or mothers let us down.  I pray you feel the agape love of God in your life.  Let God wrap you in His arms and comfort you as you walk on your journey of healing. My next post will cover the second Bible verse covering who we are in Christ.  If you want to peek ahead to see what the other verses are, here is a link to the list posted on my other blog. Have a blessed day. Heather (Note, Bible verses come from the New King James Bible)

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Abba, Father

Do you really know your Father?

Our beliefs about God are colored by abusive relationships with our earthly fathers. If we apply these distorted perceptions to God, we miss a vital relationship with One who loves us more than any earthly person.

Words spoken by our fathers affect our lives long past the event. The memory of these words haunt our self-perception and influence decisions about our future.

When I was seven, my father came into my bedroom late at night, knelt by my bed and said, “You are so stupid, dumb, and ugly, no man will ever want to marry you.  I’m going to teach you to put out so you can at least get a man.”

Those hurtful words tore deep into my soul. I believed what he said and made them a self-fulfilling prophesy. They were dredged up at every intersection of my life and influenced my unhealthy decisions.

I grew to hate the words, “I love you.” When my parents told me they loved me it meant they wanted something from me and it would hurt. I became a people-pleaser, believing, only if I did what people wanted, would they like me. My self-image was distorted by that one statement.

When Christians approached me and said, “God loves you.” I wondered what God wanted and if it would hurt me. I didn’t want a father’s love, nor did I believe that God wanted anything to do with me.  In order to form the relationship I now have with God, I had to realize God was not like my earthly father.

It took time to trust God’s love for me.  He knows the number of hairs on my head, has my name written in the palm of his hand and loves me passionately. I’ve learned to trust Him, but that trust did not come easy. God is patient with us as we begin our shaky relationship with Him.

I wondered why God didn’t approach me and make me realize His love. I wanted Him to be proactive.  In retrospect, I realize He treated me like a cornered animal.  He sat patiently, held out His hand to me, and waited until I gained courage to approach Him.

Photo by Richard GartenPhoto by Richard Garten

He always received my approaches to Him, but never pushed beyond my boundaries. God did not force Himself on me the way my earthly father forced me. God just loved me and let me slowly respond to Him, never forcing me beyond my comfort level.

In my next post I’m going to talk about different kinds of love mentioned in the Bible so we can see what God’s love entails.  His love is so awesome. He loves us before we even know Him and His love is not contingent on what we do or don’t do.  He loves us in spite of ourselves. He loves us with our flaws and our strengths. Nothing we do or don’t do can shake His love for us.

That doesn’t mean He doesn’t correct our behavior or desire that we grow and change. God’s correction is for our good, not to tear us down. He wants us to have a joyful, fulfilled, and satisfying life. God only wants the best for us.

What images of the Father did you have to unlearn?

If possible, share with us how you unlearned false facts about God or how you overcame negative words spoken over your life. The tools you used to overcome them could be an encouragement for others.

Have a blessed day.

Heather

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Oh Child of God

One tool that helped me gain a more accurate picture of myself was a list of characteristics called: Who am I In Christ. I’ve seen this list posted many places, but my first contact with it was from Neil Anderson’s book, The Bondage Breaker. That is an excellent resource for working through issues that block growth.

I suggest taking the characteristics one by one and thinking about them. Here is the link to a complete list. If this first characteristic is challenging, feel free to pick another to work with.

We’re going to camp on the first one for a few days.

I AM A CHILD OF GOD

This comes from Romans Chapter 8, Verse 16

The New King James Bible says it this way: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

The Amplified Bible says: “The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God.”

So God, in the form of the Holy Spirit, tells or assures our individual spirit that we are God’s child.

This was a challenging verse for me. On one hand I liked the idea of being God’s child with all the privileges it entails. Imagine being able to go to your Father with your requests, climb up on His lap, tell Him who has hurt you, and share your dreams and problems with Him. He and you would laugh, play, and have fun. He would always be there for you to share your triumphs and your pains. You would be surrounded in the circle of His love.

