Tattered Butterflies

A song for the broken: God Only Knows.

Gratefully God cares.

At this moment Lester Holt shares the national and international news. I have to shake my head wondering why I feel the need to be informed. Our land is in dire straits.

Hope rang true when I walked into my office afterwards and reached for some paint swatches pinned on a bulletin board. My eyes happened to fall on the page below. I had seen it for so many years, I failed to see it anymore.

Yet, on this day, I did. The wrinkled page holds a vast landmine–three poems by Langston Hughes, part of a series of his dream poems I taught as a secondary English teacher. Hughes was a leader in the Harlem Renaissance. His short poems were deep in meaning, winning over the most rebellious of anti-poets. I had memorized them as I had scriptures, and once was a broken-winged bird that healed to fly again.

Go back through and read the printed poems. Then read again, noting my scribbled questions for my students, my little add-ons for emphasis. Then go dream.

We Always Have Spring
We Always Have Spring

One spring when the azaleas were in their greatest glory, I spent an hour following this butterfly around, snapping photos. Over the years, I’ve seen others post their “butterfly on a fuchsia azalea bush” many times, almost identical to mine.

What we have to grasp is that it’s not about our composing a spectacular one-of-a-kind Ansel Adams photograph. Sometimes it’s about the EXPERIENCE, the MOMENT.

This photo reminds me how I felt when I was caught up in the butterfly’s journey through beauty, attempting to capture those moments to carry with me over time.

Maybe what we do isn’t always about how others respond on Instagram or Facebook. Maybe it’s about our being in the moment with our Creator’s world and His presence, absorbing that time, that place, that peace to live in always.

BestTattered Butterflies 8x10 0916.jpg

Tattered Butterfly

I wrote the above poem in response to my finding a tattered butterfly in our sunroom, dying. Like many of you, I have a great love for butterflies. These winged wisps of artwork, delicate as they are, flutter from blossom to blossom, from country to country. Who could ever imagine they once crawled about the earth and miraculously transformed into an expression of beauty for our unending pleasure!

Our deeper connection is how akin our transformation is with theirs.

So you can understand how I react each time I spot a butterfly in our sunroom, battling to break through the glass, trying to reach its freedom. Its death soon follows because of an invisible killer lurking–insecticide sprayed on the window sills by our bug man. It’s in our valid pursuit to reduce the annoying insects, not butterflies.

Some survive. Some don’t. However, recently one particular butterfly taught me a lesson which made me think of many of you. You, too, are probably In the midst of a battle. Maybe, it’s for your health or a loved one’s. It could be for healthy relationships with a spouse, child, parent, friend or enemy. Some of you might be struggling for freedom from the world’s grips and its destructive hold over you.

Some are torn by the loss of a treasured life.

Yet, even in our deepest pain, we can find God if we’re looking.

That day I held a most resilient butterfly, who like so many of you prove:

“Greater is He that is within me, than he who is in the world.”

What if we lived our whole lives–our earthly lives–and never realized the fullness of God’s love, thinking we are too damaged, missing His true love for us?

As tattered butterflies, we must end our struggling and fly into the face of beauty.

God will strengthen us to surmount our trials because He can, because He wants to and will.

Wherever you are, I pray you live richly and fly free.

August 2017                       A Butterfly Tale

As Bill and I are trying to visit all of the states together ( the rules are we have to spend at least one night–not just a drive through or airport stop), I was researching the next three states we were to visit last month.

I noticed there was a Butterfly House on Mackinac Island we could visit while in Michigan. Oddly enough, in driving through Illinois (a state we didn’t need to visit) we could stop for a few hours to visit one of Illinois’ top places to visit– a Caterpillar Museum. A caterpillar museum? It seemed unusual enough since I’ve only visited butterfly gardens and houses.

Once I googled the site to find out the days they were open, etc., I was shocked to discover, the museum isn’t even about the furry little critters that transform into butterflies. It’s filled with big yellow tractors with Caterpillar emblazoned across them!

Needless to say, we didn’t go.

Tattered Butterflies Can Fly
Tattered Butterflies Do Fly

December 2016

I wrote the following ten years ago. At the time we were caring for Bill’s bedfast mother, and we had hired a sitter so we could worship together on Sundays. That morning we sat on a row with a young couple who had just had their third baby. The mother graciously handed her new daughter to me, and that’s when I grasped the following:

Eternity in our Hearts

God has also set eternity in the hearts of men.

Ecclesiastes 3:11b

God created us to be mystified by eternity.

He understands endlessness,

Even though we can’t even begin to fathom it.

It was in God’s great plan that He added distinctions,

Separating the expanse of ocean and sky with horizon lines, varied and vast.

He offers us mornings with the rising light of His sun.

He follows it with the grandeur of a starlit night.

A baby’s innocent smile thrills me through,

While the elderly woman’s scowl of pain disheartens me.

Why don’t I absorb the latter as inspiring?

For both expressions hold a future in God’s hands–the God who engenders His

Son with the expanse of sun, moon and our Morning Star eternal.

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is 

temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 

  II Corinthians 4:18

Did you know

Transparent butterflies

Mirror who and what they rest upon?

Who and What are you resting upon?

May 2016

“My God shall supply all my riches through Christ Jesus my Lord.”

Tattered Butterfly
Tattered Butterflies Do Fly! Choose to Fly!

Teach Me to Pray, Lord

How are we suppose to deal with painful events, discovering our particular path, and our answers from God?

I was asked by a dear friend who teaches a college women’s class at a private Christian university to write down what happens during my prayer time, I shared the following:

Our seeking the Lord can be so individual and yet universal.

