A Story About Faith and Authority

I want to tell you a little story about faith and our authority in Christ.

There are so many pits that we can fall into in this life.  A couple weeks or so ago,
I LITERALLY fell/stepped into a pit in a pitch black room (actually a trench but you get the gist).

trench

In 2003 I ruptured my L 3/4 4/5 and have been quite careful with my back since that time.  Once the reality of what had just happened registered in my mind, I began to think about how injured I was going to be.  Having had ruptured discs in the past, I knew that normally you do not jar your back, even a little bit, without serious consequences.

I crawled out of the trench and, thinking strictly in the natural, prepared myself for a serious problem with my back.  It took almost a week for it to get serious but it did, I could hardly walk or do anything else without being in agony.

You don’t always know the extent of a back injury immediately and I thought that I would be very lucky to be able to walk the next day.  It took almost a week for the real pain to start but when it did, it came with a vengeance.  The doctor said that the pain was likely delayed because my back had clenched and as long as it stayed in that clenched state, I didn’t feel the extent of the injuries.  It was only after a massage that the muscles be an to relax and the pain hit hard.

I have been hobbling around in pain as I tried to go about my daily life. Tim took over walking the dog because it just hurt me too badly.  He also took over lots of the other things I typically do in the house because I just couldn’t do them anymore.  I was doing everything I knew to do and had been told to do and the pain would not relent.

Sunday rolled around and I was dreading church because it is the place that I was most uncomfortable.  The pews put my back in a terrible position where I couldn’t find any relief.  I am so glad I didn’t give in to staying home because the Lord had a word for me.  Tim’s message was called Walking in Authority.  He talked about how we have the same authority to do things that Jesus did while on this Earth, to take authority over things that did not positively affect their lives.  One of his points highlighting this authority was when Jesus commanded the fig tree to never bear fruit again because it had no fruit at their time of need.  There was so much more to this message that is important about the absolute need to know the Father’s will in order to use this authority and reasons why your authoritative prayer might not have been/might not be answered (message is up on the ECC website Thursday or Friday if you want to listen).

As he was speaking, if occurred to me that if I truly believed what he was saying, I had authority to command my back to stop causing me agony and to start operating as God designed it to do.  I grabbed ahold of that truth and did just that.  Instantly, I could feel the difference and had relief for the first time in at least 1.5 weeks from the terrible pain.  The longer I sat ‘testing it’, the better it felt.

You see, God healed me of problems with my back that stemmed from the surgery (i.e. scar tissue) years ago so I KNEW that God’s will was NOT for me to be limited in my life by back pain..  I realized that my reaction and expectation when I fell was totally without faith.  It was a completely natural reaction and for someone God hadn’t already touched, understandable.  I should have crawled out of that trench and supernaturally laid claim the healing that had already been provided instead of just accepting the natural consequences/repercussions.

Still, God held my hand and shined a brighter light on this truth.  He did it without anger at my not immediately turning to Him, He did it without shaming me, He did it so that I could live life and live it more abundantly.  He did it, not because I deserved it (hardly!), but because He loves me.  He loves you just the same.

One more quick thing:  if I had not recently participated in a study of Christine Caine’s book Unashamed, I don’t think that I would have clued in to a message saying that I have the same authority as Christ.  God’s timing is perfect!  He pointed me to that study preparing me for the message that Tim was going to give last Sunday.  And by the way, the message was something like 109 in a series on the life of Jesus done chronologically so don’t think this was all coincidental, we have a great God working on the finest details of our lives.  Believe it!

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God Blessed The Broken Road…

This blog has been quite some time in the making…  I started it ages ago during my lunch break at work.  I keep pulling it out and reading it and just was not released to finish and post it.  Tonight while visiting with a lovely friend, the discussion turned to how looking back we can see how things worked together to bring us to where we are now – and the Lord said, “Finish it now.” – so here goes…

*******

The realization hit me hard…  After a lifetime of frustration at hearing/reading “be thankful in everything”, I finally got it.

