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I’ve Been Set Free, But…

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So many years ago there was so much hurt and pain. The years of childhood were not happy ones and even though we go through many years of hard-core therapy to overcome those memories we can still be plagued by them.

How do we deal with the flashbacks, the times when we jerk straight up in bed awakened by a dream so real it feels like we’re reliving the event? Do we ignore what the Lord may be showing us through a dream? Do we assume it is a nightmare the devil is taunting us with? Do we wipe the sweat off our brow and finally go back to sleep ignoring it?

Several years have been spent reliving the traumatic events of an abusive childhood, the emotional attacks as well as the physical attacks. Child abuse leaves wounds to our hearts that seems to penetrate to the very cells of our bodies. God, with all His infinite wisdom, knows our past, our present, and our future.

He came that we may enjoy life. He came to give us the freedom to live an abundant life. Abundance does not mean just finances. It means freedom from pain and suffering.  It means that we do not have to live with memories of terror that leave us screaming, crying, and wanting to end it all. It means that He has given us a way to break the chains that bind us to our abuser/s.

Even after many years of therapy we will still remember the events that caused us so much pain. God does not give us amnesia so we never remember again. We can wallow in those memories and relive the pain, hold on to the anger that follows, let the bitterness turn our hearts to stone or we can sever the ties that bind us to them. If we do not sever those ties our abuser is still controlling us!

In Matthew 18:21,22 Peter came to the Lord and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?”  When we have those dreams, when we suddenly find an event that caused us so much pain come throbbing through our brain, or words that the abuser growled in our ear, isn’t that much like the sin is being perpetrated again? It feels like it.

But what did Jesus tell Peter? Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.” This is what breaks the ties that the devil is using to keep us bound! Every time a mental image comes of the abusive act say out loud, “I forgive (name the person) for (say what he/she did to you) in Jesus name. Satan hates forgiveness! You are naming the event that has been brought to mind.

In the case of an abuser’s hateful words being replayed, we do not have to tolerate the devil harassing us with hurtful statements from the past! When the devil starts spouting how horrible I am or how I’m nothing I say the 4 words that Michael said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9)

The Lord forgives us and says He will not forgive us our sin if we do not forgive others theirs. Saying a prayer of forgiveness for something horrendous that was done to us does not cover all time! It isn’t like a one size fits all. We are to forgive over and over and over again if that is what is needed, and many times that is exactly what is needed!

Every dream, every memory, every mental picture, comes from either the Lord, to show us something important that He wants to bring to our attention or heal, the devil to taunt us and keep us in pain, or ourselves because we haven’t healed. Regardless of who, what, or where the memory comes from if we announce out loud “I forgive….” we benefit! The abusers hateful words being slammed into our memory you can bet comes from the devil. Rebuke him in Jesus name!

I’ve done this many, many times and it stops the enemy in his tracks! The Lord does not taunt us with painful memories! In my experience, if it is the Lord, He has done it through dreams, not nightmares, but dreams that will leave me wondering what He is trying to show me. Occasionally it will be a mental picture. I do not ignore either. I told the Lord one time after forgiving my abuser for what he did that came to mind, “I don’t feel that in my heart.” I learned that we speak it out and in time it will enter and come from our heart.

We are not only set free from the deep wounds to our soul and spirit from an abusive childhood or an abusive relationship but we are given a tool to use against the memories that on occasion jump up unexpectantly. We have been healed and no longer have to live in emotional torment. That does not mean we will never have to revisit some of those events but a revisit does not mean living it! You have been set free or you are being set free. Walk in that freedom!

“Whom the Lord sets free is free indeed.” Jn. 8:36

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elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.

 

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Setting a Captive Free

Years passed since the physical, emotion, psychological, and sexual abuse has passed. But the lingering pain, the memories that were buried deep so as to stay sane began to invade and torment my mind. Little flashbacks, a dream here and there would skitter through my mind but I would shove them back and hide them again. Shuck them off like rain drops on my shoulders.

Our emotional states will affect our physical state and one day I went to the doctor for some physical ailment. During his exam he asked me various questions and somehow it slipped out that I didn’t care if I lived. Without further ado, no condemnation, no sermons or “Oh you don’t want to think that” comments, he simply wrote a name and phone number on a prescription pad paper and handed it to me, “You might like to give this man a call” was all he said.

That was the beginning of my years of therapy. He was a secular therapist and looking back I realized that the Lord knew that had I been sent to a Christian counselor I never would have set foot in the office. I was angry at God. Very angry! He said He would save me but He never showed up at my house or on my doorstep to rescue me. That preacher that said God saves us had to be delusional. Nope, not trusting God or anyone else to save this woman!

Gradually as the psychiatrist and I talked the sexual abuse was brought out into the open. I can’t begin to describe the pain I felt as we waded through the horrific details and memories. For several years depression took control, dreams left me screaming and sweating sitting in my bed, suicidal thoughts flickered in and out as easily as a stream flows down hill. A few attempts to end the pain forever were made to no avail. Tranquilizers and anti-anxiety medication was prescribed and helped but God knew what I needed and that was the healing that only He could give.

Many years later, I found myself standing before a pastor, in a church I had never been in, asking the Lord to be my Lord and Savior. I got saved and Baptized that very morning and life has never been the same since. My husband had just died from a long illness and the Lord used his passing and my grief to bring me to where I should have been years earlier.

He knew my anger and He knew every detail of my life and my suffering and He knew my great anger even better than I did. I was still seeing the secular therapist but gradually he could not answer my spiritual questions that seemed to keep popping up. I began seeing a Christian counselor and little by little He walked me through the pain. With a Christian counselor who allowed the Lord to lead me down those dark, scary paths it seemed as though my healing was escalating. There was a difference in my journey this time. I had Christ walking the path with me and that is when the deep healing took place.

I’m not saying it’s easy, far from it! Pain, suffering, memories, regardless of where that pain and suffering began is not an easy path to travail. To wade through the muck and the mire is like walking through cement as it hardens. We get stuck but we tug and we pull until we are free from that one footstep that is holding us back. Then we rise up and take the next step and gradually we can see the end of the pain and suffering as each issue is brought to light and left behind. That doesn’t mean we forget what happened! It means that it no longer controls our emotions, relationships, and lives. We begin to understand why we may be a wall flower or why we have to control everything around us or why anger bursts forth at little provocation. Our attitudes begin to change and our misconceptions and all those false teachings are transformed into truth. Truth, not just what happened but more importantly how God sees us and that He loves us no matter how angry, hurt, or betrayed we were. We learn that He accepts us right where we are! We are not who we were told we are but who God says we are. There’s a big difference!

It took many more years of therapy; talking, remembering, crying, begging for it to be over before the freedom came. Forgiveness of all those horrible things that happened and forgiveness granted to those who did them was all part of that healing process. It was a huge step toward my healing process, and it is a process and it is not easy but with the Lord walking that path with us and whispering His encouragement in our ears and revealing the deep pain we continue the journey.

I have heard several pastors put down secular therapy but I am here to say that not everyone will go to a Christian counselor for whatever reason. And there are, sadly, Christian counselors that are Christians but do not council by the Word of God. Some are condemning, judgmental, and accusing leaving an already shattered victim devastated and turning away from God and all that He is. There is a big difference between someone who is a Christian but their method is by mans knowledge, book-learned therapy, and a Christian counselor who allows the Lord to lead the sessions, hears God’s guidance, and trusts God’s wisdom.

The Lord knows our hearts. He knows who we will trust and who we will not and He knew that in my circumstances that if I didn’t get therapy I would not live to be what He created me to be. He allowed, and may even have used that doctor, to lead me to a therapist where I would get the foundational healing I needed. The abuse was revealed and taken into the light, the issues were confronted in all their grimness, and when God’s timing was right He used my husbands passing and my grief and sense of great loss to bring me to Him. God is good! He knows our hearts, He knows our needs, and through His Son and Holy Spirit He will bring anyone who is suffering to Him for His healing. All we have to do is take that first step and trust. He’ll even teach us how to do that.

“He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted… to proclaim liberty to the captives…That they may be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1,3

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elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.

False Memory Syndrome

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Many of us grew up in homes where Satan’s influences were more prevalent than Christ’s. All forms of abuse took place and for those who have experienced abuse, particularly sexual abuse, coping mechanisms and defense mechanisms can take place within the victim.

In the case of sexual abuse the victim can repress those memories so deeply that as an adult she/he may “forget” the abuse occurred. But it isn’t that easy because our brains don’t forget. Like a computer, even though we delete something, it’s still hidden somewhere in the hard drive. It will come up at sometime with the right buttons pushed!

The victim may eventually go for counseling for depression or anger issues or any number of reasons. One in particular is feelings that “something happened” or flash backs of abuse begin to occur. Others may know they were abused but can’t recall everything and the family members deny vehemently that nothing happened and “you’re making it up.” Which places the victim in a dilemma of “am I making this up or did it really happen?”

In my case I had to sit down and think back over the years I could remember. Yes, I had definite memories of places, approximate ages, and was having dreams that brought out a few incidents,  plus the fact that a sister was also abused even though my mother was denying that I was abused. I went through the stages of “he wouldn’t do that, it didn’t happen, I have to be making this up.” Yet I couldn’t deny that what memories I had were in fact real and not just figments of my imagination.

There are some guidelines that I found useful in discerning the truth.

1. Who brought up sexual abuse in the therapy session?  Did you tell the counselor you had vague memories of abuse? Or did you seek counseling for some problem area and found the counselor “suggesting” sexual abuse as an answer? If your heart reveals thoughts, memories, inklings of an abusive background, follow your heart. I found that when a memory surfaced, it felt right, or it felt wrong. It explained a dream I never understood or a vague inkling of something I couldn’t pin down. If your counselor insists you were abused and that just doesn’t resonate with your heart, mind, and soul, pray about it. God will show you the truth. Consider seeking another counselor if this one continues to insist on abuse.

2. Think back over the early years. Has someone else in your family talked about, or hinted at abuse directed at them. Did a sister reveal that “Daddy was hurting her.?” Is there a tangible friction between your mother and you that you can’t explain as normal friction? In my case there seemed to be a “wall” between my mother and I that I didn’t understand. I know now it was because she knew of the abuse and turned a blind eye to it. Even though I had buried the memories somewhere in my brain I knew she knew. I’m not suggesting that if you and Mom don’t see eye to eye that you were abused and she knew and did nothing to protect you. I’m suggesting you seek God’s truth and He will reveal the reasons why you and Mom don’t see eye to eye. Unforgiveness for other hurts can be a reason. Another indicator can be that you don’t want to be alone with a particular person, especially someone you trusted, find out why.

3. Confrontation isn’t a good idea until you are absolutely certain of abuse. If through therapy exact memories of places and events have been revealed by you, not a therapist telling you they took place even though you don’t recall them, then and only then is confrontation a possibility. That is up to you. Don’t expect an apology or even confirmation of the abuse and do it only with the Lord’s guidance.

It is very difficult to admit that someone we trusted and loved has betrayed that trust and love. As adults we waiver between admitting the truth to ourselves and others. When we have come to face the horrors of the past it’s still very difficult to seek counseling or tell others of the abuse. To have to face the truth about the past destroys the image we have put in place of a “happy home”  or  “I had wonderful parents.” It is having to face betrayal of the worst kind and that isn’t easy.

False Memory Syndrome is very dangerous to those of us who lived, survived, real – not imagined -sexual abuse. Ask Christ to reveal His truths and you will know within your heart, Is this false? Is this truth? Don’t allow others to convince you it did not happen when in reality it did. And, don’t allow a counselor, or anyone, to convince you it did happen when in reality it did not. Lives can be destroyed by a false memory.

My Dad finally admitted what he did yet my mother was still in denial right up to her death.

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If you have confidential comments or questions feel free to e-mail me at: elah501c@bellsouth.net

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Blessings to you.