Monthly Archives: August 2019

Writing About Not Being Able to Write

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Of course, by starting out with that title, and then writing about it, by definition, I’m putting the lie to my title, because I’m writing, which I just said I wasn’t able to do. Kind of silly I suppose, but I had to do something to make myself start producing words again.

It’s so frustrating when you have all these ideas roiling and running around inside your head, but you can’t get them out onto paper. I think the common phrase for it is writer’s block. I’ve got a list of about six different ideas that I’m working on for eventual use here, but I can’t seem to develop any of them enough for publication.

So here I am, rambling, in an effort to write something, anything, because that’s what I do. I blog. And if I’m not writing, I’m not blogging.

I mean, the purpose of this blog is to help survivors of child abuse see that it’s possible to emerge victorious, with God’s help, from the hell that was perpetrated on them by evil and selfish others, and if I’m not posting then the information I have to offer isn’t getting out there.

Of course that begs the question, am I offering information that’s actually helping? Is what I say here bringing glory to God, as well as providing anything of substantive value for those who might need it? I certainly hope so, because if it’s not, then I need to change what I’m doing here ~ or stop doing it altogether.

But I don’t want to stop. For one thing I love to write. Writing used to be so difficult for me, worse than pulling teeth, because of one of my alters, named Secret, when I was multiple. I had another alter, named The Secretary, whose job it was to chronicle the goings-on of my system ~ my internal life, if you will, and she too loved to write. But The Secretary and Secret worked at cross purposes to each other all the time, and Secret was much stronger than The Secretary, so The Secretary was always being stifled.

And Secret had good reason to keep us from writing, because The Secretary wanted to write about what the cult was doing to us, as well as about Harry’s abuse, and of course, that absolutely could not be allowed. Harry had been threatening to kill us if we talked for years, so Secret’s efforts to keep us silent were probably keeping us alive as well.

Now that I’m no longer multiple, and I’m no longer being abused, there’s nothing hindering me from writing. So if I can’t write, there must be something else stopping me ~ but I don’t know what it could be. I certainly did get a whole lot written for someone who isn’t able to write, however. Thus far I’ve written 533 words.

Pretty good, I think, considering I’m not able to write. I wonder how many I could write if I was able to write. The thought boggles the mind, but at least I’ve written something I can post. I don’t know if it’s worth anything, and I don’t know if it will help anyone, but it’s better than nothing at all.

The Fifth Commandment

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The Bible tells us that we’re to honor our parents,

Honor your father and mother (which is the  first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth. ~ Ephesians 6:2-3, NLT.

When the Apostle Paul said this, he was quoting the Fifth Commandment from Exodus 20:12 and Deuteronomy 5:16,

Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be prolonged in the land which the LORD your God gives you. ~ Exodus 20:12, NASB.

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. ~ Deuteronomy 5:16, NKJV.

That commandment doesn’t make any exceptions. You’re supposed to honor your father and mother unless they have three legs (nope, at least partly because almost no one has three legs). Or, you’re supposed to honor your parents unless they crash your car. Nope, sorry, it doesn’t say that. Or, how ’bout, you’re supposed to honor them unless they’re mean to you and beat you and rape you all the time. Nope, sorry, it doesn’t say that either. All it says is, Honor your father and your mother… 

Now, I love the Bible. It’s my very favorite book in the whole world, and I also love God and desire to serve Him with my whole heart. So if God tells me to honor my parents, it seems logical to me that He’ll provide a way for me to do so, regardless of how badly they treat me, and whether they actually did anything honorable or not.

And thankfully, God did show me a number of ways where I could honor them.

For example, they got me piano lessons from the time I was five until I was ten or eleven, with my great-aunt Helena, Harry’s aunt. I hated having to practice the whole six years, but now, as an adult, I’m so glad I had those lessons. I gained a life-long love of classical music, as well as music in general, and the music theory and ear-training I was given during my lessons has stood me in good stead even today. I can identify the time signature of any piece of music almost immediately, a skill I was taught during my lessons. I can also easily carry a tune, and while I don’t have a beautiful singing voice, at least the people around me don’t have to plug their ears when they hear me sing.

