Category Archives: Brokenness

Will You Hope With Me?

It’s been over 7 months since I penned my last post. If you want to know the truth as to why, it’s because I’ve been fighting an intense battle within myself. A battle of whether or not to eat the meal. A battle of whether or not I should run the mile. A battle of whether or not I should continue living. 

As most of you already know, I struggle with debilitating mental illness. For many years, my life has been a struggle of ups and downs. I’ve been okay and I’ve been completely crumbled and broken. I’ve been happy and I’ve been engulfed with despair. And now, I’m in a place where I have never been before. I have no fight left in me. I’m tired. I’m scared. I want to be free. I want to feel joy. I want to be healthy. But to move on and experience life, I have to push through all the things I’ve spent nearly 29 years running from. 

So, in order to be the me that God made me to be, I’m taking a leap of faith and going to a residential treatment program for eating disorders. I’m leaving within the next week and that terrifies me. But THIS is the only life I have known. THIS is the only me I have known.

I am a control freak. There are very few things in this life that are within my control, but one of those things is my eating disorder. I hate my eating disorder, but I love it at the same time – which is something that most people cannot understand. It’s like being held hostage and unable to break free, but once it takes its hold, the captor becomes comforting and reliable. When the rest of the world is chaotic and nothing makes sense, ED brings me comfort. ED is like a trusty friend who will always pick me up when I’m down. ED loves me and I love ED. It’s a dangerous and toxic relationship that I don’t know how to get out of. 

I feel like those closest to me want answers. They want to know why. The want to know how. They want to know the “truth” about why I feel the way I do. But explaining these things to someone who has never stood in my shoes and experienced the things I’ve experienced, is the most difficult thing in the world. 

From a “logical” perspective, all of this seems ridiculous. I feel lonely, so I isolate. I feel hungry, so I don’t eat. I feel full and satisfied, so I purge. I feel anger, so I want to hurt myself. I am capable of stepping outside of myself and seeing how all of this makes absolutely no sense. But that doesn’t change the dynamic inside my very sick brain.

Although it may not look like I’m really trying, I am. Although it may look like I’m just blaming others for my problems, I’m not. Although it may appear that I’m trying to “get out of” being an adult, I’m not. 

If you’ve never had a mental illness or addiction, there really is no way that you can understand the horror that goes through my mind every day. However, I appreciate your support and compassion. I don’t need “tough love” or hostility. So if that’s what you have to offer, please kindly go away. 

Right now, I am fragile and extremely over sensitive. It’s hard to think rationally or logically when your brain and body are malnourished. So please stop telling me that I should “know better” or that I should “be able to control it” – because right now, those statements only add fuel to the fire. 

I am very unstable – thus the need for treatment, to get to a place where I am stable; to get to a place where taking my own life does NOT seem like a viable option. 

I am sick. It’s not just my mental health anymore, my physical health is beginning to crumble as well. And  even though it’s taken me many years to admit it, I can finally see that I need help. I need help and I deserve help. I deserve love and happiness and joy and acceptance. God says that I am worthy of love and its up to me to decide whether or not I will believe Him.

If you’ve known me for a while, you are probably tired of my “excuses” or fed up with my “inability to take responsibility for my actions.” I can understand what it looks like from your perspective and I am sorry that I haven’t “gotten better” yet. I’m sorry that you have had to bear the pain of my mistakes. I sincerely wish I could take back every time I have caused you pain. But I can’t. All I can do now is try to move forward and hope that, one day, we can all find forgiveness. 

All that I ask is for you to please, try to see things from my point of view as well. Please give me space to be able to move on. I am trying to learn how to set HEALTHY boundaries with those I love. Please be patient with me. 

I have hope that I will be able to experience freedom within this lifetime. Will you Hope with me?

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I Have Borderline Personality Disorder

An open letter to those with questions…
I have a mental illness. I’m not crazy and my illness doesn’t define me. I have borderline personality disorder. I’ve struggled with self harm, bulimia, and suicidal thoughts. But I’m still alive and I’m still fighting. 
I know that many of you have wondered where I’ve been over the last few months…so here’s the truth – I’ve been in and out of the hospital since January. I tried to take my own life in April. Thankfully, I was unsuccessful. 

  
Every day is a battle for me. I wrestle with myself and my own thoughts – thoughts that I cannot control. I try, with every fiber of my being, to not let my mental illness effect those around me. But the truth is, if you care about me, my mental illness will effect you. 

  
You see, I don’t view the world the same way you do. I obsess. I worry. I isolate. I cry. I over think. I panic. I hide. Sometimes, I wish I could just run away. 
Borderline personality disorder is a living hell. Those of us with BPD have an extremely difficult time regulating our emotions, an unstable sense of self, and a hard time maintaining relationships. It’s been said that people with BPD are like people with third degree burns over 90% of their bodies. Lacking emotional skin, they feel agony at the slightest touch or movement. I didn’t choose to have BPD. According to the doctors, BPD most frequently develops in children who have been abused, neglected, and/or abandoned before the age of 5…circumstances that’re beyond the control of a small child. BPD develops as a way to cope with a world that makes no sense. It’s our brain’s subconscious way of helping us deal with the chaos in our lives. 

