This post was written March 8th, but not posted until March 19th.

As I sat here today trying to figure out what to write, it is dawning on me how much life is pressing in on me.  I think to say that I am depressed or overwhelmed may be an understatement. It seems that life is caving in on all sides.  I am always tired, but can’t sleep the whole night through.  I have a list of to-dos, but can only seem to get to a few.  I am confident that peace and healing will come, but I still struggle to fake a smile.  How can this be? Seriously, how can that be?  I was the fake smile pro.  I’m sure you know what I am referring to… the ever present smile even though your world is a lie.

Overwhelmed-art-300x223I saw this picture (Overwhelmed by Elena Covalciuc Vieriu http://leblow.co.uk/on-the-brink-of-burnout-do-you-need-a-digital-detox/overwhelmed-art/ ) as I was googling and thinking today.  It spoke to me.  It seemed to capture how I feel.  I wish I could go into details but I can’t… not yet.  But my world lately is an endless battlefield… divorce papers, a Facebook stalker, a spitting bandit, a pooping puppy, my dream home gone, living alone for the first time in my life… the list goes on. It feels crushing.

But yet I still have a flicker of a flame in me.  I can feel it. The sense of peace trying to break through. My prayer is that we all find our peace no matter what we are going through, because God can take what was meant for harm and turn it into good.  I am so thankful for that. I hope you can find a flicker of peace in that too.

Song: Even If by Mercy Me

“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.” – Jeremiah 29:11


Why Me?

why-meNow this is the ultimate question for survivors of abuse?  A question for which we will never have an answer.  A question that haunts us.  A question that lingers in the air right above our heads… always in reach.  A question that we just have to find a peace with.

I have yet to meet the survivor that knows the answer to this question for herself.  And I have yet to meet the survivor who hasn’t struggled with this question.  I am not even sure that I can tell you my answer that finally gave me some peace.

I know I was a replacement wife for my dad since my mom is bipolar.  I know that my dad had a decent life growing up.  I’ve been told by my uncle that my dad was odd even when he was young… always a loner. But none of that answers the question of what would bring my dad to do such a thing and why me.

To be honest, I am not sure where my peace comes from… other than to say it is a blessing from God.  I don’t know when the switch flipped.  I don’t know what brought it about. I could help so many if I had those answers. But what I can say is pray.  Believe that God will bring you peace.  Ask for the strength to let it go.  It can and will happen.  I am proof and I thank God for that every day.

Song: “Fly” by Maddie and Tae

And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 4:7


Why Don’t I Trust My Own Judgement?

woman-prayingAs a survivor, I now find myself in another situation in which I should have listened to my inter-voice and didn’t. I’m not sure why I keep putting myself in this situation.  I think I have changed and moved forward, but unfortunately when it comes to this, I haven’t.  So I am sitting here, staring at my computer screen, wondering what to write, and I keep asking myself “why don’t I trust my own judgement?”

Naturally, I googled and it is starting to make a little sense… at least for me.  Remember this blog is from the perspective of someone who was abused by her father from about 3 to 10ish.  I had a couple of years reprieve from around 10 to 14 for several reasons, but when I started changing physically, my father of course had to check that out. I remember it so clearly.  He actually had the nerve to come back in my room and apologize, because he didn’t want me to think he was perverted! LOL!  Sorry Dad, that ship sailed a long time ago!

So, why don’t I trust myself?  Why don’t I listen to that small voice in my head?  I think it goes back to the lies that so many of us carry around… “it wasn’t that bad.” OR this oldie but goodie, “am I exaggerating?” Those are my internal questions that pop up on a semi-regular basis.  I have spent so many years down-playing or questioning my abuse that I now doubt myself.

None of us want to accept the fact that our parents are monsters, who preyed on innocent children.  We look for answers or reasons as to why this happened.  We make excuses.  We overlook so many things.

One of my earliest memories, which I have shared before, was when I was four and getting a bath.  My brother, who was two, and I were in the tub and my parents were discussing who would wash whom.  I remember sitting there hoping my mom would pick me, but my dad said he would.  My heart sank. As I sat there in the tub, in pain, burning, I watched my brother, who was splashing away in the water, being two, smiling, and laughing.  I looked at my mom, who was talking to my brother and dad, and she was smiling.

