After my earlier post of this morning of “Growing Beyond the Scars in Life” http://www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com/growing-beyond-the-scars-in-life/ I received a few messages from those who are struggling deeply with the pain of their past. This alone brings pain to my heart as I remember the hardship of this process of becoming whole, for the first time in my life, and yet this morning tears fall in memory of my past as well as for the pain I understand that is felt by those who wrote.
There were a number of people in my childhood, who were meant to protect me, not bring about or cause harm. In my heart I knew something was wrong, but how does a young child of six say “Stop!!” or run away? The adults in my life were supposed to guide me through the challenges of my young life, not cause them. By the age of fourteen, I was screaming from within with no external way to make things stop. The saddest part of all this was that they were actively involved with the church, yet somehow I still felt the need to connect with God.
Finally at seventeen I was out!! Living with my fiancé and rebuilding my life. I stopped going to church, obtained a full time job and was finally able to come home at night without fear. After we married and decided on children, I discovered that escaping was not the solution to my healing. I needed to start working towards completing the path that was laid out in front of me.
I had time to rejuvenate, learn to trust in my new family, and build a relationship on that trust. There were trials that I would not understand for quite some time. I later discovered that I was in a constant state of survival mode, and always prepared to fight back. In my relationship I had to be in control because I could not afford to let someone else be in control of me, in fear of being hurt. Yet with this control, I was actually out of control with the need for dominance. I could not allow myself to trust anyone, even the one with whom I loved the most, in fear that they would turn quickly into what I feared most.
My eyes did not really open to the real fear within until we decided to have children. We waited six years because I was afraid of becoming a replica of one of the parents who taught me how not to love. I adored my daughter beyond measure, yet I was so afraid of hurting her, that it pained me more than words can describe. The anxiety was so bad I went to my MD and told him I needed someone to talk to. I went through several counselors, each helping a little to “get by” in coping with each day. Yet, I struggled with not fully healing. I struggled more with the concept of their worldly view of doing what it took to make myself feel good. Seriously??? No wonder this world is in chaos!!
I took to my knees and prayed for a counselor who could direct me in a manner that would be less self-centered and non-judgmental. God answered that prayer through a pastor who counseled me for less than a year. It felt more like an eternity, but he got me through the barbed wire.
From moments of despair, to accepting my past; from writing letters of truth to those who inflicted such pain, to releasing the words to flame; from bowing down in prayer while seeking forgiveness for my pained heart to finding freedom to finally forgive. And then, the final stage of my healing was when I called those that inflicted pain and actually spoke the words, “will you forgive me?” The forgiveness process took me from the anger I had with others to where I acknowledged the hateful bitterness that swelled within my heart. This humbling act still brings tears to my eyes, because it was the turning point in my life that freed me from the bondage that kept me captive. One parent told me that it was not my fault, which caused tears of frustration, yet I decided to not turn back. I was free!! The others were “proud” and never able to admit what they did to me as being wrong. Again, I chose to not turn back. At this time in my life, God granted me another miracle, the open heart to want more children. Our third daughter is whom I consider to be my miracle baby, because her conception and birth was the result of a more profound and intimate love I had for my husband, as well as the passionate love for children and others that God opened my heart to.
Please understand that the healing that started 26 years ago, which took place nineteen years ago was just the beginning of the process. I had to learn how to trust, to discern dishonest people and not allow them the power to hurt me, and to let go of what no longer mattered in life. Eighteen years later I am at a peaceful stage in life, yet there are days in which I struggle. I will always be in the learning stage of understanding the different responses I have in the situations I encounter in life. Yet, in learning to understand, my responses have become less aggressive and more loving. I have more peace in my life, where the “little” things no longer annoy me. In addition, I have come to accept, that there are situations in which God allows me to use my power to speak assertively in order to be heard.
My heart aches for those who wrote this morning. I remember the questions of “Why should I be the first to forgive?”, “Why should I ask for forgiveness when I didn’t do anything wrong?”, “Why does God allow such abuse?”. The list is long and the tears that were shed stung sharply. But as the crystalized heart of my soul began to melt, the shards of destruction in my own life began to weave a tapestry of newness that I find to be the most beautiful pathway in life. Eventually, as your heart softens while allowing yourself to forgive, you will be able to experience life more fully.
For those who have read prior posts where I have an open mind for others in their choices in life, this is a result of the path I have walked. People, including many Christians, have judged me for who I am and the choices I make. And although their words and actions are not what I consider to be kind, they add confusion while inflicting painful reminders of my past, while not taking the time to understand who I am as a person. The hypocrisy that runs rampant within and outside the church just baffles me. It is just a reminder that we are all human, no one is God-like, and our process in life is not complete until God takes us home.
The scars that I wear are a reminder of survival, wearing them as a shield of love and compassion, presented by a loving God who is more reliable, and more powerful than man.