Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Answering the Critics

I typically do not take time to answer critics because I feel like it is a waste of my time. Often once someone has their mind made up about someone or some situation it is very hard if not impossible to change it. In this post I am going to answer some of the criticism that I (we) have faced, and then I'm going to leave it there, and move on to bigger and better things with my life and this blog.

1. "You are just a bitter person out for vengeance and publicity."
     ~ I am not bitter. You can ask those who I am closest to and they could tell you that this is absolutely not true. I have chosen to cooperate with the police investigations for a number of reasons, but mostly because it was the right thing to do. If by my actions or my story being told I can prevent the abuse of one child or give courage to someone to come forward about their abuse and find freedom, then I believe that is what I need to do. Statistics show that abusers typically don't change, so the best place for them is in jail so they can't hurt others. I have not done this for the publicity. I did agree to a couple of interviews, but turned down far more than I accepted. I allowed my story to become public so that a greater awareness could be brought to the problem of abuse.

2. "You were happy in life before all of this, they should have left you alone."
     ~ In all honesty I was not happy, I was miserable. When we left fundamentalism I was in a place of extreme pain and intense searching. It is in this searching that I have found who my God really is. The true God of the Bible is a very different God than the one I grew up knowing. I have found incredible healing in the last two years and am incredibly thankful for all that I have learned along this journey.

3. "How could you hurt the families that these men have, I mean this was so long ago."
     ~ Here's the deal with this one. This is totally misplaced guilt. I will not take the blame for hurting anyone's family. Abusive men (people) are the ones that choose to hurt their families. These men are not stupid, they just lack self control and common decency. When an abuser chooses to hurt another person they are the one that ultimately hurts their family in the process even if it does take many years for justice to happen. Again, there are so many studies that have shown that typically abusers DO NOT CHANGE. Even if abuse happened years ago the perpetrator should pay for their crimes.

4. "You are hurting the name of Christ by your actions and by calling out abuse in the church."
     ~ Honestly my husband just did an incredible post about this one so I'm just going to link it here because I think he answered it far better than I could. Check out his post titled "You're Hurting the Name of God".

5. "You lump everyone together and hate all fundamentalists."
     ~ This is simply not true. There are still people that I love dearly that are fundamentalists. I do believe that there are many people who are within that movement who just do not see what is going on. I frequently pray for many of the people that I know within fundamentalism that God would do an amazing work in their lives. I don't have the time or the energy to hate people (not not even those who have hurt me deeply). When I find myself struggling in that way I pray for those people because it is only God who can open their eyes and break off the chains that hold them back.

I know there are other criticisms, but I don't want to take the time or the energy to deal with them. Those closest to me and probably most who have even taken the time to read this blog can see my heart. I love people and hate that people are being abused or that their abuse is covered in the name of Christ. It is wrong! I believe that God has called me to where I am to help give hope to hurting people and to show them that there is hope for a very full and happy life after abuse. I will continue to bring light into the dark places and love the hurting people no matter what people choose to say. I know my God is for me and that I am loved unconditionally, and that I am doing what is right and that is all that matters.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Hope for Healing ~ Part 3

I saw a quote today that really got me thinking, and I think it really applies to healing. Take a minute to ponder this. "If you had a friend who spoke to you in the same way that you sometimes speak to yourself, how long would you allow that person to be your friend?" (unsure who to give credit to for this quote...)

Sometimes in the process of healing we are our own worst enemies. We continue to think on things we know aren't true (it was my fault, I could or should have done more, if I had only been a good little girl/boy I never would have been beaten, etc...) and yet if a friend would walk up to you and say those things it would anger us. Most of us acknowledge that abuse wasn't the fault of the victim as long as that victim wasn't us. We somehow think we have to be held to a different standard than everyone else. Know that even if you did something wrong and was beaten because of it the beating was NOT your fault. Punishment is supposed to be training, not brutalizing! It is not your fault that someone lost all self control and took their aggression out on you! Part of the process of healing really is changing how you think! If we continue to dwell on the what ifs or the it really was my fault, etc... I don't think we will ever get true healing. Let's change our focus to what is good and true and right (Philippians 4:8). Think on what is true ~ You are loved! You are worth the work it takes for healing! You are treasured! You CAN find full and complete healing! God loves you so much and wants to heal each and every one of your wounds!

