You Are Not a Disorder, You Are a Person

original art by Christina King

original art by Christina King

You are not a disorder, you are a person.

We are body, soul and spirit.  We must bring healing to our own “Trinitarian” being (in the sense of being body, soul and spirit).   Traditional therapy either wants to give pharmaceuticals or just discuss and manage symptoms of anxiety, thoughts or behavioral issues or perhaps to do all three but not to actually bring healing and restoration for the “whole” person.

Christ says He makes all things new. He promises us healing. Was He lying? Are we expecting too much? Are we giving the cross or God too much power?  I say no.  I say we do not expect enough. I believe Christ really has the power to work miracles.  In fact, He worked miracles of healing and told the apostles that they would do all of the things He did and more! We are called to bring healing and deliverance to those in misery, to be a sign of His power.  Christ desires to restore us.  Our healing is to be a visible sign to the world that our God is an awesome God and that He Reigns in Heaven and on earth.  He makes us whole.  I believe he wants to heal our emotions and our memories, not just our bodies.

“Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things pass away; behold, he is made new.” 2 Cor 5:17

We are not disorders.  I believe many people who have been sexually abused or experienced traumatic childhoods like I did are actually dealing with identity wounds that distort their ability to know themselves and to know God. Being abused has a very real and powerful effect on shaping our identity.  To merely dismiss that and label someone as being “disordered” is, in my opinion, causing more damage and in a sense, keeps their pain and cries for help unheard.

I realize we can categorize and diagnose and give our psychological disorders a name but what good is it to give it a name if you do not understand it enough to help bring healing?

identity wounds Many of our disorders come from identity wounds. How do we get identity wounds? We get them when our true identity is distorted by shame. It may sound contradictory to say there is such a thing as “good shame” but in fact there is good shame and bad shame.

Good shame is felt when we are separating ourselves from God as well as others in a selfish way.  It “prickles” our conscience and in this way it helps us to address a something we are doing that we know is wrong so that we can self-correct.  This “prickling” of conscience is from our awareness that we have just separated ourselves from what is good and true.  This not only helps us shape our morality but it also protects our self-respect.  When we feel “good shame” we become aware that we have lost our innocence, motivates us to correct ourselves and turns us back to what we know is good.

Bad shame is more of an emotional torment and sickness to our very soul.  It is what begins to poison and divide us from within our whole self. All of us have shortcomings and when they are used to ridicule us or to inflict “bad shame”, we tend to believe the lie that we are bad or unworthy and this new “truth” sears into our heart, mind and soul.  We believe the lie that we are inferior, unworthy, undeserving and bad to the bone.  Bad shame causes us to despair separating us from our only cure to what ails us, which is God’s mercy.

The inflicting of this debilitating shame comes from those closest to us and causes the deepest of wounds. When we are children, our beliefs are being shaped, especially our beliefs about who we are as persons. If the message we get is that we are bad or unlovable, it can become our identity.  Identity wounds distort our ability to love ourselves, to love others and to love or know God.

the worse thing we can do to a person with identity wounds is to give them an identity as being “disordered”.

borderline Personality Disorder

 

Lets think about the word “disorders” through the lens of Theology of the Body.  For something to be disordered it has to have been rightly ordered but then gotten twisted up.  When the John Paul II wrote about Original Man he reminds us that in Genesis that Adam was naked without shame.  He had no desire or intention to use Eve as an object of pleasure for his own selfish needs or wants.  They were both subjects of God and saw one another as persons.  When sin entered the garden they were no longer seeing one another as subjects but as objects.  They covered their “private parts” of their bodies in shame.

 

What was good and right became disordered due to sin.  This is the reality of the world we live in.  If this is true then we see we are all disordered in one way or another.  If we are all disordered in some way how helpful is it to give a person made in the image and likeness of God a label of being disordered as if this is their identity or who they are as a person? I am guessing it could be potentially destructive and could create further woundedness.  Let’s call disorders what they truly are, which is distortions of truth from which we base our lives and relationships upon.

We are complex human beings.  The teachings of Theology of the Body helps us to get a bigger picture as to who we are as persons and how we are made to love and be loved as self-gift whereas psychology bases “truth” in disorders or distortions.

Our experiences in and through our bodies shape our understandings and beliefs and those beliefs can bind us up.  We act on our beliefs and if those beliefs are disordered it goes to follow that so too may our actions be disordered. For example when I experienced the trauma of being sexually abused it created a deep wound that penetrated my identity, which distorted my whole “person”. Psychology may have helped me to understand the distortions and behaviors but Theology of The Body helped me to understand my wounds and their effect on my identity. It was this distorted identity that shaped my beliefs and those beliefs caused me to make the choices in my life that I did.

body

Looking at someone’s whole person, body, mind, emotions, memories, spirit etc is what needs to happen if we want a person to reclaim their greatness.  Seeing the whole person as opposed to a disorder is what gives true hope for healing.  Anything else merely treats a part of a person.  Christ comes to make all things new, not part of things new.

For information on finding freedom and healing with what is labeled as “Borderline Personality Disorder” order my book on LuLu  

 

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MY BOOK ON HEALING WOUNDS FROM SEXUAL ABUSE IS DONE!

EMBRACING YOUR GREATNESS: HEALING WOUNDS AND RECLAIMING OUR GREATNESS THROUGH THEOLOGY OF THE BODY

EMBRACING YOUR GREATNESS: HEALING WOUNDS AND RECLAIMING OUR GREATNESS THROUGH THEOLOGY OF THE BODY

Please consider ordering my book on healing wounds from Sexual Abuse.

“EMBRACING YOUR GREATNESS: Healing Wounds and Reclaiming our greatness through Theology of the body.

 

You can get your copy by clicking the link.

ORDER YOUR COPY OF “EMBRACING YOUR GREATNESS” BY CLICKING THIS LINK

Why Do I feel scared, ashamed, hopeless, rejected, angry or powerless?

suffering

Want to know why you feel so screwed up? Well, it is probably  from wounds created by sin that has you believing a lie in which you have then made vows to do or not do this or that  ever again in an attempts to get control over your pain or fear or distrust or feelings of powerlessness.  How do you fix it? Read on.

(This is a long piece and meant only for those who desire to understand what their root wounds are that are causing such great suffering in their lives due to a life of neglect, trauma or abuse). 

WOUNDS CHART

sin separates

From the very beginning of the Bible sin is defined as separation from God. It is also spoken of as a transgression, which means to violate the law.  Since the law is meant to protect us and the world we live in, we see that sin is not only a violation of God but a violation of us and of all creation.  When we sin we separate ourselves from God, transgress against his will and against one another and against all of creation.  This is the condition we live in due to original sin.

The word sin can also be understood as missing the mark.  Greek archers used the word sin when an archer would aim for a target but miss the mark, they would fall short of their target.  Many of us aim to please God yet we all fall short of the glory of God.

