You are Not Alone Tonight

With a sigh of relief, I whispered, “Thank you, for choosing to live.” I looked at the word document on my computer screen and felt a renewed sense of God’s presence. I sat in awe of God’s unconditional love for me.

Repost: I posted this blog nearly 3 years ago, but the last few weeks reminded me of the significance of the decision I made to live 46 years ago. Suicide is epidemic across the globe and reflects the hopelessness felt by so many. I wanted to share this part of my journey again today with the hope that it will help someone choose to live.

With a sigh of relief, I whispered, “Thank you, for choosing to live.” I looked at the word document on my computer screen and felt a renewed sense of God’s presence. I sat in awe of God’s unconditional love for me. I had forgotten the significance of divine intervention in my life. I realized that after years of healing, studying and recounting the details of my journey, I was spiritually complacent. The complacency crept in while I moved on with my life.  I spent years sorting through memories and putting together the enormous puzzle of my life. I created a program that blended faith and reason to navigate the psychological and spiritual aspects of healing, but tonight I rediscovered God’s touch.

I felt the power of His presence in my life that I have not experienced in a long time.

Tonight, as I completed the chapter in my memoir about one of the darkest, yet most significant moments in my adult life, I decided to write a letter to the young woman who decided to live. At age 22, I believed that God hated me because I couldn’t stop acting out sexually. The chapter details the events of that night, but my experience after recounting them is the subject of this post. I think I finally understand my 22-year-old self and the significance of God’s intervention. I wanted to thank my younger self for the choice she made after God stepped in.

I still had a choice even after my pastor prayed over me.

Perhaps, you have faced despair and considered taking your life or you know someone who faces that choice. I share the letter I wrote to my younger self in this post to share the new insight I gained from traveling back to the night I chose life. God did not beat me over the head with a burning bush experience, instead, he sent a messenger in the form of my pastor. My pastor did not know I was on the verge of suicide and I never told him. His purpose that night was to give me hope. I think sometimes a simple message of “I am here. You are not alone, tonight,” might be the key to saving a life.

I am thankful that my pastor listened to the prompting to call me that night.

The letter below reflects what I want to tell my 22-year-old self as I close another painful chapter in my life with renewed hope and faith in the power of divine intervention.

You are Not Alone Tonight, Charlie

Hello Beautiful,

You are beautiful, Charlie. You are more beautiful than you realize. Tonight, I agonized with you and felt the despair and hopelessness of a young woman who desperately searched for love. I cried with you as you pleaded with God to set you free. My heart broke tonight when you lost all hope and wanted to end your life. You don’t understand yet why God intervened tonight, but you will. You don’t know for sure that the love you feel from God right now will last, but you will. You wonder if you will ever be free from the torment of the emptiness in your soul, but you will.

You felt beautiful tonight for the first time in a long time. You felt God’s touch, and you remembered it from when you were a little girl. Although you don’t remember the details of the times Jesus held you in His arms, tonight you remembered how safe you felt. Those feelings are real memories. One day you will know all the times Jesus kept you from losing your soul. You are not evil. You are beautiful.

Tonight, I want you to rest and know that all is not lost. Tomorrow is a new day, Charlie. Sleep well and know that you are not alone tonight.

Love,

The Charlotte that you will become because you chose to live tonight.

Trauma, Addiction, and Recovery

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! Ep. 3- airs on Saturday March 12, 2022 at 11:00 AM CST! In this episode, my guest, Cheryl R. Luke, and I will discuss: How trauma places survivors at high risk for developing addictive behaviors. Hope that is found in programs like Celebrate Recovery Personal insights from our experiences

Chatting with Charlotte-LIVE

MARK YOUR CALENDAR! Ep. 3- airs on Saturday March 12, 2022 at 11:00 AM CST! In this episode, my guest, Cheryl R. Luke, and I will discuss: How trauma places survivors at high risk for developing addictive behaviors. Hope that is found in programs like Celebrate Recovery Personal insights from our experiences

