Some of us grow up — or end up — soaking up the wounds of those we love. We may have found the inner strength in those moments to carry ourselves through. But, there will come a time to remember. There will come a time to heal.
I was standing in the toy store aisle.
I didn’t know what to do.
It was going to be our last visit together, after my parent’s divorce. But, I didn’t know it at the time. I was a little girl.
My father wanted to buy me a toy. But, my mother didn’t want me to return home with one. I wasn’t supposed to take anything from him.
So, I told him I didn’t want anything. I was okay.
But, I wasn’t.
It’s funny how the most terrible memories of the past can smooth out over the years to simply become a story you tell yourself. It’s a familiar scene that unrolls every now and then. What he said. What I said. How the floor of the store shimmered under the gloss of florescent lights. How happy my little sister was, picking toys off the shelf, like she won the lottery.
But, I never realized all the emotions I felt at that moment could be frozen inside me. I am learning that some of the stories that I’ve merely viewed as childhood memories are still live events — behind the steel trap door of my heart.
No, I haven’t buried them.
No, I haven’t forgotten about them.
I’ve simply moved past them.
By being strong.
By growing up.
By depending on God — in the sincerity of my heart — to move myself further away from the little girl in me. Who was afraid. Who didn’t know what to do.
But deep inside, that little girl is still there. Deep where I’ve never had any need for fear, confusion or neediness, there is a part of me who very much alive: the girl in me who carries my father’s wounds.
You can’t see that part of me looking on the outside.
I certainly didn’t.
The Right Thing
I started remembering — the look in my father’s eyes.
“Daddy can’t be with you anymore…” His voice stumbles. His head drops. I notice how straight his hair is parted to the side, as he crouches low.
I start to feel very nervous. It doesn’t feel right somehow. Him. So low. So close. Too low. Too close.
“Daddy just… wants… to…” He starts to choke back tears. Swallows hard. Looks straight into my eyes. I see pain.
He struggles to finish his sentence. Tries again. “Daddy… just… wants to… buy you a toy.”
I can’t tell you exactly what was running through my mind.
But, I know how I feel right then and there. Thickness fills my little body from the top of my head down, dropping down through the beating heart in my chest, to the bottom of my feet.
I feel trapped.
I don’t know what is the right thing to do anymore.
I am afraid.
What should I do? What will happen if I did one thing — or the other?
Who will happen to him? What will happen to her?
What will happen to me?
As I stood there at the checkout register, with my father pulling out paper bills from the wad of cash he kept in his pocket, I felt frozen again. Fearful for what would happen after my ride home in his olive green Nova with the peeling roof.
I didn’t want him to pay for our new toys with his hard-earned cash.
But, as he placed the plastic bag of toys into my hands and tried to reassure me, “It’s gonna be okay… It’s gonna be okay…”, I knew it wasn’t going to be that way at all.
I am learning that day I took that plastic bag was also the day I began to carry my father’s wounds in my heart. These weren’t wounds he inflicted on me. They were ones I saw opening up in him.
These were wounds I tried to avoid by taking that toy back home with me.
These were wounds I wanted to soak up in me by my doing the right thing.
Things didn’t turn out okay that day.
Even though I tried to do the right thing.
As I walked through this memory, with Jesus in the picture now as a grown up, I discovered a heart-altering realization.
I know, Bonnie. Jesus whispers.
I know this wound, Bonnie.
What do you want me to do? I ask Jesus.
You don’t have to do anything.
But, what do you want me to do? I ask again.
Stay. Here. With me.
Please. Do s-o-m-e-t-h-i-n-g about this. I’m begging. I’m desperate to do something.
Tell me to do something about this feeling of restless helplessness. I want it to go away.
Let me. Stay here. With you.
“Why can’t I just let old wounds die?” I cry out.
Because they don’t.
Wounds don’t die.
But, wounds can healed — if we make the choice — to face them with Jesus.
Our tender Jesus is never closer than that very moment our wounds become alive.
His love for our private feelings of helplessness and shame never surge deeper — as He holds us with deep compassion, heart aching and hating every moment of our pain.
Jesus hasn’t forgotten our wounding.
Jesus hasn’t stopped loving us since.
Running Into Her
I don’t know if this story I’m sharing reads like a foreign tale from a land you’ve never visited. There’s a part of me that feels that I’m the only one. But, if perchance you find yourself like me — running into that little girl in you who is feeling —
between the right thing to do — and the reality of an overwhelming difficulty, painful relationship or heartbreaking loss —
I want you to know that I am right alongside you — treading this water of perplexing circumstances that have placed you in front of your wounded self.
I am reaching out to you today, with a smile and many tears. To say Jesus is next to you. He is next to me.
And I want to encourage you.
I once believed the evidence of faith was having hope when the burden of carrying pain crushes our souls.
But, I’m discovering faith is equally flowing — maybe even more so — when we can fall into the arms of Jesus when we do feel hopeless — in order to know that the little girl in us can be safe and will be rescued.
For sure, this is path of faith and healing is hard and long. Especially for someone like me who has been so good at being adequate or at least, having plans in place to avoid otherwise.
Free to Remember
Is this such a time for you as well? Maybe like me, you find yourself unable to forget.
Maybe like me, Jesus doesn’t want you to forget.
Jesus wants us to be free to remember —
the wounds we have carried,
the wounds we have survived,
the wounds we have kept hidden.
We can be free to remember, so that we can be comforted. And to comfort each other.
He wants to say to you and me —
I know what you’ve carried.
I’ve loved you completely.
Even back then.
I haven’t forgotten.
You can be with me.
“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
Though she may forget, I will not forget you!
See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.”
~ God, Isaiah 49:1, 6, 15
Where are you with God on the journey of healing?
Let’s whisper prayers for each other as those who can, share below.
Share a bit of your story? Click here to comment. I’m truly grateful for your voice here.
(Psst… Friends, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to each of you for sharing your tender stories of faith through pain on my (in)courage post last month as you posted comments. You’re all so courageous. You have encouraged me so much on my journey of faith. )
By Bonnie Gray, the Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith for everyday life.
Join Bonnie at her blog as she journeys ahead with faith friends along the way.
Photo credit: geordieallenman via photobucket.com
Leave a Comment
Lisa H says
You are not alone, not even close! I am also that locked away little girl behind a very large steel door. I grew up knowing to keep her locked away because it was better that way. People just don’t understand. Or so I thought! I got the message from my mom all the time of ‘don’t tell people what happens in this house’ and so it all began. This lifetime of learning to hide my feelings, being afraid of telling people what was really bothering me, hiding from my parents my thoughts and feelings because it wasn’t allowed to be discussed.
No, Bonnie you are not alone in this.
I had to go in and face that little girl behind the steel door in order to find healing. I hit a brick wall in my adulthood and I couldn’t keep moving. It was as if my legs finally crumpled under the weight of all I had carried throughout my life. God was right there when I fell down and stayed down for a long time. He already had sent a friend into my life prior to this who was helping me deal with other things and knew she would stand beside me through this. I didn’t understand his timing of course, why did I have a break down over my mom at that time? Life was finally going to be looking up after my divorce but then I was faced with all the old baggage from my childhood. Why didn’t he just give me a little time to breathe before hitting me with all that? Because he knew, I think, that if he did I would have gained enough strength by taking a little breath to be able to keep hiding behind the steel door. I was spent, had no more energy or reserve left in me to fight the emotions and so this was when He could move in and really do his work in me.
Healing is hard, painful, heart wrenching, and just down right hard to do but God is beside you and he is holding your hand saying to you that you do not need to be afraid Bonnie. Let him work, give him the space and the time he needs to do what he needs to do in you. Be open to doing what he needs you to do to aid in your healing. It is all completely worth it when you finally open up your eyes and see that you are still here, this didn’t kill you, you can take a deep breath again, and then the best part is that you begin to notice there is this place in your heart that begins to fill again with love you never knew possible.
Oh, I still have a steel door in my heart and I know there are things behind that door I don’t like but the difference is that now I’m not afraid of those things because I realize they cannot hurt me anymore. He is letting me remember more and more at small steps and I realize I am not that little girl, I am a grown woman who has a voice now and I can use that voice to calm that little girl inside of me and let her know it will all be okay.
I would love to sit and coffee with you sometime Bonnie, I feel like I know you through these posts etc. You feel like you are a longtime friend who I could just pick up the pieces with even after not seeing one another for years.
Beth Williams says
Praying for complete healing from past wounds! May you feel the warmth of God’s arms around you with His healing touch of Love, grace & mercy!
Joseph cantone says
After so many times of living in my past and hurting, the Lord told me ”Dont go
into the past theres nothing there it doesnt belong in your present.”
Bonnie, I’m so, so sorry. Thanks for being real. As Dan Allender writes, “We must tell our stories, or our stories tell us.” I just blogged about this very thing… not divorce, but sharing our stories so we can heal. You’ve done just that. And that verse from Isaiah – it has been my all-time favorite for 15 years! Hugs to you.
I don’t feel ready to share right now, but wanted to thank you for sharing your story. Something I needed to hear today.
I have a story. I need Jesus there.
Rosevine Cottage Girl says
I am praying for you **hugs**
Thank you for this–your words “We can be free to remember, so that we can be comforted. And to comfort each other” is so true in my life. I think about some of the things that I’ve got locked away in the corners of my heart. How I keep asking the Lord to remove the hurts, but knowing He’s let them remain to remind me how desperately I need Him–every hour of every day. Knowing that if I forgot, I would forget how much He has saved us all from ourselves.
