Trusting God After Leaving An Abusive Relationship

Long ago before I made that decision to follow Christ I was sitting in church complaining to my sister that I didn’t want to come to church any more because I didn’t believe. She said, “Fake it till you make it.” Yeah, it sounded funny to me too at the time!

She meant to stick around and hear it out, so that I’d have enough info to put the pieces of the puzzle together in order for me to see the full picture. Then it hit me. I’d been in church for a long time with a wall up.   The reason for that was the many years of abuse created some serious trust issues within me. Church was a nice break from the reality of my life so I stayed put.

The Home Life

Living in that one sided relationship that started when I was only fifteen years old, I was married at 18 and felt that I’d lost my identity to a kid living in a man’s body.

Fear had me living for someone else instead of me. Three months into our marriage and my life was becoming a violent and vicious cycle of denial and abuse.  I washed his clothes, cooked his meals and lay in his bed lying to myself.  The truth was that he was a womanising, violent, drug addict who was so messed up, convinced he was right and didn’t want any help to change.

I was so scared to face the truth about my situation which would make see how broken I really was, or to confront him which would mean a violent reaction.  The lies I told myself were numerous but the big one was telling myself that he would change from the strange person before me who was becoming the embodiment of every loathsome characteristic I didn’t like in a human being.

When the threats began, I felt trapped like a hostage in my own marriage. The situation seemed hopeless. He was totally convinced that my family were trying to separate us. Yet my family had never interfered in our relationship. When I tried to leave him he told me that he’d sneak in the house at night while we slept to kill us all.  Believing that he was capable of carrying the threats out, I stayed.

When we separated the only things I got out of that relationship was PTSD.. Years later I found out that I had been living with a certified Schizophrenic.

So after my experiences giving myself over completely to God took an enormous amount of trust.  Then I discovered that true love is found only in God.

God is Love and the source of love  

I was convinced that I hadn’t fully learned what love was so a quest began to understand God’s love.  This bible passage below describes His Holy (perfect) love and after reading I saw how distant we all really are from it.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 

“4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails…….”.

GET HELP

If you’re in a violent situation don’t bury your hurts by lying to yourself.  See a counsellor, a church leader, your pastor and even your doctor for help. Don’t do it alone.

Lifeline 13 11 14 (Australia)

If your life is in danger don’t hesitate to dial 000.

The Coward With A Hardened Heart

I’d met my childhood sweetheart at the age of 15 and we were married five months after my 18th birthday.  At the age of 32 I divorced a violent and narcissistic drug addicted schizophrenic man who in his twisted way believed that he loved me. He probably did but in my mind it was shallow.  At first I stuck around hoping for change and later on it was fear that kept me by his side for believing in his threats.

Since the divorce I’ve been dealing with stuff that surfaces slowly. You see, I’ve been a runner avoiding emotional pain and have done so for many years burying things deep within not to feel hoping it would go away. As a child I thought that If I didn’t feel it that it wouldn’t affect me. I wouldn’t let it. I thought I was tough to be able to swallow my pride, put things away and not face them again. In reality I was a frightened kid with a hardened heart who accumulated one trauma after another.

Refusing To Feel is Refusing To Heal

Funny thing about burying these very real feelings, they don’t die. They resurrect when you least expect them. Undealt with pain sinks into the chambers of our most inner being, seeping out poison slowly to remind us that these badly filed emotions need to be dealt with. The longer we leave them, the more thought processes and actions will be impacted affecting our character.  That’s how I became a very angry young person.

No wonder I ended up with depression. Recently (after 20 years) I uncovered exactly why I left my ex-husband.  When visions of the past rose to the surface playing as if on the TV, they seemed so remote to me I had to re-analyse them before I could recognise the past and own it.

Our hurts will resurface giving  us the opportunity to file them under, ‘forgiven’ not under ‘forgotten’ because that’s been proven not to work.  I’m living proof! We can’t completely forget trauma and past hurts.

The key to my healing was forgiveness.   It’s not within our nature to forgive such things. It’s a supernatural thing.  God gives us the ability to make that choice.  Our hearts catch up with our choices.

The bible says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”

Will you ask God to give you a forgiving heart?   Choose today to forgive and release yourself!

Today I make the choice to forgive………………………… but I don’t know how. Jesus come into my heart and give me the ability to forgive…………………………… for…………………….    Forgive me for my sins as well I ask in Jesus name.  Amen.

Once you’ve done this, it’s filed behind you under, “forgiven”.  Thoughts may resurface but when feelings of anger rise up again remind yourself that you’ve chosen to forgive, thank God for his forgiveness .

If you struggle with thoughts resurfacing, unwanted thoughts and pain too unbearable to face seek the help of a counsellor or talk to your church leaders.  I’m glad I did!

 

Dealing With A Past We’d Rather Forget.

Recurring thoughts happen for a very simple reason.

Most of us have done things in the past or have had things done to us that we’d rather not think about.   These recurring images and thoughts can bring about mixed emotions. Numbing the pain with addictions and substance abuse in order to forget will just make us repeat or ‘groundhog day’ until the next time the brain gives you another nudge jolting your memory.