But, contrasted to that, is the memory of my earthly father.  When I first went to church, some of the members prayed, “Father God.”  They Father God-ed so much I cringed. I already had one bad father and didn’t want another. I believed that God had abandoned me, and didn’t want me in His life. Why else would He have permitted my abuse? I wanted to be ignored by God. I believed, if I shard my secret wishes and desires, He would take great delight in denying them to me. I saw God as watching for every mistake I made and slapping me down for them. I presumed that He was as abusive as my earthly father.

The following may be a bit challenging – if it is tough to deal with now, file it for later.

Today, in the Bible study I attend, Pastor Don Moore spoke about presumption. He said that presumption is placing on God those attributes that are not His. He mentioned that women with bad earthly fathers assume that God is going to be abusive or neglectful like their earthly fathers. No where in the Bible does it ever state that our earthly father is what God is like.

He pointed out that those who presume God is like their earthly father do not know their earthly father nor do they know God.

Ouch.

Pastor Don said, God is nothing like our abuser.  But our abuser’s were probably also hurt by someone because hurt people hurt people. As we heal, we will be able to understand more about the one who hurt us so much. We will also learn that the attributes of God are nothing like our earthly fathers. Jesus once said, “If you see me, you’ve seen the Father.” Think of all the good qualities of Jesus and that is a picture of God. God heals, comforts, teaches, protects, guides, etc.

As a child, after a beating or an incestuous visit from my father, I escaped into a fantasy world where I had an imaginary mother and father. I would spend time with them talking about my parents and their abuse, sharing my fears and pain. Years after I began to know God, I asked Him, “Where were you when I was being abused?”

He replied, “Who do you think your imaginary mother and father were?”

That floored me. Granted, God wasn’t were I wanted Him to be during those years, but He was present.

Where was God in the midst of your hurt?

If you aren’t sure, ask Him. We’ll continue about fathers tomorrow.

Feel free to share what you have learned about our Father, God. What you have experienced may help another.

Have a blessed day.

Remember: You are a child of God.  He loves you so much.

 

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Taming Our Inner Critic

If you are coming over from my guest post on Joe Bunting’s The Write Practice.com site, welcome. This is a new blog and I hope you find it helpful. We are beginning to look at how we see ourselves in the mirror of life.  Is our perception the truth or have we believed lies our abusers have taught us?

Do you tear yourself apart? Second guess yourself? Compare yourself to others and find yourself wanting? Your inner critic may need taming.

Photo: National Media Museum

There is nothing wrong with an honest assessment of strengths and weaknesses with the goal of discovering areas of improvement. But, if the assessment is debilitating, and leaves you feeling hopeless it is a clue your inner critic is working overtime.

Many of the abuse survivors I’ve spoken with feel they have a heightened sense of shame. They either blamed themselves for their abuse or they felt inferior as a result of the violation they received.

One of the largest struggles I had to deal with was feeling like damaged goods. I believed there was something wrong with me because my father abused me. If I had been nicer, kinder, smarter, or (fill in the blank), he would have loved me and not abused me. The truth is, my feelings or sense of self was not important to him. He wanted his lustful gratification.

The problem was him, not me. But the damage he did went deep. It is difficult to shake the feeling of being damaged. It takes hard work and perseverance. I have to remind myself who I really am and counter each and every negative thought with two positive ones.  It takes more than one healthy thought to counter a negative image.

As a teenager I wrote the a snippet of a poem:

Help me to feel the feelings I should
So I can be real and be understood.

That was the start of my inner critic. I didn’t believe my real feelings mattered. I wanted to blend in, be a human wallflower in the crowd of life.

My abusive parents taught me that control was necessary and that I needed to respond the exact way they wanted me to respond to preserve my life.  Yes, they tried to kill me several times for wrong reactions to their desires.

