Tag Archive | Personal History

Raw and Real #7 – Process

So. If you read the title, and came here for an easy answer, I apologize straight away.

There are so many ways to process the events of our lives.

These events may be physical, mental, and/or spiritual.

Many times these events and their repercussions stay hidden deep inside.

Repercussions of continuous abuse.

If we do choose to address them, admittedly, we choose to work on the parts that seem “easiest”.

This generally means a little here and a little there.

Eventually, the hard stuff is what’s left.

What is the hard stuff?

It’s the stuff that makes up the “Soundtrack of our lives”.

It’s the stuff that has buried itself deep in our consciousness.

Being a “Soundtrack”, means that it can readily get played over and over.

What we believe about ourselves is often the thing that has been repeated to us over time.

Repetition is an amazing teacher.

So what of this “Soundtrack”?

Is it positive, or is it negative?

Do we even realize the harm it is doing?

For me at least, I came to the point where I was faced with doing a “deep dive”.

An  →“Excavation” if you will, to get to the heart of the issue.

My belief in the Holy Bible gave me a jumping off point.

In Ephesians 4:22-23 (ESV) to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds.

And in 2 Corinthians 10:5 (ESV) We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.

In the simplest of terms, what these verses are telling us that it is possible to change the way we think.

My “Soundtrack” was full of what every person I had ever come in contact with said, or thought about me, both positive and negative.

Unfortunately, the negatives are much stickier than the positives.

I’m told that it takes seven positives to overcome a negative.

So how does one go about renewing those thoughts, or “taking them captive”?

Scripture has an answer for that as well.

Philippians 4:8 (ESV) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

Wow!

That’s a tall order.

To tell the truth, I had read all of these verses before, but it seems like only when I was truly ready to put them in place, did they come alive to me!

Believe me friend, it took all the intentionality I could muster to change those thoughts!

Here is some of what I thought followed by what God was thinking about me.

“You’re no good” – God says I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

“Use your head for something besides a hat rack.” – Blessed is the one who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him. (I’ll need my head for that!)

“You’re so dumb.” God says I have the mind of Christ.

“You’re so bad, God will never forgive you!” He is faithful and just to forgive me of my sins.

“What tribe you from? Blackfoot?” – How lovely on the mountains are the feet of Him who brings good news.

Blackfoot, bigfoot, gunboats, monkey toes – He drew me out of the pit, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

(There is a foot verse for any foot joke there is!)

Now in the Law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” – “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”

The only way that we can overcome, is to change the way we speak about ourselves.

We need to believe what God says, and to repeat it to ourselves again and again.

Remember that repetition is a great teacher.

After some time, I began to believe God said too; and my symptoms began to fade.

I keep adding the true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy statements to my tally of positives.

I believe God’s thoughts more and more, and am exceedingly more capable of living a most grateful and joyful life.

Thanks for joining me here today.

If you’d like to read→another post on “Excavation”, you can do it here.

My hope is that you too will be able to change the “Soundtrack of your life” into to one that is true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, excellent, and worthy.

  • Psalms 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
  • James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.
  • 1 Corinthians 2:16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
  • Isaiah 52.7 How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news
  • Psalm 40:2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.

All verses from the English Standard Version

Join me back here on next time for #8 – Too Much Process

Until next time …

Raw and Real #6 – Identity

Have you ever wondered who you are?

I mean really wondered.

Like, who could I possibly be?

I know I have considered the question over and over my entire lifetime.

I know that I had many aspirations; a teacher, a writer, a ballerina, a jockey, a barrel racer, a truck driver, a mom.

The list goes on, but I don’t recall ever being encouraged to be anything but a →“Good girl”.

When people are asked, “Who are you?” they will frequently answer with what they do.

Like the list above, it can vary from day to day.

But there came a time in my life when I found out that the answer to the question was very different.

I had been looking at it from through the wrong lenses.