My parents also blessed me with a keen intelligence, a logical and analytical mind, and a love of learning. I’ve been a voracious reader and a lover of words my whole life. When we went out to my great-aunt’s for piano lessons every Friday afternoon, once the lessons were over, we went to my grandmother’s for dinner that evening (my great-aunt was my grandmother’s sister and my grandmother was Harry’s mother). And while we were at my grandmother’s having dinner, my grandparents would play a spelling bee game with me. They would quiz me on how to spell really hard words. I used to love playing that game!

Harry is a highly intelligent man (he’s still living, though he wants nothing to do with me), and my mother was too, even though she always said she was stupid. She was extremely creative and artistic, and she loved working with flowers. She knew both the common and the botanical names of just about every plant God ever created, and she knew how to make beautiful bouquets with them. When I was little she used to decorate for weddings and celebrations at church, as well as for friends. She also painted in watercolor. There’s a lot of artistic ability in my family, and my mother inherited a lot of it.

It also turns out that I inherited artistic ability from them as well, though I didn’t discover that until much later in life, when I was about 37.

I think of all the things my parents blessed me with, what I love most is the ability to think clearly and logically. And I think indirectly, they also gave me a love for the truth ~ which is probably why I love Jesus so much, because He is the highest Truth.

Once I was able to find ways in which I could honor my parents, it became easier to forgive them for all the bad they had perpetrated on me. I had been practicing forgiveness towards them for years already, but I had mostly been doing it by rote because God said I had to. Now that I could see that they weren’t ALL bad, it became a little easier. I would have continued to forgive them regardless, but easier is always better, because it’s, well ~ easier!

Praise God for easier, but I’ll do it whether it’s easy or hard!

The Gadarene and Me

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I’ve always felt a great affinity for the Gadarene demoniac, whose story is told in Mark 5:1-20 and Luke 8:26-37. As the story goes, Jesus and His disciples crossed the Sea of Galilee and landed in the region of the Gadarenes  (some manuscripts say Gerasenes; still others read Gergesenes), because Jesus had told them to go to the other side of the lake, and land there.

When they disembarked their boat, they were immediately set upon by a demon-possessed man, known as the Gadarene demoniac, so called because he had many demons, and he had been unable to live in civilized society for a long time. Luke 8 describes it well,

As Jesus was climbing out of the boat, a man who was possessed by demons came out to meet him. For a long time he had been homeless and naked, living in a cemetery outside the town. ~ Luke 8:27, NLT.

The passage also says that people had tried many times to restrain the man with chains and shackles without success. Each time he’d simply broken the chains and torn off the shackles, and then was driven into the wilderness by the demons who possessed him, deserted and abandoned by everyone who knew him,

For He had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. Many times it had seized him, and though he was guarded, bound by chains and shackles, he would snap the restraints and be driven by the demon into deserted places. ~ Luke 8:29, CSB.

Over the years I’ve mentioned several times to a number of people that I’ve felt like I could relate strongly to this poor soul, but each time my feelings were discounted. I was told that any feelings I might have for this man couldn’t be real because I’d never been possessed by a legion of demons as he was.

I hate it when someone treats me like that. By denying my feelings, they’re denying who I am as a person. No one likes being disrespected like that ~ because that’s exactly how I felt whenever someone told me that ~ completely disrespected. And it’s taken me all these years to understand that, and to figure out that those people were wrong.

It’s not a matter of whether or not I’ve been possessed by one or a million demons that makes the difference. What makes it so I can relate to this guy is the fact that I understand how he FELT. Because whether or not I’ve been possessed by any demons at all, I’ve experienced the same feelings he did. I’ve felt abandoned and rejected, as he surely must have felt when he was driven from his home and forced out of his town, both by the demons that controlled him, and by the neighbors and friends who feared him.

When I was multiple there were times when a child alter would come out. If that happened when I was out in public, my behavior would get a little strange. It would look like I was talking to myself, or all of a sudden I would start talking like a small child, or I might have a panic attack and begin hitting myself. That kind of behavior in a public place is terribly off-putting to other people, and I had very few friends, because most people who knew me weren’t willing to put themselves in the position where they might be embarrassed by my weird behavior should I be triggered by an environmental cue into having a panic attack, or switching into another alter.

So while I’ve gotten used to being alone, and most of the time even enjoy it, there used to be times where I got lonely, because most people didn’t want to be around me. Now I really like being alone, at least partly because I never feel alone. I can always feel the presence of the Holy Spirit with me and in me, and I talk to God all the time ~ my version of prayer, I guess.

