My Mission

Sexual Assault- It's an uncomfortable subject that no one wants to talk about. When you say the words 'Sexual Assault Awareness' out loud, rooms tend to go silent and you can feel the awkward tension in the air. You post something on your social networks and no one will comment but if you post something about an iphone all of a sudden you get 50 comments and double the likes. I am a survivor and had to live many years being uncomfortable in my own skin, terrified to tell anyone. Then God showed me another way, he showed me that I didn't have to be silent anymore. I can stand tall with my head up high and say ,"I am a Survivor of Sexual Assault". Please take a moment and think about the men, women, and children that have been traumatized by sexual violence. They should never feel isolated, judged, or without a voice. Let's stand united against these crimes! Show your support by talking about this issue with your family. Do everything you can to show that you embrace, love and encourage these survivors to speak out, that you not only fight for them, but with them. Together we can change someone's life!


Thursday, February 18, 2016

Finally Free to Be Me

I haven't posted in a long time but I have a guest writer for you today. She wrote her story "There's Always Hope" please go back in my posts and reread it. My sister Laura has been soul searching recently and God has put it on her heart to find her voice again. A voice that was stolen by someone 13 years ago. Well now here is her letter to this someone and now he holds no more power over her and she is finally.... free to be herself again. Keep healing Laura! We hope that this inspires you to find your voice!  If you read this and would like to contact her privately then please feel free to email her at theresalwayshope11@gmail.com.

A letter to the one who tries to destroy me,

     It’s 4 am and I pick up my phone to check the time. I see an odd notification from Facebook Messenger. I decide to check it out and there it is a message from you. I hadn’t heard from you in about 4 or 5 years. I thought I was finally free from you. All you had to say was “Hey. What’s up?” Those three seemingly harmless words sent me in to the usual state of panic I fall in to after hearing from you. I instantly feel like someone had punched a hole in my chest; you know the feeling you get that feels like your heart has been ripped out of your body. It’s almost actually physically painful. I almost couldn’t make it to work that day. I sat in the parking lot crying for a while, I still felt like I couldn’t breathe and I was trying to figure out how I was going to pull myself together to make it through the rest of my day. For the record I found my strength again and was able to make it. It’s been a rough week. For many years after hearing from you my response has been the same. I block you, and increase my security settings on Facebook. This time I changed my name too. I am hoping that keeps you from finding me again. I never respond to you which is actually unfair to me. I never get any closure from you. I have decided to write this letter to you for my own sake. I know this letter will never find you and I am ok with that. I don’t feel like you have the capacity to understand all that I am about to tell you. I still believe that you have no idea you did anything wrong to me.  Maybe I am naïve to believe that but I will never know for sure. I am ok with not knowing that as well.

      So you want to know “what’s up” with me. I am actually doing quite well. I am convinced you have a sixth sense for knowing when I am happy. I also believe that you would like to steal my happiness once again. I have no idea why you are still trying to contact me. All that happened with us ended 13 years ago. It’s time to move on. I have but I have not forgotten what it was like to be with you. You did serious damage in my life. I remember everything because I am still affect by a lot of what you forced in to my life. You were always quite forceful. I remember you always thought I was too fat. That makes me laugh now. I was a size “0” there is only one size smaller than that. What did you want me to look like? I also remember being too afraid to eat in front of you, that was unacceptable to you because you would try to force feed me in public. That’s humiliating by the way. I still have trouble eating around other people sometimes. I remember how angry you would get with me over little things like forgetting how to use the coffee maker. I was seventeen and not a coffee drinker that’s hardly a reason to scream at me in front of our friends, or at all. You were big on yelling at me but that was still not as bad as the times you were so mad at me you couldn’t speak and would shake. That was always scary as you were unpredictable in that state. Luckily, that only escalated to you hitting me once.  I know it was only once but I can never forget it. I still have trouble when people are angry with me, my mind goes blank and I emotionally shut down. I still flinch when people make sudden movements and I can see it only out of the corner of my eye. That’s always difficult to explain especially when I am dating someone. It also makes me wonder if there aren’t things about our time together that I have forgotten. I also recall you constantly telling me no one else could ever love me. I wasn’t allowed to have friends except for one because you liked her. I know there were other girls you were hooking up with when we were together. I didn’t care at the time because I was dead on the inside. Still, the worst thing you did to me was making sex non-optional. The first time you took what you wanted from me was when I died on the inside instantly all of my emotions turned off.  You didn’t care when or where if you wanted it that was it.  Did you think any of these things are present in a good relationship? Do you contact me because you miss me? What’s to miss? I was solely a shell of a person during that time. Do you think you love me still? Truth is you never did. None of these things express love. Here is what love is because I know that you don’t know: 1 Cor 4-8;  Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. I can assure you I did not love you. I was unable to have feelings because you had killed them. If you notice despite everything I mentioned in this paragraph, it started out with a positive statement because despite all this I am doing quite well.