My times and seasons have changed my worship/prayer time.
In my twenties and early thirties, I rose early about 5 a.m. to have an hour or two of Bible and prayer time in my bucket prayer chair. My family always made fun of me because  even having that time in the Word on Sunday mornings, I somehow would be rushing out the door late for church. Since I worked, I sought for Saturday mornings to hide away in my walk-in closet for prayer and intercession. For those hours and years, it seemed one-sided. I listened, but couldn’t hear Him. (Or didn’t know how to hear Him.)
After several years, I learned to distinguish His voice. Always so much wiser than my own thoughts, His voice was clear. Gratefully, what I thought He spoke was always confirmed, leaving me no doubt. 
I had a numb season after my divorce and in the initial years of my marriage with Bill–the shock of my ex’s affair, divorce (when I had vowed I’d never divorce like my parents), singleparenting, the stress of losing Bill’s dad and both of my parents within months of our marriage. I was shell-shocked. I managed by subsisting on the rich food I had fed on those previous years, the many promises from God’s Word I had memorized. And God was there for me in spite of me, protecting me and guiding me through my fog.
When I first wake up, I greet the Lord and ask Him to join me through my day. I pray for His Holy Spirit to guide me. My best days are when I enter into reading/prayer/praise first thing. Regardless, He’s with me all day, even when my day  begins with a whispered prayer running out the door. Sometimes I pray on my bed, kneeling beside it, in my circle drive, while driving, but always throughout the day.
Sometimes when I read His Word,  I might simply absorb a few passages. I also listen to an audible Bible while I take-on the mundane chores in my day. Sometimes the OT, sometimes an epistle, like James, over and over. I still have so much to get.
But His Word is always with me. I have to have time with Him
to sit and meditate
to twirl and praise (in the privacy of our home and circle drive)
to listen
to converse
and listen some more.
To open His Word and read,
still listening.
For example, say I’m reading part of Psalm 119,
highlighting, underlining, and circling certain words and passages.
As I read, I recognize David’s words can surely be mine–
I am blessed as I seek Him with my whole heart–daring to ask myself if I really am seeking with my whole heart.
Because if I’m not, I need to ask where I’m not walking blameless.
I then praise Him,
hiding his Word in my heart.
I’m a visual learner so I write out passages,
place them around the house, memorizing them.
Verse 16–When I neglect His Word for too many days, I feel it.
I ask, seek and knock.
Verse 18–Open my eyes to see.
V.26 In His Word He promises to hear us.
When David recounted his ways, God heard him.
David’s heart is set free, a template for all of us.
V. 33–Teach me, Lord, is a constant prayer
Turn my eyes away from worthless things. (Something I’m weeding out weekly–some good things to others might be worthless things for me at this time.)
V.45  Again, I am continually seeking how to walk in freedom. (Getting rid of lifelong strongholds takes focus, daily exfoliating.)
V. 50 He is my comfort.
He promises to preserve my life.
V.58 Seeking His face with my whole heart, not distracted,
not wanting anything more than Him
V. 71  Processes to finally admit: It was good for me to be afflicted, so that I might learn from your decrees. We all face afflictions. How we respond is imperative in what the next step is. We live in a world of violence, greed, cancers in every form. God doesn’t inflict those tragedies upon us; He affects us as we’re struggling in a damaged world. My pain has drawn me closer to Him though than my painless times. Wish we weren’t that way.
V.125 Give me discernment is a constant prayer, discriminating what is God, man or the enemy.
V. 164-165   Seven times a day I praise Him
Great peace have they who love your law and nothing can make them stumble.
This is simply an example of the many scriptures that remind me of my freedom in Him to communicate as His child, to hear Him, to love Him and simply trust Him, walking in His peace many times through the day.
I hope this makes sense as each of us discovers God’s best for our lives.


For those times you feel “Frozen in the Tracks of Life”

It’s a powerful force–prayer is. Yet, what about those times you’re unsure about how to pray, what to pray?

For each event, each tragedy, each dilemma, I realized afterwards that I received an answer. Hindsight offers great wisdom, doesn’t it!

However, we’re still left with so many questions. We pray for a loved one, and that person is healed. We pray for another, and this earth’s healing isn’t realized.

We want God’s will, but we’re unsure of what God’s will really is, what it looks like in this particular situation.

For me, when it comes to praying for someone’s healing, I pray heartily, as mightily as I know. For one of our sons battling cancer or dear women I know, I really did go to God with sound reasoning (at least from my standpoint) why we needed them here on earth. Didn’t Isaiah say, “Come let us reason”?

Then if the Lord does choose to take home the one I’m praying for, at least, I know I’ve done my part, right?

Throughout the NIV Bible the word way is found 790 times and path is found 108.

  • The way of the fool seems right to him . . . Proverbs 12:15.
  • I commit my way to the Lord . . . Psalm 37
  • I gain understanding from His precepts, causing me to hate every wrong path.
  • His Word is a lamp unto my feet. Psalm 119

Psalms 1:1, 16:11, 27:10-14, 36:1-4, 119:34-5; Job 23:10-12, 24:13-23,  Proverbs 3:17, 4:14, 18, 26, 10:17, 15:19, 15:24, 16:17; Luke 3:4; Hebrews 12:13 . . . to list only a few.

Q: So why can’t our GPS system or MapQuest assure us of our every turn?

A:  Because God longs for us to have constant fellowship with Him.

Q: How do we do that?

How do we hear Him?

How do we know His Perfect Will?

A: According to His Word : “You have made known to me the path of life. You fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”       Psalm 16:11

“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, this is the way; walk in it.”            Isaiah 30:21

Note to Ourselves:

We’re told in the Word that is NOT in our strength or our might, but by His Spirit.

Always remember that even when your path is dark, God is with you.


Trust Him. Love Him. Praise Him through your trials. Abide in Him.

Live in His Word & His Words.

The more you listen for Him, the more you learn how to hear Him.

Check your heart, your motives. Pay attention to any unrest you’re feeling  and track its source.

Circumstances can clearly change us, yes. But God changes us too, profoundly. Not back to where we were, but forward to where He purposed us to be. That is if we let Him. If we choose to let Him.

His Word seems so clear: before He formed us in our mothers’ wombs, He knew us and all the days of our lives are planned. Jeremiah 1:5 and Psalm 139: 13-16 clarify that.

So we’re formed and then He lets us choose. We choose. Narrow road or broad? And if only a few find it, than why is it we could so easily miss the right path of life?

I have veered off God’s path and struggled immensely because of it. And that’s why I can vouch there is so much more for us! God is here to help us. His Son’s blood cleanses us. His Holy Spirit strengthens us to walk with Jesus every day of the week, not just on Sunday.

I only wish someone had explained that to me in my early years. Because when we learn and embed God’s Word into our hearts, our path strengthens and straightens.

“The way of the fool seems right to him . . .” Proverbs 12:15. I commit my way to the Lord (Psalm 37), I guard my way which in turn guards my life (Proverbs 16:17), and I choose to gain understanding from His precepts, causing me to hate every wrong path. His word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119: 104-5).

