Category Archives: Captivity

5mf- A single ray of light

It’s easy to forget in the deepest, darkest moments how connected I am. Connected to my immediate family, my church family, all the I have touched, and all the people I will touch. Pain can be overwhelming and convince you that you are alone, that going on with life is hopeless, it might as well end now before more suffering occurs. But if I take a moment to reflect on how severing those connections would hurt those I am connected to, the pain of leaving is great enough to keep me here. Connections are what is keeping me here fighting my way through the muck, the mire, the agony, the hopelessness and despair. Life is so hard all on it’s own. Life is harder when one is forced to deal with pain inflicted by other people who were bigger and stronger. The strongest connection of all keeps a small ray of light shining ever present in the darkness, in the deepest pain, the lowest despair. That connection calls me to take another step, no matter how much it hurts, even if I think my legs are broken, or my muscles torn. A single ray of light offering me hope. “Stay connected”, He says, “don’t give up.”

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For I am free…

Satan is a liar.  He  is the king of lies.  He twists words and ideas into something that I can easily believe that traps me and holds me captive.  Captive.  Like a person chained to a wall.  Lies like “Nobody’s listening, so why bother telling your story.”  Why bother telling  my story?  Lots of people know my story, so why keep hashing up the past?  That’s a good question.  A really good question.  Maybe I am just talking to myself to keep myself going and to keep pushing higher up the mountain.  Maybe it’s because I hope that someone, somewhere will hear my story, and that person will feel hope and will keep moving up higher themselves.

Funny thing about believing in Satan’s lies, they are an illusion, an illusion that keeps me trapped as long as I believe in them.  As we all know, an illusion is something that is not really there, our eyes (or hearts, or minds) are playing tricks on us because we buy into the illusion.  Oh yes, he can hold a mirror up to us and show us the ugliness that exists in our hearts and  minds.  He can push us into believing half-truths because he is a master of illusion.  We can believe that there is no way out of this darkness we have gotten ourselves into.

The truth be told, I hold the key to breaking the chains of the illusions.  That’s right, I have the key.  The key is Jesus.  He is the light that shines in dark places when we think we see something that isn’t there.  Satan would hold us mesmerized in the darkness that is full of illusions that cause fear in our hearts and in our  minds.  He would have us chained to the wall of half-truths.  He would have us be captives for the remainder of our days.  But Jesus, he ripped the veil that kept humanity separated from God when he died on that cross.  He broke through the barrier and defeated death.  He defeated Satan.  That’s right, Satan, the master of illusion and lies, is defeated.

When we grab hold of the light and undo the chains with our wonderful Jesus, we are free.  We are free to go around and share the light with others.  We are free to ignite the flames of passion for the true living God in our own hearts.  We are free to help Jesus beat back the darkness that surrounds people’s hearts.  We are free to become whom we were born to be.

I was born to tell my story so that other’s may see the glory of God in my life.  For I am free.

Monday Morning Meditations

Well, hello there blog.  Missed you last week.  I was constantly behind the eight ball and was constantly surprised by forgotten event after forgotten event.  Yeah, it was bad.  So, I just couldn’t find the time to sit down and put my thoughts here.  Oh, well.  Moving on.

Monday morning meditations are stream-of-consciousness writing with a one-word prompt (for as long as I like).  I was going to write about plenty, but I think I am going to write about control.  Control is a current theme in my life right now, particularly because I am in therapy (yet, again) and we are talking about how this plays out in my life.  And, I have a lot of feelings and thoughts on the subject.  So, here we go…

Control

People say that having control is an illusion.  I say that’s not true.  I have been controlled by other people many times in my life.  Anyone that has authority has control over other people.  A child is controlled by all of the adults in his life.  Adults tell a child where to go, what to do, how to do it, and punish any transgressions.  I don’t think this is a bad thing.  I think this is a good thing because a child needs to be guided in how to be a good citizen of the society they are born into.  It becomes a bad thing when control is used as a means to subvert and dominate for no other purpose than impose one’s will on the other person.  And this is no illusion.  A person that forces another person to do something bad or against their will has control of the other person.

My experiences as a child were of being controlled and forced to do things that I didn’t want to, or should, do.  By many people.  My mother continued to control me until I left home.  And, after I left home, she still had a hold over me until she died.  There was not a place I could go without looking over my shoulder in fear that she would show up and I would have to run and hide for face her.  Even as an adult, my mother controlled me with fear.  When she died, I felt so relieved.  I didn’t have to worry anymore.  The control was gone.  Trust me when I say that not feeling guilty about this is a struggle.