     I have grown so much since I left you. It was a struggle for many years. I was constantly fighting to regain what you had taken from me. I was filled with hate, anger, un-forgiveness all towards you and myself, and fear of you and men in general. I had no self-esteem left. I was always in a relationship for a long time because it created the illusion of safety.  I never felt safe because you were always looking for me and showing up at my job.  I still struggle to feel safe especially around new people. After you I built up so many walls because I thought they would keep me safe. I still have several of those walls up but I am finally learning how to let new people in. I have also been able to regain my self-esteem. I banished anger, hate and un-forgiveness from my life. If I had held on to them they would have destroyed me.

      I am so grateful for my strong Christian up bringing without turning to God I wouldn’t be here now. I know that because after you filled me with such evil I couldn’t see a way out and I thought a lot about just quitting life. I am so glad now that I hadn’t. I love my life. There was one day I was praying and I said to God “I can’t live my self-destructive life anymore. I am stronger than this and you and I are going to work through this”. Slowly but surely my life did a complete 180. It was amazing to see Him work in my life. I had been letting you define who I was for years but I have since learned that you cannot. Only God can define me and he has. He showed me that he loves me unconditionally and that I in turn have the capacity to love. Psalm 136:26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever. Up until recently I had associated positive things such as love with the negative things you had showed me. God also offers hope, even for me. He offers hope for a future. I thought I could never have a happy future. I know differently now. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. Through Him I have also learned to trust. I put my faith in God which allows me to trust Him and others.  I have also learned that to Him I am extremely valuable and that’s enough for me. 1 Corinthians 7:23 You have been bought and paid for by Christ, so you belong to him—be free now from all these earthly prides and fears.  I have come so far from where I was when I was with you because all the harmful things you filled me with were replaced with amazing things. Love, hope, faith, and joy.  It is amazing to me to feel joy again.

     I will always hope to never hear from you again but even if I do you will not send me back to that dark place where you kept me for so long. This last week has been difficult simply because of those three words you sent me but I can promise that this is the last thing you will ever take from me. You are no longer allowed to steal anything from me. That hole in my chest I mentioned in the first paragraph is no longer there, it’s just a scar that caused pain when you interrupted my life.  I fought too hard to get to where I am not to let you take another second of my life. I love my life. I have wonderfully supportive friends and family. I will keep fighting against the damage you have done but I know that I will win as there is victory in Christ. Deuteronomy 20:4  For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Hebrews 13:6 So that, taking courage, we may say, The Lord [is] my helper, and I will not be afraid: what will man do unto me?


For the very last time,


Laura

Saturday, April 4, 2015

I am a Warrior, You are a Warrior, We are Warriors!!!