A few scriptures with the word way: Psalms 1:1, 16:11, 27:10-14, 36:1-4, 119:34-5; Job 23:10-12, 24:13-23,  Proverbs 3:17, 4:14, 18, 26, 10:17, 15:19, 15:24, 16:17; Luke 3:4; Hebrews 12:13 . . . to list only a few.

Let’s memorize Isaiah 30:21: “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, this is the way; walk in it.”

Surely God will use us as vessels in Tanzania or in Hometown USA when our lives are submitted to God. But what if we find out in Heaven God had a plan and we totally missed it because of our busyness to settle for “good works” rather than seek His voice and His Way? “To obey is better than sacrifice” or so I Samuel 15:22 proves.

We have to hold still and listen. He has a perfect plan for our lives if we will train our ears to listen, if we will be patient to seek and then listen for His answer. Psalm 90:12 guides us by stating, “Teach us to number our days aright that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” He wants us to go forth as men and women of God with strong pumping hearts flowing in wisdom, His wisdom. We are equipped to live submitted lives, so we can live in the wealth of His love. Shall we live joyful and fulfilling lives in Christ, so that He will always be glorified in whose we are.

Reminder: Circumstances can clearly change us, yes. But God changes us too, profoundly. Not back to where we were, but forward to where He purposed us to be.

Isn’t it best that we each achieve wholeness, completed healing, so we can make the rest of our journey an adventure, not a struggle?

Welcome to spring life!
Welcome to spring life!

October 10, 2014                  Particles of Sadness, Glimmers of Light

When our lives have been broken, sometimes crushed, by a loss, we are jabbed by those sharp edges. Those shards pierce us in our most tender areas, during our most vulnerable moments. These seem like shadowed times when no light is detected.

However, not all shadows are meant as evil, destructive. Many times throughout scriptures God’s shadow is meant as His protection over us during those vulnerable seasons, those quiet times so we can pull back and rest in Him.

Likewise we carry with us His assuring presence: God is light. And without a reflective surface, we cannot see where the light hits here on earth, can we? Look and see it in the face of a child laughing, a kitten chasing a string, and gratefully that friend or family member who you’ve come to trust to reflect His love and light, in spite of your shadowed season.

And when we are looking, He is there, following.

Now consider this: Ever walked along a shoreline, wherever a body of water is present, when the sun is setting? Remember how the light dances across the water? Did you ever wonder how it is the reflective rows of light from the sun are following just you? You can also notice it with any glass surface. The light moves with you. Just like that, He’s there because you have eyes seeking His light.

And when more of those crushed pieces of sadness make their presence known, remember He’s there in the shadowed times. Sometimes we simply cycle in the shadow of the Almighty, absorbing so we can reflect more. Let Him rise within you each and every time, because He will, because He can and He loves you. He wants to be your “can do” as in “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Meditate on the following verses:

Psalm 17:8 

Guard me as you would guard your own eyes. Hide me in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 34:5

Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces.

Psalm 36:7

How precious is your unfailing love, O God! All humanity finds shelter in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 57:1

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy! I look to you for protection. I will hide beneath the shadow of your wings until the danger passes by.

Psalm 63:7

Because you are my helper, I sing for joy in the shadow of your wings.

Psalm 91:1

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

Psalm 27:1

The Lord is my light and my salvation— so why should I be afraid? The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger, so why should I tremble?

Psalm 36:9

For you are the fountain of life, the light by which we see.

Psalm 43:3

Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live.

Psalm 44:3

They did not conquer the land with their swords; it was not their own strong arm that gave them victory. It was your right hand and strong arm and the blinding light from your face that helped them, for you loved them.

July 14, 2014             There’s too much pain in this world. 

It Takes All Kinds
Travel Photograph, Charleston, S.C.

Yes, watch the nightly news, read your local newspaper, and you’ll agree there’s too much pain in this world.

Wouldn’t you say much of it derives from those whose lives are steeped in selfishness? Those who choose to satisfy their lust of the flesh, for more power and pleasure, carelessly hurting others without care?

What constantly amazes me is how most of us fight to not think negative thoughts about others. Why is it when we feel uncomfortable about someone, we tend to negate those feelings, thinking that we’re in the wrong. What I’ve discovered (possibly through trial and error) is that God gives us warnings about others, and we simply fail to heed them.

In this day of wicked pursuits, devious deceptions and faux fronts, we’re going to have to become more discerning.

Certainly we can still walk in love and forgiveness, we just can’t subject ourselves to those who could be harmful physically, emotionally, mentally and/or spiritually to us and our loved ones.

John F. Kennedy said, “Forgive your enemies, but never forget their names.”

We don’t have to learn everything the hard way. George Santayana said, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

There are some people we have to keep at arms length, especially if they have defiled our trust. It’s not that we are being hard-hearted, we’re simply not being fooled twice. Pray for them, pray others will be able to help them. Forgive them from afar, so you can go forward. Trust that God cannot reward those who are master manipulators, those who purposely walk in falsehoods. He is a holy God

Can we trust God’s justice?

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? ‘I the Lord search the heart and examine the mind, to reward each person according to what their deeds deserve.’”        Jeremiah 17: 9-10

“Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever—do not abandon the works of your hands.”       Psalm 138: 7-8

If the devil can hinder us from taking the supreme climb, he will do so, 

but if we keep true to God, God will take us through an ordeal 

which will bring us into a better knowledge of Himself.     

Oswald Chambers

If you have not read March’s Heavy Hurts post, check out Mary DeMuth’s book and blog. 

March 7, 2014  

I have been privileged to be on a launch team for Mary DeMuth”s new book Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse. Mary is the author of 17 or so books, published by well-established Christian publishers. This one though with its topic was crowd funded. Here is a bit of her story and her husband’s. For those who have been sexually abused and for those who know and love someone who was abused, this book offers wisdom and hope and Christlike strength for the healing.

Mary writes:  A little background. I’ve shared my sexual abuse story in the last few years, but I haven’t always been so open. Initially I kept it silent for a decade, then over-shared, then went silent another decade. The healing journey hasn’t been easy, but it has been good.


