Boundaries

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(trigger warning. childhood abuse, sexual violation.)
 
People without boundaries get angry when you start setting them.
 
When I was a child, my boundaries were crossed all too often and because I was dependent on the boundary-crossers for survival, I had no choice but to allow it. As an adult, I didn’t know I had a choice–until recently. The last decade has been a journey to Self by laying down the shit that’s not mine to carry…like generation after generation of abusive behaviors and actions.
 
It stops here.
 
People are angry with me for stepping out, for saying “This doesn’t feel healthy to me” and for not engaging in those situations. They try to make me feel guilty with some false sense of nobility–“This is family, you should (insert guilt inducing activity.)”
 
Family. Those are the people who trampled my boundaries in my toddler years and continued to do so (and still do, to this day.) These are the people that believe they get a pass on their bad behavior because they’re related. They believe things passed down to them (just like I did.)
 
The truth is that boundaries are healthy for families.
 
People are uncomfortable when I speak my truth. It makes them squirm when they hear me talk about the abuse I endured. Maybe they didn’t know my abusers as abusers. They don’t want to believe it. They don’t want to hear it. They want me to shut up.
 
They want to shut me up.
 
That’s their road.
 
It’s not up to me to change their minds or prove to them I’m telling the truth. It’s not my responsibility to help people accept that I was abused. Maybe they were abused as well, it’s quite likely given that we shared space with the same people. Maybe they like to keep their problems hidden under the rug or maybe they feel more comfortable being the victim.
 
I get it. I was there, too.
 
I hid things, like I was supposed to. Like I was taught to. I hid in my toy box. I hid under the stairs with the spiders. In our house there was a 1970’s empty brick planter in the entryway that was normally piled high with coats that I hid in, There was a space in the wall across from “the bricks” that was meant to be a fireplace, but it was just an empty hole in the wall that I hid in. I hid in the doghouse with my favorite dog. I hid in the woods by our house, I hid at the playground at school. As I got older, I played hiding games. We played “Ditch” around the neighborhood–a pre-teen version of hide and seek. When I got my license I played “Fox” a teen version of hide and seek with CB radios. I hid at the beach, I hid at my friend’s houses.
 
I started hiding with alcohol when I was 12. I drank to lose control but I couldn’t lose control. No matter how drunk I was, I was still in control. There was no hiding. And then I wanted to die. I read books like Carrie and Thirteen is Too Young to Die. I wanted Lupus so I would have a reason to die. I fantasied about how amazing life would be if I was dead. I tried to take my life, but something always stopped me. Like I wasn’t allowed to die. Like I had to keep facing these abusers and keep kissing their dead bodies in their coffins because “this will be the last time you ever see them.”
 
No. Because I see them in my mind and in my dreams and in my distorted and warped life. I see them every day. I see them in the foods I eat and won’t eat. I seem them in the clothes I choose to wear because pants and tight jeans make it super hard for sexual predators to put things down there that don’t belong. Dresses are a wide open invitation for violation. But dresses are for girls and it’s not ladylike to wear jeans and have short hair and like sports. Then I don’t want to be a lady, because the ladybits are what is attracting this unwanted, uncomfortable behavior from adult men who aren’t supposed to do this sort of thing and I don’t want to be lady.
 
Then I was the victim. When my first abuser died, I watched the whole family cry and grieve and mourn…and I was relieved. Even the ones who saw the repeated behavior and knew it was constantly happening were sad and upset and hurt. I was not. That was the beginning of the separation. I was still very young, though, and without guidance, so I did the best I could. I pretended that I was sad for them because when I wasn’t, they were uncomfortable. I started keeping a journal and blaming everyone. All of those who knew what was happening, all of the people who should’ve helped me and didn’t. I blamed them and then I blamed God and then I blamed myself. That brought the anger. The rage. The fury.
 
And doctors wanted to send me to mental facilities and drug me.
 
ME.
 
Because something was wrong with MY behavior because my boundaries were destroyed and people used my body like a sex toy. Because everyone put the blame on me with their actions, in-actions, and unwritten rules of conduct.
 
Every time I tried to escape it and get away from it, someone from the family would bring the guilt to my table. So and so is dying, you *have* to visit. So and so is getting married, you cannot miss the wedding, they’re family. So and so is having a baby shower, you *have* to go, they’re family. You can’t stop talking to so and so, they’re family. You don’t do that. It’s not right. They’re family.
 
