I Can’t Heal Myself (Here’s Why)

(This post follows a similar format to “What I Do Know” and “Healing Started (Even Though It Didn’t Feel Like It)”. Read those, too, if you want, because they’re both incredible.)


I know how it started.

I remember being five years old in a basement. My friend told me to take my clothes off. His eyes darkened. It wasn’t a question. Discomfort and pressure: This was the climate of our relationship. I stood entirely still as I removed them slowly.

Footsteps. Intruder. The end.

I kept this to myself until months later when a different incident occurred. Sitting criss-cross applesauce in the grass, our mothers asked us whose idea it had been.

I know how it started. We made eye contact, and his eyes darkened again. I claimed his idea as mine. A spirit of self-blame entered me. A lie that had a spiral effect on my life. A lie I’ve regretted ever since.

I was only five.

I know how it started. I was anxious and afraid. Threatened by the world around me. Gnawing at my fingernails with my doors locked. Abusers, robbers, kidnappers. Slides hurting me, dogs eating me, buildings falling on top me. The whole world was all too much.

I know how it started. I was watching pornography in the single digit years old. Raised for purity but feeling the opposite. A mouth silenced by secrecy with a mind searching for answers. Curiosity for sin may not have killed me, but it sure did bind me tight.

I didn’t always connect these things.

My freshman year of high school, I volunteered for a service project at a clothing bank. Having sat down in a quieter room for a minute, one of the workers came over and sat on top of me. He grinded on me until another worker walked in and yelled at him for it. It was this situation that revealed to me something I had not known and did not like: I didn’t know how to speak up for myself.

I didn’t like what he was doing, but I hadn’t simply told him to stop, because I could not physically get out the word “Stop.”

That terrified me.

I wanted to be in control of myself — so I took control of myself.

I know how it started. It was in my tight handling of the reigns that I led myself down a path of destruction. Going from watching pornography to broadcasting pornography. Going from hooking up with friends to hooking up with complete strangers. Allowing others to use me as an object; but greater than that, truly thinking of myself as an object.

I was treating myself like trash, but I felt reasonably in control: Until I wasn’t again.

My freshman year of college, I was sexually assaulted. I refrain from sharing the details, because I’m simply not ready to. I took on blame that wasn’t mine at 5 years old, and I’ve recently learned I’ve been doing it ever since. The more I process and work toward healing, the more I find that I still haven’t quite made peace with and forgiven myself for ending up here. That’s not a happy, perfect, full-circle statement; but I think it’s an important thing to be honest with.

See, I know how it started, but I don’t know how to pick up the pieces. I intentionally lost my virginity to a stranger in a one-night stand believing it would make me whole. If I chose to give away what I had, I would achieve power over what had been taken. It made sense then.

And it worked, I felt great: Until I didn’t.

I thought I had found the shortcut to healing until I realized I had simply done more damage. Everything worked until it didn’t anymore. Everything was the fix until I needed more.

Satan doesn’t silence for long. Every time we attempt to push him away in our own strength, he may appear as gone for a short time, but he will always come back. Nothing will truly change until we cast Him out for good, pouring God’s Truth into those painful areas.

We cannot micromanage our brokenness into wholeness.

If I am trying to dictate every aspect of my healing, I am not truly healing. Healing is not a perfect sequence of events. Healing does not look how I want it to. Healing is messy, painful, raw, and vulnerable. Healing can only be grounded in Truth.

Simply put:

It is the broken part of me that grasps for the reigns of my life, not the healing part. I’m not in full control of my life, and I don’t need to be. Shame is not mine to bear. Sin will never be the answer.

God is so incredibly good, and He will bring me into true healing that honors Him as I choose to let go of the reigns.

And the same for you.

-LG

 

 

 

 

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Lay It Down: A Journal Reflection

“…I know in 10 years this is going to be the most painful thing to look at… like the journal from hell.”

I’ve been going through my old journals the past couple of days, and I was really sobered by this entry in particular:

February 20th, 2012

[Directed at my mom who was freshly suspicious of my self-harm at the time]

“Like for God’s sake- Yes, I cut myself. I have for forever. Well, not forever but a pretty significant amount of time. And yes, I know it’s not a good thing, but do you really think pointing it out all the time is going to make me deal with it? NO. If I want to deal with it, I’ll deal with it; and if I want to keep cutting myself, I’ll keep fucking cutting myself. So, you see? I’m not saying that I’ll never stop; I’m just saying that you can’t tell me to stop. If I want to keep cutting, I’ll find a way to keep cutting. Simple as that. So what’s the point in bugging me about it?”