About my guest: Cheryl Luke currently serves as the National Director of Cultural Communities for Celebrate Recovery. She has been in ministry for over 30 years and has a wealth of knowledge and experience about the affect of trauma on all aspects of a survivor’s life. She is one of my dearest and nearest friends whom I’ve known for two decades. Cheryl’s passion is helping individuals discover and reach their God given potential. She is a frequent guest speaker at events across the globe at Women’s conferences, retreats and workshops. Her smile and her love for the Lord is contagious as she draws her audience in with her unique speaking style that sometimes includes an unexpected song that fits a specific audience. Cheryl engages her audience in such a way that you feel like you’re in her living room listening to a friend share their passion and experience. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to hear her story, her insights, and her wisdom about trauma, addiction, and recovery! #celebraterecovery #mentalhealth #addiction #recovery #PTSD #survivingchildhoodtrauma

Painting Pictures of Egypt

leaving the security of familiar coping mechanisms is terrifying. Especially when nothing seems to ease the fear and pain like what I knew. When the “new life” became difficult or not what I expected, I wanted to return to the comfortable. I wanted what was comfortable even though it was dangerous and painful.

NOTE: This was originally posted in 2019.  I’m posting it again because I was recently reminded  how difficult moving forward can be. When an unexpected trauma occurs, it is easy to revert to old habits and thoughts. We want to grab hold of what we know or the first thing we see. The problem is we what held us up in the past doesn’t work anymore. Most recently, I’ve struggled to understand several disruptions in my life that seemingly blocked what I thought God wanted me to do. Although I was briefly tempted to reach for old, unhealthy coping mechanisms, I resisted the temptation because I recalled the song I write about in this blog. When you are tempted to hold on to what brought relief in the past, remember you are most likely, “painting pictures of Egypt and leaving out what it lacked.”

As I reflect on my healing from childhood abuse and my recovery from sexual and food addiction, I am reminded of a song by Sara Groves entitled “Painting pictures of Egypt.” I always liked that song because it illustrates how hard it is to move forward from a place that is comfortable.  Even when the comfort is painful or unhealthy, moving forward is very hard. Leaving the security of familiar coping mechanisms is terrifying. Especially when nothing seems to ease the fear and pain like what I knew. When the “new life” became difficult or not what I expected, I wanted to return to the comfortable. I wanted what was comfortable even though it was dangerous and painful. “I was dying for some freedom/But … I hesitated to go. /I was caught to between the Promise/And the thing I [knew].”[1] I was often like the Israelites who constantly complained and rebelled even though God had delivered them from slavery.

They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?” Exodus 14:11

“the place they used to fit me/[Could not] hold the things I’d learned.”

I remember times memories flooded me and I forgot the strength of the woman I had become. I became the frightened child curled up in the corner wishing I could magically teleport to somewhere, anywhere that was not my parent’s home. I convinced myself that I could hold on to the “what if’s,” that “it wasn’t so bad.” and the “let me tell you about…”I told myself so many times, “I’ll get it right this time, but let me just stay here for a little while.” “I’m not ready to leave this yet.” Sometimes I took baby steps out of Egypt. Sometimes I took giant leaps. Each time, I would forget the downside of dissociation, promiscuity or overeating because “the future [felt] so hard/And I [wanted] to go back.”[2] But as Groves writes, “the place they used to fit me/[Could not] hold the things I’d learned.”[3]

I felt the old patterns, “calling out to me/Like a long-lost friend.

I wasn’t comfortable in my new life, but returning to my old habits wasn’t an option because “Those roads were closed off to me/While my back was turned.”[4] I longed to escape reality even though dissociation was frightening to my adult self, mentally disappearing brought momentary relief to my ravaged soul. I tried to revisit the past because as Groves writes, “The past is so tangible. /I know it by heart. /Familiar things are never easy/To discard.”[5] Letting go of addictive behaviors and temporary mental escapes that kept me sane for so long was excruciatingly painful. I held on for my life. I knew there was something better because I experienced it in moments of sanity and clarity. Groves words rang true to me so many times during those early years of recovery and healing, “I don’t want to leave here/ I don’t want to stay/ It feels like pinching to me/Either way.”[6] I felt the old patterns, “calling out to me/Like a long-lost friend.”[7]

Wanting to return to old patterns wasn’t about “losing faith…or about trust/It [was] all about comfort.” My addictive behaviors were comfortable. They weren’t perfect, but they were comfortable. I depended on them for my life, or at least I thought I could not live without them. Then I learned I could live without them and I learned new healthy ways of managing anxiety and stress. Memories did not send me into a spiral of irrational thought.

no longer caught between the Promise and the things I know.