Last year I had the privilege of hearing Kim Phuc (The Girl in the Picture) speak about forgiveness and healing.  Ms. Phuc helped me to realize that, although I had made great strides in forgiveness and healing, I had even further to go.  She talked of forgiving and praying for the man who was responsible for the lifetime of horrible pain that she had endured.  (I wrote about this just over a year ago:  https://krislukings.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/do-scars-hurt/)

My mind heard that she prayed for him daily, but my heart would not accept this – could not fathom this.  It was clear to me that this in itself was a problem.  I would like to say that I immediately corrected my ways, that I started praying for the person (people) responsible for my abuse in the past – but I cannot say that.  I started praying for the strength to want to do that, that I could begin  to release whatever made me feel the extreme resistance that I felt as Ms. Phuc spoke.  Slowly but surely as I allowed, the Lord began to do a work in me.  After sometime, I began praying for my abusers.  It was strictly an act of obedience and submission in the early days.  God has been faithful to meet my willingness with more healing and more understanding.

Still, when I would hear someone talking about “being thankful in all things” I would get my back up and become defensive.  I still couldn’t quite wrap my head around how I was supposed to be thankful for the pain of the past.

A few days ago as I drove home, the song “God Bless the Broken Road” came on the radio.  I was a bit surprised at first because I hadn’t thought of it as a song that would be played on a Christian station.  Then the Lord told me to listen closely, and here is what I heard:

“I set out on a narrow way, many years ago
Hoping I would find true love, along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow, kept pushing through
I couldn’t see how every sign, pointed straight to you”

By the time Rascal Flatts got to the line “But I got lost a time or two” the tears started to stream down my face.  I got lost a lot more than a time or two, but I kept pushing through.  I took great pride in how I could take care of myself – didn’t need anyone else.  Broken roads often lead to more broken roads and more broken roads and, well – I suppose that you get he picture.

“I think about the years I spent, just passing through
I’d like to have the time I lost, and give it back to you
But you smile and take my hand
You’ve been there you understand
It’s all a part of a grander plan, that is coming true”

More tears flooded over me.

“Every long lost dream led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way, into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.

Now I am just rolling home
Into your loving arms
This much I know is true,
God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you.”

At last I got it and I can say wholeheartedly that I am thankful for the broken road that has been my life.  I was flooded with such a peace – you know, that kind that surpasses all understanding – yeah, that kind.  How I wish that I had the time back that I wasted on so many broken roads!

For the first time in my life I felt the true sense that the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful had been mixed up – molding me into who I am today.  I am so thankful that “And we know that all things work together for good for those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose” – Romans 8:28  is so true.

So thankful

  • that he brought me through it all,
  • that He is taking all the bad and using those experiences to teach me about others,
  • to make me more empathetic to those who are suffering,
  • to help me help those who feel like they are the only ones,
  • to help those who feel like the abuse is their fault or that it is deserved, and
  • that I am alive and on the right road!

I finally understand how all the different, horrible roads that I have traveled were leading me back to Him, back to the One who gave up everything for me.  How every instance of abuse, every time that I fell because I was trying to do it on my own or because I couldn’t follow the rules closely enough – all of those things were signs or northern stars pointing me back to the One who loves me perfectly.

I had always thought of this song as a nice love song.  It fits how I feel about my husband -there were so many broken roads (for me) before we met.

But the Lord showed me that although it was indeed a love song – it wasn’t about finding the love of my life and having the privilege of marrying & serving alongside him.  It was about finding the Lover of my soul, about Him taking the mess that I had made out of my life and turning it into something beautiful.

It was and is about recognizing that God truly has blessed the broken road that led me back to Him.

Put Your Baggage Down!

For some time now I have been contemplating how connected healing is to willingness to forgive the source of abuses and painful memories.  The more that I think about their connection, the more that I believe that healing is actually contingent on forgiveness.  If I had not come to a place where I could conceive forgiving the ones responsible for the pain and painful memories – I don’t believe that my heart would have been truly in a place where it could be healed completely.

I have talked with my husband Tim many times about the journey of healing that God is walking with me.  I have said so many times that I wish I could identify steps for people to begin taking so that they too can be on the road to healing instead of stuck in the past – stuck in the pain.  But I couldn’t really identify exactly how or when I began this journey.   I just realized one day that I was walking this road named Forgiveness and that the longer I chose to stay on this same road, the easier the walking became.

