Accepting Love, After Sexual Trauma.

The deepest kind of sadness is felt by one who is lonely in that sadness. Although I endeavor to share my experience and my hope, there are certain places where that raw loneliness has remained untouched by another human soul. Those deep places, still bleeding after all these years.

My sex is something painful. On one hand, womanhood has blessed me immeasurably. I rejoice over my body’s ability to grow a person inside my womb, birth that person into the world, and nourish and comfort that baby at my breast. In fact, having children gave me love for my body and gender for the first time as an adult. Yet it feels that my body has betrayed me so many times.

I ask myself, was I ever innocent? I know that I was. If I think hard about it; I remember. I was an innocent child. I deserved no harm against me. Still that feeling of ugly, dirty, worthlessness has been etched so far into my psyche that it can be difficult to force a memory of innocence.

Too. Many. Men.

That is the truth. They have no number, no name, only some have a face or hands that I remember. There are just too many, far too many, men.

I remember just when they succeeded in crushing my spirit inside of me, along with my body and blood and bone. That moment when I stopped the fruitless and pathetic begging. When my legs ceased to kick erratically and ineffectively against the strength of their manhood. When I no longer opened my mouth to utter a painful “no”.

My mouth closed. My legs opened, without fight, with resignation. I had been lost. Defeated. Completely overcome.

So. Many. Years.

That is the truth. I cannot recall a time that I was not so damaged by them. It seeps into every corner of my mind—my very being is infused with my defeat. For so many, many years I could not resist them; any of them. My body and mind checked out, survival meant submission. And I did survive.

I couldn’t accept the forgiveness of my Father in Heaven because I knew he would never want something like me. I felt less than human. I looked around at the kind people at this church I had never been exposed to, and I knew that I would never be them. I could never be them. Someday they would realize it too. Someday they would stand me up, strip me naked, and expose my filthiness. I would be thrown out, cast away, shut off from the kingdom.

Yet, what does this Savior say?

That those who hurt children would be better off thrown into the sea. My abusers were adults, they saw my lack of maturity and used it to their advantage. They knew I was desperate, so they used me. They saw that I was unable to defend myself, so they hurt me.

What does this Savior say?

Those who come to him will be forgiven, clean as snow where they were once scarlet. He will forget, remove, destroy the sin that trapped me and held me in perpetual guilt and slavery. There is no sin too great, no person too low. He sees me as pure, even if I can’t yet.

Again, what does this Savior say?

That prostitutes will enter the Kingdom of the Father before the hypocritical “righteous” do! He says to the woman who has lost her way, “You are forgiven. Go, and sin no more.”
Even prostitutes can enter the Kingdom?

When we seek His face, repent, and trust Him; we are forgiven. Yes, even we.

Even I.

Tonight, the emotions of the past are climbing into the present. I feel uncomfortable. I feel the aching despair of shame and loneliness. Has anyone else had so much taken from them, that they just wanted to scream “ENOUGH! I have NOTHING left! Stop touching me! Stop taking from me! I am empty”? Has anyone else ever stood in a crowded room and wondered if the people talking to them would stay, if they knew “their history”? Has anyone cried uncontrollably and alone wondering what it feels like to be loved instead of hurt by others?

I have. For too many years. From too many men.

I want to focus on One Man; Yahushua(Jesus), who DOES love me. He does not and will never hurt me. He forgives my sins, and he shows me where I should be forgiving to those who have sinned against me. He can heal me, if I will open myself to Him and accept his love.

Help me to accept your love tonight, my Savior.

Help me to accept your healing tonight, my Abba Yahweh.

To my sisters who understand the aching grief of sexual abuse, I am so sorry you have endured it as I have. I love you, and you are loved by the one who created you. You do not deserve abuse. Please, reach out to someone and allow them to love you on this journey.

Peace to you. Shalom.

*Relevant Bible Verses (brackets inserted by me) *

John 8:10,11 Straightening up, Jesus [Yahushua] said to her, “Woman, where are they? Did no one condemn you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus [Yahushua] said, “I do not condemn you, either. Go. From now on sin no more.”

Matt 21:31 … “I [Yahushua] tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.”

Isaiah 1:18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the LORD [YHWH, Yahweh]. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

Luke 17: 1,2 He [Yahushua] said to His disciples, “It is inevitable that stumbling blocks come, but woe to him through whom they come! “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea, than that he would cause one of these little ones to stumble.

