I just read my very old devotional “God Calling” which I have used since the year 2000. In it, I have little notes about events that were significant to me at the time.
As I was reading, I noticed a note I wrote in 2006 that talked about having deep concerns because of the raw truth of my life being revealed as I began writing my first book, Twist of Faith. I was having sleepless nights and anxiety just thinking about what others may think of me after they read my story. I guess I was surprised as I read the notes in my devotional because 2006 marked 30 years after my abuse began.
The truth is our choices and behaviors have far-reaching effects and to face them takes courage.
I’m glad for the notes I kept because they remind me that the journey of confession is a long process and it’s difficult for women to tell their stories.
In 2006 I had already dealt with all my stuff and I was well on my way to a life of freedom from secrets. The process was difficult and many times I wanted to run away from my own pain. (Which, by the way, how do you do that? It’s really impossible!)
The lie we believe is we can self-medicate to relieve the pain but the truth is when the medication wears off, the pain is still there and hasn’t subsided. It seems like over time the pain increases rather than decreases.
In 2006 I was no longer living with any secrets and yet to expose my life through my written story was still a very high risk and emotionally draining!
Today, as I reflect on the note I had in my devotional, I am reminded of the delicate emotions of a woman living with secrets and how frightening it is to be open. In the beginning, it almost feels like you’re somehow imposing on another’s life when you begin to tell. It almost takes your breath away or you feel like you might collapse because of the anxiety you feel when you begin to talk. It’s easy to talk about being transparent but it’s hard to become transparent. When you take a step towards transparency, it will provoke anxiety just like I had when I started writing my book.
The question is, what do you do with your emotional pain? If over medicating doesn’t give you permanent relief, what will? There really are no other options except to share your story and our tendency is to do anything but that.
If you do not tell,
You cannot be well.
But as you reveal
You will be healed.
In my past, I did all the wrong things. At the very top of my list was never talking about what’s really going on in my life and never taking any responsibility for my thoughts and behaviors.
If I didn’t talk, that meant I kept ignoring how I felt. If I stayed busy enough I could actually forget my pain. Being busy was my medication of choice. It had no side effects. (Or at least I thought it didn’t.) The truth is the side effect of silence is a slow death to being fully alive.
Dr. Richard Dobbins says, “The tragedy is not in dying but what dies inside of us while we live”.
That’s exactly what was happening to me. In my silence, I was dying a little more each day. As I reflect on my journey toward healing I clearly see the miracle that came from my pain – A life of freedom and purpose! It was certainly not a supernatural miracle that happened with a quick prayer of faith but I still consider my freedom a miracle. I live in my miracle every day with a grateful heart because God gave me the ability to be strong and courageous.
What happened to you may not be your fault but how you respond to it becomes your responsibility.
We can either use the victim card and stay stuck in our pain or we can use our God-given power to respond in ways that will lead us to a life of purpose. Years later, it’s still hard for me to believe all the ways I hurt the ones I love the most. There are still thoughts of remorse I feel for the pain I caused. My life of abuse took me down a path of selfishness and inflicting pain on my family for which I could not forgive myself for many years.
Today I am able to remember it all without going into a full-blown state of depression because I have learned the secret of walking in the light. In the light, I see things clearly and there is no place to hide or isolate.
My husband says, “The rich things I’ve learned from the worst days of my life makes me thankful for the memory of them.” The memories connect me to all the places in me that we’re extremely sad, or happy. I am able to remember them with my emotions intact instead of a walking dead person with no emotion.
Your mind forgets nothing! It’s an amazing thing. Reflecting on your past is a gift God has given us. Today I can remember it all without feeling the pain and that’s the miracle.
This lifestyle of confession is a lifelong journey and cannot be exhausted.
Yes, my journey has been long and difficult at times and I wish I could give you a quick fix solution. On the other hand, I wouldn’t exchange my life for a pain-free life because today I see the beauty of my entire journey.
I look back over my life and see the times God clearly held me and carried me. I know He is truly a God who comforts the broken-hearted, helps the weak and forgives all my sin. As I remember my life, I remember my God.