May 052016

I sat there as the modem was supposed to be resetting glancing through the pictures of the first few months of my daughters life that are in the album that hasn’t been put away. I could look at the pictures of myself even then and see the exhaustion and depression hidden on my face, the abuse by the smiling and oh so young man standing next to me making it appear as though I was nothing more than tired after delivering a child.

What the pictures miss though is that I was ecstatic to be a mom, even though I was only 17 years old. I was beyond proud of this little accomplishment that had just escaped my body and been placed on my chest, that doesn’t show in the pictures and it makes me sad to think that she will look back one day at the abusive one and see the pain and sorrow in my eyes.

What’s missing are the bruises and the pain, because no one hurts a woman who is over due thinking it won’t be noticed. No one realizes that those frozen moments in time are fraction of a second glimpses into a world that digs deeper than most anyone, including abuse victims, can fathom.

I use the term domestic abuse because people understand that. They don’t understand when I say I was beaten and brainwashed through the teachings of the Bible, raped for “the glory of god” because of my insolence, denied friends and family without supervision, or that when I speak of the phantom shackles that I still feel holding me that I literally mean, I was held tied up, handcuffed, restrained while being used as a “sex slave” and then beaten for refusing.

Yeah, that’s all missed in those pictures, and in the hundreds of others. In fact, the only pictures of any of this have firmly been in the hands of the police since 2005, when I escaped with my children in tow on a cold February night after being raped and nearly killed… escaped. I didn’t leave, I fled for my life, our lives. The pictures the hospital took of his hand print bruised onto my infant’s head, photos of my most intimate parts torn, bruised, bleeding with measuring devices and other “tools” to help the police understand all that happened. Restraints that are in the possession of the police sitting away in an evidence box.

You can take away the things and pack it neatly into bags and boxes, but you can’t pack away the scars, especially the scars that live on the inside. The images branded into my brain.

All of that is missing and I go down as a victim of domestic abuse, a survivor, meanwhile, I am bobbing up and down in waters too deep always gasping for my last breath.

So much of my story sits in files hidden away because the world isn’t ready for that, I am not ready for that. There are parts of me that have been missing since I was 15 years old and in the 11 years since my escape I have wondered over and over again if those are parts of the puzzle that will ever be found.

Apr 252016

I wasn’t really raised as a Christian, don’t get me wrong, I always had a spiritual relationship with God but it was definitely not something I was being taught outside of school. I dated very young and developed even younger. I remember in grade 7 being relentlessly teased about the size of my breasts, the joke being that I had to have been stuffing my bra with triple-ply toilet paper. The girls saw what I had and they pounced on it, making me dread being a woman and eager to hide myself beneath layers of overalls, hoodies and oversized shirts.

Later on I realized that this same issue worked to my “benefit” and attracted the boys so I did what I could and wore low cut shirts and anything to accentuate my curves. I continued down this path until about 2 years ago when God began to place modesty on my heart. Suddenly I found myself being uncomfortable showing my chest, and finding myself loving the way I feel in a skirt or dress. I mean, really, a dress is so easy to wear, it already matches. Slide it on and voila!

God also placed it on my heart to quit dying my hair and to let it grow and be healthy, the way He created it to be.

I have to admit, this whole long hair thing sometimes gets in the way, I am learning though. Learning by asking friends how they pin their hair up or pull it out of the way so it doesn’t end up being washed with the dishes.

I have had a blast going through my wardrobe and purging everything that wasn’t modest and to my standards, it makes getting dressed SO much easier, and I feel silly that I never took that advice seriously when I had read it the first ten thousand times.

I still love to wear hoodies and oversized clothing around the house, especially to clean or when its super cold and I just want to snuggle in, but having clothing I love and know aren’t going to send the wrong message has motivated me to get and stay dressed a lot more often.