This inner critic grew until it dominated my life. I had to replace the negative self-image and negative criticism with more positive thoughts. Sometimes I had to repeat these thoughts over and over until sheer repetition helped me to believe them. Never forget that words have power. We need to watch what we speak, think, and write about ourselves. It must line up with the truth.

What truth do you need to speak over yourself? One that I keep repeating is, “You are God’s beloved child. Abba loves you.”

Have a blessed day.

Heather

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Confession is good for the soul

I am not speaking about confessing sins or sharing deep dark secrets about ourselves. Although confessing our sins and asking God for forgiveness is a great idea, I’m speaking about a different kind of confession.

For the purpose of this blog post: Confession means what we speak and think about ourselves. Soul (differentiated from Spirit) is our mind, will, and emotions. The mind contains our thoughts and plans; the will our determination; and the emotions are the feelings that fuel our actions.

What we say about ourselves to others and in the confines of our mind determine how we act and what changes we make in our lives. I used to recite the hurts I received at my parents’ hands, how depressed I was, how things would never improve, that I might as well be dead. Instead of pulling me out of depression, I spiraled down. These words were like picking scabs. The wounds never had a chance to heal. The moment I found some relief, I’d remember the past and lose my grip on healing.

Have you spoken words over yourself that tear you down? We need to think about what we are thinking about and what we are saying. Our spontaneous responses are a good indicator of what is holding us back from our healing. Someone once suggested I carry a voice-activated tape recorder around with me for a day. When I played back what I said, I was shocked at the amount of negativity coming from my mouth. I denigrated myself and viewed what others said and did in such negative terms that I was digging myself deeper into the hole of despair.

Words have power. The spoken word gets into our minds and hearts. If someone criticizes or praises us, we replay those words over and over. When criticized I tend to rehearse what I should have said in my defense or the perfect comeback for a false accusation. Praise doesn’t stick as long in my mind as criticism does. After years of being belittled, when someone praises me, I disbelieve the truth of their praises and wonder if they are just being nice.

As we venture on the path of healing, we come face to face with the mirror of our souls. For many years my mirror distorted my image, like I was walking in a fun house with curved mirrors that never portrayed my true self. What does your reflection look like?

Is your image distorted? Is it accurate? Is it colored by the past? What lies are you believing about yourself?

I used to wonder what others thought about me. I became adept at wearing masks. I believed if people knew the real me they would reject me, so I contorted myself to fit the image of what I thought they wanted me to be. I lost myself in the process.

Who are you really?
How many masks are you wielding?

Would you like to know what the One who really loves you as you are thinks? For years I was dubious about God, even after I chose to form a relationship with Him. I tried to be a wallflower, not drawing His attention. If He noticed me, I felt He would slap His forehead and exclaim, “How did she get into My Kingdom?” I was sure that He would kick me out if I made any waves.

I was so far from the truth. Someone gave me a list of Bible verses entitled, “Who am I in Christ?” It comes from a book by Neil Anderson called The Bondage Breaker. I spent years studying these verses and speaking them over my life. It took time, but I am beginning to accept them as truths in my life. For the next few weeks we are going to go over these verses and examine them. If there are any that you need to believe, repeat them.

The Word of God is like a medicine. You can take a Bible verse and repeat it. There is no way to overdose on the truth.

If you want to see a complete list of the verses, I have them written on my other blog. I wrote them in several different Bible translations so you can find one that works best for you.

For now please keep reminding yourself how much God loves you.  That you are His precious child. That He cares about you and wants the best for you.

Have a blessed day.

Heather

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What are you expecting?

What are you expecting? Our expectations play a large part in what we receive in life. How can we frame our expectations so they work for us and help us get what we need?

As a survivor of abuse, I had a negative outlook to life. I believed people would hate me if they knew my past. I was certain God had something against me. He had to. Why else had He permitted my father to molest me? I hid my real desires from God for fear that God would put a roadblock in my path. I figured there were some fortunate people God liked and I was not one of them. So, why would He want to answer my prayers? I expected nothing from God and received what I expected.