So with these biblical definitions I think we can agree that we are all sinners.  All of us live in that place of struggle in which we miss the mark, transgress upon the will of God and in doing so violate one another and ourselves

So all of us are sinners and our sin has it’s effects by creating wounds.  Sin always wounds.  Our sin wounds us every time.  But we are also wounded by the sins of those around us. So it seems very clear that we have no possibility of living in this world without being wounded.

Sin is like cancer in that if it’s ignored it will grow in our bodies.  As Christians we are called to be the body of Christ.  We are to make Christ visible in and through our lives. We are to be living signs, our families an icon of the Trinitarian love of God revealing truth, life and love to the world.  When we sin, the effects of our sin spreads in three directions thus marring our ability to reveal Christ to the world.

spreads

Sin spreads socially, to all those around us.

When we sin, we diminish Christ’s glory, not that Christ’s glory can be diminished but certainly our ability to be an icon that reveals His Glory can be diminished.  How can someone see Christ in us when our sin is the first thing someone sees when they look at us.

Scripture tells us in Genesis, Exodus and Deuteronomy that sin also has an effect for generations. Some scriptures say ten generations.  Many of us are not only dealing with our own sinfulness but with sin that has had it’s effects in our families down through the generations. For people who have been abused, simple affection can be difficult to give to their children.  Those children then have difficulty with affection and so you see that the same affects of the sin from abuse has its affects down the generations.

generations

When I began my journey in inner healing and realized my own sinfulness as a result of my wounds I discovered that the same wounds that had been passed down through the generations to me did not stop there.  I realized I was in fact responsible for bringing the same kind of pain to the people in my family.  This led me to become overwhelmed with grief.

How can we prevent hurting our own children? The answer is we can’t.

The only thing we can do is to continue to clean up our hearts. The cleaner our hearts become the better we can love those around us.  It is like our heart is a vase meant for holding flowers but with sin and wounds our “vase” is cracked and holds sludge instead of water.  When we clean out the sludge and allow Christ to heal us, we can retain His grace to love others the way He loves and the water is not tainted with the sludge.

clean

 

The reason why we are struggling in this world is not because we are somehow strange or because we are not faithful or pious enough, it is because we live in a world that has been divided because of sin. Being faithful and growing in holiness can help us in our struggles but unless we address our wounds we may find ourselves carrying a larger struggle than God desires for us to carry by ourselves.

struggle

“There are many kinds of wounds but what they all have in common is that they affect us in such as ways as to give us a taste of hell.” Says  Dr. Bob Schuchts,  founder of the John Paul II healing center and creator of healing retreats in Tallahassee Florida.  These retreats are what I believe have saved my marriage and saved my own children from growing up even worse off than perhaps I was.  While taking his course “Sexual Healing and Redemption” at the Theology of the Body Institute, he spoke of 6 common wounds that many of us carry.  He bases that number off of the Theophostic Healing research done by Ed Smith’s work who lays out 7 common wounds.  Dr. Bob has condensed the list to 6.   He lists them as follows:

wound hearts

1) Abandonment Wounds.  “I am all alone and I will always be alone”.

2) Fear or terror wounds.  “I can’t trust anybody.”

3) Shame.  “I’m unworthy, I’m unlovable.”

4) Powerlessness.  “I have no ability to do anything.  I can’t change anything.”

5) Rejection.  “I’m unacceptable, I’m disgusting, I’m repulsive.”

6) Hopelessness.  “I can’t change anything.”

7) Identity Wounds.  “I am garbage, I am nothing, I do not matter”.

When events in our lives cause us suffering, the devil, the enemy of our soul, comes to us in that moment and proposes a lie to us much like a groom would propose marriage to us.  If we believe the lie he proposes, we are then opening ourselves to him.  This is a foothold.  St. Paul tells us how sin can becomes a foothold using anger as an example.

“Do not be angry and sin in your anger and give the devil a foothold”.

castle

We are either in relationship with God or relationship with the devil.  We are either walking in truth or walking in a lie.  When Eve was in the garden of Eden, the devil came and proposed his lie to her that God could not be trusted, that he was keeping something back from her by not allowing her to eat from the tree of knowledge.  He was proposing that God did not love her.  When Eve ate the apple, she was accepting the proposal of the devil, she accepted his lie and just like any marriage there was fruit that came from her accepting the proposal.  The fruit was death.  When we accept the lies that the devil proposes to us we too our severing our union with God and are uniting ourselves to the evil one.  With our free will, we are chosing to be in relationship with the liar and this foothold we have given him, will grow like a cancer if we ignore it.  Like cancer spreads in our bodies, so too does the affects of the lies we consent to believe in.  These footholds turn into strongholds.

“A stronghold is any pattern of behavior in your life that you know is against the will of God but continues to persist even when you try to change it.” ( Dr Bob Schuchts Anatomy of a wound audio http://www.OnlyPeople.net).

This pattern is a result of the barriers we have built around our heart, brick by brick, lie by lie and vow by vow in an attempt to protect ourselves from being hurt or suffering in some way.  The problem with putting up walls around our hearts is that we keep out the good along with the bad.  We become like a prisoner within a castle and the stronghold keeps us there.  

Counseling can bring us temporary relief, can teach us coping skills and can give us a means by which to deal with the distress symptoms that result from us believing the lies but they cannot change the stronghold or bring it down.  Medication can offer us some relief as well, perhaps helping us manage our anxiety that is related to the stronghold but this is not a chemical imbalance we are talking of.  A stronghold is an action of our free will and unless we take it down with our own free will it will not be moved by medication.  Praying is helpful and is definitely a step in the right direction as God is the one that can help to expose the lies so we know where to start but unless we are using the weapons spoken of by St. Paul then we are only managing the our pain rather than finding true freedom.

 

bound

Dr Bob Schucht’s goes on to say that “Every thought and imagination that exalts itself against the knowledge of God results in a stronghold.” (Anatomy of a wound audio).   So in the name of Jesus Christ, through the power of God we can break strongholds.  Without the power of God we are just using our will to do something or not do something.  If we try to overcome stronghold by own own sheer will we will end up frustrated or giving up all together.

 

 

7 deadly sins

They are pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed and sloth. Dr. Bob Schucht’s reminds us that “It is interesting to note that they are dispositions or attitudes of our hearts before they are sins.   These are attitudes of our hearts that orientate us towards sin.   Each one of them has an idolatry of something that exalts itself above God.” (The Anatomy of a wound audio on onlypeople.net).

Anger is an idolatry of control.

Pride is an idolatry of self.

Greed is an idolatry of things.

Lust is an idolatry relationship.

Gluttony is an idolatry of substance to comfort.

Sloth is an idolatry of comfort to avoid pain.

Envy is an idolatry of the status position or privileges of other people.

