My Words

Jesus said that what is in our hearts come out of our mouths. He wants us to speak.

“A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you.”
Matthew 12:33‭-‬37 NLT

I will never forget the day I was told that my name would be given and my story would be told the way that they wanted it to be told. I was on the other side of the country. There was nothing I could do to stop it. I had lost all control over what happened there. I hung up the phone and walked into the bathroom, got down on the floor and began to pound and scream into the carpet. I kept hearing the words, “Your name will be given.” I had lost all control.

I have come to understand that when people like me who have suffered from abuse lose control, it brings much pain. On this day, I felt more pain than I had in a long time time. I think after all the years of numbing my pain, I had almost forgotten what it felt like. Being faced with the reality that I had no choice over how my story would be told, what people would think, came crashing in on top of me. Who I was suffocated under the debris. The dust filled my lungs, and I lost my voice. My name would be given, my story would be told the way that they wanted it to be told. I could not do anything to stop it from happening.

They had taken my voice. They would rewrite my words.

For years I’d learned how to pretend everything was fine, to keep everyone happy and thinking that I was a person who was at least trying to do the right thing, but I wasn’t doing the right thing and sometimes I didn’t even want to. But I knew how to say what they wanted to hear. All I wanted was for my pain to go away.

When I told the truth about the lie I’d been living, I believed that others would show me compassion, dig down deep into their own stories and somehow help me to be able to live with what I had done. But that was my mistake projecting what I felt at the time onto them. They hadn’t lived what I had lived. They didn’t see what I saw. They only saw what had brought them harm, and they wanted their own pain to go away. And they told the story in such a way that would minimize the damage that had been done.

Isn’t that what most of us do? Do whatever we can to make the pain go away? Attempt to return to normalcy as quickly as possible when everything falls apart? That’s certainly what I did when I made a terrible choice to place my trust in the wrong person. I gave him all my hopes and dreams and believed that I was putting them in the right place. He was the father I had always wanted but never had. He was the first person I’d ever met that I felt totally accepted by. The first time he hugged me the world seemed like a safer place.

Working at a residential treatment program for people who have suffered from all kinds of trauma is teaching me so much about life, pain, and our deep need to be loved. I see myself in their stories. I weep inside over all they have lost. My heart leaps with joy when they learn how to trust the people who are helping them and begin the process of healing. They are in a place where people can truly help them.

The hardest thing for me to do is to learn how to trust again, to speak again with the voice that God gave me. The reality is that what I say can and will be misunderstood, and I will be judged. The lack of control I have over how others see me is terrifying.

Jesus said that what is in our hearts come out of our mouths. He wants us to speak. Our words can build others up. Our words can tear others down. They can bring hope or they can bring despair. But our words are a true reflection of who we are no matter how they effect others. We must not let others take away the things that we need to say about our own stories, because being honest about who we are is what reveals God’s glory in our lives through who He created us to be.

That day in that bathroom pounding in the floor somewhere inside of me I think I thought I lost the right to ever speak again. I believed that my words were too damaging to others and that the truth that I knew was too toxic for others to hear. So I found a safe place to write. Here on this blog where no one had to know who I was, where I was, and they could choose to read or not to read and I didn’t have to look at them and know the choice that they made or experience their judgment about what I had said.

But I do not believe that God will have me be silent forever on an anonymous blog. I am learning how to speak again ever so slowly. I am learning that others are trustworthy to tell my story to. Healing takes time. Piece by piece, I have been able to give back to God my life that came crashing down. He has breathed life into my lungs. He is giving me words to speak again. I am so very thankful.

Please know that if abuse has somehow stolen your voice, you can speak again. Your words matter, especially to God.

Yesterday, in my despair over still being too afraid to speak, I thought about making the pain go away again. I wondered if I was destined to always make bad choices, to trust the wrong people, to be toxic to others lives. I considered for a moment returning to that life. At least the pain went away temporarily there. At least I didn’t have to think so much about what I needed to say. I cried out in anger and frustration to God. And He heard. His kindness and compassion flooded my soul. He knew my pain only too well. He told me it was OK and He loved me in return.

Even if you haven’t found anyone that you have felt safe enough to talk to, please know that God wants to hear what you have to say. He longs to show us compassion. He prays for us when we cannot speak the words. He keeps our tears in His bottle. He longs to wipe away all of our tears.

We can trust Him with our words.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Romans 8:1 NLT

6 thoughts on “My Words

  1. I have had a particularly distressing couple weeks. I realized last night as I sat in a daze I had lost all contact with God. I have not read my bible. I have not prayed or journaled to Him in over a week. I have reverted to patterns of shut down that I had long let go of and I am so frustrated about that. I wonder how did He let me get back to that place?? It’s like I have the desire to reach back out but I’m frozen in place once again. I ache for something and I know it’s only God that can fill the void but I can’t move toward Him for fear i will still only hear silence or feel nothing. I can not handle one more feeling of rejection or indifference. I know He cares. I know. Maybe I am just too afraid to accept it.

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    1. Dear SK,
      I cannot tell you enough how sorry I am for what you have gone through and are going through. Diane Langberg explained years ago at a womens conference that people who are traumatized are like someone sitting in a house that was just broken into and their burgler alarm is constantly going off in their minds. This thought stayed with me, because I’ve known what it’s like for that alarm to not be silenced. I wish I could say something to bring you peace of mind. I don’t know what to say except I don’t reject or feel indifferent towards you. The words that come to my mind are me, too and my heart breaks for you. It’s difficult to read scripture for me as well. Sometimes I just read a few verses or read until something stands out. Sometimes I can’t even focus enough to do that. Reading books and listening to podcasts have helped me to get through a lot. I do believe God has compassion on you. That He weeps over your pain. And that He knows what it’s like to suffer as you have. He is always with us. But I will always struggle with the why some of us suffer so much. All I know is I long for the day when we don’t have to anymore. I read several of your blog posts. I confess I’ve been behind on reading a lot here. I hate so much that you are living in such a traumatic situation. It sounds like your alarm never goes off. I’m glad that you are in therapy and that you are continuing to write here. I’d say whatever gives you comfort and peace and relief to keep doing these things. Self compassion is something I struggle with very much, but I believe it’s one of the most important things we can do for ourselves. I also know how difficult it is to get out of an abusive situation, even though I haven’t lived in anything as physically abusive as you do, but I do know that getting out is a priority. But I also know that when you leave an abusive situation you will need lots of support. I, too, have found it almost impossible to trust. I have come to understand that we should not place our complete trust in anyone, because all of us have weaknesses and can harm one another with our words and actions without meaning to. But I am learning that there are people who care and who do want to help. Seeing this is bringing me some relief. May God continue to lead you to people who will support and help you find safety so that the alarms can be silenced. God bless you, Liz

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    2. Also, I’ve been reading this book by Melody Beattie. Here is an excerpt from her book that helped inspire me to write this post. It was empowering to me.

      To those who had betrayed me, I had given the best pieces of my heart and soul. I had given them my hope, my ability to be fulfilled, and my compassion for myself. I had given up what I knew to be my truth. I had foregone my right to be free from lies and deception. Instead I had learned to betray myself. I had given so much and settled for so little in return. It was a deadly, spirit-killing game. These were the most precious pieces of my heart. God, it was time to get them back.

      It was time to really love myself.

      Excerpt From: “Stop Being Mean To Yourself: A Story About Finding the True Meaning of Self-Love” by Melody Beattie. Scribd.
      This material may be protected by copyright.

      Read this book on Scribd: https://www.scribd.com/book/239180088

      Liked by 1 person

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