Expectations play a part in our perceptions of how we think God answers prayers. Initially I expected God to answer my prayers the exact way I wanted. I was like a child having a tantrum, wanting my way NOW! If I didn’t get what I wanted, when I wanted, I stamped my feet, turned away and screamed at God, “You don’t love me.”

I can’t tell you how many times my kids have screamed those words at me. I must have been the worst parent – I made them eat vegetables, do their homework, and act responsibly. Sometimes they had to wait and work for the things they wanted. They survived the minor disappointments I provided. A parent sees the big picture, but kids focus on immediate gratification.

By focusing on what I perceived as God’s neglect, I never noticed what God was doing in my life and how much He was there helping me. Gratitude and looking at what God has done in the past can change our expectations which, in turn, changes our responses and actions.

Instead of rose-colored glasses, I viewed my world through abuse colored lenses. Anything that seemed to delay my perceived needs, I felt was neglect. The way I wanted God to work would have kept me a victim for a longer time. God forced me to try new things, different things, things that made me uncomfortable. Change seemed to be the enemy. It is insanity to keep doing the same thing and expect a different result. Change must occur.

Does that mean that we can never have expectations when we speak with God? No. We are to pray, expecting. Our effective prayers line up with the truths of the Bible and mirror God’s best for us. Our actions will show that we have faith that God will answer.

In order to pray according to God’s will, we need to know what His will is. He wants us healed and whole. He wants us joyful. He wants us happily doing the work that will help others to learn about God and find freedom.

One thing that helps us wait is realizing how much God loves us. He is the perfect parent and His actions in our lives stem from a love that is beyond our understanding.  Bask in this love and know that He will continue blessing you, even in the tough times.

What are you expecting?
Do you need to change your expectations?

I hope your day is blessed.

Heather

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Expectation

Have you ever prayed and asked God to do something in your life and He didn’t do what you expected? How do you handle that? How can we pray in faith, expecting, not receive an answer, and still believe that God is there and cares? When we don’t get the response we want, what went wrong? Why do we sometimes pray for good things and God is remarkably silent?

I begged God to stop the abuse, to kill my father, to kill me, to rescue me. God didn’t answer my prayers the way I wanted.  When I began my journey of healing, I gave God the roadmap and path I felt I should take. He chose a different path and did things in His own timing.

When God did not respond to my prayers the way I expected, I grew angry at God because I felt He abandoned me. He denied me the specific answers I desired so I assumed He didn’t care. In retrospect, I realize He answered my prayers in surprising ways and His answer was better than anything I could think or imagine.

The problem was, I wanted God to conform to my plans. By trying to get Him to fit into my mold I was diminishing God. If I could force God to do my will, it would limit His power in my life. Now, when problems and challenges loom, I’m grateful that God is bigger than my limited ideas and His plans are more creative than anything I could imagine.

We see with limited vision. There is no way we have the total picture.  We can know our reactions to things but we don’t know all the other factors that come into play in our circumstances.

Navigating life is like walking through a maze. We know some things about the path we are taking, but not the complete layout of the maze. At intersections in our life, do we turn left or right? If only we could be raised above the maze, it would be easy to decide the correct path to take. God has greater understanding of our lives than we can have with our own understanding.  When we take the time to listen to Him, we make fewer wrong turns.

Let God be God. He can direct our paths with His infinite knowledge. We have the choice to trust Him or not.

Before we talk more about expectations, there are two questions to consider.

1) Have you ever prayed fervently for something and it wasn’t provided? Then, later you were  glad that God didn’t answer that prayer.

I can think of a few love interests God did not let develop.  Instead, He led me to Jim. We just celebrated our twenty-fifth anniversary and have three wonderful children.

2) Has God ever surprised you with an answer to prayer that gave you far more than you expected?

God led me to a Bible study, and the teacher of that study was the pastor who helped me to begin healing from my past. I only asked God for a good Bible study and He provided so much more.

Tomorrow we are going to talk about productive expectations and expectations that hinder our lives.