This is most definitely a journey as I strive to obey God and I am excited to see where God is leading me on this journey. Going from the girl who showed too much and was a teen mama as a result really makes this journey into modesty so much fun, because of how completely unexpected it was. I am now the mother of a teen, surrounded by Christians with strong values, especially online. Who will offer me prayer, words of encouragement and scripture that evades me.

I would love to hear about how God speaks to you about your wardrobe or other areas in your life! Maybe He is speaking to you about parenting or marriage or being single. For whatever season you are in I pray that God’s loving hands cup your face and engulf you in His radiant love, light and peace.

If you have a prayer request please feel free to message me or leave it in the comments below!!

Apr 012016

When do we lose our voices? And how do we learn to make our own choices when our free will was taken from us by a sweet talking thief in the night. How do we decide to make the changes that will bring our dignity and self-worth back?

As women our female ancestors fought not only for the right to vote, but to be considered human! Did you know that 100 years ago women weren’t “allowed” to think? That college and learning was for meeting a good man so you could be a good housewife?

In our obedience to God though, we don’t have to fight for anything, we have all the rights that he wishes for us. He asks us to be good servants to both our families and to Him. He doesn’t want us to complain or whine about the dishes that need done, again, or the vacuum that needs to be done twice daily for a house that seems to remain a mess, no, instead He looks down on each of us and says in everything you do, whether it is scrubbing the toilet or praying, do it all to my glory.

I don’t need a piece of paper to say I am human. I don’t need to cast a vote to know I have the right. I don’t need to make the decision to get me through the darkened tunnels because He has promised to always be my guiding light and when I decide to obey Him and Him alone, there is nothing, and I mean NOTHING that can keep me from speaking His Word as it rolls from my tongue. No one who can judge me other than the One and Only.

I decide today and tomorrow and for the rest of my life to stand firmly in faith. I decide to pray on decisions and be guided by the one true Light.

I am deciding that I am God’s child, forevermore.

Feb 262016

Yeah, that razor blade laid blood stained on the bedside table far too many times, little gobs of crimson regret staining the once shiny blade so that the pain on the inside could come out, all the hurt could be seen and felt in a physical way instead of being trapped in the crowded caverns in my head.

I wished I was dead. I begged God to release me. To whisper my name and call me home. Blood dripping down my arm in lines of three as my soul cried out in the only physical way it knew. I wrote out Job 3 and it read like a suicide note, ending with “I cannot rest, for trouble comes.”

As the shock would take over my body and my blood would clot I would find myself using antibiotic ointment and non-stick bandages to cover up the tortured flesh. I would also find myself no longer feeling like I needed a way out. I would feel peace knowing that God wasn’t taking me yet.

He was and is my tourniquet, the reason why I never bled to death, why suicide attempts never even placed me in the hospital. When the doctor told me after a very graphic and intense suicide attempt that the only reason I was alive was because God wanted me here, I called him, and God, some names.

How could being alive, suffering so much inside my own head and clambering to crawl out, be what God would want for me? How could a God whose command was LOVE allow so much pain? Over and over again.

The words of a priest from years before began to plague my thoughts (and all the meds must’ve started to work), the priest said that it wasn’t God who had tortured me but rather men cloaked in the word of God distorting it to do the works of Satan.

Satan held the key to my freedom -and I was letting him and worst of all, sometimes, I still do.

When I allowed this to set in it was easy to stop seeing the Bible and God and His love as some medieval torture device but rather that same old tourniquet that held me together. It reminded me that I have a purpose, a God given purpose for my life and that He was keeping me here (whether I liked it or not) so that I could fulfill that purpose.

Now, I don’t know what exactly that purpose is. BUT I do know it’s been several years since I have picked up a razor for any reason other than to shave. I take my meds everyday and work with my doctor and try to keep the past in the past and those 60 some scars on my wrist are something I don’t want to hide, because they are a part of my story that will bring God glory. He kept me here and those scars are an ugly-beautiful reminder that I have a purpose.

We all have a God given purpose. We just need to give Him a chance to change us and we need to be willing to obey.