     When I think of a warrior I picture a person in full battle armor but they have noticeable scars on their arms, legs and perhaps even one spread across their right or left cheek.  They are standing at attention on guard ready to defend; they don't let those scars scare them or deter them from moving forward. Those scars are just reminders of the battle wounds they healed from and they are motivation for forward motion to defeat whatever is trying to bring them down. 
     When I picture everyday warriors I think of sexual assault survivors.  They were once vulnerable and not so ready for the sneak attack, they weren't prepared to defend themselves.  They weren't prepared because most of their attackers were imposters that infiltrated their lives. These imposters usually have good looks, they are charming and say all of the right things. They play on your vulnerabilities, they are patient, watchful, and then one day they plan their sneak attack.  It's sad to say that these imposters are sometimes family members, uncles, aunts, fathers, mothers, step fathers, step mothers or cousins. It could be a baby sitter, a boyfriend, or an online love these imposters are smart they get you when you are most vulnerable.  They don't know that after their attack that they just left the deepest of battle wounds you could put on a person. They don't care because they are selfish and devoted to their fleshly desires.
     These imposters think that they won, they left scars so deep that you may never recover.  Some get joy out of the control and lavish in watching you wither away.  What these imposters don't know is that God made survivors extra strong. They don't know that one day you will find hope and learn to love yourself again. Yes these imposters won their sneaky attack and left some wounds, but survivors are warriors.  Survivors are just that, survivors they don't get brought down that easily.  Survivors will heal, those battle wounds will turn to scars, and each step they take to heal they get another piece of a warriors armor. 
     Here is what journey to becoming a warrior looked like.  When I met my husband the first thing he saw was all of my open wounds bleeding out, but he didn't let that scare him because he looked deeper in my heart and soul. He saw purity drowning in a sea of red, he decided to jump in head first and get to that purity of my heart and soul.  My first step was what I will call, "Show and Tell", I told him about my dark past that was making me drown. We went through each battle wound one by one and I told my war stories.  I cried more than ever but these were tears of release, tears of tearing down the prison walls these tears filled up those wounds and they began to heal. 
     My second step was "Calling on God", these things that happened to me are much bigger than a human can take by themselves.  I called on God to hear me and begged for Him to respond to my cries of desperation. When you seek Him you will always find him.  I heard God's voice for the first time because I was really listening.  He said for me to surrender my pain of my past to Him, that burden on my cross was too heavy for me, it was time to let Him carry it.  I cried tears of healing and release, those tears now turned my wounds into fully healed scars and I received the first piece of my warrior's armor.  I received a shield, God's love that was shielding me from the hurt and pain of my battles lost. 
     My third step was "Forgiving", now this step probably took the longest.  I had to first forgive myself for hating myself and not loving myself as I should.  I had to forgive myself of all of the lies that I told myself that caused doubt, shame and guilt in my life.  I cried more tears of healing and release, I looked in the mirror at myself and finally saw 'me', not the victim me but the strength of a warrior in training.  My next piece of armor was given to me; new shoes the types of shoes that a no nail could penetrate. I was ready to walk to my second part of my forgiveness step.  I had to forgive my imposters that had once defeated me, why? do I need to forgive? So they don't have the power over me anymore, because I am a warrior in training and they will not prevent me from complete victory.  I said each one of their names out loud and I said, "I hate what you did to me and I will always hate the evil acts, but I forgive the person you are. I am stronger than you now and God gets to deal with you. You are no longer my problem but His." Whew that is intense isn't it? I cried so many more tears, these were tears of release these were reminders to love the new me, the me that was in training. 
     My next step was "Breaking out of my comfort zone", I started a blog to tell my story. I shared it with family, new friends, old friends, and the public.  I remember feeling the knots and butterflies in my stomach, I was in a rollercoaster of emotion. I was happy, joyful, scared, nauseated, fearful but then I remembered my warrior shield and my new shoes. This was my battle to win and so I pushed that publish and send button and my heart and soul were shining so brightly in all their purity. The blood red sea had dried up, I was free! I cried tears of release, healing and joy, I received my sword that day. I broke my silence in such a huge way that God bestowed upon his warrior the strongest sword any warrior in battle could ask for.
    My next step was "Obedience Training", and for me being stubborn and leaning towards letting fear lead her life this is a hard one.  God challenged me and called on me to do His will. I ending up telling my story at my church in front of the staff, I put my heart and soul on the internet. I wrote and wrote all of my struggles, my triumphs, I put myself out their on the internet for the world to see and read.  I reached out to other survivors on blogs to connect and relate, I kept pushing forward.  God put me into a training type position at work for practice speaking in front of people. Every time I got nervous he reminded me of the armor I was wearing and that he's got me in His hands.  This obedience training is not really a step that ends it's ongoing, it's challenging but with this constant training during the most difficult times I received my helmet. My very own warrior's helmet!
     The last step was and is "Patience". I needed to be patient and depend on what God wanted me to do. I had to pick my battles and when those came which they did often, God reminded me of my armor.  He helped me win my battles but with patience and waiting comes the big battles. Battle of will, fear, doubt, confusion and falling off the ever so straight path set before me.  With patience comes sacrifice, and with sacrifice comes blessings. I  was given the gift of the rest of my warriors armor. With my patience and honor to God he has gifted me with my warriors armor and will to fight for God. I will fight for His purpose and for all of the survivors out there who don't know that they warriors yet. God turned me into a warrior, He helped me win the war over my imposters in my life! I am finally that warrior that picture, it's finally happened and I am ready for battle!


I AM A WARRIOR, YOU ARE A WARRIOR, WE ARE WARRIORS!!!!


Click here to watch this video, the song is called Warrior!