I pray you have a wonderful day.

Heather

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Forgiving God

I was so angry at God. I believed He either hated me or didn’t care. If He really loved me He would have stopped my abuse and made my father love me. But God was silent.  I figured, since He didn’t care about me, I would turn my back on Him. From the age of eight until I was forty-eight years old I had nothing to do with God. I turned to everything else. I tried therapy, sex, drugs, the occult, other gods and goddesses. But nothing brought relief from my abuse. Depression clouded my mind and suicide was an ongoing obsession.

Little did I know that God kept pursuing me and even used ungodly things to preserve my life until I finally came to the realization that I needed Him.  Even after I was saved, I still was angry at God. We had a love-hate relationship and I needed to clear the air between us.

One day I went for a walk by the reservoir near my home and raged at God. I told Him how I felt. I blamed Him for abandoning me. Told Him how He could have done better in my life, how disappointed I was at Him.  I raged for hours. God listened.

Eventually I calmed down and God showered me with love, but He refused to show me where He was during my abuse. I wasn’t to find out for years.  In His infinite wisdom, He knew that I wasn’t ready to hear the answer. Like a loving parent, He gave me what I could handle and kept the rest until I matured.

As I learned more about God, I realized I was in error.  My anger was misplaced. I was really angry at satan. But satan was so scary for me that I took my anger out on God.  God bore my anger until I could place it in the proper place.  When I came to my senses, I apologized to Him.

He said, “That’s okay Heather, at least you were talking to Me.”

He knew that even angry words would open up the channels of communication between us. God was willing to bear my tantrums until we could talk rationally. He knew that I needed more time in the Bible learning about Him before I would see the truth. He loved me enough to patiently wait for my anger to abate.

If you are angry at God, He understands. It is okay to share with Him what you are feeling.  In fact, if you are angry at anyone, God is the perfect one to tell about the hurts you have received. He won’t spread Gossip and He is the only one who can really make a difference.

God knows our hearts. He knows our anger, our joy, our sorrow, our hurts. Nothing is going to surprise God. In fact, authentic prayer is sharing our real feelings with God. As we talk things out with HIm, He will help us to come to a greater understanding.

But be fair – give God time to answer.  Listen to what He says. He most often speaks in a still small voice in our spirits, seldom does He speak out loud. We can get an impression or an idea from God that can help us. One God idea can move us further and faster than any idea from our own minds.

How do we know it is a God idea?  A God idea will line up with the BIble, the Word of God.  God will not contradict Himself or His Word. If in doubt, find someone who is a godly counselor and run your idea by them. God ideas are based on truth and His Word.  The spirit and the Word must agree.

Now that I know God, the kind of anger I had above would not be appropriate. God was willing to accept me where I was back then, but we have walked together for ten years now, and there is a greater level of accountability.  I still am honest with God, and not afraid to ask Him to help me understand what is happening in my life. He is never afraid of our questions. He wants us to come to Him and share what we are feeling.

Suggestion: Take some time talking and listening to God today. He loves you so much.

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Four lies we believe about our abuse

Abuse impacts our lives. In order to get free of our past, we must forgive ourselves. To do that we need to examine ways that we’ve reacted to our abuse, ask God for forgiveness, and then accept that we are forgiven and redeemed. We can let go of the shame and begin to see ourselves as worthy of love and joy. Shame does not have to bind us and color our actions.

Four lies we believe about abuse.

1. The abuse was my fault.

I used to believe that something I was doing caused him to hurt me. My mother knew about my abuse and told me that I shouldn’t give my father kisses or go over to the couch when he called. The problem was, had I disobeyed him, he would have beaten me. But I blamed myself for what he did and tried to figure out what I could change to stop the abuse.

The truth is, the problem is with our abuser, not us. Our abusers are so caught up in lust they have no awareness of the deep pain they inflict. A parent is supposed to love their child and make them feel special, not abuse them.