HOW STUBBORN we are in our sin and self-destruction (!!!). We don’t see our stubbornness for as ridiculous and damaging as it is in the moment, and we allow our vices to remain active parts of our lives – but how much better off we would be if we didn’t.

I’m not sure this one needs any more explanation than that itself.

Today, I am encouraging you to LAY IT DOWN. Get real with yourself. If there’s something you feel you can’t let go of, can’t move on from. If something other than Christ is defining you, controlling you, guiding your thoughts and actions.

Whatever your “thing” is: LAY IT DOWN.

I eventually laid down self-harm, and I continue to lay things down as they come up. We must actively make this decision to walk in peace.

Reach out to someone. Get the help you need. Walk into light and freedom one day at a time.

You’ll be so much better off. (It’s hard to believe I ever thought otherwise.)

LAY IT DOWN.

If we’re honest: My desire for 2018

December 31st, 2017; January 1st, 2018.

A reflection and a hope.

Such a great amount of healing has come into my life the past couple months. Now that I’ve tasted this newfound freedom, I can’t help but wish it for everyone else, as well. In greater and greater amounts. BUT FRIENDS, LET ME TELL YOU, it has been a process to get here, and it will continue to be. There is no “one and done”; we are constantly learning, growing, and changing; and I’m realizing I have developed such a great appreciation for the ability to simply be honest throughout the process.

Honest with our journey: Where we’ve been, where we’re at, and where we want to end up. Honest with everything these different steps and stages will entail, whether that be physically, emotionally, or spiritually.

I’m a sexual trauma survivor. I self harmed for years. I have contemplated suicide. I can be incredibly controlling. I’m not sure I ever want to get married. I take medication for my depression and anxiety. I have struggled tooth and nail making sense of “purity” and how that concept fits into my life. I have questioned and doubted and refined my faith time and time again. There are at least a hundred other things I could list here, but hear my point more than any of these alone-

None of these are any longer my identity. My identity is a child of God, and I have come to truly understand and embrace that within these past couple months. It’s a BEAUTIFUL thing. However, all of these things ARE factors and pieces of me and my story. They affect how I think and process and what I relate to. And they’re not things to hide.

We have been far too quick to silence and judge both ourselves and those around us. Sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small; but the fact is, we are all on a continual journey that deserves to be heard and respected. The emotions, complications, and hard things in our lives – they’re no less valuable and important to live out than the joys, blessings, and wonderful things. All of these together are what make us human: relatable and real. And it is from this vulnerability that so many incredible opportunities can come for discussion, ministry, and long-lasting, powerful relationships.

Life isn’t easy, but it is GOOD; and it’s 1,000x better when we are acting and relating from a place of genuine love and God’s best intentions for one another. Supporting and encouraging one another, and reciprocally being supported and encouraged ourselves. It is within this mutual exchange we THRIVE, and it can only come in its purest form as we truly understand our identities as children of God above all else.

“Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine.
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it. Still, You give Yourself away.
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.”

This song is a beautiful one. God continually pursues us, and when the truth and power of who we are in Christ is understood, the hold of anything else over us begins to fade away. Let this become life for each one of us. Let us no longer allow anything to hold us back from accessing every bit of the sweetness offered to us in the arms and community of Christ.

Basically, just think how beautiful this year could be if we all resolved to:

  1. Be honest and open with our journeys.
  2. Allow love and understanding to be our driving forces.
  3. Give as much as we receive, as we actively participate in one anothers’ lives.

It’s an incredible thought.

So, here’s to a new beginning. A marker in the journey.

May we enter 2018 in pursuit of greater honesty, connection, wholeness, and joy. Bound together tightly as a community. In grace and peace, with all life’s bumps and ups and downs and all arounds. May we genuinely reflect the Lord to one another, and seek His face together.

Welcome to 2018.

XOXO, LG

Me Too: Addressing Sexual Trauma

So many times, I have wanted to write personally on this issue. So many times, I have stopped myself.

I publicly acknowledge the presence of this topic in my life. I share related articles and blog posts and plug organizations constantly.

Because I know it’s important to. Because truth and acknowledgment aid in my healing, and they also aid in the healing and awareness of others.

However, anytime I have gone to write my own piece about it, I feel my words are inadequate. There is nothing I can write that fully expresses the weariness, anxiety, and anger that come with dealing with this topic every day.

The self-hatred and the shame.

The confusion and the wordiness and the silence.

Trust me, I know it’s not my fault. But multiple incidents later, it’s hard to feel as though you’re not doing something wrong. It’s hard not to feel at least a little bit like an object.