Trust-pixMy gut told me that this had to be wrong and it didn’t feel right. I was so confused.  Why were my mom and brother happy?  Why didn’t they notice my pain?  Why didn’t they care about my pain? This was the beginning of me not trusting myself.  Surely if what was happening to me was bad and it was right in front of them, they would notice, right?

And there it begins, I must have been wrong.  It must not be that bad.  I must be exaggerating this pain. Now here we are 43 years later and I still don’t listen to my small voice.  Hopefully, this current experience will cure me of my self-doubt.  I pray that my eyes are finally open, but I guess only time will tell.

Song: “Need You Now” by Plumb

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.” – Proverbs 3:5-6


When the Night is Closing in

Screen Shot 2018-02-25 at 8.40.07 PM.pngIf you are like most survivors, your heart just dropped into your stomach when you read the title of today’s blog.  Nighttime is HORRIBLE! For a lot of us, closing our eyes and going to sleep just means flashbacks, night-terrors, and waking up in a cold sweat.  There is nothing refreshing about it and you would give your right arm if it would just stop rolling around every 18 hours or so.

For me, the feeling was overwhelming. I stayed up until all hours doing school work for my job as a teacher, I went back to school for my master’s, so I had that to do, I cleaned, I googled, anything to put off going to sleep.  When I finally did lie down to sleep, I was in immense panic.  I had taken my anxiety medicine, but I still laid there thinking that dying would be less painful.  All I can remember is the panic… the “I’m going to die” panic.  Too be honest, I’m not sure how I got through a lot of nights.

But in the light of brutal honesty, I will share this with you.  There were many nights that I had my youngest daughter sleep with me.  Not one of my greatest mother-of-the-year moments, seeing that she was in middle school… but it’s the truth.  She was my security blanket.  She was my “I can’t harm myself with my child next to me” savior. She was the reminder that I had a reason to live.  She was my face to look at to take the ugly thoughts away.  She was the reason I could finally close my eyes and get some sleep.  It sounds pitiful, I know. But she helped.  I thank God she was there, but I prayed to God that I didn’t screw her up.

One of the scariest things for me was when she went to college. Her presence under my roof at night became those things I needed after the first couple of years.  The knowing she was there and wouldn’t think I was a creeper if I went in her room, sat on the edge of her bed, and stared at her for a few minutes to calm my brain and remind myself what I had to live for in order to find the courage to go to bed.  She was my thing… that sounds absolutely awful… my thing, but she was the thing I needed to remind myself to fight.

But in all reality, at the point, it was a crutch. I didn’t need my daughter under my roof to help me fight my panic.  (By-the-way, panic is a terrible word.  It does NO justice to the absolutely, horrifying feeling that you are going to die.)  What I needed to fight my panic was Jesus. Jesus is the ONLY answer.  He is the ONLY answer to ongoing healing, wellness, and peace.

bible2-620x520So I challenge you, if you suffer from “I hate the night-itis,” get yourself some Jesus! Now here is what I mean by that. You need a Jesus arsenal.  I’m talking get cozy in your bed and whip out some Jesus! Devotionals, books, musics, the Bible, the Bible app, a podcast, anything to do with Jesus.  And as you lie there cozy in your bed, start reading or listening to whatever it is you choose.  As you drift off to la-la land, have your thoughts on Him… the One who saves and He WILL protect your mind.

So go… what are you waiting for?  Get your Jesus arsenal going and see what happens.  You’re going to be okay ❤

Song: You’re Gonna Be Ok – Brian & Jenn Johnson    I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS SONG!

My go-to verses throughout my healing:

“And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Phil 4:7

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” – Phil 4:8

Let God’s word be your nightlight:

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” – Psalm 119:105


Some Praise

peoplewomanpraisesunsetjpgSo I’ve blogged about some pretty heavy things the last few days, so I thought we deserved a break today… and I’m not talking McDonald’s.

