Trials of Faith

Have you ever pondered who you would be if nothing bad had ever happened to you? Or if there was a loving God out there who really cared about you, why would he let you experience pain, heartache, abuse, depression, and all other ailments we face?

As I read the story of Abraham and Isaac tonight- I learned about myself. For years this story has bugged me: why would God ever even ASK someone to sacrifice their child?! Here’s what I learned:
1. Isn’t that what he did when he sent Christ to atone for all of us?
2. If he never tried Abraham’s faith, would he be able to do all God needed him to?

So how does this apply to me you might ask. Well it’s simple. You see, God has given me a lot of faith building experiences, None of which were easy. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have asked “why me?!” Yet when I look at the bigger picture I can see that I would have never grown if I had never been through hard times. In fact, I would be a pretty bland person if I never experienced anything bad in life. But it is important to acknowledge that the only reason I am content today is because I have a Savior who helped me through and I allowed him in to do so. Because of this I have become the person I am today, which is a lot better than the person I was yesterday. Because I trust in him, he provides what I need in all aspects of life.
And because I have faith in him, not only will he continue to help me through, but he will give me opportunities to teach those around me about his great love.

So I ask you this: will you trust him to grow your faith in the face of despair? Will you acknowledge his hand in your life? What kind of person will you chose to be?

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Verbal and Emotional Abuse… the Damage Left Behind

This speaks so directly to what I’ve experienced! And sadly it is so very true- this type of abuse leaves invisible wounds that only those who experience it can see and feel. But those invisible wounds lead to suicide, doesn’t that make it just as real?

The Abuse Expose' with Secret Angel

Thoughts of these abuses have been repeatedly coming to me the last few days. The problem is that so many people still do not believe that verbal and emotional abuse is significant. They think that unless bruises are evident then the abuse was not relevant. However, these people are so wrong! Most of these abuses are hidden from view but they are still there and the victim not only hears the hidden meaning, but they feel the stabs of these wounding words…

Verbal and emotional abuse…
keep coming to my mind.
But many don’t believe…
the damage left behind.
But words can build up…
or words can harm.
And many are spoken…
with deceptive charm.
With abusive daggers…
hidden deep beneath.
It’s the abuser’s ploy…
of hidden deceit.

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Bandaged

I’m no expert, but in my experience when you’ve lived through trauma, especially in childhood, it never fully heals. Sure it gets easier, and you find ways to cope and it doesn’t bother you every day, but there will always be triggers you live with for the rest of your life. I had to deal with a major trigger yesterday, and it shook my world. It can be all consuming when something sends you back into your instinctual reactions of fear, pain, and stress. You revert to your survival mode, the tactics that got you through the abuse as a kid. You know the answers of how to get out, yet you fight with yourself to pull out of survival mode and back into life.

Yesterday it felt like the carefully placed bandages on my heart had been ripped off, exposing all the wounds as if they were brand new again. I felt the emotions I grew up with, and remembered why I work so hard every day to outgrow them, and to ensure my kids don’t end up with the same wounds. Not too long ago I remember on days like these asking myself “how do I snap out of this?! What can I do to stop this?” And sure enough, yesterday I did the same thing. Only this time, I was strong enough to remember the answers when I needed them most.

So how does one “snap out of it”? First of all, and this has been hard for me, you need to be patient with yourself. For all those out there supporting someone who has survived trauma, having family and friends who are incredibly patient with you, that allow you to get your emotions out in a safe place is an invaluable gift! You might save a life by gently asking someone you are worried about how they are (I would suggest prayer first, given each individual’s needs and timing is different).

I reached out to family and friends who I knew I could trust, and they helped me through the day. The absolute worst thing you can do is bottle up your emotions and hope they go away (in my experience this leads to extreme depression. don’t do that!) For me, I fight myself tooth and nail to open up to someone about what I’m feeling. I am getting better at it, but it will probably never be my instinctual reaction to say “I’m hurting, and I need to talk to someone”. I had 2 awesome sister-in-laws step up to the plate for me yesterday, they asked and I let them in. And let us not forget my husband, who was the first one I called, who stopped everything at different intervals throughout the day to make sure I was OK.

If you have access to a professional therapist or counselor, call them! Unfortunately at this time I do not have access to that, but that doesn’t mean I am going to give up on everything. I have found other tools that work to get me back in a good place. It’s not impossible to get through this without a professional, though it is always a good idea to have that tool if it’s possible.

Though the day was rough, I made it to bedtime and boy was I ready! I was so ready I almost skipped the most important tool I have for healing. I’ve been studying the Old Testament for a few weeks now, and after my ride on the emotional roller coaster I honestly just didn’t feel like I could. BUT I DID, and I am so glad! When I opened up my study manual, this is what I found:

“Can People be righteous if they live in homes where righteousness is not encouraged or where they are persecuted by their OWN PARENTS for being righteous? If so, what would those people have to do to overcome wicked influences?… Abraham grew up in that very situation.” (Old Testament Seminary student manual)

At a point where I was wondering why I had to relive all of this again, This was the reminder I needed. The reminder that I have a loving Heavenly Father who Knows who I am, and exactly what I need. A reminder that all I have to do is ask, reach out, and he will be there in the exact capacity I need him. I finished my study, knelt down and prayed. This was a very sweet experience. As I asked for the healing power of Jesus Christ’s atonement to heal my wounds, I felt the peace that had been missing all day. I knew that because I asked the most powerful being in existence for help, I was in his care.

For someone who struggles with insomnia, falling asleep quickly after my prayer and sleeping peacefully was no coincidence. When I awoke this morning, I felt whole again. I knew that as I slept, my wounds were tenderly bandaged up again, and I was prepared to take on a brand new day full of great things. I knew my Savior stood beside me, that he watched over me through the night, and that he believes in me.

I know that each time I go through these trigger experiences, I gain strength. I don’t get nearly as depressed as I used to, thanks to proper medication and tools I am able to bounce back stronger than I was before. This is, I believe, the reason why a loving Heavenly Father allows us to experience such awful things. Because he knows if we let him in, the trials will make us stronger and prepare us for what is yet to be.

I am so grateful for this experience (but if you talked to me yesterday that would NOT have been what I said). I know that we all have a loving Savior who is waiting for us to allow him in. He knows what is best for us, though as every parent knows what is best for your children often doesn’t align with what they want. I know that if you put your trust in him and are diligent, you can feel the same peace I do. Though you may have had a different experience that I may not relate to, there is one who does. If you are hurting, please, let him in and give yourself the greatest peace you will ever find. The peace he gives is far better than any peace offered anywhere else.

 

Busy

The past two weeks went so fast it feels like a blur. Have you ever felt like life is going 100 miles a minute and all you want to do is slow it down? What happens when the plans you make don’t work out?

I have a tendency to worry about everything when what we planned for our future doesn’t work out. I find it so easy to forget when plans fall apart that my life is in my Heavenly Father’s hands. If something isn’t going the way I expected, that’s because my Heavenly Father has something better in mind.

When I remember this, I then scramble to try to figure out what it is he has in mind (I’m not exactly a patient person). While I truly believe my life is in God’s hands, I also believe I need to do everything I can to diligently seek the solution to whatever problem is at hand. But this is where I allow far too much worry and stress into my life! Add restless nights trying to figure it all out RIGHT NOW before I fall asleep to an already busy life, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

It is in the silent moments (which are rare with young kids!) when my mind is empty and I am calm that I realize how caught up I am in my own drama. These moments tend to come when I pray, and earnestly seek an answer from my Heavenly Father. This is when I realize just how much unnecessary worrying I’ve been doing, and that I really need to just relax and put my trust in God. In these moments, I am rejuvenated and reminded of the big picture. When I’m aware of how much I have let stress take over, it helps me put everything back into perspective and get back on top of things.

So now what? Well, I’ve stopped worrying (for now). I have reminded myself of my priorities, and am ready to resume day to day life without worry. I’m making it a point this week to slow down and enjoy time with my kids. They have a magical view of the world, and when I see it through their eyes it’s almost like the clock stops (until the dishes need to be done). After all,

“This is Life don’t miss it”

 

Forgiveness

It has been one year on Mother’s Day since I last spoke to my mother. In that time my soul has been grappling with this word. What does it mean? What does God expect of me? How can I forgive while still protecting myself and my family from those who have hurt me, and would continue to do so if I let them back into my life? Can I really let this relationship go? How can I fill the void in my heart where all this anger, hurt and pain is? If they never come around, how will I be able to let this go? Will I be able to return to my Father in Heaven if I do not let my them back in my life? Is it possible to forgive someone within your family without associating with them? What should I do? What is best in my situation?

Continue reading Forgiveness

How I find happiness through Severe Depression