The Holy Bible says in Galatians 4:6 (ESV) Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Abba = Daddy)

And Psalm 100:3 (ESV) says; Know that the Lord, He is God! It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture.

Then, there is my life verse, a life verse of many;

 Psalm 139:13-16 (ESV) 13 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.

*We are His

*We are His sons

*We are created by Him

*We are fearfully and wonderfully made

*We are known by Him

This all sounds very different than the traditional answer we come up with.

Beginning to think of who we are in this manner takes some doing.

When I first began to change my answer, over and over, I had to remind myself that I was “a Kings kid”.

This thinking did not come readily, due to my personal history.

I had to learn that it wasn’t something I did, it was something I was.

It didn’t have anything to do with my job title, or even the events that occurred in my life.

It wasn’t connected to the guilt or the shame that tried to remain prevalent in my mind.

What it was, and still is, and forever will be,

is my relationship to God my Father.

Deuteronomy 31:8B He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

A quote from a friend of mine reminds me that “We are human beings, not human doings.”

Her quote, makes me want to BE with God.

Just Be.

It’s not what we do, or what has been done to us.

It’s about what we think of God.

This makes all the difference.

What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.

A. W. Tozer

I hope you’ll join me next time when we talk about; Process.

Until then …

Raw and Real #4 – Introvert

Many people, most in fact, have a misconception of what that is, as did I.

 I think that the definition of the word introvert has changed over the years, due to more study on the personality traits, types, and temperaments of people.

Introvert, Dear posted a really nice article → Introvert, Dear – This is for all the quiet ones.  if you care to read in depth on this misconception.

Here is the quick definition from that article;

“The definition of an introvert is someone who prefers calm, minimally stimulating environments. Introverts tend to feel drained after socializing and regain their energy by spending time alone. This is largely because introverts’ brains respond to dopamine differently than extroverts’ brains. In other words, if you’re an introvert, you were likely born that way.”

In this post, I spoke about spending a lot of time alone.

That was never really a problem until I started school, and was “required” to work and play well with others.

As I grew through the elementary school years, and on into the upper grades, this became a real problem.

My lack of social skills, and inappropriate responses to others, either drove them away, or caused them to bully me.

Unfortunately, the second thing, bullying, was the one most of them chose.

Here is a post from 9.5.2011 that describes my life at that time. →Sticks and Stones.

With this “Cycle” that followed through to my adulthood, I was the one deemed “Trouble”.

I was the one who would have to learn to deal with it, or watch it repeated in my children.

I spent many years as a new mom, attending church.

Church where I perceived all the “Perfect” little moms, and their “Perfect” little families, all seated in “Perfect” little rows.

While I sat “Perfectly” alone in the pew with my children. (I had no idea that those peoples little lives were just as “Perfect” as mine was!)

Contrary to what you might think, although I did feel lonely at times, and although there were difficult days, being wired as an introvert, it was not difficult for me to keep going.

This led me to my own private search for the truth about myself.

What I learned here over the course of several years, was that it all began with God;

The One who created me.

The One who loved me.

The One who was watching over me, even when I could not see Him.

That time was used to learn just what the Word of God said; about me, about God, about my past; and about my future!

God provided me with a little gem, a little jewel.

This treasure was a little book, that started me on a new path of thinking.

A beauty of a book called →Thin Places – a memoir by Mary E. DeMuth

She helped me to see and discover the ways that God was with me for my entire life.

He was aware of my “Trauma and drama”, and He wanted to use it for good.

He even wanted to use my “Trouble” to help others through the fogginess of their past.

Her words, mixed with His, flowed over me like warm honey, and soothed my soul.

This book was the first in a line of books that I “Discovered”, that changed the way I viewed myself. (A list follows)

These books caused me to understand how I am wired, and why it was vitally important that I stop longing to be like someone else.

Once I found out HOW I was wired, then I could determine what was really normal for me, and then I could begin to appreciate who I really was.

If you click on any of the links below, you will be taken to a post on my blog, posted especially for that book.

