Trust

Are you in Egypt?

This song resonates with me and the real shaking my family is currently facing.

I have  faced spiritual battles before in my own life; especially when it has come to my bondage and stronghold to fear, anxiety and agoraphobia. Yet, this battle is even more…

More painful.

More loss involved.

More on the line.

Lives. Families. Relationships. Sin. Eternal.

The song by Sara Groves has really spoke to my heart lately.

Life was comfortable before because I knew what the day was going to hold. I knew that I would be fearful, anxious and panic stricken in most every part of the day. The life I am living now is more uncomfortable, especially in the present day of such a spiritual attack on my life and the lives of those I love.

Yet, I know the past is closed off to me.

The past is so tangible. I know it by heart. Such powerful words from the song.. Oh, they speak to me. I knew the past by heart.

Familiar things are hard to discard. Oh My.. Yes.

I lived in such a path of darkness for so long. My eyes were covered by  fear. I felt I had no value to anyone. The ones that I so desperately wanted to love me, totally abandoned me and left me feeling worthless. Even though the familiar was unhappy, damaging and not the best God had for me, I stayed stuck.

Stuck because I didn’t feel worthy of any other life.

I was painting pictures of Egypt but none were coming true. The past had such a hold, yet the future seemed unattainable. I was stuck in the middle. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

I so desperately wanted to go, yet I hesitated. Fear continued to hold me back.

I was caught between the PROMISE and the things I knew.

One of the verses in this song says, ” But the places that used to fit me, cannot hold the things I have learned. ”

I cannot explain how this song has spoke to my heart. Life changing.
Beyond words.

Did someone tell Sara Groves my story because it seems that this song was written just for me.

I so desperately wanted freedom from the past abuse, neglect, fear, anxiety and agoraphobia, but I saw no solution. Yet, God had bigger plans.

He set me free from anxiety, fear and agoraphobia in August 2012. After 40 years of living with this I am now free. Free to travel. Free to drive alone. Free to be happy, whole and ANGIE.

The timing was right for the Lord to heal me.

The song says, ” If it comes too quick I may not recognize it. ”

If God had done this tremendous work in my life 8 years ago, would I have been ready? Would I be in the place I am with my ministry? Would I be in a place where freedom would truly be mine?

I am not so sure. His timing was right, just as it always is.

Yesterday I  fasted, prayed and sought the Word and will of the Lord for the shaking and attack my family is currently under. So much pain. So many unanswered questions.

Yet, even when the shaking continues..

I will not let the enemy win and I certainly will not go back to the past life I once lived. I have come too far.

Prayer for you and me:

Lord, today I want to thank you for the many blessings you have bestowed on me and my family. I ask that you do the same for the reader. Help them to feel your love and your powerful healing touch for whatever they may be facing. Life is hard, yet we are over-comers with you on our side. Nothing can break the love you have for us as believers. We stand connected with you and the armies of angels surrounding us. Even when life feels like it is so painful, we continue to trust and believe in your better plan. We don’t see what you are doing behind the scenes, but you know the perfect time and place to have all the pieces fit together. Lord, help us to continue to trust, love and accept. Acceptance does not mean we are happy, but it does mean we know you are faithful to perfect all that concerns us and our loved ones. Lord, watch over and protect my family. We know the restoration, love and healing is possible. One day, I hope to be able to tell the full story of the restoring power of JESUS.

Linking up with :

More To Be

Little By Little

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His Story by P. J. Di Benedetto

HIS STORY

Guest Post

By: P.J. Di Benedetto

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Three years ago, in 2010, I was standing on my 2nd floor balcony porch, staring off into the distant trees, totally peaceful, with my mind a million miles away. (Picture yourself there.) My sweet husband innocently came up behind me, and lovingly wrapped his arms around me….upon which I almost JUMPED OUT OF MY SKIN IN SHOCK AND FEAR, terrified, electrified, as if a bolt of lightning had just struck me! He so startled me, that I was shaking uncontrollably, and then, suddenly I just burst into tears! I want you to know right now that my husband didn’t MEAN to scare me…in fact, he is a wonderful, Godly man who wouldn’t hurt anybody, intentionally. As I stood there having a complete meltdown, he pulled me into his arms and held me close, saying, “I’m SO sorry, Sweetie! I didn’t mean to frighten you, Honey!”, and many other comforting words that soothed me. (My husband is a gift from God, especially chosen for me! He’s not perfect, but he’s perfect for me!) So, when I finally calmed down, my husband gently, TENDERLY talked to me about maybe going to see a Christian counselor who specifically deals with victims of rape. It was obvious to him I was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I am a survivor of a rape by a serial killer, which occured when I was 14 years old, but that I’d never dealt with. I didn’t tell ANYONE when it happened, and actually went to school the next day as if nothing HAD happened. It was how my brain survived the trauma, because that rape COMPLETELY blew my mind! (Fast-forward for just one second: I DID tell my mother, in 1983, when my rapist was caught by the police for rape and murder, TEN years after he raped me.) Then, after telling my mom, for the next 20 years of my life, after my rapist was in prison, convicted in the deaths of 2 of the 6 murdered girls the police came to find out about, I never talked about it again. I never sought help, or counseling, and I simply did what was expected of me in life, trying to pretend everything was normal. This was all totally sub-conscious. I had no idea I was doing that! I like to say that I wore a mask…my, “I’m fine!” mask.