Tim’s message this morning was really awesome and was based on the text Philippians 3:10-13.  “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.  Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”  (Emphasis mine)

Tim also used the text Matthew 6:33 ”But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”

As he was delivering the message, realization began to flood into my mind and at last I understood how and when my journey started.  When I began to focus more on knowing and pleasing God (straining toward what is ahead) I began to forget what was behind me.  When I began to care more about what I did with God in my life and what God wanted to do with my life – I stopped looking backwards and focusing on the pain that was inflicted on me, on the old wounds that still often festered and infected every part of my life.

Please don’t misunderstand me here.  My memory wasn’t wiped clean.  I didn’t suddenly have a case of amnesia that allowed me to forget all of the bad times in my life.  It was more like a choice that I made, with God’s help, to move the magnifying glass from the dark times over to the good things in my life.  Instead of dwelling in the dark memories I began walking toward new memories – toward what was ahead.

Tim said this morning “The spiritually hungry aren’t hung up in the past; they are anticipating what God has for them now and to come!”  Bingo.  I got hungrier than I have ever been in my life – I was desperate.  I started looking at God instead of looking backwards and suddenly the past began to grow dimmer and dimmer.

He also pointed out that it is vitally important to forget our past identities and move forward.  This particularly struck me…  That would mean that we also have to forget the past identities of those who have abused us or hurt us and move forward.  That is powerful.

If I can’t forgive the abuse and hurts of the past, I cannot move forward.

If I am not constantly straining toward what is ahead by moving forward in Christ, I am bound to look backwards.

We all have baggage in our lives from one thing or another.  Whether yours is/was abuse, financial distress or whatever your baggage may be, God is saying to stop looking at circumstances, stop looking at the past and look at Him, the One who is able to do immeasurably more than we can ask or imagine.  He is inviting you to walk closely with Him looking forward and never backward.

So put your baggage down
there is rest and healing in this place – in Christ.

Rest for the weary

Don’t spend another moment looking into the past and dwelling on the pain that lives there.  Allow God to come to you and flood your life with love and peace and joy.

Thanks for the message honey, once again it got me thinking about how to do things better/differently; it got me thinking about straining for what is ahead and forgetting what is behind.

I have a song floating through my head this afternoon.  I don’t think that it will ever cease to be true and that is okay.  “He’s still working on me, to make me what I ought to be.  It took Him a week to make the moon and the stars, the sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.  How loving and patient He must be…  He’s still working on me.”  43 years and counting…

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.  Any personal messages that I receive will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

How Could It Be Okay?

Tim is reassuring me over the phone “It is okay.  Everything is okay.”  I am screaming back into the phone “NO IT’S NOT!  IT’S NOT OKAY!  YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”  Totally hysterical, sobbing and almost hyperventilating, I can’t seem to get a grip on myself…  How can I?  In the past it wouldn’t have been okay – it would have been the beginning of another nightmare.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – or a flashback of sorts – I am not sure what to call what happened.  Whatever happened, I didn’t know that I could or would have something like that.  I know that it took me years to not flinch when someone was nearby and moved too quickly; that I still feel the need to apologize for every stupid thing that happens, regardless of the fact that it may or may not have anything to do with me directly.  I don’t know what it was – but it was completely unnerving I must tell you.  It has taken me some time to understand exactly what had happened.

Here is an inside view of my one (and I sure hope) only episode:

It was a Monday; my husband Tim had just started his position at a new church out of town.  Because of the distance, he

macro water drop

Image by Tanya Puntti via Flickr

would be staying a few days in our soon to be new city.  I have always credited myself for being strong and perfectly able to take care of myself so this didn’t seem like a big deal to me.  I came home from work, had dinner and was having a normal evening.  Normal until I decided to retrieve something from the basement office.  As I am rummaging around my desk for the item, I hear drip, drip, drip. I step out of the office and into the washroom to find the source of the noise.  I immediately see little drips of water from the ceiling falling into the base of the shower.  My first thought was how lucky I was that it was dripping into the shower instead of getting anything else wet.  I look up to see the ceiling sagging over the shower – not good.  After consulting with Tim, I got a ladder and a hammer so that I could gently remove the hanging piece of ceiling and see what was really happening.

