Jesus Speaks A Foreign Language To This World. He Speaks Life.

Beloved, Come Forth

A part of me died.

When I look back over earlier years, I realize how disengaged I was. How fearful, how disoriented, and how numb I felt about life. About liveliness.

Part of me died when I became a victim of incest.

The world no longer sang songs of life, liberty, freedom, or prosperity. Instead, it echoed the hollow drones of sorrow. I just couldn’t shake the sadness inside of me, though on the outside I smiled and laughed.

Maybe you understand that dreadful chorus that belts out the nothingness of life having purpose after you were sexually assaulted.

Some people call it a coping mechanism to withdraw or to retreat internally, refusing to allow oneself to feel anything for fear that the pain, the torture, the agony would return.

Anesthetizing all feeling yields a kind of living death.

Just recently, I heard the story of Lazarus–not for the first time–but rather in a differing light.

Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus.

When Lazarus became sick, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus. They knew deep in their heart that their Jesus could prevent their brother’s death.

Having waited two days after receiving the word about Lazarus, Jesus and the disciples finally made way toward the family.

When Jesus arrived, Lazarus’ sisters both cried out separately to the Lord, “if you had been here, he wouldn’t have died!” In their hearts, they believed Jesus had the power to save Lazarus from death.

They weren’t wrong. Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’ death.

Upon seeing Martha, Mary, and the crowd of Jews weeping over Lazarus’ death, the text tells us that Jesus was troubled in spirit and wept.

The Jews who had been mourning with Mary and Martha cautioned Jesus as He asked for the stone to be removed, saying, “there’s a stench! He’s been dead four days!”

Four days. Four days Lazarus had been dead.

Jesus raised His eyes to His Father in heaven and thanked Him for always hearing His voice. This exclamation was not for His benefit, but rather for those standing about Him, so that they might believe that Jesus was sent from the Father.

With a loud voice, Jesus cried out, “Lazarus, come forth!”

The word reads: “The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.'”

Lazarus died twice.

He died once and was resurrected by Jesus in front of his sisters and many Jews. Then Lazarus died again; this time to await a second resurrection when His Lord returns at the end of time to take all believers to the kingdom of heaven.

So catch this.

I can identify with Lazarus’ death and the emptiness of life he experienced in the tomb. I felt this deep within me; although, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was amiss inside of me. The abuse, the pain, the night terrors suffocated me. How is one to live like that?

I can identify with Mary and Martha. Lord! If you had been there, you could have stopped the abuse. You could have prevented this gruesome violation of your Law, this pain that won’t go away, these haunting images that just won’t go away. Where were you, Lord?

Lazarus’ story doesn’t end in the tomb, does it?

Jesus did show up. Jesus did listen–with His heart–to the sorrow expressed through Mary and Martha’s questions. Jesus wept.

It hurt His heart, too.

Brother, sister in Christ. Don’t you know that Jesus weeps at the death of your innocence?

Again, the story doesn’t end in tears.

Jesus doesn’t just stand around dripping tears and hugging the mourners. No, no. Jesus prays, and He speaks life.

“Lazarus, come forth!”

Jesus speaks life into each one of us who have put our hope and trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sins.

This resurrection wasn’t pretty. Linens used for the dead clung and tangled about him. Lazarus must’ve stumbled about as he came forward, unable to see clearly because the cloth on his face.

Listen closely, dear one.

The Lord is calling you to come forth. He desires you to have a full, abundant life. He says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).

I understand why Jesus delayed in going to Lazarus, because He desired to demonstrate God’s power in Him and to prove that He was and is the Messiah.

Understanding why God delayed in rescuing me from the abuse creates challenges within me. Can I trust Him? Why would He allow this to happen? Will He let it happen again? How in the world could the death of my innocence bring you glory?

These are troublesome questions.

Having said that, Jesus’ question to Martha puts those questions in their proper place. Before Jesus resurrected Lazarus, Jesus asked Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Do you believe this?

Do you believe that Jesus is the I AM, the God above all other gods?

Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection? That He’s the life? That everyone who believes in Him will live–even if he dies? That everyone who believes in Jesus will never die?

Do ya?

See, this is the hardest question to answer. Not the other ones that toy with our head and our healing.

It’s the simple question, Do I believe God for who He says He is?

Will you stay within the darkness, bound by fear and festered with pain?

Or are you willing, when He calls your name, to step forward from the tomb–with all your stink, with all your bandages, and with all your pain–and walk toward Him?

Jesus speaks a foreign language to this world.

He speaks life.

 

What’s your next step?

What part of this post spoke out to you the most? What feelings did it stir up within you? Find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted or distracted and ask God to mirror your life. Ask Him to show you how you might live your life with abundance–outside of the tomb.

Join me on the healing journey.

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Dismemberment of Our Hearts, Bodies: How Planned Parenthood Videoes Exposed Deep Shame

ONE PIECE

“My body keeps failing me. I feel like I have no control over my body anymore,” I shared with a friend.

Since I’ve been diagnosed with epilepsy in the last year, I’ve struggled understanding my emotional response to my body, to my mind’s failure to me.

My last post was almost two months ago because I felt disconnected and fearful.

Who knew that it was going to take watching the fifth Planned Parenthood edited video to help me understand what has been going on within me.

Before I go any further, I must explain something upfront. I am not going to discuss abortion processes or my opinion on it. That’s a blog for another day.

Also, I am not going to go into graphic descriptions of the abortion process, rather I will address the bodily fragmentation felt shamefully after sexual abuse.

My last seizure happened the Sunday after my last blog post, and I was scheduled to begin writing within the next couple hours. Instead, I lost consciousness and was sent to the emergency room because of how long it took me to respond to the life around me.

The following weeks I wept and couldn’t understand the depth of my shame that I was experiencing for having another seizure.

