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Victim or Survivor?

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God’s Flashlight

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Many people do not understand the deep soul devastation that happens when children are abused physically, emotionally, psychologically, sexually, and spiritually. Why spiritually? Because in each and every human God placed His spark within us before we were even born.  He knew us before we were conceived. (Jer.1:5) He said we are created in His image. (Gen.1:27) Mom and Dad are just the vessels He has used to bring us into this world.

The genetic makeup of a child is such that each has his own predisposition as to character and personality. How God created him can be altered through abuse because it directly affects how his character and personality will be developed. It can be nourished or devastated. Abuse attacks all that a child was meant to be. His D.N.A. will never be changed but what God created him for can and will be devastatingly changed. We were created to love and be loved, to feel joy, and enjoy life, and above all to love the Lord with all our heart, mind, and soul.

Through my own healing experiences the Lord has shown me much. I call it His big “flashlight” shining deep within my soul exposing those deep hurts, the wounds to my heart, the wounds that seared my thought processes, and so much more.

Through therapy, through much prayer, through dreams and visions He has brought healing in a variety of ways. He dug deep to expose the hurt. He dug deep to expose the falsehoods that had been told to me over and over and over again; it’s your fault, you liked it, you wanted it, you are my tool and I can do what I want with you, if you were good…, you’re worthless, the list is endless and may vary with each survivor but they all attack the personhood of the child. Instead of instilling worth and value and love, – guilt, shame, worthlessness, are being methodically and deliberately instilled in the child.

I mentioned dreams and visions because, in my recovery, the Lord would use dreams where He would reveal certain things to me. For instance, my career as a flight attendant placed me on airplanes for many years. I can relate to air travel so the Lord would use planes and hotels to get His point across. Other times He would use a person/people I knew or pets that I had.

My point is, don’t be fooled by a dream where within the dream there may be things you are familiar with. Because I was on a plane or in a hotel in a dream doesn’t mean I was just having some sort of flashback. If a dream bothers you, keeps coming to mind, or even a small portion of it, pray about it asking the Lord to show you what He is telling you. Write the dream down and then pray about it and allow the Lord to bring a deeper understanding to the wounds that He is touching. Make no assumptions about what the dream may mean. It’s easy to do that but we can miss the deeper meaning and healing.

For many years I had one dream that continually would show up without regard to anything I may have encountered that day, week, or even month. It was a small child’s hand. It appeared to belong to a two-year old child. It was always reaching out with the index finger pointing as though reaching out to touch something. I never understood and finally the Lord, after many years, revealed what it was. The Lord was leading me into the beginning stages of the healing process. Once the Lord revealed what that hand reaching out meant I have never had the dream again. He later revealed, through a vision this time, that the abuse began when I was an infant.

We can miss the magnificent healing powers of the Lord Jesus Christ by ignoring or discounting ways that He can bring about deeper healer within us. Jesus is Jehovah Rapha – The Lord that heals. (Ex. 15:26)

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I Never Felt Loved – A Testimony

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Written by Belinda – Angels by Grace Pub. March 1997

My abuse started around the age of eight or nine, by one of my closest Uncles. This Uncle was everybody’s dream father. He helped with homework, played sports, went swimming, fishing, and so on.

My Aunt treated me as if I were her own. She took me shopping and bought me things, helped me with homework, took me to church with all its activities, and she was teaching me about believing in God. I got Baptized, too.

Because my parents always fought, would separate and then get back together, I felt my Aunt and Uncle’s home was my safe haven. There was no fighting or hitting taking place. They ate dinner together, it was like a dream home where people were family. Then my Uncle started molesting me and that’s when everything went wrong.

My relationship changed with my Aunt, it wasn’t as strong any more. I was afraid she would figure out what my Uncle was doing. I feared going to their house and was afraid to go to sleep while there, or even go to the bathroom alone.

I seemed to be afraid of a lot of things, afraid someone would look in the window, afraid my Aunt would be angry at me and not love me any more. And my Uncle seemed like he didn’t care if he was caught. Yet I felt like I was the guilty one. Knowing the abuse was wrong but being scared people would blame me.

For a year and a half my Uncle grabbed, touched me in places he shouldn’t, as well as making sexual remarks. Then my father began abusing me and that lasted until I was fourteen years old.  My father seemed like he’d turned into this evil man. I couldn’t reason with him, no amount of crying or begging helped. It was like he had no feelings.

Some of my father’s abuse took place on his boat. Hundreds of happy people walking just feet from where he was abusing me and I’d think, “Why doesn’t someone stop! Somebody come in here and help me.” When it was over I hated walking outside because I felt like everyone knew what had just happened and I felt so embarrassed.

What I really can’t understand and what really hurts me is that my mother had caught him abusing me on two separate occasions. My grandmother had also caught him and merely said, “He’ll quit.” But he didn’t. That’s when I lost all hope and faith that he would ever be stopped. He did finally stop abusing me when he and my mother divorced, but then I guess I was in “shut down.” All my survivor skills kicked in and I no longer cried, no more begging, nothing mattered. I had been an A and B student, but I no longer cared for school. I hung out with older crowds, drank, stayed out all night. I thought there was only one way for the boys to like you.

I met the man I married and I suddenly felt loved. Of course I depended on him to make me happy because I didn’t know how to be happy. Some years into the marriage I suddenly didn’t want to be left alone, not even for him to go to work. I started remembering some of the things from the past and I was so unhappy. It was like nothing could make me happy!

I refused to face the past, thinking, “All that’s in the past, it isn’t happening now.” I was in big denial that the abuse was the cause of so many of my problems. I did start seeing a counselor but I continued to feel un-loved, out of place, unhappy, and that no-one cared for me.

