Friday, March 1, 2013

Chapter 43

As my health gradually got worse I found I couldn't keep up with some of the things I had been doing at the church.  A year or so earlier I had been forced to give up helping with Kings Kids.  Then as the neuropathy spread into my mouth I had to quit choir.  I didn't want a sudden pain shooting through my mouth in the middle of a choir piece!

Then playing the piano became harder to do.  With pains shooting with no warning through my fingers, it became nerve racking to be at the piano anymore.  I had also been co-ordinating a muffin ministry that the ladies in the church had, providing the hospital staff with a treat once a month, but that went by the wayside.  I tried to stay positive, but it was getting harder and harder to do.

The one thing I hung on to tenaciously was the office work.  I didn't want to give that up.  I had been fearing that the Pastor would come to me and say he had asked someone else to do it because I wasn't making it to the office enough and the filing was backing up!  But the day finally came when I couldn't ignore what I had to do anymore.  With a broken heart and tears in my eyes I e-mailed the Pastor and told him that I just wasn't able to continue on anymore.

That very same day I got this short message back from him.

"I understand...just don't give up on HIM (God).  Keep waiting
on Him.  What you are going through, now and before
can and will be a great help to others.  Your body can
be failing but you are not.  Keep on.

Pastor"

What a tremendous encouragement that note was!  I read it many times over the next few days.  I saw what I had been doing, I felt like I was a failure...again!  I finally saw that just because I couldn't do something didn't make me a failure in any one's eyes, including God's!  What a burden lifted off my heart when that finally became clear to me.

I also came to realize that there was work for me to still do.  Something Pastor had said years earlier came back to me, "Write what you know." What did I know?  I knew me!  When I had started writing it had been for therapy, to deal with the PTSD.  Now I began to see it as a opportunity to help others battling the same demons, struggling with the same things I had.  If my story could help at least one woman find hope in the middle of a hell then it will have made what I went through mean something, it would give it a purpose.  My life would have a meaning!  I like what the Pastor wrote at the beginning of this book, "We learn from the lives of others and we heal by the help we render."

I have learned some important things since I was first molested 33 years ago.  Women that are abused find ways to survive that others don't understand.  People in healthy relationships don't understand how we think.  We erect walls of protection around our hearts, we keep people at arms length...for two reasons.  We don't want them to find out and we don't want to get hurt.  This is what makes it so very hard to reach out for help.  People don't understand why we just don't ask for help.  We are in survival mode and its very hard to break down the walls.  No one understands the amount of courage it takes to actually go to someone.  What if your abuser finds out what you've done?  What if the person you go to doesn't believe you?  What's going to happen after you break your silence?  All I can do is encourage you to find someone to talk to.  Admitting to the Pastor I had been raped was the hardest thing I had ever done, but it also was the most freeing. It opened the door for change to start.

Another problem I'm still dealing with is my self image, I still see myself as no good, worthless, fat, ugly and useless.  But in fact just the opposite is true.  I am loved by many people and God.  I have a very difficult time grasping this and if you're someone who is being abused or has been, you will to.  We have been "conditioned" into believing that we are garbage and not good enough for anyone to waste their time with. I get flustered when anyone does something for me, its like I don't know what to do with kindness!  And you can forget about compliments, they leave me bewildered.  But I am important, my thoughts and feelings matter.  This is a problem that I deal with on a daily basis.   I slowly learning that I am capable of having valid opinions.  I can think for myself, plan for myself.  I am not stupid.  Just because I don't know about everything (like this stupid computer) doesn't make me an idiot! You just need to keep reaffirming to yourself that those thoughts are lies, told to you to control and beat you down.  You are worth something, you are special, you deserved to be loved, and you are loved.

Last year I realized that Gary still was controlling me through my weight.  I realized that as long as I kept the weight on my life still wouldn't be mine.  As of today I've lost 45 lbs!  My insulin has been already cut back from 5 needles to 3 a day, and some of my pills have been cut out.  There are days now when I don't have to use the walker and on occasion have not used my cane either!  The neurapathy seems to have slowed down and the pain hasn't been in my mouth or hands for a couple of months now and most nights I can sleep in bed.  I've been able to cancel the Meals on Wheels!

I still struggle with wishing that someone loved me. It's really strange, you want to be loved by someone, but at the same time that thought terrifies you and you want no one close to you!  After the manuscript for this book was finished both Josiah and Elizabeth were given a copy to read.  I was very nervous of their reactions.  Josiah was upset and angry with his father although he told me that nothing I had written surprised him.  Elizabeth's reaction surprised me the most.  She called me up after she had finished reading it and said that one thing bothered her more than anything, and that was that I didn't know what it was like to be loved!  If I think about it I do get down, but I try instead to look at the blessings of my life. I have the two most wonderful children in the world and now a beautiful daughter-in-law as well.  I have friends who really love me and are there for me.  I sit sometimes at night in my quiet house and am so thankful for the peace that I live in now!  Nothing can compare to that.  I still am overcome with emotion when I turn on the TV, pick up a book or put in a CD...I am learning how to enjoy a life of freedom!

As I come to the end of this book, I have to admit to you that I'm scared.  Its taken a lot out of me, first of all to live this all again as I wrote it, but most of all, to be honest, I'm fearful of the reactions I'm going to get.  I've shared some very personal things with the world now, things that normally would never be told to anyone.  But I've done this for only one reason, to give you hope.  To let you know that there are others out there who know from experience what you are going through, and to tell you that it CAN change, don't give up!  I would have given anything when I was going through my hell to know there was someone out there pulling for me, trying to help me.  This is the only reason I've shared this story. The silence has to be broken about domestic violence, and with one voice at a time, it can be!

