Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Other Shoe

As survivors of child sexual abuse we spend our childhood expecting, almost waiting for the next horrible thing to happen and I must confess that is hard programming to break.  We suffer in silence, we manage and manipulate our world so as to try to outsmart our perpetrator, we take the long way, we try to stay within eyeshot and earshot of someone who just may be willing to protect us, but ultimately the evil wins and we are trapped to face the unthinkable-again and again.

So how do we shake this feeling of doom and gloom?  How do we reprogram our minds and our bodies to expect great things today?   Personally it is a moment-by-moment challenge where we have to take captive those negative thoughts and put the opposite spin, a positive spin, on that moment.  Today, I am still conquering this residue of abuse in my life.  We were conditioned to spend so much time worrying about the next attack that we tended to live in the next moment, the future, instead of the here and now. We create the scenarios that will bring disaster and focus on them like they are real.

We have to speak truth over the lies that the evil planted in our minds.  We have to take charge of our lives; living on purpose, determined to experience joy, enjoy our relationships and just be.  We have to plan our days to function with maximum health that includes nutrition, rest, and exercise.  This discipline is so contrary to the conditioning of the abuse, because we learned to hate our bodies and what they have suffered, so we tend, at least I did, to almost punish our bodies.  So many eating disorders are birthed from child sexual abuse.  We either put on a layer of insulation to protect ourselves or we starve ourselves, both exercising control over our bodies we did not posses as vulnerable children.   Many of us also engage in self defeating and self destructive behaviors that limit our mind and bodies ability to heal. 

So today I challenge you to reprogram your thoughts.  Instead of waiting for the other shoe to drop, take off both shoes and run barefoot in the grass. Expect great things out of this day.  Expect to be surprised, to be excited, to enjoy the life you deserve, free from pain and torment, free from abuse and free from those dreadful thoughts.

Know that God loves you and never wanted you to suffer.  He desires you to live a life full of peace and joy.  Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

For resources for survivors of child sexual abuse please visit VOICE Today,

Friday, May 25, 2012

Snapshots of Joy

Do you remember as a little one throwing your arms out for momentum and spinning around and around, faster and faster until you fell flat looking up to see swirling clouds.  Then you would jump up the minute you regained your balance to do it all again.  When we were little we wanted the world to go faster, we stretched our necks to meet the height requirement, we stretched our legs to reach the gas pedal, we wanted to ride the fastest roller coaster, always anxious to get one year older, and on and on. 

Now, I just want the world to slow down. Time is our most precious resource and it is fleeting.  I will graduate my baby boy from High School tomorrow and I can’t believe that 18 years have flashed before my eyes.  Certainly our goal as parents is to give them wings to fly, by I long for that simple summer day where I waded through the brightly colored balls at Chucky Cheese, or played hide and go seek, counting slow enough to get the wet clothes in the dryer; when toys were strung from corner to corner and we looked for hours for the lost hot wheels car; when we had to turn the car around because we left his favorite spider man action figure and he of course couldn’t miss the outing.   Cheering on the sidelines for our little league team was a weekend pastime.  I cherished those little arms wrapped around my neck that gave me a moment to rub noses or butterfly kisses.  I miss he long bubble baths with dozens of toys in the tub and the nightly story time and snuggles.

Fanning through boxes and boxes of pictures this week to choose the most memorable moments I found myself pulling out more than I left in the box.  They were ALL memorable moments.  Every photo was a snapshot of joy, a memory captured on photo paper and seared in my heart.  I thank my son Jacob for all those precious memories and for the overwhelming joy that he has brought into my life.  I can truly say that I have been able to live vicariously through his marvelous childhood and being a mommy has been my favorite job of all time.

Though my own childhood was riddled with abuse I am proud the cycle stopped with me, and though there are always scars that may open from time to time, the joy of being a mother spoke volumes of healing into that pain.  My father walked out of my life at my birth never to look back.  I have been able to witness a precious loving relationship between a Jacob and his dad.   I find it challenging to trust my mother because of the ways she let me down.  But I know Jacob trusts that I will always be here for him.  The cycle ended because Jacob has a legacy of healthy, honest relationships and he has been filled to overflowing with love every day of his life.

I am a proud Mom with prayers of blessings for Jacob and encouragement for others to slow down and treasure each moment with your children, because those moments spin away fast.   I want to share one of my favorite quotes with you, “It is not the breaths you take in this life but the moments that take your breath away.”  So today, share a simple moment that takes your breath away and take a snapshot to hide in your heart.

Thursday, May 3, 2012


When we grieve as adults we somehow touch that wound we spend every day trying to heal.  Maybe it triggers that sadness and pain that was a constant emotion as a confused and lonely child.  Maybe it triggers the grief of innocence lost.  Whatever the reason I want to share my journey through my Granny’s death in hopes it will help you process your own feelings when you struggle with grief.