Sexual trauma has followed me throughout my life, and it lives in my brain. It is a part of me, and in the spirit of full disclosure, I have to spend almost every day reminding myself that it is not all of me.

There is more to me than my experiences. There is a big, bright world in which I can shine a light on this horrible reality, shut down the thoughts telling me I am unworthy in any context, and live honestly with those who understand.

It’s a process, and it’s far from easy, but it’s important, and it’s life-changing.

Sexual abuse and assault are incredibly isolating incidents, and as humans created to live in community with one another, isolation is one of the most dangerous things we can allow a foothold in our lives.

So I want you to walk this process with me.

No qualification, no justification, no questions asked.

If you haven’t been through sexual trauma, this may not make perfect sense to you, and I hope it never does. But this blog post is written for those who have.

Because if you have been through it, you know these feelings.

In whichever way or to whatever extent these incidents have reared their ugly head in your life, you understand what I am saying.

So let’s continue to let our “me too”s echo, and let’s create a supportive network together.

I’m here for you, and I hope you’re here for me.

With all that said,

many of you already know this,

but for those of you who need to hear it:

Me too.

-LG

“Alive Alive Alive”

10 months without writing a single blog post. I mean, I’ve never been one to publish consistently, but I haven’t even written a DRAFT. In 10. Months. What the heck.

When I realized I wanted to post a few hours ago, I began to reflect on what has really come into focus for me lately. I like to remain relevant with myself, because I love being able to reflect on anything I write in its own posted and dated timing down the road.

As I was scrolling through photos, little notes, and paragraphs I have jotted down lately, I ran into this inserted poem by Clementine von Radics.

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I feel as though this one poem, these ten lines, particularly the three final words most accurately capture the last ten blogless months of my life.

People have commented to me left and right about how much traveling, exploring, and just general “seeing the world” I’ve done over the past few months; and I can’t deny the validity of that statement – I’ve jam-packed a lot.

So I’ve done some #SoulSearching as to why my life has been so filled to the brim with “adventure” lately, and my conclusion has been this (all of this, whatever follows):

For as long as I can remember, I have found it so difficult to feel truly settled within my own skin. I can’t exactly explain why. But sometimes I’ll get moments of washed over peace as depicted in this poem – moments of clarity.

To have more of these moments is the goal I’ve been so actively striving toward in this season of my life; and as change and progress always must, this striving has meant both pleasant and unpleasant things.

It has meant coming face-to-face with some truths and emotions I have suffocated and stuffed as deep as could be for the majority of my life. Allowing myself to truly feel and process through the pain of abuse and past experiences. Being wise in who I invite in to support me throughout this process, because not every person we love (though we do so love them!) is the correct choice to walk with us through every mountain and valley (and that’s okay!!!).

My safety and comfort are the priorities in my own healing journey. I owe nothing to anyone else in this regard.

In effect, this journey toward freedom and clarity has meant spending more time in places that inspire joy and light inside of me. Whether that be the water, a park, or some random new place I’ve never seen before. It’s all about being incredibly intentional in my pursuit of a brighter and more full life. I must make time for that which I want my life to reflect.

Learning to pay attention to how different environments affect me emotionally is one of the most valuable lessons I have ever learned. In a nutshell: Go places, work in places, surround yourself with people and things that brighten you, encourage you, and give you life to your spirit.

I have no desire to push through my crap and find some mediocre life on the other side. Both dealing with the hard stuff and uncovering joy take work, and I’m learning to be intentional about both of these pieces simultaneously (because apparently you really kind of need to do both to have a bangin’ life).

So I will travel and look at the ocean and stand on the mountain tops. I will learn to appreciate every little thing the world has to offer until I feel as though I am wholly me – untainted – and I am a bright and engaged part of the world around me.

My trauma has molded me, but it will not remain an active part of how I choose to live. I will not be held back by fear or darkness. I will absolutely not allow the negative to take away from my experience of anything beautiful this world has to offer.

(And I’ve found it has A LOT to offer.)

This process hasn’t been easy. There are moments the negative does take away from the beauty. But I have chosen in this season that I will not passively allow it to. I will continue to fight for my light, continue to fight for my freedom, and I will appreciate the clear moments as pictures of what can be.

For better or worse, I am on the continual pursuit of being “Alive Alive Alive,” and it’s a good place to be right now.

Catch ya in 10 months (give or take 9).

-LG

P.S. I think “bright” is my new favorite word. Or “light”. But “light” already was. So honestly both.

Why I’m Transferring Next Semester: I’m Finding My Life By Laying It Down

When everything you ever wanted isn’t everything you thought it would be.

