“I’ve never said this before, I’ve never opened the door so high, no one else is around, there is no good reason for me to hide…I just wanna be real”
Chris August, “I Want to Be Real”
Writing a blog is an interesting experience. There are constant questions regarding what to share and what not to share. What if I over-share? Are the descriptions of the story too graphic? There is still so much to say. Some things you will read in this particular blog may shock you—it may not. You need to know that I have fought this one; I have prayed about it and I have fought it again. And, yet, here we are. If I actually manage to hit the “publish” button, I will probably try to figure out a way to undo it. I will share some information in this blog that may cause some folks to cast judgement; and, well, you can’t win them all. I hope their love for me will also create a respect for my transparency. When I asked a friend, if I should publish this is what she said: “isn’t the point of your writing to minister to all hurting people? You’re story is rooted in abandonment but hurt is hurt. Hurt people hurt, but healed people heal. Your words are healing.”
When people ask my “how did you get through this?”, I often don’t tell them the whole story, because the fact is I occupied some ditches for a long time. I haven’t always been the way I am now and I think it is important that you know the whole story, so that you get a picture of the miraculous healing that really has occurred.
I have deviated from the chronological order of my domestic violence story. This blog has become bigger than domestic violence, so oftentimes I will flash back because the reality is surviving domestic abuse is very similar to surviving child hood abuse and abandonment; so, oftentimes these blogs intertwine the complete body of trauma in my life.
If I am being honest, I have gotten to the point where I don’t like writing these blogs. The reason is simple. Even for a short time, my mind goes back to painful days and the very thin scar, that has been so slow in healing, begins oozing as I write—yet anything else would be disobedience.
I am still shocked by responses to my blogs. “Brave” is the word most often used, and I have said it before, I am so flattered, but it just doesn’t feel brave. But maybe I will receive it for what it is. I need to respect the organic response that my readers experience. My story is the type of story that the majority of people keep hidden. Survivors move on with their lives, oftentimes in shame, and they get through their days living only a fraction of the life they could live. Though violence may have ceased, the repercussions still destroy, stealing souls little by little, like a thief in the night. I have chosen to share my story, I have chosen to get help, and I am living a life full of constant healing therefore giving me an abundant life. Sharing this story bears responsibility—and it is not a responsibility I take lightly. So, it is important that you know all of the story, not just portions of how I got from “there to here”.
“There’s too much at stake, I don’t care if I break, I just wanna be real”. Chris August
There is a lot at stake either way for me. If I tell you the story without some of the details because of guilt, shame or pain, I am not being real.
The days, months and years before healing felt impossible for me without finding a way to numb the pain. I had never learned any coping mechanisms as I was always in fight or flight. I would do anything to dull the pain. I had reason to have pain pills around when I had a major back surgery years earlier, and I found something I liked about those pills. Magic. Not only did my back not hurt, but neither did my heart. This is how I got through the final years of my marriage. Most of the time I would work all day, take a handful of pain pills at night, and those magic pills did their jobs, they took away the pain, giving me a reprieve for another day. Getting divorced did not make that affinity—that desire to numb—go away. Most domestic violence and child hood abuse survivors never beat the demons of addictions.
“When I am not chasing demons, there are demons chasing me”—Kenny Chesney
I chased mine, and God did it hurt. Once I dedicated myself to counseling, I began to learn coping mechanisms. I had accountability and the support system I needed to feel the pain, so that the pain could be healed. Not unlike a physical injury, most times it has to get worse before it gets better and that is exactly what happened.
I have mentioned a few times a book that my friend Cheryl lent me called “The North Face of God”. Days after I totaled my car, she picked me up for school. It was late summer/early fall and it was dark outside. I got in her van and she turned the light on in the car and held up this book with one hand and the other in the air as if to indicate to me that it wasn’t her intention to invade my physical, or emotional space. “I want you to read this book, when you are ready.” I think Cheryl thought that the suggestion would back-fire instead I read the book in less than 24 hours.
There is a part of the book that tells of a story of angels and healing pools. People would stay around the pool for days, weeks, months, years to receive healing from the angel.
A important doctor, was there to find healing for his wounds. The angel did not heal him. The questions came, “why, don’t you know how many people I could help if I didn’t have this affliction?” This part of the book resonated with me because I felt the very same way. This was at a time (about 3 years after I left) that hits kept coming from everywhere. And this, this was my crisis of faith.