My Granny passed away last Sunday.  I am so grateful to her and for her because she was the one person that gave me Godly life lessons.  She gave me hope and encouragement.  I believe, had I possessed the courage to tell her of my abuse as a child, she would have been the one person that would have protected me.  Years later when I finally told her what I had suffered through my childhood, her gentle words were comforting, “If I had only known, I would have taken you away from him, she painfully and regretfully whispered as she held me in a puddle of tears.”  She gave me the little cups of joy as a child, the affirmation I so longed for, the moments to be a child in her arms and elbow to elbow on the banks of her pond with a fishing pole.  She listened to my dreams on her front porch rockers and she told me often, “One day you will soar on wings of angels.  There ain’t nothin you can’t do if you put your mind to it,” she would bellow in her southern drawl.

I will miss my Granny so much.  I know she is walking on streets of gold, praising God arm in arm with the angels and learning all about the mysteries of life from the lips of Jesus.

Her life was a miracle and also her death.  In her 97 years my Granny miraculously lived through pancreatic cancer in the ‘70’s; to follow would be battles with diabetes, high blood pressure, breast cancer and congestive heart failure.

She had a massive stroke 8 days before she passed.  She lived 8 days paralyzed, unable to speak or eat but could respond with a nod.  I believe she stayed in that critical state for 8 days to give anyone in her life an opportunity to come to her side and say goodbye.  To rid there hearts of any words left unspoken.

I was by her side all night and day after her stroke and peacefully left knowing it would be the last time I would see her alive.  So funny how we think for a second that we know what happens next in this life.  I returned home, three hours away.  The week passed and Granny held on and I would continue to ask God, should I go back to be by her side?   It was one of the most hectic weeks at VOICE Today, and each time I would get a great peace that God was in control and when I needed to be there I would.  On Saturday I received a call around 1pm that hospice estimated Granny had less than 8 hours to live.  I had a commitment for a TV Interview at 6pm in Atlanta.  I again asked God, should I cancel and go on to be by my Granny’s side and again I felt great peace to continue to do what God had called me to do and He had my Granny.    My long and arduous week finally ended at 8:30pm on Saturday, 8 days after Granny’s stroke and I prayed as I traveled the 3 hours to my Granny’s side, “God please call her home when you are ready but if you could spare her for me to hold her hand one more time it would be a miracle.”  Exhausted from my week I just decided to pray in the spirit during the long drive south.

When I arrived at 11pm I had a renewed strength that I know only comes from the power of the Holy Spirit.  I rushed to her side where she was struggling for each breath.  I could feel the angels in the room and I said “God thank you for this moment.“ I held her hand, sang to her and told her that I could feel the angels and reassured her that Jesus was coming soon. 

I worked all week on a slide show of her life that I put to her favorite songs.  I turned it on softly in the background.  Family members who had been by her side all week had gone to bed, totally exhausted, or left for a shower.   I laid my head on her chest and squeezed her hand. Hours passed and her breathing became more and more erratic.  At 1:25am my Granny opened her eyes, pinched her lips twice and took her last breath in a peaceful departure to heaven.  God was in control of every minute of her life and it was His will for me to be by her side.  It is a blessing I shall never forget and a testimony to answered prayer.  God honored my obedience in doing all that He had called me to do that week.

I finally cried, that cry that you think will never end, that leaves your head pounding and your eyes burning like fire.  I am still grieving but not with tears, just with a hole in my heart that I know will never be filled this side of heaven.  I will miss my Granny, but I gave her my word that I would live as she lived generously and love as she loved with great intention and action.

What I have learned that I want to share is that I am allowed to hurt, to feel pain, and through this visit to the greatest wound in my life, I can learn how to grieve in healthy ways.  I grieved through making a beautiful memorial of my Granny in her slideshow, I grieved through making sure her funeral was a great tribute and honor to her life and I grieved yesterday giving myself permission to rest.  My advice is to heal loving yourself through the pain.  Don’t push it down, don’t default to self destructive behavior, don’t ignore the pain, just invite Jesus into that pain and pray for an abundance of great mercy and grace.  Open the Word of God and let His Words be ointment to the wound.

My Granny was an amazing cook but her recipe for life is the best recipe she left me.  I would like to share the recipe I found in my Granny’s bible, faintly remember her reading it to me as a child and I read at her funeral that I think has great value:

     Mix Thoroughly
     I cup good thoughts
     1 cup of kind deeds
     1 cup of consideration of others
     3 cups of forgiveness
     2 cups of well beaten faults and add  
        tears of joy, sorrow, and sympathy  for others

     Fold In
     4 cups of prayers and faith to lighten other ingredients and to raise the    
     texture to heights of Christian     

     After pouring all this into your family, bake well with the heart of human 
     kindness, Serve with a smile.                                                                                             
                                                             By Mrs. Lynda Roberts

We must just remember after our grief, joy comes in the morning.  We are not little children anymore left to figure out the pain alone but adults with an arsenal of tools to heal and to grow.  The greatest tool of all is the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ.