Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Why Do I Have to Suffer From Abuse?

Break Free From the Cycle of Abuse

When I first started writing, it was my goal to tell my own personal story as a way of reaching those who have suffered from abuse, and those who have been abusers as well. I wanted other survivors to understand that they can have hope. I wanted abusers to understand that their actions have profoundly devastating and long-lasting effects, but they too can have hope.

Being a survivor of abuse, I've experienced what I view as "typical" challenges. I went through periods of trying to make sense of it, blaming myself and others, and questioning God as to why it all happened.  By telling my story, I am hoping that others will see that life does not have to remain a challenge.

I was also diagnosed with Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.  The diagnosis does present some not so "typical" challenges.  I tried the usual treatment plans without success.  So I have set out to try some non-traditional methods of managing my symptoms.  Currently there is no "cure" for PTSD.

Sometimes the most difficult person to share the truth of having a relationship with the Creator is the one who has suffered from or inflicted upon another such traumatic events as physical, emotional, sexual, spiritual abuse and neglect.  The lasting effects of abuse can create a calloused heart and an emotional "wall" that is difficult to penetrate.  The greatest tragedy of abusive situations is folks tend to blame God for such suffering or behavior, but God is the very One Who can take away the pain!

I am a (non-traditional) follower of Jesus Christ, and I did question God about my abuse.  I really just wanted to understand why I had to suffer so much and for so many years. I looked for answers in scripture.  A lot of abuse survivors either quit believing, refuse to believe in or even blame God for their trauma.  I am glad that I did not turn away from God, because ultimately God is the reason why I have made progress.

So what did I find when I looked for an answer to the question of "Why was I abused"?

When we consider an abusive situation, we might find that being a victim of abuse or an abuser carries back to previous generations within a family.  It becomes a cycle of abuse/victim abused/abuser over and over.  Self-worth is destroyed and a feeling of hopelessness can set in, both for a victim and an abuser.  It is time to take a stand and put the blame where the blame lies, and it lies with sin.  Sin re-visits generations of families (Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18), and the accuser (darkness or "satan") walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he can destroy (1 Peter 5:8).  But know this, sometimes suffering is allowed so that through your suffering God may be glorified.  (I must admit, this is a hard truth for me to accept.)

As He passed by, He saw a man blind from birth.  And His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'  Jesus answered, "It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him."  John 9:1-3 (ESV).
In this story we have a man born blind, and because of the understanding that sin brings suffering and sin from parents can lead to suffering throughout generations (Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18), the disciples' asked Jesus what caused this man's blindness, his sin or his parents' sin.  Notice how the Master Jesus responded, ". . . that the works of God might be displayed in him," or that the man born blind might be used as a vessel to carry a testimony of God's healing power.  Jesus healed his blindness and the man who was blind no more carried the Good News to others!  So sometimes we suffer not as punishment, but that God might use us as a vessel for His Good Purpose!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.  Romans 8:28 (NIV).
If you have suffered, perhaps God has a purpose for you.  According to Scripture, there are at least four reasons why we could be suffering:

  • Our own mistakes
  • The mistakes of our ancestors
  • The darkness is looking to draw you away from God
  • We are being prepared to do good works according to God's purpose

But what about abusers?

Paul (originally called Saul) persecuted Christians (Acts 8:1-3) before he met Jesus Christ on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9:1-6), he was an abuser before his conversion to a follower of Christ.  After his conversion, he still continued to suffer, but he became a powerful messenger for the Christ.

In 2nd Corinthians 12:7-9, Paul asks three times to be healed, and three times he is denied.  Paul was still struggling with his ego (to boast or not to boast), so to prevent him from becoming conceited, he was still afflicted.  Notice in the conversation between Jesus and Paul about the "thorn" in his flesh, and Jesus' response:

But He [Jesus] said to me [Paul], 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV).
Once you are one of God's children, "HIS power is made PERFECT in your weakness" (2 Corinthians 12:9).  One thing has to happen first, though. You must get to know God, and accept Jesus Christ and what He did for you, so that you can spend eternity in the presence of God in Heaven!  Then He WILL use you for His Good Purpose, if you surrender to His will.

Become His child and allow Him to be your Father in Heaven and He will restore your soul and guide you in the path of righteousness, even in the face of your enemies! (Psalm 23:1-6).  So what good purpose could possibly come out of being a victim or a perpetrator of abuse?

  • Who could be a witness to a victim better than a victim who has overcome adversity and been healed by the love of Jesus Christ?
  • Who could be a witness to an abuser better than an abuser who found forgiveness through Jesus Christ and turned away from their sin?
  • Who could be a witness to an abuser better than a victim who has found the strength to forgive their abuse because of Jesus Christ?

