Monday, August 25, 2014

The night my forever changed.

The years of 2001 into 2002 were by far the hardest times of my life. But even through that indescribable pain and heartache my greatest gifts and blessing came. Here is my story of redemption. 

Olivet Michigan Conjugation Church

I saw a glimpse of Jesus for the first time while I was living in a small town in Michigan at the age of nineteen. My own abuse had just came out and I didn’t believe that I was ready to have it spilled all over for everyone to see. I felt so exposed, judged and unwanted. I wasn't searching for God at this time in my life, or at least I didn't think that I was. While growing up, I always knew there was a God, I just didn't know Him and had no understanding of who He was.

The night that changed it all for me!

It was a Thursday night in December, it was cold and I was hanging out at a house that was full of other people like me; lost, intoxicated and just trying to dull whatever pain we were currently facing all while pretending we were enjoying life. I left the the house stumbling and completely intoxicated. I was walking home and heard live music coming from a church as I was passing by. What caused me to stop and go in, I can only assume was God. I walked in and sat in the back of this large, beautiful, old style church building. On the stage was a group of collage students, performing the most beautiful songs of worship done through a style of hip hop music. It is amusing to me now, because this church is a very conservative church, not one that you would typically see or hear hip hop worship coming from. That is what’s awesome about God, He isn't concerned with all the laws, rules, and logistics that people have in place. He is concerned with the hearts of His children and that night, one of His children was lost and broken and He knew just what would reach her heart. I didn’t talk to anyone that night, I just watched and listened then slipped away unnoticed. So I went back the next Thursday, but this time it wasn’t hip hop, it was a youth worship night that lead by a different group of collage students. I almost didn’t stay because there were more people and many familiar faces sitting in the seats. I sat in the back again unaware that the people singing on the stage would be used to change the course of my life in a dramatic way.

There were three people on that stage that Thursday night in December that chose to come down and love in a real, messy and up close and personal way. It would have been easier to go home and ignore the mess that walked into their lives that night but they didn’t and because of that, I met God through these people. They quickly met me and loved me exactly where I was, a complete mess with a lot of baggage. They walked with my cousin and I through the abuse and the trail of our abuser. They chose to act in love and through that love I saw and met Christ. My forever has changed, largely in part to them. I began to see God in a radically and freeing way and it was something I wanted. I wanted Him more than drugs, more than the lies I hid behind, more than the fear of letting people into my real self. I wanted more, I craved more and He continually opened my eyes and heart to Himself.

God has used many people since that night in December to help me in being able to see His vision for my life. I belong to a church family here in Arizona that no matter where God takes me through this life, the people of that body will always be my home, my base of faith and my spiritual support.

God created out bodies so amazing, the mind is capable of regenerating and fixing itself if given the proper nutrients. The heart, under normal circumstances, will never rest, sleep or take time off. It will work every second of every minute you are alive and your body can heal a deep and open wound completely on its own. Your body is this way because God made it amazing and completely capable of surviving, even in the worst of circumstances. He did that because He cares and loves about the details of your life, every detail.

He also made your soul, which is something that never ends, it will never die. Your soul, one day, will leave this earth and go to eternity and he desperately wants that to be with Him. That’s why He chose to die a horrific and painful death on the cross, so you can have that opportunity. He is the maker of both body and soul and He is greatly concerned with the health of both. He will go to great length to reach you and show Himself to you. He created every hair on your body and He supplies every breath you will ever take. He is not an angry Father or one that is unapproachable. He is always waiting with arms wide open for you to fall into the safest and strongest arms you have ever and will ever know. He is the safest place to be and the only one you can fully trust with your heart. He adores you and smiles with just the thought of your name. He didn’t cause your abuse, or desire for it to happen for His greater good or purpose. He wept along side you, He held you in His arms as you laid there alone at night. He gave us all free will and your abuser used his freedom very wrongly. Gods purpose for you is so much lager than you can even imagine. Seek Him and He will gladly give you the desires of your heart. He is the game changer we all need!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When deep cried out to deep.