Let me just say this once and for all. Fuck family. (and for those who need direction, this is not my angry voice. This is my calm, it’s time to stand in my truth voice.) Fuck this idea that because we are related I have some obligation to continue with the fuckery that goes on within the dysfunctional walls of someone else’s definition of family.
 
This is me, no longer hiding, no longer being a victim, and no longer blaming.
 
This is me saying I take responsibility for my health. My mental, emotional, physical, sexual, and spiritual health. This is me saying if you don’t like my life-choices, my boundaries, and my decisions to enter into healing, it’s ok. You’re allowed to not like me, or not like what I say, or not like what I do. You’re allowed to feel everything that you feel. As a matter of fact, I recommend it. And maybe it’s good that I hold a mirror up to the illusions. Maybe you’ll recognize that the things we’ve been taught are untrue.
 
Because it’s not that I want things to be this way. Believe me, I’ve been trying to change this since I was a little tiny girl. I’ve been trying to fix the family since the moment I was born–and that’s no exaggeration. I was born into people wanting to kill themselves and was heralded as the “one who saved me.”
 
How many times did I try to save those who wanted to be dead?
 
How many times did I rush to their sides?
 
How many nights did I sleep in hospitals?
 
How many empty bottles of alcohol did I secretly dispose of?
 
How many secrets did I keep?
 
How many affairs did I witness with my own young eyes?
 
How many letters did I hide in my top dresser drawer?
 
How many empty pill bottles did throw away?
 
How many deviant sexual acts did I endure?
 
How many punches did I take to save someone else the pain?
 
How many drug dogs did I turn loose in houses so there would be no surprises for the rest of you?
 
How much sick porn did I throw away so you wouldn’t see it?
 
How many lies did I keep for you?
 
To make you comfortable so that you wouldn’t have to deal with this mess?
 
How many nights did I soothe those with unspeakable nightmares?
 
How many times did I stare down the business end of a weapon not knowing if I would live another moment?
 
I get it. I get that my stepping out and away makes you uncomfortable. It’s not been easy for me. I own that I have caused you pain. But like childbirth, some pain is necessary. I’m choosing the pain that brings joy, just like labor pains are the prelude to the purest love a person here can feel. Rather than choose the constant pain and agony of the past, I choose the present life-giving pain of separation. As a baby separates from the mother’s womb, it’s a painful, traumatic ordeal. But in the end, it’s all worth it.
 
I hope peace and love are found for those on the other side of my boundaries and separation.
 
It’s time for me to step into the light.
 
Whether or not others are ready or accepting of that is none of my concern.
 
I wish no one harm or malice. There are just some situations here on earth that require physical separation. Like a baby can’t live in the womb forever, I can’t stay in the darkness I’ve been in.

Making My Way Back

It’s been 20 months since my first visit with my endocrinologist.

19 months since I went (militantly) gluten free on her recommendation.

15 months since starting adrenal meds.

6 months since starting a T3 supplement (in addition to the T4 I’ve taken for years.)

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Between my last visit with Dr. LaSalle and now, I’ve also begun Removing More Toxins from my life. Last visit, my cholesterol was still not great and I asked for more time to correct it without meds. In the last three months, my total cholesterol has dropped nearly 30 points!! (I didn’t even buy the Red Yeast Rice that I was supposed to, I forgot, but I’ll get it now.)

She’s lowering my doseage of Synthroid to 137 (down from 150!) My blood pressure is a little high (152/88) but it should go down with the lower dose of Synthroid. I’ll be keeping a daily log of readings.

We talked about the MTHFR gene mutation (C677T) and how removing the toxins was a great thing. I got a seriously rambunctious high five when I told her that I bought the personal Far Infrared Sauna! She wants me to increase my Magnesium glycinate to 400mg daily.

We also talked about how I spent eight hours walking the trails of a nearby county park ~barefooted~ because I couldn’t keep my shoes on for one more minute. I needed to feel the leaves, grass, dirt, mud, sand, water, and yes, even the sticks and rocks, on the bottoms of my feet. And it was glorious. Dr. LaSalle was thrilled I spent the day grounding. I told her how I’d prayed all day and took the time to be silent and listen to what God was saying to me.  At the end of the refreshing and exhausting day, I sat still again for a few more minutes and God sent an Eagle to soar above my head. I couldn’t stop crying.