 

To explain this further let me clarify the relationship of sin, idol, wound, lies and vows.  When the enemy proposes a lie, and if we accept his proposal,  we then turn away from God.  When we turn away from God, we then are turning towards something else.  This “something else” becomes our idol.  If we are feeling powerless, the enemy may propose the lie that “we must be in control or we will be hurt”.  We then accept his proposal and profess to him our vows to unite ourselves to his lie.  Our vow may be “I will make sure I always remain in control”.  My idol is now control and not God.  When I am feeling powerless I no longer turn to God and believing that he will protect me and his hand is guiding my life for my well-being.  Instead, my heart has closed itself to God, instead my new idol of control is what I live by to protect myself from feeling powerless.  I have exalted control above God.  When I cannot control a situation and begin to feel as if I am losing control the result is my anger. I sin out of my anger in many ways and they are the distress symptoms.  You will see my outbursts, my nit-picking, my perfectionism, my passive-aggressive means of manipulating others you will see me rage.

For every wound there is an idol and for every idol we worship we manifest sinful actions.  Every sin has an effect and those effects are usually very visible to the people around us.  (I have made a chart and attached it above to give an understanding ow how they all go together.  I have used the information that I learned at several healing retreats taught by Dr. Bob Schuchts however, I could not find a chart that put together the connection of all of the components to make it easier for people to discover what their wounds are so I created my own.

 

 

We begin to make God’s out of all of those things because we think they will give us some satisfaction yet they are all characterizations of the devil so if we begin to engage in the lies that he tells us, we allow him the very foothold upon which he can ensnare us.

So how are we going to break free from the strongholds?  We must be willing to suffer.  When we are willing to suffer the original thing we were running away from and turn back to God and ask him to help us, then and only then do we acquire the actual graces to practice the virtues necessary in overcoming a particular sin in our life.  If we have experienced abuse, trauma or neglect as children then the powerlessness we experienced in those moments may have resulted in our attempts to control everything and everyone.  Most likely it also resulted in distrust, fear and un-forgiveness.   When we forgive people who have hurt us we then begin to embody the merciful heart of Jesus Christ.  Anger cannot remain where one has softened their hearts and become forgiving and merciful.  Anger cannot abide where a heart has turned to God and begins to relinquish it’s power in exchange for his grace and his will in their life.  

The only thing that overcomes pride is humility.  Humbly acknowledging your pride before God and asking Him to take it away.  If you think you can work on your pride then you are being prideful.  The sin of being prideful or self-justifying comes from identity wounds.  When we grow up in homes where we might not have been affirmed and loved as unique and unrepeatable person we begin to self-justify.  If the only thing we were affirmed for was being attractive, this may become our new idol.  This is vanity which is a form of pride.  When we were only affirmed for being smart we make our intellect or academics our idol.  The only way to overcome these things is to acknowledge that these are gifts from God meant to bring souls to Christ.

The only thing that overcomes our greed is generosity because greed is the control over our possession because of insecurity.  Many people who hoard money or objects (there are even shows on television showing the lives of hoarders) desire to keep as much “things” around them and with them because they have entered into a relationship with objects that are safe and cannot “hurt” them.  Greed is a “distress” symptom of a wound.  We sin in our greed in attempt to stop feeling insecure or afraid about our well-being. We do not trust that God will care for us.The irony is that they are hurting because of the isolation their greed may cause.  This is like a cycle that repeats itself.  The only thing that can overcome greed is trusting in the generosity of God and then becoming generous yourself.  Generosity is saying and believing that you trust in the providence of God. So if you think your issue is greed you are wrong, it is a fear wound and a trust issue.

The only thing that overcomes lust is not “getting yourself under control” and saying  to yourself “I just won’t look at the person or that pornography.” Our issue is a rejection wound.  Out of that place of feeling disgusting or that no one can love you a false idol is made out of disordered relationships of intimacy where the other can not “in-to-me-see”.  Intimacy is about seeing deeply into an other and allowing oneself to be deeply seen.  When we come to see the beauty and purpose of the human person made visible in and through our bodies we begin to heal.  Theology of the Body is the antidote and chastity is lived out because once we understand our sexuality we desire to “speak” a language of love in and with our bodies.  It is then that we can come before God and beg him for purity of our eyes and our hearts and of our bodies.  Chastity is seeing the awesome creation of our sexuality “male and female” He created us.

The only thing that overcomes gluttony is abstinence and fasting.   This can come from shame or hopelessness wounds and so we begin to consume a substance that comforts us rather than go to God and ask Him to fill the hole inside our hearts.  We begin to forget the spiritual life and rely only upon the pleasures of the body.  It is disordering our very personhood.  This often times leads to sloth.

The only thing that overcomes sloth is diligence.  This can come from feeling powerless.  We become bound up in sloth when we believe the lie that we are powerless in some area of our life or in life in general and so we avoid the pain of trying to effect change by being slothful.  It is in being diligent and willing to do the things that God is asking us to do especially when it is difficult that helps us to get free from Sloth. This is a common attack as it has to do with keeping the body of Christ from realizing we are in a spiritual battle.  If we feel powerless and so then give up and become slothful the enemy can make more ground. I would say fortitude and diligence as well as courage and perseverance are important in overcoming sloth.

The only thing that overcomes envy is kindness.  The wounds here can be from identity wounds.  When you grow up feeling that you do not matter and that you are garbage, it is easy to begin hating your neighbor whose life may seem so much better.  Envy is not just desiring your neighbors goods or status it is also believing that they have gotten something that you deserved to have.  Is the reality that you deserve to be seen as good and worthy? Yes, but when one suffers from identity wounds then the lie is that you don’t matter and so envy builds up in our hearts turning it even more cold and hard against others.  When we can be kind to others, be truly concerned for others this hardness softens. When you begin to see that each of us are called into being by our creator, each of us are unique and unrepeatable persons, then we see that our own worth and dignity is God given and are no longer angry about the good fortune of others.

Sometimes we can’t truly choose to become free from something so we may begin by choosing to become free in something else.  We may chose to abstain in a smaller area which will then give us the strength to deal with a more powerful stronghold later.  This helps us overcome the hopelessness of feeling that nothing will ever change.

These are just some of the examples of how sin and wounds and lies work together and how once discovered and the virtues sought can enable us to brings some real healing into our lives.  None of us are any position to judge one another yet I am sure all of us can identify with one or more of these sins.  All of us struggle with these sins and virtue is the way in which we will get free.

Once your identity a sin in your life that you cannot seem to get free from you must then begin to identify the lies that you believe.   You must then renounce those lies and ask Jesus to forgive you for making a false idol in an attempt to deal with your pain alone rather than to open your heart to God.  This is where healing comes in.   If I have truth to undo the lie, if I believe the scripture that tells me that I should not worry about what I eat and what I wear because I trust in God’s providence then all of a sudden I can have security, real security because the stronghold lie begins to crumble.  In asking forgiveness for making a false idol and renouncing the lie in Jesus’ name the enemies power is broken.  Now the drawbridge has been lowered so that the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete can come in and be the divine physician.