A Time of Trials

I feel pressed in on every side. In each direction a heavy stone wall leans menacingly against me. My hands are frantically pushing back against them each in turn but I lack enough strength to hold them all up, so in a panic I realize that they are all going to crush me.

This has been my month so far. March 2016, not joyful like it should be. It is the Biblical New Year, Passover is fast approaching, the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and last but not least my first child’s 5th birthday is on March 31st. Yet, it has been one crisis after the other and my hands are shakily holding up these walls; but they keep pressing and pressing in.

First, it was the months and months of unpaid utility bills. Although I more than qualify for help, the mountains of paperwork, dealing with two separate government agencies (neither very willing to assist) and red tape and after red tape left me with shut off notices and no help in sight.

Second, my insurance company has found something wrong with the multiple pre-auth’s my suboxone/subutex doctor has given them. This means that during a month where I am struggling to keep gas and electric on I now have an essential medication NOT being paid for, while pregnant! I have been taking suboxone because of my previous heroin addiction for 8 long years (this will be addressed in future blogs dedicated solely to buprenorphine treatment and subutex in pregnancy). It is essential for my health both physically and mentally/emotionally, and it is just as important for my unborn baby because withdrawal can induce a miscarriage.

I am up against these big companies, these government agencies, these unjust bureaucracies and I can’t take it anymore. My emotional energy is run dry. My strength is just as depleted as my pathetic bank account and meager savings I am losing over this.

How can I get through? Why is this happening?

In the past I would run to my old ways. I know how to make money illegally, that is how I survived for many years before I met my husband and had my children and got clean. I briefly went back to some of my old ways when I encountered serious problems in my martial life last year and I never want to do that again (and I won’t). But the enemy does whisper “you know how to make those hundreds of dollars you need”.

Yes, with my body. The only currency I had. It was taken first, and then I learned how to sell myself. But is that the way? Are my morals worth sacrificing? Is my marriage worth destroying? Is it the message I want to send to my THREE beautiful GIRLS? That whenever life gets really, really difficult they can always sell their bodies to the highest bidder and move on? No. No. NO!

My Father in Heaven wants me to trust him. I just don’t know how. That is the truth. I do not know how!

How do I look at this mess, where I see no way out and trust that my Savior can actually rescue me?

Am I really worth more than many sparrows? Do you actually number the hairs on my head? Do you? How can I know, really know?

Also, if I am honest, this issue with my medication drags up so many buried painful memories of addiction and detoxing. I am SO scared to get sick, not only because of the horrendous physical consequences (my body has not functioned off opiates for even a single day in over 10 years) but also I am scared down to my bones over relapsing.

A relapse equals death to me. I was literally dying when I stopped using dope (heroin) and smoking crack (my true drug of choice). I suffered a heart attack, spent four days in the hospital, and I still got high after they released me. I was so sick my body was unable to keep ANY food down. I carried plastic bags with me everywhere to vomit in any time I consumed food or water. I was dying physically, and I was dying emotionally and spiritually.

It is this sick, evil, black shadow at my back; addiction. The threat of not having my medication that, for all its drawbacks, HAS indeed helped to save my life is absolutely terrifying on a level that I cannot describe to you. It is my life that I fear losing to this beast. I cannot pretend that I “would never”. That is the scariest part.

I cannot say that I “would never”
Leave my precious babies
Leave my husband
Steal from my loved ones
Lie to everyone
Go back to prostitution
Live on the streets
Etc etc etc all of the hellish things that come with active addiction.

This beast is on my back, breathing down my neck and it scares me to the core; and I am not even having cravings! I feel okay in that regard, as I typically do thanks to my medication and the other supports I have for my recovery, and my faith. But the idea, the mere thought or suggestion that it is possible to go down that road keeps me awake at night.

I hold my children just that much tighter. I feel like I built this life and this beast could come and devour it. I want to protect my life with all that I have within me, and this insurance issue drags all this up for me.

So is there nothing positive to report? Is there no good news? Is there nothing faithful and true to say?

Of course there is. In fact, I had originally planned on writing some much more uplifting blog posts on the joy of watching my oldest grow, and I still plan to do so. There has been spiritual growth in this trial, but I am yet a babe and I know that there is much I need to learn. However, this post is venting over the troubles of this month. I had to purge it out of me.

Remember, saying what you fear and saying what your struggling with, making it public exposes it all and keeps the enemy from digging in his claws.

I wish peace to you all. Shalom.

