Wednesday, September 30, 2009

David Was Bi-Polar

I've been reading through some of the Psalms and I've come to the conclusion that if King David had been alive today he would have been diagnosed with Bi-Polar. I am also glad that from the Psalms we can see that the writers of these prayer songs were real people with real emotions, fear, pain, suffering, joy, delight and sorrow. I feel that we have built up these Bible people to be bigger then Ben Hur. We somehow mythologise them into being super-human, super-spiritual people who had God's ear.  But they weren't.  They struggled with their faith, with their circumstances just as I do.  They were sinners and it was in their ordinaryness and humanness that God chose them to do extraordinary things. 

Psalm 142
1 I cry out to the Lord;
      I plead for the Lord’s mercy.

My prayers are cried out in the depth of the night and my soul aches for comfort and peace.  I know you are in control God but please give me the strength to continue and endure through this valley of the shadow of death. 
 2 I pour out my complaints before him
      and tell him all my troubles.

You know me from the depth of my soul to the tips of my toes.  You know what I've experienced and what I have done.  But you are my holy counsellor and allow me to express myself in all honesty without fear of rejection or deafening silence.  You love me no matter what.

 3 When I am overwhelmed,
      you alone know the way I should turn.
   Wherever I go,
      my enemies have set traps for me.

Lord this darkness closes in on me so frequently yet you lift me out of this pit.  You have promised me songs of joy and everlasting life and I know you are my constant companion through this journey.  Yet it is so hard and the sorrow weighs heavily on my shoulders some days.  Keep me from harms way and from people who wish me harm. 
 4 I look for someone to come and help me,
      but no one gives me a passing thought!
   No one will help me;
      no one cares a bit what happens to me.

Lord I so desperately want my family to love me and provide a safe haven for healing, but they are not there.  Instead pain seeks my soul when I search for comfort in the created rather than in you the Creator.  Lord, you have graced me with so much and have brought me this far, and I know you will deliver me through this valley if I continue in obedience.  Lord you knew me before creation and you knew me in my mother's womb.  I know that you care for me, please let me feel that care.

 5 Then I pray to you, O Lord.
      I say, “You are my place of refuge.
      You are all I really want in life.

Lord, you are my only true refuge.  It is only in You that I find lasting peace.  Chocolate and a good book provides only a short term distraction from the sorrow but you say, 'Dear Child it is time to heal, and I will be there through it all, never leaving you to the wolves or turning my back on you - you are mine and I have persued you with a jealous love. Rest easy in my arms for my love is perfect, and perfect love drives away fear.'
 6 Hear my cry,
      for I am very low.
   Rescue me from my persecutors,
      for they are too strong for me.

Listen to the silent tears that accompany my grief.
You know the depths of my sorrow and my need for relief.
Though Satan has sent oppresors and liars to my door,
I know that you'll protect me and pick me off the floor.
 7 Bring me out of prison
      so I can thank you.
   The godly will crowd around me,
      for you are good to me.”

 Lord you are delivering me and I can see the plan you have for me but I am not really sure how to get from the here and now to the over there.  But I know that even in this suffering and even in this pain I am able to bring glory to your name because you are doing a work of miraculous healing in my life and if you give me the strength to continue this good fight I will continue to share with others how you are delivering me through the night, one day at a time.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My Two Fathers

So here is a taste of some of that bad poetry I was talking about in an earlier post.

you were my hero
the father of my birth
you taught me to walk
and swim in rough surf

you listened when i talked
and advocated for me
you stood up and defended
and taught me not to flee

and i thank you for teaching
me to love the Lord
but you sold out to satan
because you did ignore

the heartbreak of your child
how could you turn away
i needed you to care
but you threw insults in my face

the stabbing pain of hurt
has ripped apart my soul
how could you say such things
to your precious little girl

Jesus was the one
who died upon the cross
for all who lived and breathed
his death was not a loss

He reconciled us to God
and broke the chains of death
his body it was broken
but arose he did with breath

i know this is the truth
that my heavely father cares
when i cry for help
his love for me he shares

so i pray that you return
again to Jesus's cross
for only in its shadow
will our family pay no cost

all healing can be found
in him whose wounds were deep
cut by us and all we've done
and all we do asleep

Oh Holy God, what would I do
if this dear hope were not true
that I am your beloved daughter
precious and worthy and new

today i will rest at peace
in my fathers arms of grace
you may turn your back
but I'll never forget your face

Saturday, September 26, 2009

I'm not asking you to fix it!

"What you need to do is..."  I have heard so many people give me well-intentioned advice beginning with those six words.  I think this is one of the biggest differences between how males and females communicate.  In my experience many of the males in my life when faced with the fact that they can not fix my situation for me have responded callously and hurtfully - as if to say, "Why have you told me about this if you don't want me to do anything?"  to which I respond, "I want you to listen!  I want you to feel compassion and show some empathy. I am trying to let you know where I'm at, I'm trying to let you understand why I feel the way I do, and why I do the things I do."  If I wanted condemnation I would continue to listen to the lies that Satan has told me.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Sleeping with the light on

Recently I've not been sleeping well.  Frequently I can only fall asleep with the light on.  Perhaps the light can scare the shadows away.  I have been thinking a lot about that little girl who was abused.  I know it was me but I feel somewhat disconnected from her like I'm watching her and am scarred for her.  I think I may be grieving for her and because she is me - grieving for me too.  Maybe this video will make more sense...

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Please Don't Touch Me

A couple of nights ago I was thinking back on the last time I sat down with my brother. It had become more and more apparent that I was going to have to speak the truth and confront him regarding the abuse and I was not coping well with the fact that I would most likely lose a relationship I valued highly.