This list is long, and seems impending.

Understand that I began this excavation of my life a long time ago.

Everyone has their own speed, but if you are serious about figuring yourself out, and making the most of your life story – it’s a really good place to begin.

Next time I’ll be talking about the Little girl. 6 weeks – 6 months.

I hope you’ll be able to join me.

Until then …

Raw and Real #3 – Lament

As a noun, lament is described as a passionate expression of grief or sorrow.

As a verb, it is to express regret, or disappointment over something considered unsatisfactory, unreasonable, or unfair.

Looking back on my life, I see many choices that a child would have no control over. 

Where I lived, who my neighbors were, where I went to school, where my parents worked, and how much time we had together.

These things are true for absolutely everyone.

They are neither fair, nor unfair; they just are.

Then there are the unfair things.

Actions and deeds thrust on me that should never have been.

Things done by others that set my life on a course that I had no choice in.

These things caused my responses to everything else in my life to be off kilter.

Let’s face it, when you are that young, you still learning how to act properly.

This is the time of life that you are learning about yourself, your world, and how things work.

Your learning style is being developed.

Add in the actions of unprincipled people, and it confuses things even more.

The title of this post is “Lament”.

As a teenager growing into an adult, I knew that my life wasn’t right.

But it was much, much later, after the passing of my mother, that I even COULD lament or mourn.

It was during this time, that I learned that grieving was not only for loved ones or pets who had died, but for DREAMS that had died.

In my case, MY CHILDHOOD had died.

Well, it was really wrenched away from me, but in reality, it was a death.

It was a death of what my life could have been, should have been, and might have been.

It carried with it the exact same effects that plaque those who might suffer from PTSD.

It had caused my behaviors to be well out of the norm for that time.

I am quite certain that if today’s meds had been available, I would have been medicated to oblivion.

Instead, I was placed in the naughty, troubled category.

And except for the abusive episodes, (remember this was a cycle my entire growing up life) was pretty much left alone, or worse, harassed by my school mates.

Those words of theirs cut deep, and although healed now, caused exceedingly great trauma to my heart.

I did however finally, as an adult, learn that grieving is needed and that →lament can be healthy says Psychology Today.

“Lamentation, then, is about release, about letting the painful emotions flow: fear, doubt, bewilderment, anger, shame and guilt, perhaps, as well as sadness. It can be silent, but the release of energy is often accompanied by noises – the sounds of crying, shouting, sobbing, keening, sighing, whimpering – and the fall of tears, even the streaming of mucus. We have come to think of such powerful expressions of grief as ugly, and therefore seek to avoid them; to avoid even seeing them, much less grieving like this ourselves; but this is in ignorance of the resulting serenity of final acceptance when we eventually assimilate our losses and are ready again to engage with life anew and move forward. Without lamentation, without the emotional healing process advancing towards resolution, this cannot happen; in which case, misery can only persist.”

“Lamentation, then, is essential to psychological health, and is often the main pathway to personal growth, to greater equanimity, compassion and wisdom. Although painful, it is altogether natural, and a good thing.”

I share all of this with you to say this –

If you have had cycles of abuse, fear, distrust, or just plain naughty social behavior due to that abuse –

Take some down time to do the inside work.

Determine that which was stolen from you, and grieve its loss.

Mourn it for real.

Lament the unfairness of it all!

Then move on.

The symptoms of your grief may show on the outside through your behaviors.

But the work on your grief is an inside job.

In my next post, I’ll cover finding out who you really are, so that you can proceed through your healing process.

Until then …

Raw and Real #2 – Quiet (PJs)

My new series Raw and Real is just beginning.

My hope is that as you see some of my struggles, you will see yourself somewhere, and find help and strength in these words.

To begin at the beginning, you can click →here.

In #1, you read that I wore shame “like a coat”.

It is important to know the difference between guilt and shame.

Here is the definition given by →Psychology Today.

Guilt: a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.