  
I might not be very good at being a friend. I don’t know how to talk to people. I’m terrified of rejection and abandonment. I don’t do small talk. I hate talking on the phone. Most days, I would give almost anything to just be able to interact with the world like a “normal” person. My family often walks on eggshells around me, not knowing if I’m having a good day or a bad day. 
I constantly feel guilty and ashamed for the effect that my mental illness has had on those closest to me. I wish I could give my husband and children more of me, but BPD takes so much from me that I don’t have much left to give. 

  
The biggest thing you need to understand about BPD is that I struggle with emotions. I hate emotions because they scare me. I feel things on a much deeper level than most people. I can feel extreme joy and happiness. But I can also feel terrifying depression and anxiety. I don’t understand emotions. I don’t know how to cope with them. Even when I feel extreme joy, I am overwhelmed with fear about what to DO with that emotion. 
So to sum it all up, if you take only one thing away from this post, please remember that I love deeply and, just like everyone else, I long for love and acceptance. I am only human. You many not understand me – don’t worry, I don’t understand me either. But I ask that you please be patient with me. If I don’t answer you calls, don’t take it personally – sometimes I just can’t find the strength to talk on the phone. Sometimes I don’t know the right words to say – don’t take offense to it. 

  
I love fiercely and deeply. Next time I frustrate you, please understand that it is not intentional. I’m just trying to learn how to cope with this world and handle a life that often makes no sense. 


The Author of My Story

Truth: I really didn’t want to go to church this morning. I got woken up early this morning and by the time it came time to get ready for church, all I could think was how much I didn’t feel like being around people. I’ve been in a slump lately. It’s been a crazy roller coaster of ups and downs and it has left my emotions feeling strung out and tired.

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So I went to church anyway. I sucked up my anxieties, packed the kids up in the car, and we went. I sat in the same spot I always do and I stared down at my phone in my lap in hopes that no one would try to talk to me. My motto: don’t make eye contact with anyone.

Then we started singing. Worship always softens my heart. It’s impossible to honestly worship God and NOT feel something.

“Lift us up, for we are heavy laden,
only need and brokenness we bring.
You alone can rescue us falling
We are weak, but You are strong
Lift us up.”

Those words rang so true in my heart as I sang them. I was singing out to a mighty God to lift me up. I often feel like I’m falling, like I’m going to crash and burn in the rubble of my sin and I know that only He can lift me up.

My pastor is doing this series through Galatians right now. Last week, if I’m totally honest, I didn’t go to church because I had read the passage that he was going to be preaching on and it was so very applicable to my life that I REALLY didn’t want to hear the sermon on it because I knew it would leave me feeling convicted about my secret sins. So this morning’s sermon was titled “God Centered Story” and one of the first things he asked was, what centers us and guides us? (I’m paraphrasing from my notes, of course). Clearly, the good, Christian answer to that question is God…and that’s what I wish my answer was. But if I’m totally honest, what centers and guides me in life is my desire to avoid dealing with or feeling my emotions. If I’m totally honest, I don’t really trust God with my life.

We all have different stories. We all come from different backgrounds and have different biases, but for believers in Christ our stories all share one very big similarity – we were wrong and God intervened. God is the author of our stories. He is writing a beautiful story from the ashes of my life.

My story began almost 27 years ago. My story has taken me through joy and grief, happiness and sadness, blessings and curses. My story has led me to do whatever I could do to find immediate relief from my pain. But one big lesson I have learned is that Jesus is WAY better than any of the immediate relief that I have searched for. Jesus is so much better than trying to bury my emotions deep inside my heart. Jesus is infinitely better than any of the “quick fixes” that I come up with on my own. Jesus is so much better and I am NOT the only one who struggles to trust Him.

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God knew me before I was born…I really struggle with this concept. I have always wondered, if God really knew me before I was born, if He really knew my life before it happened, then why did He give me life knowing how much pain I would experience. But I am not God and who am I, as the created, to question the Creator. He chose ME! Me, a broken and wounded sinner – He chose me. He knew that I would walk away from Him and deny Him on countless occasions, but He still chose me. He called me by His grace. I have nothing to bring to Him, just like the song says, “only need and brokenness” I bring. But somehow it pleased Him to show me grace.

You see, if you’ve followed this blog for very long or if you know me at all, I’m sure you know that I tend to shy away from asking for help. I tend to convince myself that I can make it through life on my own accord without God’s help…now, clearly, we all know I’m wrong. Doing life on my own leaves me dead and isolated in my sin. I get scared and trapped by the shame and guilt of my past. But in His infinite grace and mercy, He searches me out and saves me every time (see Luke 19:10).

I get frustrated with God quite frequently because I don’t think my story looks the way it should. I don’t like the way my story has been written. But God didn’t ask me for my editing suggestions.

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I am still in the middle of my story. Pastor Dave used the analogy of doing a flip-turn (as in swimming). Being that I am a former swimmer who loved doing flip-turns, I very much loved this analogy. My story is still in progress. God, the Author, knows how it will end. My choice at this point is to trust that He loves me. This is where I can make a flip-turn and trust His grace. This is where I can let the love of Jesus direct me through the rest of this story.