As I begin to remove the ceiling, the water runs down onto my head.  Lovely…  I can see the leak now – just a slight little drip right at the joint.  It must have been leaking for days to soak the ceiling the way that it did.  It seems that all that needed to happen was to turn the water off to the shower.  Wow – that is a no brainer I thought.  Unfortunately, the plumber who did the shower was about as much of a plumber as I was.  The shut off valves were metal and the pipes plastic.  The weight of the metal was actually pulling itself off of the plastic piping – making the shut-off valve completely ineffective.

Now, if you happen to know me well, you likely saw my status on Facebook later this same night.  I am going to repeat it just in case someone new is reading:  IF YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE THE MAIN WATER SHUT OFF VALVE IS (AND HOW TO USE IT) IN YOUR HOUSE – FIND OUT NOW!!!

So, the plastic piping slips out of the metal shut off valve and wouldn’t you know it, it was the HOT water.  Now pouring down onto my head and scalding me.  I had no idea what to do now, the water was going into the shower and overflowing onto the tile floor.  I got off the ladder and ran around the basement like a mad person trying to figure out what to do.  I tried to call Tim and couldn’t reach him immediately.  In my running back and forth around the basement, I slipped several times and smashed my leg into the ladder.  At this point, water is flowing onto the unfinished basement floor towards the carpet – I run, fall but still get the water stopped before it gets to the carpet.

Now envision this, I am soaking wet – through and through.  The bathroom is drenched – the shower is full (bits of the ceiling are clogging the drain) and the floor is soaked.  Water is still pouring from the pipe hanging from the ceiling…  Finally, I am able to reach Tim.  He directs me to the main shut-off valve and instantly the water stops flowing.

I am trying to explain to Tim what happened – what a mess that everything is and I am sobbing and screaming (or at least screeching).  Tim is reassuring me over the phone “It is okay.  Everything is okay.”  I am screaming back into the phone “NO IT’S NOT!  IT’S NOT OKAY!  YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!”  Totally hysterical, sobbing and as near to hyperventilating as I have ever been, I can’t seem to get a grip on myself…

We hang up.  I start trying to call a couple of our friends from the area who can help with getting the problem fixed and get the water turned back on and finally I got myself cleaned up as much as possible.  As I sit numbly waiting for one of the two guys to come, I begin realize that it is actually going to be okay.

What you need to know is that Tim is the kindest, gentlest man in the world.  Still, these old feelings were suffocating me.  Soon I was afraid again and stayed nervous until he came home a few days later and inspected the mess.  Then he came upstairs and nothing happened.  A sense of relief ran through me that I can’t explain.  Nothing worse was coming – it truly was okay.

It is strange to know someone like I know Tim – to know that, of course it would be okay but to still have such a deep-seated fear that you can hardly breathe.  The Lord really began to speak to me about those things that I had hidden away so well – at least, I thought they were hidden well.  Obviously they were still there, still raw and bleeding and they needed finally to be tended to so that they could mend and heal properly.

If you have ever been involved in wound care, you know that a wound should heal from the inside out – not the outside in.  If it heals from the outside in, infection becomes trapped and can cause so much more damage than the initial injury.  I think that is the way that I tried to heal – I decided that it wasn’t a big deal and closed up the wounds.  All of these years infection has been there and now it is time to allow those wounds to be opened back up – this time to be cleaned out the proper way so that they can heal completely.

You see, what happened was that in the stress of the situation, my mind pulled me back to Alabama; back to a time where everything was my fault and where the price was very high for making/causing such a mess.  It was as if I was instantly transported to a time when I was 15-20 years younger, terrified of making a wrong move and completely isolated when I did.  My mind and my body seemed to go into defense mode.  It took quite some time for the barrier to come down and for me to realize what this incident meant.  Actually, I think that I am still learning from it…

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.  Any personal messages that I receive will be kept in the strictest of confidence.

Also, if you don’t want to miss the next post when it comes, you can sign up to receive these messages in your inbox using the link to the right.

Blessings…

God’s Holy Scooper

The recent writings about my previous life have left me a bit raw.  It feels like there is a cleansing process happening – that the Lord has me opened up and He is scooping out the garbage that was deposited into my heart and mind.

At first I was afraid of this – I was a bit afraid of what would be left when He was finished.  I have been this way for so long.  Would I know how to even be without all of that stuff?  Would I know how to feel about life or how to respond to the things in the world around me?