And now, standing there on my porch, 38 years after the rape, I had just simply fallen apart. I was like a puddle of water on the ground, my mask floating there on the surface, leaving me feeling naked. (Looking back, I think that was God’s perfect timing.) After agreeing with my husband that I would seek someone for Godly counsel, FROM THAT MINUTE ON, everything in life as I knew it before began to change. Just making the appointment was like a breakthrough! I was not going to keep quiet anymore! No more stuffing this down…I was coming out of hiding, I was breaking my silence, I would be bringing everything into the LIGHT. I was very afraid of what would come out of me during this counseling, scared of how much I would have to dredge up about my past, but I’d had enough of the “LIVING WITH FEAR” even MORE THAN the fear of re-living the past with a counselor.

Right now, it’s been three years since then, when I went to that counselor. It really helped me…HEALED me by pointing me to God, and after some very intense months of hard work, I graduated! I felt so healed by Jesus’ loving-kindness to me! I was even able to forgive my rapist. I wrote him a letter telling him how he could also know this wonderful Jesus of mine! (Forgiveness is not a natural thing for one to do…it is SUPERNATURAL.) My pastors’ wife had given me some scriptures on an awakening, and of chains falling off. and that was exactly the way I felt! Free!!! I turned it into a sketch, that will one day become a painting. Then, the Women’s Ministry at my church was having a conference/workshop, and asked me if I would be one of the speakers and workshop leaders. I agreed, and afterwards, many women came to me with stories of their own. It was, again, another very healing experience.

God was using this story, my story, to touch other women’s lives. I shared with them many scriptures and promises from the Bible that I had learned! Now, God was taking something bad that happened to me, and replacing it with something GOOD, for His glory! My “history” became “HIS-story!”. Because, during my healing, Jesus did such a miraculous thing, that, now, when “RAPE!” roared it’s ugly head in my brain, Jesus Himself reminded me of what HE did during my counseling, and everything He taught me! The lies I had believed had been removed from me! And, once they were gone, Jesus clothed me with Himself! I told this group of ladies this: Instead of viewing my life from the perspective of being a rape victim, I now was making Jesus my “point of reference”. I learned that, “I have been crucified with Christ, yet I myself no longer live, but Christ lives in me; And this life I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the One who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Galatians 2:20)

Jesus was living IN me, THROUGH me, AS me! Then, right after having these wonderful things happen to me, a story came out in the newspaper about my rapist, and his cousin, who were partners in the crimes of raping and killing girls. They were dubbed, “The Killing Cousins”, and it was one of the worst things to ever happen in our small town.The main story was about how the one who got the death sentence should have been executed already! He’d been on death row for 27 years! Their final victims’ family, (their 17-year old daughter was raped and killed in 1983), was angry about it that “justice had not been served” yet. (Her killer was put to death 2 years later, in 2012. The other cousin, my own rapist, had been given 2 life sentences.) The story told of how the mom would put a memorial in the obituaries each year, and how, once her daughter’s killer had been put to death, she would write a new, healing, celebratory memorial instead! I was so moved by the column, that I wrote a private letter to the columnist, telling him how well I remember the day these two had been caught, and how I finally told my mother I had been raped by one of these men.

He asked me if I would do an interview with him about what happened to me. I prayed, and I prayed, and I prayed! God revealed to me, over and over again, that I SHOULD do it, even if only to help ONE person who was suffering. (But, He assured me, there would be HUNDREDS of healings, after all was said and done!) So, I did 2 interviews, during one of which I got to meet the final victims’ mother, and tell her how very sorry I was that her daughter had died, I got a chance to talk to her about the guilt I had felt all those years, thinking that if I’d only TOLD SOMEONE, maybe her daughter and others would still be alive…(though, at the age of 14, I did not have the tools to speak about it to anyone.)