On my own I am nothing, I have nothing. But with God, I need nothing. With God, I am much stronger than I think I am. I can quit turning to those things that have kept my secrets hidden. I can bring my secrets into the light and let God use those as a part of my story. He can, and He will, use my story to bring others to Him.

Like Joseph said Genesis, what you meant for evil, God will use for good. God never wastes a hurt. He is spinning all the ugliness and hurt in my life into a beautiful story centered on His grace, mercy, and love.

I’m not perfect. I struggle daily. But the Author of my story knows what He’s doing and I will trust He knows more than I do.

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Jesus, I Need You

You ever have one of those days where the enemy feels the need to remind you of every bad thing you’ve ever done in your life? Yup, today was one of those…this was my response – I had a talk with Jesus.

Jesus, I Need You
Here I stand broken
I’ve got nothing to bring
I’m holding on to the lies
Like a cat on a string
I’ve pierced my own skin
And denied Your truth
I’ve gotten lost in my mind
And I let go of You
Jesus, I need You

My stomach is empty
Poison courses my veins
My body is fading
I can’t handle this shame
You say You can reach
All the way out to me
But I feel just one step
Too far to be free
Jesus, I need You

If You know my heart
You know my evil thoughts
I once held on to You
But I let go and I’m lost
I’m trying to fight
The lies and temptations
But few things can compare
To power of starvation
Jesus, I need You

My sin is enclosing
Around my every side
The truth is fading
While I cling to the lies
I worthless and useless
You’ll never love me
The voices keep screaming
That You can’t save me
Am I too far gone
To receive Your grace
Your love and Your mercy
I’m just a disgrace
Jesus, I need You

I’m crying to You
As loud as I can
My ground has been shaken
And I can no longer stand
My voice, it cracks
As I beg You to answer
Because, Lord, if You don’t
My heart won’t endure
If You can’t save me
I have nothing left
The only choice I will have
Is to end it in death
Jesus, I need You

Then I heard Him…
“Daughter, You have me.
I’ve always been right here
So let me confront you with truth
In the midst of your fear
You are faced with two choices
Only you can make
You can wallow in pity
Or admit your mistakes
It comes down to one question
Do you believe
That I died on a cross
Nails in my hands and feet
I was scared too
Just like you are now
But even then I loved you
Enough to pour my blood out
You could never pay
The price of your own sin
My death on that cross
Is the only way You’ll see Him
I conquered death
And I took on satan
So that you could be free
From this life you are living
So tell me, is that enough
For you to trust
Will you stop fighting
And just give it up
Or are you gonna tell me
That my death was in vain
That I died on that cross
Just to feel the pain
I died for you
So that you could live
I’ve made your heart new
You’ve been forgiven
I didn’t deserve
The death I received
It was meant for you
But I took it on Me
So don’t you yet see
That I want to help you
If you’ll give me your hand
Just trust that I can rescue
You must make a choice
So what will you choose
My arms are always open
Just waiting for you.”

Jesus, I am so sorry
For my doubt and control
Please take it all
My heart, mind, and soul
I need you to heal me
I need your strength
I’m scared and confused
But I’ll trust what You say
Jesus, I need You


He is With Me

Sometimes she wonders
If she is alone
Living here on this earth
She’ll never be home
The pain and the heartache
Stings to her core
She cries and screams out
“I can’t take much more.”
She empties herself
At the foot of His cross
With a trembling voice
She whispers, “I’m lost.
Where do You want me?
What am I doing?
Day after day I feel
Like I’m headed for ruin
My body feels weak
And my emotions are numb
I’ve hidden for so long
The pain can’t be undone.”

Her words just pour out
She hopes that He’ll hear
The agony she is facing
From years of despair
Too scared to move
She can’t face this alone
He puts His hand on her shoulder
And says, “you’re not on your own.
Rest in Me
And let me carry you through
I love you, I saved you
I know you’re confused
When you are weak
I am your strength
When you are scared
You must simply have faith.
I’m always at your side
Even if you can’t see
You’ll know I’m here
If you’ll reach out for me.”

His words felt like peace
And in Him she collapsed
“I’m so tired of fighting
I can’t change the past.
I’m clinging to my life
And by that I’m dying
I say I’m okay
But I’m only lying.
Take me, hold me
I want to give up
Why do I keep trying
To be good enough.
If I was thinner
If I was pretty or smart
Then and then only
Would I have clean heart.”

With His arms around her
He comforts her cries
“Sweet child, I love you
Let go of the lies.
None of that is true
You must know by now
For your soul to be saved
I poured my love out.
The shame that you carry
Isn’t yours to bear
Let go, let me catch you
I know that you’re scared.
Your heart was broken
When you were so small
You vowed not to trust
Swore you’d never fall.
But, daughter, just look
Where has that gotten you
Your broken heart
As pushed away My truth.”

“I know that you’re right,”
She cried out to Him
“I’m afraid of my past
And of all my own sin.”

With His gentle hand
He wiped the tears from her eyes
With His arms around her
He showed her the truth from the lies
“We’re in this together
Lean on me in faith
Trust that I love you
That I’m with you each day.
I’ll never let you go
I’ll never let you drown
Trust me to carry you
Across shifting ground.
I have you in my hand
And I’m holding your heart
This life may hurt you
But we’ll never be apart.”