About a year ago, I sensed God wanted me to be bold in sharing about sexual abuse. I wrote “The Sexy Wife I Cannot Be” on Deeper Story, which went crazy (so many comments), followed by “I’m Sick of Hearing About Your Smoking Hot Wife” on Christianity Today. The overwhelming response to those two posts prompted me to write Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse.

The book proved too risky for publishers, so I decided to crowdfund it, which turned out to be an amazing success. I cannot believe that now I can hold Not Marked in my hands, and also offer it to you. What’s unique about it: It’s written from the perspective of a survivor. It doesn’t offer cliche answers. It’s honest. And my husband shared his unique journey of how to walk a loved one through their sexual abuse.

The following is an excerpt from Not Marked, written by my husband, Patrick.



“How a Spouse Can Help a Sexual Abuse Victim”

by Patrick DeMuth

To ask someone who has been abused to share their story with you can be an overwhelming challenge. As Mary says, there is so much shame and self-condemnation that goes along with being a victim of abuse. Add to that the almost pathological mistrust of people, it is a recipe for bottling it up and hoping it never surfaces.

When I got married, I knew of Mary’s abuse, but I didn’t know the details or the extent—much of which she only remembered as time went on. Perhaps you are married to an abuse victim but you didn’t know that was part of his or her past. Perhaps your spouse has never even shared anything about it with you. You want desperately for your spouse to be healed and you know that if they can share it with you, they can begin that journey. So what can you do?

The most important thing is to become someone who is trustworthy. If you are not someone your spouse trusts, she will never truly share her heart with you. If you don’t treat her emotions and story with respect, if you refuse to change your behavior when it causes “triggers” in your spouse, then you will never have the intimacy you hope for.

I didn’t learn the lesson about being trustworthy until we had been married about twelve years. That seems like a long time, but I had some growing up to do. The way Mary eventually found me to be trustworthy was based on at least these four things:

  1. didn’t change the subject when she decided to talk about her abuse—I actively listened and also validated her feelings.
  2. I began to own my own “stuff.” It was important that she knew I was not perfect. It was important that she knew I was not her counselor but a fellow-struggler.
  3. I was vulnerable too. This is a hard one for guys—at least this guy—because vulnerability is a sign of weakness. I believed it could be used as a weapon against me. It takes a lot of trust to be vulnerable.
  4. actively changed the way I behaved if it was causing her to remember her abuse. If there were things I did that triggered her, I had to consistently and intentionally work at not doing those things. This can only happen with humility and a deep concern for the other person—in other words, selflessness.

Following these four steps may be only the beginning. Each person and couple are different with unique dynamics. Perhaps there is a lot of confession and forgiveness that needs to happen on your part. Perhaps there are circumstances that need to change in order for communication to truly begin. Perhaps professional counseling is needed. To be a person available and trustworthy means you are willing to do anything for that person, and no matter what comes out of her mouth, you will neither run away nor share it with anyone else.

February 7, 2014                     Let Us Have Eyes to See

We’re getting better about how to help others who are hit with devasting blows, like a cancer diagnosis. We just needed someone to show us the How To’s, right?

It seems most of us–as in our society in general–still seem to not know what to do about the five-letter word that ranges across physical, emotional, mental, sexual: ABUSE. So we reject the truth that abuse is in our midst. Is it because the violations committed by the abusers of adults and children, especially by pedophiles, are too depraved for us to accept?

With Dylan Farrow (Mia Farrow’s daughter) sharing how sexual abuse as a child by Woody Allen affected her, have you noticed the great divide in those who are for her, against her or the masses of non committal? To not commit, some think, they are “safe.”  Except our ignoring, overlooking or pretending abuse doesn’t exist, doesn’t make it not exist. It might appease our consciences, but it doesn’t keep us safe.

I’ll never forget the time I asked why a child didn’t share about her being molested, she said, “Why would anyone believe me over an adult?”

And that’s why abuse is allowed to grow. The abused don’t believe anyone will hear them. Because if we hear them and then don’t do anything, we feel despicable. So we selectively choose not to hear.

That’s why more hurting children are growing up to repeat their hurts, retaliating against the guilty and innocent who failed to keep them safe.

As a civilized society, most of us can’t fathom, the violence that takes place.

In Child Abuse and Neglect psychiatrist Roland Summit noted the results of our formed attitude:

Child victims of sexual abuse face secondary trauma in the crisis of discovery. Their attempts to reconcile their private experiences with the realities of the outer world are assaulted by the disbelief, blame and rejection they experience from adults. The normal coping behavior of the child contradicts the entrenched beliefs and expectations typically held by adults, stigmatizing the child with charges of lying, manipulating or imagining from patients, courts and clinicians. Such abandonment by the very adults most crucial to the child’s protection and recovery drives the child deeper into self-blame, self-hate, alienation and revictimization. (177)

Another factor to consider is brought to light when Dr. Chu states, “…acknowledgement of childhood abuse carries the moral imperative to do something about it, and it is easiest to deny the existence of any problem. Our collective denial, reinforced by the abusive family’s culture of secrecy, permits the youngest and most vulnerable to continue to suffer.” (14)

He continues in his book written for therapists that this societal denial was observed even with “enlightened and sensitive professionals.” One example was in 1992 a national organization released the horrendous statistics of women raped, including the percentages of ages raped, 30% being younger than eleven. The study’s results were released in the national news, print and television. Dr. Chu adds that three months later, an audience of 200 at a national conference on sexual abuse took an informal poll. No one recalled the results. Chu admits that part of it was partially attributed to normal forgetting. Yet, he also adds, “the all-too-human need to deny these findings is likely to have played a major role in the lack of recall.” (15)

Certainly, innocent men and women have been charged for false crimes. The ones who have lied about “recovered memories” makes those who have honestly had repressed or dissociated memories to be held suspect. I understand that many lives have been forever changed by false accusations, and we should continually guard against that.

Yet, once more it’s the true victims who suffer, who are silenced by their unbelievers, and are re-victimized by the denial.

As children, we’re taken off guard by the blurred boundaries. We desire what Saturday Evening Post portrayed with its Norman Rockwell covers. Except that for a child abused, semblances of love become his/her greatest source of pain, not at all what was anticipated. That’s why we must discover these inner workings and provide counseling and direction to the children, teenagers and adults abused. Prayerfully, the victims’ learned performance cycle and responses can be broken and the victims can be taught genuine love.