After years of work I realize, “I am no longer caught between the Promise and the things I know.”[8] Groves ends the song with “If it comes to quick/ I may not appreciate it. /Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?”[9] I firmly believe there is no quick fix for healing or recovery. While I believe in miracles, I also believe sometimes the journey is the most important part of healing. A quick fix might rob you of the ability to appreciate the change in your soul. However, change requires taking the first step out of Egypt. Waiting too long might cement the habit or thought pattern and makes it harder to leave it behind when you walk toward your Promise.

Leave Egypt once and for all

To move forward, we must take a close look at what we are holding onto.  What is keeping us stuck? When we keep one foot in Egypt as we look toward our “promised land,” we hinder our ability to move forward.   Through Christ, you have freedom. In Christ, you can move forward. We can leave Egypt and not be trapped by, “Painting pictures…leaving out what it lacked.”

Related Posts

How do I Change?

Sonnet III. How Can I Make It Right?

[1] Sara Groves, Painting Pictures of Egypt lyrics © Music Services, Inc

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

Hope Today-Finding God in the Darkness

I am grateful for the opportunity to share moments when God showed up to give me hope in the darkest moments of my childhood as well as the importance of both counseling and faith in my healing process.

Today I had the privilege of being the guest on Cornerstone Television Network’s program, Hope Today. I must admit I was more nervous about the interview than normal because it was a live broadcast. However, the hosts immediately put me at ease. Their approach to the interview allowed me to share aspects of my journey that I’ve not shared on previous programs.

I am grateful for the opportunity to share moments when God showed up to give me hope in the darkest moments of my childhood as well as the importance of both counseling and faith in my healing process.

I wanted to share the interview on my website so others may better understand the dynamics of healing from childhood trauma.

Surviving the Holidays-Tips for Trauma Survivors

Not So Merry and Bright?

Are the holidays difficult for you? Are you dreading upcoming family gatherings? Do you wonder how you’ll manage the chaos of returning home for the holidays? Maybe you’ve decided not to go. How do you manage telling your family you’re not coming home? How do you manage loneliness an isolation? What about temptation to indulge in addictive habits-is there a way to avoid relapse?

The holidays are tough for trauma survivors. For some reconnecting with family means triggers, anxiety, fear, sorrow, or guilt. For others the decision to not attend family gathering means loneliness and isolation.

Whether you’ve been through significant losses, abuse, or any other traumatic life event, you may have discovered that the holidays don’t always feel merry and bright. There have certainly been times mine didn’t!

Keri Kitchen

What To Do

While there may not be one answer to the dilemma faced by many during the holidays, on Friday, November 12, at 12PM CST, Keri Kitchen M.Ed, LPCC, NCC and I will host a live lunch time conversation to address some of the common questions and concerns we’ve heard over the years regarding holiday events. We’ll share, not only from our professional experience, but from our personal healing journeys.

Topics to be covered:

  • The role of journaling
  • Plan ahead
  • Accountability
  • What works for us
  • Identity in Christ
  • and other topics the you bring up

Changing your Inner Voice

When I recognize the inner voice that tells me to sabotage a relationship, or warns me to run away from a friendship, I stop the thought and replace it with scripture. Part of the process is identifying when I felt the same emotions or physical sensations

Long Term Effects of Abuse and Neglect

Note: This is a repost of a blog I published last year. As the release date for my memoir is just days away, I realized the content resonates with me today. I struggled with the inner voice of a frightened little girl this week. Reading this post grounded me once again. 

I recently posted the link to an article by Roland Bal on my Facebook page. In the article, “Child Neglect and Its Long-Term Repercussions into Adulthood”, Bal explains,

 “In childhood, your brain and nervous system are busy laying down neural pathways. You are dependent on your environment for a stimulus to promote that growth of the neural pathways in your brain and nervous system.”[1]

Even though Bal’s background is mostly grounded in psychology and eastern religions, he presents a good overview of how important early experiences are to our emotional and social development. Bal explains that in cases of severe neglect there is no reference point for the individual which results in stunted emotional and social growth. The deficit often leads to seeking recognition outside of ourselves. The result is an adult who has no sense of self in the case of neglect and a distorted sense of self in the case of abuse.