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZFjauf_hZg





Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Live Brave, Not Safe

I haven't written in a long time; but God has lit a spark in my heart for writing especially right before Sexual Assault Month.  April is right around the corner and I want to write and encourage you live brave. I want to share a little story with you.
     I haven't been to church in a long time by long time I would say it's been a few months. This past Saturday my husband and I finally made it. I was so excited and I had a really strong desire in my heart to be there. I am so happy that we were there. We had a guest Pastor as we sometimes do and his name is Pastor Oscar Muriu and he is from Kenya.  God has gifted him with a beautiful way of telling God's truth; His words are from the Holy Spirit and they cut right into your soul. This Saturday the sermon was titled, "Live Brave, Not Safe".  He posed a question that was like a dagger in heart. He asked, "What you are living for worth Christ dying on the cross for?". Whew that gives me chills and I think about it. Do we live bravely for God's higher purpose or do we live for ourselves in our 'safe' place? What does living bravely look like for me is the question I was asking God as the sermon went on.  As the sermon came to a close; I intently listened to the worship music that filled the auditorium; I let it seep into my soul. I was seeking the answer to my question.  Then I heard, "Start the Conversation". Tears immediately welled up in my eyes and I knew exactly what God was challenging me with.
     God just told me to start the conversation for those who have no voice. He calls us to reach out to the broken, speak up for the people who live in fear and shame, those stuck drowning in their safe place.  Sexual assault survivors are those people who live in silence, in their brokenness trying to break through and find some hope in their hopeless world  I know this because I lived it; I am a survivor who lived in safety for 12 years.  I lived and breathed my pain, I numbed to escape  but I had a choice; a choice to live or die.  I was living hoping that something would happen to take me out of my misery even sometimes longed for death.  God intervened in my life and gave me choice; do you want to live like your dying, or do you want to die to your old self and live in freedom with me. I chose God because my way of living wasn't working for me.
     I started this blog a few years ago because my first step to freedom was to tell my story and break my silence.  God led me on a healing journey and led me to His higher purpose for my life.  I won't sit here and tell you that it was easy or an overnight transformation. I had to live bravely and put in the work, there were tears so many tears, there was paralyzing fear, and most of all there was a lot of healing. God challenged me to step outside of myself, my false safety and encourage other survivors to be brave and speak out.  He had me to do it first so that I can sit here and tell you all about it. It's life changing when you do something for others, but it doesn't come easy.  I went from living in this fantasy world of safety and I stepped out in faith and trusted that my obedience would be blessed.  My hope of this blog was to let survivors know that there is hope, that something in my story would give just one person hope. Hope for living, and knowing that they don't have to continue to live like they are dying. 
     When I first started telling my story to others I was so scared, terrified of their reactions.  I would study people's faces as I said the words out loud, " I was first raped when I was 16 yrs old." Silence and uneasiness would fill the room. Some would have a look of shock on their faces, some would have a concerned look; and others would cry with me as I told my story.  Sexual assault isn't a conversation that anyone wants to have. Churches don't want to have this conversation either.  they are willing to donate money, provide for children in need, feed the homeless, assist the elderly, but are churches willing to start the conversation? Are churches ready to live bravely for God and have the conversation that makes people squirm in their chairs? 
    April is around the corner and it's Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it's time to live brave, not safe! Let's Start the Conversation!!!!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

RePost: My Story; My Love Letter to my 16yr Old Self

  I wanted to reshare this story with everyone! In honor of Sexual Assault Awareness Month 2014; please read and share. Sharing this post was the hardest thing for me to do, it's still hard to look at where I was as a 16yr old in such a dark and hopeless place.  Rape is real and it happens way too often. I want to use this story to encourage those of you out there living in the darkness that was so real in my life for so long.  Don't be silent any longer, share your story and do it in a safe place. You are more than welcome to share on my blog; this is a safe place and the followers here are always encouraging. Please contact me if you are interested in sharing your story for your own personal healing. It's scary at first and you may remain anonymous if you would like to. Submit your story to 4hopeandhealing@gmail.com.