So how do we begin? First you must ask the Holy Spirit to come and help you.  God knows what you are ready to deal with and where you must first get free in order to have the strength and courage to press into the other wounds.  If you go into areas you are not ready to deal with it will feel as if the enemy is rubbing salt in your wounds and you may be to afraid or feel to incapable of handling the pain associated with it.

I started with a distress symptom, an area of my life I felt was creating a pattern of sinful behavior that I just could not seem to get free of.  I then asked the Holy Spirit to show me what He wanted me to know about it.  For me, he showed me a memory.  I then asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the lie in my heart that I believed.  I then asked Him to reveal the judgment I had made about God and about the other person.  I then asked God’s forgiveness for the believing the lies, making the judgments and for turning to a false idol instead of to Him.  I then asked God to help me forgive the person for what they did.  As for the lies, I renounced them in the name of Jesus Christ.  It was as if I broke off my union with the enemy  had re-united myself to my true Bridegroom, Jesus Christ.  The effects were immediate.  The peace was beyond anything counseling or anxiety meds or alcohol or food had ever done for me.

When I contemplated the lie again, I laughed out loud because it sounded, AND FELT, so ridiculous.  It no longer had any hold over me.  Who would have thought that freedom would and could be so instantaneous.  This is because it is by the power of God.  So why did this work when nothing else seemed to? Because God does not and will not violate our free will.  He can supernaturally heal us but before that we must first surrender our will to God and invite him in.  It is, to use the castle analogy,  as if we must lower the drawbridge to give him access.

St. Peter says “Anyone who is willing to suffer in the flesh is done with sin” 1 peter

Jesus is the only person who experienced all of the same wounds we have and yet did not sin out of his wounds.  He was abandoned “My God, my God why have you forsaken me”.  All his friends left him.  He was abandoned, yet did not sin.

“He was rejected and despised among men” IS 53, but he did not give into the rejection, he continued to love in the face of that rejection.

He was complete helplessness on the cross, but he chose to surrender his will to the father.

He tasted the greatest despair on him from our sins in the garden and on the cross but he never gave into despair or sloth.

He experienced every single wound in the mystery of creation and chose to be obedient.  He took on every wound for us and the sins and penalties of the wounds and the sins.  He did this for us.  He also identified with us so that we can see that we can identify with him in our suffering and know his compassion for our pain.

Am I saying that healing our wounds is as simple as bringing our suffering to Him on the cross? Yes I am. It is not simple or easy to do but it is simple in choice.

Are you still afraid? Are you still feeling hopeless? Are you still not sure how to begin? Then start simply.  You can say “I can not overcome this Jesus, but you can”.  “I can not bear this Jesus, but you can.”

In scripture, it says we have a mighty savior that will wipe away every tear and comfort every infirmity and remove every sin for those who believe and trust in him.  Instead of despair we shall have the oil of gladness, instead of shame we shall have double honor, not just in heaven but here in our lives, progressively as grace perfects our nature.

Take some time to journal.  Take an area of your life, some place of distress in your life.  Pray and ask God to show you what the lie is that you believe in your heart.  Ask the Holy Spirit to show you what the root wound and the root sin is. Ask him to show you where it is rooted in term of memory and experience. For some it may be a recent event for others something farther back.

This part is important.  Allow yourself the chance to feel the pain of that.  Bring that to Jesus and ask Jesus to reveal the truth and bring his healing love there.

He who is willing to suffer in the flesh is done with sin!

God will meet us. It’s a matter of walking there so don’t be impatient with yourself.  It is a process and He is not going to give you something that is more than you can bear.

I want to give you hope that as you walk through this, to know that there is such joy on the other side of healing.  It is awesome and worth every bit of the pain you might go through as you look at events or people in your lives that wounded you with their sin.  Keep your eyes, your focus on Jesus.  He is the author and perfecter of our faith.  He will bring you to the joy that He promises.  That may be hard to believe, especially for those who might have been dealing with deep hopelessness wounds for a long time.  Let me encourage you to not give in to sloth, remain diligent, keep going forward even if it is very small steps, that is still progress and you will be greatly rewarded.

This information comes from Dr. Bob Schucht’s work on “Healing The Whole Person” and other great Inner Healing work he provides for those desiring real freedom.  You can find more information on how to attend his healing retreats by going to his website  The John Paul II Healing Center  .

Zombie Apocalypse; We are the walking wounded

IF
Have you noticed there are a lot of zombie movies and television shows lately? It is as if Hollywood can see what so many of us are refusing to see. We are the walking wounded. We may not live in the biblical times of leprosy but we certainly live in a time of spiritual leprosy. We live in a fallen world and with fallen people. The new normal is not man and wife with three kids a dog, a house and a white picket fence. In fact, I am not even sure what the new normal is, but it is definitely not the “traditional” family. The movies we watch that are depicting human beings as zombies, are closer to the truth than most tv sitcoms.
zombie
We are all wounded in some way. Some of us are living with the effects of sexual abuse or physical abuse; some of us were abandoned by our parents. Still others were emotionally abused or psychologically traumatized by alcoholic or drug addicted parents or even others were ritualistically abused. Whatever the your childhood, chances are you either experienced abuse or neglect yourself or someone very close to you did. The effects of abuse wounds us and it is in through these wounds that we begin to form our understandings and beliefs about who we are, who God is and whether or not we believe in anyone or anything.

The wounds that are inflicted upon us are openings to evil or negativity. Call it what you will, it is through wounds that we are opened up and it is as these moments we can become bound up as prisoner to our pain, our fears and the vows that we make to ourselves.
nailed
If you or someone you know feels they are nailed to their cross instead of carrying it, then this book may be an answer to prayer. I have endured many of the abuses listed above. I have done what most do, I have gone on to wound others in the very way in which I am wounded. It is an irony that is not lost on me. However, it is helpful to recognize this because it helps us to discover the root wounds buried and hidden deep with us. When we see how we wound others, or we meet people that create a distress in us, usually it is a neon sign, pointing us to an area that we need healing in.
neon
I am hoping that those of you that are seeking healing are inspired by my story but are also given the courage to be vulnerable in ways you have dared not to for so very long.
bridegroom
It is in being vulnerable that we are able to open ourselves to the Bridegroom. Jesus is the Bridegroom and knows all of the secrets of our story. He desires to make us whole and it is only through His grace that we can be transformed. I am here to say it is not only possible, but what you might believe to be your greatest flaw or ugliest secret may just be the birthplace of greatness.
chosen

Each of us were created by God and chosen out of all the “potential” people God could have created to come into existence. God knew what He was getting when He created me, He knew how I would fall, how I would fail Him and yet He did it anyway. I am no surprise to God. He chose me! When we created me, He chose to make me female because God has a plan for my life and being a woman is part of His plan. People do bad things. Our free will allows for that. It’s called God’s permissive will. He does not actively will it, but He promised after the flood that He would not interfere directly against our will. He sealed it with a promise for all to see with a rainbow.

heart
God gives each of us gifts and charisms to enable us to more perfectly carry out our calling yet each of us are given a choice as to whether or not we chose to live out our calling. When we are abused, we begin to lose our ability to function as a “whole” person because our very personhood is wounded. These wounds go very deep and actually separate us from being able to see truth, to love and to be loved and may even destroy our lives in the process. Joy becomes an abstract concept and not a personal experience for the person with wounds.