These thoughts just don’t and won’t simply go away.  They are written deep within the hard drive of your memory as being, “undealt with.”  So they’ll just keep popping up until you file those thoughts in the right spot which is behind you. The only way to do that is to forgive yourself, forgive others and forgive God! Whatever method you’re using other than forgiveness won’t work and the cycle of recurring thoughts will keep going until you forgive.

You might still be angry, but if you don’t let go you will be stuck in a level of emotional immaturity and your character and actions will form around that bitter root.  To get past it simply make a choice to forgive even if you don’t know how to. Let it go. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness and bitterness leads to illness.

NOW FOR A SPIRITUAL TRUTH
The bible talks about the importance of forgiveness which is releasing someone from a debt and choosing to forgive, even if you don’t know how, to forgive them and no longer hold them accountable.

Matthew 6:14 – “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

If you read the passage above you may have picked up on the fact that YOU are attached to that unforgiveness.  By forgiving others you release yourself!

WIKIPEDIA
Forgiveness
is the intentional and voluntary process by which a victim undergoes a change in feelings and attitude regarding an offense, lets go of negative emotions such as vengefulness, with an increased ability to wish the offender well.

ONLINE
I’ve read that unforgiveness is like swallowing poison hoping the other person will die.

WHAT FORGIVING IS NOT
Forgiving someone doesn’t mean that you have to be friends with or associate with the person you’re forgiving.

Pray the following prayer if you want to forgive but don’t know how.

Lord Jesus,  today I make the choice to put the offense of (name the offense) behind me and to forgive (name the offender/s) that hurt me even if I don’t know how to.  I ask for your forgiveness and love to flow through me and  I ask you to forgive me for the unforgiveness and release me and (names) from effects of the sin and from bitterness and resentment. Cleanse my heart and make me whole. Amen.

Now you’ve prayed,  the decision you made might not match your feelings right now, but they eventually will.  If those thoughts come up again, simply tell yourself that all is forgiven and move on.  Don’t dwell on the past because when you entertain those thoughts they tend to move in and take over.

Real Spiritual Food For The Undernourished Soul

Spiritual food was important to Jesus. He believed that God sustained his life.

We  humans, as explained in the bible, are a three fold being possessing a mind (soul), body and spirit. A Tripartite being needs look after the health of all three elements to be at their peak state of existence.  While the mind and body are commonly known to be interconnected,  everything we do, eat and drink affects the mind along with our attitudes.  The spiritual food we digest affects our whole being.

Throughout history people have felt the need to connect to a higher level of existence through spirituality in one way or another.  This desire is the common denominator between a lot of religions, cults and creeds that have sprung up all over the world in an attempt to explain and justify their existence.   In India alone there are over 1000 religions.

What was different about Jesus?

  1. Jesus took demons seriously.  He cast out demons with authority and they obeyed him.
  2. He raised several people from the dead.

Jesus pretty much taught that His spiritual needs were superior to his need to eat food .

Meanwhile his disciples urged him, “Rabbi, eat something.” But he said to them, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.”Then his disciples said to each other, “Could someone have brought him food?” “My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work.” (John 4:31-34)

DIGNITY

Jesus wasn’t treated with dignity when he was tried, tortured and hung on a cross to die. Instead he was treated as a blasphemer (telling lies against their knowledge of God) with contempt.

The word ‘dignity’has such a profound meaning.

The Online Oxford Dictionary defines Dignity as ‘The state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect.’

Lets take a look at a thesaurus.

Synonyms – Decency, Decorum, Grace,Honour, Greatness, Morality, Self-respect, Stature, Virtue, Value, Significance,Worth & Worthiness, Prestige, Glory, Distinction, Perfection, Importance, Decency & Splendor.

Antonyms – Dishonour, Immorality, Insignificance, Bad manners, Lowliness, Evil, Indecency, Unimportance, Worthlessness, Unethical, Indifference and Powerless

God is love and the dignity we have as humans (see synonyms) comes from God.

pexels-photo-192556

Join a bible study at a local church to dig into God’s hidden treasures and learn to digest real spiritual food.

 

JUST AS DIRTY AS I AM – Nobody gets in a bath unless they’re dirty!

God welcomes everyone. As we learn from him and about him, we can’t help but fall in love.

It was 1996, I’d recently gone through a divorce with a violent, drug addicted and schizophrenic man who had me living in fear for almost 17 years. Wanting to get closer to God in the cold Canberra winter of 1998, my sister took me to her little Pentecostal church held at a local school hall, as they didn’t yet have their own building. Looking around at people with seemingly perfect lives noticing they were nicely groomed wearing dressy but casual clothing, their kids were happy and all I saw was one big happy family. Panicked within (anxiety), in my mind there was no way I’d ever fit into this scene.  Within me there was a storm.  At the time I was angry, sad, unhappy, lonely and just sick of life.