Dear 16 yr old Lisa,

I know that you are scared and confused right now. You were just raped, you are feeling physical and emotional pain you don't know how to deal with. It's ok to feel pain it only makes you human. Don't listen to Satan's lies you aren't weak and it's not your fault. You are going to get angry, you are going to be sad, you are going to want to blame yourself. You are going to look in the mirror and hate your reflection staring back at you. You think you are alone, you feel lost, and you are going to find comfort in that bottle of alcohol. Alcohol is going to introduce you to your safe place in your mind where everything is ok because you can't feel anything. Being numb is your safe place but you aren't safe there! The enemy is taunting you with flashbacks, and you are reliving that awful day in your mind. The enemy invades your safe place and is leading you to alcohol. He is filling you up with fear, doubt and hate.
My dear sweet Lisa this is no way to live but don't fear sweet angel redemption is coming! God is looking out for you, He loves you, He forgives you for being angry at Him, and He will bring you Light! You won't be living in darkness forever. I wish I was there to comfort you and lead you in the right direction. I would tell you that God loves you, just call on Him! He will carry your pain for you. This pain is too much for you to carry all by yourself, give it to Him. Please don't take that drink! Don't drink that glass of vodka you are going to be raped again. I know you are hurting and confused. That new dream you had, that nightmare was just God telling you what happened to you last night. He wants you to know because your body is going to hurt everywhere. You are going to be hungover and you are going to have some bruises on your back from the back of the truck they laid you down on. Yes! I said they, there were two of them and they took turns. You are going to doubt and think that your mind is playing tricks on you but that is just Satan, "The Father of Lies" he wants you to think that you are going crazy. He doesn't want you to know the truth but God is going to send a girl to tell you that everything you saw was real. You aren't crazy and please don't hate yourself. I know that your parents are mad at you for coming home drunk and wearing nothing but a bathing suit, but they love you. It's ok to tell them what happened to you. It's ok to just confide in your Mom if you want. It's going to cross your mind for years to come but don't worry my sweet angel redemption is coming. In God's time they will know the truth and you will feel God's courage and strength. The chains that the enemy used to hold you down will be broken. One day you will be free!!
Right now you feel unworthy of love, you feel broken, damaged, and you have become a prisoner of your own mind in that safe place you created. You started a dangerous love affair with beer and vodka. You don't realize it but it's leading you to dance with the devil. You are going to dance with the devil for years to come, but don't cry my love. God is going to cut in and lead you in a new dance. Your new dance with God will be the most beautiful dance in your life. The twirls and dips will be healing, the leaps you make will be bigger than you ever thought possible. You will be lighter than you have ever been and as you two take your bow there will be a joy in soul you have never experienced before.
I know right now you can' t see anything but fear and torment your first attacker comes to visit you often. He shows up at your house, your school functions, and hangs out with your friends. You feel fearful because when you see him you remember that awful day. You remember the coldness in his eyes, the weight of him on top of you, the tight grip he had on your wrists, you can still feel the ever increasing heart beats in your chest as you feel his wet lips on your neck. He triggers those memories when you see him, but when he sees you, my darling he sees your strength and he becomes fearful. He saw how you fought that day and sees how everyday you walk a little taller, and speak more clearer. You are stronger every time he sees you! You are too broken to see that God has given you His courage and strength to look your enemy in the eye and rise above him. When you walk away from your attacker you are both fearful. You my sweet angel fear the devil you see inside him and your attacker fears God because God is shining through you!!
My dear God is protecting you he hasn't left you nor will He forsake you. The enemy keeps harassing you he is taunting you and using people in your church to shun you. He is using them to bring you back to the bottle. You are even more broken than before because the enemy has told you that those people that rejected you at church is a reflection of how your earthly father and heavenly Father feel about you. It's a huge lie that will believe and drink away for years to come. Don't fear my dear Lisa, redemption is coming!