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I’m now taking:

137mcg Synthroid
5mcg Cytomel
Vessel Care
65,000iu Vitamin D3 weekly
4000mg fish oil daily
1000mg Evening Primrose daily
200mg magnesium glycinate daily
B complex

We moved into talking about the flashbacks I had the first day I used the sauna and touched on cellular memory. I told her that I was reading several books to help heal my mind from past abuse, which I feel is extremely important in this journey. I’ll list them again here, because I’ve added another, extremely important book.

Forgiving our Fathers and Mothers by Leslie Leyland Fields
Not Marked by Mary DeMuth
The Gospel of John in The Ragamuffin Bible
Wounded Heart–Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Note From {over} The Edge by Jim Palmer
The Truest Thing About You by David Lomas

A Course in Weight Loss: 21 Spritual Lessons for Surrendering Your Weight Forever  by Marianne Williamson. This one is the one that is changing everything (along with Wounded Heart.) This is less about weight loss and more about getting rid of dysfunctional thinking that was never meant to be around for a lifetime, yet so many of us carry this other person inside of us who is always ridiculing, chastising, degrading, and speaking painfully to us, making sure we stay “safe” in our pain.

I have to admit, I wasn’t too keen on starting this one. My beautiful friend, Carrington, suggested I read it. I looked at the title and thought it probably wasn’t for me. I didn’t want another weight loss plan to try and fail at. But then, after Carrington saw my posts about Wounded Heart, she dug a little deeper into the how/why of this book and I decided to buy the ebook and upon her urging, the audiobook. I listened to it while sitting in an airport waiting to fly standby, then for six hours on a drive from Iowa to Michigan. I broke down a few times during that drive and sobbed and grieved. I remembered things I’d been hiding, protecting, shoving down, not dealing with. And for once, this book gave me solid ways to help change. To shut up that voice of fear that is constantly drowning out anything good.

From here, I think the Jim Palmer and David Lomas books will help me take my deconstructed self and with God’s guidance, become the me I was created to be instead of this shadow of a person haunted by the past and built from bricks of abuse and unworthiness. I’m very much looking forward to what emerges.

I also finished Forgiving Our Mothers and Fathers just in time to have a visit with my dad for his birthday. It was different for me. Working through remembering, considering his story, forgiving, and accepting today for what it is, I felt like I could be in his presence without comfortableness.  Which is a big step in the right direction. Our time left together is probably slim, he has terminal cancer and receives results from his latest scan this week.

This is the body-update. I have to compose a mind and spirit update, too, but that will take me much longer. I need to get into a space that I can put together and process all that I have been learning. It’s been coming at me machine-gun style and I don’t know that I can regurgitate all the things swirling around in this blender brain of mine.

Dental Phobia and Sexual Abuse

I was stunned. Going into this healing after sexual abuse journey, I had no idea how much of my life was touched by this. Like a candlestick, the wax drips down and covers everything until what’s left is a big pile of wax and no flame to light the way.

It’s one of those things I would’ve never connected. I don’t really even know how I connected it.

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I was reading Not Marked  and the author was explaining  how sexually abused people sometimes try to put off anything to do with the healing process. She was saying if she had a bad tooth, it wouldn’t just get better by ignoring the pain. You need to go to the dentist and get it taken care of.

In that moment, I had this wave of emotions mashed with memories wrapped in shame and covered in fear. There was not a specific recollection of an incident, more like a culmination of all of them layered like a Greek baklava.

I put the book down, went to Google and typed in “dental phobia sexual abuse.”

I didn’t need to read any more than this:

How could a visit to the dentist trigger memories or feelings of past abuse?

Many aspects of dental treatment have been found to symbolically represent sexual abuse for many survivors. The following conditions may trigger a repetition of earlier trauma:

  • being alone with a person more powerful than oneself,
  • being placed in a horizontal position,
  • having someone nearby and touching you,
  • having objects placed in one’s mouth,
  • being unable to talk or swallow, and
  • experiencing or anticipating pain.

Many dental experiences may remind the patient of their abuse experience in that they produce awkward sensations of suffocation, such as in the use of rubber dams, or gagging sensations, or feeling restrained in their movement.

 

It makes perfect sense, but I was completely unaware.

What to do with the knowledge, though? I don’t know. Process it. Try to pour the wax around a new wick? Find a dentist who doesn’t scare the shit out of me and give me panic attacks like the one I am currently (not) seeing out of fear?