Leslie Mardenborough says
Thank you for helping me understand why I keep remembering sins and wounds that I’ve finally given up to Christ. I believe that God has forgotten the sins…but I couldn’t even after I learned to forgive myself. I do know that remembering the specifics of being a sinner helps me be less judgmental…but I felt that there was more going on. I’m going to work now at surrendering to Christ’s comfort. Praise be to God!
Hi, Bonnie and Leslie:
Bonnie, thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. I believe the little girl in me has been healed of various wounds, but she doesn’t seem to have grown up. Even with my teenage daughter, I get flustered, timid, and more. I have defense mechanisms such as laughter, that she just really doesn’t like, and I don’t either. It is hard to be taken seriously when one has a nervous laugh. I did have a specific instance when I envisioned that little girl crawling out of a dark place, taking Jesus’ hand and standing tall. That was very meaningful. What of these other issues? I want to grow up; be a woman of God for my daughters, husband, friends and others with whom God wants use me.
Leslie, I like your phrase, “surrendering to Christ’s comfort.” Selah! What does that mean for me? REST in Him. Seek His face, and let Him lead guide and direct. Let His truth prevail in my life.
Lisa, thank you for sharing your heart with us, too. I appreciate theses statements you made: “I realize I am not that little girl, I am a grown woman who has a voice now and I can use that voice to calm that little girl inside of me and let her know it will all be okay. ” That’s interesting using the grown woman’s voice to calm that little girl inside of me… Hmmm? Does she ever grow up? Does one always have a little child inside? That might be good to know. I will pray about that.
God bless you all!
ANGELINA TAN says
I agree that being a sinner helps us to be (less) non-judgmental, as Jesus said, “Do not judge”. By surrendering ourselves to Christ in faith and obedience, we are freely allowing the Holy Sprirt to do His Works through us, sanctifying us over times to be in line to GOD’S WORDS and as planned by HIM; so as to accomplish HIS GOAL for mankind – that is “to be the last Adam in Christ Jesus” and not that of the first Adam.
ANGELINA TAN says
Thank-you Bonnie for your sharing that’s true to every heart that’s crying out for help and release. Your comforting words, encouragement and truth in every crying heart, especially the “ignorant captives of darkness”, brings about great relief, joy, hope in our Dear Jesus Christ and His marvellous, magnificent Works in/through us. PRAISE TO OUR DEAR LORD AND GOD!!
Tara C. says
Wonderfully, inspiring, comforting post Bonnie. Thank you for sharing your heart.
I sooooo needed this today. I’ve been home trying to deal with and address the issues that I have with my upbringing. I’ve realized that, even as an adult, the confrontational approach doesn’t work well with my parents. I work so hard to bring God with me in most things I do, but I haven’t been letting him in to heal these wounds. Well, I’m certainly done trying to handle these things myself!
This is real, and beautiful, and deep. May you be blessed for sharing your heart and your journey. Jesus will use your story to bring redemption and hope to many others.
Thank you for sharing.. Your life your story was just what I needed to read and feel REASSURED of God’s love and His presence ever near.
This one thing I remember from my father’s sermons, “We should never linger long at the site of battles won, or battles lost.” In other words as Paul also said, “Forgetting those things which are behind and teaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.”
I believe Brad, that what Paul said in Philipians 3:13 is true in the context of our spiritual life in pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus.
Unfortunately for those of us who have been abused physically, emotionally, sexually or in any other way, this verse is a stumbling block. It brings much grief and guilt to those of us who have suffered because of someonelses sinful behaviour towards us.
We have an amazing Heavenly Father who uses all manner of people, books and circumstances to help us in the healing process. It can take years of working through great pain.
Our Heavenly Father is in no rush to heal us instantly or quickly. The transforming power of the renewal of our minds is a long process. We would not survive otherwise.
This is not the end though, because we have the Word of God which tells us to forgive those who have hurt us and affected our lives in such a negative way. There are those possibly who will never get to that place of being released from their nightmare.
The Lord alone can help us do what seems utterly impossible. He does not barge into our minds telling us what to do. He gently guides us through the renewing of our minds to that place where the next step is forgiving. What a release! What freedom!
Amazingly because of our experiences we are able to come along side others who need support on their journey towards wholeness.
ANGELINA TAN says
Hi Lilian, i agree with you that it’s very difficult and timely for victims who have been sexually, pyhsically abused, either in words or actions, to forget, forgive and to overcome.
But thank GOD, we have HIM in Jesus Christ who reminds us, “Love your enemies” – including those who has created “an enemy” to us; for HIS Words are proven real and true as we meditate over it many a time to allow the Holy Spirit to “wash and purify” our hearts, souls, spririts and minds. An evident of this cleansing that also brings about comfort, forgiveness, peace and calmness – that is wholeness.
Praying for you Bonnie. Since 2007 Jesus and I have been on a healing journey. As I have faced fear and emotional pain I didn’t think I would survive, Abba has breathed life on my wounds. I am still surrendering daily to healing of the wounds of incest and aftermath. All the while learning our heavenly Father is not like my earthly one. As the layers are peeled back, cleansed, and healing balm is applied the little girl in me can abandon herself to trust God and truly live. Thank you for sharing because it reminds us we are not alone. If we want desperately to end each others pain, and to apply compassion to the wounded then that heart had to come from the One who made us in His image. He wants wholeness for us. He never leaves us. What love!
sitting here after reading your post feeling sick, unable to breathe, hurting so deeply. these hurts we carry, these hearts that are broken, these journeys we are on sometimes are oh so overwhelming. Sometimes i am so weary of this life that i yearn deeply for the day i will be with our Father. i know He can take the things that are painful and allow Him to be glorified in them, but somedays it is so, so hard.
Thank you for sharing such a pain-filled memory. Isn’t it amazing the clarity these memories have? i am thankful that we have a Father who brings healing – -and yes, i am thankful for the scars – the reminders that make us rely on Him, that gives us the chance to share, to reach out to others who are hurting, that keep us humble.
carrying these wounds are hard. having God hold us, wounded, well, that really is . . .priceless.
Forgetting the past is not something we can do if it is affecting our present or keeping us from our future. Our strength lies in relying on Abba’s strength and not our own. Slapping a bandaid on and ignoring wounds is something many Christians do by saying just forget. I think this is such deception, from self and the enemy who wants us stuck in our woundedness. Getting healing from God is okay. You can’t forget what you haven’t faced. I saw the entries about not exploring the past and couldn’t help but comment.
I’ve missed your writing, Bonnie. We share similar backgrounds. You are definitely not alone.
I understand because I know this too…
Your words speak so beautifully for so many of us.
I recently just realized that something I thought was totally healed from my childhood is far from being so. I’m in the process of walking through and working through this memory with Jesus now.
wonderful writer – storyteller – I’m crying as I read this.
I know exactly how you feel. You are not alone at all! I’m a writer, and I find that with each new book I start planning, with each new characters problems, God is showing me something about myself, about my past that I had locked up so tight I hadn’t even realized it was an issue… or had ignored it because I was afraid the pain of those memories might suffocate me if I tried to deal with them. But God used my writing to show me that pain, and show me how to work through it. Characters would give each other advice, and I would realize it was really God talking to me. The hurt is still there, but I’m not ignoring it anymore. I think that’s the first step to healing. Thanks for being so honest in your post. It’s always good to know we aren’t alone. <3
Thank you for sharing, very touching. I feel like it applies to me more than I realize, if that makes sense. My father died of alcoholism, I really cared about him. I know he loved us but he was just a slave to his addiction. Thank you for the reminder that Jesus is there, even in our memories, our hurts, our losses, and that sometimes we just need to imagine letting go and being held in his arms.
I also have a story, I have come a long way –the few who know say—but it still hurts sooooo bad sometimes. The docs say by all rights i should be dead or locked away somewhere–I’m neither. People say i have courage, so brave–not true. People say why aren’t you bitter? -it is God’s grace . There is small, huge place deep inside where i hide the intensely vulnerable little girl. I know Jesus is there with me but there are still times IT HURTS SO BAD!!!! Thanks for writing this…I am in tears….i can’t breathe…I sense Jesus……but it hurts. I still to this day feel “different” than everyone else. I trust NO ONE totally but Jesus. I will stop rambling….thanks for sharing.
*hugs* Don’t worry about rambling here hun, I don’t think any of us mind at all. I’m praying for you.
Rosevine Cottage Girl says
thanks so much for writing…this is like a page off my journal…it helps to know i am not alone…
Your words and the words of your readers really speak to my heart today. For so much of my life I lived in a fully lived present because I understood so well how living in past wounds keeps one stuck listening to my Father’s and brother’s rages and retellung of stories as they drank, I was expected to stay ‘happy’ to keep things looking ‘alright’ to the world while being theirs and those they hurt’s venting board to talk, ridicule, even be physically and verbally abusive to. I hit a brick wall being this exhausted and responsible listener, encourager, caretaker – even having physical tics and nightmares of not being able to put one foot in front of the other to walk, terrors in dreams and waking that I would no longer be able to move forward.
But I did! I moved forward to clinging to hope and faith and learrning to set reasonable boundaries for myself and others! I am now very strong in self care and what constitutes appropriate care of others.