7-in-7 Day 4: Hope in Redemption

She was broken
But didn’t understand why
She smiled and agreed
Looked good on the outside
She tried fitting in
So she hid her hurt
She was afraid to admit
She was getting worse
She was starving herself
She longed for beauty
She ached to be perfect
Assuming it was her duty
Who could she tell
The horrible truth
She wanted to die
She felt broken and used
Every once in a while
Someone would notice
So she’d open her heart
Just to later regret it
She wanted to be happy
She wanted to be okay
But she had accepted
She’d never see the day

That’s when she found relief
In breaking her skin
For just one moment
She’d forget the pain she was in
She would watch the blood fall
And for a moment feel strong
But that small bit of strength
Never lasted too long
So she kept on doing it
Over and over
It became an addiction
She needed more to feel better
That’s all she knew
It’s how she dealt with the pain
It bubbled up to the surface
And she pushed it away

This only lasted for a season
Until she needed a change
She had to find a better way
To hide all her shame
So alcohol and drugs
Made their way to her hands
And in those moments
She found strength to stand
But she was standing on rocks
That would soon leave her shattered
And she was left to believe
Her life never mattered

Why couldn’t she shake
This feeling of being lost
She kept trying harder
No matter the cost
She worked herself to the bone
She had to achieve more
But was this really something
She was willing to die for?

That’s when something changed
God showed her grace
She saw who He was
In light of her mistakes
His love covered her
As she dropped down in tears
His arms embraced her
And pushed out her fears
“Why do You love me?
I’ve sinned way too much.”
She cried through her tears
As she clung to His love
He replied to her gently
“You are My daughter.
There’s nothing you can say or do
To lose the love of your Father.
Yes, you have sinned
And you’ve made big mistakes.
You’re broken and human
But I offer you grace.
Come humbly to Me
Give me your life
And I’ll give you hope
A future, a life.”

So she did as He said
She laid herself down
Before the cross she bowed
And He gave her His crown
She still has her struggles
This world is still broken
But she clings to the truth
Of hope in redemption


Tragedy at Fort Hood

I remember when I was in 8th grade, there was a shooting at my sister’s high school – the school I would go to the following year. It was a terrifying experience. I remember some of my friends parents didn’t want them to go to that school anymore because of the shooting, but others were saying, “if it already happened once, it won’t happen again.”

Now, as the wife of a Fort Hood soldier, I can say that horrible, tragic things, like a shooting, can happen twice in the same place. You never think that something like this is going to happen once, definitely not twice. I mean, really, what were the odds?

Yesterday, as shots rang out on Fort Hood, I found myself thinking back to that school shooting thirteen years ago. I remembered how scared I was then for my sister as I wiped away my tears for my husband. My husband was okay – under lockdown on post. He was safe, but all I wanted was to have him home and put my arms around him. There are few things as heartbreaking and paralyzing as the thought that I’ll never see my beloved again.

As an Army wife, I’m prone to worry. I’m no stranger to the thoughts that my husband might not come home. But I’ve only ever had those worries during deployments. I never thought I’d have to worry like this when he was home.

A place like Fort Hood (and any other military installation) is a breeding ground for tragedy. There are so many soldiers who’ve come home from war and who will never be the same. These soldiers have seen and experienced things that many if us cannot even fathom. Tragedy happens every day at Fort Hood, we just don’t always see it. Tragedy happens as marriages fall apart due to PTSD or combat related stress. Tragedy happens when soldiers take their own lives. Tragedy happens when soldiers aren’t given the help they need. Tragedy and heartache are in the faces of the soldiers all around us every day.

This world is a scary place. Anything can happen, anywhere. If it wasn’t for God’s grace, I would probably live my life in fear. Fear of the unknowns and what ifs. Anything can happen – anytime – anywhere. We don’t know what our futures hold or what pain we may face, but God does and gives us the grace we need for every day. Just when we think it’s gotten too hard, that this life is too much to deal with, He gives us the grace we need to get through the day.

Please join me in praying for the victims and their families (to include the shooter’s family), for the soldiers at Fort Hood and soldiers everywhere else, for our community, and for our nation.

Yesterday was one of the scariest days of my life and words can’t describe how thankful I am that my family is safe. It’s definitely a reminder of what’s really important and how much of our worries are really insignificant.


The Scars of Abortion

I want to share a story with you. It’s a story of pain, tragedy, death, love, and redemption. It’s a story that, until now, only two people have heard. It’s a story that I have hid in my heart due to my fears of judgment or condemnation from other people. A few weeks ago, God placed it on my heart to share this story and I have been reluctant to obey. After much prayer and attempting to bargain with God, I find myself sharing the story of my abortion.

I’m not sharing this for sympathy or attention – but to acknowledge the glory of God and how He can and will redeem us from our darkest sins.

Whether you choose to believe it of not, the psychological scars of abortion are devastating.

I was twenty years old. I was in college. I was in love. I drank a lot and I didn’t know that I was hiding behind hundreds of masks to hide my true self. I didn’t know who my true self was. I didn’t believe that anyone loved me for who I was. I believed that I only deserved love if I was “good enough” to earn it. I believed that he only loved me because I did things for him. I had no faith in God. I didn’t understand who He was. I pretended to be someone whom I thought others would love. I didn’t trust people. I was lost, but I didn’t know I was lost. I thought that my boyfriend was the only person who was looking out for me and I worshiped the ground he walked on and I would have done anything for him.