For those who have been abused, you are worth more than those horrible experiences. There are groups willing to help you. We have to stop the cycle of abuse. We have to talk about it (in a safe place, of course).

For those grown women in an abusive situation, there are hotlines in most cities/counties with advocates just for you.

In my area, we have excellent centers.

For women being abused, please call HOPE HOTLINE at 501-278-4673.

For help and direction with a child possibly abused, a list of warning signs are listed at

http://www.whitecountycsc.com (White County Children’s Safety Center, 501-388-1636).

If you are still in school, find a counselor to whom you can talk with. Talk until someone hears you.

For those who want to reach out and help by volunteering and/or donating, there are so many great outreaches. In our area alone, I can mention the following: Searcy Children’s Homes, Inc., Jacob’s Place, White County Domestic Violence Prevention Center, White County Children’s Safety Center, Good Samaritan’s House, CASA . . . What else?

In my attempt to reformat the two years of messages on this page, specifically for those who are dealing with heavy hurts, I am rearranging them. Please be patient as I figure it out.

Also check in on the Tattered Butterflies page for bits of encouragement.

Encouraging Words

The following was beneficial in my healing journey.

First and foremost, you have to be in a safe place—physically, emotionally, spiritually. Recognize who or what’s disrupting your life. Remove yourself from a physically harmful environment. Don’t discount the dangers of an emotionally abusive relationship either. Recognize manipulation. Whether it is someone in your life or you; take measures to change the relationship and you. Free yourself from manipulation’s bondage. Ask for help from a trusted family member, friend, pastor or counselor.

What you remember and what you don’t is a process. Please don’t feel you have to embellish your abuse. If a one-time groping or verbal slashing affected you, it is still worthy of your time facing it and dealing with how it affected you. A violation is a violation. You need to respond to it honestly. Hold on to the truth. Because of the ones who have falsified their abuses or used amnesia for their benefit to excuse their behaviors, the lives of those truly abused have been jeopardized.

You might discover some of the following to be worth your time:

1). Create a Dream Journal

Record your actual dreams, jotting down even the insignificant details as you remember them. Much of what I recorded didn’t make sense at the time. The dreams were so vivid that I was sure I would never forget any part of them. Yet, over the years, each time I reread them, I gathered more from the details I had forgotten.

2). Create a Prayer Journal

Record the scriptures that you believe the Holy Spirit has directed you to read and study. Note how they were an answer to your heart’s prayer that day or week or month and especially their relevance. Date them all. You can organize them in handy notebooks or have a basket for individual sheets. Have a place (drawer or chest) you can lock-up if you’re concerned others might read it. When I reflect back on some of my writings when others’ behaviors hurt me, I recognize their actions cut deeper because I was in a fragile state. Had it occurred before or after when I was coming from a stronger place, I might not have been as wounded. Or for some situations, I might not have allowed myself to be manipulated or victimized and communicated its pain

3). Write down your “Rules to Live By”

Our relationship with God is our life’s focus. However, He desires for us to have relationships with others. To have the best of our relationships, we also get to develop in all areas of our lives. Place one or two scriptures where you can read them. For instance, study scriptures that focus on developing joy and peace. A few examples are found in Galatians 5:22-24, Colossians 3: 5-10, 12-17, II Peter 1:5-8. Pick subject matters you need to develop: godly character traits, prayer, thoughts, conversation.

By setting parameters of God’s principles in your life, you have a framework that holds you when your emotions are out of control. For example, one parameter might be that even when you are your most upset, angry, sad, frazzled, and you want to vent or retaliate, you vow to never direct your feelings towards innocent bystanders—your spouse, children, siblings, friends or pets.  Another could be not to let others misdirect their anger or frustrations toward you. We are not to be ruled by our feelings but by faith.

I always knew with my relationship with God there was some One beyond me and my circumstances, bigger than me who could handle it. We walk by faith, not by sight. Yet, on days I couldn’t see anything, my eyes would fall on a small oval picture frame my mother gave me after she attended a women’s retreat that changed her life. In her handwriting, I read “Prayer changes things.” That’s a rule that I live by, it comforts me and guides me to the One who changes things in my world and in me.

4). Place scriptures before you

Have encouraging words all around your house and car, on a mirror and tabletop.  Tuck more away in a drawer, book, notebook or pocket for you to pull out.

For example, Lamentations 3: 22, 23, 25, 33 says,

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness . . . The Lord is good to those whose hope is in him, to the one who seeks him . . . For he does not willingly bring affliction or grief to the children of men.”

“Let us not become weary in well doing, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9

“Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6

“Yet, I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” II Timothy 1:112b

“For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. “ Ephesians 2:10

5) Develop a support group with a trusted counselor, family members and friends. Building trustworthy relationships is essential, just make sure all are actually trustworthy. Just as I am respectful to others, I also build relationships that return that respect.  John F. Kennedy said to forgive your enemies, but don’t forget their names. Forgive, but have wisdom by not continuing in destructive relationships. Break the holds that bind you.

6) Figure out what nurtures you.

What makes you feel most alive, most at peace, most focused? Keep a list of your favorite things. I rely on that hot bath, observing nature, playing with my granddaughters and investing in someone else’s life to invigorate me. My husband, children, granddaughters and friends make me laugh. I’ve written down funny memories and sayings and read them when needed. I have a photograph of one of my granddaughters with her hand to her mouth, catching her overflowing giggles. I’m reminded of the effervescence of living.

7) Simplify your life

If your life is cluttered, ask someone who’s organized and nonjudgmental to help you take sections of your life and create some order. If you’re too organized and can’t enjoy life, ask for help in letting some of those areas go. Find a healthy balance between the messy disorganized lifestyle and the obsessively perfect lifestyle. Both can keep us in bondage and strangle out all life.

8) Rest—Fuel and refuel.

While you are going through the stages of healing, you will need to be rested and focused on you. It’s not selfish. It’s only for a time, and your timeline is individual. If you are focused on God guiding and directing you with His Holy Spirit, you will be growing and changing into His image, cleansing yourself of old ways.

If you are like me and you overfill your days with too much, you’ll have to learn how to prioritize, simplify, and simply ask for help. If you are one who rests too much, you will need to discover what motivates you into accomplishing the goals on your list. Start the day with motivating Christian music, prayer and exercise, even if it’s just twenty minutes worth. Have someone call you with an encouraging word. Allow yourself to have a time of cushioning. You’ve been bruised and need to heal. You are worth it.