On the 2nd interview, we drove to my old neighborhood, and I showed him where I grew up, and where my rapist lived…right across the street. The only way I got through those interviews was with Jesus holding my hand! I’m serious! He even SPOKE through me! I was shaking like a leaf throughout! Eventually, my story would be published on November 28, 2010 on the front page, along with 4 or 5 other stories, each with different angles, about these “Killing Cousins”, who roamed through our little town, and other towns close by, searching for victims, FOR THE PURE SPORT OF IT! (Yes! They did it for the FUN of it! Did I mention that the entire time I was being raped, my rapist laughed his head off crazily, non-stop, like some hysterical maniac? He actually ENJOYED robbing me of my innocence! Because, while I was DYING inside, it was visibly exciting to him watching it happen!) My story being published in the paper did help many people, though! My counselor told me of one person, a 70-year old man who had been sexually abused in childhood by his own father, came in saying, “If she can find freedom and forgiveness, so can I!”. Other people called me, and sent me cards in the mail. One letter began, “There are no words to say what we feel in our hearts for you except you have got to be one of the most courageous, strongest, and bravest girls we know.” I don’t always FEEL courageous, or strong, or brave….but the Jesus that lives in me IS!

After my story came out, I kind of went backwards for a time, because I feared retaliation. His family still lives in my same town. I started having Post Traumatic Stress, again, and also began having a fear of leaving my house. I became agoraphobic. On the heels of agoraphobia, I began to experience deep depression. Things that I once enjoyed, I stopped doing. Probably because, also during that period, still in the year 2010, I suffered great loss in other areas of my life. Three separate people who I loved very much died. My oldest son, (23 years old), went to jail for a year. (Can you just imagine how hard it was for me to go to the jail and visit him twice a week, being agoraphobic! Back ON went my masks!) I was suffering 2 very debilitating health issues. I had to end a long friendship with my best girlfriend. Then my husband moved us from the church where he and I were both thriving, because our teens needed a good Youth Group, which was non-existent in the church we were attending at that time. Keep in mind that the church was one of the few times I could leave my house, and be with other Christians. The ladies there were a big support to me. When we left, I pulled away from everyone. We wandered from then until now, 2013. All of these events made me seek God’s face like never before in my life! It was like I was actually STALKING Jesus! I sought His direction for every single thing! And, slowly, I started trusting again. I was invited to speak at a huge church, 4 hours away from my home, and my sister went with me, and GOD DID IT! Yes! God used my story for MORE people to get healed and to be free! Praise God! That was a very positive, healing thing for me…seeing God touch people using my voice, not to mention getting me to leave my home and travel 4 hours away, and spend the night in a strange city! It was empowering!

Last month, my husband and I decided to return to the church where we began, because they replaced some of the staff, and they are presently looking for a new youth minister. We were welcomed back warmly there! And it’s a great thing, because with no warning at all, the newspaper had a story about my rapist again, saying 3 members of his family were trying to get him exonerated.That story was on a Wednesday, and on Sunday they re-told my own story. Nobody asked me, and they printed it without giving me any heads-up whatsoever!!! And, I felt traumatized all over again! What a setback that was! I was so angry! My scab had been ripped open, AGAIN! It triggered all of my weaknesses….the PTSD, agoraphobia, and depression all over again! I’ve had to seek God with my whole heart, soul, mind, body, and spirit! I have to be very careful where I allow my mind to go, and also who I allow into my life! I have had to do whatever it takes to put into practice all I’ve been learning over these few years…like realizing that when I am weak, God is strong! When I think a negative thought, I make myself say three POSITIVES. I count my blessings, one by one. I have to, like David in the Bible, “encourage MYSELF in the Lord”, because other people are not always available. I will read my Bible or a devotion, I’ll listen to uplifting music, (and sing along!), journal, pray, listen to a sermon, call a friend, force myself to do a favorite hobby…whatever it takes! I just need to redirect my mind to what I know is the truth! I quote scripture right out loud! This is what it sounds like: “Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is right, true, noble, if anything be excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things! I am NOT ever alone! Jesus will NOT forsake me! Jesus is my Rock and my Salvation! All things are possible with Him, who strengthens me! He who is in me is bigger than he who is in the world! If God is FOR me, who can be against me? For God knows the plans He has for me, and they are not plans to harm me, but to prosper me, and give me a hope and a future!”. That is how I survive, and I am grateful for all things that can and DO bring me closer to God! Knowing HIM is my GOAL in life! I am living my life for a reason, and that reason is Christ!