The wounds created in us many times lead to sin. Many people wound in the very ways in which they were wounded as a means to protect themselves. Many people who abuse were abused themselves.
new
Here is the Good News! Christ came to restore us! He makes all things new! When our wounds are redeemed and washed clean in the blood of Christ we are made new. The very places you feel the most broken become your most beautiful gifts. He will shine out of your wounds in ways that will not only transform you, but it will transform the people around you. His light shines through our wounds revealing hope and healing on the other side.

Come and put your fingers into my wounds so that you too will believe. Open your hearts and minds to not only believe but to receive your own healing because today is the day of freedom!
fingers in wounds
I want to issue a warning for those of you that are easily disturbed by stories that include abuse. While I am not descriptive in every detail, I do share my story of abuse. Please feel free to skip over areas that may be to troubling to you to read. Make note of anything that you read that stirs up fear or anxiety in a journal so you can go back to it later in prayer. Often times, our reactions that are distressing are actually distress symptoms of something within our own hearts that God desires to heal in us. It is the distress symptom that acts as the treasure map so that we can find the hidden areas within us that once discovered and healed, will be our greatest treasure and pearl of great worth.

This book is about my journey of healing from the wounds of my childhood. It is because I did not want to pass on my wounds to my own children, and because I no longer desire to live out of my wounds, that I embarked on a journey of self-discovery. The reason I have decided to write this book is because of the freedom I have found on that journey. I have received more healing in the last year by this method than all of the 30 years of counseling combined.

I was three the year I was sexually abused for the first time. But I have been healed and created anew!

I was three the year I was sexually abused for the first time. But I have been healed and created anew!


I cannot contain it for myself, I must share it because I see so many people in my travels that are broken, hurting, alone, lost and suffering under the weight of their own weaknesses and I desire to be Simon to them. In fact, once we gain freedom from our wounds, they become transformed and begin to radiate Christ to all those around us. Let me share my own journey with you and say a simple prayer of agreement now, “Come Holy Spirit, Come” so that perhaps you too will be made new.
If one person finds freedom and joy because of my story, then I will know I did the right thing in sharing my story.

Treasure In Earthen Vessels; God Works Through Cracked Pots (UPDATED 10-28-2012)

SCROLL TO BOTTOM TO HEAR THE TALK I GAVE AND SEE THE PREZI/PRESENTATION I GAVE TO 1,000 WOMEN)

The story of the woman at the well is a marriage proposal and is a great place to begin in sharing how we are treasures in earthen vessels. It is strangely reminiscent of the song we sang as children “first comes love then comes marriage then comes the baby in the baby carriage”. First there was God who is love. Then the word was made flesh. Jesus is the Bridegroom.

That childhood song was a song about the holy Trinity and the call of our God into the marriage relationship of the bride and bridegroom and how we will be transformed into new creations. Theology of the Body gives us a beautiful lens from which to fully understand what the old Baltimore catechism said when it said we were created to know love and serve God to give you him forever in heaven.

The woman at the well is symbolic of all of our brokenness because of the sin in our lives, all of the inadequacies and all of the ways in which we fall short and yet God comes to us and seeks us out.

This is the marriage proposal. We are made for connection we are made for relationship.

Where we struggle in this is when SHAME gets in the way of allowing others to truly see who we are or to allow others to truly see us.

That’s where vulnerability comes in.

VULNERABILITY IS NOT WEAKNESS. How many think it takes vulnerability to speak in front of an audience of 800 people? It is true that vulnerability involves emotional risk and uncertainty but what vulnerability really means is to have courage.

Vulnerability is birthplace of creation and transformation. To create is to make something that never existed before like the unique and unrepeatable person. When we have the courage to really open ourselves to look into our hearts and even more importantly let others really and truly “see” us, we become transformed. “ Grace perfects our nature”.

In the garden, we were naked without shame.

“Naked without shame” is about knowing who we were as persons made in Gods image and likeness and our nature was perfect. When we fell from Grace due to original sin shame entered into the world.

Shame is the devil’s proposal about who God is and who we are.

Shame says one of two things; “you will never be good enough” or “who do you think you are”.

Adam and Eve covered themselves because they said yes to the devil’s proposal. Because they were unwilling to be vulnerable enough to go to God and trust in who He said we are, they fell and the consequence was sin.

A very basic understanding of sin is separation from God. In the Old Testament sin is described as a transgression. It is not just a violation of the law, but because the law was meant to protect as persons and to protect our world and our environment and God’s creation it is also a violation of God and violation of us so every time we separate from God and transgress upon his will we transgress upon ourselves and of all of creation. Sin, missing the mark and falling short of the glory of God. So with three

Sin has its effects always in wounding. Sin always wounds. There is no sin that doesn’t wound. It wounds us and it wounds others around us. We have no possibility of living in this world without being wounded.

What SHAME does is it takes the guilt we feel and turns the belief of “What I did was bad” into the belief that “I am bad”.

SHAME then makes us feel that we are unworthy of connection. It is in believing we are not thin enough, beautiful enough, successful enough or smart enough that SHAME turns our focus from who we are as unique and unrepeatable persons into who we think we “should be” or “should be doing”.

Shame makes us feel we are not good enough and that we will never be good enough.

The story of the woman at the well reminds us of whom we truly are which is the beloved of the Bridegroom and that God desires to marry us.

God knows all the places we have failed him and will fail him and yet he created us anyways. Out of all of the potential people God could’ve created we were chosen to be created and to come into the world to exist in fact of this very particular time in history.

But it gets better than this! God is calling all of us to enter into the redemption of the world! God could have chose to redeem the world anyway he liked. What he decided was that he wanted all of us to enter into this great work with him.

He does this by transforming our wounds much like his own were from the power of the cross. His “cracks” were in fact the greatest gift given to the entire world. Our wounds, our cracks, our inadequacies become the very place, once transformed like a firing kiln to a clay pot, becomes the very form from which God can best shine through, pour out of and be given to others. He is magnified by our smallness and our weakness.

God is calling you and is issuing a marriage proposal in which He desires to transform you and touch the lives of those around you through your fiat.