In life I and you may find many more places where people are unkind or unreasonable but it helps to have the faith that God is working and to stay strong.
I carry the battle scars of wounds (not mine) too.
My story is full of twists and turns that I feel my kids aren’t ready to hear. It’s not that I’m hiding out….it’s just not appropriate now.
Thankfully, God has blessed me with the assurance that I AM HIS and not what happened to me.
Every day I thank Him for the life I have now.
Way to go Wanda, tour children need their childhood and a mother. Perhaps one day you may tell them about your story but if your sharing will be from an open and peaceful and loving heart not in the form of controlling or trying to cause guilt or shame or give the burden of your happiness to your children. You are taking this time in your life to be fully present for your children and that is a gift for both of you!
Jen Gunning says
Bonnie, I’m so sorry for that chapter of your childhood, and how it must have been the influence of all the proceeding ones, too. My pain started in my early 20s when my mom, who up to that point was my greatest confidant and faith-model, refused to walk with me through the journey of infertility treatments. She went from being a weekly care-package sender to not calling to see how surgery went or sending flowers when our first baby was miscarried. Even today, some 15 years later, she won’t talk about it or share why she couldn’t/wouldn’t be part of that very critical time in my life. Perhaps if we hadn’t been close, or I hadn’t looked to her for how to trust Jesus at such a heartbreaking time, it wouldn’t have hurt so much. I’ve moved past it mostly now, though posts like this and certain moments in time will bring it back to the forefront of my soul once again. Thank you for sharing, especially the verse from Corinthians about comforting others with the comfort we have received. Many times, when nothing else made sense, I clung to that verse as a way through the darkness, knowing that I was being comforted by my heavenly Father and I would be able to do the same for others some day. Love to you and your healing heart…
Tears are running down my face in buckets. I will keep you and others who have childhood hurts in my prayers. Please do the same for me.
We are on a fertility journey which I have kept from my family. Mostly because I know my mom would not approve. At the center of my bleeding heart as a 38 year old adult is the painful memory of being backhanded while eating my birthday cake as a child and just watching the drops of blood hit my plate in slow motion. I still feel the stinging from the bones in her hand as it hit my nose and broke my septum and hear the harsh words of disapproval that rang in my ears telling me I was a piece of crap. The perceived reason??? I asked my little brother to stop eating the frosting off my cake. The real reason??? My drunken, depressed mother had a bout of anger.
It pains me so deeply that this is my most vivid childhood memory when I’m sure somewhere in there I had a good day somewhere.
As an adult, I can’t think that the looming disapproval and lecture on my moral compass pointing south is at the core of my fertility battle. Deep inside I question how I will be able to break the cycle when I become a mom. Deeper inside, I have a calling to share what we are going through now with my parents, especially my mom because I feel the heaviness of “what will mom say” is the stem of failed fertility.
Please keep me in your prayers as I face this battle, with Jesus at my side, giving me courage to open up and confront this continued judgement I feel.
*long hug* Oh dear sister, know that you are being wrapped up in prayer.
I’m so sorry for your pain. Your identity is in Jesus Christ! He gives tools to help us. Recommend reading Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch and Redemption: Freed by Jesus….Mike Wilkerson. These have been tremendously helpful to me, sister. As well as some counseling. Let the truth set you free. God wants to redeem the years and also transform you.
Jen Gunning says
Oh Kay, I just read your comment. You can see mine just above yours. I’m 38, too, and went through nearly 20 years of fertility troubles, though God blessed us with triplets 7 years ago and today I actually have no fertility problems at all….I have been restored and healed in so many ways as I learned to turn to Jesus and believe in the fullness and completeness of His love for me! Have you seen Nerida Walker’s ministry for infertile couples? I wish I had known of her during my journey (just came across her a year ago.) I have so much more I could share to encourage you. I know VERY well the fears and condemnations that come into play from family members (My mom at one point told me that perhaps God knew what kind of Mom I’d be and that’s why I wasn’t able to get pregnant. Followed up with “Blessings follow obedience!” as if I could obey my way into motherhood. My head was so messed up back then. ) I pray that you’ll stick close to the grace of Jesus and allow Him to guide your emotions, your thoughts, what you take into your mind… condemnation is such a root of many of our physical ailments but it can only exist as a lie now…never truth. Jesus took care of all condemnation for us and gives only acceptance and favor. There are still great plans ready to be unfolded for you! XO
Nan Cameron says
Kay, I pray for you with your battle to have children. That is such a hard thing to go through. I am writing because of your comment that you don’t know if you can be a better mother than your mother. I was abused by my father and ignored by my mother and approached motherhood with the fear that I would put my children through the hell I endured and being determined I would never be like that. God blessed me with four beautiful children and I was able to stop the abuse at me and never pass it on to my children. I look at how beautiful and strong and healthy and full of faith they are and see how I have succeeded and how I could have been if I had had loving partents like that. Jen is right, with God’s help you can be a fantastic mother and I pray that you will get that opportunity. xx
Faith, what a beautiful, real and raw post you delivered today. I found it to be very timely as I have been experiencing some of the very same things you shared…. I even blogged about them on my most recent blog post. It is indeed comforting to know that we are not alone in this journey of healing toward complete wholeness. Thank you for being true and sharing this light of truth with us all. Sweet blessings to you…
Pamela Dempsey says
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. This touched my heart deeply. Waves of my story wash over me. I beg for release at times. I truly hope that joy finds its way into those crevices in your heart. Joy from being rooted in HIM not him. For we all have our missteps. Sending you love. Would you keep me in prayer as well. I could use the extra ones.
Julie Sunne says
Thank you for being so vulnerable in sharing your story of hurt, Bonnie. We all have hurts, many we bury deep, shutting those steel doors so we can forget–but we don’t forget. Healing is so helpful when our pain is shared. I’ve missed your posts. Blessings.
How to let go of that feeling of having to do *something*, *anything* with someone else’s wounds?
How do you move on from a ‘friendship’ where you were emotionally manipulated to believe that you held personal responsibility for their wounds, mistakes, failures?
How do you face this person in court and say “you are not to be trusted as the primary caregiver of your child, you care more about yourself than you do that little one”?
How to move past feeling guilt and regret, wondering if there was anything more you could have done to prevent this tangled mess?
I am clinging to verses about the boundless love and care of our God, I want to choose faith, to let go of fear and trust that He is in control, even here. I desperately want to heal and stop carrying around her wounds. Any advice from anyone who has healed/is healing from an emotionally manipulative friendship would be greatly appreciated. Thank you for your prayers and Bonnie thank you *so* much for being vulnerable here, you are not alone and you have given so many women the courage to begin to peek into these closets we keep so tightly shut.
I have recently come out of a friendship as you have described. The following book has helped me very much: The Emotionally Destructive Relationship by Leslie Vernick. She has a helpful website as well other materials. But the book was a wonderful starting place. I didn’t know there was even a name to all I had gone through and it was devastating to even say the “m” word and the “a” word (manipulation, abuse).
Talking with my pastor and also a female Christian counselor was helpful, where I could talk freely without fear. Also a book called Shame Interrupted by Ed Welch. I was also able to share with just a couple of close friends who held me up in prayer. The relationship has not been restored. At this point, she has not owned her sin and she and her husband left the church which has been very painful. I had sin to own as well where I was looking “horizontally” to have my needs met instead of from Christ (vertically). It has been an incredibly painful lesson but God is merciful. I think it was a co-dependent relationship where I (thought) I needed her (in an unhealthy way) and she needed me to need her.
Thank you so much, knowing that I’m not a failure/weird person to have ended up in that friendship and that I’m not alone helps so much and I will definitely look up those books. I’ve been considering going to a counselor but putting it off… might be time to make it a priority.
I completely know what you’re saying about having a hard time even saying that she was emotionally manipulative/abusive. I still feel that I have to clarify (even to my husband who was *there*) that I don’t think it was calculated on her part. I also come from a family that encourages co-dependent relationships so I would not be surprised if my friendship with her bordered on co-dependency.
One thing that God is showing me is to change my perspective and look at the person I have become since letting go of that friendship, I am a totally different woman. I’m a better friend, a better wife, and just overall a better person. I can still slip into those old emotional habits but it’s the rarity rather than a current, constant reality. I will be praying for you as well as you continue to heal.
Praise God… I’ve been broken……but for a purpose……my good and His glory.
So many “lessons”. God is merciful. And this is a broken world, I remind myself. I appreciate what you said about “slipping back”. I have those, too. Thankfully, they are happening not as often but sometimes it kind of consumes me and I’ve identified that I just want this fixed. Seeing my desire becoming a demand on God. Ugh. God brings me back again to Himself and whispers “be still” and “rest in Me and My love.” Thankful that it’s not about my performance, how well I’m doing or not doing but God is desiring change and growth, but resting on Him and His power as I seek to obey. His ways are higher and better.
Amy Hunt says
Oh, friend! I know this familiar pain so well. So grateful for how He uses it all to grow my relationship and trust in Him!
I could sit and talk with you for hours. I hope someday…soon-ish.
Thinking of you. And praying you peace in these days.
Kerry @ Made For Real says
The feeling frozen imagery. And then those moments trapped in my mind after being locked away in their frozen states. I relate to this so much through circumstances in my life’s journey. Thank you for being real.
