Friday, March 26, 2010

Feel Good Friday?

Feel Good Friday with The Girl Next Door Grows Up

I've been sitting at my computer for the past 15 minutes trying to come up with something to write. It's not that it's been a bad week, but it's been a long one. So what do I have to feel good about today? Really a lot of things.

Sunday -- good class/worship

Monday -- we had a contractor come look at sprucing up the house

Tuesday -- an hour all to myself in Starbucks

Wednesday -- haircut/therapy!

Thursday -- my daughter got GREAT news!

Friday -- well . . . it's FRIDAY!

I hope everyone has a Feel Good Friday : )

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Dreary Thursday

A day like today reminds me why Thankful Thursday is such a good idea! Here in Nashville it's dreary, dark, rainy, and they are predicting possible severe weather for this afternoon!

I am thankful for:

1. Cranberry Blood Orange Tea in a china mug.
2. Wonderful yarn to play with -- wonder what it will be?
3. A snug, dry house.
4. My computer, for opening up a larger world for me.
5. Energy for spring projects.
6. Walks with my doggies.
7. Bamboo sheets.
8. Good things that come from bad.
9. Laughter.
10. My wonderful husband. (He turns up almost every Thankful Thursday, because a week is not complete without him!)

What are you thankful for today?



“Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
and his courts with praise!
Give thanks to him; bless his name!”
~ Psalm 100:4 (ESV)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Daybook

FOR TODAY -my part of The Simple Woman's Daybook

Outside my window... it's cloudy, but they promise sunshine before long.

I am thinking... about the stress of the past few weeks.

I am thankful for... better moods around the house.

From the learning rooms... German and ACT prep.

From the kitchen... plans for Pigs in Blankets for a wedding shower.

I am creating... a cream colored prayer shawl for my daughter -- lovely bamboo yarn.

I am going... to visitation for my dear friend's father.

I am reading... "The Private Patient", by P.D. James

I am hoping... the sun comes out SOON.

I am hearing... the Today Show. When did it become an entertainment report?

Around the house... craft and redecorating supplies. We have lots planned!

One of my favorite things... quiet, which I'm not getting much of right now.

A few plans for the rest of the week: more spring cleaning and some fun just for me on Friday!

(I haven't figured out how to post pictures yet -- maybe next week!)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring Break Girls' Week

1. Watching "Julie and Julia" with my daughter.

2. Shopping and eating in Bell Buckle with dd and her bf.

3. Shopping for yarn.

4. Massage, manicure, and pedicure.

5. Having a happy family.

That's my Feel Good Friday -- how about you?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Happy Home

It's Thankful Thursday and I have much to be thankful for! My boys drove to Washington, DC on Saturday. They spent the drive time talking and catching up. I am grateful for both my dh and ds, but I am especially grateful that they had the time, opportunity and willingness to discuss important life topics -- God, why we are here, future planning, what is really important. What a blessing for both of them. They returned last night happy and safe.

While they were gone, dd and I spent time together watching movies, shopping, eating, and getting pampered at the spa. Wonderful to have time to relax and not have to remember to take care of all the "stuff" of day to day life. A blessing for me to spend time one on one with my lovely daughter.

So this Thursday I am thankful, as always, for my family, but with more intention and appreciation.

Wishing you all a Thankful Thursday!


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Friday, March 5, 2010

The Path to Peace: Overcoming Abuse

This may seem like an odd choice for Feel Good Friday, but I feel really good about speaking the truth and getting information out to help others. Have a great day!

The Path to Peace: Overcoming Abuse

I want to tell you a story. It is the story of a little girl whose world was turned upside down. Not because she was bad, but because there are bad people in the world. I tell you this story so you can know that even when bad things happen, God can bring good from them. You may not be ready to believe the things I say because of your own experiences. All I ask is that you listen.

When I was four years old, someone was taking care of me while my parents worked. An old woman also lived in the house. One day I came into the house singing and laughing, and suddenly everything went black. That old woman had backhanded me for bothering her. When I came to, she told me not to tell because no one would believe me. So I didn’t tell. But everything was different after that. Something bad had happened to me.