2. If I was perfect, he wouldn’t have abused me.

I used to say, “If only I got straight A’s.  If only I knew what he wanted.  If only I were a better daughter, he wouldn’t abuse me.” If I could just figure out what I was doing wrong, my father would love me and quit hurting me. I could never meet the high standards I set for myself and used my failures to justify my father’s actions. I also believed a Father God couldn’t love me because of my imperfections.

The truth is, my failures did not cause my father to abuse me. He made that choice with his own free will.  And God loves us just as we are. We don’t have to jump through hoops, be perfect, or do anything to deserve His unconditional love. I was scared of that love for a long time. It was too good to be true, but He knows our weaknesses and loves us in spite of ourselves.

3. I am the only one who was abused.

I used to look at others in my elementary school classes and wonder what was wrong with me that my father molested me. I believed I was different from my classmates. They detected my insecurity and teased me which increased my shame. I figured no one else in my class had a parent who abused them.

The truth is, one in four people are abused. Shame keeps us from finding out that truth and we hold hurt inside, turning our shame against ourselves. We aren’t alone. When we share our abuse, we find that many people live happy and fulfilled lives in spite of the abuse they received. This gives us courage to make positive changes in our lives and overcome the pain. As we heal, we can encourage others who have been hurt.

4. Because of my abuse, I’m ruined goods and might as well act that way.

When my father first came into my bedroom he said, “You are so stupid, dumb, and ugly, no man will ever want to marry you, so I’m going to teach you to put out so that you can at least get a man.”

I believed his lies and acted on them. His words became self-fulfilling prophesies.  I was sexually promiscuous, used drugs and alcohol, and was suicidal. Hurting myself did nothing to relieve the pain and only increased my shame.

The truth is, what our abusers did to us does not have to control our futures. We can choose to change the patterns of our past. We can choose to make wise decisions with our lives.

Fortunately, when we accept Christ into our lives, our sins are forgiven. There are many who were abused and turned to God, not acting out in sin. But, if we made mistakes in our past, we are not ruined for life. God is the restorer. We have the choice to turn to God and have Him help us bring our life back in order. Yes, there are some actions that have repercussions, but God has done remarkable turnarounds in lives far more damaged than ours.

Questions for consideration:

What lies about abuse have you believed?
What is the truth about those lies?

Thank you for reading with me. I pray your day is blessed.

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Consider forgiveness

Most of my life I walked around angry. I was angry at God who I called the Great Abandoner because He did not stop the abuse. I was angry with my parents who abused me. Years after they died I was still angry at them. They had robbed me of my innocence and childhood. Thinking of the abuse I received at their hands plunged me into despair. I felt like I wore a scarlet A for abuse on my chest. The memories and pain remained with me long after the abuse ended. The problem was that holding on to my anger bound me to my past. The only way to break the chains of abuse was to forgive.

The first step toward healing was forgiving my parents. Both my parents were dead. My anger did nothing to change what happened and they were not affected by my feelings. The only one hurt by anger was me.

I felt that if I forgave my parents it meant I was giving tacit approval of what they did, but that is not the case. Their abuse was wrong. Forgiveness is not absolution, it is the release of the emotions from the abuse that bind us. My parents will answer to God for what they did. Whether or not the person asks for forgiveness, realizes the wrong they did, cares that we forgive them, or even is aware that we forgive them, we must forgive for our own sanity.

Forgiveness is a very selfish act. It releases us from the burden of the anger we carry around. Anger only hurts us, it doesn’t touch our abusers. Our abusers are self-centered. They care more for their gratification and less for our feelings. Our anger either excites and encourages them or doesn’t affect them at all. But anger increases our stress level and causes us to hold on to the pain and hurt, binding us from moving forward toward the good things in life.

For me, forgiveness came in stages. The first thing I needed to do was to ask God to make me willing to forgive them. I prayed that prayer for a long time because my hurts ran deep.

Tomorrow we will continue on the topic of forgiveness.

Questions to consider:

Who do you need to forgive?
Are you willing to make the first steps towards forgiveness?

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