I am a Lovable, Confident Woman who is Finally Free

     I, Lisa Kelly am a lovable, confident woman who is finally free! This is such a bold statement despite the constant toxic thoughts that run through my head. Let me tell you a little story of why I am trying to live by these words... Lovable, Confident, and Free. This is something that I strive to feel about myself every day.
    My husband and I attended a Lifelines Relationship Program this past weekend. It was from Thursday through Sunday and it was the most intense yet rewarding program that I have ever attended. I learned a lot about myself this past weekend through this program. It was emotionally, physically and spiritually draining but it forced me to look into the mirror and identify the things in my life that have hurt me the most. Through this program it also showed me what life could look like if I get through these things. I can feel lovable, be confident in my marriage and be free from my past.
     Let's start with the word 'Lovable' this word carries a lot of weight with me because I spent so much of my life not feeling lovable.  It started when I was a young girl, innocent and impressionable and I heard my Dad yelling because he was angry for the first time. I felt scared, immediately wanted to hide so that is what I did, I hid from the loudness. I ran to the curtains in the living room we had these curtains that went down to the floor they were the perfect to hide behind. I quickly covered myself with curtain as if it were blanket of protection, I pressed my cheek against the window and gazed outside. I can still feel the coldness of the window on my right cheek and outside it was dark but the neighborhood was lit up by the street lights and the moonlight and stars gave the sky a dim brightness. It was calm outside, quiet, and peaceful as tears streamed down my face I pretended I was outside in the peacefulness. I felt safe in that very moment as I gazed outside for those few minutes I could block out loudness of the yelling and storm that was erupting inside the house.  I don't remember who my Dad was yelling at or what he was yelling about. I begin to believe the lie that if anyone yelled in anger at another person it meant that they didn't love that person. If you made some angry you were unlovable. Of course that isn't a rational thought, but it's a lie that would haunt me well into my adult life. My Dad yelled when we was angry it didn't matter if the person he was angry with was himself, the dog, the inanimate object that jumped out from nowhere and tripped him up, my siblings, my Mom, his Mom, or his Dad.  He was a yeller and with my skewed correlation between anger and love, every time I was in trouble and he would yell I felt like he didn't love me.  My Dad was and is a classic avoider love style, he doesn't show much emotion therefore emotionally absent but when he did show strong emotion it was presented as anger.  He wasn't capable of showing love by emoting and this put up a wall in between us and prevented us from having a healthy relationship.
     In my teenage years I started desperately searching for the feeling of love, acceptance and relationship that was lacking in my home. I searched in all of the wrong places and I only ended up hurt, alone, sometimes abused verbally, emotionally, physically or even sexually. I lost my self- worth as I sunk deeper into my lie that I was not lovable. I had striven to be perfect in the eyes of whomever I was seeking love from. I became their 'perfect' version of a friend, girlfriend, whomever I was in a relationship with. I figured if I was 'perfect' they wouldn't ever get angry with me or yell at me. If they didn't yell or get angry there was chance that they would love me. I couldn't ever reach the perfection that I was so desperately working towards I would get disappointed and became so hard on myself because I created an unattainable expectation. Not only would I put this expectation on myself but I put in on others in my life. No one would ever reach this impossible goal they had no idea I set for them. This made it easier for me to hide, isolate, and live in my little comfort bubble of dysfunction and in turn avoid emotion.
     In my adult life, as a wife, a mom this unhealthy way of thinking is more magnified. I have a husband who loves me, a daughter who absolutely loves and adores me. So why do I still have these feelings or fears of being unlovable? It all stems from the unforgiveness for my Dad, the holding onto the toxic thoughts and letting them define who I am. It doesn't matter how many times a day my husband tells me that he loves me, or gives me affection, or does nice things for me the moment he gets angry I get triggered and become that little girl who hides behind that curtain in the living room. The moment I get feelings of being unloved and the lies overflow my mind; I want to run and press my cheek against that window and go to that peaceful place in my mind. I want to bring my daughter there with me and protect her from those feelings that I am feeling. I find myself trying to over compensate for her so that she doesn't feel unlovable. I immediately put my husband in that category with my Dad and I hide from him. I cut him off emotionally, I isolate from him, and I get angry. I become the angry person that yells because I want to use my voice that I didn't have as a young girl. This weekend I was forced to look at myself and this truth about my brokenness and realize that this unforgiveness was preventing me from seeing myself in a new way. I chose to reject that lie in my mind, surrender that toxic thought to God and forgive my Dad. I realize now that forgiveness is a process, it's decision that I have to make daily. I won't be truly free unless I forgive, not for my Dad but for me. To me forgiveness is choosing to reject the lie that I am unlovable. Forgiveness is choosing to be more conscious of how I am reacting to my husband and how I am treating him.  There will be days where I choose not to forgive and let those lies in, but there are going to be great days where I choose forgiveness so I can be a better version of myself and free of lies that isolate me from my family. Today, I Lisa Kelly am holding on to the truth that I am LOVABLE!