Through deep cries she shared her story of childhood abuse, a long list of drug abuse and the demons in her life she just couldn't seem to walk away from, and for the first time I realized something crazy and so simple, she wasn’t a demon, she was a human, a mother, a child and a friend. A broken one, like me. She wasn't my enemy, she was actually somehow, someway, my responsibility. Her shattered past became my inner prayer. Her brokenness broke me. Her tough exterior softened mine. Sitting there I saw it, I knew it, her pain came out through hurt, her sorrow slipped through her lips like a sharp dagger of words. Her blank and bitter stares were caused from years of feeling a deep and lonely emptiness that none of us could ever fill. She was broken and she didn’t need advice or critical words. She needed my ears to hear her. My hands to hold her. My shoulder to lean on and my chest to beat on.
I may know her personally but so do you. She is in each of us. Each of us is carrying the baggage of our life. Even though our baggage is different in size and color we are each still dragging, holding, pushing and throwing them along lives path. Stop and take a moment to see through veil to what hides behind it. It just might surprise you with its hidden beauty!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Now what?

That first moment after its out, really out and you know exposing this secret will change your life now that its been exposed. You breathe, you second guess your decision to tell, you even think about going back and covering it up with another one of your old lies. Your heart is pounding, your palms sweaty and your voice seems weak. Then it happens, your emotions let go. You are now filled with tears, anger, and fear. Your legs can't seem to hold your weight, while sitting seems unbearable with the emotions running wild inside of you. There was a reason you kept this a secret so long, right? This is going to hurt, but could it possibly hurt worse than what has been happening? You cry yourself to sleep in hopes that when you awake it will have all disappeared.  You awake and now it seems that more people know and more people are staring. You feel shame, guilt and the most exposed you have ever felt. You wonder what they are thinking and what their emotions are hiding behind there sympathetic stairs . The looks in their eyes feels like judgement, causing guilt to rapidly grow in you. All the lies your abuser told you suddenly seem true. No one will believe you, you wanted it and you are the dirty one. Then you realize, he is going to find out everything you say. The panic sets in as people start talking to you and asking detailed questions. The questions you mastered at suppressing and hiding from others. You have never felt so tired or alone yet you are surrounded by so many people.

Breathe, you did the right thing. You showed great courage and strength. The looks you are getting are heart break for what you have endured. The judgement you feel in the room is what they feel towards themselves for not knowing and speaking up for an innocent child. It’s true, your abuser will know most of what you say in the beginning, don't let him silence you any longer. Just know it scares him to be exposed and maybe a part of you still doesn't want to hurt him. That is okay and normal because he groomed you to feel that way. The feeling of loyalty and betrayal is powerful in the beginning. Loyalty to your abuser? That doesn't seem natural or right! It couldn't have been so bad or wrong if you find yourself wanting to protect him, right? Wrong, your abuser had a way of getting into your heart and mind so that he could create a false sense of normalcy. How could he have convinced you of so much and created in you such a sense of love and loyalty towards him? Pedophiles have a PHD in manipulation and grooming. It will take time for your brain and heart to fall on the same page but have trust that it will happen. Give yourself time and trust who you are becoming. The person that is inside of you is amazing and full of endless potential. that is why he tried to silence you for so long. You are powerful beyond your imagination. You will change this world, I know you probably can’t see that just yet, but trust me you will. You were not created for someone else's use, don't believe that lie for a moment. You were created to affect this world, to change it for the better. Your worth and strength is endless!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Sharing my past with my daughter

When I started writing The Ticket, my oldest child which just so happens to be my daughter and my mini-me, would frequently ask me why I wrote a book about such a sad thing. The usual response was, “My heart is very heavy for children that have been hurt deeply by adults in their life.”  That sentence seemed to hold off the inevitable conversation.The conversation I had always told myself she was just to young to know, but the truth is, I was just not ready to share that part of myself with this perfectly intact little girl. 

In our home, it’s a normal conversation for us to talk about modesty, the sacredness of their little bodies, and the appropriate behavior of trusted and non trusted adults. My children are comfortable with using correct body part names and talking about their bodies and what they feel is appropriate. I have never shied away from educating them in healthy and age appropriate ways about their own bodies. Even still, I knew this conversation would be different, it wasn’t just telling her there are some bad people in this world that hurt children, it would be telling her that one of these bad people not only is real, but existed in our own family and that he hurt her mom in horrible ways. I struggled with wanting to keep her young longer and not having to bring her into the sadness that does exist in this world.