Shame: the painful feeling arising from the consciousness of something dishonorable, improper, ridiculous, etc., done by oneself or another.”

Did you inflict the pain?

Or did someone else’s actions inflict the pain?

Even though I was very young, and naive, just a child, somewhere on the inside, I knew something was not as it should be.

Not having the knowledge or capacity to figure out what these feelings meant;

they were buried deep in the “That’s just the way it is” category.

Somehow, I didn’t even wonder if others had the same things going on in their lives.

It was assumed that they did.

That category grew larger and larger over the years of my life.

Finally after many years of repetition of the same types of “trauma and drama”, I did begin to realize that something was wrong;

not just wrong, but VERY wrong.

I began to realize that the events in my life seemed to follow a cycle.

It was of course, not the same people that were there at the beginning, but the victimization was the same;

the same in that it was victimization, but quite different in size and scope.

Advantages taken mentally and physically were more inclined to take away any ability I may have had to remove myself from the fray.

However another difference was that I was able to see the high likelihood, that not everyone I knew bore the same issues.

After countless relationships with varying amounts of “trauma and drama”, I miraculously was introduced to the man who would become my husband.

We had a small family that although not always completely high functioning, worked well, and we learned how to live together, and to power through our troubles, and lead a pretty normal and well balanced life. 

(Our “kind of crazy” has been alive and well for 43 years!)

In 2001, there was of course what we Americans refer to as 9/11.

There was so much trauma; so much to absorb, so much to process.

And then, as if that were not enough, on 9/17 that my mom was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.

Treatment and care began immediately.

Her time was short, but intense.

She passed away in my living room, with her family all present, just days before Thanksgiving.

The reason this is important to the story of this post has to do with the idea of process.

While I was caring for her, I felt strong.

I felt like I could do what needed to be done.

Even after her passing, I still felt strong.

I still felt like I could do what needed to be done.

I was not looking ahead to, or even aware of, what was about to hit me.

I refer to what comes next as the →Cave Days.

There had been no time to process 9/11, much less 9/17.

I was not prepared for the loss of energy, the loss of strength, the loss of enjoying anything I had enjoyed before.

Between the mental pain, the physical pain that was radiating through my body, and the brain fog;

it took several doctors, and several “might be” diagnosis and treatments to find the problem.

During that time, I spent hours, days, weeks, and years at home, in my PJs, not moving or thinking;

barely breathing.   

It took me nearly four years to even LOOK at the items in my house that belonged to my mom.

As it says in the →Cave Days post – caves can be places of burial, or places to rest and regain strength.

It was a choice that had to be made.  

But how?

I hope you’ll come back on Friday for Friday Favorites.

Then again on Monday, so we can explore “But how?” question together.

Until then …

Raw & Real #1 – Toxic Turmoil

Toxic Turmoil

In → a post last week I told about a meeting I went to.

My mind kind of went into the way back machine and began to remember where I began, and some of the steps that I had to take to grow out of what I call “The trauma and the drama”.

Way back in the beginning, let’s just say that it could be known as “Toxic turmoil”.

The Encarta Dictionary defines toxic as relating to or containing poison or toxin, causing serious harm or death and turmoil as a state of great confusion, or disturbance.

I remember as a tiny little girl, spending a lot of time alone.

I never thought about it much.

Though I do not remember in detail what those pre-school days involved, I know that it didn’t seem strange, this playing alone.

It is just the way it was; dancing in circles in my room.

I was content.

I remember that dad was always away at work.

He drove a delivery truck for a regional store.

When he came home, sometimes he would bring home trinkets to play with.

Now when it was time for kindergarten, I was so excited.

It was time for adventure, as I got to walk ALL THE WAY to the school.

Mom had taught me many things that the children at school didn’t know yet.

So, it was fun.

I was smart.

And fidgety.

I already knew what was being taught to the other kids.

What I didn’t have in my repertoire, were social skills.

This brought on no small amount of problems in my life away from my home.