Scars are like rungs of a ladder -helping us climb to the top.

Feb 252016

I am not a morning person. I never have been despite my best efforts. Though, I did work a morning shift for about a year and it worked out well, I just went to sleep extremely early. I am one of those people who can’t function off of 8 hours sleep and I know most people would LOVE to get that much but I am more of a 10 hour type of person and always have been, sometimes closer to 12 or even 14. I except when this cold is gone I will have a sleeping marathon since I have spent so many hours in the night wide awake and coughing to the point of no return, my throat raw with blood and other nasty stuff.

I think I treat my “morning” like everyone else treats theirs though. I get up, go to the bathroom, do my thing, lounge around a bit and then get motivated for the day a little while later. When I was a Hello Mornings leader I often felt like a failure because my morning didn’t start until 9 or 10 and then my brain didn’t start until closer to noon, but I have realized that when we are giving God our first fruits they also have to be our BEST fruits, so while I CAN wake up at 6 am I can’t dedicate my time to God the way I can at 9 or 10. At least not with the same quality and eagerness to learn.

I know a ton of authors and have been privileged to work with a few hundred over the last few years and most of them are creative in the evening like I am, which I have always found to be a funny thing. Laying wide awake with fingers tap-tapping away at 4am while the morning people are rolling out of bed and heading to their Bibles and the gym when I haven’t even went to bed yet.

Yeah, even when my children and I didn’t live with my parents we all woke up late, except on Sundays when we were getting ready to go to church. I would nurse the baby at 6am and we would all go back to sleep until 9 or 10 most days before rolling out of bed and having breakfast and starting off the day.

My mom is a morning person. Living with her now that works out great because she gets her time in the morning (and the kids off to school) without having me interrupt her quiet time and I get to have that same type of quiet in the evening after everyone has gone to bed.

I want to give God my best, regardless of what the clock says. I am learning a lot about myself so far in 2016. A lot! Counting those gifts becomes easier when you would think after a few years I would be running low, but He provides the Manna, the everyday mundane, and I am able to find His glory hidden deep within it and treasure it and sustain.

Feb 152016

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Feb 052016

“And it only hurts when I’m breathing
My heart only breaks when it’s beating
My dreams only die when I’m dreaming
So, I hold my breath–to forget

Don’t think I’m lyin’ ’round cryin’ at night
There’s no need to worry, I’m really all right
I’ve never looked back–as a matter of fact”

Talking tonight about some of those more rough moments and the good ones has this song in my head by Shania Twain. It only hurts when I am breathing. I am trying to stay focused though, on the future, not the past, not the part that makes breathing hurt, no I want to focus on the part of life that allows my lungs to fill with life.

“I’m not surprised just how well I survived
I’m over the worst, and I feel so alive
I can’t complain–I’m free again”

It is absolutely amazing how those chains of bondage can literally fall away through the power of prayer, prayers that I speak for myself and prayers that others have said for me when I couldn’t see through that next breath. Where the trees were nothing more than a forest full of evil -a dark mess.

Yet now that I am able to inhale deep and focus on what I am really seeing I am able to relax, enjoy and simply function for the most part. Sure, I have bad days, more than I care to count, but I don’t focus on those days because those are the days that steal the joy away from me, they steal hope, they drain me of life and when I allow them to they even cause me to try and end the pain myself. So, keeping the focus on the good (God) has been the only way I have come to heal in anyway. Knowing I am His child today, tomorrow and always.

I am a survivor. I am blessed. My journey through abuse and nearly being killed will prayerfully bring God glory. In some ways it already has. I have a doctor who has seen my suicide attempts that didn’t even require hospitalization who switched his kids to the Christian schools and started to believe and learn about Christ because the only explanation for me being perfectly healthy and alive was a miracle.

If my gory can bring glory then my experiences were worth it. Every last one of them. Focus. Breathe. I don’t have to have this, because God does!

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