If you haven’t heard, the statistics say that once you’ve been abused, you are more vulnerable to abuse by any number of different people.Continue reading Abuse After Abuse: Finding Freedom From Past, Present, and Future Abuse
I found this coin when I was 10 years old. I was camping about an hour east of Seattle, deep in the mountains, and as I walked barefoot through the camp sites I suddenly felt something underneath my feet that seemed out of place. I looked down to see a square coin, and couldn’t believe my luck. A coin, IN THE DIRT, from half-way around the world.
I’ve been collecting coins ever since. When I go to another country or when friends go, I ask for coins, please.
And sometimes I collect things that celebrate the creative expressions of peoples all over the world. Sometimes, I revel in the art of countries I’ve never been to. I collect sacred moments, beauty, friends.
But sometimes, I collect dying things. Rotten, rotting things. Things that kill and steal and destroy.
Sometimes, I collect pain and I store it away and I hold it tightly and I let it simmer on the back burner and it’s ok for a while…until it’s not. Until your kitchen burns down. Until the flames reach up and up and quenching them is impossible. Until you barely escape with your life. Until your skin bears the scars of your choices.
And I think I’m starting to see the quiet power in releasing. The STRENGTH it takes to open your palms and say, “Here, it’ll only bury me in flames if I keep it.”
(This is what we mean when we pray for “the wisdom to know the difference.”)
This is what Jesus means when he says to “cast your cares on him”. There is almost a violence to it. Because casting well means you get to eat. Casting well means your family survives. And it’s almost like Jesus KNOWS what he’s asking. But he’s painting a picture of something hard, something that takes energy, a task, a behavior that grows more skilled over time.
He is asking you to shove your fingers deep into the heavy, crude nets of first-century Israel. He is asking you to grab them tightly, like your life depends on it, because your life depends on it. And he is asking you to take that deep breath, and ready your entire body, plant your feet firmly on the deck, and with every cell in your body, without a sliver of hesitation, heave those nets up and over the side of the boat and let them sink heavy-deep into the water.
Because if you can’t heave them over the side, you’ll never be able to heave in the abundance God will place inside those nets.
BECAUSE IF YOU CAN’T HEAVE THEM OVER THE SIDE, YOU’LL NEVER BE ABLE TO HEAVE IN THE ABUNDANCE GOD WILL PLACE IN THOSE NETS.
If you can’t give it, throw it. If you can’t release it gently, release it forcefully. If you can’t open your own hands, let someone open them for you. And if you find that you still can’t, even after all of that, it’s ok. Some of us need to WRESTLE.
God knows. He isn’t afraid of letting you wrestle. He’s not afraid that your struggle will affect his sovereignty, his ability to make all things new, his grace.
There is nothing you can say or do to make God love you any more or any less. Because his love isn’t tainted with sin. It is PERFECTLY. HOLY. WHOLE.
And he sees the weight of brokenness you carry on your shoulders.
And he just wants to take it.
It is a daily releasing sometimes. It is a repeating of obedience and trust that changes everything. It is one step, one movement at a time.
God never asked us to do easy things. He never even asked us to do possible things.
How do you move a mountain?
One shovel of dirt at a time.
How do you move a mountain?
You can’t. It’s impossible.
How do you move a mountain and change your life?
With faith in a God who can make all things possible.
Because he is making all things new and he will not stop when he gets to you.
I listened to a podcast today that talked about how, in the Bible, there is no concept of separate justice issues. There is only JUSTICE and INJUSTICE. Preach!
When you start talking about injustice, child abuse doesn’t really jump to the forefront of your mind. Because it hides in plain sight, and like a deadly bacteria that works its way deep into the crevices of your body, child abuse is an insidious destroyer of a sense of self.
Recovering from an abusive relationship is no small task. You have to relearn how to like yourself, how to love yourself, and how to trust again.
Your pain is valid. Your suffering and struggles are valid. You are not exaggerating. It’s not “all in your head”. You struggle for a reason. And it is NORMAL to struggle for years after being in an abusive relationship.
There is a cost for every choice. And what you sacrifice or willingly offer up either wounds your soul or else repairs it. Because you are not just flesh and bone and blood pumping through veins. You are spirit. You are soul. You are deeply and irrevocably eternal.
Maybe we have it all wrong. The idea of what healing means and looks like. The way it ought to feel.
Maybe for some, healing is like a home with decay so deep the only thing to be done is to light a match and watch it all burn. To feel the heat of the flames against your skin. To mourn what should have been and to grieve the way the vagrants broke the windows and let in all the rain and the animals and the rot and the unbearable stench. Continue reading How To Build A House: An Allegory