Trusting God Loves Cracked Pots and He Will Heal In His Time and Way

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I was trying to take a risk in spite of my fear – go to church. We hadn’t been going for a while again, because my sensitive airways reject cold air. But it was going to be warmer, so on Saturday night I thought I could try it again. But the cold isn’t the only thing keeping me away.

When I woke up on Sunday, fear consumed me. I kept pleading with God, “O God, help me, please. I am so afraid. Please be with me.”

I tried to read from His promises that He will always be with me. And He whispered, “Stay with Me. Let Me stay with you.

I thought I was all set. What time I am afraid, I will trust in YOU, O God.

But I was helpless with what my mind and body were doing. My identity was splitting again. It’s hard to explain, but I guess they call it disassociating. I disconnect from my thoughts, feelings, and who I really am. It’s so hard to describe what it feels like. Kind of like I’m two people… My true identity gets shoved into the garbage disposal. A different person takes over, one who listlessly rides along in life like a puppet on strings, one with emotions shut off so I won’t feel pain. It’s how I coped at the time of abuse, and sometimes it comes back when memories get triggered.

I kept crying to God. My heart was ready to place my trust in Him. I left the bedroom with brave intentions. My heart was going to plow forward and conquer this fear, because God is with me. Yet I became so confused, because my mind and body weren’t cooperating. I hate that feeling of when my mind and body disconnect. Sometimes I can process it, reason with myself, and come back to “earth,” but sometimes it doesn’t help until I remove myself from the situation and feel “safe” again.

I was out of the zone of reality, the here and now. Without thinking, I would get up with my cup of tea in my hands, pace, then sit in a different spot, and look out the window or try to converse.

My ever-protective, observant husband said, “You look uncomfortable. You’re troubled. Are you afraid someone is going to hurt you again?”

“I don’t knooow…”

I got my coat on and was ready to go out the door, and he stopped me. “You’re trembling.”

“No, I’m not… HOW can you see that?” I thought my trembling was only on the inside.

“Yes, you are. Even your jaw is quivering. I am not going, because you are NOT ready.”

I broke down and sobbed, “But how will I ever get past my fears if I don’t face them? Why can’t I stop being afraid? Do I have no faith?”

After more tears and hugs, I had to admit my husband was right. I was going more because I thought I was keeping him away from it (since he won’t go without me). And for approval from Christians who believe going to church is the right thing to do… If I’m honest with myself, the times I do go are more out of obligation than desire or need. And when I do have the courage to go, the gloom of depression sinks me down, often during the entire week or longer.

For many, going to church is not a problem, because they grew up in a nurturing church with a supportive community. Not me. “Church” is bad memories of spiritual, emotional, mental and sexual abuse.

When I shared the truth of my story many years later with friends, they deserted me.  They were willing to believe I was guilty of leading a “poor man of God” astray, but they were not willing to accept the truth – that I was victimized and deeply wounded.

We were hurt again at a couple of other churches since then, so we became even more guarded. I also still hear stories of other hurting souls who are not believed or supported in some churches. Even where perpetrators are more supported and prayed for than the victims are.

Anyway, I am trying to make sense of what happens to me, and I still don’t know. Questions roar and tumble in my mind: Should I just forget about trying to go to church anymore? Should I stop pushing myself? When will all these memory triggers stop? Why do they seem to be getting worse the older I get? Where is my faith?

A few months ago, in a non-denominational Bible study I attend when I am able to, there was a discussion about attending a church. Some concluded that faithful church attendance is not a requirement for salvation, but not going means we are missing out on the blessings of community. My heart cringed and curled up into a fetal position, ashamed and inadequate. I didn’t dare to tell even this safe, nonjudgmental community of beautiful women that I don’t go to church. I reasoned: If I tell them, they won’t understand anyway, they will look differently at me, they won’t like me anymore, they will “preach” at me and hurt me with words, etc.

This is also why I have been struggling whether or not to openly tell you on this blog post. In the corner of my mind, I keep seeing former friends who rejected me shake their heads at me and look at me like I’m a lost cause. But I want to be “real” here, and hopefully I will learn to share it someday at Bible study as well, no matter what the reaction.

As I write this, God is helping me to process my confusion. I beat myself up with – If you really trusted God, you could do this… Satan scoffs me with “Where is your God and His power?” That old legalism still has a condemning “do this or else” hold on me, but I must learn the Spirit gives life, not condemnation and death. It’s not about how many times I go to church. It’s about my relationship with Jesus. God is not confined to four walls. I can worship Him anywhere. The “church” is not a building but the indwelling of Jesus in the hearts of His people all over this world.

Yesterday I read how the disciples were in a room with the doors locked out of fear. Did Jesus walk away because the doors were locked, because they were afraid? No, nothing stops Him from loving His own unconditionally. He entered in and spoke peace to their trembling hearts. The doors were still locked… I still struggle with fear because of past trauma, but Jesus still will never turn His back on me. Even when fear locks the door to my heart, even though my faith is weak, Jesus still chooses to enter and dwell in my heart.