I couldn’t make decisions, I felt like I was just floating through life with no purpose, just waiting for it all to end. I couldn’t accept that I was going to have to face my pain and it was almost un-thinkable that I would have to do just that.

I’d tell my counselor, “I’m not angry, I’m not hurt. I feel sorry for my abusers.” Recognizing my anger was real hard for me. I felt like it was betraying my family. My family didn’t deserve any anger from me! I’ve worked on many areas of hurt in counseling. One being, I couldn’t talk about this part of my life with my husband. I didn’t want to share or for him to know I had been abused. I fought with my feelings about not telling him, yet I felt my reasons were justified. What I really felt was that he wouldn’t love me any more if he knew.

My counselor told me many times, “Go home and talk with your husband about this.” My reply was always the same, “I can’t! I’d rather jump off a bridge!” But somehow she got us to go to family counseling and its been going well.  My husband is my number one supporter.

For so long I fought the feelings that would rise up in me and felt there was no hope of ever getting past the abusive past. I felt there was just too much damage done, but I was wrong. Therapy has been very helpful.

After a while I started noticing that I paid attention when God was mentioned. I’d even catch myself praying for His help and guidance. You see, I always said, “There can’t be a God. Why would He let it happen to little girls?” Then I’d think, “Okay, He let it happen, but why make me suffer and not them?” It seemed like I was the one being punished. But then one day I realized I was angry at God. I won’t say I’m completely happy with where I am with Him now, but I’m on the right road and still learning.

I met a lady during the time I was in the hospital and she and I became very good friends. We sat up and talked all night and once when I was really upset she said, “Belinda, you know Someone has been watching over you. Because if not you probably wouldn’t be around today.” That really sticks out to me. Now when things get tough and I don’t think I can go on I ask God to please help me and guide me. Then, somehow, I get through it and the next day is a little brighter.

I feel my accomplishments have been numerous. I no longer deny my feelings (most of the time.) I can at least identify them and can put some of the shame where it belongs. My relationship with my husband and children is much better. I try to listen to myself and believe my pain does exist and it’s okay to hurt. I have hope and I’m trying to find out who “me” is.

The most difficult part of healing for me right now is my relationship with my mother. I loved her so much and I just needed her to say, “Its going to be okay.” Instead, she refuses to accept that I didn’t want the abuse or the damage that the abuse has caused. That’s very hurtful for me. I can’t pretend it didn’t happen so I struggle with feelings of guilt, fearing I’m hurting my family. They believe, “It’s all in the past, so let it go.” That makes me feel alone and that my family doesn’t love me.

I try to remember that my husband and children do care and want me to heal. I have them. I’m working on issues of my family and those losses. Letting go of that fantasy family and childhood, yet realizing “normal family” can’t be.

If someone called me on the phone and asked for my advice, I’d tell them, “Don’t deny your feelings. Things will get better and easier. Follow your heart, you deserve healing.” And I would cry for them and just let them talk until they couldn’t talk any more. And I’d let them know Someone is watching over them.

My work has been hard and I know I have only one way to go. I would choose to heal again if I had to because I’m just getting a glimpse of who I really am. I know when I am through healing I’m finally free from my childhood and its pain. My husband, children, and I can truly be happy.

I’m working very hard on my relationship with God. I am forever grateful for the people who have helped me. My husband, for standing by me and not giving up. My best friend ____, who listened and pulled the truth from me. ____for all those encouraging talks, and the work that my counselor has done. For my angels, Sue and Kay, who took the time to help and understand. I look at them and think, “It does get better. They can laugh and smile and be themselves.” So they are a big inspiration.

I’ve always thought about angels and to me it seems kind of strange that I landed at Angels Group Support Group for help, and I’m receiving it. I’m hoping for everyone to receive the healing we all deserve. Keep me in your prayers as I’ll keep you in mine.

Belinda

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Note: With Belinda’s counselor and our support Belinda pressed charges against her abuser. He pled guilty and was sent to prison.

 

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Blessings to you.

Lady in the Mirror – A Testimony

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Written by Barbara – Angels by Grace Feb. 1997

For thirty seven years I have felt shame and guilt. I had no self worth and felt very ugly.

These are some of the feelings that was the result of sexual abuse done to me and also being raped by various people on various occasions when I was between the ages of five and seventeen.

Because of that abuse when I looked in the mirror I saw distortions. Like when you look in a mirror at the carnival. That’s how I saw myself and I hated what I saw.

Since I have been in the Angel Group Support Group I am now able to look in the mirror and see the tears and feel the pain. I can look at my image in the mirror and see what God sees. He sees me as beautiful and He loves me. I now look in the mirror and say aloud, “I love you” and feel I can love myself, now. You see God has always been with me. I can now feel His warm and loving arms around me.

My prayer:

God, thank you for showing me the truth. I can now love myself and others. Please be with those that are suffering. In Jesus Name. Amen

I love you all.

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With God’s help

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 “Do not be afraid; you will not be put to shame. Do not fear disgrace; you will not be humiliated.

You will forget the shame of your youth …” Isaiah 54:4

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Survivor Psalm

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Survivor Psalm

by Frank Ochberg, M.D.

I have been victimized.

I was in a fight that was

Not a fair fight.

I did not ask for the fight. I lost.

There is no shame in losing such

fights, only in winning.

I have reached the stage of

Survivor and am no longer a

A slave of victim status.

I look back with sadness

Rather than hate.

I look forward with hope

Rather than despair.

I may never forget, but I need not

Constantly remember.

I WAS a victim.

I AM a survivor.

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Gift From Within – Reprinted with permission

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