This feels like an awful shame to me.

But at least my fear of  being controlled explains why I behave like I do in certain situations.  And there has been plenty of that going on in my adult life.  He wants me to trust Him and to understand my choices.  There goes God again, working all things together for the good of me who love Him.  Healing can begin and I can look to God to help me understand what is really going on in a situation that feels like I’m being controlled by another person.  I can choose to submit myself to someone else’s authority, or not.  The “or not” part is freeing and puts the choice in my hands.  The best part of this is that I can look to God to help me understand my choices and walk into a situation with my eyes wide-open of my own free will.

It’s my choice now.

Telling My Story… My Mother

My relationship with and my feelings towards my mother are complicated.  Honestly, she was not a very good mother.  In fact, I’d say she was was a terrible mother.  It would be easy to just stop there and just hate her.  Jesus won’t let me just hate her, hence the complicated feelings.  My mother had it just as bad, or worse, as I did growing up.  According to her story, her father abused her.  He was also an alcoholic as was her mother.  I never knew my grandparents, so I cannot attest to what kind of people they were.  But, I don’t have any reason to doubt her story.

My mother just couldn’t deal with life.  She was alcoholic, adulterer, and a drug addict.  My mother was overbearing, confusing, mean, and selfish.  I never knew if I was coming or going with her.  I never really knew if she loved me or not.  She didn’t believe me I talked about the abuse that happened with my father.  She claims she didn’t know or notice anything.

When I was 19, I had met a man that was strong and tall and cared about my safety, or at least I thought so at the time.  My mother threatened to to hit me one day, so I left with this man’s help.  For the next 14 years, I kept myself separate from my mother.  I tried for one year in the  middle, until things went south again and I split.

Then my mother overdosed on opiate based painkiller about 8 years ago.  This was quite a shock and started the present journey I am on trying to cope with both the relief I feel at her death, and the sadness that I feel because I was never able to reconcile with her.

So now, even after all these years, I still feel have confused and complicated feelings.

God wants me to forgive my mother, over and over again.  He wants me to let go of my past and try to feel empathy towards my mother’s plight.  He wants me to heal from the wounds.

So, I keep pushing forward and keep trusting that He knows best, because, well, He does know best.

Some day, perhaps, my feelings won’t be so complicated.

Telling my story…

My stomach is in knots right now.  I have never publicly stated my story before today.  But, I promised that I would write about what did, or did not happen, this past Saturday.

I was supposed to meet with a gifted counselor to work on an important issue, only, it didn’t happen.  Right now I am trying to deal with the reality of this issue moment by moment until I find release.  Meanwhile, it is only by the grace of God that I am functioning normally right now.

I have suffered with dissociative identity disorder (I offered a link to Wikipedia here, but feel free to read about it wherever you like) for many years.  Not in the Faces of Eve kind of way, I do not move in and out of full-blown personalities regularly.  I am not Jane, or Jim, or any other person.  I am always me.  For me, this means when something traumatic happened, I would squirrel away a part of my personality somewhere safe in my subconscious.  This has meant that sometimes, if a particular personality was present, I would only be able to see things from that perspective.  I was still me, but my thoughts were one-dimensional.

In 2000, through some intense therapy, the Lord integrated 5 personalities.  This was both good and strange.  I no longer had 5 voices in my head, I had one voice, my integrated voice.  It took a couple of years to get used to feeling multiple feelings at once.  11 years later, I can say I  have successfully handled all the feelings a person can have in any given situation at once.  I thought that this was the end of that episode of my life.

Recently, I have become aware of a personality.  It hangs out on the edge of my consciousness.  It is waiting to be brought back into the fold, if you will.  Because the Lord has done this in the past, I know He can do it again.  And, I feel certain he will.  Just not yet.   Excuse me while I remember to breath.

This personality is my sexuality.  I experienced sexual abuse starting at around age 3.  I know for certain that this stopped when I was 11 because my mother and stepfather moved us out to the East Coast.  I had multiple abusers, but my father was most consistent offender.  My childhood is fraught with confusion and pain.  In the moments of this chaos, I hid away my sexuality somewhere else.  And, this part of myself has stayed hidden all this time.  God in His wisdom has decided that now is the time for this last piece of myself to be reintegrated into me.  Because of this, my sexuality has been handicapped.  It’s not quite all there.  I cannot fully express myself.  Some of what I have experienced as an adult has been broken, twisted, and tainted.  I have fought to overcome Satan’s version of my sexual identity.  Thoughts and feelings that I did not understand would crop up.  I always knew that things were not quite right, but I did not understand until recently the full extent of my need.  I need to be healed and put back together.  And, only God can do this.