The next year, when I was five, my sister and I went to stay on a farm with relatives. There was a girl, several years older than I, who was big and mean and who brutalized me during that visit. For several years she arranged opportunities to torment me whenever we were together—verbally, physically, and even sexually. She threatened my life on numerous occasions with a gun or a chain which she said she would use to strangle me. She even threatened to drown me in the well. Each time she promised that if I told, she would get me and no one would believe me anyway. By this time past experience had taught me that something bad could really happen. So I didn’t tell.

Being a child, I thought that if I could just figure out what I was doing wrong, I could make the bad stuff stop. But this girl was bigger, stronger, older and meaner than I was. And she was experienced because she lived in an abusive home herself. So it didn’t stop, not right away at least. Eventually, as we both got older, we stopped seeing each other so much. I never told and she quit bothering me. But that wasn’t the end of my fears.

The same summer I went to the farm for the first time I met another bad person. My parents were very sociable people and we often had visitors into our home. One holiday weekend, we were having a picnic; and while everyone else was outside a young guest took me indoors and raped me while his girlfriend stood watch. I didn’t tell. I was afraid to.

My parents weren’t aware of it, and another time they asked the same couple to babysit us. The bad thing happened again. By this time, I had decided that people could be nice one minute and mean and scary the next. I put all of this away in the back of my head and didn’t think about it, but the fear remained.

Life went on, and things were fairly normal until high school. Someone new came into my life who said ugly things about me. Sometimes he made passes at me. Eventually, while I was in college, he raped me. There were no threats, but I knew better than to tell. I was certain that no one would believe me. And if I did tell, something bad would surely come of it.

Eventually, I found that I couldn’t keep all of my fears inside any more. With marriage, children, and other responsibilities my defenses came crashing down, and I started to tell. Some people believed me—my husband did, my best friends did, and my therapists did. And no one came to kill me.

Not everyone believed me, however, and that was hard. Telling had not been easy. There were major depressions, panic attacks, cold sweats, and flashbacks that felt like it was happening all over again. I thought I might die, but I kept talking and writing. The bad stuff didn’t go away, but neither did I. I didn’t die, and nobody tried to hurt me. More people started to believe me, and that’s when things started to change for the better.

In 2000 I was diagnosed with chronic post traumatic stress disorder. It doesn’t go away, but you can learn to live with it. Statistics tell us that 1 in 3 women in the United States will suffer some kind of abuse by the age of 18. That means I am not alone.

I am telling my story for two reasons. The first is for myself. The more I tell it, the less it controls me. Every time I tell it and survive, I receive strength to believe that those threats were all lies. The second reason is for myself also, but I hope it is for at least one other person as well.

You can move to a better place than where you are right now. Contrary to popular belief, everyone does not have it all together. A lot of people are hurting, and the only way to heal that kind of pain is to share it. One of my favorite quotes is: “The human heart can be healed by intimate connection with compassionate witnesses. Time heals only those wounds that are shared and understood.”

This is not something you can do on your own. None of us were meant to live in isolation. God knew we needed each other. We need to lean on each other and we need to be leaned upon.

Two groups of people will read this. The first is made up of those who are currently in pain. It may be the pain of abuse, past or present, or the pain of marital struggles or divorce. It may be pain from something I can’t possibly know or understand. The second group is made up of those who are not currently struggling but who have in the past. There isn’t anyone who has not needed support at some point or who won’t need it in the future. Some of us need help and some of us need the opportunity to help someone else.

Remember that healing comes with intimacy, compassion and understanding. Some people are better at those things than others, but we can all learn. There is more to listening than just hearing. A connection is imperative, but so is an appropriate, compassionate response. The most important thing we can do for another person is to feel, understand and acknowledge her pain.

Whether you are someone who has suffered abuse or you know someone who has, there are several things you can do to help. I strongly encourage those who have suffered abuse of any kind to seek professional help. Look for a therapist with a Christian perspective who also has experience with treating post traumatic stress disorder. If you aren’t ready to talk to anyone yet, start a daily journal. Let yourself write whatever comes to you. You may not believe it now, but it is possible to overcome the trauma of abuse and find peace.

The Bible counsels that there is a time for speaking (Ecclesiastes 3:7). There is a time for healing, as well (v. 3). Often, sharing your story with others is a first step and can help you on your path to peace.