Feeling uneasy about being there I confided about those feelings to my my younger sister who is a strong Christian.   She said to me, “Sandra, don’t think that these people here have got it all made, they’re just as dirty and dysfunctional as you are.  The only difference is that they admit it and want to change.  They acknowledge that God is the source of all life and that it’s God who cleanses them. You don’t get into a bath unless you’re dirty!”

Then she said something else, “God accepts you as you are so let him in and he does the changing from within.”   I thought, “what? Wait a minute he accepts me then he changes me?  Isn’t that a contradiction?”   Reading my bible, I couldn’t help but fall in love with Jesus and his words.

I read somewhere that Jesus died for us while we were still sinners. It’s not the sin God loves, its us. He wants our hearts and Jesus also came so that we may be reconciled to God, have life and have it abundantly.  So the change in me was that I was going to befriend God and learn the true meaning of life and love it?  That was exactly what happened. The changes were gradual but sure.

It’s June 2017, I’m still in the bath, I’m not perfect and I’m slowly transforming into what God wants for me and I have inner peace in my life.  We hurt and deal with our hurts in our own dysfunctional way that can make us really bitter, or we can be free from fears and hurts while keeping our peace.  Its Jesus who wants to heal our hearts with his perfect love that casts out all fear.  

If you’re worried about sin, God forgives us, no matter what we have done.  What the bible calls sin, is sin, everyone in the world falls short because God is holy.  Nobody is perfect and we can’t point the finger in judgement of anyone else.  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only son for who-so-ever believes in him shall have eternal life” John 3:16  OK it states who-so-ever.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what you’ve done? That’s powerful.

If you believe that then pray this short prayer asking Jesus into your heart.

Jesus, I know you died for me and take me as I am.  I’m not perfect and will never be that in this world.  Thank you that you took my sins upon your body and they were crucified with you on the cross. I ask your forgiveness and for you to come into my heart and grant me your peace. Let me grow in your wisdom and in truth. Fill me with the Holy Spirit that I may have your helper so I can follow you. Amen

What can you do now?

If you prayed that prayer, find a local Christian church, be baptised, read your bible and pray regularly. Walk close to God and remember that nothing can separate you from His love. If you have done all that and are filled with Holy Spirit you have been born again as the bible requires you to do so you can enter heaven. Live in relationship with Jesus offering constant prayers for those you love and for your enemies.

Christian bloggers are invited to share your posts on my Facebook group at Christian Blog Space

Once and For All: Einstein Believed in God- He Believed In Jesus Too.

Currently watching Genius series on National Geographic Channel on Foxtel. Beaut timing!

Short Little Rebel

I just thought I would clear something up once and for all.   Albert Einstein was absolutely not an atheist. He was offended that anyone should say that. When he was younger, he was quoted as saying that he didn’t believe in a ‘personal’ God.  Desperate so-called atheists have latched onto that one statement and have taken it to the bank.  They conveniently forget the fact that he is still stating a belief in God, just not a personal one.  They also forget all his other quotes that affirm his strong belief in God.  There are also many blatantly false quotes that have Einstein mocking the bible- beware of these- he did not say those as he respected the bible- especially the New Testament.  He accepted the bible as historically accurate.

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How Is Vulnerability Essential for Personal Growth?

By avoiding vulnerability we remain stunted and emotionally immature in areas where we refuse to feel.

Vulnerability is a difficult thing to master. Yet, it is in vulnerability that we cultivate courage within ourselves.  I personally don’t like being vulnerable. There’s a creepy sense of transparency that makes me really uncomfortable. The shame of not being good enough or the dread of being judged by others is why I have avoided public speaking for years!  Regrettably, It’s a real fear I’ve held onto instead of working through it.

Recently I’ve learned that the more that I allow myself to become vulnerable, the more growth I experience. Those people who practice vulnerability are generally seen amongst the most courageous, happy and intelligent people in society. How many public speakers do you know that don’t get nervous before making a speech? Not too many, right? Yet to onlookers they may look typically calm and collected.

It’s natural for us to protect ourselves from pain as we’re mostly inclined to shield ourselves from feeling anything negative.  By avoiding situations that require a certain level of vulnerability we remain stunted and emotionally immature in those areas where we refuse to feel.

Vulnerability is essential for our personal, emotional and spiritual growth. By stepping out of our comfort zones we’re allowing ourselves to experience and grow.  Speaking from experience, some of us tend to avoid it like the plague!

Brené Brown, Vulnerability Researcher summed it up perfectly when she said, “We numb vulnerability.”

MY EXPERIENCE

Allowing myself to become vulnerable I got on a plane after 40 years of avoiding flying due to a bad landing experience during a storm in Tahiti when travelling as a young child. So, not long ago I booked a week long holiday catching a plane to Queensland with my husband and daughter.  Since then I’ve been flying with my family and with work. It’s been fantastic and liberating.  But, I still cringe at the landing!

So my motto now is, “Do it afraid!”

2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear or timidity, but one of power, love and self-control.”

Watch and listen to Brené Brown’s TED Talk, ‘The Power Of Vulnerability.’

Sandra Ciminelli
PEN WITH A VIEW