It has been a crazy week, y’all. A crazy, crazy week. The Lord has done so much work in my heart, but I’m finally settled and experiencing this crazy supernatural peace and ready to share what’s up with you.

So yeah, I’m transferring next semester. Yes, I know it’s surprising. No, I’m not having an emotional meltdown. Yes, I’ve had an awesome first semester!

But here’s the thing, I am totally a five-, ten-year plan kind of girl, and I’d had this vision of my life for years: I was going to work and raise my family in an adorable southern area, preferably North Carolina or Tennessee. This of course meant I needed to attend college in the South, so I could make connections, build a community, and eventually intern and get a job here. Doing all of these things would allow the rest of my perfect life plan to fall into place. Basically, I had been waiting to get to place I am in now to be able to start the rest of my life.

What a system shock it was when I realized a month into college in the South that I was 100% a northern girl. It’s not that either the North or South is better; they’re just different. Stepping away, I realized my huge appreciation for the straightforwardness and honesty of people, the messiness, and truthfully, the total battle that is northern Christianity. All the things that often give the North the reputation of being “harsh” or “hard” – I could not love them more. All in all, the North has my heart and is now where I see my future.

As always, I want to form connections and build relationships where I plan to spend the rest of my life. The Lord is doing so much in my home community, and having spent so many years praying for and working towards spiritual breakthrough in the area, I don’t want to miss out on what is just beginning to happen. I want to be an active participant, and there is nothing holding me back.

So on December 13th, I’ll be packing up my things and moving home. I’ll be attending Manchester Community College this next semester, and I plan to eventually transfer to UConn as a commuter. It’s still crazy to hear myself say that. I never could have thought this is what my life would look like – I had a totally different plan, and it was hard to let go of my blueprint, but I am learning a huge lesson in humility and surrender. I know this is the best choice for me right now spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. It may seem abrupt, but the Lord is bringing me into a new level of my relationship with Him. He is doing a new work in my life, and I am choosing to walk in obedience.

It is not wrong to have dreams and visions for your future, but it is wrong when those dreams and visions become your god. I had made an idol out of my life plan. Similar to the Israelites’ desire for a king, I wanted this southern college life more than anything else, and Jesus let me have it. But guess what? It didn’t fulfill me (What a shocker). I guess I knew all of this in my mind, but I was totally deceived by my plan, and I needed to have this experience. I needed to see that the grass isn’t greener. I needed to have my perfect vision of my life crumble before my eyes. I needed to watch and learn that it is Jesus who plans my steps and not me. I have learned so much about myself in these past three months, and I wouldn’t change a thing. While this transfer may be sudden, I promise you, I am so incredibly at peace with it.

All of this goes to say that three months ago, I wanted the traditional college experience so badly, and I got it. Lipscomb has been so much fun. I’ve met incredible people (S/o to my froomie and all my other BFFs) and experienced so many new things (Honestly, bless Cookout milkshakes), but this just isn’t what I want anymore. I want to be closer to my family and chase hard after Jesus. I still want to take classes, work, and be involved in a variety of things, but I want to do all of this in Connecticut instead of Tennessee. It’s been a process, but I’ve finally settled into the truth that walking where the Lord is leading me is much more important than attempting to meet any man-made or self-imposed expectation. I’ve never felt more settled.

Whatever your role is in my life, I am so grateful for you, and I love you!

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

-LG

For the Weeks Darkness is Winning

It’s been a hard week. I have not stopped crying in the past hour. I’m crying as I write this. I’ve cried like 12 times today.

I’ve been really open about the self-harm and self-hatred I’ve dealt with in the past; the anxiety that still plagues me and the dark, depressive spells that sent me into multi-day bed binges.

While the anxiety still messes with me, the hatred and darkness have been gone for a while. I am a completely different person than I was in that time, and I’m glad for that. We’re all glad for that.

I love my life. I love everything about it. I love my school, my job, my family, my friends… I can’t complain about a thing.

But anxiety, sadness, fear… sometimes they just are. There doesn’t always have to be a perfect reason. They can just be. And they so clearly have just been for me this week.

I’m not looking to be a spokesperson, I’m not looking to do a therapeutic write-up of my week, I’m not looking for anything. Not today.

I’m just here to say that it’s 1:48am, I have slept about 7 hours total in the past few days, and it’s been a really hard week.

But God is good. I know He’s good, and I know this isn’t forever. I know eventually, whether it be tomorrow or two weeks from now, it will all come back together. And I know I’ll read this post in a year, as simply written as it is, and be glad I wrote it.

I’ve seen the light, I’ve chosen to live in truth and joy, and I know these things aren’t gone. Even if they feel clouded over right now.