I’d like you to find somewhere quiet, get down on your knees or stand up and raise your hands, ask God to heal your heart and help you on your journey, and listen to this song and sing if you want.  I hope this couple of minutes with the Lord renews your strength, lifts your spirits, and let’s you know you are oh, so loved! ❤

Hosanna by Hillsong United

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” – Colossians 3:16

Where was God?

drowningIf I haven’t mentioned it, I am a lay-counselor at my church. Last week, a lady I’m counseling asked me where was God?  Why did He let this happen and why didn’t He stop it?

I’m going to warn you right now that my response maybe a little too much for some of you to take depending on where you are in your journey.  Believe me, I struggled with this question on my own years ago and it was not pretty. (see Spiritual Suicide) But I think it is an honest and fair question and one that every survivor asks at some point and NO one should ever make you feel bad for asking it.  NO ONE, you hear me?

Let’s start with the basics that all Christians know: God created man with free choice.  He did not want robots who followed Him automatically and fulfilled His every whim.  God wanted relationship with us.  He wanted us to be able to choose Him.  (Have you ever had someone befriend you cause their mom told them to or be nice to you because they have to?  Neither of those things are very fulfilling. In fact, they leave you quite empty and even a little sad.)  So God didn’t want that and who could blame Him.  I want true friends, don’t you?

The next part everyone can understand, but you will understand a little more if you are a parent.  We do our best to raise our kids.  We teach them right from wrong, morals, integrity, kindness, to be loving and helpful, and then we send them out into the world.  We, as parents, have to sit back as they make decisions… good and bad, ones we agree with, and ones we don’t.  They make some pretty stupid decisions too, but all we can do is give some advice and hope they take it.  We did our jobs as parents and now they have free will to do what they want.

So here is the hard part.  God taught my dad the best He could.  He gave my dad two loving parents, an extended family, he lived in a good neighborhood, had a Catholic upbringing, and a stable environment.  So God and my grandparents did the best they could and sent my dad out into the world.  The sad part is that my dad didn’t make good choices. He used his free will, ignored his upbringing, and chose to abuse his daughter physically, emotionally, and sexually.

3f8eccdc78293871885a80addebffc031Now this is what I believe from the bottom of my heart and any time I think about this I have a mental image that pops up into my head: God did not want this to happen to me.  He mourned just like we would if one of our children were hurt or if they hurt someone else.  Jesus was there with me.  He was kneeling on one knee beside me with an out-stretched arm, had my little hand in His, and was crying.  And for the longest time, I only thought about Jesus crying with me, because I was hurting and that brought me comfort and healing like you wouldn’t believe.

**********************WARNING…. PROCEED WITH CAUTION**********************

But here is the thing, Jesus was crying for my dad too.  My dad is His son, who committed a grievous crime, one that would leave ever-lasting scars and God mourned that too.  It broke God’s heart, just like it would break ours if it was our child committing a crime.

So God did not allow this to happen to me. He gave me dad as many tools and knowledge of right and wrong as He could… just like we do for our children.  But my DAD CHOSE to hurt me, my DAD CHOSE to commit crimes against humanity and God, my DAD CHOSE to do the unthinkable.

So this is how I deal with this question.  It may not work for you but I HOPE it does.  We have a loving, merciful, gracious, miraculous God.  And my prayer for you today as we discuss this really hard topic is that you get to know Him as I have.  He has taken this horrific experience, used it to heal me and others, and has given me more peace, love, and grace than I could have ever imagined and I wish the same for you.

imagesI picked this song because it was my song as I wrestled with this.  It pushed my faith. It felt like my feet were failing and fear surrounded me, but my answer was BLAST this song and trust in God to take me further than I could ever go alone… cause quite frankly, what else did I have?

Song: Oceans by Hillsong United

11 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.”  – Jeremiah 29:11


Let’s Get Angry!!!

Angry-WomanNot exactly the title you thought you’d see today, huh?  But anger is an important, under-rated ally in your journey for healing and peace.

I mentioned previously that music is very much a part of me. Songs can immediately link me to past events, my thoughts, and feelings at the time.  So today as I drove home, I was listening to music on my iphone, and Uprising by Muse came on.  Talk about taking me back!  I was on fire! This was my life theme song for a while.  If you stopped to listen to it or know it,  that fact may be a little frightening.  But let me explain.