You walk around in a daze because that "safe place" you've created in your mind is filled with chaos, confusion, fear, and doubt. Satan doesn't want you to know how strong you are he is slowly chipping away your confidence. He is leading you down a path of darkness that is filled with men that see your innocence and take advantage of your vulernability. Don't give yourself to those men, don't lie in that bed with them they don't know how special you are. You stand outside of yourself and see a different person in that bed. You are protecting your soul and you are watching your hallow shell in that bed. Don't let this define you, Satan has labeled you as a weak, empty, and soulless victim. You don't know this yet but you are a strong, courageous survivor. The enemy doesn't want you to know this truth and his sole agenda is to keep you from your day of redemption through God. It's coming soon keep pushing through the pain.
You are losing battles with the enemy but fear not for with God the war is won! God always wins just reach out your hand to Him He will pull you up and walk with you. God is protecting you, you are older now and are moving to the other side of the country. He is also going to bring you friends and people whom you will feel safe with. You don't see it though you are blinded by the enemies lies. You are too broken to see that God is with you and redemption will be here soon! You have now started to tango with the enemy. He has you close to him and his lead is strong. The bottle is now your sanctuary and you are about to fall down into a well of danger. You are about to face evil again, you my sweet angel are going to be raped again! This attacker is evil in it's truest form. He is going to taunt you, hold in his laire against your will, he will violate your body and insult you he will even laugh in your face. Fear not my love you will rise above this, redemption is just around the corner!
You are stronger than you think and you will reach out to your safe people. They will encourage you to keep fighting, God will use them to tell you to not let this rape define you! You will go back to what you know, the bottle and you will drink yourself numb. God is crying for you, He wants you back, and He is about to free you from the enemy! In the midst of your love affair with the bottle and your tango with the enemy God cuts in! God is about to lead you into the arms of your husband. A handsome angel is going to rescue you from your dangerous affairs with bad men and the bottle. You will be timid and shy at first, the enemy will tell you that you aren't worthy, but you follow God's lead through this man. You will tell this man of your brokenness and he will love you through it. You see a light for the first time in a long time. He leads you to break your chains of silence and telling your family about your past. Lisa my sweet angel redemption has begun!
You have started on your path to redemption and the lies in your mind are being quieted by God's truths and promises for you. God gave you a beautiful wedding to the love of your life. He didn't want you two to go through healing and redemption by yourselves. You are going to see glimpses of God's love for you through your husband's eyes. You and your husband are now walking on God's path of redemption for you. God is leading you to a class called How We Love so that you can recognize where your brokenness comes from and has given you tools to overcome it. Then God will lead you to a class called Rooted at Mariners Church and you will share your brokenness with a group of women. These women embrace you and they don't shun nor do they judge you. You will have a moment during your prayer time where you will hear God's voice for the first time. He will tell you to surrender your pain to him that you have been carrying a burden for too long and too large to carry it on your own. You will surrender your pain to Him and your chains of your past will fall to the floor. You will feel safe and freedom for the first time in your life!! You will praise God and thank Him for never leaving your or forsaking you. You will get baptized with your husband holding hands. You and your earthly father will share a special moment and this moment kick starts forgiveness in your hearts for each other. Redemption my sweet girl is continuing!
You will go through Rooted again because you are seeking and searching for your purpose. You will continue to heal and share your story with the men and women in your group. This is when you embrace yourself as a strong and courageous survivor. God tells you to go out and tell your story to many you are, "Breaking Your Silence 4 Healing". My sweet angel God is going to use your story to tell others of His love and faithfulness for His children. God has given you redemption, He has put a new mirror in front of you. You will have a hard time accepting this at first, but once you look again you finally love who God made you. MY LOVE REDEMPTION IS HERE, IT'S NOW AND YOUR SOUL IS HEALING!! God stripped away your pain, brokenness, and your distorted view of yourself and NOW these three remain: FATIH, HOPE, AND LOVE. But the greatest of these is LOVE. (1Cor 13:13) My dear sweet 16 yr old Lisa God is healing you, making you feel safe, freeing you from your chains, God is the redeemer of your past. He loves you and will never and has never left your side. Praise be to God my Savior, my Redeemer!!!

Love You Always,
30 yr old Redeemed Lisa

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Hitting Bottom


     It seems that our human nature is to let ourselves hit bottom before we long for something better.  Something clicks in our minds that flips a switch and we decide that a change is necessary.  We all of a sudden become determined to make our bad situation better.  I know for me that I have done this through out my life.  In unhealthy relationships I would have to hit an emotional bottom and then I would end it.  Every unhealthy relationship would bring me to my bottom in different lengths of time; some took as little as a few weeks, and some took years.  My bottom would start with me finally looking at myself in the hypothetical mirror, and that would in turn cause me to channel in my feelings.    I would look at the way I was living my life, they way I saw myself and I would turn away from that mirror hating myself and my life.  Here I was bathing in self loathing and hating everything about myself so I would try to make myself feel better. I would pick one positive thing in my life and I would put 150% effort in to that "positive" thing in my life.  It would be one of three things; my job, my health; or my friends.  In my attempt to stop hating myself I would end up turning these positive things into negatives with my unhealthy behaviors.  If my focus was on my job; I would work 12 hour days.  My long days at the office allowed me to forget about my crappy life and I would be so exhausted when I got home from work that I would just go straight to bed.  This crazy unhealthy schedule would help me forget about the things I hated about either myself, relationships, or just life in general.  I would continue on this path until I hit bottom; I would be too tired to keep my schedule.  If my new focus was on my health I would go on a diet and exercise everyday.  I would be on the strictest diet I could find and workout as often as possible so I could lose a lot of weight. My problem was that I would lose too much weight and get unhealthily skinny.  I wouldn't stop until the people closest to me would have a mini intervention and tell me that I was too skinny... almost anorexic skinny.  Lastly, if my new found determination was aimed toward my friendships I would go out almost every night of the week. Partying is what I knew how to do with friends; I partied so I didn't have to feel. Surface conversations and drunken pity parties was my specialty. I would continue down this path until I got physically sick and couldn't go out anymore or my friends would slowly stop going out with me.  I would either take a break too but drink at home or other people's houses or I would find new friends to party with.  I kept going and going until I hit another bottom and I had to take a break.  After my much needed break I would start the cycle all over again in my unhealthy pattern of behaviors.  It was almost like hitting a bottom was another addiction in itself, I needed to hit bottom so I could flip that switch in my brain and feel that zeal and determination to live again.       I have given up some of those unhealthy behaviors but I still hit bottoms.  My bottoms are are a little different now since I have rekindled my relationship with God.  He reminds me that He is with me, holding my hand and leading me on the right path.  Some times my human nature kicks in and the bad behaviors creep in slowly and I get side tracked and lead myself on another path.  I picture it like this;  You remember when we were really young we would walk down the street holding our parent's hand.  They lead us on a street that is safe to protect us from hurting ourselves.  Here we are walking down the street, following our lead and then we get to a fork in the road.  Once side of this pathway is paved and smooth, our parent's instinctually lead us down this path.  All of a sudden we stubbornly dig our heels in  the ground and we are not moving because we want to walk on the other side of the pathway.  This path is full of rock terrain and deep gaping holes that we could fall into.  This path obviously leads us to getting hurt or falling into a deep hole so deep that we would need help getting out of.  So, what do we do?  We have already made up our minds, so we let go of our parent's hand and run full speed down the rocky and dangerous path.  As we run down this path we hit the rocks and fall and scrap our knees.  We keep running until we fall into one of those deep gaping holes and then we cry out for help when we realize we are stuck there because we can't get out of it alone.  I know for me that wrong path of self-will is going to lead me to hitting bottom every time.  It's because I let go of my heavenly Father's hand and I try to do life on my own terms.  God has taught me recently to keep a hold of his hand everyday in everything that I do.  He promised that His way will be smooth if I just follow His lead.  When I wake up in the morning all I need to do is ask for His help to the things I can't do for myself.  I ask for guidance and focus in my job, I ask him to help me eat better today and drink more water.  I ask Him to give me the zeal, motivation, and strength to go for a walk after work.  I ask him to help me do all of things I know are good for me and will bring joy into my day no matter how big or how small.  At the end of the day I thank Him for guiding me and blessing me "today"!  Tomorrow when i wake up I will grab His hand and do it all over again.  I will stop worrying about tomorrow because God is present and I want to be where He is.  Being present with God is the key for me not to hit a bottom whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual.  I want to encourage everyone who reads this to be present with our Heavenly Father and let Him lead you on His smooth, safe path in life.  You will immediately feel a little better each day, and God will help you reach your daily goals.  You will begin to notice your days will be filled with more joy, and you will begin to love yourself a little more each day! 