This is the last piece of the puzzle.  I look forward to the day when I can welcome this last part of myself back to where it belongs.  And, I hope that day comes soon.

 

Milk

I had no ideas about what to write so I asked the Lord for something to write about.  Four words came to mind: milk, honey, plenty, and promise.  These words obviously go together (Promised Land anyone?), but I believe I am supposed to write from heart about them individually.

The word milk automatically makes me think of the Promised Land.  Moses was sent to bring his people to the land “flowing with milk and honey”.  Evidently God sees this as a good thing.  The one thing that speaks to me about the Promised Land was that everything that the Israelites was available to them in this land, if they just did what God told them to do.  The Israelites had a hard time doing this because it took them 40 years to get there.  But they did get there.

I often see myself as one of the wandering Israelites waiting to get to what God has promised me.  In my mind I can just see over the cliff, just enough to know that the promise is there.  I wonder when I will ever get there.  I ask God, “Haven’t I done enough now?”.  I am so ready for the promises.  I am so ready to be there in the Promised Land.  When can I go Lord?

It occurs to me that perhaps I am already there.  I am like a blind beggar sitting in the lush landscape begging for a scrap.  Satan has feed me enough lies that I believe in my blindness as my reality.  I can just smell the flowing milk and honey, but I have yet to taste it.  Perhaps if I stopped believing I was blind and poor, I might be able to partake in the feast before me.

When I accepted Jesus into my heart, I had access to the abundance of God.  Yet, my heart believed that I was not good enough, or clean enough, or whatever enough to take what is rightfully mine.  I could not tap into the infinite and good resources available to me because I believed the darkness more than I believed the light.

Today, I ask you Lord to take the scales from my eyes so that I can see and partake in all that you have given to me.  Amen.

Self-Control (Day 2 of the Just Write! campaign)

Welcome to day 2 of the Just Write! campaign here at Beauty in it’s time.  Mary Kathryn Tyson is hosting this campaign in an effort to get her creative juices flowing, and other people’s as well.  I have chosen to participate because I need a kick in the rear to get myself writing more frequently.  So,everyday that she does this she will give us a one-word prompt and we “JustWrite!” for five minutes without editing (note: editing for grammar errors is okay, just don’t do a total rewrite). We are not trying to craft masterpieces here, we are attempting to “Just Write!” and get the creative juices flowing. MK has offered to allow us to write in her comments section, or to put a link in her comments if we have our own blog to write in.

Self-Control

Go!

Self-control is the most difficult aspect of Christianity to master.  Self-control is a gift of the spirit, but it’s up to us to control ourselves.  Our hearts are full of evil desires that we must fight constantly to hold back.  This can tire one out.  Fortunately for us, God gives us the tools we need to fight back.  The trick is remembering the sword we have in our possession.  All we have to do is pick it up and wield it in Jesus’ name.  He gives the power needed to defeat the enemy, we just have to be willing to pick up that sword.  We have to say “yes” to fighting back.  We have to say “You will go no further” to the enemy.  One of Satan’s great tricks is to help us to forget that God can help us control ourselves.  Practiced self-control gives the power to keep walking the walk and running the race.  Otherwise, we get caught in the sticker bushes that crowd our path.  We become stuck like a rabbit that was running from the hungry wolf and was not watching where it was going.  Lord I pray that you help me to stay on the path.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this!

5mf Post- Rest

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Five minute Friday’s are a stream- of- consciousness exercise hosted by The Gypsy Mama every Friday.  In an effort to get myself writing more frequently, I am going to participate as frequently as I can.  I am also participating in a weekly bible study at Beauty for Ashes onWednesdays, and in “Just Write!” campaign also hosted by Beauty for Ashes.  The 5mf exercise is simple, The Gypsy Mama gives us a word prompt and we write for 5 minutes.  There is no editing and no backtracking.  Just write whatever comes into your mind.  So here goes this week’s edition of 5mf:

Rest

I just got up from a  nap.  I was attempting to rest, because I feel so tired.  I just needed a nap.  Instead of actually sleeping, I thought of all the reasons that I don’t have time to sleep, or that keep me awake.  Secrets about my sins, things that stress me out, physical pain, spiritual hunger, needing more God in my life.  It’s easy to look at someone and say, “You need more rest!” without actually understanding what keeps them from resting.  Truly resting is not an experience that involves sleep.  Truly resting involves trusting.  Trusting that everything will be alright.  Trusting that God’s got it covered, that He has my back.  I struggle and struggle to find this place of rest and abandon.  I struggle to just let go, and let things lie where they in my life.  I want to be able to feel the sweetness of utter and complete rest.  Of lack of control.  I mean, if God is big enough, why do I need to worry?  He says he wants my burdens, so why not give them to Him?  Why not let Him fight the good fight on behalf?  The pain, the worry, and the frustration don’t have to be mine.  Here is a prayer hoping to let go and let be.

Thanks for stopping by!

Steph

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Tender (the first day of the “Just Write!” campaign)

Mary Kathryn Tyson, of Beauty for Ashes, decided she needed help getting un-stuck in her blog writing. She decided to start a month long campaign called “Just Write!” (named by moi) in which she will do stream-of-consciousness writing on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Wednesday is a bible study of the book of Romans that we are engaged in until the bitter end. And Friday is devoted to Gypsy Mama’s stream-of-consciousness writing “Five Minute Friday”.

So, I am participating in this campaign because I am reluctant to write. I am sure that God wants me to write. But I just can’t get past myself. I was excited when I read MK’s proposal hoping that this would spark a lifelong habit of blogging. Everyday that she does this she will give us a one-word prompt and we “Just Write!for five minutes without editing (note: editing for grammar errors is okay, just don’t do a total rewrite). We are not trying to craft masterpieces here, we are attempting to “Just Write!” and get the creative juices flowing. MK has offered to allow us to write in her comments section, or to put a link in her comments if we have our own blog to write in.

Day 1: Tender

GO!

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Your love shines gently on my soul.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Your life fills my heart’s hole.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Prompt me with you tenderness.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Touch me with your tender caress.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Bring me into your light.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Help me through to the end of this fight.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Help me understand the mysteries of the deep.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Let me know the sweetness of your sleep.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Bring me into your dwelling place.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Let me know the beauty of your face.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Fill me from my head to my toes.

Sweet softness of light and mercy,

Lead my heart so my head follows.

STOP!

So there you have it, five minutes of stream-of-consciousness writing.

Feel free to add your own in my comments, to put a link in my comments, or just leave a note letting me know you were here and what you think about my efforts.

Tower of Babel- The destruction process

Genesis 11

The Tower of Babel

1 At one time all the people of the world spoke the same language and used the same words. 2 As the people migrated to the east, they found a plain in the land of Babylonia and settled there.

3 They began saying to each other, “Let’s make bricks and harden them with fire.” (In this region bricks were used instead of stone, and tar was used for mortar.) 4 Then they said, “Come, let’s build a great city for ourselves with a tower that reaches into the sky. This will make us famous and keep us from being scattered all over the world.”

5 But the Lord came down to look at the city and the tower the people were building. 6 “Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them! 7Come, let’s go down and confuse the people with different languages. Then they won’t be able to understand each other.”

8 In that way, the Lord scattered them all over the world, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why the city was called Babel, because that is where the Lord confused the people with different languages. In this way he scattered them all over the world.

I wanted to write some prosy thing about this process, but I just don’t have it in me.  Instead, I am going to share the email I sent to someone who is sort of counseling me at the moment.  Here goes:

Phew.  This has been a tough week.  Still reeling from the smashed tower and wondering what to do next, the day after the last image I sent you (which would have been Wednesday) I sat down again and asked the Lord to revel himself to me.  This is what I got:

Part 1- No other Gods before me.
The scripture is Exodus 20:2-17.  The purple squiggly on top is Sovereign God.  The bottom left hand corner spiral is the Holy Spirit.  As the colors spiral inward the Holy Spirit is infusing himself with me.  I am in the center in the red.  I am not sure if the red represents anger/rage, or my heart, maybe both.  If you notice the majority of the spiral is in blue and moves to purple then to red.  All of the words of the scripture are moving inward from the HS into the center.  I felt that God was making clear that I am putting something before him.  But I really did not want to know what.