In the article, Bal makes the statement that his “description makes child neglect and its repercussions into adulthood look very bleak.”[2] He then offers a few suggestions to help an individual rewire their brain.

The God Factor

While his suggestions are one method for finding a reference point and breaking old patterns of coping, there is another component that I found essential in my healing process-recognizing God’s constant presence in my life. I benefited greatly from psychological techniques like the ones Bal describes, but I always felt like something was missing as applied the meditation, positive affirmations and other tools that I learned.

A significant turning point for me in my healing process was embracing the truths found in the Bible about my identity. Yes, I constantly sought acknowledgment outside of myself and feared rejection because of the abuse and neglect I endured as a child. Bal’s description, “From there on it can become gridlocked into a habitual pattern of continually trying to please others while being met by further rejection or even abuse,”[3] describes the way I approached life for many years.

Sometimes, I still fall into the pattern which hinders my ability to form healthy relationships.

When I recognize the inner voice that tells me to sabotage a relationship, or warns me to run away from a friendship, I stop the thought and replace it with scripture. Part of the process is identifying when I felt the same emotions or physical sensations. Once I identify an experience, I change the conversation to something like I am not that frightened little girl anymore, I am a child of God and the evil one cannot touch me. Or, God did not create me with Borderline Personality Disorder, PTSD, anxiety or depression, so I do not have to react the way I used to react.fearfully and wonderfully made

The simple process takes me out of the moment, but not as a dissociative episode.  By remembering and announcing my identity in Christ, I ground my mind on the truth and dismiss the lies that my experience taught me. The change happens within me and centers me long enough to breathe, pause and react to the circumstance as a healthy adult rather than a frightened child.

The symptoms of mental illness are devastating and are not easy to manage, but I find that when I include scripture, prayer and speak the truth when I experience an intense situation, it brings calm to the chaos in my mind. I like to think of the process as integrating faith, imagination, and reason to bring about a more complete healing for the mind, body, and spirit. The process is life-long, but not hopeless. Rewiring my brain continues, but I don’t think it gets short-circuited as often or intensely as it did years ago.

I Am Not the Same

As I write my memoir, I realize there are nuances of my childhood experiences that were untouched during the initial years of healing. As I explore those nuances, I understand more about my reactions and emotions as an adult. However, I also see how far I have come. I ask for help and for prayer from others before I am in crisis. I take breaks and practice self-care. I allow myself to grieve when I realize some new detail. I don’t dissociate or lose my grip on reality like I did years ago.

I think I can say with confidence that there is hope and that Bal’s statement that “child neglect and its repercussions into adulthood look very bleak,”[4] is not true for everyone. I agree with Bal’s contention that “for many this is their reality.”[5] However, with a combination of psychological tools like those Bal lists and Biblically based tools, adults can find contentment, form healthy relationships and not be trapped by the faulty belief that their situation is hopeless.

Related Posts:

The 4R’s of Taking Your Thoughts Captive

Stop the Spiral

[1] Roland Ball, Child Neglect Long Term Effects

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

Painting Pictures of Egypt

leaving the security of familiar coping mechanisms is terrifying. Especially when nothing seems to ease the fear and pain like what I knew. When the “new life” became difficult or not what I expected, I wanted to return to the comfortable. I wanted what was comfortable even though it was dangerous and painful.

NOTE: This was originally posted in 2019.  I’m posting it again because I was recently reminded  how difficult moving forward can be. When an unexpected trauma occurs, it is easy to revert to old habits and thoughts. We want to grab hold of what we know or the first thing we see. The problem is we what held us up in the past doesn’t work anymore.

Two weeks ago I fell in my kitchen. As I felt myself slip I grabbed the oven door. Not the best idea, but it was the first thing my hand touched. I crashed to the floor taking the oven door with me and landing on the open dishwasher door. There I was wedged between the oven door and the dishwasher door. While the dishwasher door cushioned my fall so I did not sustain serious injury, I was stuck. I had to get creative to navigate to a place where I could stand up. I had to think outside the box. 

