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Posts Tagged ‘Healing’

Pink flower (c) Lynda Bernhardt

Over the holiday season, I have spent a lot of time with dysfunctional family. Let’s just say that I am really missing my (functional) friends right now. It is really hard to spend a lot of time with dysfunctional people. These are people who I love, but I can no longer connect in the way I used to. Or, it is probably more accurate to say that I am now more aware of the lack of connection that has always been there.

When I spend time with my functional friends, we talk about all sorts of things. We can talk for hours about things that don’t matter and, more importantly, the things that do. We enjoy connecting by spending focused time together. Contrast this with my time with dysfunctional family. What do we do together? Watch TV shows and make snarky comments. With one of these family members, we can talk about important things over the phone, but it is all very shallow when we are together in person. It makes me sad.

I am noticing more of the ways in which my dysfunctional family members are clueless about the basics of interacting with other people, and I keep asking myself how they could not know these very basic things (like saying, “Thank you,” when somebody does something nice for you). I have to keep reminding myself that the real question is how **I** now know these things. They are not the ones who have changed – I have.

I find myself grieving, but it is hard to pinpoint specifically what it is that I am grieving. I do not want to go back to being emotionally unhealthy. I am very grateful for my health. However, my emotional health has come with the cost of losing relationships that were once very special to me. I now see how dysfunctional they were, but they were special to me nonetheless.

I guess I am realizing that we no longer really fit into one another’s lives any longer, and that hurts. I have already lost so much throughout my lifetime, thanks to the abuse, and now I am experiencing more losses. But then I have to ask if there was ever anything to lose. The relationships were probably always this empty, but I was just too emotionally unhealthy to see it. So, then, what exactly am I grieving? The loss of innocence about these relationships? The loss of what I thought those relationships were?

All I know is that I have a heavy heart today. I am going to let myself feel the sadness so I will not have to carry it around with me. I know that I only have to hang in there for one more week and then life will get back to normal.

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Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Christmas Tree

+++++ religious triggers +++++

I don’t remember my first 24 Christmases. One reason is because I sat around the Christmas tree w/my abuser each year. Another reason is because I was viciously abused on Christmas Eve when I was 7.

I have always been somewhere between indifferent to Christmas to downright hostile towards it. However, the one Christmas song that I really like is O Holy Night.

I wanted to share some of the inspirations I get from this song so that you, too, can find some solace in this wonderful song.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Spirit felt its worth.

For my entire life, I have laid buried under the aftermath of my abusers’ sin, and I have been pining for relief from the shame. It was through God that my spirit finally felt its worth. Before this, my spirit had felt completely worthless. What a great feeling — to finally feel that my soul has some worth!!

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

I had grown so weary under the burden of my past and shame — shame that wasn’t mine to bear but nevertheless burdened my shoulders. But I now feel a thrill of hope because a new and glorious morning is breaking. There is light at the end of this tunnel of healing. The darkness will yield to the glorious light of freedom from my lifetime of bondage. I am already seeing the first signs of the approaching dawn.

The King of kings lay thus lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.

Jesus was born to be our friend in the midst of our trials. He was there when I was being hurt, grieving mightily that such evil could be inflicted upon an innocent child. And as my heart and spirit fragmented into a thousand pieces and bled in places that nobody could see, He was the one binding it up, trying so hard to stop the bleeding.

He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,

God knows what we need. He knows exactly how we were broken, so He knows exactly what needs fixing. He knows where our weak spots are, and he knows how to reinforce them. Only He truly knows the gravity of what we endured because He endured it alongside of us. Only He truly knows how badly our souls bleed.

And he doesn’t hold our weaknesses against us. He doesn’t judge us for them. He wants to deliver us from our weaknesses and stop the internal bleeding.

Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.

God has the power to break the chains that bind us. He will stop the oppression in our lives — the oppression of the past that never seems to go away. Through God, we can truly break free from the chains that bind us and no longer live an oppressed life.

This hymn is very personal to me. It is my proclamation that I will survive this Christmas and I will thrive. A new day is dawning, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!!

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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Light shining into cave (c) Lynda Bernhardt

This is something I wrote almost exactly three years ago.

***** religious triggers *****

I have discovered that the secret to healing is learning to love yourself, but that is easier said than done. Some people say that loving God will heal you, but I found that loving God, in and of itself, wasn’t enough – I had to be the one to make the decision to love myself. Other people say that you can heal without God, but I found that I couldn’t love myself until I saw myself through His eyes. I believe that we need God to show us the beauty of who we are, and then we need to embrace His view of ourselves as our own.

I believe that, when our abusers hurt us, they metaphorically cover our bodies with ashes. When we look in the mirror, we see the ashes of our shame – shame that isn’t ours to bear – when all the time we are royalty underneath. It is so hard to believe that we are anything other than dirty because that is what is reflected back to us in the mirror – a mirror tainted by our abusers’ lies. No matter how many times other people tell us that we did nothing wrong, our reflection in the mirror keeps us from believing it.

But we are royalty underneath. We are innocent. Nothing that anyone ever did to us changes who we are underneath, no matter how many ashes are heaped upon us. God sees who we are underneath the ashes, and He has the power to show us our pure and clean reflections in His mirror of truth. That reflection is waiting for each and every one of us, but we have to have the courage to look. And once you see yourself the way God sees you, it’s easier to love yourself. It’s even easier to like yourself. Because you are not the ashes that your abusers heaped upon you. You are the untainted royalty that lies beneath.

Photo credit: Lynda Bernhardt

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