You have more power than you know to change your life and your world! Changing how you think can change how you see life in general and it can change your outlook on life. When those negative thoughts creep in choose to replace them with truth! I think you will be surprised at what a difference that this can make in your life! I know I was!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hope for Healing ~ Part 2

Sometimes the hardest part of the process of healing is getting started. Getting started means we have to acknowledge all of the pain that we have stuffed down deep inside of ourselves for years. It means that instead of ignoring the pain and acting like nothing is wrong we open ourselves up and in a sense become vulnerable once again so that we can become healed and whole. Know that this is a good and healthy thing to do! It is not healthy to stuff the pain down. Unless things are brought into the sunlight and exposed there can be no healing.

When acknowledging that the pain is there I think it is important to place the blame where the blame lies. This was very hard for me (and I know it is for others too!). I can't tell you how many countless hours I spent doing the "what if game or the if only game" inside my head. I had been so long blamed by others that I took the blame as my own and tried to figure out in my mind how I could have prevented the attacks I experienced. Because of the many different things that I heard I also truly believed that I was to blame. On the flip side of that I could have looked at any other victim and told them that being attacked or abused wasn't their fault, but it was hard to believe it for myself.

After you have acknowledged where the blame lies (ALWAYS with the abuser) you can begin the process of forgiveness. Let me just say that there are a lot of things that forgiveness is and is not. Forgiveness is for you NOT the abuser. I go into more about forgiveness here on #2. Please know that forgiveness brings amazing peace to your life (I speak from experience). Also know that it isn't a one time event, but something you may have to choose again and again.

Remember that healing is a process. It will take time and effort, but it is so worth it! The freedom that I have experienced as I have been walking through the healing process in my own life is amazing! While there isn't an easy fix so to speak there is a God who promises to love you and walk each step of the way with you on your journey. In the second half of Hebrews 3:5 God promises that He will never leave us. Rest in that truth as you walk through your journey.

I do have a few more thoughts on this topic, but I will finish up another day. Remember you are loved and you are worth everything it will take to go through this process!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Hope for Healing ~ Part 1

I know that right now there are a lot of hurting people. So much has been coming out over the last week, and every time a new story breaks it has the potential to re-open old wounds from others who have also been victimized.  I just want to tell you that there is hope for full and complete healing!!! Yes, scars will always be there as a reminder of what we went through, but there is healing from the intense pain!

Let me begin by saying that healing is a process. It won't happen overnight. Broken bones don't heal overnight and neither do intense emotional traumas. Healing is a process, and while there are many steps involved in the process, and the process can be painful the healing is so very worth it! (I'm speaking from experience!) I'm going to just touch on a couple things today, but there is more to come.

First, please know you are worth the hard work it will take! You are precious, treasured, loved, and valued beyond measure!!! I know that it is easy to feel like you are a piece of garbage, or completely worthless when you have been abused, but please put that lie out of your mind! You are valued (Matthew 6:26), you are loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3), you are held in God's hand no matter where you go (Psalm 139:9-10). Stop telling yourself that you aren't worth it and know that God says you are, and there are many others who would say the same thing (myself included)!

Next, please know it will take work on your part. I think a good place to start is to either find someone who is safe who you can tell your story to, or write it down. Somehow getting it out instead of leaving it trapped inside of you can go a long way towards starting the healing process. Know that there are stages of grief that you will have to work through along your journey of healing (this is NORMAL)! Emotions are a good thing not a bad thing as so many of us were taught. There will be some days and even weeks that are better than others. As long as you are making progress along the way this is ok!

A big part of the healing process is changing how you think. What you choose to focus on determines who you become. Many of us were taught things that aren't true and were even told that the abuse was our fault or that we somehow provoked it. I just can't emphasize strongly enough that abuse is NEVER the fault of the victim! Please do not blame yourself! Be willing to seek outside help! Counseling can be a good and healthy thing! Changing how you think can be so difficult, but it can be a critical part of healing especially when you have been taught to believe things that aren't true.

I will write more about healing soon, but I'd like to end the post with a song that has been an encouragement to me along my journey of healing!