When We Sink Beneath the Waves of Lies About Who We Truly Are

Do you feel ugly, insecure, and worthless?

It’s so easy to find our identity in the hurting words and painful actions of others toward us, isn’t it? Words and actions that steal our confidence and security in who we truly are. That make us feel we are unwanted, unlovable, and unusable.

Demeaning words, abusive actions, and the lack of loving attention we swallow as a child may become our own assumptions that we guide our lives according to. Assumptions that lie to us about the reality of who we really are. Assumptions that make us more vulnerable to further abuse as we grow older.

When we have been abused in some way, it’s so difficult to change our thought pattern, isn’t it? I struggled with this for many years. Still do sometimes. As I look back, I often picture myself like Peter who was invited to walk to Jesus on the water. How thrilling, right? But as he walked, he opened his ears to all the noise of the storm and his eyes to the tumultuous waves around him ready to swallow him up. He took his focus off of Jesus. And he sank.

Satan knows how vulnerable we are and he tries his hardest to distract us from Jesus and the truth of His love and our value in Him. He whips up the noise and tumult of the lies we assumed about ourselves. In our weakness, we often succumb to it and sink beneath the waves, flailing against the strong currents of worthlessness that suck us down, down, down…

Over the years I have often taken my eyes off of Jesus and closed my ears to His whispers of love. I often sank back into the lies and shame, those assumptions I made from past demeaning words and abuse. I didn’t think I would ever come up for air, but Jesus didn’t let me drown in them. He lovingly reached down and lifted me up yet again. He lovingly held my face in His nail-pierced hands and said, “My precious child, keep your eyes fixed on Me.”

Jesus, in His unfailing love and endless compassion, reached down, took Peter’s hand, and pulled him up in spite of Peter’s doubts and fears. And Jesus will do the same for us every time we sink. He never tires of lifting us up again.

God is so ready and willing to restore what others shattered in us and help us to see ourselves through His eyes. What HE says about us and what HE has done for us is what matters, and He can give us the grace to again and again fix our eyes on Him. He is not going to condemn us or stop loving us when we falter. He empathizes deeply with our pain and struggles.

“From the ends of the earth I call to You,
I call as my heart grows faint;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”

Psalm 61:2 NIV

“The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and the One who rescues me;
My God, my rock and strength in whom I trust and take refuge;
My shield, and the horn of my salvation, my high tower—my stronghold.”

Psalm18:2 AMP

“The eternal God is your refuge,
and His everlasting arms are under you.
He drives out the enemy before you;
He cries out, ‘Destroy them!’”

Deuteronomy 33:27 NLT

Remembering How My Mom Loved In Spite of Depression

“I love you! I love you! I love you!” she whispered some of her last words as she fought for breath. I still see her helplessness as a spinal stroke paralyzed her and took away her freedom to hug us. She loved to hug us.

My mom was plagued with depression through her life (My Mom, Depression, and Love), so my child heart had to work through insecurities. All the turmoil of wondering what I did wrong that I couldn’t make her happier. That I couldn’t stop her hysterical crying. That I couldn’t stop her from wanting to end her life. I didn’t understand why she had to leave to go to the hospital. When she clung to us after our Sunday visits and sobbed and begged my dad to take her home, I didn’t understand why we couldn’t take her along.

It took years before I worked through my guilt and feelings of desertion. But the more I healed, the more I realized what a wonderful mom I really had. Although depression sometimes snatched her away from us or plunged her into inescapable self-absorption, she loved us deeply. Now I am amazed how she even coped, knowing more of her past and all she dealt with. Now I can see how God still taught me about the real love through her.

Today it is 14 years since she passed away. February 18, 2006. She was only 80. I still have times when I miss her.

I am so grateful for my Mom’s love. Though not exhaustive, here are a few ways she showed it:

I often had ear infections. I remember being not very old and crying because my ear hurt horribly. My mom took me to the doctor. I still hear his words, “SHUT UP!” That only made me cry harder, and my mom hurt so much for me that we changed doctors.

She believed me when others didn’t. When I was a sophomore in high school, I ached all over and would run a small grade fever. I was so, so tired. Even our family doctor couldn’t figure it out. I started believing others that maybe it was just the result of emotional issues or of something I was avoiding at school. When I sobbed because someone called me a faker, she hugged me and said, “I believe you.” Later on, my feet and hands swelled up and I was sent to a specialist. Finally a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis. It was a long journey through treatment, but she stood by me all the way.

When I was a junior in high school, I had a tonsillectomy. They were more spread than they had thought, so they had to dig and stitch. I couldn’t eat for some time, and I remember feeling Mom’s concern and bringing me popsicles.