I started taking photographs with the new camera my husband bought for me, and it has gotten me to take baby steps away from the house. I still panic when it’s time to get in my car and drive to pick up my kids from school, but popping in a praise and worship CD has been working for me! It gets me there to the school,singing all the way, and my kids talk to me all the way home! And, now, Angie Kay Webb has asked me to write this guest blog. I guess that most recent setback/attack from the enemy must mean Satan is really worried about how Jesus will use THIS blogged story for His glory, too! I pray that is the case, and that the Lord Himself LED YOU HERE to read this today, to help you on your journey to wellness.

For the record, I’m just an ordinary person who has an extraordinary God! I have a long way to go, (I know that), and I have a TON of more things to still learn, yet, “…I am confident of this one thing, He who began a good work in ME will see it to completion, until the day of Christ Jesus!” (Adapted from~ Philippians 1:6) . I trust Him, the Author and Finisher of my faith! Will you? God only wants the very best for us, His children. You CAN put your faith in Him! He is trust-WORTHY! Follow Him, with all you have inside of you, and you will find healing, too! It might seem like a lot of work, but it’s a process, a journey, a walk with the Lord, and SO worth it in the end! What a friend we have in Jesus! Just imagine…He’s the King who wants to be OUR FRIEND! I keep running toward the prize! I pray one day I will hear those words, “Well done, My good and faithful servant!”. Amen!

P.j. Di Benedetto is a married woman, with 7 children, and 12 grandchildren. She is an accomplished artist, whose work includes a 50-foot mural at her local Salvation Army in Vero Beach, Fl. P.J. enjoys gardening, sewing, writing poetry, playing musical instruments, photography, and Bible study; her favorite scriptures are Galatians 2:20, and Philippians 4:6-7.

Walls

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To some, this next sentence will not make any sense but then there are those that will totally understand.

Walls are a way to protect myself from being hurt but also erected in an effort to protect you from me…

As a child and then later as an adult, I never fully trusted anyone but I most certainly did not trust myself.

How could I trust an individual that has been told all of her life that she was screwed up, messed up, nothing, worthless and pretty much not worth any type of love or acceptance?

That is the situation I found myself in from a very early age.. Not trusting anyone else other than a few certain adults that always provided unconditional love. Other than that; TRUST was a no-no.. I certainly didn’t trust others but I didn’t trust myself either.

Such began a life of trying to control the situations I found myself in and around, which then led to more and more anxiety because the world and life cannot be controlled. No matter how hard I tried; it just didn’t happen. I would try to be a good, little girl and I thought I was but then the one day that I wasn’t walking on eggshells around my family, that was the day once again I was told that I was just a waste and a nothing. So then began the walking on eggshells again in an effort of trying to please.. It would go along fine for a bit and then wham… Failure again. The straight A student just couldn’t do enough to please my parents… I would try and try but it just never happened.

More and more anxiety, fear and agoraphobia developed. I can sense now that even as early as 9 or 10 years old I suffered with some agoraphobia, yet it like all the other problems I carried around went undiagnosed and untreated.

Trust was not an option for me with anyone; especially myself.

This is when the problem began because if I was such a failure at life in general how was I going to be a good wife, mom and employee….

I always felt like I had to have someone to fall back on in situations that I felt unsure about or anxious about because this was certainly an area that I knew I was not prepared to handle.

Yet, over the last year; after 47 years of life…. I have decided that God has not called a weak, unstable, fearful, anxious woman to tell my story. He has called a powerful, forgiven, loved, confident woman that has a powerful story of healing to tell others.

If I hide what God has done for me and in my own life; then my story is wasted..

God deserves so much praise for all He has done in my life in the last 11 months. A year ago tomorrow was the night that God really began doing a major work on my life and in the area of healing me from anxiety, panic attacks and agoraphobia.

To be continued:
I will be speaking tonight at a conference called Beautiful Women in Levelland Texas. It will be a powerful service and this is God’s plan for me at this time. The doors have opened so I will now go through them.

Mother’s Day

On this Mother’s Day, I am thinking about my grandma, Neenie. She has been gone from this earthly world for 17 years and each day that goes by it seems as though I am losing more and more of the memories I had with her as well as her voice. I so wish today more than any other day, that I could just hear her speak to me one more time.

NEENIE

Loss is not easy but in my life, loss has been such a normal exsistence that often I don’t think I would know what normal is if I had it in my own life.