I always wanted a family. My own family was dysfunctional as child and I longed to have a family of my own – a family that included a mom, dad, and child(ren). I thought, if I could just have that, my life would make more sense and I would be okay. I thought I had found true love. I thought he was the man I would marry. He seemed to be the first man I had ever been with who was interested in more than just that “one thing”. I was broken though. I didn’t recognize it at the time, but my life was in shambles and I was grasping for control.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared but I was elated. I thought that he would be happy and that we would become a happily ever after family. But I was very, very wrong. When I told him, he said that he would support whatever I chose. But he kept pushing for abortion. I was terrified of losing him and I didn’t want my child to be raised the way I was, without a father. If we had this baby, I would disappoint my family, I would never finish school, I would never amount to anything, I wouldn’t be a good mom. In short, I would be a failure. I had never given much thought to the topic of abortion in my past. I always thought I was pro-choice. I didn’t see anything wrong with it, but I always thought it wasn’t for me. The more he suggested it, the more I wrestled with whether or not I was okay with it for me. But if it was legal and our government said it was okay, I figured it couldn’t be that bad. Abortion was a way of making sure that I didn’t have to give up on my own dreams. After many weeks of coercion, I agreed to “take care of the problem”.  He never seemed to give any thought, and nor did I, to how going through with this would change our lives forever.

I sat in front of my computer, very hesitant. I didn’t know how hard it would be just to type the words “abortion clinic” into the Google search bar. The results appeared quickly and I had the name and number for the place I needed to call. I picked up my phone and dialed the number. I just stared at it for a minute, trying to give myself the courage to press send. When I did, I felt like the line rang for eternity. I was finally greeted on the other end by a young woman with a chipper voice asking, “how may I help you?” I stumbled through my words and I struggled to get them out, “I-I-I-I n-n-n-need to have and a-a-a-bortion.” She responded in that same chipper voice, “Okay, no problem. We can help you with that problem.” She then proceeded to tell me what I needed to do, how much it would cost, and how I was doing the best thing for my future. She set up my appointments and told me not to worry. She told me that everything would be back to normal once it was taken care of.

The clinic required a “pre-op” appointment. I went to that first appointment by myself. I was young, scared, and confused, but I was convinced that if I ever wanted a chance to have the life I had always dreamed of, I needed to go through with it. That appointment was overwhelming. I heard all the scientific facts of the thing growing inside of me and how this was the best thing I could do for my future. But no one ever spoke of the growing mass in my belly as a baby. No one told me that my baby had a heartbeat. No one told me that my baby could feel pain. No one told me that my baby was a baby. These are things that I wouldn’t learn until after it was over; after I couldn’t change my mind. They tried to prepare me for what my body would experience as a result of the procedure. They explained that there would be some pain involved but that after a few days I should feel pretty normal again (what they didn’t know, and neither did I at the time, is that I didn’t know what normal felt like). They explained to me that I may experience a little sadness but that would simply be the result of my hormones getting back to normal. But what they didn’t try to prepare me for was the emotional distress that would pour into my life after “my mistake was taken care of”. No one told me that the abortion really meant ripping my baby limb from limb from the warm, secure home he had, had for 11 weeks in my womb. By the time I left that appointment, they had convinced me that I was doing the right thing. The doctor and nurses promised me freedom and happiness once they had “fixed” the mistake that I had made. I was sure that if I let the thing developing inside of me turn into a baby, my life would be ruined.

I had to wait three days before I went back to the clinic for “the procedure” as they called it. But those few days felt like an eternity. I felt like an inmate on death row who was waiting for her sentence. I was terrified of what was going to happen, but I was sure that once it was over my pain would be gone. Those days dragged on in a haze of confusion and alcohol abuse. I was sure I was doing the right thing. I was sure that everything I was feeling would go away once the problem was gone.

It was like I was standing on the edge of a cliff and everyone around me promised that if I stepped off the edge, I’d find happiness, freedom, and peace. But the voices I kept hearing all around me were 100% contradictory to everything I was feeling. I didn’t know at the time that what I was feeling was love and compassion for the life inside of me. I thought I was feeling contempt for it and would be glad once it was gone. I felt trapped and I didn’t know whether to listen to the voices or my feelings. Most of my history had taught me that my feelings couldn’t be trusted, so I was quick to disregard my feelings.

I was a control freak who felt like I had lost all control of my body and my life.

So I stood on the edge of the cliff and looked over the expanse. I didn’t want to step off the edge because I didn’t know what I’d be falling in to. All I could see was endless darkness. But I also didn’t want to walk the winding path that was behind me. As I turned to assess what the scene behind me would behold, the twists and turns horrified me. I saw wild beasts that looked ready to attack if I tried to take even one step forward. Thorns and thistles lined the path and darkness consumed it. It was intimidating and terrifying, but I could see the terrors and could prepare for how to handle them. The voices inside of me told me that if I went down this path it would hurt, I would disappoint and hurt other people, and that I would fail; but those same internal voices told me that I could and should take the risk. But then there were the louder, more tangible, external voices that urged me to step out into the vast unknown oblivion. They promised me love, security, freedom, and acceptance if only I took the step off the cliff. They promised me that what I couldn’t see in the unknown was a better life, a life free of my “problem”. They told me I could trust them. In a desperate attempt to find love, safety, and acceptance, I abandoned my own feelings and decided to step off into the oblivion. But that one step left me falling into a darkness that I didn’t know how to handle.