Thank you so much. For the past 8 years, I have been on a journey of wound after wound after wound after devastating wound. The most recent has been more of an idol rooted deep in my heart for acceptance from others. I’m tired, I’m tired of the process and want to give up. This post gives me the courage to stay, instead of put on my shoes and run out the door!
Daphne Faccenda says
The little girl in me remembers the father trapped in the glass bottle of alcoholism. My father passed away, but not before being set free from the drinking and was rediscovering life on the other side of the glass. 20 years after his death the wounds from the drinking still hurt, the little girl in me still trembles and shrinks sometimes, but through it all God has remained faithful. His hand steady, his love ever present, and daily healing the wounds I carry. Thanks for exposing your wounds and in doing so revealing God’s glory.Our stories may be different but God is forever the same.
Bonnie thanks so much for sharing. I too have walked through healing with Jesus and it is powerful what He does with our pain. He never tells us to be strong. He carries our pain. There are memories that still make me weep, but every time He wipes my tears. It’s great to have Someone who is overflowing with compassion, filled with love, and who heals our wounds.
I also love that you stated wounds dont go away, but they can be healed. So many times I’ve seen and heard people try to rush the healing process or tell people to forget about something that traumatized them. It doesn’t work that way. We don’t forget, but we can look back and experience less and less pain. Once again, thanks for sharing. 🙂 God bless you.
Thank you so much for sharing your story…i have been blessed by it…the pain of the little girl in me has affected so many of my choices as i have gotten older but i am just now understanding this…Jesus has healed me of other things but in my denial(i am fine) i never gave Him the pain of the little girl…i know that by releasing it to Him i can finally begin the healing!! Praise Him and bless you for sharing…
Thank you for this post. You are not alone. I appreciate your perspective on why we aren’t able to just forget the hurtful parts of our past. I have many and have struggled for years trying to figure out why…when I think I have overcome and prayed through, those moments always seem to creep back in somehow. I thought there was something wrong with me because I could not leave the past in the past. Your words saying that God allowed you to be free to remember so you could minister to others gave me permission to feel without the guilt of thinking there was something wrong with me. I hold no bitterness to the situation. This one thing I have learned in my life…God’s ways are perfect and everything He has allowed in my life that caused pain and hurt, has always turned out for good as I look back. It’s a very comforting thought. He always knows what is best!
I can understand your father’s heart wrenching pain and feelings of helplessness, too, because all he could do was a buy you a toy while his heart was pierced many times over. I don’t know the circumstances or why your mother would not allow you to take something from him. I hope you did get to see him again.
I have family wounds, too. Big ones. I was abused when I was very young by my brother and sisters, who told me about it when I was older and laughed about it! I ended up staying away from my loveless family (all of them) for almost 30 years. When I got to see them again when my mother died, they were still the same, although one of them died from cancer before I returned to AZ. (I’m originally from NY but my son settled here in AZ.) So I decided again, not to deal with them anymore, and realized that staying away from them that long probably saved my life in more ways than one because they would have continued their torture, albeit only mentally and emotionally since they could no longer hurt me physically. Their children are all messed up, too. I have contact with one nephew. He’s told me a lot of the horror I missed. I have a niece who is wandering around Phoenix as a homeless person and have no idea where she is. Her mother, my sister, won’t have anything to do with her. That remaining sister is executor of my mother’s affairs and won’t sell the house my mother had but, instead, put her son in it who blew up the bathroom in his previous home by building a meth lab in it.
God saved me from a lot of this and I am grateful for it. I left home at 18 and had some brief contact with them but hadn’t seen them for almost 30 years. I’m glad I made that decision.
I am also learning to let Jesus into those places of hurt and confusion from my past. I am learning his peace and He is opening my eyes to what grace means.
He surely heals. I love that scripture you posted too. It’s so amazing to know how tenderly He loves us.
I am excited for your book!
Diana Trautwein says
So good to see your by-line again, Bonnie! And this is rich and wonderful and true. Thank you so much. I see so much growth in you as I read these words – good growth, right up through the heart of pain – but good growth. Thank you for sharing what you’re learning with the rest of us messed-up little girls, no matter our age.
Miriam @ a Rearranged Life says
Very good stuff! It’s a fitting preface to my story, how he’s been rearranging through the pain that we live every day!
Although I’m hardly a junkie for heartache, I’m so thankful for his work in us through the pain!!! Thanks for sharing!
Beth Williams says
You have a gift for eloquent writing. Loved this post–thanks for being so open & honest. That’s the one thing I love most about InCourage–Honesty of all writers!
Praying for all hurting people out there! Blessings to everyone!
Bonnie, I journaled some of what you wrote. I found it encouraging and freeing. also one of the comments written by a gentleman helped me so much. Thanks so much for sharing yourself with us today! susan
Bonnie, thank you for telling me this story. I’m still stuck in not knowing what happened – pressed into a little wailing ball on the bathroom floor. Until a few months ago, I didn’t know anything was wrong. My life has been a mess and I thought “that’s just how I am”; never accomplish anything, always quitting, always angry. The LORD has been with me and has recently sent true believers to help, after the many who added to the damage. I am learning that Yahweh is the only true, faithful healer and have found great encouragement in the later chapters of Isaiah. He’s helping me to trust him for everything. I think I am finishing growing up now. May the LORD bless and keep all of you, sweet girls.
Oh Bonnie, It’s like God spoke into your heart and said “write this, this is exactly what Felicity needs to hear”.
I have run smack into that little girl inside me too, the one who’s carrying her father’s wounds. It’s left me a little disoriented and shaken to be honest, because every time it happens I try and bury it a little further, by saying, I AM OVER THIS. I truly have forgiven my Dad, I’m not angry with him, I don’t hate him or anything. But you’re right, there’s still a wound there, that isn’t healed yet.
Thank God for the word ‘yet’. I’m so relieved that it’s not something that I have to live with forever, and that God does offer complete healing, but also that God uses all things for a purpose and that He brings all things together for those who love Him.
As I journey with God, I look forward to reaching a place where I can look back and be free to remember.
Thanks for your post today Bonnie. It’s such a relief to know that I’m not the only one who is going through healing with something like this.
Sharon O says
Powerful writing… and sharing.
We all have a story and part of our healing is sharing it.
Thank-you, Bonnie, for having the courage to share something so personal and so deep. For years I’ve tried to ignore the past, but memories don’t go away, in fact sometimes they can multiply as God place us in various places that triggers those memories. He triggers it not with bad intention to hurt us, of course, He knows we need to deal with those hurtful past out in the open, with Him and with community! Parents can do harsh things with us, how I “envy” those who have good parents!
It is healing to read the many posts that agree and mourn with one another. Such a sweet community, together supporting one another and touching each other’s heart. The Lord is good to bring all these to light. But it is still “easier” to hide and ignore them.
It’s a process, and Jesus cares.
One day at a time.
Bonnie thank you for sharing this story, like many others who have shared here this was I needed to read this today. Have had a lot of thoughts floating in my head after the most recent passing of Father’s Day and haven’t been able to put words to it. Other than know that I need God’s love in the midst of all of it.
thank you for your words
I too appreciate these words, “We can be free to remember, so that we can be comforted. And to comfort each other”. This very thought, the need to tell others so they can be comforted to know that they do not walk alone, pressed upon me recently when, for the first time, I opened and gave my testimony opening and revealing what lay behind that steel door. It was hard, but it did help. And it did seem to comfort at least one other who listened. Thank you for your openness.
Your story is so much like mine. Divorce is like that. I also have hidden my hurts in a place that I rarely visit. Lately, God He has begun to reveal some of those hidden places in my heart that up until now I preferred to ignore their existence. He has given me a beautiful gift. Writing. He fills my heart and moves my pen. When I write, sometimes the scabs of those childhood hurts are peeled off and the blood begins to flow again. Yet at the same time, to address these things as an adult, with the illumination and grace of the Holy Spirit, healing begins. Just this morning I was having coffee with a woman from my church and I was sharing with her about some of the wounds of my childhood, and telling her that while the wounds are not raw anymore, the scars are there. I am grateful for the scars. They are a reminder of God’s healing in my heart and they serve as a platform from which God can reach others with His healing love. It is through the weak things of this world that God is most glorified. He shines brightest through the cracks in our broken vessels. And remember, Jesus has scars too.
By the way, I love the way you wrote that! Beautiful. Thank you.
I have been travelling a journey of healing from fear lately and much of what you have written has hit close to home.
When I was 9, my mother had a severe car accident in the evening. My father collected us 3 girls (I am the oldest) and shuffled us over to the neighbour’s house. I looked into my father’s eyes and not knowing if my mother was alive or dead I said “don’t leave me. You can’t leave us here”. My dad had no choice but to leave us in the capable care of our neighbour. My father looked into my eyes and said “I have to go. Take care of your sisters”. I’ve been carrying around that separation anxiety ever since.
It’s only lately that I’ve realised how impacting that evening was in my life. I’m 27 now and I needed to let it go and give it to Jesus. I am becoming stronger every day as I give my pain to Christ.
I song written by Albert Orsborn says:
When shall I come unto the healing waters?
Lifting my heart, I cry to thee my prayer.
Spirit of peace, my Comforter and healer,
In whom my springs are found, let my soul meet thee there.