Would I feel hollow inside?  It hardly seems conceivable to me that all of that stuff could be gone.  It was unsettling to think that way.  The Lord began to show me that because I was uncertain of what was to come, I was not allowing Him to do the work in me that He so longed to do.

I think back to a message that my husband Tim shared recently about the Israelites.  He talked about how, when Moses was on the Mount Sinai spending time with God, the Israelites turned away from God and back to idols.  They convinced Aaron to make a golden calf for them to worship.  (Ex. 32:1-6)

They had been delivered from plagues, from Egypt – God even parted the Red Sea to facilitate their freedom.  They were first hand witnesses to miracle after miracle yet when their spiritual leader was gone for a little while they fell back.  They got their eyes off of God and decided that they needed something to look at – something to worship.

I can’t fathom this, but we know that it is true.  I try to understand why they didn’t just wait for Moses to come back…  Why did they feel this strong desire to have something familiar to worship even though they knew that it was God who brought them through and kept them safe and fed?  But they didn’t wait, they turned back to idols, to religion because it was familiar – they knew what to expect – they could control the out-come.

Choosing to wait on Moses would be out of their comfort level.  They wouldn’t know what to expect and they certainly couldn’t control the out-come.  They were not willing to give over control of their worship or control of their lives to God.  They would rather have the known than the unknown – even if there was pain and slavery and no power for them in the known.  To stay inside their comfort level they gave up freedom and power – and for some, their lives.

Was I doing the same thing with my memories, with  my pain?  Was I holding on to the familiar so tightly that I was not willing to let God work in me because I was afraid of the out-come?  I wasn’t in control of the process so it seemed safer to stick with the familiar than to trust God and allow Him to begin His work in me.  Once again the father of lies had been whispering in my ear, filling my head with these fearful thoughts of the unknown.  Whispering suggestions that I was doing okay now – why not just stay in my comfortable place at least a while longer…

But God’s Word is a lamp unto my feet and He will illuminate the lies of satan if it is truly our hearts desire to follow God.  He has a standing invitation in my life to mess with my thinking, my emotions and any other thing that He sees fit…  I know that He doesn’t start stirring the pot for the sake of stirring.  He starts stirring things up and showing me things for my benefit, so that I can grow in my walk with Him, so that I can heal from things that I didn’t even realize were still hurting me and holding me back.  He stirs things up so that I can fulfill the work that He has laid out for me to do without hesitation.  He stirs things up so that I can be whole and live a life pointing back at Him as my source, my strength, my all.

Back to that cleansing process that I feel like God has started in me.  I truly do feel like God has got a big scooper and He is meticulously scooping out things and we are dissecting them together.  He pulls out a pile of stuff and says “Look Kris – we need to work on that for a bit.”  The work isn’t always easy, but He holds my hand He guides me and helps me when I feel like I just can’t do anymore.

I am no longer afraid of what will be left when He is finished, whenever that may be.  I know that what will be left will be from Him, new attitudes towards the things of the past, new ways of looking at things and new ways of dealing with them.  I know that what will be left when all is said and done what is left will be glorious because it will be a work of His hands – a masterpiece.

I can close my eyes and see that He has other scoopers all lined up.  He will begin to use the smaller ones as we go along until finally there will only be a tiny one that can hardly be seen with the human eye.  He will leave nothing that doesn’t belong inside me – He will work diligently at pulling all of the pain and the lies into the light for dissection.  He will complete a perfect work in me as long as I continue to allow Him to do so – and I will.

I saw this over the Halloween season (and you probably did too).  Just as I was about to publish this post I remembered it…  It is cure and so very true:

Being a Christian is like being a pumpkin.

pumpkin guts

Image by ¡♥ıʞns via Flickr

God lifts you up, takes you in, and washes all the dirt off of you.

He opens you up, touches you deep inside and scoops out all the yucky stuff– including the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc.
Then He carves you a new smiling face and puts His light inside you to shine for all the world to see.

How about you?  Are there things that He wants to dissect with you?  Are you willing to trust Him to go into those deep places and allow Him to begin a work in you?

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.

Also, if you don’t want to miss the next post when it comes, you can sign up to receive these messages in your inbox using the link to the right.

Blessings…

A Humpty Dumpty Kind of Story

I want to tell you a bit about my life now before I get to what my life used to be like.  I guess that you could say that I am starting with the good news first.