What happened on Sunday is turning out to be a blessing. A lesson in trust… Trusting in God doesn’t always mean taking a risk out of my comfort zone. Trust can mean to wait patiently and allow time for God’s complete healing.

To trust that Jesus will heal me in His time and His way.

To trust Him even though my mind and body react to memory triggers that bind me and limit me.

To trust that maybe He has more use for me in my woundedness than in my being of strong faith.

“If it seems slow in coming, wait patiently,
for it will surely take place.
It will not be delayed.”
(Habakkuk 2:3 NLT)

I am not perfect, but He loves me anyway. I am not going to keep forcing myself to go to church. I have to let it go for now. I have to quit heaping more guilt on myself for not going, no matter what I hear people say. I have to shake loose from those legalistic shackles and rest in the life and liberty of Jesus. I will not find peace in a building. I will only find peace in Jesus. Jesus understands and doesn’t condemn me for it, so why should I? Instead I will continue to worship Him wherever I am and to seek a closer and more intimate relationship with my Lord and my Redeemer.

I will try to be more gentle on myself and more patient with the healing process. Each day, hour, moment, I will try to lay this cross at the feet of Jesus. Layer by layer, God will heal me, if not here, in the hereafter. Someday all the shackles of fear and shame will disintegrate in the power of God’s saving and healing grace. Meanwhile, I want to accept my brokenness as beautiful in His sight. He can still use this battered, cracked pot.

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Are you sometimes impatient with the healing process? Do you beat yourself up because you can’t always do what you think you should be able to if you trusted God enough? Or maybe people condemn you for not being able to move forward more quickly? Be more gentle with yourself. No matter what, Jesus understands. He never condemns. He hurts when we hurt. We don’t have to be completely healed to be used by Him. Sometimes He may have more use for us in our woundedness. God sees our cracks as beautiful!

The Cracked Pot from Neepa Sharma

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Joining Faith Barista’s Writing Prompt:
Your Cross

Letting Truth Triumph Over Post-Traumatic Emotions

Photo Journal Your Heart.

How has God been touching your heart this month?

Share what you see. 

 

Anxiety rages in my soul. It seems worse this month ever since I chose my focus word for this year – TRUST. And since I started spilling out those deep places of my soul.

I want to scream and cry.

I want to run and hide.

I just don’t understand it. I recently found a “home” in cyberspace. A place where my heart feels safe. A place where I am encouraged to be “real.” A community of open hearts where I feel accepted just as I am.

But why then do I feel so afraid? Why do I want to withdraw from comfort-receiving and comfort-giving?

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Roaring In
Shame-slapping Scowls
Stormy Emotions
Stomping Down
Sinking Me

Toxic shame screams, “You don’t deserve comfort. You don’t deserve to be accepted. You will never be of any value to anyone else.” Shame pierces the very core of who I am. Encourages me to hide the painful experiences. Darkens and distorts the truth of who I am in Christ.

Panic shouts, “Watch out! You’re going to be hurt again. Reinforce that wall.” Many times in my life, when I told the truth and tried to be “real,” I was hurt. Friends I thought I had for life didn’t want to be with me anymore. I wondered, “What’s wrong with me?”

drowning
I can’t do this anymore!
Jesus, save me!

Fear chains my creativity. I write. I delete. I write. I delete. Then when I do send it out into cyberspace, I second guess myself and want to snatch it back. What if I said something wrong? What if I someday regret writing this? I comment on blogs, but fear twists my gut. If I write something to comfort, I feel hypocritical, because I don’t always feel courage myself. If I share painful feelings, I wonder if I sound like I’m looking for pity. And I worry… Did I encourage that person or did I only make her pain more heavy? What if I am misunderstood and I hurt someone? What if I become more self-centered than God-centered? 

Wouldn’t it be easier to numb my emotions again? To not rock the boat? To not risk writing that’s “real”? It’s easier. It hurts less. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know.

I’m drowning in all these insecurities, Lord! Will there never be an end to all the turmoil in my emotions? Please grab my hand and pull me up!

Then a still small voice. Hardly discernible amid all the cacophony in my soul.  Whispers of hope...

Troubled soul, be still and listen.

Trust Me, My child, trust Me.

“O storm-battered city,
troubled and desolate!
I will rebuild you with precious jewels
and make your foundations from lapis lazuli
(the symbol of wisdom and truth).”
(Isaiah 54:11)

 

My heart trembles as I try to grasp this TRUTH.

I lay down my “I-can-fix-this-myself” attitude.

As a child, I stretch out my hand and lay it in His.

Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.

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You don’t need to understand;
you just need to hold My hand.

He pulls me up. The storm still rages, but I keep my eyes fastened on Him.

