Week 3 — it’s been tough — but I truly believe that my decision to join the Proverbs31 OBS for #AConfidentHeart represents a BIG turning point for me.
There is, and has always been One that knew me:
For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes beheld my unformed substance. In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed. (Psalms 139:13-16, NRSV)
He has been waiting patiently for me to have that “V-8” headslap, or “Aha” moment, that led me directly to Him.
Given the events of my most recent past, that moment has finally arrived — and I am more than ready and motivated to #MoveForward.
One of the suggested topics for this week’s Blog Hop is sharing practical ways that I have begun the process of turning away from the shadows of my doubts and toward the light. While this takes me well beyond my comfort zone — forcing me to start to share my story and expose imperfections, ripping part of my mask away, I chose this topic.
I was baptized Catholic and attended parochial school to high school, I attended Mass faithfully, received all of the Sacraments. I have always had faith, and a little ray of hope, no matter what has occurred in my life. Life events have been devastating at times — and when things occur, I always return to the Church for comfort, healing, and insight — yet, I have never been fully satisfied and fall away again and again, and bad things keep happening for no apparent reason. I have blamed Him, because I have never had a strong, trusting relationship with Him, nor the full understanding of His promises and sacrifices on my behalf. I really want to build that relationship. I know that He’s not going to just wave a magic wand and make everything better — I need to work with Him so that he can work through me.
In working through Chapter 4, I have been forced to start examining how the combination of the absence of a full understanding of the depth and breadth of His love and the events of my past have influenced the course and path of my life to this point. In Chapter 5 of #AConfidentHeart, the focus is on using what I have learned to keep #MovingForward from the past.
I have been as Renee notes on p. 71, “Running from my past and my pain.” I REALLY didn’t want to revisit any of the past — I would have preferred that Renee had provided some sure-fire means to maintain the masquerade and to allow me to just keep #MovingForward. She did however, provide the magic bullet for “looking back to move forward.” The suggestions, while painful to tackle, will keep me from “running from the healing work God wants to do in my heart (p. 71)” — and repeating the behavior and mistakes of the past.
I have begun the process of moving from “broken to beautiful (p. 79),” and beyond the stigma of “stained and ruined,” as Melissa noted.
I am taking steps to turn away from doubt and toward truth:
The first step I took was prior to joining the OBS and turning toward Scripture — beginning with reviewing passages that offered guidance on coping with adversity, dealing with loss, and working through various manifestations of my doubt. I also started looking at other peoples daily devotionals for insight on how to interpret the Word and use it to get through my most recent trials. I began to pray daily to Him, to the Blessed Virgin, and to various patron Saints.
This first step led me to signing up for the OBS.
While not necessarily step 3 (for there have been other baby steps) the next major step has been working through Chapters 4 and 5, cognizant of the messages contained in Chapters 1-3. As a result, with His guidance, I have begun to prepare a timeline of my life with key events, including painful memories, and resultant emotions. I then asked the Holy Spirit to show me the consequences. Everything is coming in bits and pieces, and it is going to take some time to fully process and work through what I am uncovering.
For example, understanding the full impact of the hurt that my mother inflicted on me at a very young age when her words or actions made me feel that she believed she had produced a poor, imperfect creature doomed to failure. This was particularly hard to process in a positive way at that time, because I knew, and have always known that she cherished the gift of both my brother and me to the day that she died. She waited a long time for us, and she almost lost me and her life in the process of bringing me into the world.
I am taking steps to turn away from self and toward God:
I still pray daily, but with the guidance of the Spirit, the tenor of my prayers have changed. I still review the Scriptures, but with a different level of insight.
Unfortunately, my inability to understand her motivations or emotions at the time, coupled with the cruelty of other children who gave me a nickname that stuck with me all the way to high school, caused some very regrettable decisions on my part and resulted in behavior that I am not proud of as well as lead to some very dark moments in my life. I constantly wear a mask — I don’t want anyone to see my vulnerability — I am driven always to excel in order to prove myself in every aspect of my life. I am also a survivor of a rape, and have used alcohol trying to escape pain and fear. I have suffered from bulimia, depression, anxiety, and tremendous fear and insecurity.
As I have started to work things through with Him, I believe that the reality is, that my mother may have been processing some of her childhood pain through her words and deeds. Like me, she struggled most of her life with a weight problem — so when it became evident that I was going to struggle with the same, she must have felt responsible somehow — guilty, and desperately wanting to spare me from hurt, and hoping that she could make my life different than hers.
I will keep turning from the darkness and toward the light:
One by one, with his guidance, I will tackle each of the things that I uncover.
For example, I have forgiven my mother — and have a better understanding of her motivation, which has caused a lingering regret about what our relationship could have been had we addressed some of this while she was alive. (I will work this through with Him as well)
I was particularly struck by Melissa’s story and the promises for the “stained and ruined,” particularly,
“But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
As a result, I will work to fully appreciate that through Him, I can finally overcome both the trauma of rape and the feelings and responses it triggered.
Simultaneously, I will be seeking understanding of the reasons for my recent losses — my job, my beloved canine companion; and our family trials — my other half’s significant health issues. All the while reminded, that the plan is in motion, and through increased wisdom, I will be better equipped to follow it:
For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope. 12 Then when you call upon me and come and pray to me, I will hear you.13 When you search for me, you will find me; if you seek me with all your heart, (Jeremiah 29:11-13, NRSV)
I will continue to turn away from the negative and toward the positive — praying — increasing the power of my prayer with the guidance of the Holy Spirit; and continuing to reflect on His promises in order to do my part in fulfilling the plans that he has for me.