It’s funny, really, the lies you believe when you have no foundation of truth.

The night before the “procedure” he had promised he would be with me, he promised that he would support me through the whole experience because, as he said, we were doing the right thing. But that night, I experienced the first in a long string of broken promises. He didn’t show up and I was left to wrestle with my confusing emotions on my own. I was unable to sleep as my mind kept taking me back to that cliff and the fear of the unknown that I was about to enter into.  When he arrived at my house the following morning to take me to the clinic I was filled with anxiety. My thoughts were running in so many different directions that I didn’t understand what was going on with me. I felt alone, scared, and out of control. I placed my physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being into the hands of the man that I thought loved and would only do what was best for me, not knowing at the time that my safety and security were the last things on his mind. He told me we were doing the right thing, and I believed him. But if this was right, then why did I feel so wrong? If this was right, why did I feel so condemned? If this was right, how come I felt so ashamed? If this was right, how come I felt like, from that moment on, I needed to guard this secret with my life?

Entering the clinic was overwhelming. I was walking in, a scared, twenty year old, pregnant young lady and I was promised that I would be walking out as a freed and happy young adult with a bright future. I was consumed with confusion as I was greeted by smiling faces. How could they be smiling about something that felt so wrong to me? I was deceived and I didn’t know that behind those smiles were people just waiting to take the life of the unborn mass of cells that lay within my abdomen.

We had a seat in the waiting room and it felt surreal. I was buying into the promises of freedom and I couldn’t wait to reach the other side of this, to be free of the feelings that this pregnancy had brought upon me. I had been convinced that everything I was feeling was not negativity toward the procedure but actually toward the pregnancy. My name was called; I squeezed his hand, and walked through the doors that I would never walk back out of. After several needle pricks, my arms were left sore and bruised. I was asked to change my clothes and have a seat in another waiting room. This room was full of terrified girls and young women. We were all waiting to hear our names called so we could get this over with. The room smelled of shame. At the time, I assumed we were all just ashamed of our pregnancies. If you don’t know what shame smells like, step foot into the waiting room of an abortion clinic, it’s an unmistakable smell that one can never forget. A few of the ladies tried to make small talk, but mostly we all just kept to ourselves, trying to hide our faces.

One by one, our names were called and one by one our babies were murdered. Finally, it was my turn. Finally, I would be getting that freedom that I was promised.

I followed a nurse back to the “exam room”. I think death chamber is a more appropriate name. I’ll never forget this doctor as long as I live. He was wearing sky blue scrubs and a face mask. I have often wondered what he was hiding behind that mask. But what horrified me were his eyes. His eyes were like ice and it chilled me to my bones. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was in the presence of evil and my consciousness shut down.  I had made myself become numb; I felt like a zombie. I had absolutely no control over my body. The doctor and nurses spoke to me and my body responded to them, but I couldn’t comprehend what was going on. I followed orders and laid down on the table. I watched as the doctor pulled the stirrups out, placed my feet in them, and strapped my feet down. At the same time, a few nurses were on either side of me securing my arms. One nurse injected a medication into my arm that would sedate me and I felt a cold sting run through my veins. I felt as if I had just been injected with the ice from that doctor’s eyes. The medical team was busy with mindless chatter as I lay there helpless and afraid. It was as if what they were about to do to me meant absolutely nothing to them. But I still thought they were helping me. One of the nurses urged me to close my eyes and promised I would be asleep before anything started. That’s when I felt the doctor touching me and I felt a warm tear streak across my cheek. The doctor said, “this will be cold,” as he pushed the frozen ultrasound probe inside of me. I felt like I had been penetrated by the evil I saw in his eyes; but he was helping me, right? My mind was starting to feel cloudy and I was beginning to lose consciousness and that’s when I heard the doctor’s voice again. “Wow, that’s a strong heartbeat. Oh, no wonder, there’s two.” It was in that moment that I changed my mind. I tried to speak and struggle free. My mind was screaming, “let me go, let me go,” but the drugs they had given me had done their job; I was too weak and disoriented and my eyes closed. The last thing I heard was the distinct sound of two very strong, very healthy heartbeats.

The next thing I knew, I was waking up to extreme pain and I heard the humming of the torture device that was ripping my babies from their home. I tried to scream, but nothing would come out. Then I felt that cold, evil sting in my arm once more and I was again unconscious. The next time I awoke, I was being forced from the exam table to a wheel chair. One of the nurses pulled on my arm and almost yelled for me to “wake up and move.” I groggily followed orders, still unable to comprehend what was happening. Was it over? Was I fixed? Was I free? As I stood up, I was overcome with pain and I nearly collapsed into the waiting wheel chair. This was their first time in my life that I had ever been blinded by pain. This is when I first realized that I was falling and I couldn’t catch myself. But I was sure that those promises of freedom, love, and happiness still waited for me.