When I lose eye contact with His love, I sink again. So easily when the emotions roll in and knock me off-balance…

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Scary Monster
No power
No control
Memories trigger

This “being real” stuff opens up the vulnerable child in me. And it’s scary. Like some years ago when my kids convinced me to ride a roller coaster. Nose dives, upside down twists, hairpin turns. Terror sucked the breath out of me. I was powerless to stop this monster. No control about when I wanted to get off. When the monster finally stopped, my shaky legs stumbled to my husband. I heard his concern as he looked at my chalky white face, “Are you alright? You’re shaking!” He guided me to a bench. I shook and sobbed. Then I realized that feeling of powerlessness and lack of control triggered a memory and threw me back to a time of abuse. To the monster who took away my power.

But as I write this, I think of what my counselor has said, “If you hold onto the past, your abuser still has you under his control. Don’t let him have that power over you anymore. Don’t let him weigh you down in chains. Live in the blessings of the present. See the sun shining in the window? Breaths of God.”

I’m not going to let the monster win. I am no longer in the past. Today I am stronger. I will control the monster. He will not control me. Jesus is Power. I will focus on how He fought the monster for me. He has already won.

I don’t want to miss out anymore on blessings and opportunities. I want to move forward, one step at a time.

Letting TRUTH triumph over these post-traumatic emotions…

Listening to Whispers of hope...

Quieting my anxiety with the visible proof that no one has more power than the Creator, and He has all things under control.

sunrise
But for you who revere my name,
the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays.
And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves.
Then you will trample on the wicked;
they will be ashes under the soles of your feet
on the day when I act,” says the Lord Almighty.
(Malachi 4:2-3)
Spearfish Falls
A “Soulrest” Moment
“Our God is an awesome God
He reigns from heaven above
With wisdom, power, and love;
Our God is an awesome God.”
(Rich Mullins)
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I love how God’s creatures point to His promises.
“But you were washed, you were sanctified,
you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ
and by the Spirit of our God.”
(1 Corinthians 6:11)
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I found these beautiful mushrooms
growing up out of a dead tree.
God springs up life out of death!
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“How does the Meadow-flower its bloom unfold?
Because the lovely little flower is free
Down to its root, and, in that freedom, bold.”
(William Wordsworth)

Surrendering our Swift Horses of Fear and Control

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“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: In repentance and rest is your salvation,
 in quietness and trust is your strength,
 but you would have none of it.’ You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’
 Therefore you will flee!
 You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’
 Therefore your pursuers will be swift!” 
(Isaiah 30:15-16)

 

Has your trust been broken and betrayed in the past? Do you have a difficult time trusting the deepest part of your heart to anyone? Or perhaps it even affects your relationship with God?

The pastor who abused me spoke as if he was the voice of God and he abused God’s Word to get what he wanted. This betrayal often interferes with my willingness to trust God. Are His motives pure? Are His intentions for good, not evil?

I long to quietly trust God with all my heart, and my heart hurts that I let the past interfere with that. But it’s so hard sometimes… That uninvited hand of fear squeezes the courage out of my soul and slams the door to my heart, and I don’t allow Jesus to reach and heal the deepest parts.

One day a verse I read in Isaiah 30:15 really punched me in the gut. “But you would have none of it.” Ouch! The truth hurts. Then in verse 16, the Amplified Version reads, “We will speed (our own course) on horses.” And “We will ride upon swift steeds (doing our own way).”

When fear springs at me like a hungry lion, I hop on my swift horse and gallop, hoping to flee. To flee that powerless feeling, that old feeling of when I had no control over how someone hurt me. I don’t even take time to put on the whole armor of God. I speed away in my own course and way, thinking I need to take control in order to be safe. Only to find that the enemy runs even faster, trying to drag me down. The only way to strength and quietness is to stop my horse, fall off into Jesus’ safe and loving arms, and surrender my swift horse to Him.

Does this sound familiar to you? Do you long to surrender all control to God, but you feel so helpless to do so? God doesn’t condemn us for our weakness to trust, because He loves us so unconditionally. He gently whispers, “My child, trust Me. My motives are pure. My love is genuine. You are so precious to Me and I will never, ever hurt you. I earnestly wait for you to fall into My arms.”

“And therefore the Lord [earnestly] waits [expecting, looking, and longing] to be gracious to you; and therefore He lifts Himself up, that He may have mercy on you and show loving-kindness to you.” (Isaiah 30:18 AMP)

 

“When I am afraid, I will trust in You.” (Psalm 56:3)

 

Here’s something to try when we’re afraid:

When I am afraid of _______, I want to trust in You, because You are _______ and You have promised _______.

And as we immerse ourselves more and more in His promises, we will be able to say with all our heart, “I will trust in You!”

A Child's Trust

Dear God, You have all power and grace in Your handsPlease break this cycle of fear in us and teach us how to give up our swift horses of fear and control. Help us to fall into Your arms with a childlike trust in Your strength, Your way, and Your time. Help us, please, to separate the truth from the lies. Please powerfully pry open our hearts to Your love and to Your healing of the wounds deep within us. Please help us to surrender to Your control, to believe in Your truth, and to trust You with all our hearts, souls, mind, and strength! In Jesus’ Name, Amen!