I have never had a mother figure in my life other than Neenie that truly loved me unconditionally and totally for the person I was. My parents were not that for me and definetly not that for my children, so basically everyone looked to Neenie for the love we so desperately wanted. It saddens me to think that there are so many women in this world today that feel exactly like I do today.

I wish that my mother and father had loved me unconditionally and for the person I was made to be from God, but that has never been part of my story.

I believe that is why I have wanted to have good relationships with my own children, and have struggled with that as well. This will be the second Mother’s Day that I have not seen our oldest son or even received a Mother’s Day card.

This breaks my heart because when you are 18 years old and become a mother all the while facing all of the obstacles that come with that, I truly believe that I deserve a small amount of respect and love from my son even for that small gesture. Yet, it doesn’t seem like that will ever be a part of my story again. In reality, I have not had a relationship with him since 2009 when he began his new life… We have been the outsiders looking in from day one and no matter how much we have tried to be a part of his life and the lives of our grandchildrens, we have never been allowed to have the same access as others in their lives.. In 2009 my husband and I both had a talk with him and told him that we had to be ALL IN OR ALL OUT and not be treated like step-grandparents. Well, here it is 4 years later and nothing has changed. We still have been excluded from most everything of importance; memories we cannot get back….

As of today, I truly believe that my son knows the truth and knows our heart as well as the heart of his brother. I can’t change what has happened, but yet I also know that nothing will change because we have had it happen over and over again. HURT RUNS DEEP… LOSS OF MANY JOYOUS TIMES BECAUSE THERE IS ONLY CERTAIN ONES THAT GET TO BE INVOLVED. THIS IS NOT JEALOUSY…IT IS RIGHT AND WRONG..

I love my son and my grandchildren, even my only biological grandchild that doesn’t even know her grandparents(Mike and I) at the age of 17 months old. SAD for her as well as us.. We are awesome grandparents who would do anything for them and have loved our oldest grandson like he was our own from day one…. Never a thought of any other way to be… We love from our hearts and will always love them..

But we are not going to be stepped on or walked on any longer. We have feelings.. We cannot get back baby showers that we weren’t invited to. We cannot get back memories from wedding planning we weren’t asked to be a part of ( no family issues until HER dad tried to take the one thing we had been asked to do from us).. We can’t get back being able to be a part of the first doctor appointment for our only biological grandchild. We can’t get back our youngest son’s college graduation and birthday being ignored by all his other family. We can’t get back the fact that we weren’t invited to hubby’s mother’s surprise birthday party.. We can’t get back that we have missed all of our oldest grandsons school programs except one when he was 3 or 4… We can’t get back that we don’t get school pictures, family pictures or even a baby announcemnt of our granddaughter…

We can’t get back the law enforcement connections that hubby lost trying to help said DIL…

Hubby can’t get back connections he lost when son quit job he had helped get him with no notice to employer..

We will never get past the feelings of rejection and being used..

We can’t get back the times we have spent helping them and then being told we need to be put in our place..

We can’t get back the time we were all invited to their home and then hubby and I were jumped on all the while her parents were sitting there being told nothing..

NOPE..
Won’t do that again.

We have had the same conversation with them over and over.. Nothing changes other than we once again step back in so we can see our grandkids and son, then to only be hurt again… NOPE.. NADA… NOT DOING..

family at christmas

This is a picture of the last Christmas we saw our son and grandsons. This was the year before our granddaughter was born. Don’t we look happy. I was so happy to be there with them, even though I was horribly anxious.

This was a tough place for me to be in because of my anxiety and agoraphobia, yet I did it for my grandsons and son… I wanted to make memories with them, yet nothing we do will ever be enough.

I will always miss my oldest son, but I have chosen to make my life better and positive… One day the past will have to be addressed and responsibility will have to be taken… I know that hubby and I have apoligized so many times and yet we once again get treated the same way… We step back.. Drop out.. Stay disconnected so there are no issues, yet it never seems to be enough.. We are still to blame…

Truth: According to Dictionary.com
An undisputable fact,
the quality of being true, genuine, actual, or factual
a proven or verified principle or statement

The truth always proves true…

Today; This Mother’s Day, I will spend with Chance and Mike.. We will have a great day together.. Good food and good company..

I love you Wade, Corbin, Brysin and Adisin(even though I don’t know you) and wish you all the love in the world. Nothing but the best for you all. We pray for you all each day and miss you terribly. God knows our hearts and always has…

To all the mother’s that have lost connection with your children; I pray for you today. The heartache runs deep and the pain never ends. This is a child that God chose to give to you and yet now the world seems to be totally against the relationship ever working. I don’t know what issues you may be facing in your own relationship strain, but I do know that God ultimately has all the power when we ask HIM and pray for HIS guidance. God does not ask us to be beaten, abused, hurt, treated unkindly so we can have this said relationship. God wants the best for HIS children and sometimes that means having boundaries.