From a hill I know,
Healing waters, flow:
O rise, Immanuel’s tide,
And my soul overflow!
Wash from my hands the dust of earthly striving;
Take from my mind the stress of secret fear;
Cleanse thou the wounds from all but thee far hidden.
And when the waters flow let my healing appear.
Light, life and love are in that healing fountain,
All I require to cleanse me and restore;
Flow through my soul, redeem its desert places,
And make a garden there for the Lord I adore.
I have taken this song as my own and I hope it brings you comfort too.
I can’t comment fully here … so vulnerable. I’m just writing to say that I have been re-entering (in response to the inward invitation of Jesus) much pain from my past. I have touched these memories many, many times before, but in this season, He is guiding me deeper yet. I have the blessing of having a wonderful Christian mentor who has walked with me for 12 years now. In this past year I was becoming more edgy. Rarely did the fruit of the Spirit (especially self-control) show in my homelife. I ended up asking my mentor in desparation to help me in a more intensive way. What you have described here is much like what God has been doing in my relationship with Him through my exposure of my heart and sitting with my memories. My dear husband agreed for eight weeks straight to take our children out for an afternoon every weekend so that I could have four hours to myself to remember and reflect and journal and FEEL. I sat in the memories with Jesus and remembered and cried and sometimes yelled and let out so much of the poison that had grown up in me. I am not finished, but we’re on a hiatus from the real intense experience. I can not tell you, but it sounds like you know, the freedom and peace and joy that came from this willing submission to the tremendously overwhelming process of unearthing my pain. I am calm with my children most of the time. I am able to freely serve others — not from guilt or other twisted motives, but because I WANT to. I feel Him more too. That’s not always, but much, much more — I can sense His real care and presence. And, I’m allowing myself to be less than perfect — way less. I’m learning to breathe. God is good. It is for freedom that Christ died for us and He won’t let us settle for less than all of that freedom — the inner freedom. He wants us to have it all — the abundant inner life in Him. And, then the fruit flows outward. Thank you so much for this post. You blessed me in your kindred walk and candid sharing. I pray you are blessed for your courage.
Robin Dance says
You. Are. So. Brave.
To God be the Glory.
My little girl is also a big girl – her wounds happened more from the age 19 to now.
I laid on the floor of my closet last night, as a 23 year old woman, and cried like my toys had been taken away. I lamented. It’s the first time I have truly lamented. and I heard, “you are never alone. Like a candle in the dark, you are never alone.” My Jesus Calling this morning also spoke to me saying, “thank Me for your hurts. thank Me for your trials.”
So, today, reading this story – there are more tears in my coffee cup. I know what it is like to try to be strong and hopeful, to ignore the wound, to cover the wound. To assume that a meek prayer upon waking is enough – when really, it needs to be a big prayer, all day, and mostly it needs to be a complete and utter giving up control to Him.
I don’t normally do this (I like to be in control), but I am asking for my incourage friends to pray for me today. Please pray that I have the ability to relinquish my wounds and my control to Jesus, that my wounds become bearable, that I find peace.
And for anyone else who has a little girl inside, I’ll pray for you too. We can use each other here.
I prayed for you, Chelsie. I understand the wounds. I also know that Jesus brings a sort of healing we never could imagine. It might not feel like the painless healing we expected, but He brings peace and soothes the scars.
May God be with you.
THank you for this post. So honest and it really hit me. When I was 8 my mom took me away for a visit to relatives because she and my father where having marriage troubles. I never saw my father again. He wrote and said don’t come back. Issues enough with that! But what came out as I read your post was the little girl who has been trying to make her mother happy all her life. Even though my mom died almost 10 years ago, she is still in my head and the little girl in me is still trying to make her happy. I’ve spen all my life trying to make her happy by how I thought and behaved… But I’m finally realizing it is not my responsibility to make her or anyone else happy. I can’t do that. I can only focus on my own happiness and allow Jesus to be responsible for everyone else.
I am going to remember this post forever…your words imprinted so deeply and tenderly…a whisper from God…exactly where I am at today…thank you Bonnie…
Bonnie, thanks for your honesty and for opening up painful places in your heart – all for the purpose of continued healing, and also, of ministering to others in their pain. We all have places of deep pain, some with deeper pain than others. Praying that God will surround you with even deeper understanding of His grace and mercy – and that each one of us who reads this will experience the same. All for His glory – and for our good.
Thank you for giving me permission to REMEMBER. I always look at my painful past and try not to. I completely “get” what you are saying and can relate on every level you talked about. Thank you, thank you!
My family doesn’t talk about emotions, especially my mom. We learned over the years not to say anything and to hide our emotions. I learned early not to cry, my dad only yelled louder when i cried. I still have trouble even admitting to having emotions in front of my family, but when I am alone, I cry all the time. Sometimes certain songs or words hit me just right and I’m crying and I don’t even know why. But I think it’s because I have held it all in for so long. God is trying to get me to let it all out, to give it all up, but it is so hard for me to admit to any of the things I have felt or am feeling. I’m so confused all the time, and I just keep saying I don’t have time to cry.
Nan Cameron says
As an abused child I learned to hide the pain away inside. I spent so much of my adulthood admitting on a superficial level that bad things had happened but not being able to admit to them. A counsellor once told me I had been abused and I did not like that. My family always justified the way I was treated as being “my fault” and something I had “brought on myself” and completely due to me, not anyone else. I became the scapegoat to anyone’s bad feelings. They are still like that but I no longer buy into their lies. After my mother died I finally opened up my heart to allow Jesus in to heal the hurts. I am still discovering things, terribly painful things, and my family still try to hurt me by their refusal to accept my decision to distance myself from them
. The most powerful experience I had had in my healing journey is being taken by Jesus to a place where I was two and my mother was doing something terrible to me. I sat in Jesus’ lap and felt His anger at my mother and realised that what they did to me was not OK and that I had a right to cry and feel anger and pain. I have learned to respect myself enough to accept the emotions. My healing journey is being led by God, with occasional visits to counsellors. It is such a wonderful freedom to leave it all at the foot of the cross and realise God did not approve of what happened to me and He expects me to accept that and not approve either. It is hard to trust people, but you can trust God.
Aimee Walker says
I once believed the evidence of faith was having hope when the burden of carrying pain crushes our souls. But, I’m discovering faith is equally flowing — maybe even more so — when we can fall into the arms of Jesus when we do feel hopeless – in order to know that the little girl in us can be safe and will be rescued…
These words so resonate with me. Mine is not a past pain, but a very present pain. This week I have been transitioning my nephew from our home into his forever family. I have spent that past 2 1/2 yrs raising him. It has taken this journey of fostering for me to also realise that faith is not just that confident expectation of good. Faith can exist powerfully in the midst of our brokenness and pain – we do not have to carry it all. Only He really can take the weight of our hurts, losses, broken dreams and also our hopes and future dreams. And that is why falling into His arms and resting in Him is the greatest act of faith, of trust. I shared what God has been teaching me in the midst of this painful letting go in this post – http://onbecomingesther.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/a-personal-moment/ I pray that it might bless and encourage others facing situations that weren’t on their road map. Blessings to you Bonnie as you open up your heart to our Healer and Abba Daddy xx
I don’t feel like my pain will ever go away..I pray to not wake up, but I do. Only to live another sorrow filled day. I just pray it ends soon, I can’t take much more..it’s been over 2 years. 🙁
I am so sorry to hear about the pain and sorrow.
I know how hard this is.
The thing is, Jesus knows, and He wants to help you, heal you.
Maybe you are like I was -thinking that Jesus is part of the problem, or that He caused this or wanted this pain to happen or that He will hurt you more.
I have learned that all those thoughts are lies, taught by my abusers….
I have learned as Bonnie has, that Jesus heals.
He sits with me in the wounds and He loves me, comforts me, He is so safe.
I pray that He gives you hope and peace and the ability to ask Him for help.
Blessings to you
I’m knew here but I couldn’t help but understand where your coming from. I hope by now you have found a desire to go on with your life. Believe me living day day in that despair was the loneliest place to be for me. I expereiced a low in my life that I never had before. Satan had defetently entered into life. I never understood evil until this happened. Everyone turned from me not understanding the battle I was fighting. I turned to God / Jesus their was no one else. Today I’m still healing I still struggle with the evil that tries to control my mind. It’s been going on for 4yrs, but this past 4 months is where I thought life would never change. It does get better with prayer. I watch a religious channel at late night on TV and listen to a Christian radio station 24/ 7. This also helps me along with seeing a counsoler.
Wow! what a hot topic. i am keeping all of you in my prayers as we learn how to move forward despite all the wounds that we have.
I don’t have a relationship with my father right now and my mother is no longer alive and they divorced when I was just born.
I have carried my mother’s wounds for her once she passed and it takes so much out of me. I have found peace in knowing that God feels these wounds, this pain, that my mother is with Him now and that God loves both my parents unconditionally, despite the mistakes they both made, the pain they caused each other and me. I know, after many years of suffering, that they both did the best that they could with what they had and who they were.