My mother, father, brother and my brother's wife and I had all gone to KFC for lunch - classy I know. My mother, father and sister-in-law were sitting in the booth opposite my brother and I. I was very sad and quiet and so my brother started picking on me to try to get me to laugh. When I didn't respond to his jokes, which were made at my expense, he started to poke me.

I shrunk back into the corner of the booth and asked him to stop - and although I was visibly upset he continued all the harder to illicit a response by poking and tickling me. Now, I really hate being tickled, my brothers used to tickle me until I cried and I am really sensitive to being held against my will...most people are! I again pleaded with him to stop at which point my sister-in-law commented, "He's just trying to make you laugh."

It was a turning point for me.

Here I was 21 cornered in a fast-food restaurant effectively having my personal boundaries violated in front of my mother, my father and my brother's wife by my 27 year old brother who should know to keep his fricking hands to himself and while visibly upset and having asked repeatedly for him to stop I broke down in tears. No one stood up for me. No one saw his behaviour as inappropriate. No one listened to me say NO.

My aunt used to say..."You need 7 hugs a day for emotional stability" and there is a certain amount of truth in that. The comfort that can be expressed through a hug, a real hug - not a patronising slap on the back hug, 'good to see you mate' kind of hug but a hug that is genuine can do a world of good.

There have been numerous times over the years where I have felt uncomfortable because of someones touch because the joy of being touched has been tainted by abuse. And I'm not talking about touch in an erotic, sexualised way but just in general.

Lately I have heard myself saying, "I don't like being touched." or "Don't touch me." and its not that I don't actually like being touched its just that I don't feel safe if people come up to me randomly and touch me or hug me. I joke about it and say "proceed with caution and make no sudden movements." But in many ways that's true and there is a deep sadness behind those statements.

The thing is I crave affection, I hunger to be held by someone in whose arms I can feel safe. Most of the time I walk around with an oversensitivity to touch because of the abuse. But I am hopeful that one day I will feel safe. God has blessed me with some very special friends, a number of whom are men who I do feel safe to be around, perhaps not safe enough to let my guard down with but I am learning to let people in - not everyone - but some.

As for my brother and his wife - every time I look in the mirror I see a reflection of my brother - we could pass as twins - that is really hard. Last year I saw them both at my grandfather's funeral, I did not speak to them and was buffered by my friend and another brother's partner. Jesus delivered me through that day. It was not easy seeing my brother and his very pregnant wife and their 2 year old daughter, my niece who I have never met, never held and in all likelihood will never have a relationship with. Not to mention the grief over losing my favourite man on earth, my grandfather.

Sometimes I feel like I am the one being punished for speaking the truth - being effectively cut off from my family for airing the proverbial "dirty laundry". But God has redeemed me through Jesus' work on the cross and he is redeeming this situation for his glory and I know that he is and will continue to bless me if I continue to cling to the cross and humbly walk the hard journey by His grace alone.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Clay Pot

But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
~ 2nd Corinthians 4:7-10

The last few weeks have been tough...but necessarily so. I have been reminded of my need to be completely reliant on Jesus. This is not a journey that I can navigate on my own. I feel like I am afflicted, perplexed, persecuted and struck down. To be honest I also feel a bit crushed too but probably more from being bone deep weary and pretty fed up with the seemingly never ending fight. The fight to get out of bed in the morning, fighting the traffic to work, breaking up the workplace fights, soothing the friend after a fight. I am told to fight the good fight (1 Timothy 6:12a) but I don't have the energy.

But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

So I will reiterate, every singly iota of strength, capacity to love and care, every moment I listen on the phone to a friends problems, or fold them in my arms reassuring them that everything will be okay, every prayer I breath, shout or cry is because of Jesus. It is not that he has made me strong it is His strength given me by the Holy Spirit. If it was up to me and my strength I would not be here - I would have given up a long time ago, I am not that determined or motivated. If it wasn't for the fact that I see clear evidence in my life of how God wants to redeem this situation for his Glory I would have pulled the plug or flicked the switch a long time ago.

We carry this precious Message around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That's to prevent anyone from confusing God's incomparable power with us. As it is, there's not much chance of that. You know for yourselves that we're not much to look at. We've been surrounded and battered by troubles, but we're not demoralized; we're not sure what to do, but we know that God knows what to do; we've been spiritually terrorized, but God hasn't left our side; we've been thrown down, but we haven't broken. What they did to Jesus, they do to us—trial and torture, mockery and murder; what Jesus did among them, he does in us—he lives! Our lives are at constant risk for Jesus' sake, which makes Jesus' life all the more evident in us. While we're going through the worst, you're getting in on the best...So we're not giving up. How could we! Even though on the outside it often looks like things are falling apart on us, on the inside, where God is making new life, not a day goes by without his unfolding grace. These hard times are small potatoes compared to the coming good times, the lavish celebration prepared for us. There's far more here than meets the eye. The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can't see now will last forever.
~ 2 Corinthians 4:7-12; 16-18 (Message)

So I'm perservering - knowing that by grace I have hope for the future. When I start to put my faith in something that isn't Jesus, like a guy, a job or a holiday, that hope will turn pretty quickly into despair as how can creation ever compare to the Creator.

Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to Your cross I cling
Naked come to You for dress
Helpless look to You for grace

If you imagined a story you wouldn't come up with a relationship so one-sided. It is completely crazy - God loved me yet because of my sin nature I have rebelled like a typical teenager, wanting to go my own way, forge my own path, overland through the swamp, across the 6-lane freeway and a field full of IEDs. But God through his son Jesus provided a way to be reconciled to him. It is not because of anything that I have done or that I have brought to the relationship. We are born with nothing and we die with nothing and it is by grace alone that we have hope in a future without pain and suffering. An eternity with out abuse, depression and pain.