9) Invest in others

This might seem contradictory, but it’s not. When you need a breath of fresh air, your healing journey is fueled when you reach out to others. Consider a smile, a kind word of thanks, a grateful heart to those who are praying for you. Start small; start slowly and surely. If we learn how to give to others in the areas we missed, such as reading to a child, teaching them how to cook (even if it’s mac and cheese), we can refill our empty areas with positive actions.

10) Forgive yourself.

If you don’t yet have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I encourage you to meet Him. It is only in His life that we know redeeming life, the forgiveness of our sins. Because of Christ forgiving us, we can forgive others as well.

The following words are for you:

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience and joyfully giving thanks to the Father who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light. For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:10-14

Think about how perfect the Trinity is, how God created this fully faceted union with us in mind.

We have God, our perfect Father who wants to love us, protect us, care for us as only a perfect father can.

We have Jesus, our Redeemer, our Salvation, our Advocate so we can walk boldly into the throne room of God.

Then if that’s not enough, we have the Holy Spirit, our Counselor who guides us, infills us with His Spirit so we can live a life meant for us by our Father.

Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion,

And instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance;

And so they will inherit a double portion in their land.

And everlasting joy will be theirs.

Isaiah 61:7

March 2012

 What has contributed to our collective blindness concerning the abuse of children?

There are many important factors, the most important factor being denial.

Dr. James A. Chu

This past week I visited with a precious woman who had been abused as a child. She wrote that the pain of the abuse paled to the lifelong heartache of her parents not believing her. The parents accused her of being the one who provoked it. The adults were leaders in a church.

Her words have remained with me. I shake my head in disbelief how a child could be shamed, rather than protected. We have to open our eyes to the signals and the signs. We have to gain God’s wisdom and discernment before lives are lost.

I share part of something I wrote several years ago as I processed through the distress of denial. This is not just for her and me, but for all who need to open their eyes to what is occurring and realize how invaluable our responses to it can be. It takes a collective effort.

And so I wrote:

Uprooting Shame

No flowers would be planted during the summer I decided. I had already dedicated too many hours over too many years digging-out weeds that only returned. How similar my weeds were to the effects from my childhood: all the underlying feelings and symptoms that kept resurfacing. Never before had I realized how deeply their roots had buried. Never before had I considered digging down that far to reach them. It was more from my ignorance than from lack of fortitude.

Typically during the ten weeks offered to teachers for renewal, I had busied myself with an impossible list of projects. This summer had to be different. Since most flowers thrived in the warm sunlight, I crossed that off my list.  I was excavating into a cavernous past—too deep and dank for beauty to survive. A seed of blame implanted during childhood did not uproot easily. Its tendrils twined around like the ever growing fingers of cancer within the brain, coercing responses by mere reminders of previous violations.

I obviously had fled emotionally as a child from the molestations, detouring me down alternate routes for survival. And as children often do when fleeing from the moment, I had gotten lost on this alternate route. I had buried my pain where no one could find it, not even me.

My new awareness required me to carve away the embedded root, excising fifty-years of guilt and shame. Reminding myself that I was not to blame was sometimes not enough. However, reconfirming it from God’s Word and books about overcoming the effects of incest began to make a believer out of me. I now had valid research that a four-year-old is not capable of dealing with such a violation of trust.  My reading material stated that my rights had been dishonored, but didn’t have to be now. I had to recognize these previously revoked rights and actively exercise them now.

During this time I had a dream in which I’m a child and my mother was making me touch an alligator snapping turtle. She was frustrated by my disobedience. I was distressed that she didn’t consider my apprehensions to touch it.

That dream was followed by another a few days later. In this one, I was an adult visiting my mother. I brought a little girl with me who appeared to be about four or five. At first I assumed the little girl was my daughter. While the child played on the living room floor, tarantulas crept toward the child from a long-table covered with dirt-formed domes.

The little girl was unaware that she was in danger, absorbed in playing with the toys in front of her. I rushed into the kitchen where Mother was sitting and frantically searched for a tool to kill the tarantulas. While opening doors and cabinets, I breathlessly told Mother about the tarantulas and how we had to help the little girl to safety. Mother just sat at the kitchen table, drinking her coffee and talking incessantly about something irrelevant. It was as though she didn’t hear me, she was too preoccupied.

I finally found a broken hoe in her broom closet, and I was able to kill one of the tarantulas. The others escaped back into their domes. Mother remained oblivious to my problem. She insisted that I follow her up the stairs, explaining that she and I were sleeping on the second floor, leaving the little girl in the living room. I panicked as I looked back down the stairs at the innocent little girl left alone on the floor. I resisted, trying to tell Mother that we couldn’t leave the little girl unprotected. How could she be safe from the tarantulas even though they were now hidden in their domes? Frustrated with me, Mother ignored me and walked into the bedroom.

When I awoke, I realized the little girl was not my daughter but me. since I had been concentrating on trying to understand my dad’s abuse, I had yet to confront why my mother hadn’t protected me. As I thought back over all those years, I believe Mother had ignored the signs because she was paralyzed in her own world disintegrating around her.

My memories of her until I was ten were few. Many nights she was gone, involved in social clubs or playing bridge. The nights at home, she disappeared behind the closed door of her bedroom. She was absent even when she was there. Her strong public image made this hard to believe. Once at home, she must have faced more rejection from Dad than she could bear.

Dr. John Briere in Therapy for Adults Molested as Children addresses the maternal relationship, stating “The mother-child relationship appears to have more negative salience for female survivors, however, especially in terms of perceived abandonment and psychological abusiveness.”  He continues how many of the victims hate and resent their mothers more than their fathers, even when the fathers are the perpetrators.

I didn’t.  As I recall our family dynamics during those years, I can never comprehend what Mother felt, disabled while with Dad from his continual rejections. I imagined that white-framed house infused with its oppressive spirit, birthed from Dad’s perversion. All who breathed it were paralyzed by its hold.

In evaluating my relationships with my parents aloud, I was struck with a pang of guilt, as though I shouldn’t look at what happened. I shouldn’t acknowledge the abuse. Was I to continue pretending? It was only as I examined my parents’ brokenness that I could understand  my own.