Recovering from sexual abuse is much like going through the grief process when you loose a loved one.  You know why?  Because you are mourning yourself!  (That idea was revolutionary to me when I first heard it.)  One of the steps when grieving is anger.

When you can finally get yourself to be angry, it is a bit liberating.  You are feeling something other than depression, hurt, shame, grief, and heartache, which is AWESOME! You should be angry.  You had something stolen from you.  For me, it was my childhood, my innocence, trust, self-worth, knowing love, being cared for, etc. Remember I come from a household with a bipolar mother as well, so I experienced physical, emotional, and sexual abuse.  I have a lot to be angry about…. or at least I did.

The trick here is to find a GOOD outlet for your anger, one that does not endanger yourself or others.  Now don’t get me wrong, I thought about punching my dad in the face, burning their house down, taking out a full-page ad in the Post Gazette, and even throwing nails at the end of their driveway… cause I am a wimp, afraid of hurting anyone, and breaking the law. I didn’t do any of these things, but I will tell you what I did do! 🙂

My dad starting building me a dollhouse when I was about 8ish.  It took shape rather quickly, but then it sat in the garage unfinished until I had my three girls.  My father then decided 20 years after he started it to finished it.  Yippie! (sarcasm, I really need to get some fancy eye-rolling emojis for this blog!!!)  So, he finished it and it was moved into the finished attic of my home and subsequently was moved five times and across the United States twice. The girl never really played with it.  Not sure why.  Maybe I gave them an evil glare every time they went near it? Don’t know.

That brings me to after I had remembered several things: I was divorced, the kids were with their dad every other weekend, and we lived in our little cottage in the woods, my safe haven. My parents didn’t know where I lived, so my mom gave my brother a letter to give to me… my mom is famous for her letters. (again sarcasm – eye-rolling emoji) After being at his house, I drove home, sat in the car, and read it. The letter basically said that anything my dad did to me was her fault…. GREAT! THANKS! I feel sooooo much better.  (Is my sarcasm out of control today or what!?! I’m blaming the song!)

Needless to say… that pissed me off!  If you remember, she was in the room when my dad did things to me, so this letter meant NOTHING! Thankfully my wonderful children and my one neighbor were not home, because I got out of my car ready to kill someone.  I stormed in and out of the house, around my yard, into the woods surrounding my yard, and back again.  I have no idea for how long.  I had to look like a crazy person.  Have you ever been so angry that you literally don’t know what to do with yourself?  That was me.

Then finally it came to me.  I knew exactly what to do.  I charged into the house and down to the basement, opened the tornado door to outside, grabbed a baseball bat, and with my herculean strength pulled that stupid 100 plus pound 5 x 3 x 3 foot dollhouse outside.  (Footnote: I am a wimpy, 5’7, 125 lbs skinny, white girl whose afraid of her shadow, so I was kicking butt!) I pulled that thing up a flight of steps, around the house, and about 200 feet to the fire pit.  Then I beat the crap out of it with my baseball bat.  Man, wood was flying everywhere!  When I was done, I put the pieces into the fire pit, poured on the propane, lit a match, and POOF, bye bye dollhouse.

It took a few hours of me adding wood to finally burn up the whole thing, but was that LIBERATING!  To me that dollhouse symbolized a hoax. A fairy tale childhood where a wonderful dad builds a beautiful dollhouse for the daughter he loves. HA! Then I heard the song… Uprising by Muse.  It became my anthem.  It lit a fire in me that I cannot explain… well other than a burning dollhouse.  I listened to that song over and over and over again.

“They will not force us
They will stop degrading us
They will not control us
We will be victorious …”

So let’s get to the point.  Let anger be your ally.  Let it help take your life back.  Let it help heal you.  Let it be your anthem for a time.  And you know what will happen?  “YOU WILL BE VICTORIOUS!”

Song: Uprising by Muse

The Bible does say we are allowed to be angry just don’t sin: “In your anger do not sin”: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Eph 4:26

“When Saul heard their words, the Spirit of God came powerfully upon him, and he burned with anger.” – 1 Samuel 11:6