If you would like to leave a comment I would be happy to read it.  If this has helped you in any way please let me know, it would do my heart good to know this has been an encouragement and a help to you.  Thank you for joining me on my journey of learning how to live not just exist.   

14 comments:

  1. No, I haven't read the whole blog in one night :) But I wanted to comment here to encourage you to continue sharing your story of healing. Also, if you're interested, you can apply to be a mentor for Verbal Abuse Journals at http://verbalabusejournals.com/help-with-domestic-abuse/domestic-violence-survivor-mentors/i-want-to-be-a-survivors-mentor-application/

    I'd love to see you apply to volunteer if you feel up to it!

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  2. Kellie, you have been such an encouragement to me and I love you to pieces for it! I've grown so much just in the past few weeks and I realize that I CAN make a difference just by breaking my silence; what an amazing feeling that gives you! FREEDOM!! Thankyou for being that shining example that I needed to take this step! Talk to you soon!
    Cindy (HUGS)

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  3. I did read it all in one sitting...my heart is heavy for you my dear friend..."out of my bondage ,sorrow and pain...Jesus I come,Jesus I come to thee...out of distress to jubilant song into the peace of thy sheltering arms..."I am hugging you now...my arms are around you...and I am going to hug you tight when I see you .

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    1. Thanks Bonnie! I'm just so thankful to see good coming out of all this!

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  4. Shelley Bowker (Oenema)July 27, 2013 at 10:02 PM

    Hi Cindy,
    I just finished your story and I struggle for words. My heart is heavy for you but also rejoicing in the healing journey that has begun for you. There are some things you have discussed that I can empathize with, others that I can only sympathize with. I pray God's richest blessings for you in the days ahead and look forward to hearing how you are doing. xo

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    1. Thank you Shelley. Writing this has been an important step in my healing, and I'm so thankful for it helping others as well. I appreciate your prayers!

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  5. Cindy,

    I couldn't stop reading! What a warrior and a survivor you are. God did have His hand in all of this the entire way and He still does. He knows your heart. Remember, "He did not give us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline." Do not continue to listen the lies of the enemy. You are a beautiful daughter of the Most High King.

    You have told your story, which is your testimony and "we are healed by the Blood of the Lamb and the words of our testimony." Reading through comments on your blog, it is very apparent that you are already helping people.

    Continue to press through this! Your relationship with Christ is priority number one.

    I pray that through your life experiences, your poetry and your continued walk with the Lord that you will find Peace, Healing and Restoration in all areas of your life.

    Your blog will be added today under our Counseling References for Domestic Violence NALPCC
    Blessings!

    Kathi Cayer,
    Executive Director, NALPCC

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    1. Kathi, your kind words and encouragement mean so much to me, thank you. I appreciate you adding my blog to your Counseling References. If just one person can be saved from the horrific life of domestic violence then my going public with my story will be worth it! Looking forward to keeping up with you on Twitter!
      Cindy

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  6. Cindy, you don't know this but since you connected on LinkedIn last night, I spent my whole morning with you, reading your IN profile, reading several of your poems, checking out the mentor blog and finally reading this whole story. I did take one break for breakfast but it was hard to stop after I had started reading this. Like one of your other readers I can emphasize with some of this and only sympathize with the rest of it. Your desire to help others through this story is courageous. Rick Warren says, "God never wastes a hurt." God bless you as you continue to heal. Your hurt has not been wasted.

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  7. Bonnie, thank you for your comment. You're right, God never wastes a hurt, I'm thankful that He can use me. God bless!

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  8. Hi Cindi, My heart goes out to you, because of all the emotions you had to go thru during this terrible time in your life. I too was abused emotionally, to the point that I really was not even able to put a name on it. Looking back it seems very hard to believe that this happened, because it was so subtle. If not for all the emotions that I experienced over the years, I would not believe that I was abused. I got to the point where my health broke down too, I was experiencing fibromyalgia, which alone was very painful, and also cervical dystonia. The fibro , like yours went away after the abuse stopped, but I am stuck with the dystonia ,along with tremors in my head. I now live alone, and it has been three years now, since I lost him, but I do now live in peace, it is awesome to wake up without a heavy load on my shoulders, that would never leave. I dealt with my pain with writing , just like you did, and I want to share some of those writings with you , at least if I can find them on my computer, as I have changed computers and many may be on the old computer. Speaking of computers, i too have some difficulty with mine, haveing still not mastered all that it is capable of. I have one poem that I wrote that I will share below.

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  9. Sorry, it was too many characters, It will not take it, and i so wanted you to be able to read it, I will try to see if I can find another one. Many Blessings to you.

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  10. I am going to try to post 1/2 of the article and the other 1/2 below the first one.

    Displaced Anger

    Anger is an emotion that tells us something is wrong, either internally or externally. Sometimes we develop unhealthy methods of dealing with the anger that we feel.Maybe our family of origin or society around us, trained us to believe that anger is wrong and needs to be avoided, at all costs? Maybe growing up we were never allowed to express our feelings, having to hide them instead, leading us to adopt coping mechinisms, instead of finding a healthy way to deal with the anger that we are feeling.

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  11. Thank you for sharing Gayla! I appreciate your comments. God bless!

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