The uncovering of all of this fear is…scary.

When Forgiveness Doesn’t Lead to Immediate Healing

I have forgiven.

My grandmother for watching it happen and not stopping it. My mother for knowing and not protecting. My father for the angry beatings. My great-grandfather who did it. The teachers who should’ve known.

I truly thought I was healed.

Turns out forgiveness isn’t a one time act. Neither is healing.

I guess there are stages. And at this point, I don’t know if I’ll ever be completely healed. (I’m guessing probably not.) How can a shattered soul be put back together with no scars?

There is a certain sect of Christians that would have you believe that Jesus heals without leaving scars. I don’t buy it. Jesus showed his scars to the disciples and when they saw them, it was then they believed it was him. They didn’t even recognize him until that point. So while I fully believe I can be healed, I don’t think it’s possible to do so without scars.

I’ve also been having a hard time with the fact that what took place was witnessed and watched by God.

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 The Wounded Heart–Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse

I forgave everyone but God. I believe he loves me, but I don’t trust him because he watched it all happen. And yes, I feel like this is a harder thing to deal with than other people’s things. Sexual abuse destroys so much. It’s not like I chose it. Someone else made that choice for me. So all the talk about the fall of man and sin and free will doesn’t do much for healing after this. I accept that my family was horrendously dysfunctional, I accept that hurt people hurt people. I accept that those who abused me or watched it without stopping were probably stuck neck deep in the abuse cycle. They were all probably abused as well. So while I’ve forgiven them, I still wonder what made them cower to the abuser and let the cycle continue? What made me different in that almost every choice I’ve made in parenting has been in some part to protect my son from that same cycle?

I didn’t think wondering meant I wasn’t healed though.

I’ve spent all of two decades working on becoming healthy. Mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I made a break from toxic people–family and friends. I moved away (literally and metaphorically) from their toxicity and have found myself, for the first time ever in my 42 years not in the company of severe and destroying dysfunction. I really, truly thought I had made it. That I had achieved what I’d been working towards. I did it with God, I gave him the credit. I thought I could now look forward instead of the past constantly pulling at my back, tugging me, slowing me down, weighing and exhausting me. I MADE IT!!

Then God was all like, Uh. No. Now we have this little trust issue. You don’t trust me, remember? 

Defeated. Discouraged. Just fucking over all of this pain and misery. Now I have to do more work (because I choose to. I know it’s the right thing to do, but dammit if it isn’t just pure torture.)

So I start with reading, because it’s the best way I know to learn.

Forgiving our Fathers and Mothers by Leslie Leyland Fields
Not Marked by Mary DeMuth
The Gospel of John in The Ragamuffin Bible
Wounded Heart–Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse
Note From {over} The Edge by Jim Palmer
The Truest Thing About You by David Lomas

True to form, I’m reading six books at a time. Which is kind of ironic. Every big spiritual breakthrough I’ve had has come during the months leading up to Lent and Easter and I’ve documented the books I’ve read in the process. Though now that I’ve burned my journals as a part of this process of healing, you’ll have to take my word on it.

I haven’t processed the culmination of concepts, but this I know…I have not and do not trust God. I feel like I’ve been let down by him before and rather than face that kind of pain, it’s better for me to just

check out

focus on other things

ignore

deflect

In other areas of my life, I’ve learned to trust God. When Phil was fired in 2011 we were left jobless and homeless. My anger burned for the people who fired him, but when I prayed, I heard God ask me, “Who is in control of your life? Them? Or Me? Your anger should be directed at Me. They do not control you.”

Just like *that* my fiery anger was extinguished and I moved on with great expectations of a more abundant life.

But ask me to trust God to heal me from my childhood sexual abuse? Nope.

I’d rather be alone in this, thankyouverymuch.

But it’s really not ok to be alone in all this. I cant’ bring myself to see a therapist because honestly, I don’t want to face all that shit again. I try not to look back there. Leave the past behind you and all that feel-good-but-not-true crap.

The ripping apart of a soul doesn’t ever go away, it’s never forgotten. It’s as much a reality as my birthday, only worse. Even if I never knew the date of my birth, it would still be there and no matter what technique I employed, it wouldn’t ever go away or be forgotten. You don’t think about your birthday every day of the year, but there are times you do and especially close to the date. It’s like that with trauma. And so it is in my life.  The abuse can’t be erased or forgotten, and while I’ve forgiven, I’m not healed.