A treasure in earthen vessels is about our unique and unrepeatable personhood, it is about our immortal soul chosen by God to be called into existence. The earthen vessel reveals that the person we are is feminine or masculine and also is a sign that we are called to love like the trinity. But the earthen vessel also speaks to us about form.

Form, and the material from which it is made reveal its purpose. If I held up a cup and asked, “What is it?” unless we were from another world where they do not use cups, we would know it is a cup and that it holds liquid. We know understand what it is because of its form

Our form is meant to be a visible sign of Christ to the world. It is not just our masculine or feminine person that our form reveals but it tells a story of the Bride and the Bridegroom.

In Caryll Houselander’s book “The Reed of God” she uses three forms to reveal how Christ “shines” through our cracks”, The reed, the chalice, and the birds nest.

The Reed grows on the riverbanks and must be cut with a knife and then hallowed out with notches cut into it to create its form. Some of our stories include this kind of shaping. We are cut and hallowed out. We may think that we have nothing to give, our brokenness, or even our sinfulness might make us believe that God could never possibly choose us. The woman at the well is a reminder that God does chose us and when we allow him to redeem us, it is as if we are pressed to the lips of the master and when His Spirit blows through the reed, lyrical music is created because of the hallowing out and the notches that had been cut.

Some of our stories are like a chalice. A chalice is made from gold that has to be first hewn from the mud, then forged in fire before it can be poured into it’s mold. It then has to be pounded by a mallet to create its form. For those whose forming came from the succession of blows or from the purification of fire, they may understand that they are like Gold, that they are good, but they may not believe themselves worthy of greatness. It is the age-old question “Who do you think you are? If we remember that we are the beloveds of Christ, that He called us into being that we are His, then we remember who we are. A chalice is used to offer the great sacrifice of the mass. For those whose form is like the chalice, God desires to fill you with the water and blood that gushed from His sacred heart so that through your form you can pour Him out to a thirsting world.

Finally, for those who are shaped like the nest of a bird, the soft downy feathers of a tender mother bird’s breast create the form. For those who may have been formed by loving parents, in a prayerful home and have no painful formation as part of their story the temptation could be to say that they do not have a unique or inspiring story. Those whose story includes love, fidelity and affirmation are not only hope and inspiration for the world but it also creates a person more fully capable of revealing Christ. This story is an example of how each of us is called to become tabernacles.

We are to bring Christ to the world with our own hands and feet, with our own stories.

Each of our stories is as unique as our fingertips, as unique as our personhood.

We are the vessel and form helps us to tell the story of who Christ is and who we are in Christ. We should never underestimate the power of conversion to work through even the most broken of vessels.

Lazarus is an example of just such a vessel. He was dead. A rotting corpse and according to chief mourners “stinking” and yet when Christ shone through Lazarus, an entire city and now every generation to come, was converted through his story and through his form.

For me, my form is the reed. I have been hallowed out, whittled and cut into. The story I have to tell is of being transformed through my children and my husband.

I’ve been able to identify specific attributes or virtues that God has helped to develop in me for each one of my children.

For Maegan it was vulnerability, for Sara it was selfless love, for Elisha it was the need of affirmation, for Gabriel it was submission, for Annamarie it was long-suffering, for Mercedes it was Mercy, for Christopher it was joy, for Jonah it was perseverance.

For each child I have received a healing of a major wound, crack, or notch cut into me. God transformed it and the grace He has given to me in each of these areas have brought me freedom to love more rightly

Each time I was cracked, wounded or cut into because of my sin or the sin of others, the enemy proposed a lie so to enter into my heart and bring me to a place of shame.

Christ helps to expose the lies and bring healing to our wounded hearts and when we become vulnerable and allow Him in to truly see us, Christ transforms our wounds and they become like stained glass windows illuminating and radiating God’s beauty, God’s light, God’s truth to the world.

They will know us by our joy they will know us by our love. In this year of faith we are called to transformation. The new evangelization is about allowing Christ to permeate us. We embrace our greatness when we dare to take what we know in our heads and connect it to our hearts. When we move from knowing God, to being in an intimate relationship with Him.

When we allow ourselves to truly be seen and to really see the person God puts in front of us everyday is when we enter into one another’s story of redemption. God works through cracked pots, because His greatness is magnified in our weakness. The truth is that the enemy puts salt in our wounds because he is terrified that if we actually go into the wounds and bring Christ there with us, we would discover that when Christ redeems them, they become like jewels in the Crown of the creator.

You are a treasure in an earthly vessel and your form reveals a call to love and to be loved from the bridegroom to His bride. All it takes is your “fiat” which is the greatest “I DO” you can ever utter.

LISTEN TO MY TALK HERE

http://archive.org/details/TreasureInEarthenVesselsGodWorksThroughCrackedPots

HERE IS THE SLIDESHOW

http://prezi.com/rf8re5qrwol-/treasure/

THE POWER OF VULNERABILITY

LISTENING TO SHAME

Healing The Wounds Of Sexual Abuse (book preview)

 I am currently writing a book on healing the wounds of sexual abuse and have put it on Google Docs so that those led to this website through Women of Grace can get more information without having to wait.  Please let me know if there is anything I can add or elaborate on as I hope to have this going to print within the next month.  Just Click the link below;

My Undoing

God undid me and then put me back together again.  Sometimes it’s hard to realize that in order for a house in ruin to be fully restored, it must be torn down so as to begin with a more solid foundation.  There is a part of me that feels like this is what Inner Healing has done for me. This form of “therapy” isn’t really therapy.  It healing. It goes to the foundation and helps to bring about full restoration.   I have not been fully restored all at once, but in layers.

 

I have begun to uncover so many agreements I have made with the “father of lies” and in doing so I had given him and his minions permission to oppress me in so many ways.  With inner healing I have been shown that when I am brave enough to trust the builder, my reward will be not just a new and sturdy house but God desires to give me a mansion.

The first thing I had to do was to become vulnerable.  That might sound easy when you read the words a crossed the page but for me it was like having the Ren and Stimpy cartoon when they pluck the roots out of the tooth sockets.  It was beyond painful.  

 




I felt like someone had stripped me naked in front of a bunch of strangers and I had to stand before them in my nakedness.  Then I realized, that I had to go back to the garden and become naked like Adam and Eve were before the fall.  If I would be willing to become naked without shame, then I would discover what it truly means to enter into the words “Jesus, I trust in You”.  

 

Trust is about being vulnerable.  Unless I was willing to be vulnerable, I would never fully enter into trusting God.  I thought I trusted God, but I was not relinquishing my control over the direction of my life nor that of my families.

I had come to this retreat to get some healing.  I couldn’t go home and face all the trials of my life without it! That morning the readings were about “ask and the door will be opened” kind of stuff.  

