Because of God’s ongoing grace in my life, I get to write to you every week, and I love this privilege. You didn’t just stumble onto this blog, even though it may seem like it. :) With God in control, there are no coincidences. I pray for you, and truly desire to connect with you in any way God lets me. But more important, I want so badly to show you, through my experiences, that Jesus is our solution. He is the Restorer and Healer. I do not know where you are in life, but God the Father does, and I hope so much to encourage you to keep going! Having said this, what God wants me to share with you is often the things people don’t walk around sharing. It’s been over a week since I’ve posted anything because I’ve really wrestled with this one. I know I need to “go there” with you, or perhaps with someone you know, as God has consistently kept this on my mind and heart this last week. One of my biggest temptations is to isolate - to stay out of the way. To stay quiet, unless I’m in a safe place, so I don’t later regret what I said when I get home. I am not an introvert, but I have kept myself on a very tight leash and, when I have said or done things that aren’t okay (in my mind), I have often physically hurt myself. This is not something I threatened, or used as a cry for help or as a means to manipulate someone. Others haven’t known. Self-harm has been a personal thing for me, and a very wrong reaction I never thought I‘d speak of until recently, out of necessity.
I’ve hurt myself as a harsh reminder to “stop messing up” when I don’t understand what’s going on or what a person meant or said, and again, letting the enemy beat me up about it to no end. This is a learned behavior, and it is devastating to see and hear of an ever growing number of others who have adapted this as part of normal life for any reason. My self-inflicted consequences do not fit my “offenses,” but I have been in many situations where I was out of control of the consequences, and they have not fit. I didn’t know this at the time, however. I absolutely did not know. This learned reaction started when I was a young girl, but as I got older, I really believed I deserved to be at least verbally condemned for “my stupid mistakes.”
I have been “a cutter” since before cutting was as well-known and people, especially teens, used it as abusive behavior. When numbing out from not eating was not enough for me to forget or stop thinking abusive thoughts, I went further, and I have been so ashamed. This has been a tough thing for me to let God heal, and it’s been hard to forgive myself. It is, in my opinion, the epitome of self hate without actually committing suicide. When I look back on this as not too distant of a memory, I was punishing myself for failing at being here. I have endlessly apologized for being a mistake or for being a freakish accident, and I try very hard not to do that anymore. Hear me on this please… God created you and me for big things! He created us for Himself, and know that sticking with Jesus and being close to Him is no dull ride! It’s healthy discipline in the midst of amazing love.
One of the most difficult aspects of self harm to share with you is that it grieves Jesus. If you have asked Him to live in your heart, as I have, He lives in you. Our heart is His home, and I have cut, with harmful tools, words of hate on what He created for Him… not for abuse by my own hands or anyone else’s hands. When our daughters, our precious girls, were little, they would kiss my “ouchies,” and I would die on the inside because they saw their mommy’s feelings etched on the outside of her body. It’s what and how I felt, and, after I would hurt myself, I would feel vindicated, but only for a moment! The feeling did not last, and I would be devastated, as if a new result would have come from an old behavior. Didn’t happen! I just know I’ve wanted the mental pain to go away so badly I didn’t care that I cut; but my tolerance to the pain only grew and so did my problems. They grew, and God saw my anguish and said…”choose me to heal the pain my sweet girl!” “Choose me! I know what you are going through in the mind I created for good things. You can only remember the bad at this moment but, if you will just let me hold you for a moment, I will ease that pain! I am greater, and I love you, though your choices reflect you do not know and believe this!” “There is therefore no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus….” (Romans 8:1)
Whether you cut, or binge, or purge, or abuse yourself, or surround yourself with abusive people, abuse any substance, or have even contemplated or attempted suicide... Jesus wants you to know He loves you. His love is so great He died on a horrible cross to purchase your rescue out of the depths of sin and failure. So I am asking you to do what I will never, ever regret doing. As I have shared in other posts, I surrendered and came to the end of myself – the end of trying to understand and control my punishment with anything but love from Jesus. My views on self-punishment were wrong and complicated. The first scripture God brought to my heart after my confession of needing His help was this: “Humble yourself, therefore, under God’s mighty hand that in due time HE will lift you up. Cast all of our cares on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 4:6-7) He cares and has sat with me on my cold bathroom floor so many times when I desperately wanted to cut words of hate into my body. He knew this, and He helped me see a way that would not lead to more shame. How does this happen? Crying out for God’s help, as I know the cutting won’t solve anything, and asking Him to show me what He feels about me. I humbly place myself under His authority; not under the enemy’s authority, or the “weapon in my hand’s” authority, and not under the authority of my feelings. God’s authority. Even now, when those thoughts come to my mind, I take them captive and tell them to go away, in Jesus’ name!
It takes work to get better. I do not have the energy to ask God over and over why some people recover more quickly from their addictions, behaviors and feelings. I want to choose to be thankful that I am here and am not alone in my fight. I want to know Jesus more and more. He is becoming that safe place and person I’ve longed for. I want to choose Him because I love Him beyond the hurt, the pain, the restriction and cutting. God knows how this can be accomplished, and He knows I didn’t get as sick as I’ve been in a flash. He also knows it’s been quite a journey to get to where I am now. My response today is to obey and let my Father take care of me. My good days are deliberate…no doubt…because He is helping me to consciously rely on Him for every single thing, and I would not trade this life He is giving me. Our little girls are now not so little. They are precious and merciful teenagers, and they know their Mom does not have it all together, but my utmost prayer, is that they are seeing Who does.
Although simple, maybe you and I could think of this song today. Love to you!
“Jesus loves me! this I know, For the Bible tells me so; Little ones to Him belong; They are weak, but He is strong. Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, Yes, Jesus loves me, The Bible tells me so.” by Anna B. Warner