I felt silly, scared and emotional until I reached out to my daughter who made me laugh and helped me relax. I did not spiral out of control because I remembered to contact someone steady that could bring me back to reality. Unlike the oven door that simply went down with me. Recovery and healing present similar choices to us. In the following blog I reflect on the difficulty of moving forward and learning to depend on the new me.

As I reflect on my healing from childhood abuse and my recovery from sexual and food addiction, I am reminded of a song by Sara Groves entitled “Painting pictures of Egypt.” I always liked that song because it illustrates how hard it is to move forward from a place that is comfortable.  Even when the comfort is painful or unhealthy, moving forward is very hard. Leaving the security of familiar coping mechanisms is terrifying. Especially when nothing seems to ease the fear and pain like what I knew. When the “new life” became difficult or not what I expected, I wanted to return to the comfortable. I wanted what was comfortable even though it was dangerous and painful. “I was dying for some freedom/But … I hesitated to go. /I was caught to between the Promise/And the thing I [knew].”[1] I was often like the Israelites who constantly complained and rebelled even though God had delivered them from slavery.

They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?” Exodus 14:11

“the place they used to fit me/[Could not] hold the things I’d learned.”

I remember times memories flooded me and I forgot the strength of the woman I had become. I became the frightened child curled up in the corner wishing I could magically teleport to somewhere, anywhere that was not my parent’s home. I convinced myself that I could hold on to the “what if’s,” that “it wasn’t so bad.” and the “let me tell you about…”I told myself so many times, “I’ll get it right this time, but let me just stay here for a little while.” “I’m not ready to leave this yet.” Sometimes I took baby steps out of Egypt. Sometimes I took giant leaps. Each time, I would forget the downside of dissociation, promiscuity or overeating because “the future [felt] so hard/And I [wanted] to go back.”[2] But as Groves writes, “the place they used to fit me/[Could not] hold the things I’d learned.”[3]

I felt the old patterns, “calling out to me/Like a long-lost friend.

I wasn’t comfortable in my new life, but returning to my old habits wasn’t an option because “Those roads were closed off to me/While my back was turned.”[4] I longed to escape reality even though dissociation was frightening to my adult self, mentally disappearing brought momentary relief to my ravaged soul. I tried to revisit the past because as Groves writes, “The past is so tangible. /I know it by heart. /Familiar things are never easy/To discard.”[5] Letting go of addictive behaviors and temporary mental escapes that kept me sane for so long was excruciatingly painful. I held on for my life. I knew there was something better because I experienced it in moments of sanity and clarity. Groves words rang true to me so many times during those early years of recovery and healing, “I don’t want to leave here/ I don’t want to stay/ It feels like pinching to me/Either way.”[6] I felt the old patterns, “calling out to me/Like a long-lost friend.”[7]

Wanting to return to old patterns wasn’t about “losing faith…or about trust/It [was] all about comfort.” My addictive behaviors were comfortable. They weren’t perfect, but they were comfortable. I depended on them for my life, or at least I thought I could not live without them. Then I learned I could live without them and I learned new healthy ways of managing anxiety and stress. Memories did not send me into a spiral of irrational thought.

no longer caught between the Promise and the things I know.

After years of work I realize, “I am no longer caught between the Promise and the things I know.”[8] Groves ends the song with “If it comes to quick/ I may not appreciate it. /Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?”[9] I firmly believe there is no quick fix for healing or recovery. While I believe in miracles, I also believe sometimes the journey is the most important part of healing. A quick fix might rob you of the ability to appreciate the change in your soul. However, change requires taking the first step out of Egypt. Waiting too long might cement the habit or thought pattern and makes it harder to leave it behind when you walk toward your Promise.

Leave Egypt once and for all

To move forward, we must take a close look at what we are holding onto.  What is keeping us stuck? When we keep one foot in Egypt as we look toward our “promised land,” we hinder our ability to move forward.   Through Christ, you have freedom. In Christ, you can move forward. We can leave Egypt and not be trapped by, “Painting pictures…leaving out what it lacked.”

Related Posts

How do I Change?

Sonnet III. How Can I Make It Right?

[1] Sara Groves, Painting Pictures of Egypt lyrics © Music Services, Inc

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

Painting Pictures of Egypt

leaving the security of familiar coping mechanisms is terrifying. Especially when nothing seems to ease the fear and pain like what I knew. When the “new life” became difficult or not what I expected, I wanted to return to the comfortable. I wanted what was comfortable even though it was dangerous and painful.