Really? I thought to myself, what a joke.  I have been asking for years so where are you?  I began to get angry as I listened to scripture saying that God desires to heal us and help us and love us.  I guess that means for other people and not for me then.  The rage was welling up inside of me. I had to get out of there.   The facilitator asked what our reflections were on the readings for the morning.  You can bet that I let him have it.  


”I think it’s a crock of shit” I said.  “All the hemorrhaging woman had to do was to touch His garment, what do I have to do?” I screamed.


”Well, the hemorrhaging woman bled for 12 years” said the facilitator.


”Even Lazarus had to wait 3 days before he was raised from the dead” was another response.  


”Well, I was sexually abused when I was 3 and I am 41 now so I think I have been waiting long enough” I snapped back.

Their comments, although meant to reassure me, just infuriated me more.  For every scripture verse they had to why it was justified that I had not received any relief yet, I had two more as to why God promised He would show up when He is needed.

I left the group and stormed up the stairs to my room.   As soon as I got to my room, I let Him have it.  


I yelled at God and told Him how upset I was.  I into the bathroom and punched the shower curtain until my knuckles bled (yes, I know it was a temper tantrum).

As I began to lose steam, I yelled out the words; “What do I have to do for you to fucking show up? Lose Control??” 


That is when I heard the very small words; “yes”.


My first thought was; “What? Give up control? Hell No!”

What if God doesn’t show up? If I am not in control then all hell will break lose! Is God crazy?  It will be a death spiral into chaos! Besides, to give up control I would have to be vulnerable. I would have to open myself to the unknown.  I can’t do that! I am not ready for that!  He can’t be asking me for that!


”Vulnerable” is not a word that anyone who has known me would use to describe me.  I have prided myself on being self-sufficient.  My entire life I have taken care of my family and myself because I felt that no one else could be trusted to do it.  The thought of relinquishing control and allowing God to take the reigns terrified me.  


As I considered the impending doom that would await me if I even contemplated being vulnerable, I saw an image in my imagination of myself on a horse drawn carriage.  I had one rein and God had the other.  The carriage was all over the place.  I guess letting God have one rein was a great first step but by not giving Him both reigns I was going nowhere fast.  I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to consider giving God both reins, at least for this week so He could show me His plan and that He could be trusted.  


Could I do that?   Well, I am miserable living the way I am so I have nothing to lose.  So I stepped out in fear and consented.  I decided anytime I felt Him prompt me, I would submit to being vulnerable.  Honestly, I was a little excited to see what this would feel like.  I was in a safe place to do this so the circumstances of my experiment seemed worthy of effort. 

 


There is an extraordinary video that a woman at this healing retreat shared with me by Brene Brown entitled “The Power of Vulnerability”.  It was this video that gave me the courage to embrace vulnerability and then and only then could healing be possible.  I should note that she also has a second video that is even better (but needs to be watched after her vulnerability video) entitled “Listening To Shame”

 



 

The first morning of my Inner Healing course I would be asked to submit control. I was asked to participate in a living sculpture of the trinity. At one point I was asked to enter into the sculpture.  I was asked to rest my head on the “Father’s” chest while the ” Son” would embrace me from the front and the “Holy Spirit” was supporting and hugging me from behind.  It felt awkward and feigned.  I began resenting the fact that I had agreed to submit to being vulnerable.

“A quiet moment” Sculpture

 

To make matters worse I was sobbing uncontrollably.  It felt like everyone watching must surely think I was a basket case and needed psychiatric care.  I could not express in words what my heart ached with or was crying out so I asked them; “Can I show you what I feel?”  The facilitator nodded his head. 

I dropped to the floor and laid in a ball in front of the “Father”.  I held his ankles and laid my face upon his feet. His feet became wet with my tears and wiped them with my hair.  The room and the people in it disappeared (See the above picture by Mr. Johnson because it is an image of exactly how I felt at that moment). 


I remained there sobbing and thought of Mary Magdalene and wished I had expensive perfumed oils to offer.  All I could think of was my desire for the Father to love me.  I thought to myself, I am not worthy to stand and face you but surely I am worthy to lie at your feet?   There is a great book that describes the scene of Mary Magdalene at Jesus’ feet (besides the bible of course) that describes it so very beautifully.  


The scene of Mary Magdalene encountering Jesus is described in Michele Perry’s book “Love Has a Face” as thus:

“She spent her life earning a living by selling false love to any who would buy it. But the Man before her now was different.  He looked passed her reputation to her very soul. His eyes had no agenda, no desire to use her. They probed the deepest crevices of her pain but she saw no loathing, no hatred, and no condemnation.  How could this be?  She saw only compassion and mercy mingled with sadness at what He knew she had suffered.  She looked away.  She did not know what to do in the face of love that held no guile or hidden motive.  Yet her gaze drew back to this Man they called Teacher.  Her heart compelled her.


Could it really be true?  One more time their gazes locked.  She could not look away again even if she tried.  How could she return even a drop of the ocean of love in which He washed her that day?  It was inappropriate to be sure. It was in the middle of an important dinner for which she had no invitation. And it was not in the proper manner.   She could scarcely believe she had just barged right into the middle of the room.  It was absolutely undignified yet she was compelled by His love.   She washed His feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.  It costs her everything, every shred of dignity and year’s wages gone in an instant as she poured out her precious perfume.


Did they know how this amount had been earned? She shuddered at the thought but it was fleeting.  The look in His eyes again captured her heart.  The room disappeared.  The jeering looks and accusations faded as He filled all her vision.


Wasteful.  Indignant.  Extravagance poured over this Man the only Man who ever showed her the face of love.  How could she not pour out her everything on Him?  Love outpoured overtook the gathering.  The fragrance of intoxicating overpowering adoration that gave all it had and risked all it was filled the room.  Inappropriate. Indecent.  Scandalous.  Wasteful.


But Jesus-what did he do?  He accepted it.  He defended it.  He applauded it.  He cherished it.   He recorded it for all time”pg 47

I have been praying for receptivity to the Holy Spirit for the past two years.  I was now being able to see that vulnerability is.  It is the predicator to receptivity.  This is what I was seeking. 

 


Why was I so afraid of vulnerability? Why did I see vulnerability as weakness? 


It was then that I got the answer.  I saw a picture in my mind of me at 3 years of age, lying naked on a waterbed being sexually abused by “Al” the babysitter.


Of Course! I had made the agreement that vulnerability means losing your rights and being unprotected.  You cannot get more vulnerable than being three years old, naked and being sexually assaulted in a strange place.  Even if I could have gotten away where would I have gone? I was alone and had no idea how to get home.  This was vulnerability to me.  I had decided at three years old that being vulnerable meant being violated, assaulted and victimized.  I thought the only person that could be trusted to protect me was myself because others cannot be counted upon.  It was this lie that I had decided to believe that set me up to be a woman that could not be vulnerable. I had misunderstood what being vulnerable means.  I had thought to be a vulnerable woman would become a woman that was weak. 