"Show me the right path, O Lord; point out the road for me to follow.  Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me.  All day long I put my hope in you." Psalm 25:4-5


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

My Journey to Discovering My True Self

I was recently approached about writing a story for a book of stories about perseverance. I am honored and submitting a story for this book. This will be the first time my writing is being published and has inspired me to being writing my own book as well. I want to share my story that will be published with you all. I have missed connecting with you all on my blog, but don't worry I am back and feeling inspired to write.

My Story:

     Do you ever find yourself hurting so much that you don't know what to do with yourself?  I have felt this way one too many times through out my life.  This pain gave me a longing and a craving for change.  It started for me when I was twelve years old; my very first boyfriend hit me and left bruises on me.  He was angry all of the time and I was his punching bag.  I began to starve myself to change the way I looked, and in turn gave me a false confidence.  This drastic weight loss and attitude adjustment gave me a euphoric sense of newness that I forgot about the pain.  I covered up the bruises and mustered up the courage to walk away from this angry, but very broken boy. 
     I continued my search for change to fill my empty void in my heart.  At the age of 16 I was raped twice within 5 months.  The first time it was on a Valentine's  Day lunch date.  After this I began to drink alcohol to numb and escape my emotional and physical pain.  The second time I was raped by my boyfriend and one of his friends.  I passed out at a party and they took turns having sex with me.  I was pretty broken and devastated, so I  decided to change the way I looked.  I changed my hair color, I cut my hair short, and I even changed the way I dressed.  I changed my group of friends so I didn't get too close to anyone.  I needed to change because I thought I could hide my pain, hide who I had become.  Being a victim of rape changed me and I didn't want anyone to see that broken side of me, so I molded myself into this new version of myself.  This was the only way I could feel normal or my version of what normal looked like.  I also wanted to feel safe, so I started dating mean guys who loved to party, do drugs and fight.  I thought that these guys would keep me safe, but all I did was put myself  in the company of the most unsafe people.  I endured verbal and physical abuse and so I would just drink more alcohol to get numb and to escape this black hole of insanity and chaos. 
     Even though I was broken, abused and lost I had this small glimmer of hope that my life would get better.  I knew that one day I would find someone to love me more than I loved myself.  I didn't know it then but that small voice of hope I was desperately holding onto was God.  That hope gave me the strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other and a promise of a brighter and better tomorrow.  At the age of 19 I thought that I found my answer, my family and I moved 3000 miles across the country to California.  This big move and much needed  change of scenery super charged me.  My opportunity for a new life and better tomorrow was finally here.  I got to flee from my past, escape the constant memory of the hurt and pain I had endured.  I put away that version of myself that I couldn't seem to drink away.  I got to be a new "me", I was the new girl that nobody knew.  I played the part of a fun-loving girl from the south who was fearless and loved life. 
     Unfortunately the move was not a cure for my broken heart and empty soul.  I did what I knew best; I drowned my pain with lots of alcohol and blinded everyone with my False Evidence that Appeared Real. They didn't know that I was a fake and that my struggle to find happiness was consuming me.  I changed who I was for every guy that I dated so the I would appear to be their "perfect" ideal girlfriend.  I thought that if I was "perfect" that I wouldn't get hurt or abused ever again.  I changed so much that I forgot who I was.  I ignored those tiny whispers of hope in my heart and drowned it out with more alcohol. 
     With a lot of partying comes clouded judgment and bad choices.  When I was 25 I was raped again on a first date.  This time I stared evil in the eyes and I will never forget the chill that ran down my spine.  This rape changed me in a different way, it left me desperate and hurt.  My lifestyle of chaos and carelessness had left me vulnerable and unsafe. This rape broke me but it led me to turn to that tiny glimmer of hope that I had been ignoring.  I held on to that hope with all of my heart and soul, this hope was a lifeline to a different kind of change. 
     I began searching for my true self, my true identity that was buried deep beneath all of the pain, isolation and chaos.  God stepped into my life and reintroduced himself to me in my late twenties.  In the midst of my hazy wandering, God brought me an angel.  This angel was in the form of a handsome man with piercing green eyes and a voice that could melt your heart with just a simple, "Hello".  God used him to show me a new way of living life, a life filled with true love.  I am not just referring to meeting the love of my life but the true unconditional love of my heavenly Father.  Steve and God began leading me hand and hand on a healing journey to find my true self.
     First I had to tell my family what had happened to me when I was a teenager.  They never knew I kept all of the abuse a secret from them.  To my surprise they didn't judge me but embraced and loved me.  After I finally told them I felt a little lighter, my secret lost it's power over me.  My next step was to trust in God that He had me in the palm of his hand.  God promised to catch me when I would fall, He would pick me back up and help me along this journey.  I was blessed that God gave me a loving man to stand by my side to encourage me, and to love me when I couldn't love myself.  The next step to discovering my true self was to "Let Go".  I had to let go of control, let go of this image of who I thought I was.  I had to break down the wall I kept myself surrounded by and let God in.  I had to strip off lies clothing and see the raw, naked truth.  There it was on the floor; my hat of shame, my boots of regret, my pants of self loathing, and that shirt that carried the big, bright, bold letters "HOPELESS VICTIM".   With letting go of all of that came true surrender, I stared back at the truth and begin to let it in.  God's truth of who I am is a strong, confident, courageous woman who is worthy of love, and I AM A SURVIVOR.   When I finally surrendered all of pain, brokenness and despair the healing began.  During my healing journey my relationship with Steve grew stronger, we got married and had a beautiful wedding. 
     My healing journey hasn't ended, and there are obstacles still to overcome but everyday God reveals more of my true identity to me.  If you were to ask me today, "Who are you?"  I would tell you that I am a survivor, a confident woman who knows God, I am a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend.  I am a person who craves growth instead of craving change.  I am a daughter of a heavenly Father who offered me a new life, a life filled with unconditional love, healing, and hope for a beautiful future.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Shout Out!


Hello Everyone!

I have not forgotten about all of you. God has put me in a holding period, and I hope to be back writing regularly again very soon.

Today, I wanted to share a link for my dear friend Jamie Hindman. She boldly went on TV to share her passion for her Ministry, Divine. She shared initimate details about her story and has been boldy following God in His plans for her story to be heard. Please view, and share! Spread the hope, and let the broken know that Jesus loves them!

http://abcnews.go.com/US/strippers-jesus-dancer-makes-mission-save/story?id=21024000

Jaime,

You continue to inspire me everyday! You give me hope that my story will be heard one day too! I just need to trust in God and follow him with all my heart and soul. I feel honored to watch you grow and see how God paved a path for you. You followed and obeyed Him, and He is walking with you hand in hand smiling down his beautiful daughter. You have shared your story and God washed away the shame from your past, you are living your redemption in christ out loud.

May God continue to shower you with His blessings, and keep you protected!

Your Sister in Christ
Lisa

If you are interested in getting involved or donating to Jaime's cause please go to the link below:
http://www.divineoc.com/!

Happy Holidays