What I can do is work towards healing. Make things better than they were before. I can accept God’s offer of redemption. I don’t know what that looks like and I don’t know how I’ll trust him fully–if that’s even possible? But I know that he’s been pretty good to me for the last twenty years. It’s not always been easy or gentle, but it has been right for my soul.

I wish no one ever had to go through this. But since it’s impossible to eradicate, I guess all we can do is try to overcome.

Every Storm Runs Out of Rain

I remember starting this painting, though I couldn’t have told you the date until today.

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I knew what I wanted to do for my sister-in-law. Her dad was diagnosed with cancer. She loves Gary Allan and when I watched this the video for Every Storm Runs Out of Rain and saw this image and I knew.

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The canvas was huge. 36″ x 48″ and I wasn’t sure I could pull it off. I prayed I could because it was so very important to me to be able to offer my prayers this way. I worked on it for months. Slowly. I don’t know that I’ve ever been more intimated by a painting, yet I knew in my soul I had to do it.

I started it exactly one year ago tonight. March 7, 2013.

I finished it on January 6, 2014.

On January 6, Missy called to tell me her mom was going to talk to the nurses about taking her dad off of life support. I got off the phone with her, poured a fresh glass of wine and went to work. There was another blizzard in Northwest Indiana and my brother was out plowing. I was texting him pictures of my progress. Waiting to hear anything about Missy’s dad. I put the song on repeat and just worked. I sent my brother a picture of the words I’d painted on. He thought they were too big. So did I. I took them off and made them smaller and I liked it. I thought it was finished, so I took another picture and typed my message to my brother, but as I was moving my finger to the send button, Johnny called me. I answered it all chipper, “Hey! I was just texting you! The painting is finished.”

He was bawling.

And I broke down.

His father-in-law was gone.

The realization that he was taking his last breaths as I was making the last brushstrokes overtook me.

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I shared the picture on Facebook for my brother and sister-in-law. I said, “For my sister-in-law.” A friend who had no clue what had happened said, “Breathtaking.”

My brother responded, “You have no idea.”

And I lost it.

I was completely undone.

I tried to get to Indiana the next day to be with Missy. But–winter of 2014, she had another tantrum. Another blizzard. Impassible roads. I couldn’t get there until the next day, which happened to be sixth anniversary of my best friend’s death.

So much pain and death.

but Every Storm Runs Out of Rain

Right?

I finally got there. I felt pretty useless, but I tried. Then I went back to a month later for the memorial service. Another blizzard.

And another death.

One of my brother and sister-in-law’s best friends died the morning of the memorial service. Mike was a long-time friend of ours, as well. One of the most spiritual men I’ve ever met. He engaged in deep conversation from the minute he looked in your eyes. He knew so much more than was possible.

So much death and pain.

And today, just over a month after his passing, today is Mike’s birthday. March 7. One year ago today, I started the painting for Missy. I finished it as her dad was taking his last breaths. Mike died the morning of the memorial service. And I started the painting one year ago on his birthday.

I don’t even know how to begin processing this.

 

Burn, baby, Burn

So how do I feel the morning after burning my journals?

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When I wrote  in my journal, it was a process that allowed me to release the memories so that they no longer belonged to me. It was not a part of me. Once out of my head and on paper, I was free to carry on without carrying the mental weight.

I added physical weight though (and this picture only shows about half.) For 32 years I’ve been hauling these around. I talked to my journal as if it was a person. The times I said some variation of “you’re the only one who understands, Journ,” or “you’re the only friend I have” were astronomical.

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It’s odd. The 42 year old me looks back at the child that poured her tortured soul into these notebooks (and yes, there is still a disconnect) and wonders where were the adults?  Why didn’t they stop the abuse? After the abuse came the promiscuity. The names, the dates, the details of a child’s sexual escapades. Later, just dates and details. Names didn’t even matter. I wanted desperately to be loved.

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But that little girl didn’t know what love was. I say that not in a wispy, naive, youthful way, but in an ugly, violated way. I did not understand that there was anything beyond sex. I was used inappropriately and everyone loved the man who continually did these things to me. Often, they saw it happening and turned away or went into another room. What could I have known of love, aside from pain and confusion? If they loved and adored him in spite of what he did, then that must be the way I would achieve love.