I am still struggling but it seems to be getting better as time goes on. thank you for this post and i am happy to be reminded that these wounds are something God is already sharing with Him so I have to remember to share what I am going thru with Him, day after day.
blessings to all of you,
Thank you for your story…that brought on the tears. I have struggled with my relationship with my father for years. Divorce, bi-polar, drugs, alcohol, absence, etc…the list could go on. I have tried over the 46 years to have a continuing relationship with him, ok for a while , but then it deteriorates again and again. Loving him and seeing him like Jesus does is manageable at times and very hard at others. Reading your words made me feel not so alone, so thank you very much! I always struggle with forgiveness and allowing someone back into your life, just to have it disrupt your life (and the others in our family) over again. Always wondering if forgiveness is enough and to let the rest go. Anyway, thank you again…holding on to Jesus’ hand – blessings, Leslie
Bonnie, thank you again for your honesty.
I have never heard the wounds discussed like this outside of a counseling office. I think you are SO on the right track!
In the past I didn’t even think I was truly wounded. I thought I was the one who was messed up…I was the cause of my problems (because I was weak or naughty or ?)…and that I should just get over it. Then I made excuses for what happened. I then learned that children need unconditional love and support and when that isn’t given, there are wounds. So after walking through the memories with a loving support group, I have begun to find healing. I don’t know if the pain ever leaves completely, but I know that the heart does thaw…and after the pain comes the healing.
Jill @ Sweet Diva says
Bonnie, I can’t even put into words how strongly this resonates with me…..it is where I have been for months, asking so many of the same questions of the Lord that you have that when I read your post, I literally got chills along the back of my neck and throughout my body. Struggling with that little girl who is always there, hurting with her memories that I thought I had gotten over long ago, and wondering why the pain is so strong sometimes, and comes so unexpectedly, when I thought I had moved past them.
Thank you for sharing your experiences, your heart, and the encouragement of your walk of faith…..your blog is a blessing.
As I read the posts ahead of me, my heart wept, because there are so many of us who hurt and hide. i rejoiced, because I know God is there with us in our hiding place, and will comfort and heal us if we will hand him our hurts
Thank you for your transparency. I, too, am seeking healing fom some hurts from one who hurts me constantly, but I know God’s grace is sufficient, and he will help me over this. I know it is not easy to write about, and I haven’t done so, because I have fears as well, but I am inspired by your writings to work at letting God be with me. Here. Now. In this.
Blessings to all of you. My community of friends.
Gary D Gray says
thank you for enlightening my heart and soul, may God shower his bountiful blessing on you for being a messenger of his kingdom as I do. Please visit my website to where my songs of faith are located and support my endeavors by buying or downloading a CD
PRAISE HIS NAME FOR LIFE IS SHORT AND WE MUST FILL THE SOUL AS WELL AS THE HEART!
"BUZZARD-BAIT " says
I ENJOY WRITING MORE THAN READING, BUT THE ABOVE COMMENTS KEPT MY ATTENTION & SEEMED TO BE DIRECTED AT ME. HAVING SUFFERED ABUSE, NEGLECT, INDIFFERENCE & ABANDONMENT APPEARS TO BE PASSED ON FROM GENERATION TO GENERATION WITHOUT REASON OR UNDERSTANDING. NOW I REALIZE THAT THE INTENT IS TO DRAW US CLOSER TO OUR CREATER, SO WE CAN ACCEPT OUR SINS, AS SUCH, VOCALIZE THEM, ASK FOR FORGIVENESS, ACCEPT THAT FORGIVENESS & MOVE ON WITH OUR LIVES BY TELLING OUR STORIES & TEACHING OTHERS THROUGH SETTING A POSITIVE EXAMPLE & LIFESTYLE. THANK-YOU FOR THIS ENLIGHTENMENT.
Thank you Bonnie, you are definitely not alone, so many little girls are hiding within us as grown mothers, women who power through life taking care of everything and everyone – but thank goodness, our faith and love we receive from Christ, gives us that peace knowing He understands and we are not alone when that little girl surfaces and cries out.
Thank you for the words and the opening of your heart. Isaiah 49: 15-16 is one of the verses I memorized over the past few month to help me through an unwanted divorce from a husband who is a believer but is being so tricked by the enemy. My heart aches for his complete, 100% body, soul, and mind to be given to the One Who Created him to be a reflection of His image. “My soul finds rest in God alone, He alone is my salvation. He is my rock and my salvation. He is my fortress; I will not be shaken!” Ps 62:1-2
Thank you for your encouraging words. Words of hope and faith. The past few months have been a difficult time for me and yet a time of knowing the love of the Father and hHis ever presence to heal our sad hearts. I lost my 34yo daughter to cancer in Sept of last year. She was pregnant and dying so they took the baby at 30 weeks gestation. She died two weeks later. leaving 6 small children behind. This sounds like a sad story but God provided comfort and healing to our family through our small miracle baby. Hi name is Joshua Samuel. His name means Savior and God has heard my prayers, (his mom named him) His mom got to spend two weeks with him (she was in the hospital and he was too, even on a ventilator because he had premature lungs) She loved God and her prayer was “Lord, God , Father, Savior. Thank you for who You are and all You have shown me and given me. You amaze me that You are sovereign, full of love, graceful and merciful,You know what is to come and You never grow weary, tired or faint. My hope is in You. My joy is in You. My joy is made complete because of who You are. I am thankful there are no surprises to You. ” Thank you for letting me share.
Am 36 years now, but when i read bonnie’s story ,tears were about to flow down my face , my case i that my father died when i was about 5years old, i could see my mother cry bittely but dint realise what was going on, and what hard happened, after afew days, i could not go to school as normal, i could ask my mother, why what i could see is tear in her eyes, i couldn’t ask anymore ,until she started drinking, i prayed and Godiham heard me, anothing was, my uncles , someone could do wrong thing and i was—
Bernard Davis says
I went through a divorce 12 years ago.It about overwhelmed me.It was hopelessness
and every other emotion included.I prayed a lot,and prayed again.
It took at least 4 years to get about past this.It is very depressing all the time.
But i overcomed it through time and prayers.
I have also come from a divorced family. I have 2also step sisters. One which was given up by my mother before she started her family with my father and one who was concieved by my father who was having an affair on my mother while she was giving birth to me. The six of us siblings (all girls) will be attending a family bbq this summer. And we allhave different stories and past wounds. I hope i can keep from making this time we have together a sad emotional time. I really want to be strong and loveeveryone
Nancy McGinnis says
Bonnie, Reading your story helped me so much. I had the same exact happening. Father wounds. Still always feel unwanted and it has made me so sensative about everything. Pray always for the Lord to take it away. I tell the Lord I have so much to be thankful for but the feeling are so hurtful. Sometimes I Just hide to myself. Thank you so much for sharing. Wish I could speak to you over a cup os tea.
God Bless You Always.
Hello and Greetings in the Name of Jesus:
Mine will be 39 years of pain and more pain . Separation from my covenant- partner for 39 years this August 2012. She and I mutually agreed to this insanity in 1973. BIG MISTAKE!!!! The pain never leaves. Other factors are naturally involved.
Just when I believe there is a glimmer of hope it completely fades out. If it weren’t for Jesus I would have committed suicide a long time ago. I have learned that He is the only anchor that I have! Maybe that was what I was to learn from my journey through life. I have a hard head. So maybe it took me a long time to learn this. Sorry to cry on your shoulder. Love you. Thank You. In Jesus” Love…
Flora E. Bethke says
These comments were inspirational & made me see things from a different perspective. My life has been full of nothing, but bad situations that have affected my family & everyone in my life negatively. Abuse, neglect, indifference,abandonment issues have been passed down from generation to generation caused by alcohol, drugs, poor nutrition, surrounding environment, attitudes, etc, etc. Never could relate to the spiritual aspect before, due to lack of teaching or proper instruction & example. I’ve really been soul searching lately, trying to find answers to why all of this has been happening. The connection to my father or both parents & their wounds wasn’t really there. I guess I have always blamed myself & thought of myself as ” a bad seed ” &refused to see that part of this. I am just starting to realize that I have a purpose for being here & do have qualities that would enable me to help others with their journeys, while continuing mine. Just need more encouragement & support than others to give me the incentive & push to get me started. Thanks for enlightening me.
Annamae Sterling says
You are not alone. I too was told not to tell anyone what was going on at home because no one would help. I have also felt ashamed and guilty reading Philippians 3:13 not realising what I experienced was physical and emotional abuse starting as a preschooler when my older sister told me something was wrong at home. I have been working on healing the frightened little girl inside. I have been assured from Godly women who have gone through this and are helping me through this journey that evenually the little girl does grow up. Just keep at it.
I’m 42 and remember the day my dad left home like it was yesterday. I was 11. Want to know what I love about my experience? God used the wounds and hurt I felt as a child to His glory. I gave my life to Christ then and for the past 31 years I have met children, teens, people who end up hearing my testimony and finding hope in Christ’s unconditional love and mercy. They learn to forgive and become testimonies for others themselves. I love the Lord with all my heart and one hardship after another He has proven that He is always there for me…ALWAYS. God bless you!
It was little different for me. I was afraid to be left with my Father and begged my mother to take me. She told me the day that she was leaving that she wanted me to stay with dad so he would not be alone. We all lived in fear of him. I was 12, afraid, and needed my mom but felt that she did not want me.
is all she can write…
Thank you for allowing me to share with all of you. In Christ, the word of the Lord restores me. I am praying for you too.
