Saturday, August 13, 2016
June 21, 2015:
I’m exhausted today. Just thought I’d create another entry as there was quite a bit of stuff I didn’t include in my last entry. To begin with, I had a great day. Though seriously tiring. I slept little again last night. To be up for golf this morning. It had been a while since I’d seen Eric. So it was cool to see him. Plus it’s always great to be out on the golf course! Eric and I shot pretty well. Considering we hadn’t been out to the links in a while. On the fourteenth hole, all across the green and around it, there were these beautiful little tiny frogs that were hopping around. It was really cool to see but I was practically tip toeing around this green because I didn’t want to hurt any of them. God’s Creation, nature is so beautiful. So much beauty in such small things. There is such beauty in frailty and vulnerability. The rest of the day I didn’t do much. Just hung around my place. I felt really tempted after the golf round to drink. I sat in the club house dining room and a bunch of people came in and ordered beers. I was tempted, once I returned home, to call dial a bottle but resisted the urge. In the dining room, was a couple and their teenaged son. Both of the parents were trying to discipline the kid. I wasn’t intentionally listening to their conversations but I couldn’t help but overhear their son’s mean words and angry rejection. I was forced to ask myself what would make a child this angry. That he would even push away his parents when they tried to hug him. I watched for a second and then turned away, realizing that both parents and children have difficulty and are trying their hardest. They all just need some help. Then, after feeling the temptation to drink, as my coping mechanisms tend to do, the cravings spiraled. I felt such an enormous craving to look at porn on the internet. I actually went to the point of changing the password back to something I could remember and then deactivating the parental control software on my computer. I typed in the url, a cam website. But then almost as quickly as I had typed it, I pulled my head away almost angrily and closed the browser. Immediately, I reactivated the software and changed the password again. I’m very thankful for the power through which I was able to resist that urge. For a long time, I derived a lot of comfort from this terrible stuff that served as fake intimacy for me. It helped me a lot. But today, one thing became clear to me. I feel that I am over this coping mechanism. Well, I feel I am strong enough to say no. I prefer to choose real intimacy. In whatever form that may end up being in. So, a couple of days ago, I went to the park down on Lakeshore to paint. After I had painted quite a bit, an older man came over with his bicycle and started to watch me paint. It was very nice to have somebody watching me at first. The day after, I returned to the same spot and he found me again. When he came over this time, at first he was nice enough. But then he came over to where I was and started to grab materials out of my art pack and paint over some of the things I was drawing. Merited, I am pretty sure that he held good intentions. At least at first I did. Afterwards, he started asking some inappropriate questions and saying some inappropriate stuff. It was not malicious. I don’t think it was. I just felt like my boundaries were being crossed. I’m so willing to trust strangers. The little boy in me. Taught to obey. After a while though, I spoke up for myself. Again though, I was thankful for the Spirit in me, which allowed me to be assertive in expressing my boundaries. When he had literally grabbed a brush from my supplies and started to paint on my canvas, I told him that I didn’t want him to do that. He wasn’t listening at first, maybe because my voice was so weak, but I pushed his hand away gently. It takes an awful lot in order to relearn the fact that you have a voice, and that what you want and think matters after childhood abuse. Because it is such a silencing crime, victims lose their inherent right to speak up for themselves as individuals who matter. After this, he took a step away and said ‘excuse me’ in an apologetic tone. This made me reflect on the fact that no one can be perfect all of the time. We need to focus on the positive. I realized quickly that what I perceived as an overstep of my boundaries, quite possibly this guy intended it as a helpful act. And he probably did. But that does not diminish my boundaries. A random thought that I am going to put out there now: Just because someone says yes when another suggests something does not mean that they agree with you but maybe means they are trying to be polite. Part of the reason I journal about these things is so that I can challenge the thought processes that have developed as a result of being hurt so much. Anyways, after my conversation with the gentleman from my small group who prayed with me last night after church spoke to me, I started to really reflect over my situation. In no way a vindictive way or a bitter way I found myself thinking about the fact that I think that it was my every right to seek justice for what they did to me. It would have been my right had they done it only once. They were very serious crimes that were committed against me. Crimes that, had they been done to an adult, who would have been adjusted well enough to explain what happened to them fully, the offenders would have gotten life in jail, I am certain. Especially in the length and severity of what they did to me. Instead, I chose to forgive. I am not boasting of that. If anyone deserves the glory for this act of divinely inspired forgiveness, it is the Lord Jesus Christ. I am so in awe and perpetually thankful for the grace of the gift of the Cross. I just want to remind you that how a person presents themselves in this world, what they say and do, is not always the truth of who they are. We live in a generation in which deceitfulness and lies are powerful. People who are deemed ‘good and righteous people’ have secrets in their hearts as well. That is not to say that all good and righteous people are deceitful. I’m just saying that what is on the surface, is not always a clear indication of what’s beneath. Satan enters our minds and hearts so sneakily. To be deceitful and to sin is not always a conscious choice. This is why we must fill our hearts with love and Truth. In a similar way, people who are deemed hard, bad and sinners do not always have as bad a heart as we would like to think. Is it possible that life has simply affected them to the point where they are cold and distant? These are those for whom Jesus came. Much like the severity of an amputated limb, trauma can have a similar permanent effect on people. There are a lot of factors, which contribute to the way trauma(s) affect individuals. Our metaphorical cups can be filled both with negative emotion as a result of traumas, injustices and also as a result of harboring brooding upon bitterness and sinful behaviors. Just as our metaphorical cups can be filled with love and peace and Truth. Because trauma and bad stuff affects our lives negatively doesn’t have to prevent us from living full, happy lives. Fill your hearts with the Spirit in Word and prayer. This is love. It will have a beautiful effect on people. It’s really difficult to be absolutely loving when you’re in pain sometimes. I’m asking you to be patient with me. But also, to call me out on the way I act sometimes. A lot of time, I’m not doing it consciously. It will help me change. I’m just trying to say that trauma, emotional and relational wounds can stay with a person and be as permanent as losing a limb, especially the earlier it starts. I am broken. Receiving love for me has always literally felt like willingly accepting death. Though I’ve been through a lot as a survivor of sexual abuse and the victim of a very serious injury, that’s not the core of my identity. That’s not what I am. Those are parts of my personal history but what’s at the core of my personality is that I am a child of God and loved by my God. The walk with Christ was never intended to be walked alone, especially not when recovering from a serious wound. Ones we can and ones we cannot see. If God can use me now, it will be to display His infinite compassion and love. I want you to know today, journal, that whatever your past, however dreadful and filled with fear and shame, it is not too late to turn and be saved. Whatever your past, focus on the now and the joyful futures you have in Christ. Whatever your past, you can change. Everyone has secrets in their hearts. It takes a lot of courage to open those secrets into the light of day. I am feeling very blessed today. I forgive because I first was forgiven. What a beautiful Truth that is! I feel blessed to have friends like Eric and Rob. I’m praying for them both. I got a message from Aaron a while back. This is the buddy with whom I went to Iceland. He says he’s having a difficult time at times in India. I told him to come back. Haha. Seriously, a great guy. He also is in my prayers. Maria, the woman on welfare who I see every once in a while when I go to church downtown, I am praying for. I have to read her manuscript still. Reminding myself. I am praying for Keith who just moved into a new place with his family. I’m praying for Jack and his wife who are abroad right now. I am praying for Michelle. There is just something so beautiful about her spirit. I will be praying for the Church tonight and the children as well as anyone who is suffering tonight that they may see the hope and have joy in Jesus Christ. You know how I feel about what has happened in my life. To me, this is fact. I just pray that the right thing can happen with what remains. With love.