The exciting new beginning, turned into exciting new habits.

Habits that followed me throughout my young lifetime.

Habits of wandering, and interrupting, and day dreaming.

Not only in my mind, but physically and verbally as well.

Back in the day, teachers did not teach according to a student’s skill set. 

It was strictly reading, writing, and arithmetic.

All students were expected to stay seated, and stay on task.

Learning styles were not taken into account as they are now.

Kids like me were labeled “Trouble”, regardless if our intent was to be difficult or not.

Attachment of these labels followed all through the educational years.

In →Psychology Today, I read an article that pretty well explains some of the behaviors kids may show.

They aren’t really being naughty, they are simply learning the way they learn.

One may note that even though teaching styles have changed, we still inflict labels on our kids.

Labels that follow them throughout their life.

They help to dictate who they may become.

To be sure, some of these labels are based in truth.

While others are given and never followed up on.

This post isn’t really about teaching.

It is a post that can show the reasons why sometimes we are the way we are.

Scripture, the Holy Bible, says that “words are spirit, and they are life”.

I believe we can speak things into existence.

That topic is for another time.

But if we keep speaking rotten things over our lives and our kids that is what they will become.

That little Debbie girl, she was trouble.

A phrase I heard on the daily.

Enough said about that.

Now on to the home life, early on it was turmoil.

When school began, other things began as well.

I enjoyed playing alone, but like any kid, I wanted to have some friends too.

Since my social skills were lacking, so were my friends.

The kids that I played with from the neighborhood were the ones, who like me, were lacking in social skills.

They were boys, so of course I learned to play like a boy; rough and tumble, and aggressive.

This didn’t make the little girls at school want to play with me.

These boys also had older siblings, who took advantage, mentally, physically and psychologically, of any one smaller than them.

My introduction to “real life” was early.

Although I did not have a name for it, shame became something that I wore like a coat.

It would be years before I could know the ramifications of these events, or the price I would need to consider for my freedom.

It all sounds so melodramatic when I place it all here on the page, but it is only the beginning of a pretty rough road.

“Raw and Real” is where we began.

Freedom is our destination.

Step by step, we will arrive.

Until next time …  

Freedom to Be Real

At the beginning of this year, I was invited to a new meeting, new for me anyway.

The name of the group is “Raw and Real”.

(That should tell you something!)

My husband asked me before I went what it was all about.

I seriously did not know, and I told him so.

“So why did I agree to go?” was his next query; because I 100% trust the friend who invited me.

Turns out, it is a growing group of woman from many different walks of life, just sitting for a couple of hours and sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I was dubious, because I dislike the small talk involved with meeting new people.

I love the DEEP talk – just not always the small talk of getting there.

But did I mention I trust my friend?

This group was all women with a similar world view, even though their life histories were very different.

It was actually quite a joy to hear some of their stories, and heartbreaking to hear some others.

Let me tell you folks, no matter how bad you had it – someone always had it worse.

You can never tell by looking at them, just how difficult their journey has been.

I won’t share their stories, but I can sure tell you what happened in my mind while I was there.

I did not share my story there, but as I listened I was reminded, and considered my own journey.

Sometimes when you have walked thru so much, over such a long period of time –

You know where you’ve walked, but some of the steps get forgotten.

What I’d like to do here, is share the BIG steps that I remembered during this meeting, and then in subsequent posts, share some of the little steps that were involved in becoming the free woman that I am today.

So here is the list I made while listening – many of their steps reminded me of my own!

1. Toxic turmoil  

2. Lament

3. Quiet (pjs)

4. Introvert

5. Little girl – 6 weeks – 6 months

6. Identity

7. Process

8. Too much process

9. Write

10. Travel

11. Relate.

12. Freedom

During the process of writing this out, I am positive that even more will be revealed and remembered. 

Over the years I have come to “Love the process”.

It always takes me to new places, with further vistas, and hopefully, you can realize some new freedoms too, just by following along.

Until next time …