I was moved to a recovery room where four recliners sat side by side. Three of the chairs were already filled with shamed and hurting young women who had, like me, unknowingly just committed the biggest mistakes of their lives. I painfully made my way into the chair and quickly fell back to sleep. I was only vaguely aware of the busyness around me as everyone else seemed to go about their business. As I opened my eyes again, a male nurse approached me, sending me into a panic. He had the same icy eyes as that doctor; however his voice was much gentler. He told me that it was time for me to get dressed and leave. My head was foggy and my legs were unstable, but I felt sure that as soon as I could get out of this place, I would experience the freedom I was promised. No one had prepared me for the amount of physical pain I would be in. I got dressed and was only able to half listen to the instructions the nurse was giving me. He then walked me to the back door and led me out of the building where I found my boyfriend waiting to take me home. At the time, I wondered why we weren’t allowed to leave out the front door after the procedure, now I realize that they don’t want the young women in the waiting room to see the pain and despair on our faces – that might lead them to change their minds. That’s why they made us use the back door.

I had expected him to take me in his arms and tell me how much he loved me. I had expected him to embrace me and tell me he was sorry for my pain. I had expected him to comfort and protect me. But all I really got was silence. More broken promises. Where was my freedom? I felt more bound, confused, and ashamed than ever. I couldn’t even look at him. On our way home we stopped for lunch and I looked at him, with hatred in my voice and said, “it was twins.”

I didn’t realize then, how much I already loved them.

The weekend was a blur of pain, sleep, and crying. I hated sleeping because I was overcome with grief in every nightmare. I caught glimpses of the baby boy and girl that I had just killed. They wanted to know why I didn’t love them. They wanted to know why I had killed them. They wanted to know why. And so did I. But when I was awake, I was in such a tremendous amount of pain that I could barely move. I was sure though, that I deserved this pain. The babies in my nightmares told me I did too. Being awake and facing the physical pain was better though than being asleep and having to see their small, mutilated bodies crying at me. Honestly, at the time, I didn’t think I would survive. I truly believed that this pain would literally kill me. And a part of me hoped it would. I didn’t believe in God at that point. I thought God hated me and had forsaken me many years before. But I cried out to Him, asking Him why He was doing this to me.

He stayed with me for most of that weekend. I probably would have taken my own life if he hadn’t. Two days was not enough time to heal, but I told myself it had to be. Monday rolled around and I had to convince myself that I was fine. I had to forget the pain and move on. After all, I had been promised freedom and I was determined to find it.

The promises were all broken. My boyfriend’s support quickly dwindled as did my trust and faith in him. I had placed my body in his hands and allowed him to control me and he shattered every fiber of my being. I was determined to never be that vulnerable again. I was determined that no one would ever have that kind of control over my life again. I was determined to regain control of my own life.

The promises that the doctor and nurses made to me about love, acceptance, safety, and freedom were all lies. It was never about love, it was about death. It was never about acceptance, it was about alienation. It was never about safety, it was about fear. It was never about freedom, it was about bondage.

In an attempt to cope with and hide my pain, I turned to drug and alcohol abuse and I also struggled with self-harm and bulimia. These things only deepened my shame and left me bound in my despair. I did all I could to avoid feeling the pain.

This story took place just over 6 years ago – January 11, 2008. In these past 6 years I have hidden and run from much of the pain I have felt.

I stepped off that cliff and I started falling. I was terrified by what the impact would look like once I finally hit the ground. Would I break and shatter and lose it all once again? Or would God’s loving arms catch me before the impact could ruin me?

I choose to believe that God will catch me. No other promise has felt as secure as that one.

Facing the pain of the abortion was hard. It was, after all, a choice that I made. I cried many tears and yelled at God many times. But trusting in myself and what I could do had obviously not been helpful, so the only choice I had left was to trust the God who said He could heal me.

I think we get so bound by our shame that we convince ourselves that IF God is real, He can’t forgive this and that we are hopeless. But that’s why I wrote this, it’s not hopeless and you are forgiven. You just have to trust Him. Trust is hard and can sometimes be painful, but it’s worth it.

It is only by trusting God and allowing Him to show me the depth of my sin and shame that I have been able to find freedom. I have worked through the “Surrendering the Secret” Bible study and Celebrate Recovery step studies. Those, along with lots of prayers and tears, have helped me to understand who God is and who He says I am. The shame of abortions is real and it is deep. Most women hide it so deep that they don’t even realize how much they’re still hurting.

I hid it for 5 years before I realized how much I was still hurting from it. After 5 years of hiding the pain so deeply, I had forgotten how to feel it. It’s taken this past year to work through and process all of the shame and emotions I’ve felt.

It’s odd really, when women choose abortion they choose it because they don’t believe that they have any other option. We’re promised freedom, but what we find is the furthest thing from it.

I’m sure there will be controversy about the topic of this post, and I’m okay with that. My goal isn’t to make everyone happy, but to simply share my story in hopes to help someone else. I want it to be known that I will not engage on any arguments or debates and any condemning comments will be deleted.