The angel responded to the doctor: “your power is in your affliction, where is your power without your wound?”. In my own copy of that book, it is underlined, it is circled, it is highlighted and it is a very worn page. Still though, at that time, I was not convinced.
But, in truth, those wounds are why I am able to write today, and yesterday and whatever may come tomorrow. The wound, though so painful, is power—and I do understand the gravity of that.
I share my crisis of faith with you for no other reason than for you to understand that I had one, in fact, I had a significant one. Oftentimes I couldn’t bring myself to speak, so I would sit up late at night and write in my journal. I’ve hesitated to share my letter to God with you; but then I remembered, again, if I don’t tell you the whole story, I am not being real.
“There is too much at stake and I’m tired of being fake, I just want to be real”
“Throwing down words I don’t fully understand, I could be talking to myself but I don’t think I am, because God, I just wanna be real”—Chris August
I don’t think I really meant it when I said whatever you wanted was cool with me. I hate that everyday is a struggle and that most days is just about getting to the next.
Haven’t I done enough?
Haven’t I surrendered enough?
Haven’t I been hurt enough?
Haven’t I loss too much already?
Why tease me only to break my heart into a million little pieces?
Why was my husband so awful and will I ever recover?
When will people stop dying or leaving me?
When will I be able to receive comfort without having to give up something in return?
How long can I go on speaking the words, that You are always there without questioning them myself?
Why did you build me up to tear me down?
Where is this peace You speak of?
Why don’t I have it?
Why won’t you at least let sleep come at night?
Why do things change?
Why won’t it stop hurting?
Why can’t you just listen?
Why can’t you throw me a bone?
Will you come meet me in this precipice of life and death?
What did a 7 year old kid do to deserve that kind of abuse? Why didn’t you stop it?
Where were you with every punch for 12 years?
And why, why, won’t you let me just go? Your hold on me makes me miserable. It makes me mad that I can’t just go live my life and put this behind me.
What have I done, O, God, what have I done? Why are You silent?
Nothing can separate me from You, so why do I feel so lonely?
Lord, I feel like she just left me and he just hit me. All I want to do is sleep. I want the pain to go away. I do not know how to deal with this pain. And frankly, I am a little mad at you. I flip through Your Word looking for something to help, and it’s hard to believe it; it’s hard to find it; it’s hard to believe in the unseen. I have never blamed you for the things that happened, but I am confused why You are silent now?
At the end of the day, I do want what you want, but Lord, this is a desert place. I am at a cross roads, either with a choice to completely surrender to You or to abandon You, meaning that I would abandon everything I have ever learned, believed or taught about You. The fact that I feel this way about You right now terrifies me.
Please show up in a way that we humans deem miraculous when in fact, all you have to do is wave Your hand. Please wave your hand, Lord. Please heal me.
Very much like the doctor in the healing pool—I want to know why You haven’t healed. And then I got it. My power is in my wounds.
I do not pretend to understand You. I desire to understand You, but I don’t really know how to do that.
Lord, I don’t know how to surrender. Take this from me, please? Erase painful memories. Please teach me how to make You my everything. Please teach me the concept of constant abiding. Please write Your name on my heart so when the doubt comes back, it is branded; branded with my God who is more than enough.
Thank you for Your word. And even though I don’t understand You, I know You showed up here with me today.
Father, I pray that you would be my dad. I pray that You would speak. I pray that You would comfort me. I pray that You would heal me. I pray that nothing else in life would matter. I pray that I would live with reckless abandonment. I pray that I would live this way BECAUSE I don’t understand You. You are my King, You are my only hope. I beg that you come hold me, Lord. And that nothing else would matter.
Forgive my anger. I sure don’t understand any of this and for the first time ever am willing to admit that. But no matter what, I always come back to the same thing, You. I just don’t always know what to do with that. I am not used to anything or anybody sticking around. If you do not choose to heal, I ask that there would be power in my wounds.
Reading this from 3 years ago is surreal. I look back on this prayer and find God to have heard my prayers. He has given me wholeness, peace and healing. I understand the gravity of this responsibility—speaking to you, but I’m hopeful that my readers will understand it is okay to go to the wood shed with God, he can handle it. There is a lot of pain in the wood shed; but there is also a peace that comes from the conflict being over—even if it still hurts. My prayer to Him now is to make my wounds burst forth with power, so that my story—the one HE wrote is miraculous and should be shared with the world.
So, I will continue to ask questions, as you should. Don’t beat up on yourself if you, like me, had to find an unhealthy coping mechanism, just know that there is hope. He will heal you; and then your wounds will have power too.