     Confident by definition means having strong belief or full assurance, having no uncertainty about one's own abilities, sure of oneself, self-confident or bold. This has always felt so unattainable especially in my relationships but most of all with my husband. I was given a gift from God when I met Steve, he is a man who is passionate about whatever he puts his mind to, he loves with all of his heart and soul, he strives to be better and wants to grow and not only is he my husband but my best friend.  He showed me what love looks like when I had no concept of what feeling loved in return was like. So why was I feeling, insecure, weak, unsure about using my voice?  Before this program we had been fighting a lot. Mostly over stupid things, so stupid that sometimes I wasn't sure at the end of it what we were really fighting about. All of this push and pull going on in our relationship reminded me of how insecure I felt in this relationship. In our brokenness and our own past pre-marriage traumas came boiling to the surface, we triggered each other and I begin to allow those labels of lies define who I am. Being a sexual assault survivor the constant habit of defining yourself as a weak person, a victim, but most of all being voiceless is debilitating. It's so easy to go there in my mind and claim these lies as my truth and define myself. I really believed in my heart that I had lost my voice, that my voice didn't matter and that it wasn't valued in my marriage. Steve could be on his hands and knees begging me to talk and use my voice but it didn't matter because I labeled myself as a person whose voice didn't have value. I was too weak to persevere through the fear and would always just be a helpless victim. When I say that I wasn't using my voice I mean that I didn't use my words in a healthy way, the yelling at Steve in anger was not me using my voice it was me throwing darts of lies in his face. I was bringing him down with me, hurt people hurt people!
     During this process I was forced to look at my issues, my part in the fighting, my part in causing  this great wall of china that was between us.  It was NOT easy let me tell you, but do you know what was easy? Seeing my husband for who he is, hearing  but most of all listening to the events that caused trauma in his life was heartbreaking. I cried so many tears for his pain, I saw him as a little boy just wanting so desperately to feel love and getting rejected so many times.  I see him fighting for our love not matter if it's healthy or not, he needs the same thing I do. He needs to feel secure in our relationship, he needs to know that his voice matters, he needs to reminded that he can do all things through Christ who strengthens him, he needs to hear my voice speak truth and words of encouragement and love. I wasn't doing that those things, instead as I was drowning myself in lies,  I was also projecting those lies on to my husband in the way I treated him. We were barely treading water and barely holding on because we were both drowning in my spoken lies.  We had no lifeline in sight and we are survivors and didn't realize we were fighting against our lifelines, each other. I didn't see a solution to get out of this water that was drowning me because my lifeline was my comfort bubble of dysfunction, isolation, and feeling sorry for myself.  My pre-marriage trauma was preventing me from seeing that I have two lifelines right in front of me to grab on to, God and my husband. So today I strive to hold on to the truth and rebuke the lies. Through God's truths and loving my husband in the way that he needs me to.  My marriage will persevere through the struggles of our pre-marriage traumas. I Lisa Kelly am a CONFIDENT woman in my marriage and will use my voice to uplift!
     Freedom! To be free is not being under the control or in the power of another and able to act or be done as one wishes.  This is something I struggle with feeling all of the time.  I would wear my chains of my past as my armor instead of the armor that God has put in front me.  These chains are confining and weigh me down.  I am a survivor of sexual assault and I have my good days and bad days. I have triggers that still haunt me to this day and every time I get triggered another chain gets added and my false armor gets heavier. I try to carry this weight by myself because it's comfortable and I am used to it.  I kept this secret for many years and I got used to carrying the weight of what had happened to me.  I always just figured this was going to be the way life was going to be, get triggered take it in, don't share it and deal with it. I know better because God has showed me what true surrender feels like when I surrendered my the pain of my past to Him. True surrender is different though, true surrender is giving it to God and not taking it back.  When I get down on myself because I let the lies overwhelm me I take it all back and try to carry it on my own.  That isn't living free it's like being in a prison but having the key and refusing to take it and release the chains holding me down.
     I have a pattern in dealing with things that  bother me and it's not healthy and keeps me from growing as a person.  We did an exercise in this program all about forgiveness of ourselves. This one was the hardest one for me.  I felt shame for being raped, I felt shame for the decisions that I made in my past.  I never really realized that the feeling that I was feeling was shame.  I just thought that it was that I felt pain and I know that what happened wasn't my fault but I do feel ashamed.  I went through my life searching to fill this huge void that I had in my life in all of the wrong places and I made so many mistakes. The result was being raped multiple times, drinking alcohol to escape, living selfishly and hating the person that stared back at me in the mirror. I have been through some healing for my past by writing and sharing my experiences on this blog, sharing my story at the church and keeping honest in small groups about what I have been through.  Sometimes I still see my old self staring back at me and I crawl back in my hole and feel shame.  Shame is paralyzing, it sets me back in my relationships, it makes me feel unlovable, it makes me feel insecure and weak, and most of all it imprisons me.  As I was laying on the floor my eyes closed and listening to this song that they were playing I wanted to let go of this shame, but I found myself holding on tighter.  I needed to forgive myself for not loving myself, devaluing my self worth, and not treating my self with respect.  For all of this shame that I draped myself with.  I saw myself as that 16 yr old girl, so innocent, so full of life and joy and she didn't deserve to be draped in shame and weighed down in a false armor of chains. She was so lovable, and so confident, and she was free before those things were taken from her.  I cried for her that day, I mourned those things that I took from her and the lies that filled her head. She needs to know that she is a beautiful survivor, with a heart that is pure, and that she can feel joy! In that moment I reached out for that key to unlock the chains, she was free and I got a vision of her dancing in a white dress so beautiful and pure and now I can be free! I can live a life free of shame, free of my past, and hold on to God's truth and truly surrender.   I, Lisa Kelly am finally FREE!

    I am a lovable, confident woman who is finally free! 

If you find yourself trapped and suffocated by your past I urge you to find freedom! Lifelines is a great way to learn how to take of yourself and love yourself again despite your past trauma. If you are interested here is the link to their website! I hope that you can find freedom and take that key to release your chains.Click here to check it out https://relationshiplifeline.org/


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