The first boy I dated was a few years older than me and wanted to have sex. I politely refused. Thank God he was a gentleman (and he still is.) I broke up with him soon after because I felt so awkward with thoughts of sex swirling around me and I didn’t know how to be a person in a relationship because all of my other familial relationships were so very broken. After him, I dated someone my age, he ended up being my first. It was ok in the beginning and we dated quite a few years. We were like fire and gasoline, though, and it ended in quite the explosion.

That’s when the proverbial flood gates opened–or should I say that’s when my legs opened for pretty much any boy who came near? I realize that sounds like I’m degrading myself. It’s less of that and more “just the facts, Jack.”  So. For about six years it wall all sex and alcohol. I had a couple of friends during that time who tried to tell me I was harming my reputation, but I already knew I was worthless, what did it matter if other people knew, too?

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I read through those journals yesterday and I wanted to throw up. Why do I still carry that torment with me every moment? Most of the adults who could’ve protected me are dead, so there’s no chance of apologies or reconciliation or forgiveness.

I did have a couple of relationships that lasted more than a night.

And a come to Jesus moment. 

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A four-month marriage.

A divorce. 

A super-sickening sexist, legalistic church experience.

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And I turned away from God because of his so-called people. And I started back up with the men, alcohol, and sex. I was out of control. Wouldn’t listen to anyone who tried to tell me I was destroying myself–I didn’t care. I practiced a form of self mutilation that said if I use men first they couldn’t have the power to use me, discard me, or hurt me.  And I wrote all about it. In very colorful detail.

I also wrote about how I shared with some people that I was going to take art lessons and they all laughed at me. I was writing through my tears and hoping that someday I would “make it big and show them all up.”

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Throwing those pages in the fire was hard for the first few minutes. The tears outnumbered the pages ripped from the notebooks. Every page that caught fire produced a tangible wave of heat.

“Fire is the energetic combination of various substances with oxygen to release light and heat.”

I absorbed the light and heat on my face. I took all of the energy and it became me. In a few transcendent hours, I consumed the energy and I was consumed.

A vision I had last year during my fast:

I was sitting at a rustic dining table, the floor was dirt–we were outside. It was dark and I believe there were a couple of small candles on the table. No food, just a drinking cup made of pottery with water in it.

God was standing behind me. He was picking up morsels out of the air and eating them. I was confused and then I realized that what he was plopping in his mouth like popcorn (one morsel at a time, kind of throwing it in the air a bit and then he caught it in his mouth) so what he was tossing in his mouth was me!

I stared at him, totally confused. He kept doing it. Finally I said, “God, why are you eating me?”

He said, “I consume you.”

And in that message, “I consume you” was a vision of him entirely taking me over, dominating me, filling me, lavishing me, captivating me, immersing me, obsessing over me, wrapping entirely around me–

Then another sort of vision of inhaling and exhaling nothing but him, being in his belly (not in a gross way, but more like if I am inside of him as a morsel of food would be, there is nothing else, only Him.)

I feel like I’m in his womb. Like I’ve been conceived.

I listened to the pages burn. The pages that told me what a slut I am, how worthless I am, how undeserving of love I am. They crackled and sizzled, gave up their power and I closed my eyes and inhaled the smoke, drank the heat into my skin, exhaled freedom. They had always whispered destruction, anguish, and pain. The voice of Truth spoke (disguised as my old, dear, and trusted friend, “Journ.) to tell me I that I am valuable, I possess worth and beauty and am worthy of love and would I please just listen?

{listen}

My word for 2014.

{listen}

She said to me last night, “Maybe listening is also about what we need to abandon listening to.”

Strings of never ending words are now nothing more than the energy I took from them last night. It warmed my skin, my body, and at times the power of the heat was so overwhelming I had to back away. The tears dissipated to nothing, spread out into their separate elements while I was becoming whole.

Being purified by fire.

“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have chosen you in the furnace of affliction.”

I had not been ignored, God did not turn his face from me. I was chosen in the furnace of affliction and refined. Purified. Cleansed. Silver does not corrode, does not react to the atmosphere. At high temperatures, the imperfections fall away.

“Mat 3:11 “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

“As the silver nears the final stage of refining it experiences an action known as “brightening”, at the time that the last of the impurities are consumed, the now pure molten metal suddenly emits a bright flash of light and immediately solidifies.”

Immediately solidifies.

That is how I feel after burning my journals.