For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”
Bonnie, Thx for sharing. As many have shared, I had my time growing up with divorce in my family. We left in the evening after I came home from school and left our home to go to another state. My mom didn’t explain why we had to leave with my grandparents and didn’t let me and my siblings say goodbye to our dad. He wasn’t even in town when we left our house. I was so distraught — I couldn’t get it. I was 12 years old and very sad and confused. I thought a lot about my dad, how will he feel if we were not home when he returned and how would he get along without us. It was a long time for me to recover from that “move”. I am in my 50’s now and God has done a work in me and in my relationship with my dad. We are reconciled, but I do feel my teen years were stolen from me because my dad was not with us. God has brought healing to my heart and I have forgiven both of my parents for those years of chaos and confusion. I love Jesus and am glad He is the great healer. God never said that it would be easy in this life but He would make a way for us when there seems to be no way. He is awesome!!
Can people on the internet see what we write? Or those on my FB page?
Rosevine Cottage Girl says
Thank you so much, I needed this right now. You will never know what it meant to me. I am praying for you.
Yes Sheila. You might choose to use a different name to remain anonymous.
Nan Cameron says
Thank you Bonnie for your post. Today my perfect Father in heaven prompted me to explore some freshly remembered pain from my past and my feelings about my brother’s recent toxic behaviour. I spent some time in prayer and then I came to my computer to read my emails. There in my in box was this post. Such an answer to my prayers. You and the many who have left comments have been used by God in such a mighty way to answer my prayers and give me the peace I sought. Thank you.
Tears come inevitably when old pain is remembered. Mine is different again because it was my husband who was killed in an accident leaving me with our son of two months. There’s no actual guilt involved here, except for that which I felt when I got remarried. Somehow I felt I was betraying him. It’s still there 36 years later especially when now there are two grand children he woud have loved so much. But God has been with me through it all, and the pain helps me remember that too.
Thanks so much for your story, Bonnie. God bless you.
Thank you for sharing your real life experience. many are people who have been nursing wounds which do not get healed. Jesus had such wounds at Calvary
One time l was really wronged by my very dear friend.l knew l needed to forgive him but l did not want to face him. I asked Jesus “Jesus l forgive him through you”. That really gave me a lot of peace. Let us remember Jesus is our example and follow His teachings.AMEN
I feel like I’ve walked away from God. I don’t know exactly when, and I don’t know how to get back. I’ve been trying. I’ve told a few friends about this and they haven’t really said anything, but I think that’s because they don’t know what to say. I mean, what is there to say? Anyway, this blog is the first time in a long time that I felt something stirring in my spirit. It reminded me how far I have been carried and how much I have been healed by the One true Healer. I’ll take anything I get can right now and I just keep hoping that I will feel drawn into His loving arms once again. I hope that is soon; I miss His embrace.
You can start over as many times a day as you need to… Reach out and ask God to come to where you are, tell Him that you want to have a relationship with Him. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and come into you heart and into your life. Tell Him that you want to reconnect with Him, that you want to start over, Tell Him that you want to receive His Grace and Salvation and that you want Him to be the Lord and Savior over your life… That you want Him to Show you the way…
Jill James says
My son, Scott died on March 2, 2011 in a sky diving accident. He was 27 years old, He was the youngest of our three children and my best friend. He was an airline pilot based out of Houston, graduated magna cum laude from Auburn University in three years and praise the Lord he loved his Lord and Savior and conducted his life as he felt the Lord wanted him to. He was also an instructor for the airlines and many people said he made a huge impact on their life. We had niot wanted him to sky dive, but at 27 you do not always want to listen to your parents. What I want everyone to take away from this is that through the intense pain and all the many tears I have shed since then, the Lord has NEVER left my side and He continues to walk with me everday, for which I feel truly blessed. Thanks be go God Who loves us so much and give us His peace. I am at peace with where my son is, even though I do not undertand, but I wait for the day when we will rejoice in Heaven together.
The wounds we have survived is the apex in Gods’ precious promise. I grown to embrace his words with the assurance that Jesus is always by my side.
Lisa Hnath says
Thanks for sharing.
I have a childhood wound, too – not so much all in one moment, as yours, but for a period of years, as my father was in med school and then usually busy, drained or non-communicative. Especially the silence was so devasting to me. Somehow, it spelled rejection: I’m not worth enough to acknowledge was the way it came across to me.
These feelings still haunt me, at moments, and your message to let Jesus into the pain wasn’t on my heart’s radar. Thanks for bringing the idea there – along with the timing aspect (it may be a marathon, not an instant fix). It also confirms my sense that what matters most is our heart with God, not our ministry efforts. Lisa
Everyone will encounter a memorable experience, not easy to deal with the scars, depends our Lord Jesus, we may have confidence to face and let Jesus heal for us, thank you for sharing with us your experience.
Your ( In)Courage message really touched my heart.
It really touched the truth of what I am facing as well.
I can relate to your story. I have felt what you’ve felt.
Facing my wounded self, the little girl inside who is
trapped & confused. Mine always wants to leave.
But I am also growing up to be a woman of God
who can look up to Jesus and know that I am loved.
I don’t need to run from myself. I don’t need to hate
myself anymore for feeling not good enough.
Facing my wounds with Jesus is hard but healing is
happening. Slowly but surely. I am carrying a history
of lack of healthy emotional attachment to my mom.
My dad was verbally critical and would take out his anger
in hurting words on my mom and us kids.
I carry a lot of wounds from my dad. I am choosing
to forgive him as well as my mom. Also my three
younger siblings, who took after my dad.
My mom and I are the only true believers. My
dad and sister are double minded and don’t
truly follow Jesus. My two brothers turned their
backs on Jesus. I used to carry a lot of wounds
and was the person that used to absorb the
silent wounds in my family.
I used to carry a lot of fear of their lack of
secure salvation in Jesus. Fear of lossing
them to hell. Now I have peace about Jesus
but trustworthy and I entrust them to Him.
P.S. I meant to type: Jesus been trustworthy
I have read through not only your story Bonnie, but all of the responses as well. I have cried tears of compassion & I have been able to really identify with some aspect in every story. I would just like to say that “little girl” really CAN grow up. Her wounds CAN close, & she CAN feel protected. My life is a testament to that. Yes, I had very deep pain, but our Savior helped me to not only heal, but to surrender & release the pain. Yes, the scars will always be there, but they only serve as a reminder of all that GOD is capable of & willing to do for those who will trust Him. It is a process, but it most definately gets soooo much better. I can honestly say that “I am healed & I have peace” Wholeness is possible & those of you who are trusting GOD will experience it! GOD Bless & keep you all.
I have not only read Bonnie’s story, but all of the stories posted in respose. I would like to add that there IS healing. I walk in healing everyday. Our caring & compassionate Savior is also a healer. When I released the memories & the pain to HIM, HE healed me. Yes, it was a process, but well worth the work. Just keep trusting HIM, releasing & surrendering to HIS process, & you will receive such wonderful results. I can confidently and boldly give the testimony that I AM HEALED. It feels great & it IS very real! Hang in there my sister & brothers. I have received emotional & mental healings, walking trusting, & submitting to the painful proces. It is hard, but you can do it! How? By standing on the Word of God, surrendring daily, & trusting that GOD will NEVER fail you. Keep the faith! GOD bless you.
I too carry my Father’s Wounds, although your story is different than mine, I totally get it. Thank you for sharing your story. I am like you where I find myself unable to forget, but I have never thought that maybe Jesus doesn’t want me to forget and that he wants me to be free to remember. So often I hear “you need to just be strong and get over it” or “It’s over so leave it in the past”. Maybe, just maybe, if I am free to remember then I can be comforted by Jesus in those moments. Now that you have written this I will remember that he knows the wounds I have carried, the wounds I have survived, what wounds I keep hidden from others, and I can start to rest in his arms knowing he has been there through it all with me. It is in this weakness that I am strong.
I would love to see you write more on this topic! God bless you!
Patricia Dekle says
When I clicked on Dayspring in my inbox and read the breif header my knees almost buckled beneath me. Tears welled up so fast I couldn’t finish reading the information. You see, what you have experienced as a little girl, confused, torn, and hurt, is exactly what my precious 11 yr old granddaughter is going through now. Her mom is bipolar, with mild psychopathic and narcissistic tendancies. She is alienating H from me and threatening to do the same to her dad. Nothing I can do is right. No matter what I say when I see my granddaughter is twisted and repeated back to her in some harmful manner. H and I have always had a close relationship. I taught her to paint, sew, craft, the Bible. She accepted Jesus Christ as her savior when she was 7 and I KNOW she knew what she was doing. Her mother refused to allow her to be babtized and eventually stopped her from going to church with us. Now she has convinced H to fear being with me. On May 17 H asked could she spend the night with me and on June 18, in a tantrum, said she never wanted to see me again. I had had no interaction between those two dates. I have tried so hard to give this over to Jesus and have some peace. And I do give it to him but then I take it right back. I pray without ceasing for her and her mother. I am so depressed because I KNOW THIS IS HARMING H BEYOND REPAIR. Parent and grandparent alienation is a cruel, cruel thing. A month ago a good friend of mine and faithful christian grandmother comitted suicide over this same sort of thing. It is said to be the most cruel form of child abuse. We have gone thru the “can’t bring anything home from daddy’s or grandma’s”. Please, please put us on your prayer list. I am leaving this afternoon for kids church camp to be their camp nurse. I hope this will give me some peace. Thank you for coming into my life today.