A survivor of abuse can become a walking billboard for success.  I know because I have been there!  I have been set free through Jesus Christ, the Great Physician:

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.  Psalm 147:3 (NIV).
He is near to the broken-hearted.  Psalm 34:18 (NIV).
The same offer is extended to abusers.  Anyone who will seek God through Jesus the Christ can find a transformation in their hearts and lives.  If you would like to know more about your worth as a child of God, please visit and read "Father's Love Letter" at http://www.fathersloveletter.com for your free downloadable copy.  The folks at Father's Heart Communications did a wonderful job summing up God's love for His children!  Thank you to Father's Heart Communications for putting this group of verses together in such a beautiful way!  You will see just exactly what it means to be a child of God!

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Friday, August 24, 2012

The Love of the Whippoorwill

I heard the song of two whippoorwill early this morning.

One called out to the left of me and the other answered from my right. Their conversation circled around my head in a whirlwind of melody before the silence came.  My heart felt the loneliness of the winged caller when the echo to my right failed to respond.

I sat outside contemplating the meaning in the sadness as the bird to my left continued his devoted song with no response.  As I sat in solitude, I heard the second bird responding once again.  But this time the location had changed, and hope returned to both the caller and to me.

The calling bird continued to sing from my left and the second bird could be heard straightway in front of me!  She was making her way to her caller while singing her name and the name of her love within the anthem of her call!  There is such a gentle sweetness in the way GOD made nature so beautiful!

It is amazing how two songbirds can find one another just by having a conversation!

I haven't heard the call of a whippoorwill since I was a teenager . . .

Feel the Call of the Whippoorwill,

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Should the Opinions of Others Really Matter?

Alleviation © 2016
Art Prints Available: Alleviation

Alleviation means to make something easier to endure.

By definition alleviation implies the presence of suffering or anguish.  Conforming to the opinions of others can create internal conflict.  However, struggling with acceptance can be alleviated by letting go of the need to conform to the opinions or unwritten "standards" that others have set for you.

Whether the opinions of others should really matter to me or not is something I have struggled with for many years.  You see, I used to be a "people pleaser".  If someone wanted me to be less opinionated, I would be less opinionated.  If someone wanted me to dress in lace and frills, I would dress in lace and frills.  (NOT a good thing for a "tomboy"!)  It seemed as though I was all too willing to bend and fit the mold of what others thought I "ought to be".  Was I really THAT worried about what other people think?  Evidently I was, because I was quick to "conform" to the opinions of others.

Never change who you are so others will like you.  Be yourself and the right people will love you.  Unknown.

I suppose there is a positive quality in being "flexible".  But the problem with bending too much is that over time you get lost in the identity of what others want you to be and completely lose yourself in the labels they thrust upon you.  So you see, if you worry too much about the opinions of others . . . you will find that eventually you become misplaced in one of the self-limiting boxes that someone else has tried to put you in.

Before you realize it, you are trapped inside the prison of conformity . . . in a place where you will never reach your full potential!  Do not be afraid to grow into yourSELF!  Perhaps it is better to think outside the box, have your own opinions and be who you were always meant to be!  Your driving force to achieve your personal goals should be set by you, at your own pace, and not by others.

Through my experiences I have learned that it is indeed very, VERY difficult to pretend to be something that you're not . . . or worse still, to pretend that you're NOT something you truly are. You are how God made you, and the opinion of the One who made you is the one that should REALLY matter!

Of course there are two sides to every coin!  If you always behave in a manner that is unbecoming, flitting through life without a care or worry about what others think, you might just find yourself alone.  But hey!  If you are okay with that . . .

Seriously though . . . if you know who YOU are, and you believe that God is OKAY with who you are, then why should it matter if someone thinks you are opinionated, or if you are a little rough around the edges?  Why should it matter if you like to watch cartoons, or cry during Star Trek?  (NOT talking about "myself" here, of course! Hahahaha!)  Why should it matter if you think there is more to the universe and God than what you've ever been told?

(DEFINITELY talking about myself here . . . )

I have been thinking about this particular mountain in my life for quite some time.  When I first started blogging three years ago, it didn't take long for me to be attacked by my "brothers and sisters" for some of my beliefs. I'd been told that God only "speaks" through the Bible and that miracles just don't happen.

Well, I have seen miracles happen . . . miracles in my own life and absolutely BEAUTIFUL transformations in the lives of others.  I have seen pain and suffering alleviated by the Unseen.  I have seen people crawl out of the darkness from suffering to shining lights with unbelievable motivation that made others question, "HOW?" Miracles are how. Miracles alleviate suffering and give people emotional strength and courage that's almost superhuman!

So I will ask you . . . should the opinions of others really matter?  Should only the good ones matter?  Should only the bad ones matter?  Or should we only desire to care about what we think of ourselves and what our Creator thinks of us?

By the way . . . I am not trying to sway your opinion . . . just merely stating my own . . .  after all, I am opinionated!  ; )

Know your own worth!

Update:  Added "Alleviation" © 2016 (Abstract Art).   Creating this image reminded me of the confusion that comes with conforming to the others' IDEA of you.  Somewhere, beneath the confusion, is the REAL you!  So #beYOU already! 💖✨

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Dance . . .

Dance to the beat of your own drum.  Don't let anyone tell you it can't be done.  G. Batiste. 

No one knows how to be you better than . . . YOU!

Love being yourself!

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