Mary Magdalene was not weak, she was brave.  She was brave enough to believe that Christ would accept her and her offering.  She marched a crossed that floor and she opened herself in a very vulnerable way.  She was not assaulted there nor did she become violated. In fact, it was her lifestyle that violated her and stripped her of her dignity.  Here, in her willingness to expose herself she was having her dignity restored.  That’s when it hit me.  If I was willing to become naked in the same way then could I be healed too?  Was I resisting being vulnerability because I was still consumed by shame?  What is shame? What does it mean to say that Adam and Eve were naked without shame?  Could it be that I must be willing to willingly become naked in front of God so that in that voluntary vulnerability I could finally experience healing? Yes, I think I needed to relinquish control so that I could let God lead me.  If I could do that, it would be the beginning of learning to trust Him.


Control has been my lover for the last 41 years.  It has made me feel strong, competent and has soothed my anxieties like drugs for a junkie.  If I could not deal with how something was happening, I would take control.  Want to know how that has worked out for me? Let’s just say I have burned a lot of bridges in my life using control as a coping mechanism.  Being vulnerable meant I would have to give up control.  This was going to be harder than I thought. 


One of the nights I was at the Healing retreat I had a dream about what this control was doing in my marriage.  In the dream I was about to be attacked by a large deformed dog.  It was about to crush my skull in it’s oversized jaws.  My husband was standing in front of me, raising his fist to strike the dog beast down.  I watched, as he seemed to be slowly puffed up with air.  He was getting larger and larger but he did not release raised fist to strike the dog.  Fear began to well up inside of me.  I had to take over.   I began to scream at him. 

“What are you doing? Hit the dog!!! He is going to kill me! Shawn! Whats wrong with you?! Hit the dog!”

 

 


As I continued to yell at him, I watched as the air began to go out of him and he grew smaller and smaller with every scream. 


Then it was our daughter Mercedes sitting in my place.  She is our 8 year old daughter and she is a tiny, petite , little flibertyjibbit.  Surely he would rise to the occasion for his daughter? 


I sat powerless to help her.  Once again he began to fill up, growing taller and larger.  His fist rose up higher and larger.  My fear that the dog would strike before Shawn would act burst out of me again.   I began to yell and holler at him to hit the dog.   The louder I yelled, the smaller my husband became.  


The next morning I thought about the dream.  I realized that my desire to control as well as my refusal to be vulnerable was emasculating my husband.  I had stripped him of feeling adequate, worthy or even capable of doing, well…anything.  

Could it be that me controlling the family and all of our decision was stealing his joy, his purpose, his worthiness?  If he were in that role, would he in fact become a more beautiful husband and father?  I then thought about how the man is the “head” and the woman is the “heart”.  

I honestly believe that for a woman to operate in the head, she must make her heart covered in stone.  A woman is made to flow from the heart.  Even scientists and psychiatrists will tell you that a man has the ability to think through stressful situations and assess them cognitively without being drawn into the affect.  He can then compartmentalize them and rank them in according to purpose and then deal with the decisions that flow from it.  

Women usually think on things simultaneously.  For me to put myself into the very stressful role of dealing with all of the difficult decisions (that come from the head) I had to shut off my heart or else I would have internally combusted.  I had made my heart into stone.  No wonder I had a hard time hugging and kissing my children! I had to turn off the affect so I could get things done! I had a house to run and finances to sort out and decisions to make and stress to deal with! I had no time for snuggling and comforting children.  


It’ somewhat ironic that I went to Florida to find out why I have a hard time showing affection and ended up dealing with the very thing that the root or cause.  I thought about how arguing with the HVAC guy or electrical guy or the bank guy etc, was making me into a hardened woman not a vulnerable one.  I could not be both.  I was not made for being a manipulative woman that always found a way to get what she wanted or needed.  I was made to love and be loved.  


I now had to ask myself the question is there a spiritual aspect of this issue of mine that must be addressed? “Have I come into agreement with a spirit of control?”.  I looked deeply within me and prayed to the Holy Spirit for wisdom. I had barely begun to ask the question when a resounding YES rang out within me.  It’s name is The Jezebel Spirit.  (Click the link for more information).


The next day I spent some time with the Intercessory Prayer team and we renounced lies, unbound agreements and cut the connections that the Jezebel Spirit had made to me.  I realized right away that I had come into agreement with the clever lies it had proposed to me.  It is in making an agreement that I had given it power in my life.  


I can honestly say I experienced a tremendous shift in my thinking and freedom from something very powerful.  That week was another week in the journey to becoming the woman I have always been meant to be.  If I want my husband to succeed in being father, husband and man of God that he has been called to be, then I must give him the opportunity to lead our family.  It is this very thing that will fulfill him and his masculinity.  

So where am I now? Well, now I am dealing with trust and overcoming the fear that wells up inside of me when I am not the one making the decisions at home or orchestrating how the days, weeks and months play out (not easy at all but I can do all things through Christ Who Strengthens me! Phil 4:13). 


If I am standing on the platform then how will he ever be able to?  Everyday it hurts.  Everyday I am challenged to be vulnerable but the first step came in understanding that Jesus would never define being vulnerable as opening myself to be violated.  


Being vulnerable now means that I am willing to be imperfect.  I know that I am not bad, in fact, I am the opposite, I am very, very good.  I may make mistakes and do things that are bad, but I am not bad.  In fact, I have been hard wired for struggle.  I will continue to struggle against the difficulties of life but now I realize that when I am vulnerable, I open up the door for God to come in and take care of me.

I have now entered into a trusting relationship with God in a very different way.  I try to pay attention to when I use the words “should” and “need” and “but” because they show me when I am trying to control people or things or when I am not allowing God the freedom to move in my life or the lives of others.  


I am glad I had the courage to be vulnerable because if I hadn’t I would have missed a week of intense inner healing of the deep wounds I have carried from my childhood.  I am not all better yet, but I am on the road to healing.  He knocked on the door and I opened it.  I now allow Him to lead as the Good Shepard and I am continually reminding myself not to take the place of the butcher (the guy who drives the sheep).  When He leads (and I am not driving things from behind) then I can trust that He will take care of me and I can be vulnerable.   His way, affords protection, green pastures, quiet waters, it refreshes my soul and I am protected from evil.  That sounds a whole lot better than what I have been giving myself the past 41 years. 

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 

    He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters, 

    he refreshes my soul. 

He guides me along the right paths 

    for his name’s sake. 

Even though I walk

    through the darkest valley,[a] 

I will fear no evil, 

    for you are with me; 

your rod and your staff,

    they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me

    in the presence of my enemies.

You anoint my head with oil; 

    my cup overflows.

Surely your goodness and love will follow me

    all the days of my life,

and I will dwell in the house of the Lord

    forever.