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…

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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.

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Surreal

I almost can’t imagine that my memories are correct.  Did I live like that?  Did I once try to measure every word that came out of my mouth for fear some strange little something would cause an explosion that would end up in pain and degradation?  It seems surreal to look back now.  The memories are often shadowy.  They seem to be blurry around the edges, trying to hide things I once thought were best forgotten.  I have come to understand in the last year or so that I wasn’t quite as “okay” as I thought I was with all of this stuff.  I discovered that I wasn’t quite as strong as I pretended to be and that unnerved me.  Someday I think I will be telling you that story.  I can look back and almost laugh now – just almost…

This evening I was searching for an image dealing with abuse.  The images of abuse were so shocking to me, they made me sick to my stomach and they made me feel ashamed.  The images brought to mind a number of years ago when I was asked to briefly talk about my life during the abusive periods.  As I look back now I realize that my answers were spat out with much anger and hatred.  I used to relive a bit of the past each time that I discussed my former life.  I would get angry at the unfairness of it all, angry when I remembered the pain and the fear and for me, most angry at the complete loss of control that I felt in my life.  Everything just seemed to be in a perpetual spin cycle and life was just a dizzy mess most of the time.

I began to ask myself the same questions that people who haven’t been touched by abuse ask.  I realize now that if I was not careful the questions would add more guilt and could easily shred my self-esteem.  I felt that I had to answer these questions for myself once and for all and deal with everything that came with them.

1.       How did I let it happen?  I no more willingly “let it happen” than I would willingly have a car accident.  It just started happening and I was never taught what to do when someone abused me.  I defended myself as much as possible from the physical blows, but the verbal blows were impossible to ward off.

2.       How could I not have seen that I was being manipulated or controlled?  Lack of experience in the field.  No one had ever tried to control me before.  Besides, my life was all about choosing my words carefully and trying to respond appropriately to life around me.

3.       Why did I feel such shame over something that was not my own doing?  I believe that the shame came because the very person who was supposed to love me the most in the world deemed me fit only to receive treatment that was worse than anything I could ever fathom.  There must be something wrong with me…

4.       Why did I work so hard to hide the evidence from everyone in my life?  I didn’t want people to ask questions – they would surely see that I was a lousy wife and deserved what had been delivered.

5.       Why on earth did I stay? This was a hard question to answer.  I took a lot of time and the following is what I have come to understand about myself. I imagine that others have similar reasons and sometimes a lot more.

a.       SHAME – as mentioned above, there is a serious deep-rooted shame that (for me) grew from the first incident.

b.      A breakdown of my self-esteem and the feeling of complete UNWORTHINESS.  He loved me once and I just didn’t think I deserved any better. I had to have done something to deserve what was happening.  I couldn’t make sense of it any other way.

c.       FEAR
i.      of being alone– no one else would ever care about me.  The experiences that I had during that time filled my head with hopelessness that there was any other way.
ii.      of going to Hell – at that time in my life, my beliefs said that divorce equaled Hell*.  There was no other way – I thought I had to accept that this was the life I had chosen and I had to live it.

*Now, I don’t think that divorce is God’s first or best plan for any of us – but I no longer see it as unpardonable.  To me, saying that divorce is unpardonable is like saying that the blood of Jesus Christ is not good enough to cover it.  That it was the one thing that He wouldn’t forgive – it just affected too many people to deserve to be forgiven.    Nothing in our lives deserves to be forgiven, but He forgives us anyway and tosses those in the sea of His forgetfulness.  Oh my, as my hubby says – I am going down a dangerous bunny trail.  I will say this and then I will get back to the real business at hand.  Take a look at the people that God used throughout the bible, there are murderers, adulterers, and all types of characters that we might deem unworthy to be forgiven, unworthy to be used of God.  I thank God that I don’t make those judgment calls – they are left for the One true God who is perfect in all things.

During my marriage, every incident caused me to die a little inside.  It was the strangest feeling.  I could almost feel my heart shriveling up around the edges with every blow.  Soon I became withdrawn and almost zombie like.  I was always trying to walk an invisible line that kept moving.  I felt like I was just going through the motions most of the time.  I seemed to always be desperately trying to find the right motions, the right reactions that would in turn get the right reaction from my abuser.  I just wanted peace.