No season or week can last forever, and I am so thankful to be in a place where I’m able to recognize that. A huge improvement from two years ago.

I am surrounded by people I love, and God’s promises are still just as true as they were last week.

It may not feel okay right now, but I know it’s going to be.

So that’s that.

Looking ahead (Goodbye, 2015)

Goodbye, 2015. You were sweet to me.

My license, first job, second job, first car, junior banquet, Israel, and so, so much more. I have so many memories and so much to be grateful for.

But 2015 went so fast, and the years seem to only be getting quicker.

As we enter 2016, I am only continuing to grow up. Time waits for no one.

I will attend senior banquet and senior trip, turn 18, graduate high school, start college in Tennessee, and who really knows what else? All I know for sure is there will be a lot of change.

My prayer for this year is that I would:

  • Remain steadfast in my love for God, falling more deeply in love with Him, grounding myself in His Word, and become more and more sanctified with each passing day.
  • Continue to cherish every moment with those around me, not growing weary or longing for a different and seemingly better place, but embracing the season I am in and loving the people I am with to the fullest of my ability.

Knowing that in 2016 I will enter into a completely new season brings a little bit of apprehension, but it mostly brings excitement.

I have been praying these verses will take firm root in my life:

My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside.

I have not departed from the commandment of his lipsI have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.”

-Job 23:11-12 (ESV)

As I close out this season, I am just thankful. I am really, really thankful for all God has done: all He has brought me to, all He has brought me through, and all He has pre-planned for me.

I go forth into 2016 knowing that He who created all we know has both far greater and more abundant plans for my life than I could ever dream up.

God has been so faithful to me, and I am excited to see what lies ahead.

Thank you for being a part of my journey.

Much love,

-LG

 

Victory in Jesus (feat. yesterday)

This post is a day late because I couldn’t decide if I wanted to write it or not.

Yesterday was my two year mark of not self-harming. It was a huge day to me, but a personal one and not something I would naturally make a big deal out of. I shared my excitement with a few select people and continued on with my routine. But all day, there was absolutely nothing you could have said or done to throw off my happiness (or throw off my groove, if you know what I’m referencing).

Sitting in my room, thinking at 11pm, I was completely overwhelmed with how beautiful the day was to me. My two year mark of not self-harming was about so much more than simply not self-harming; it was a testimony to every bit of the beauty and transformation that has taken place in my life since that time.

I am insanely grateful to not be bound by self-harm anymore, and I am not for one second minimizing how difficult breaking that habit was. But for me, walking out of self-harm was less about walking out of self-harm and more about walking into the light.

Breaking the chains of self-harm was the first time I ever truly understood freedom. Walking out the process changed everything and opened the door for the Lord’s healing and transformation in so many other areas of my life.

I am better for having been brought to that place.

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.” -Psalm 107:1

Two years of not self-harming is a milestone, but more than that, it is the clear mark of what the Lord has done and is continuing to do in my life.

Lord, You are so good.

-LG

God knows best

I am on a mission to read through the entire Bible in a year. As I was reading Genesis 3, verses 4-6 really hit me, and I haven’t been able to shake them.

But the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.‘ So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.” -Genesis 3:4-6

If you have heard the story of creation and the fall of man, you know the context of these verses. God specifically instructed Adam and Eve back in Genesis 2:16-17 not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. He provided them with an abundance of other trees in the garden to eat from: There was no need to rebel.

The serpent tempted Eve. He caught her attention with a series of half-truths, and suddenly she became completely fixated on the one thing she was never meant to have.

How quickly the devil in disguise drew Eve in, wrapping her into thinking God was hiding something from her. Something that would be for her and Adam’s betterment. It was in this moment that the goodness of God was first questioned.

This stuck out to me because we see it happen all the time today. My question is:

Why have we not learned the lesson?

If I could reiterate, Genesis 3:5 says, “For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

Now, I can understand the draw of what sounds like a great opportunity to be like God and know good and evil, but here’s the thing: Adam and Eve, unlike the serpent, were made in the image of God. They didn’t need to become like God: they already were.

When Adam and Eve chose to listen to the serpent rather than God, they betrayed the trust He had placed in them and surrendered their God-given power and authority to evil. Evil entered in, they became aware of their nakedness, and they hid in shame.

God had their best interests in mind all along.

Now, I know this is by no means the most uplifting of posts I’ve written, but I found it interesting to really think about what led up to this sudden fall from perfection. It is by realizing how past mistakes occurred that we are able to avoid making them again.

We are to trust the goodness of God and allow Him full control of our lives.

Don’t be deceived: Only the Creator knows what’s best for his creation.