The good news of my life is that I truly know the grace and the incredible, abounding love of my awesome God.  He loves me so much more than this human mind can fathom.  He has healed me physically and emotionally to the point that who I was is almost unrecognizable to me now.  He has poured His love into my life in incredible ways and is still working to heal things that are buried deep within this bruised and battered mind and heart.  I am so totally overwhelmed by His love, His grace and His faithfulness.  The more that I allow myself to be covered by His love, the more amazed that I become in the depth and breadth of that love.  I am also amazed by His patience as I walk this road before me, stumbling now and again; He keeps me from falling too far and He always encourages me to continue on.  When invited, He shows me things that I could never have understood on my own and helps me to be a better person that I ever could be without Him.

He has given me the greatest gift that I ever could have imagined in my wonderful husband Tim.  A kind and loving man who, more important than anything, has a heart that seeks after God.  To me, Tim is proof that God gives good gifts to His children – even when they don’t deserve it.

There is a lot more good news – but the information above was important to know before you read further.  The rest isn’t so pretty – but there is good news even in what you will read.  The good news is that God can redeem our pain.  He can take what was meant for evil for us and turn it into something to show His glory.

Now, I feel like I need to give a disclaimer of sorts.  I will be writing about my life quite some time ago so it is going to get quite personal.  As I said, there will be a lot of things that aren’t very pretty.  Some of you are likely going to recognize ‘character or characters’ in my story.  I ask that you remember that this was a very long time ago.  Just as I have changed greatly, they too are not likely the same; I pray that they are not the same.  I ask that you please do not make judgments about them – we must look on them from a position of grace.   Their lives are between them and God just as it is for each of us.  I ask that you seriously let God examine any reaction that you might have to this before you decide to share it with someone else for any reason other than to help someone.

The intent of anything that I write is never to hurt anyone or to tear them down, but to help others who have or maybe still are suffering from abuse.  I want to begin to share my story and the things that God is teaching/showing me so that maybe someone else will see this and they won’t live in the dark and in so much pain for so very long.

Here we go…  I want to take you back in time to a place in time where this all started.  To a place where I had no self-worth and thought that I should be thankful that a boy would like me…  I won’t go into a lot of details about how I got to that point in my lack of self-esteem, you can read a bit about that on my post Have You Ever Felt Like A Fraud?.  I was 15 when I became involved with my first serious boyfriend.  I thought that he treated me okay, although looking back I can identify lots of things about his behaviour as controlling, jealous and a little bizarre.  We were together throughout the remainder of high school and got married within a month of graduation.

Shattered

Image by LexnGer via Flickr

I had lived a sheltered life.  I came from a Christian home and could only recall one argument between my parents – ever.  I don’t know if they were just good at keeping that away from us or if they just didn’t argue.  I don’t want to give the impression that I was perfect because that is certainly not the case.  But imagine going from a nice, peaceful home to a home with your new husband, where peace was all too soon non-existent; where the norm was to learn to be afraid of opening your mouth for fear of saying something wrong that would unleash a rage that you had never known could exist – especially coming from someone who supposedly loved you.

I was confused and felt betrayed.  I became convinced that if I could just be good enough or make him happy enough the abuse would end.  I would have thoughts like “my dad never hit my mother so it must be something that I was doing wrong”.  Each time there was an episode there would be a period of strained quiet afterward.  A time where he would apologize and tell me he didn’t mean to, that he couldn’t help it and then he would manage to convince me that if only I could do things the right way, his way, that everything would be okay.  He would masterfully convince me that it was all my fault, no matter how ridiculous the trigger had been, it was my fault.  Then to tie his little package of guilt up around me he would promise to never let it happen again.

There is a deep shame associated with being abused.  Just as my abuser did, most are able to convince their victims that they are at fault and that adds to the shame.  My family lived all around me, people that I have known all of my life were minutes away – but I didn’t tell them.  I didn’t leave.  I was too ashamed.  How could I let people see the bruises on my body?  How could I let them know what was happening?  A victim of abuse often comes to believe that, because the abuse is their fault, they deserve what they are getting.  The last thing that I could think of doing was telling someone that I loved about the abuse, I was afraid that they would desert me.  I felt like there was something inherently wrong with me – so I hid the bruises and I lied about them if anyone accidentally saw them.