*Relevant Bible Verses*

Ephesians 5:13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that is illuminated becomes a light itself

Acts 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.

Mark 4:17 And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.

Romans 8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?

Matthew 10:29-31 29“Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. 30“But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31“So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.

Coping with Stress

Don’t you just wish some days that you could pack a bag and head off to someplace sunny and beautiful and remote? Where you could sit on the sandy beaches and let your feet touch the foamy waves? Most importantly, someplace where your bills and responsibilities cannot find you? Today is certainly one of those days for me.

This month has brought about the dreaded STRESS. The details don’t really matter, they change every time, but the STRESS is always the same. For someone in recovery from mental illness and/or drug addiction, stress can be particularly damaging. We tend to have a more difficult time coping with the stressors of life compared with people who have not endured our struggles. After all, we got high mostly to avoid whatever uncomfortable emotional state we were in.

For those of us with mental illness (of any kind) stress is a big trigger for symptoms. It is extremely important to know what you can and cannot handle, and ask for help if you are overwhelmed! I have made this mistake before.

As mothers, we tend to feel the need to take care of everything. We are caring for little ones and running around from here to there, hardly taking notice of our own needs. Some days I just collapse into bed without having done a single thing for myself because I have been meeting the needs (the many needs!) of these little people around me. However, this is not good! Especially during stressful trials, it is essential to care for yourself and ask for assistance where you may need it.

When my oldest child was only a baby, I endured a lot of hardship in my marriage and actually ended up in a family homeless shelter for a few months. I was under a tremendous amount of stress to find a place for us to live and enough resources to live off of. I held it down while at the shelter but once I found a tiny closet of an apartment for us to move into, I just fell completely apart.

I was incredibly depressed. I was hardly functioning at all. I was lost in my head all day long tormented by my PTSD. I was taking care of my daughter in only the most basic of ways; her clothes were clean, she was getting bathed, she was fed, her diaper was changed—but I was NOT okay! I really needed help, but what held me back from asking?

Shame!

Fear!

I was scared of disappointing my mother and everyone else. I was constantly in psychiatric units as a teenager and young adult but I had finally been doing well ever since I got pregnant with my daughter. I felt embarrassed to admit that I was no longer doing well. I was ashamed.

I was fearful of what kind of reactions I would receive. Would I be deemed an unfit mother? Would I be seen as a hopeless case? Would everyone be terribly disappointed in me?

I was also very reluctant to leave my baby daughter, who was very young and very attached to me. How could I leave my baby, even for one week? How would my mother take off work? It just seemed impossible, and I didn’t want to burden anyone with helping me.

I have to tell you; I really regret not asking for help. Although I didn’t start getting high again (by the skin of my teeth), I did fall back into some very destructive behaviors. I also realize now that the best thing possible for my daughter at that point was for her mother to be mentally healthy. It didn’t matter that I was with her physically if I was distant and unable to care for her emotionally. Maybe only one week of rest and therapy would have improved my situation.

I wish I could tell you that now I always ask for help whenever I need it. I wish I could say that I learned my lesson and I don’t need to learn it again. This would not be entirely true. There have been other times since then where I really wasn’t doing so well and had put too much on my plate. I still do not like asking for help.

However, I have gotten much better at knowing my own limitations. If something is just too much for me, I acknowledge that and remove it from my life. I am currently in school with the goal of getting my R.N, but I am going to school part-time because I know my limitations and full-time school plus caring for my children is just too much for me to handle. I felt bad about that at first. I felt like a failure. I felt like I would never be “normal”. Now I understand that this is just who I am and these are the struggles that I have. Learning to work with myself rather than hating myself for failing to meet the expectations of others has helped keep me mentally healthy, and improved my ability to perform well in school and other areas of life.

So, back to this being a particularly stressful month. Sometimes the stress in our lives is not something we can control! This is the worst kind of stress, because we can add the feeling of helplessness to it. Again, this is a good time to ask for help. If you don’t have a person to help you (keep trying to find someone!) there is always One who we can go to for help to endure our trials—our Father in Heaven! Our Savior, His Son!

Pray. Pray. Pray. And then pray some more.

Read psalms. Read stories of how Yahweh has helped His people over and over throughout time. Take comfort in His ability to help us. There is a lesson to be learned. There is something, somewhere, that is good to come of this trial.

I hope you take comfort in that if you are struggling. I know I do.

And you know what else really helps stress? Hugs from your children. There is nothing that can more quickly change my heart from fearful and stressed out to calm and peaceful than hugs from my baby girls.

I wish you peace. Shalom.

*Relevant Scripture Verses, brackets inserted by me*

Romans 8:28 We know that all things work together for the good of those who love

God[Elohim]: those who are called according to His purpose.

1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God [Elohim] of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ[Messiah], will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.

Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

Psalm 91:4 He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.

John 16:33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world. [words of Messiah]

James 1:2-8 Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. …

Broken, but with Hope! (First Blog Post)

I come to you in my late 20s, a mother of many, and in some ways; broken. When something breaks, typically we inspect it to determine if it can be fixed- if so, we must decide if it’s worth fixing. I may not want to fix a broken glass jar if I only paid 5 dollars for it and fixing it would require 10. However, when it comes to a person being broken, there is no price too high for them to be “fixed”.

The funny thing about people though, is that once we fix the most noticeable cracks we see a thousand more than need fixing! In other words, this is a lifelong process of healing those fractured lines. The first step is to acknowledge that we do indeed have cracks that must be fixed, and some of us are more broken than others.

When I was a preteen, I decided that I didn’t want to live anymore. I stood on my wooden balcony in my two story rented home and wondered if jumping onto the concrete below would suffice. Images of broken bones and still surviving kept me from that jump. I had many daydreams of tying rope onto my ceiling fan and hanging myself there, I pictured the reactions and my funeral. I thought to myself, then they will know my pain.

As a young teenager, barely past 14, I gave up all pretenses and let it all go. My mother spent the next several years desperately trying to keep her only child alive. The despair is not something that words can ever adequately express; something akin to drowning daily, but hopelessness is the what drives the thoughts of suicide.

Hopelessness. Think about it for a moment! What gives a laboring woman the strength to go on in the midst of her worst pain? Hope! She is fighting for that baby, the hope of holding him in her arms and cradling him against her skin. The pain is overwhelming for many of us, but yet we dig deep and find the strength to push our baby into this world and into our arms.

Hope keeps her strong. Hopelessness is what drives the severely depressed person to finally end it all. They cannot see a way out of the suffering. Maybe they have tried, almost certainly they have. They have probably tried many, many times; because people do not give up on life easily. Death is not the first choice in one who suffers, it is only the last act of one who has abandoned all hope.

I know. I didn’t try it as a preteen, but when I was 19 and in the military (a horrible attempt at stability) I went into a bathroom stall and methodically swallowed an enormous bottle of pills. There were only a few remaining, my stomach could not bear a single one more. I wrote a quick note about how sorry I was inside my pocket bible they gave to us all before boot camp, and then I made my way to my bunk for my forever sleep—only I didn’t make it. My bunk-mates noticed my woozy behavior due to the pills shutting down my ability to speak or walk properly, and urgently called one of our drill sergeants. He picked me up and put me over his shoulder. I remember seeing ambulance lights before the world went black.

I assume they pumped my stomach but I have no recollection of it. I woke up attached to a lot of tubes and machines. I didn’t feel relief, nor did I feel sadness or anger. I felt only indifference.

My story is too big to be told in this single blog post, but my brokenness was a constant battle for me. The simplest things in life caused my strength to go falling down like a house of cards. I just could not endure- until I could!

Slowly. Very slowly.

Painfully. Very painfully.

In spurts and sputters and stops, I started to make my way down this long journey called recovery.

Along the way, I have gathered more beauty to myself than I ever imagined in even my wildest dreams. How does a dead woman feel when she comes back to life? This is me, every day that I breath; every day that I live this life with these beautiful children and husband.

Nothing is perfect. There have been more falls, more mistakes, more backsliding than I wish to admit were true. I wish I could say that at the age of 21 I was baptized in the water of redemption, in a magnificent lake surrounded by wonderful people, and I never messed up again. Those old broken lines never showed up, and new ones never formed. But that would be a lie, and I am not here to lie to you.

I will be honest, even brutally so. The truth will set us free, and what is said in the light the darkness cannot grab a hold of. So, here I am. A mother. In recovery. Living. Alive! Open my heart and see if anything reflects your experiences. Take what is helpful, and leave the rest. Forgive me if I lack insight, or the ability to say the right thing. All I offer is my story, which has not even begun to end; and my hand open to your hand, so we can pull one another up as we walk this road of recovery and motherhood together.

I wish you peace today. Shalom.

*Related Scripture*

 

Psalm 143:7 He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES
(My second child, Liora, and I two years ago)