As I was searching for the image I was confronted with images of horrible abuse and pain.  It seems so far away from my life today.  For many years I tried to forget it but couldn’t.  Now sometimes I try to retrieve something seemingly innocent from my mind and I come up blank.  It is almost like I have somehow put a lock on that part of my mind and thrown away the key or at least it has been hidden amongst the haziness of this time in my mind.  Our minds seem to be very good at crafting protection.

There was one other thing that I noticed again when I was looking through images that represented pain, anger and most assuredly, hopelessness.  I was once again justifying or minimizing my abuse.  As I looked at pictures of people covered in blood, with broken bones, with tears of sorrow streaming down their tortured faces, I told myself that what I experienced wasn’t that bad.  The internal conversation continues and something tells me that I shouldn’t really even say that I was abused; that I had no right to say that.

I recently came to believe that this justifying or minimizing was just another form of protection.  I began believing that it helped me to not feel victimized and out of control.  God is showing me that this is faulty thinking on my part.  In a book that I read recently (I believe that it was one of Sharon Jayne’s books) there was a suggestion that we can apply a few words to our thoughts to see if they line up with God’s view of things.  These words are simply “in Jesus name”.  So, I tried that on for size. “In Jesus name all of the different types of abuse that I suffered at the hands of others was not really a big deal.  Those incidents are nothing to get my drawers in a wad over and nothing to cry over.”  Hmmmmmm….  Nope – that just doesn’t sound right to me.  So then, if it isn’t truly my thought what is it?  It is a lie from the enemy of my soul.  he sees that I am headed down the road to healing and wholeness and that makes him mad.  If this enemy can get me to believing that what happened wasn’t really such a big deal then he will soon have me believing that I actually did deserve the things that happened.

he is trying to pull every trick in the book but it just isn’t going to work on me.  I might get turned around for a second, but God is the chief voice in my head and He says that if I resist the devil he MUST FLEE.  he can’t bother me, I don’t have to keep suffering with the thoughts he tries to plant in my brain.  he is just wasting his time planting those seeds in shallow ground – the word of the living God points out his lies and gives me the power and the choice to uproot the lies.  Make no mistake, I meant to say the choice.  I have the choice of living in self-pity, shame and sorrow over what happened to me so long ago or I can choose to forgive the trespasses, let God work His miracles in knowing who I am through Christ and moving out of the place of being a victim and into the place of restoration.  That isn’t going to change what happened, history can’t be rewritten.  But it will and it has changed my life and how I feel every moment of every day.  I have chosen to start the road to victorious living and I know that I will be successful because I have got Jesus holding my hand all the way.

I am coming out of the shadows and into the light of His glorious love.  This is a process that cannot be rushed I am finding.  I have to wait until God begins to speak to me about little things, such as He did tonight, before I start exploring them.  Otherwise, I am trying to get ahead of Him.  He knows the timing that is right for my heart and mind to be able to work its way through these things.

I mentioned this in my last post and it is worth mentioning again.  All of the revelations, realizations and healing that I talk about starts with inviting God to walk more closely than ever beside you.  If you trust Him and truly desire to fight for your freedom, for your sanity, for your victory – invite Him.  I keep trying to figure out how my slow journey to wholeness began but I really can’t.  I just know that it started.  It continues now because I am willing to confront memories when they come and because I know that God is by my side and I can lean on His strength when mine fails me.  It continues because more than anything in this world, I want to be completely obedient to Him and to His leading.  I want to be exactly who He wants me to be, nothing more – but certainly nothing less.  I don’t want to have to face Him once I get home and know that He had to give the job that He assigned to me to someone else because I wouldn’t do it.

 

Jesus

He is reaching out to you today...

 

Choices.  Will you choose to fight for your own victory?  Don’t let yourself grow too weary, He will strengthen you.  The ONLY thing that can keep you from succeeding in gaining your victory, your freedom, is you and your choices.

 

 

Romans 8:35-39 (NIV) says “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written:  “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”   No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  Emphasis is mine.

Isaiah 41:10 says “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Finally, 2 Corinthians 2:9 says “But He said unto me, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.”  Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

Choose to start living victoriously if you have not already.

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…

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