I was saved as a young child and have gone to church as long as I can remember.  My childhood memories of church are of red-faced preachers talking about people burning in hell if they didn’t follow the rules.  I am sure that there must have been different topics – but I don’t remember a single one.  These guys were very good at painting pictures of people screaming in agony as they burned for eternity.  My imagination grabbed a hold of this and I could practically feel the flames licking at my feet every time I made a mistake.

I don’t remember ever being told that God loved me, but maybe I got hung up on the images of the fire.  Unfortunately, any relationship that I had with God was based on fear and guilt.  I never remember knowing that God cared about me, that He wanted to be involved in my everyday life, that He cared about the smallest detail of my day, that I was so precious to Him that He numbered the hairs on my head.  I only knew that there was a set of rules that I could never seem to live up to no matter how hard I tried and tried.  Fear and guilt were not enough to keep me following all of those rules.  I was never involved in alcohol or drugs, but I still had plenty of sin in my life.

As the abuse progressed, I threw myself into work at my church.  I would go as often as the doors were open thinking that if I worked hard enough at church maybe God would fix things.  I was fooling myself into thinking that just because I was spending time at church that I was building a closer relationship with Him.  The illusion of closeness evaporated in the blink of an eye when I discovered that my abuser was involved in an affair with someone from my church.  I was devastated and felt as though I was the one who had done something wrong.  I was hurt, confused and very angry.  I blamed God for all of it; for the abuse, the affair, everything that had gone wrong in my life.  My reasoning at the time was that He is the God of the Universe and He could have stopped any or all of the awful things that happened.  Now I understand that though He is in control, the things that happened to me come from living in a fallen world.  He has given us humans’ free will and we are royally messing things up.  I stayed in my little home town as long as I could take the stares and the pity.  Then I found a way out and ran 1000 miles from home, trying to leave all of the ugliness – and God – behind me.

Not surprising, my life continued to deteriorate further and further.  I soon became involved with another seemingly good guy.  It wasn’t long before the abuse started and I reasoned that my now ex-husband must have been right.  It was all my fault – I did deserve this…  I accepted that and I was just an awful person who didn’t deserve any better and I tried to keep from drowning in this new assault I was experiencing.

For years, I tiptoed around on eggshells and tried to keep things to a minimum roar.  I was hurting so badly but still couldn’t tell anyone.  Now I was living in a new city so far from home.  These people would certainly peg me as trash if they knew about the abuse.  I would keep quiet and suffer in relative quiet for what seems like a lifetime.

As I began to sense that the abuse was escalating I just couldn’t take it anymore.  I finally got the nerve to break-up with this gem of a man and surprisingly got away from him with relative ease.  Now I was without an abuser for the first time in 17 years.  God was speaking and for the first time in a long time, I was listening.  He began to show me that the abuse was not my fault, that I didn’t deserve any of what had happened.  I was His child and He had much better plans for me.  It was then that I realized that even though I thought I left God when I left Alabama, He had never left me.  He had followed me every step of the way, grieving when I was hurting and longing to comfort me.  He was there waiting for my stubborn and angry heart to once again hear Him.

As I began to try to release the trauma of my life to Him, I realized that I had made a near fatal mistake when I blamed Him.  I had put my trust in the people around me, in my church, in my family.  I put my trust in every frail thing around me instead of trusting Him above all else.  I got my eye off the prize.  He began to tell me how He loved me and flooded me with an overwhelming sense of relief and love that I had never known.  For the first time in my life I understood that He loved me, that He wanted to be a part of my life, that He wanted to help me to move beyond my past.

I would like to say that the moment I turned my life back to God He wiped the slate clean and I didn’t have to do anything to be all shiny and new and free.  That just isn’t the way that it is – at least for me.  I have been working hard to turn loose of the hurts and the pain of the past.  It was a long time before someone could move around me that I didn’t flinch or jump.  I don’t like for people to be in my personal space and I am sure that is a remnant from the past as well.  God continues to heal me from all the hurts and I keep thinking that there can’t possibly be more, He shows me that He isn’t quite finished yet.  It has been about 25 years since the first episode of abuse and it still affects me today.  I don’t know when, or if, I will be completely healed here on this Earth.  I will just keep working on things as God reveals them to me.

