Monday, February 20, 2006

Amazing God

Is't it amazing how wrong we can be sometimes. Isn't it such a shame how we allow fears to drive us instead of folowing what God wants us to do, even when we claim to know that He will never do anything to harm us. Except i don't think fear is the real problem, because it's usually not fear for our lives that stops us, but fear for our reputation, fear of changing how others view us, which is not fear at all, but pride.

I've been working through some stuff lately, and the result is wonderful, even when part of me feared that to deal with this issue would destroy me. My past was haunting me again, but God has shown me that it has no power over me, that He has already redeemed me, and now it is up to me to claim my position as His chosen.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

I Will Celebrate

Today marks five years that I have lived without intentionally harming myself. Yes, it's also Valentines day, but I've never really needed an excuse to tell those close to me that I love them. The two days have absolutely nothing to do with eachother, except that I am reminded of just how much God loves me.

Five years ago, after telling God that He had to fix me or I was giving up, it was as if the Spirit gave a sigh of relief. God had been trying to get to me, trying to show me that He would love me deeper than I had been hurt, that His care would go further than the damage that had been done, that He would mould me back into the person that He created me to be, the person that He always saw me as. And finally I let Him.

No, it didn't happen instantly, well, at least not all of it. For much of my life up to that point I had lived with what I called the shadow. It was the darkness and heaviness that seemed to consume me, the voice in my head telling me all the horrible things about myself that I wished weren't true. When I worke up on Feb 14 2001 the shadow was gone. I smiled. I felt alive in a way that I had very seldom experienced. For the first time in years I wore a skirt without shorts underneath to hide my scars (or blood from possible additions). It was my day. I was free. Free to start healing.

Healing has been a long process. Everything didn't just go away, I had to deal with issues....I still have to deal with some of them. But I learned God's immense love.

Your love is deep
Your love is high
Your love is long
Your love is wide

Your love is deeper than my view of grace
Higer than this wordly place
Longer than the road I traveled
Wider than the gap You fill

I wish I could truly express the truth of that song. I thought that if God knew the depths of my sin, of my pain, of what I had gone through, He would abandon me. I have learned in the last five years that God can take the most horrible circumstances and use them for His glory. I thought that if people knew the secrets I kept that they would say horrible things to me and about me....I learned that most people have amazing understanding and grace, and when they don't, God makes up for it. I thought that I would be forever struggling, forever crippled, forever bound to the cycle of pain.

I have learned what it means to be free.

There are still days that the thoughts enter my mind, but it's more like a memory than a desire. This time of year is especially hard on me, but it gets better each time.

Today was my day, and it was good. Each day I live is a gift that I was ready to throw away, and I am so thankful for God's grace and patience and all He has done for me.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Ritual Mourning

today is a bad day. It's an intentional bad day tho, so it's not all bad. Let me explain...

Hello, my name is stephanie, i'm a recovering cutter
(hi stephanie)

From the time i was in fifth grade until 5 years ago today i was a cutter. things weren't always good, and then they got bad, that was my way of dealing with it. Sometimes i would hurt myself (i also burrned and tried other forms of self harm) multiple times a day, sometimes i would go for months without even thinking about it. I thought i was a freak, that i was a horrible awful person, then i realized that there are a lot of people who had the same problem (estimates are between 5 and 10% of the population, but i would guess higher) and i started calling myself a cutter. it was a badge of honour and shame, a secret hidden part of me that few could know about.

I tried to stop a few times, it seemed simple, just don't do it. It's not that simple. There are chemices released whenever a person is injured that bring a calming feeling, and like any other chemicle, it can be addictive. There were days that even when I didn't want to cut I *needed* to, and then any time life got hard again it was impossible to resist. I couldn't go for help, I couldn't even tell God about it, I felt disgusting.

Finally, February 13, 2001, I had enough. I felt fake, numb, lifeless, horrible and I was sick of it. I gave God an ultimatum - either He fixed me or I was done with life. I had cut that night, and the night before, and a few times the day before that, and I was sick of it. I refused to live that way any longer.

That night was one of the worst I can remember. And I refuse to forget it. God delivered me - I will celebrate (and explain) that deliverance tomarrow, but tonight I remember. I don't want to forget what I went through, what I came from, what God did in my life. Like the worman who poured oil on Jesus' feet - i love much because i have been forgiven much.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Out of town

Ben and I are heading down to Rapid City SD for the pastors and wives....i mean spouses retreat. See you next Friday!

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Fighting Well

One of the girls I work with asked me the other day if Ben and I ever fight. If you know me, you know the answer. I am a passionate fighter from a long line of good distinguished fighters both of the inebriated and non-inebriated persuasion. Over the years I've trained in various aruments and debates, honing my skills. What you may not realize if you know Ben and I is that he is a fighter as well.

Maybe I should clarify what I mean by fighting, I wouldn't want to start any nasty rumers or have anyone having misconceptions about our relationship. What I mean by fighting is that Ben and I stand up for what we think, feel, and believe, we're honest in those three areas which inevitably leads to disagreements which need to be sorted out.

It took Ben a while to learn how to fight. His (and most people's) reaction to conflight is to run and hide or otherwise make it go away. Basically he would back down in hopes of making me happy. It was a sweet gesture, but wasn't what i wanted.

There is something so special in knowing someone is willing to stand up for what they think, that they will passionatly share with you waht is in their heart and try and make you understand, even if the process is difficult. Arguments, disagreemnts, fights, whatever you want to call them, allow us to get to know one another, makes sure that there is nothing interfeaing with the relationship. But only if it is done well.

Ben and I have learned how to fight well. Or should I say we're learning how to fight well. Usually we can get through a disagreement wihtut any feelings hurt, but we're not perfect. We have rules. We can't go back over thigns that are already delt with. Thats been hard for me, i tend to bring up old stuff, it gets ugly. I've also had to learn to not raise my voice so much (and Ben has learned to raise his a bit). We also can't make things bigger than they are. We can deal with being frustrated because something isn't done, dealing with soeone being a complete and utter failure is a bit harder.

The most important thing about fighting well is to always clear the air before the end of the day. There are times that we do leave the situation still angry because sometimes fights start before work etc. but the day can't end until we're settled, happy, and have a greater understanding of eachother. We're not trying to win, we're not trying to be right, we're trying to understand and be understood.