That summer I faced the magnitude of being robbed of my innocence of being a child. That unfolded after I had one telling dream. In it I was admiring a family photo with a mom, dad, son and daughter. I figured it was my parents and older brother, and that my younger brother had not been born yet. I stared at the little girl in the photo, but as hard as I tried, didn’t recognize her. The next morning when I recalled the dream, I realized the little girl was me. I was flooded with a sense of grief that I never knew that little girl, that I never got to be her.

In The Haunted Self, the authors emphasize to therapists the tremendous importance of patients working through the grief processes:

Realization involves confrontation with enormous loss. The successful passage through grief work is essential for the ultimate integration of the patient’s personality. The completion of these integrative mental actions is essential . . . . In Phase 2 the therapist helps the patient grieve a shattered childhood with support. But the therapist must engage in his or her own realization that there is nothing that can replace the patient’s losses. Instead, the therapist helps the patient turn to new experiences in the present as grieving for the past continues and gradually subsides.

I spent the summer allowing myself to grieve the child I couldn’t become. Hours were spent in my bedroom cool and dark, reading, crying, sitting quietly, sometimes feeling God’s presence, sometimes not, but assured He was there in spite of how I felt. More hours were spent praising the Lord in our sunroom. Many afternoons I sat on the slide-swing overlooking the trees and lake and praised Him, while tears poured and my chest heaved. I emptied out my long lost hurts and fears and wondered if I’d ever release all of them. I gave myself the right to be sad.

God heard it all. God even heard me question Him as to why He didn’t intervene and help me as a helpless child. That  question was mingled with angry cries until one day I sensed that God had tried, without violating anyone’s right of choice. The problem was that no one chose to hear His call. And when the evil drowned-out any hope of help for me from adults, I went with a back-up plan for survival. I buried it deeply until I was capable of handling it, until this time in a safe place with Him one on one in my bedroom, in the sunroom and on the patio’s slide-swing.

A scripture passage that I kept close was II Corinthians 4. Paul’s describing his human frailty as an unassuming clay jar with his treasure—the Gospel.  “. . . we do not lose heart. But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.  We are hard pressed on every side but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. . . . so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. All this is for your benefit…to overflow to the glory of God…For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

While re-tracking my past, I wondered if one of mother’s friends might in hindsight have observed something strange. Bravely, I decided to call Martha, a longtime friend of my mother’s. Martha and her husband and children had moved into our hometown a few years before my parents divorced. I called Martha and asked if she suspected Dad molesting me. Maybe, Mother realized more and might have shared something with Martha. Before I could even detail why I had begun suspecting my dad of incest, Martha promptly replied that she knew a woman who also recently thought that her father had molested her. That woman quickly realized she was wrong and recanted her claim that her father had done anything to her. Our conversation ended with that. I supposed I was to be like the misguided woman who wisely recanted her allegation.

Once I hung up the phone, I knew Martha’s response reiterated what I had read from others’ testimonies. Many victims–men, women or children—who offered public disclosures of abuse, especially sexual molestations, most especially incest, were suspiciously considered as unstable seekers of attention. Who could believe these accusers? Too often, the victims were judged desperate enough to resort to these unfounded claims for attention.  How could they stand not being heard, as though they weren’t worthy of being heard?

It was the doubting that made me doubt, too. Martha’s denial equated to rejection. After that phone call, I wasted too many days agonizing Martha’s response. It finally dawned on me that this was what other victims faced daily—survivors who had living family members and perpetrators that disputed the abuse, causing victims to be re-victimized.

Most of us reject the truth because the violations committed by pedophiles are too depraved for us to accept.

How was it that when my burned-out alcoholic unemployed father was said to have touched and threatened an innocent ten-year-old that I couldn’t grasp it as true? Why, I kept repeating, would a grown man, a grandfather, touch his own granddaughter? I was just as guilty of trying to convince myself it didn’t happen. I even considered that Mrs. May’s lesson itself provoked a child to falsely consider it occurring.

Certainly, innocent men and women have been charged for false crimes. Enough people have lied about “recovered memories” that it makes those who have honestly had repressed or dissociated memories to be held suspect. I understand that many lives have been forever changed by false accusations, and we should guard against that. Yet, once more it’s the victims who suffer, silenced by their unbelievers, making the victim disconnect the memories and labor to appear.

In Child Abuse and Neglect psychiatrist Roland Summit noted the results of our formed attitude:

Child victims of sexual abuse face secondary trauma in the crisis of discovery. Their attempts to reconcile their private experiences with the realities of the outer world are assaulted by the disbelief, blame and rejection they experience from adults. The normal coping behavior of the child contradicts the entrenched beliefs and expectations typically held by adults, stigmatizing the child with charges of lying, manipulating or imagining from patients, courts and clinicians. Such abandonment by the very adults most crucial to the child’s protection and recovery drives the child deeper into self-blame, self-hate, alienation and revictimization. (177)

Dr. James Chu states, “…acknowledgement of childhood abuse carries the moral imperative to do something about it, and it is easiest to deny the existence of any problem. Our collective denial, reinforced by the abusive family’s culture of secrecy, permits the youngest and most vulnerable to continue to suffer.” (14) He continues in his book written for therapists that this societal denial was observed even with “enlightened and sensitive professionals.” One example was in 1992 a national organization released the horrendous statistics of women raped, including the percentages of ages raped, 30% being younger than eleven. The study’s results were released in the national news, print and television. Dr. Chu adds that three months later, an audience of 200 at a national conference on sexual abuse took an informal poll. No one recalled the results. Chu admits that part of it was partially attributed to normal forgetting. Yet, he also adds, “the all-too-human need to deny these findings is likely to have played a major role in the lack of recall.” (15)

As children, we’re taken off guard by the blurred boundaries. We desire what Saturday Evening Post portrayed with its Norman Rockwell covers. Except that for a child abused, the love became a source of pain and not at all what we anticipated. We must discover these inner workings and provide counseling and direction to the children and teenagers abused. Prayerfully, the victims’ learned performance cycle and response can be broken and the victims can be taught genuine love.