Originally posted August 2018. Recovery is hard. This post from two years ago reminds me of the pitfalls of looking to old habits for relief when healing gets too difficult. The lyrics to a Sara Groves song provide the backdrop for telling the story of my recovery from food and sex addiction.

As I reflect on my healing from childhood abuse and my recovery from sexual and food addiction, I am reminded of a song by Sara Groves entitled “Painting pictures of Egypt.” I always liked that song because it illustrates how hard it is to move forward from a place that is comfortable.  Even when the comfort is painful or unhealthy, moving forward is very hard. Leaving the security of familiar coping mechanisms is terrifying. Especially when nothing seems to ease the fear and pain like what I knew. When the “new life” became difficult or not what I expected, I wanted to return to the comfortable. I wanted what was comfortable even though it was dangerous and painful. “I was dying for some freedom/But … I hesitated to go. /I was caught to between the Promise/And the thing I [knew].”[1] I was often like the Israelites who constantly complained and rebelled even though God had delivered them from slavery.

They said to Moses, “Is it because there are no graves in Egypt that you have taken us away to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us in bringing us out of Egypt?” Exodus 14:11

“the place they used to fit me/[Could not] hold the things I’d learned.”

I remember times memories flooded me and I forgot the strength of the woman I had become. I became the frightened child curled up in the corner wishing I could magically teleport to somewhere, anywhere that was not my parent’s home. I convinced myself that I could hold on to the “what if’s,” that “it wasn’t so bad.” and the “let me tell you about…”I told myself so many times, “I’ll get it right this time, but let me just stay here for a little while.” “I’m not ready to leave this yet.” Sometimes I took baby steps out of Egypt. Sometimes I took giant leaps. Each time, I would forget the downside of dissociation, promiscuity or overeating because “the future [felt] so hard/And I [wanted] to go back.”[2] But as Groves writes, “the place they used to fit me/[Could not] hold the things I’d learned.”[3]

I felt the old patterns, “calling out to me/Like a long-lost friend.

I wasn’t comfortable in my new life, but returning to my old habits wasn’t an option because “Those roads were closed off to me/While my back was turned.”[4] I longed to escape reality even though dissociation was frightening to my adult self, mentally disappearing brought momentary relief to my ravaged soul. I tried to revisit the past because as Groves writes, “The past is so tangible. /I know it by heart. /Familiar things are never easy/To discard.”[5] Letting go of addictive behaviors and temporary mental escapes that kept me sane for so long was excruciatingly painful. I held on for my life. I knew there was something better because I experienced it in moments of sanity and clarity. Groves words rang true to me so many times during those early years of recovery and healing, “I don’t want to leave here/ I don’t want to stay/ It feels like pinching to me/Either way.”[6] I felt the old patterns, “calling out to me/Like a long-lost friend.”[7]

Wanting to return to old patterns wasn’t about “losing faith…or about trust/It [was] all about comfort.” My addictive behaviors were comfortable. They weren’t perfect, but they were comfortable. I depended on them for my life, or at least I thought I could not live without them. Then I learned I could live without them and I learned new healthy ways of managing anxiety and stress. Memories did not send me into a spiral of irrational thought.

no longer caught between the Promise and the things I know.

After years of work I realize, “I am no longer caught between the Promise and the things I know.”[8] Groves ends the song with “If it comes to quick/ I may not appreciate it. /Is that the reason behind all this time and sand?”[9] I firmly believe there is no quick fix for healing or recovery. While I believe in miracles, I also believe sometimes the journey is the most important part of healing. A quick fix might rob you of the ability to appreciate the change in your soul. However, change requires taking the first step out of Egypt. Waiting too long might cement the habit or thought pattern and makes it harder to leave it behind when you walk toward your Promise.

Leave Egypt once and for all

To move forward, we must take a close look at what we are holding onto.  What is keeping us stuck? When we keep one foot in Egypt as we look toward our “promised land,” we hinder our ability to move forward.   Through Christ, you have freedom. In Christ, you can move forward. We can leave Egypt and not be trapped by, “Painting pictures…leaving out what it lacked.”

Related Posts

How do I Change?