Part 2- Ouch! That hurts!
I met with someone I look up to on Thursday because I wanted to express some hurt and anger about some things that had happened.  I had something I was holding onto for the past 5 years that was still hurting me.  I wanted to be able to let go, but God wasn’t letting me let go.  So, I finally (after much goading from a friend) met with this person.  She told me she thought I had an attitude problem, an anger problem, and she I was held back from going forward in leadership because of this.  She said that I can have my opinions, and even feel anger, but she said that I am not very honoring in my approach to expressing my anger.  This, of course, hurt me and my ego.  I also felt frustrated because I only really feel anger is when I feel an injustice has been served to  me.  For a couple of days I felt distraught, anger, frustration, and more anger.  And I really did not want to ask God about this because I was sure I wasn’t going to like what I heard.

Part 3- The dream
Right before I woke up Saturday morning I had a most vivid dream.  Usually there are 3 signs that the dream was from God: 1. It was vivid, 2. It stays with me all day, 3. I can still remember it the next day.  Here is how the dream went: My husband was carrying our child because I could not after a certain part of the pregnancy.  We were in a hotel room that was more like an apartment.  It was time to deliver the baby, but it had to be done by c-section and I was the only one there to do the procedure.  I felt a little panicked, rushed, but confident that I could handle a dangerous procedure on my own.  I was rushing around to get the room ready putting out towels to soak the inevitable flow of blood and for the baby.  I was also changing my clothes into something more appropriate for handling surgery.  As I was removing my stockings, my husband said that he was waiting for someone to arrive.  He had called on another nurse, someone more qualified to handle the surgery.  I was very upset with him and threw a little temper tantrum.  I said, “I can’t believe you called someone else!!”  He said that someone who was qualified for this needed to be there to handle “multiple points of infection”.  I immediately awoke from this dream in a panic.  I knew almost immediately this was from God.

Part 4- The Revelation
Yesterday, I sat down and wrote out some thoughts I was having because I felt like the faith issue that you talked with me about, and the anger issue were related.  The dream was key to making that connection, but I still didn’t know why.  And, I was feeling angry with God.  So I wrote out a few things that I was feeling including the dream.  The first question I posed to myself was “What are the correlations?” between the anger issue and the faith issue.  Then I wrote out the possibilities which are:
  • I feel angry that I cannot just “handle” things myself.
  • God is saying he is “qualified” to handle things, and I am not.
  • I feel angry at injustices
  • Sometimes the lack of blessing feels like an injustice, especially when I feel that I have done what is required of me.
  • I feel angry at God.
  • I feel mistrustful of others.
  • I feel misunderstood.
  • What is the root of this?
  • I have an “I can (and now I think “must” is part of this) take care of myself” attitude.  That doesn’t jive with God.  I feel I have, and continue to be, treated unfairly, and unjustly by others.
  • Am I my own God (in this area)?
Then I wrote: Why do I care about injustice and fairness towards myself?  To the point of expressing anger?  Why do I feel God has treated my unjustly?  I feel I don’t deserve what has happened to me and angry at God for not stopping it.   Which is ridiculous since a deep understanding of pain makes me more sympathetic (and empathetic) toward others pain.  I believe this but find it difficult to accept.  Is this where “be the exclamation point, not the question mark” comes in?

So, yesterday afternoon, I sat down with my sister and we talked about why we want so badly to be heard.  We agreed it was because we weren’t heard as children, or as adults in our younger years.  I am driven to keep making my point until I feel I have been heard, which leads others to believe that I am trying to “get my way”, which is not my usual intention.  Then I began to wonder if, as Christians, we have a “right’ to be heard.  Meaning: Do others really need to hear my thoughts and opinions?  My sister felt that in some situations it was important to be understood.  But, perhaps in most situations it was not so important to be heard by others.  Then she came up with this scripture, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouth, but only what is good for giving necessary teaching, and for grace to those who give ear.” Ephesians 4:29.  Then I found the rest of that chapter “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.  Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:30, 31.

Part 5- The Conclusion
Obviously, I need to rely solely on the Holy Spirit to guide my words when I feel strongly about something, which, somewhere deep inside of me, makes me unhappy.  So I am coming to grips the full meaning of this revelation.  I expect that I will be fully on board with this soon enough.  So here is my conclusions on this matter:
  • It takes faith to trust that God is fully capable of handling whatever comes my way.
  • I need to rely on Him for revelation on how to handle a situation
  • I am not God in my life.  Only He must be.
  • My words must be tempered with love, honoring, cherishing, encouraging, full of grace.
  • Since I am woman of strong opinion and passion, I must go to Him EVERY SINGLE TIME I have a struggle to temper my reactions before I speak or do anything.

So there you have it.  Like I said: Phew!