Soon my husband Tim and I will celebrate our fifth anniversary and I am still amazed that somehow God cared enough to give me my best friend.  The God of the Universe cared enough to cause our paths to cross and to bring this little Alabama girl all the way to Canada to fulfill His calling.  He has shown us His love for us and His faithfulness in our marriage so many times.  We have learned to trust Him to make a way when in the natural, there just wasn’t a way.  Again I say that God gives good gifts to His children.  I know – I am living proof.

Are you wondering about the Humpty Dumpty reference?  I stumbled upon this poem that I have hung onto for at least 20 years and it seemed to describe how I feel about my life perfectly.

Thanks Sharon Wilson! I love it...

Humpty Dumpty

“Good morning Humpty Dumpty Sir,
How amazing, you are still here
By legend you were shattered!
How cohesive you appear!”

Humpty jumped and said with a smile,
“The tale of horses and men wasn’t the end!
The King Himself put me together again!”

He truly did put me back together again when I was fractured and shattered beyond belief.  But for the grace and love of God I don’t know where I would be today.

In wrapping up, I will just say TRUST HIM ALWAYS.  He sees the big picture while we only see fragmented pieces of the puzzle.  Jeremiah 29: 11-13 says “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the LORD.”  Know that God loves you so much.  If you happen to be (or have been) in such a place as this, know that He cares about every little detail in your life.  He is waiting for you to turn to Him for help…

If you want to hang around, I will take you on more of my journey to healing and wholeness as God leads.  Acts 20:24 “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Something that you have to say might help me or someone else on their walk to healing, please leave a comment below if you are comfortable in doing so…  If you would like to contact me directly/privately, you may do so by emailing me at krislukings [at] gmail [dot] com or through Facebook using the link to the right.

Also, if you don’t want to miss the next post when it comes, you can sign up to receive these messages in your inbox using the link to the right.

Blessings…

God Speaks in the Most Unusual Ways…

So, I recently noticed that the thumbnail on my left hand has a small indentation in it. Curious, I thought as I took notice and I ran my finger over it as if to try to understand it. Then there it was, the memory of my thumb being closed in a car door when I was a child. We were just arriving at my grandparents house – excited to be on my way to the county fair with my aunt and my sisters. I am not sure exactly how my thumb was closed in the door – but I will never forget the immediate moments that followed.

Since I found this little scar from my childhood, it seems that I focus on it a lot. I remember the pain that was associated with that injury. I remember how I screamed and cried when the door had to be opened to release my thumb, how the nail turned an array of colours finally turning black and eventually falling off. I remember being amazed that beneath what had become such a grotesque part of me was a brand new nail. At first seemingly perfect with the exception that it was a bit thin and not a lot of protection for a tom-boy such as me… As time progressed, the tom-boy in me was becoming a smaller and smaller part of who I was. I was trying out more ‘girlie’ things and wanted to grow my nails out. Funny, the replacement nail would grow only a little and without fail, it would fracture. I learned to accept that my nails, especially that nail, would never be lovely and feminine. Still, I never noticed the indentation which I am sure now is exactly what causes the fracture to occur in the first place.

As the Lord begins to speak to me about things much deeper than my fingernail, I am as surprised by what I am hearing and finding as I was about the indentation that I somehow missed for over thirty years. The Lord is asking me, “What other damage was there so long ago that you think has healed and maybe, it hasn’t?” “What else has left a mark that inevitably causes things to be fractured?” Most importantly, “Will you let me show you and let me heal those things completely?” Wow.

Why is it that when I trust God with my whole heart, this is a frightening question? I know things that I have hidden away that I don’t want to remember, to me, they are healed. If they aren’t, what will I have to endure to dig them up? I do trust God with my whole heart – with everything that is within me. So truly, why am I afraid? I fear because God never said that life would be painless and I don’t like pain.

However, because I do trust in my Saviour, I know that His plans for me are for good and not for evil. If there are things that He is telling me to deal with, then it is because He loves me and wants me free from even the things that maybe I don’t see with my natural eyes. And more than anything, I want to be the woman that He wants me to be.

Here goes………………..

I would love to hear your thoughts…  Leave me a comment below.

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