Once I realized that God had been with me throughout my childhood, saving my life and protecting me from the worst of the abuse, I understood that everything He’d said in His Word about never leaving me nor forsaking me was actually true.

Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for He has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” ~ Hebrews 13:5, ESV.

This promise is quoted from the Book of Joshua,

No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you. ~ Joshua 1:5, NIV.

I find that promise to be cause for great rejoicing, and very comforting. For the first time in my life I have someone who is willing to keep His promises, who will always tell me the truth and not lie to me, and who will always be with me wherever I go. Also, if the Bible is any indication, and if McT is telling the truth (McT is my therapist and I trust him), then God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit actually like spending time with me. McT says I’m a delight to be with.

I’m not quite sure what to do with that information. The most obvious thing would be to accept it as true, but I want to ask McT how he knows that. He said that he himself finds me delightful to be with, but he also said that God thinks I’m a delight to be with as well.

So how does he know that? ‘Tis a puzzler for me, and a delightful one at that, pun intended.

And on that note I’ll end, at least for now, but I’m sure this is a topic I’ll be revisiting often.

God ALWAYS Sees Me

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I’ve felt invisible my whole life. When I was a kid I had to be invisible, at least in the cult, because otherwise they would have abused me in their rituals. My attempts at invisibility were only rarely successful, but I had to try. In fact I created an alter named Invisible Jane who only came out during cult rituals, and her sole purpose was to keep us hidden so we wouldn’t get abused.

Also, paradoxically, while I needed to be invisible in the cult, I figured out that if I could make someone out in the world notice that I was being abused, I might be rescued and the abuse would stop. I had to be very careful how I went about doing this, however, because Harry had been threatening to kill us if we told anyone what he was doing to us since we were about two years old, so I had to talk without saying words.

The solution that came to me ~ I’m sure suggested to me by God ~ was to pick holes in my cuticles, sometimes to the point of infection, which I started doing at around age two. I have a copy of a photograph taken of me when I was four where I was picking my cuticles, and I was wearing a beautiful dress given to me by my grandmother.

Sarah Picking Her Cuticles at Age 4

Unfortunately my efforts came to naught, because no one ever noticed, which makes me feel very sad for the little girl that was me back then. You can read more about this in my post, O God, Let My Blood Cry Out On My Behalf!. It’s based on a Scripture from the Book of Job,

O earth, do not conceal my blood. Let it cry out on my behalf. ~ Job 16:18, NLT.

The reason I’m talking about it here is because, even though Invisible Jane was necessary during my childhood, she’s no longer needed because the abuse stopped many years ago, plus I was integrated back in 2003. But even today I experience situations where I’m treated as if I’m invisible, as if I don’t exist.

It happens most often in situations where I’m out shopping ~ for instance in Barnes & Noble, or a department store buying clothes. I will be standing, looking at some merchandise, clothes or books or whatever, and I’ll have a question that I’ll need to have answered. There will be other people who also have questions, and the sales clerk helps everyone, absolutely everyone but me. And then when I’m the only one left, she turns and walks away as if I don’t exist, when I’m standing right in front of her.

I want to yell at her, “WHAT AM I, CHOPPED LIVER!?”

But I don’t.

I can’t tell you how many times that’s happened to me, and how painful it is everytime it does. But lately I’ve been able to remind myself that I’m not invisible before God.

God ALWAYS sees me. He has seen me and been with me, protecting me and saving my life ever since the beginning. So, while it doesn’t feel good when people ignore me and fail to acknowledge my existence, I can take comfort in the fact that God always sees me, He never ignores or spurns me, and He always listens to me when I talk to Him. And He does this because I am important to Him because He loves me.

I find that incredibly comforting!

Thank you, Jesus!!

 

 

I’ve Made Peace With My Past

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I probably could have broken this into two posts, but it felt like it was important to keep in one piece. So here goes…

I’ve spent the majority of my life hating and regretting my life, and wishing I’d been born to different parents, in a different family, in a different life than the one God gave me. I was also angry, even enraged, at God for placing me in my family of origin, because I felt like He’d done it on purpose, especially considering that He knew what would happen to me in that family. The Bible says God knows the end from the beginning,

Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.” ~ Isaiah 46:9-10, NIV.

What that said to me was that God knew from the beginning of time that He would place me in a family where I would be abused within an inch of my life, where my mother would try to kill me during my infancy, and my father would play Russian Roulette with his revolver between my legs to threaten me if I told anyone what he was doing to me. Yet He still chose to put me in that family, knowing in advance the terror and horror I would experience throughout my childhood, and knowing as well that I would barely survive to adulthood.

I could not understand how God could do this to an innocent child! What had I ever done to deserve this?

What I couldn’t appreciate or comprehend at the time was that the being I knew as God was completely different from the God of the Bible, and the God of the Bible was who God really was. The one I knew as God was actually patterned after Harry, my biological father. That God was mean, impatient, egotistical, angry, abusive, a rager, selfish, violent, and He hated me. That God had told Harry many times to abuse me and rape me because He, God, hated me.

I didn’t know it then, but that God was actually the devil working through Harry, trying to obliterate me, because God, the real God, the God of the Bible, had a plan for my life, and the devil didn’t want God’s plan to come to pass.

The devil tried hard, to be sure. As I stated above, My mother tried to kill me a number of times during my infancy by drowning me in the bathtub, or suffocating me with a pillow, but was unsuccessful because one of my alters, Deadsally (I had to become multiple in order to survive), would come out each time and make me stop squirming so my mother would think she’d succeeded and stop trying.

Also, Harry started threatening to kill me when I was about two, as I related above, and in addition, I tried suicide nine times as an adult. Fortunately none of those attempts succeeded either.

I’m so glad that God is more powerful than anything the devil can do!

I spent a lot of years feeling angry at God for what I endured, because I didn’t understand that God, being God, and therefore sovereign, can do whatever He pleases, and even though His plan might look perfectly terrible to us, ultimately it’s a good plan. It’s all a question of His sovereignty over my life, and I have to be willing to let Him have control,

But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? ~ Romans 9:20-21, ESV.

I have to trust that God knows more and better than I do, and I’m so grateful for God’s kindness and patience with me as I learn to trust Him. And I’m so grateful that He was willing to patiently wait for me to find out that He’s the exact opposite of everything the devil and Harry made me believe He was, and is.

I discovered that God was a good, kind and loving God over a period of years as I read the Bible from cover to cover several times, and then allowed people to pray for me, and then, finally, over the last four years, I took some online classes through Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (RZIM). The courses I took were through RZIM’s Academy, and they were wonderful. They helped me to increase in boldness, and become less fearful when talking to other people about Jesus ~ something that had always been a huge problem for me. They also helped me to be more logical in my thinking.

The class that helped me the most, however, was the one called “Why Suffering?” This course was life-changing for me, because it helped me to see my childhood in a whole different light.

The class presented a new theory of theodicy that really helped me to see things from a new and different perspective. The term “theodicy” was coined by Gottfried Leibnitz back in 1710 to vindicate the existence of an all-good, all-powerful God given the presence of evil in the world.

In the “Why Suffering” course, one particular theory of theodicy was proposed, called the Non-Identity Theodicy Theory. This theory was originally put forth by a man named Vince Vitale, who did his PhD dissertation on it, and the “Why Suffering” course was kind of formulated around it. I’m glad it was, because learning about it set me free.

The basics of Vince Vitale’s theory are that when I think about myself in the world of suffering that we all live in, I’ve often wished myself to be in a world with much less suffering. And then I’ve thought, “Why didn’t God create me in that other world where there’s much less suffering instead of this suffering world that I’m actually in?” But wishing to be created as me in that other fantasy world with no suffering is actually a philosophical and biological impossibility.

I know this because I’ve wished for this very thing with my whole heart many times. Why couldn’t I have been born into a different and better family with parents who loved me and didn’t beat the crap out of me every time I turned around?

As a result of taking the “Why Suffering?” course, I’ve come to realize that my wish, wholehearted as it was, was an impossible one to grant.

Rats!

The reason was all too logical. If I was born into a different family with different parents, I wouldn’t be me, because I would have different DNA. Once I saw that, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to come from a different family, because, while it meant that I wouldn’t have suffered the hell of my childhood, it also meant that I wouldn’t have the close relationship with God that I do.

And my relationship with God has become the greatest and sweetest treasure of my life, one that I wouldn’t give up for anything, not even at the cost of gaining a better childhood with better parents.

I’m reminded of the passage in Mark’s Gospel,

‘Truly I tell you,’ Jesus replied, ‘no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age…along with persecutions ~ and in the age to come eternal life.’ ~ Mark 10:29-30, NIV.