♥ She never squelched my creativity and passions but instead encouraged them. When I found some baby frogs, she gave me an old canning tub to build a habitat for them before I released them. She allowed me to make terrariums. I enjoyed keeping an aquarium, raising hamsters, and nursing a duckling back to strength in a box in the corner of the kitchen.

She couldn’t protect us from abuse, and she was emotionally incapable of recognizing it or helping us through the effects of it. But she did care about our safety as much as she was able. Once my brother and I wanted to swim in a pond under a bridge, and she allowed us to but she said, “Keep your shoes on” as she was afraid we might step on broken glass or barbed wire. (I already mentioned before of an incident where she was more concerned about our safety than hers in “My Mom, Depression, and Love.”)

When she was present, she allowed us to pick which cake we wanted for our birthdays. I always chose confetti angel food cake. On my birthday last month, I thought of how she always sent a special birthday card even though her handwriting had become more wavy.

Her children and grandchildren were her pride and joy. She loved it so when we were all together.

Even though my kids were adopted, she never loved them less than the other grandchildren. Once when she was in the hospital, my husband and I went to see her. We didn’t know if children were allowed in her room, so we left them in the lobby. She immediately asked us where the kids were. When we told her, she pleaded that we bring them to her room and said they are just as important to her as the other grandchildren.

I was already working on another post, but my heart led me instead to remember my mom’s love. I’m so grateful she can now dance and rejoice fully in Jesus’ love where there is no more depression.

I love you! I love you! I love you, Mom!

Please share your story about your mom. If she is no longer on this earth, how did she show you she cared in spite of her imperfections? Or perhaps you have no positive memories of your mom, because she was absent or abusive in one way or another? Is there someone in your life that gave you the nurturing love like a mom should?

“Amazing Grace”

This was one of my mom’s favorite hymns. We sang it at her funeral.
Her name was Grace, and by God’s grace, she was amazing, too!

When It’s Hard To Jump Into the Jordan

It’s scary to step out and take a risk into the unknown, isn’t it?

When God made a way through the Red Sea for the Israelites, they saw the waters part before they took one step. But crossing the Jordan River was different. The priests carrying the Ark were told to step into the swollen waters. When they took that step of faith, God opened the way to the promised land.

God has been whispering to me to “jump into the Jordan” ever since I read this guest post at Ann Voskamp’s blog.

I identify with the need for being absolutely certain. I recognize that paralyzing fear when it comes to decisions in my life. When I read eloquent posts, I feel insecure and indecisive, and that negative voice whispers, “You’re not good enough.” I question whether or not I should keep writing. Whether or not I should continue this blog. As I wrestled with this again during my summer break, I wanted a clear answer from God. He didn’t give me that. Instead, He gave me a nudge to trust Him, to stop standing on the shore, terrified that I can’t step forward without knowing for sure it’s His way for me. Without knowing what the outcome will be. Even without “feeling” Him beside me. He nudged me to take a step of faith and jump into the Jordan’s unknowns, trusting He’s got me and will never abandon me.

“For we walk by faith,
not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7
“Because of the Lord’s great love
we are not consumed,

 for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is Your faithfulness.”
Lamentations 3:22-23

Maybe you, too, feel you don’t have a way with words like some writers. Maybe you, too, don’t feel “good enough.” The truth is we don’t need to become more fluent writers to blog. All God asks is that we “jump into the Jordan” with all our inadequacies, trusting His power to part the rivers of our impossibilities with His Almighty strength. Trusting His grace is greater than our fears of not being enough. Trusting His faithful love will guide us and give us the words, whether few or many. Believing He can bless even the sharing of a Bible verse, a song, a nature photo, or an inspirational quote.

Whatever insecurities and impossibilities are overwhelming us right now and paralyzing us from moving forward, God is bigger. In His power, we can step forward into the unknown. The same God who can make a way through the rivers and seas He has created also has the power and the desire to help us jump into the Jordans of our lives and to trust Him to lead us and take care of all our needs.

“And looking at them Jesus said to them,
‘With people this is impossible,
but with God all things are possible.'”
Matthew 19:26

Faith
by Jordan Feliz

“There is no ocean that can’t be parted
There is no mountain that can’t be moved
I know there’s help for the heavy hearted
The weak will find their strength renewed

You just gotta have faith
Mmm, you just gotta have faith

It’s light for the shadows, for all your tomorrows
It’s knowing He’s there through the sun and the rain
It’s when you believe it, before you can see it
And you can walk on ’cause he’s making the way…”