Drowning

Life as a Christian is not all sunshine and roses. There are definite struggles. Just because I have a deep joy and hope that I am saved through the grace of God, I still have very real and very hard issues in my life…and quite often, I feel like I’m drowning.

“Drowning”…that was the title of the sermon at church today. Today’s sermon was one of those where I personally felt like my pastor was speaking directly to me, like God put every word he spoke into his mouth because I needed to hear it…it was actually a bit eerie.

The past few weeks I’ve felt like I’ve been drowning – like I’ve been crying out to a God who hasn’t been listening – like no matter what I’ve tried, I haven’t been able to get my head above water to catch a breath.

Psalm 69:1-3 –  1Save me, O God!
For the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in deep mire,
where there is no foothold;
I have come into deep waters,
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.

Drowning should drive me to prayer. It’s weird, sometimes when my life seems to be falling apart and the control freak inside of me is panicking because I can’t hold it all together, sometimes I don’t want to go to God because I am angry or frustrated with Him because I don’t understand my circumstances. But in reality, that’s when I need to run to Him most. He wants me to bring my doubts and questions to Him. He already knows that I’m thinking them, I might as well be honest with Him about it instead of just holding onto it and letting it fester inside of me.

One thing I’ve realized about myself is that when I go to God with my doubts and my questions, when I actually form my thoughts into words, I realize how childish and selfish I’m being. I realize that I’m usually just acting like a child who isn’t getting her way. Not to say that my circumstances can’t often be frustrating or discouraging, but that I often have a bad attitude about the circumstances because they’re not how I want them.

Psalm 69:16-18 – 16 Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good;
according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
17 Hide not your face from your servant;
for I am in distress; make haste to answer me.
18 Draw near to my soul, redeem me;
ransom me because of my enemies!

Drowning drives me to consider my purpose. My purpose in this life is not to just be happy and live an easy life. In fact, as a Christian, it is the exact opposite. Although I will receive blessings in my life as a result of obedience to God, God also promises me that I will experience struggles and suffering – what matters is how I choose to respond to it. Am I willing to move beyond my own narrow view of myself to use my suffering to help someone else? If I will allow God to use me, if I will follow where He leads, I can turn around and use my affliction to serve others.

This is something I’ve seen mostly within Celebrate Recovery. I enjoy serving others around me and reaching out to other people who are just as broken as I was when I first came to know who Christ is. Whenever I think that God cannot use whatever my current circumstances are, he throws me into so ridiculous situation where He reminds me that I can serve others using my greatest weaknesses and struggles.

Psalm 69:32-33 – 32 When the humble see it they will be glad;
you who seek God, let your hearts revive.
33 For the Lord hears the needy
and does not despise his own people who are prisoners.

Drowning will be reversed. God will redeem me from my pain and brokenness, Jesus died to save me from my own sin. He has a plan for me and for my life. Yes, there will be struggles and suffering, but He is still there with me. He still hears my prayers and catches my tears. I simply have to trust Him.  

One of the things my pastor said this morning that really stuck out to me was: when I feel alone, like God isn’t hearing my prayers, think of my baptism and what that resembles. In baptism, the old me had to die so the new me could have life…the old me has been drowned and the new me lives.


7-in-7 Day 2: Lies vs. Truth

Lies vs. Truth
Lies are infections
They snuck into my life
Looking so much like truth
I believed their disguise
After too many years
Living behind guilt and shame
I can finally see that the lies
And the truth aren’t the same
The lies took my freedom
They took too much of my time
So now I’m taking back
What’s rightfully mine

The lie says, “Try harder.
You’re not good enough.”
But the truth says, “Stop trying.
You’re already loved.”

The lie says, “You’ve failed.
You can’t do anything right.”
But the truth says, “Success.
Stop trying to fight.”

The lie says, “You’re alone.
No one will ever understand.”
But the truth says, “Have faith.
Just hold out your hand.”

The lie says, “You’re guilty.
You made the wrong choice.”
But the truth says, “Innocent.
You never had a voice.”

The lie says, “You’re shameful.
Look at what you’ve done.”
But the truth says, “Forget it.
Your freedom’s been won.”

The lie says, “You’re hopeless.
You’re too lost to be saved.”
But the truth says, “Have hope.
The price was already paid.”

The lie says, “Give up.
You’re just a disappointment.”
But the truth says, “Just trust.
You were made for a purpose.”

The lies stole my joy
And they hid me in darkness
But with the truth I’ll fight back
And with the truth I will beat this
I’m not bound by lies
The truth I have is stronger
I am loved by a God
Who says I belong here
I am honored and cherished
And He fights for me
Goodbye, lies, so long
From now on, I’ll be free

faithBackground:
Before I was Christian, I couldn’t even see the possibility of a better that God wanted to offer me because I was so blinded by the lies that had consumed me from childhood. But as I began to understand who God was, one-by-one, the lies were replaced with truth. I still struggle though, with believing the lies instead of the truth because that’s what my mind has become so used to…and I’m tired. I had a really intense session with my therapist today and it left me feeling pretty emotionally drained. But through today’s session, I was forced to look at how many of the lies of my past that are still consuming me. So, now, I am fighting back…and all I need to win the fight is the truth of a God who loves me.


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