Sonnet III. How Can I Make It Right?

[1] Sara Groves, Painting Pictures of Egypt lyrics © Music Services, Inc

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Written several years ago for my friend, Cheryl Luke’s Blog, this blog speaks to my heart this morning. I don’t have all the answers, but I know one thing, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Even if that keeps me from drowning in negative thinking for one minute, I am content. I hope the post will provide hope for someone who needs to hear the truth of who they are from God’s perspective.

Note: Today I struggled once again with who I am. Feedback on the draft of my memoir pours in and I wonder how to reach those God sends to me. I’ve received emails from women who want answers to the question, “how can you trust God after all you’ve been through?” I feel inadequate to reassure them of God’s love, but then I remember that they are the women God called me to serve. They are the women I want my story to help. I scrolled through old posts to find something, anything to post on a day when my thoughts are jumbled and creativity is nowhere to be found. Then,  I read the title of this post. Written several years ago for my friend, Cheryl Luke’s Blog, it speaks to my heart this morning. I don’t have all the answers, but I know one thing, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Even if that keeps me from drowning in negative thinking for one minute, I am content. I hope the post will provide hope for someone who needs to hear the truth of who they are from God’s perspective.

I have struggled with a variety of habits, hurts, and behaviors for most of my life.  My drugs of choice have included overeating to fill the emptiness in my soul, sex to avoid true intimacy and to punish myself, prescription drugs to numb physical and emotional pain.  I also pushed people out of my life by being unpredictable and mean.  I spent years searching for a way to change who I was because I did not like the person I saw in the mirror.  I could not understand how anyone could possibly love the person I saw.

From powerless to empowered

For years I worked on the emotional issues created by an abusive childhood. Although I got better, my soul remained empty. I turned to deliverance and found relief, but the habits returned. I felt worse because I thought surely God had given up on me. Why else would everything come back?  I was hopeless, powerless and empty.

Finally, I found a scripture that changed how I saw myself.

For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

Psalm 139:13-16

I read the words: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made” over and over.  God did not create Charlotte Thomason, the over eater, the sex addict, the emotional disaster that I saw when I looked in the mirror.  I was fearfully and wonderfully made.  I was formed by Him for a specific purpose.  My identity was not my bad habits, my behaviors, my thoughts.  I was wonderfully made!

The first step toward changing my thought pattern was to change the way I talked about my struggles.

Although it felt strange at first, I no longer said I am a sex addict, or I am an over eater.  Instead, I made one small change and began saying, “I struggle with sex and overeating, but I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”  I admitted the struggle but removed it as my identity.  Each time I made this statement, the power of the struggle decreased.

I realized that changing my thoughts made all the difference in my actions.  Stopping the negative thoughts before they took control and replacing those thoughts with a scripture about who I am allowed me to heal.  I replaced the power of the struggle with the power of the Word.  I stopped acting like an addict and began acting like someone who struggled. This did not happen overnight, but over time, the old behaviors occurred less frequently. Eventually disappearing from my everyday existence. The thoughts would creep back, but I knew how to stop them.

Knowing the truth puts things in perspective

Paul writes “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature, for I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out.” (Romans 7:18)  He is not saying he cannot change, but rather his inner man cannot do what is right.  He declares the need for something more.  That something more includes changing just one thought at a time.  Changing the thought that, “I will always be this way.  It is just who I am.” To “I am a child of God who struggles with alcohol.” Just this one simple act can stop you one time from acting on the old belief of who you are.

One thought, one minute, one hour, one day is enough to make a change in your soul.  You don’t have to climb the mountain in one day.  You can climb it one thought at a time.  You were not created as an ……(fill in the blank for yourself.)  You were fearfully and wonderfully made.

I still struggle with overeating in times of stress, but I always return to the truth of who I am.  I have never returned to the darkness of despair of 20 years ago.  I know I cannot overcome the struggles in my life alone.  I can only control my thoughts.  I can replace negative thinking with what the Word says about me.  I can stand on the truth that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

You can do the same. Take the first step.  Realize the truth of who you are. Allow God to walk by your side down the road of recovery.

 

Related Posts:

Know the Truth

How do I Change?

What Kind of Love is This? Part III Sonnets

Sonnet III. How Can I Make It Right?

%d bloggers like this: