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“Which way do I turn?” – A Testimony

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Written by Kelley – Angels by Grace Publication-June 1998

Have you ever been bombarded with questions stemming from abuse, in any form, and there was nowhere to turn? Opening up to friends or your counselor just didn’t seem to help at all? Yet the questions do not go away and it is torment. Every person needs a safe place to turn when dealing with any issue. Yet, I have come to realize friends or counselors aren’t always aware of our needs to open up, no matter how childish it seems.

God has allowed me to see that I have been looking to people to meet the emotional needs in my life. Needs such as,  knowing what it’s like to have someone put their arms around me and say they love me when I feel crappy about myself. Having someone to hold me and let me cry out without judging me, or reassuring me when things aren’t going well. We all need this.

All these needs stem from what we didn’t get growing up. If we are saved, spiritually, then in that regard we know (or should know) who we are in Christ. If we are a man or a woman, we know because the evidence is there.

Where is the turmoil at? It is our emotions. There is a big gap between our spirit and our physical bodies. The emotions are there and they are damaged, which brings doubt, insecurity, fears, etc.  Satan has his fun by doing everything in his power to prevent us from getting out what we really feel. He does this by getting us to focus on the situations in our lives, instead of focusing on Christ.

A good example of this is me being without a job for a little over six months. The first thought is survival and that results into not tithing, for example. It is easy for me to trust God when things are going great because I feel like He loves me. However, when a trial hits that means depending on Him, it is now the hardest thing to tithe. But tithing is my responsibility no matter what happens.

After the not tithing issue, my value as a person takes a beating as never before. Satan will use looking for a job as a way to compound the emotions of rejection, feelings of not having any abilities that would interest someone enough to hire me, etc.

Who does a person turn to after finding out that the things of the world, friends or counselors can’t help or stop the pain? The Person to turn to is God! As much as I cover my true emotions up with anger, He is the only One I can turn to. I honestly can’t say the blank feeling with people is His fault because God knows the right people to bring into my life.

However, when there is no other safe place to turn, He is our refuge. Kirk Talley does a song called, “Sometimes a Soldier Cries.” Its message is that it is okay for a soldier to cry, not feel strong, etc. And that we can turn to God’s arms of love.

Do I ever feel His arms around me or His love? No! However, God really uses music to comfort me, to remind me of His love, that His arms are really there. Yes, I have been frustrated with things I have gone through involving job hunting, things in life, and counseling. I can honestly say that God’s purpose was to get me to realize He is the only place I can truly turn and just be me. I really believe that His love is going to flood my emotional hurts in such a way that I will never be the same and that the torments of thoughts will be less and less.

Recently, God allowed me to attend a funeral of a nine-year old boy. One of the preachers there shared a very touching sermon and it hit home for me. He talked about Job and how Job never blamed God. The preacher also shared about God’s Sovereignty in the boy’s death.  He pointed out that in God’s Word that our days are numbered and that the car accident was the means of God calling His child home.

How does this relate to abuse of any nature? Very simple. We have a Sovereign God who is in control. Yes, we could go into the question of if He’s so Sovereign, why did He let it happen? I have wanted to do that many times in an angry way because it hurts so much. God understands me doing that but, it would be my way of covering up the tears, the pain, and the need to release these feelings even though I’m scared.

There is no reason to blame God and get into the “What if’s” concerning myself or any circumstances that contributed to it. There is only forgiveness and letting His love flood my emotions. I know that God will always remind me of these things daily as a source of encouragement because He knows that I have the worst habit of focusing in on the circumstances and other people instead of focusing on Him.

 

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elah501c@bellsouth.net

Blessings to you.

Setting Healthy Boundaries

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Every person has things that they will tolerate and those things that they will not tolerate. From ourselves and others. It’s called setting boundaries. But are the boundaries we set healthy boundaries?

Children that grow up in dysfunctional families are not given a choice, or not taught what healthy boundaries are. There are not usually boundaries set in dysfunctional homes. Sexual abuse is tolerated or hidden, beating Mom when the dinner isn’t ready on time, cussing and screaming, slapping, verbal attacks, degradation. There are all forms of abuse being tolerated. If there are any boundaries at all they are usually unhealthy.

What is a boundary? According to Webster’s dictionary it is “A limit. Anything marking a limit.” It’s as though we draw a line in the sand and say, “Don’t cross this line!” As Christians we can set healthy boundaries by refusing to listen to dirty jokes and  gossip for example.  Those are healthy boundaries. Once we have let others know that we will not tolerate filthy language, gossip, dirty jokes or whatever it is that offends us we must stick to those boundaries.

What are unhealthy boundaries? Allowing someone to verbally abuse us is one example of an unhealthy boundary. For example, I tell my husband that he can cuss all he wants but I just won’t tolerate the “F” word. Is that really a healthy boundary? No! Or for example, “Just don’t hit me in the face.”

There are many many examples of healthy and unhealthy boundaries but what it boils down to is what and how much I will tolerate, not just from others but from myself. Will I allow someone barging into the bathroom while I soak in the tub? Will I allow someone to continually verbally abuse me and say nothing? Will I continue to be degraded in front of my co-workers? Boundaries are set so that we may be treated with dignity and respect. If I allow others to belittle me or in some way show less than the respect that I deserve then I have not set boundaries. I am accepting that I am “less than.”

Children that have been abused have not been taught boundaries. As adults we tend to allow others to abuse us verbally, emotionally, or physically because we have not been taught that we are loved and respected as another human being. We expect less of people and of ourselves because that’s what our life experiences taught us. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

In Gen. 1:28 God told Adam and Eve about ownership. We are not to only take control of the things of the earth but that we are to take control and responsibility for our physical, emotional, and spiritual lives. “We are made in the image of God, we were created to take responsibility for certain tasks. Taking responsibility, or ownership, is knowing what is our job, and what isn’t.”* In other words, are we going to allow certain unhealthy things to control us?  “It takes wisdom to know what we should be doing and what we shouldn’t.” *

In  Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend book, “Boundaries” he states, “Any confusion of responsibility and ownership in our lives is a problem of boundaries. Just as homeowners set physical property lines around their land, we need to set physical, emotional, and spiritual boundaries for our lives to help us distinguish what is our responsibility and what isn’t.” *

They go on to discuss attitudes, feelings, behaviors, choices, values, limits, talents, thoughts, desires, and love. All have boundaries. “Boundaries are built and you can’t develop or set boundaries apart from supportive relationships with God and others.”

Many people feel they are being disobedient, will hurt others feelings, people may think I’m controlling, or angry if I set boundaries. But setting healthy boundaries are none of these. All children need healthy boundaries set in place not only for their safety but for learning they are loved and respected and we as adults also need to put in place healthy boundaries.

As a survivor of childhood physical, sexual, emotional, and psychological abuse I had to learn to create  healthy boundaries in order to live an emotionally healthy life. All of our relationships are affected by the boundaries we set or the lack of boundaries. What we tolerate is what will continue!

One of books that was of great help in my understanding and learning how to put in place healthy boundaries is:

*51AFJW77T0L._AA160_[1]Dr. Henry Cloud & Dr. John Townsend

I highly recommend it and the workbook. (available at http://www.amazon.com)

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

 

http://www.elahministriesinc.com

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Blessings to you.