As parents, especially mother’s, we often take the weight of the world on our shoulders.. God wants us to give HIM our concerns..

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because He trusts in You.. Isaiah 26:3

Have a Happy Mother’s Day… God Bless You.

Love Runs Deep

mike and angie3

See this man? He has been my heart for 30 years. It is unreal to me that Mike and I have been together for 31 years and married 30 years
It still amazes me that a 16 year old boy and an 18 year old girl could make a life together. I knew that we loved each other, but boy this world can make life more difficult than we can ever imagine.

We have faced many challenges as teenage parents, trying to raise our sons totally from any dependence on our parents. We both finished high school, worked full time and at the age of 18 and 20 years old, we bought our first home. (Mobile Home), but still it was ours.

High school for a this 18 year old girl in 1983 was not a fun experience. It was challenging and heartbreaking most of the time. Other students were not kind or helpful in any way and most often, caused me many tears due to their continuing malicious and relentless attacks on me and my self esteem.

By the end of the first sememster, I had given up on trying to finish school because I had reached the point where I did not care anymore. I had always been a good, honest, faithful student, but this experience just made me emotionally drained, hurt and lost. Thankfully, I had a wonderful school nurse that stepped in and sought another solution out for me. In Spring of 1984, I began attending a school for pregnant girls; most sent to our town from other states so that they could give up their babies for adoption. I was not in that perdiciment, so it was a challenge daily. Yet, one advantage of this alternative school was that I had to only attend 3 days a week til noon. Attending the alternative school allowed my eyes to be opened to many areas that I had never knew exsisted before such as:

Girls that were from other ethnic groups(I was the only Caucasian)
Girls that had no support in their situation
Girls that the boy was not a part of the babies lives or their lives
Girls that had no clue of how to take care of a baby; some thought putting Coke in a bottle was a correct way to feed a baby.
Girls that had no money for ANYTHING; not even a candy bar
Girls that lived in horrible situations at home: I thought mine was bad at home with my parents but it was nothing like what they lived day in and day out.
Girls that would not even speak to me because I was White and “uppity”
Girls that thought I was rich because my husband had a car and I always had some money for lunch.
Girls that basically hated me because my guy stuck around and we were married.

Such a learning experience for me but also I hope it was a learning experience for the girls I encountered at this school: NEW DIRECTIONS in LUBBOCK TEXAS

I knew the Lord at this point in my life, yet I was a very young believer so I know that I failed on many levels. I pray though, that the girls knew that I did not believe I was any better or worse than them. We all were in the same basic situation, yet God had allowed my path to go a different direction from many of theirs at this point. By the GRACE OF GOD.

I truly believe that God sent Mike to me to save me from the life I was living. He had no idea the impact he would make on my life even at the age of 17 years old when we met. He could instantly see the damage and abuse my parents were inflicting day after day on me. He never wavered. He never backed down and always stood up to protect me. My dad was not accustomed to someone questioning him or his “discipline” so of course, this did not start their relationship off on a very good foot, but regardless my dad knew Mike would not back down. Mike and my dad eventually could be cordial and have some sense of a relationship. Mike had/nor has ever been malicious or mean in any form or fashion to my parents, yet that does not mean he would sit by and watch them recklessly inflict pain on our family. Boundaries

Most 15 year old boys would have been intimidated by my parents; but God knew that Mike would be the one that would stand the test of time and bring so much healing to my heart, soul and mind. He has always believed the best in me when I didn’t even see one ounce of worth.Mike has stood along side of me through many ups and downs. Loss of multiple family members to suicides as well as the murder of my grandmother. We have stood the normal growing pains of financial struggles, loss of jobs, raising kids, relationship struggles, as well other areas such as my fears, anxiety and eventual agoraphobia. Yet, Mike never wavered. Never sought a way out. Never believed the grass was greener somewhere else. NO..


He has stood beside me holding my hand as I have struggled to figure out my past and move into the future.

Our love runs deep and will continue to stand the test of time. God brought us together and He will continue to allow our lives to be blessed by being together. Mike is my best friend and greatest cheerleader; as I am his. We would not have made it this far without a BIG GOD with a BIG PLAN..

Boy, we proved our parents wrong…. 30 years is a long time for two young teenagers.. Hmmmm.. How is that for a story?