This past week, I was writing in my office, when my daughter came in to see what I was doing. While sitting next to me she asked me what I was writing about. I told her, “I am writing about the courage and strength that a lot of amazing people have.”  Suddenly, I knew it was coming. I could see it in her eyes, the question that my heart knew was time to talk about with her. She asked me a similar question to what she has asked before, but this time I responded with “I write about this topic because I was one of these children.” I looked calm and spoke softly but my heart was racing. I thought telling her would be nearly as hard as talking about it had been when my abuse was first exposed. My daughter’s first response was asking me if it hurt? I told her that it hurt my heart much worse than it hurt my body, but yes, it did hurt. She asked a few more simple questions that I was able to answer, then she went on her way. A few hours later as I was cooking dinner she walked into the kitchen, hugged me and said, “I am sorry that happened to you." I responded with, “me too”, and then she was off playing again.

That was it, it was all she needed to know and all I needed to hear. The simple words that she spoke meant so much to me. I also realized telling her wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. She is an amazing young lady and I am so blessed to be her mom.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Your healing will one day be someone else's beginning

What if more people knew our stories, knew our past, our short comings and those secrets we pretend don’t exist? What would happen if we all started talking, sharing and speaking out? What good would come from it all, if any? I personally think powerful things happen with transparency, vulnerability and facing our giants in order to heal. Eventually your healing will become someone else’s beginning.

We all have a story that is waiting to be told. If people knew how once upon a time I was so afraid to speak up, that I was unsure of myself and let the past rob me of the present and the future, they wouldn’t believe I was the same person today. Sexual abuse is the dirty little secret no one likes to talk about. And this is what predators know and count on. People shy away, they shut down, they bury the horrible stories because it is so horrific. Other causes, diseases, and social issues are ‘easier’ to talk about. If people would understand that breaking the silence breaks that stronghold, that speaking our truth strips the power away, what steps we could make at putting an end to one of the most devastating epidemics this country faces. And if I can do it, if I can help just one more person find their voice, for me that is what makes it all worth it. I believe powerful things can be accomplished when our voices our united. Our past doesn't have to stay broken and ugly it can become beautiful, powerful and instrumental in someone else's life.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The blame is never yours

How could someone be sexually abused until they are nineteen years old? I have asked myself that question many times before. After a certain age would it no longer be considered rape and just considered consensual between two adults? It seems logical that at a certain point if you’re not being held captive you would just walk away. Then again, can we use logic with years of abuse simultaneously together? But, what if you were trained to believe it was love, and grew up knowing nothing different and often being so intoxicated which would lead you to not knowing what truly happened anyway, so you wake in the morning only to question yourself and the people around you, but only in the solitaire of your mind. Or what if the person abusing was deliberate in taking the blame from himself and placing it on others, held a master in confusion and was skilled in manipulation of everyone and thing in his life.

Even though I am filled with all this knowledge I use to become nervous or ashamed to share that my abuse took place for me until I was nineteen years old. It’s true that I could have left, I could have walked away I was never held against my will and perhaps I could have even told, but told what and on who? My brain, heart and being were so wrapped up in believing the lies, his lies that I didn’t know up from down or left from right. My heart and mind were so lost and my self worth was non existing. He had filled a void in my life that I desperately longed for and he knew it.

So to the question that was asked to me, yes I was sexually abused until I was nineteen year old. It was never consensual and I was under his power from a very tiny innocent age. He had a long time to build that false trust between him and I and to scatter confusion constantly along the way. He was always in the wrong and myself and all his other victims were always his victims, age never changed that. So if you were a victim of on going abuse, it was never your fault and the blame will never fall on you.

Friday, April 11, 2014

I am thankful to look through this video of the past several month of what God has done. I don't say it boastfully, I say it extremely humbled and blessed that God turned such a ugly and broken past into a passion, purpose and that He didn’t end the story where I had once given up. #Thankful WATCH here