SIDEBAR #1:

Adult Survivors of Sexual Abuse: What We Would Like You to Know About Us
1. We grew up feeling very isolated and vulnerable, a feeling that continues into our adult lives.
2. Our early development has been interrupted by abuse, which either holds us back or pushes us ahead developmentally.
3. Sexual abuse has influenced all parts of our lives. Not dealing with it is like ignoring an open wound. Our communication style, our self-confidence, and our trust levels are affected.
4. Putting thoughts and feelings related to our abuse "on the back burner" does not make them go away. The only way out is to go through these emotions and process them.
5. Our interest in sexual activity will usually decline while we are dealing with this early trauma. This is because: we are working on separating the past from the present. Pleasure and pain can sometimes be experienced simultaneously. It is important for us to be in control, since control is what we lacked as children. Sometimes we need a lot of space. Pressuring us to have sex will only increase our tension.
6. We often experience physical discomforts, pains, and disorders that are related to our emotions.
7. We often appear to be extremely strong while we are falling apart inside.
8. There is nothing wrong with us as survivors -- something wrong was DONE to us.
9. Sometimes others get impatient with us for not "getting past it" sooner. Remember, we are feeling overwhelmed, and what we need is your patience and support. Right now, it is very important for us to concentrate on the past. We are trying to reorganize our whole outlook on the world; this won't happen overnight.
10. Your support is extremely important to us. Remember; we have been trained to hold things in. We have been trained NOT to tell about the abuse. We did not tell sooner for a variety of reasons: we were fearful about how you would react, what might happen, etc. We have been threatened verbally and/or nonverbally to keep us quiet, and we live with that fear.
11. Feeling sorry for us does not really help because we add your pain to our own.
12. There are many different kinds of people who are offenders. It does not matter that they are charming or attractive or wealthy. Anybody -- from any social class or ethnic background, with any level of education-- may be an offender. Sexual abuse is repetitive, so be aware of offenders with whom you have contact. Do not let them continue the cycle of abuse with the next generation of children.
13. We might not want or be able to talk with you about our therapy.
14. We are afraid we might push you away with all our emotional reactions. You can help by: listening, reassuring us that you are not leaving, not pressuring us, touching (WITH PERMISSION) in a nonsexual way.
15. Our therapy does not break up relationships - it sometimes causes them to change as we change. Therapy often brings issues to the surface that were already present.
16. Grieving is a part of our healing process as we say goodbye to parts of ourselves.
From Triumph over Darkness by Wendy Ann Wood, M.A. copyright Wendy Ann Wood 1993


Sidebar #2:

Tips for Recovery
1. Remember that life will go on.
2. Reduce your stress.
3. Listen to uplifting music.
4. Remember you are not alone.
5. Find humor where you can. Laugh.
6. Buy yourself a stuffed animal. This provides comfort and represents a positive aspect of childhood.
7. Carry a small book of quotes or scriptures with you. Anytime you need a pick me up, read over them.
8. Keep a journal. Write anything you want. No one else has to read this, but you may find it helpful to share when you are ready.
9. Don’t get caught up in being perfect. Stay caught up in finding you.
10. Breathe. Take up yoga or some form of meditation.
11. Be kind to yourself. Watch how you talk to yourself and about yourself.
12. Cry or scream into a towel or pillow.
13. Stay connected to friends. You may have to limit the number, but find at least one trusted friend to talk to whenever you need to hear a friendly voice.
14. Get help with the day-to-day chores
15. Pray. If you can’t pray in your regular way, don’t panic. Try writing a letter to God. Try reading other people’s prayers.

(This article was published this week in Christian Woman, March/April 2010, pp. 42-44)

I always enjoy going to The Girl Next Door. Her Feel Good Friday is especially fun.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Honesty -- Thankful Thursday

This week the article I wrote about my abuse was published. I had the opportunity to share the article with my Bible class this morning, and what a blessing it was for me! Thanks to those sweet ladies for caring, listening and validating me. That's where so much of the healing comes from.

I've been listening to a sermon by Lee Camp called "Upside Down: Shame and Guilt" and was really touched by his comments. Shame leads us to isolation which is the opposite of what we need for healing. So for this Thankful Thursday I'm grateful for the opportunity to share open and honestly about my abuse.