I don’t remember Mom’s friend, Martha, in the house where we lived with Dad. She wasn’t like a family friend who was in and out, day or night. I do remember her a few years later in the house where we lived after my parents’ divorce. If Martha had accepted my story as truth, then she would have to deal with her own feelings of guilt for not seeing the signs. She would also have to acknowledge she was friends with a woman who lived in a despicably dysfunctional household. That was not socially acceptable. I know Martha is a strong woman who loves and serves God. She is not my enemy. Satan is. We have to be careful in expecting more from others than they know how to give. I can’t expect someone I haven’t seen in ten years to be perceptive to my battles.

The more I entered into conversations with friends or even acquaintances, the more I learned of victims: young and old, whose lives remained a war zone from their ongoing internal warfare. Many of these young and old victims have bargained away their lives, lives stolen long ago by violations too despicable to speak. They’re still paralyzed years later as victims, not yet to the survivor stage, totally unaware of ever becoming victors. Who lied to them that their lives were forever lost?

As that underlying feeling remained that I was flawed, permanently, I took hold of the sword of the Spirit and sliced down to the root, a painful process. Again, it was a process that required persistence and patience, all those character traits we don’t care to acquire when we want immediate relief.  But even when I didn’t think I could take any more, I held onto my treasure and I was not crushed. My clay pot didn’t have room for both my tumor of sadness and the treasure of His Word.

It reminded me of the two surgeries I had when I was twenty-seven and thirty.  I had experienced ongoing pain and symptoms that reduced my energy level and job performance. Yet, I kept resisting giving-up my diseased uterus because of a woman’s testimony in Bible study. She confessed how after her hysterectomy she felt like she was less of a woman.

Finally, in spite of the thought that I could be less of a woman and my prayers to be miraculously healed weren’t answered, I had the cysts and grapefruit-sized tumor surgically removed, God’s means for my healing. Thankfully, everything was benign. The cysts and tumor were nothing more than trashy material. Yet, these foreign masses had bullied their way around and onto my pelvic wall, creating chaos. No healing could occur until they were removed, completely rooted out.

Afterward, my energy level skyrocketed, and I always appreciated the extra hours the surgeon spent to thoroughly cut-out what was causing my pain. Why hadn’t I had the surgeries years earlier and been freed of the constant pain? I didn’t understand its gravity, the fullness of what I was really dealing with. It was much like the continuous surgery I’m undergoing now.

Flowers emerged from my abandoned garden anyway, from the bulbs and perennials that promised years before they’d always return. Sunbursts of yellow day lilies, straight and tall, leaned against the graceful mounds of purple hydrangeas.

I was safe. I possessed a treasure in my jar of clay proving this all-surpassing power was from God and not from me.

 Rebeat your Heart 

While keeping our granddaughter Lily one weekend, I picked up a book on the side table in the guest room entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I read two quotations that I thought worthy of sharing:

The protagonist Daniel says, “One of the pitfalls of childhood is that one doesn’t have to understand something to feel it. By the time the mind is able to comprehend what has happened, the wounds of the heart are already too deep.”

This next one is one we know, just reworded, when Nuria Monfort says, “Julia had once told me that a story is a letter the author writes to himself, to tell himself things that he would be unable to discover otherwise.”

These are so true we miss them, whether in life, psychology textbooks or works of fiction, don’t you think?

What is written on your heart? What story do you need to write so you’ll discover your truths?

Hidden behind many of our smiling faces is a mutual hearts’ cry “What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just have a normal family? Why can’t I be normal, like the rest of society?”

Hopefully this leads us to “What can I do to be normal?”

Whether it’s in our family make-up, physical attributes, intelligence, social class or cultural diversity, we strive for what has been deemed acceptably normal.

Thankfully, the once tabooed topic of abuse is on the forefront. This is an eye-opening time for those hurting to receive wise counseling and a strong support group to transform lives. Many churches are opening their doors to those hurting from a painful past that results in becoming addicted to whatever can serve as a temporary salve for comfort.

We are recognizing that depression, eating disorders, drug, alcohol, sex, and even shopping addictions cannot be disseminated until the deeper roots are discovered and dealt with. Shame is being replaced with hope. Success stories from those once silenced voices help feed the spirits of those still hungry, some possibly starving.

For too many generations too many men, women, teenagers and children have been silenced—dishonorably discharged from a full and rewarding life. I’ve heard about lives of men and women whose problems stem from a dysfunctional family. Those families date back, repeatedly over generations. I wonder if it wouldn’t be easier for a flood to just whoosh us all away and let us start all of over. Except that God promised to never do that. Except that men and women tend to choose destructive behaviors when left to their own devices.

In Rebuilding Shattered Lives Dr. James Chu writes, “In the context of many kinds of traumatization, the child undergoes profound changes in the way he or she views the world and himself or herself . .  . views other people with mistrust . . . . and sees himself or herself as defective and unlovable.” Dr. Chu continues to describe the victim as one with self-hate. He and others reiterate overwhelming shame, guilt, and unworthiness is common in children abused. Dr. Chu continues, “They experience symptoms that alter their perceptions of their environment, disrupt their cognitive functioning, and interfere with a sense of continuity in their existence.”

But we know that we can start all over, at least, spiritually, and let Jesus do a reworking and rewiring. We don’t need to ask for forgiveness for something inflicted on us. We shouls ask to be forgiven for our responses to those events, and for God’s strength and wisdom to get us through what is to come in this cleansing healing process.

In Isaiah 54 God tells Israel

Do not be afraid, you will not suffer shame; do not fear disgrace, you will not be humiliated. You will forget the sins of your youth and remember it no more.  . . . In righteousness you will be established: Tyranny will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you. (4, 14-15)

Verse 16 states God has created the blacksmith who “forges a weapon fit for its work.” God has weapons forged for our specific circumstances to fight our particular enemy. We can lay down the earthly ones we created. His guarantee promises in verse 17 that this is our heritage that “no weapon formed against you will prevail and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.”

If we can recognize some of our inner defense mechanisms, we can work at replacing them with positive behavior. We must attempt to take our masks off, ones that have been a part of us for decades, even as we realize it’s going to take some arduous prying.

A friend shared the following link for the song “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again” by Phillips, Craig and Dean. The story goes that a surgeon was in the midst of surgery when his patient’s heart stopped beating. He knelt beside his patient and prayed for her heart to beat again. And it did. The song was written for all of our hearts to beat again, to feel again, and love again.

New and old posts will be added February 10, 2014.

One thought on “Tattered Butterflies

  1. Pingback: No More Keep Away! | The Light & The Heavy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s