Patricia, I am praying for you today. I am SO sorry you are having to go through this. My grandchildren are the joy of my heart and I know this is so, so painful. Please know that our God is the God who sees. He is not asleep. He loves you and H more than you can imagine and He IS working. He tells us to pray constantly. There is a reason to pray and He asks us to do it. You have a Champion in Heaven fighting for you! It will take longer than you would like, but trust Him. Every day remember the times when you saw Him at work for you in your life and let Him know you remember. Then remind yourself that He does not sleep. He has not let this slip through His fingers. Pray, pray, pray. In this way, you can fight alongside Him.
Sending love and prayers your way.
Bonnie – I wish I were a writer. I want to write down all the ways my Heavenly Father has taken care of me. I didn’t have a father in my life – ever. My mother was a single mom and as I went through adolescence we grew apart as I became a Christian and she was not. My Grandmother led me to Christ but died when I was 15. I drifted from Him at times, but He has lovingly taken care of me all the same. I didn’t always see and lately He is showing me just how much He was there……but this! Bonnie, you have written for me! Thank you, thank you! for sharing your story here. It has added so much more to my healing. The timing is positively startling. While my mother accepted Christ when she was 70, she has her own deep wounds and now she is having some mental difficulties which is making her mean and sarcastic. As her only living relative, it is up to me to deal with this. I can see God’s hand in making sure my healing happens, to enable me to deal with this in a healthy way. It is still incredibly difficult. Thank you for helping to make this path just a bit easier by sharing your story.
I am so sorry to hear your story. We all have painful memories of the past… at times if not healed it would be carried into adulthoood and married life. Dad at times would get drunk, and abusive and at times we would hear our parents quarrelling. At times we wonder why we have to be born into such a dysfunctional family. My mother suffered the brunt of these abuses and also many a times she would shared her emotional pain even when dad is long gone – passed away. Fortunately I attended a inner healing seminar where I learned to released all the pain in my life to God.. It was a process of learning and seeking His face… forgiving dad of the pain he caused us.. Later to realised that he was too was abused as a child and was adopted by a childless couple and suffered emotional scars of being ‘abandoned’ and forsaken. We don’t know the whole truth about him since he kept his background a mystery. I thank God I am healed and have become a wounded healer and praying for others who suffered similar situations. Though I may feel alone, yet I have my heavenly Father to cry to, who holds my hands and guide me through the narrow path and storming ‘seas’, even though I feel unloved but His words promises that He love me and I am the apple of His eye. When I feel lost I know He is my Shepherd who guides me and protects me from all dangers. When I am in need, He provides me with His provision of food and shelter… Jehovah Jireh. When I am sad and shed tears, He told me He collected my tears in a bottle. I feel secured in His agape love and remember that His lovingkindness is new every morning. Whenever I see the sun rise in the morning I know its a new day that the Lord has given me… When the burdens is so heavy He carried me through.. enveloped in His everlasting love as he whispered to me… I Love You…
Why I’ve Been Away & Why I Must Write Today | Faith Barista says
[…] PTSD often surfaces in people in their 30′s and 40′s — when major life changes are occurring. The stresses that we’ve hidden deep inside finally emerge when we can no longer bolt down what we fear most: our wounded selves. […]
I wish I really knew how to get past the hurts that have been thrown my direction. I come from a wonderful family upbringing with loving, godly parents, but married into a family that holds onto grudges and doesn’t trust “outsiders” marrying into the family. I didn’t know why my failed attempts to show kindness for so many years fell flat to the ground or were totally misunderstood. There were a couple times I had to stand up to what was right even though I knew it wouldn’t go over so well with the in-laws. This whole atmosphere of unforgiveness is so foreign to any other relationship I’ve ever encountered in my life. For many years I was trying to understand what was going on. What I came to realize is that this was a spiritual battle and that I would NEVER fully understand what was happening. Every attempt to move forward just got knocked down. Then last summer I asked if a few of us could meet. Their exact words were “I CHOOSE not to forget” (the lies they were holding onto), “I avoid you at all costs”, “There is no relationship”, and then they asked me to “respect their wall”. This was all quite interesting because they came to the same church and would avoid me there. If it wasn’t so sad, it would be funny. I finally got to the point that I didn’t take it personal, because they were choosing to be hurt. They would turn anything good that I wanted to do for them or kind word that I shared with them and turn it into something negative. This has been a family pattern long before I was part of the picture.
Last summer I finally had to make a decision to not engage in any contact with them because of their toxicity. I want to protect my kids from this. Even though I know that I’m better off not having them in my life, I still have to give this over to God on a regular basis. For my husband’s sake, I would love there to be unity among us, but only they can break this spiritual stronghold that has been nurtured for so many years. It still hurts, though. My dream was to marry into a family that was loving and accepting. I had to die to this dream and adopt other “family” into my life. I’m learning to lean on God for my support in every aspect of my life. This is an on-going process.
When You Carry Your Father’s Wounds | Faith Barista says
[…] …To read the rest of the story – click here to join me over at DaySpring’s (in)courage site, where today’s post is published. […]
painfully anonymous says
ditto can’t type for the tearssssssssssss
Bonnie, my dear friend, I love you and your journey you are on. It is a hard one. It is painful, but it is bringing healing. I know your journey some, as I have shared with you many times. Know I love you dear friend. You are courageous to just sit and BE with Jesus in this time of pain and remembering. Keep at it. I will continue to pray faithfully for you.
It’s 2 a.m. so this will be short. I can’t sleep. I start my second year of grad school in two days. I’m not sure how I will make it through this year. I just know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that God wants me here. I won’t go into those stories but I will tell you that I think that the only way that I made it through last year and the only way that I will make it through this year is because God made it so very clear to me that I am right where he wants me.
I am a birthmother. No, not a baby maker. I got pregnant in college and when faced with the decision of what to do, I chose to give my son a better life by giving him a better family. The adoption has been open since day one (21 years ago), for which I am grateful. The problem with trauma and grief is that sometimes it can be so intense that our bodies, our minds, our hearts are simply unable to bear the pain. This is what happened to me. Afterall, it is unnatural to carry a child for nine months, bond with that child and then “give him away.” but in the society in which we live, it has become necessary.
I am grateful that it was an open adoption, which allowed me to remain in contact with his adoptive family and know how he was. THe problem was that I became confused about my grief. I knew there was a terrible ache inside of me that nothing seemed to fix but I didn’t relate it to relinquishing my son. In fact, at times when I would question the correlation, it became even more confusing to me. How do you grieve the loss of someone who didn’t die? Someone who is your own flesh and blood; someone that you nourished and bonded with for nine months, birthed and most significantly, someone who is still in your life but doesn’t recognize you as mother? There is no finality. There is no closure. But there is definitely loss – lost dreams, lost hopes for a family, lost memories, lost title of mother.
I ran from that wound in my heart for close to fifteen years – In and out of immoral relationships that caused me to feel enough shme and self loathing that I didn’t have the time to focus on the struggles I was having trying to understand the depth of loss I expereinced when I handed my child into the arms of another woman. At that moment, part of me died.
THis is actually the shortened version of my story. I have just completed 100 pages of testimony. Perhaps it will help someone else one day but for now it was for my own healing. THe immoral relationships are gone. Repentence and restoration with God has occurred. I am now left to deal with the most painful, traumatic, necessary season of grieving without running to other disctactions.
My summer was very difficult and the grief has been overwhelming. I am apprehensive about returning to school as I am unable to control when and where the tears will surface. I have chosen to research birthmother grief which has excellerated this grief process, but I know it needs to happen.
Tonight I feel very overwhelmed. These days, I am only able to handle so much. Very little social contact with others (they don’t understand). I layed in bed tonight, leg tingling for the past three days, heart pounding at hte thought of this semester ahead. It will truly only be by the grace of God that I make it through this year. Not such a short version but apparently necessary for me to share at this late hour. I don’t even remember what your quesiton was.
God bless you for sharing your story. You have shown me that it takes a strong person to choose to be vulnerable and chance further rejection (dont’ get me started on my baby daddy!) But by the grace of God and his mercies that are new every morning; by the knowledge that his job is to fight for us and our job is to be still. I will lay down now and hope that I can remember God’s promises as I attempt to doze off and start another new day. THank you for letting me share.
Emotionally Unglued (Book Giveaway: Lysa Terkeurst’s Unglued) | Faith Barista says
[…] keeps our wounded selves separated from […]
I prayed for you today & will every day.
My trauma is different from yours, but the words you shared reflected my story. I had never thought about the fact that I not only carry my pain, but the pain of an entire household…far too much for anyone to carry, let alone a child.
Thank you for bringing this truth into my life. I already feel lighter!
Love & Prayers to you!
Oh my as I was reading a recent post of November 2013
I clink on to wounded self and found this post:)))
Just this past week I believed that this is exactly what The Lord has been trying to show me how I tend to carry the wounds of the ones I love? Ukg!!! As if I did them a favor from carrying theirs?
I’m not sure if I can identify any of mine old wounds because I come from a LARGE family and tend to carry a lot of unneeded baggage,
I’ve never really saw it that way. But now to take the journey of looking at it all and sorting thru all the memories I’ve stuffed so far down its hard to distinguish who’s who in it all.
I’m just so grateful that as I see The Lord healing you thru your journey there is hope in making sense of my journey.
May God bless you:)