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Seeing through the Mud

SEEING THROUGH THE MUD… LIKE GOD DOES

mud picture

Living in this often difficult world, we can at times forget that each person we meet has a story to tell. As Christians, we can often forget that our story may be the same as theirs, yet maybe they are in a different place than we are. Maybe we have pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps and God’s Word while trying to move forward from whatever horrendous, tragic, life altering, or even somewhat normal life experiences, yet they seem to be stuck in the same ditch that they have been in for many years.

Why do we sit in judgment of someone else, when in reality where they are currently living in life could be our own story if not for the grace of God?

Looking through the mud at others we meet is often difficult because it requires a willingness to “SEE” people in their sufferings, loss and often pain and as Christians we usually want to avoid any interaction with “such things” .. Doesn’t God ask us to stop and help the Samaritain, yet most times we walk right on by? We don’t even have the courtesy to look in the eyes of those stooped down and dragging their pain and past with them.. We just keep walking. Keep moving in our own small, tidy worlds because we don’t want to get “dirty.”

Yet, life is dirty. Suicides, Murder, Affairs, Dysfunctional Relationships, Drug Addiction, Alcoholism and on and on happen in this life… Life is not perfect and Life is difficult at times..

Struggling through life is not what God sent His Son to die on the cross for. God sent Jesus to die on the cross so that we can have abundant life and life overflowing with peace, joy, love and happiness. (JOHN 10:10)

I can attest from my own journey that often I felt unseen during the most difficult places in my own life journey. Loss through multiple family members suicides and the loss of my grandmother to murder pushed me to the depths of despair, anger and eventually giving up.. During this time most people turned their faces away from me..(not literally) but they certainly did not know what to say or what to do to help me on the path my life was on, yet all I really needed was one good friend to reach out and be there for me. My family needed a good, Godly friend who would walk beside me and my struggling family.. Yet, the mud covered up the masterpiece God designed me to be in this life. The mud became so caked on me that I gave up on life.. Gave up on being happy. Gave up on trusting ANYONE, especially MYSELF.. MUD covered so much of my life because I did not believe in myself but more importantly, I did not believe that God was listening to my broken heart.. I felt alone and felt lost..

Anxiety, fear and agoraphobia started gaining more and more control over my life …. because the MUD of my sufferings continued to keep my joy, hope, peace, trust, acceptance covered up.. God had a big shell of mud to break through and the journey was going to be challenging, difficult and demanding at times.. It is still not over because I have so much more to accomplish in this life, but I am thankful that God is walking beside me and helping me to uncover the beautiful person He originally designed me to be.. I am by no means perfect, but I do know regardless of what I face in this life, God walks beside me and holds my hand. He values me far above the sparrows.. He loves me unconditionally.. I am thankful and blessed to be where I am today and I am excited to see where God will take me on this journey of SEEING THROUGH THE MUD..

Freedom is Possible

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FREEDOM IS POSSIBLE

I am thankful that I never gave up on finding and receiving God's freedom. But more importantly, I am thankful that God never gave up on me.

It is hard to describe to someone else that has never lived with fear, anxiety or agoraphobia, but the best way to try to describe it is that you live in a bubble trying to control the world and not allowing yourself to feel anything that might cause you to become anxious or fearful. Living in the bubble gives you some type of protection, yet in reality, the bubble is only hindering you from living and enjoying life. That is what I have done for over 15 years due to many tragedies in my own life, but for 47 years I have carried around my fear, anxiety like it was my best friend. In reality, it has been my worst enemy. It kept me from living my life…

I never really noticed the pain and anguish my face held. I look back at older pictures of myself even from less than a year ago, and I do not even look like the same person. I see a place of freedom and peace in my eyes and face when I look at pictures today compared to a year ago even. It is amazing how finding some resolution in my heart over the past and dealing with family related issues about the past abuse has also freed me up to move forward.

I wish things with my family could be different but I truly believe that if I allow the same behaviors and abuse to be condoned in my own life by them, then the same treatment will continue. The past cannot be changed or undone, but in my own heart I have to expect better from those that say they love me. Words are not enough. Words are only that: WORDS.

If you say you love me, then you will not abuse me either physically or emotionally. Yet, my mother and siblings say that they love me, yet the treatment of me continues to be just as it has been for 47 years. I cannot and will not accept that any longer in my life. Now the ball is in their courts to do the work to improve their own lives as well as do the work to improve relationships. I have worked on myself for over 4 years in counseling and therapy of one form or another. Through this process I have learned that I am valuable, powerful, purposeful, and thankful to be alive.

It has been a long road of healing and I am sure the process is not complete because there is so much more that needs to be faced and dealt with, but I am thankful that I can now look in the mirror and feel acceptance of myself about 90% of the time, where previously I felt much anquish and hatred toward myself and my struggle with the past, fear and anxiety.

I am thankful that FREEDOM is possible and I am on the path to finding that for myself. I am excited to see where God continues to call me to walk and the doors that continue to open for me. This path is just beginning..

Today, I pray for you to find freedom as well. Leave the past in the past. Don't continue to carry around the baggage of the past because God wants you to let Him carry that for you. It is not yours any longer. Let it go. Move forward. Accept yourself. Forgive. Move on the path God called you to walk. Remember your dreams and reach for them today.

Shhh… It Is A Secret !!!

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Secrets are damaging.

I know this from experience.

Growing up in an abusive, neglectful, angry home with very domineering parents, secrets were a normal part of my life.

I still struggle at the age of 47 years old of really knowing the truth about many things that happened in my life.

When you live in fear everyday of your childhood and young adult life, normal is a relative term. Normal is what you live everyday. Keeping secrets about what happens in your home is what you are taught and what you “better do” if you know what is good for you.. This was my life.

Outside of the home, everyone thought my parents were the greatest. Perfect parents. Perfect home. Perfect children.. Oh, yeah.. Not so perfect Angie somehow made it into this “perfect” family.. How did that happen? I asked myself that question almost everyday for 46 years.. Was I really as bad as they said? What was wrong with me to get treated so horribly? Did God make a mistake when He created me? Why did my siblings get treated so differently and why did they not see our home life the way I did and do??

For 46 years I have carried the secrets of my childhood close to my heart. Only a select few have known the heartache of the past. Only a select few have I trusted enough to open my heart up and lay it out for others to see. Yet, at times, those same few I have put my faith and hope in to trust with such intimate details, have later used that information against me. Trust is not easy for a child, teenager, young adult or adult that has suffered abuse, neglect, as well as total rejection for just being themselves. Trust for me is a long road. I don’t lay my heart on the line very often and not easily, so when trust is broken, it is broken for good..

Growing up with secrets of my home life has followed me around for 46 years just waiting for me to open the door and let God take that pain and heal it.

Well, over the last 2 years I have worked very hard to heal from the pain of rejection, abuse, neglect, control, hate and just about anything else you could come up with… My parents and siblings have called me every kind of name in the book all of my life. I have lived under a dark cloud of believing that I was NOTHING;… NADA.. POO… Yet, God opened my eyes just recently to the power of darkness in my families minds, hearts and definetely their souls.

After I met with my only living parent a few weeks ago, I could feel the evilness when she walked into the counselors office. From the first words that came out of her mouth, the counselor could sense it as well. Sad for her but also offered me the final connection to my family to be severed totally. Nothing nice came out of her mouth about me and basically she said what she has said about me for 46 years in an hour long session.

I have lived my life beating myself up, wondering what was wrong with me. Yet, God revealed that nothing was or is wrong with me.. I am just as He created. I know that I have lost myself in this journey many times but thankfully, my eyes have opened and reality has set in. Only God can restore, repair and rejuvinate my relationships with my biological family.

I cannot change their opinion of me or stop their evil ways or words. Yet, God can and will hold them accountable for every evil word spoken and every evil deed done. I may or may not see in my lifetime any of this happen, but whether I do or not, I am FREE from the past and all of the power it has had in my life.

I am still walking a journey on many other levels through the anxiety, agoraphobia and fear, as well as losses of family to suicide and murder but I know that God is walking with me on the rest of the journey. It has not always been a Joyful Journey but I know the end will definetly be better than the beginning.

God calls out the hidden into the light according to 1 Corinthians 4:5. I am waiting for the hidden to be revealed. God knows what is best and He knows what is best for me.. I am staying hidden under the shadow of His wings. He covers me with His protection if I will be faithful and stay where I am called to stay.

I pray for you today that whatever secrets have kept you bound, that they will fall away with God and His power. Stay under the shadow of God’s protection and He will guide you to the place you are called to be. Let the rejection,fear, anger, hate or discouragment fall away. Look to God for your acceptace. THe world may not accept you, but God loves you and sent His son to die on the cross for you.. YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN THE SPARROWS. HE LOVES YOU MORE THAN YOU CAN EVER THINK OR IMAGINE.

IN THIS LIFE….I WIN AND SO DO YOU IF YOU BELIEVE ON THE SAVING POWER OF JESUS CHRIST. STAY STRONG…