Clearly, I had no control over my body.

Last week I allowed myself to watch the fifth video, exposing Planned Parenthood’s manner of selling baby parts for profit.

Before then, I had been protecting myself, wanting to live in denial that boundless profit could be made from parts of pieces of a baby.

My eyes watched the minutes go by, dry, shocked, and unflinching. That’s until I saw the remains.

The pieces.

The disjointed bodies.

That’s when it clicked. That’s when I wept.

Yes, I was looking death’s work before me–death’s irrevocable work right before my eyes.

Clearly those lives had no control over their bodies.

As sexual abuse survivors, you may have felt a twinge of identification with those images, too, but couldn’t quite put your finger on the ‘why.’ In our lives, our bodies, at some point, were viewed in part, not the whole.

Maybe someone even profited from the desecration of your body.

Thinking of my latest epileptic episode, I realized this disease–much like my perpetrators from long ago–took control of me, violated my body, and left me emotionally numb.

It’s not the same, mind you. Yet, it helped me connect the new disgust rising up within me toward my own body, my own brain.

Sharing this connection with another survivor, she reminded me of something she discovered through her healing journey on the subject of shame.

“Well, that makes sense to me. Don’t you remember when I was working through how I really felt about my body, and I chose to draw my thoughts instead of writing them?!” she returned with great passion.

The healing subject at the time was shame toward a survivor’s body.

“Remember how I drew a leg here, an arm there, my torso in another place–all surrounding my head?” she reminded me.

Yes. Yes. How could I have forgotten?

The horror on the face: sketched with heavy dark pencils, shadowed everywhere, agitated even further by a creamy, soothe background.

Each part of her body scattered across the page like volcanic matter spewing upward and outward upon one of the most beautiful canvases of all time: creation.

Like my friend, many abuse survivors have similar responses.

Some hate certain parts of their body. Or all of it.

Some think they’re ugly. Or fat. Or disgusting.

Some survivors only see themselves in light of their genitalia. I’m significant because I have breasts; I’m toned and fit; I’m sexy, and I get a lot of attention; I know how to use my body to get what I want.

Some survivors do anything and everything to hide or blend in to the crowd, creating a form of invisibility.

In fact, some even try to get fat in order to prevent their perpetrator–or anyone for that matter–from seeing them as attractive.

Holding onto these false, twisted, and unloving perceptions of our bodies does not honor the God we serve.

If, indeed, you have heard of the Lord Jesus Christ and believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, then contempt for our bodies is contrary to the truth.

Let me explain.

The truth is, God not only knows all of our thoughts, but also He formed each of our body pieces and formed them together in our mothers’ wombs (Psalm 139:13).

The truth is, our bodies–each of our bodies and each part–was fearfully and wonderfully made. Period.

The word ‘fearfully’ there means stupendous and admirable: not anxiousness, apprehensiveness, or dread.

The truth is, God desires unity. Unity is one common theme seen throughout Scripture.

God, since the beginning of time, has desired for His people to be unified with Him. To be unified with the body of Christ, that is the church. And to be unified in our marital relationships.

As a result of the trauma we experienced during the abuse, we, most likely, have dismembered our body in the way we look at it. God in His goodness wants to heal our hearts, our minds, our bodies, and our perceptions of our body.

I’m learning how to love my body as a whole, including my mind.

With all my heart, I know that one day the epilepsy will be no more, and connectivity will exist been mind and body.

With all my heart, I know that each aborted baby will have a whole and complete body in heaven.

With all my heart, I know that each of us as survivors will also have new bodies that will never again feel dirty, ugly, fat, disgusting, or numb.

Nope.

We’ll walk those streets of gold with an unspeakable joy, shouting with gladness the praises of our Savior and King, our Eternal Healer.

Until then, if we place our disjointed bodies before the Lord in prayer, He will be faithful to us.

He will tenderly draw us together to make us new.

And whole again.

What’s your next step?

Go look in the mirror and look at yourself. What do you see? A wonderfully made person? Or a less-than-satisfactory, despicable body? While looking in the mirror, say this out loud, “I am significant. My body is magnificent. I am wonderfully made.” Try repeating this multiple times a day. Pray through it. See how God will meet you in connecting you with your body.

Join me on the healing journey.

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Dear Sexual Abuse Survivor: How Has The Duggar Molestation Case Impacted Your Heart?

Love letter

My beloved friend and sexual abuse survivor,

The last few weeks our news and social media sources have flooded-over with facts, theories, objective and biased opinions about the Duggar molestation case.

The intent of this letter intends to gingerly remind you: that you are loved, valuable, and remembered.

As I’ve been processing the Duggar report, I keep scratching my head, wondering why the media hunts for material to protect or expose Josh Duggar. Or to demonstrate how his changed life is a reason to dismiss his actions as a youth. Or to spend energy addressing his 3-month counseling period.

Why couldn’t they spend their time and energy on something a bit more productive, like educating the public on how to properly report sexual abuse? Or explaining the lasting effects of sexual abuse upon the victim, the victim’s family, and community? Or defining sexual abuse, which is far broader than molestation and rape.

I pray to God that Josh Duggar has, indeed, repented of his sins and walks in newness of life as a believer in Christ. I hope that he has been made new, loves his wife, and no longer takes advantage others’ sexuality.

After all, before placing our trust and faith in the work of Christ on the cross, each of us walked in the stench of our own spiritual death.

It is the gift of God that allows every one of us to have any kind of spiritual life. None of us have lived such a life as to boast and call ourselves better than another.

Left to our natural state, each of us crave to satisfy the desires of our flesh; that is, without Christ, we lust after sin. All of us.

So, dear survivor, I don’t intend to drag Josh through the mill. I am without authority to do that. And, to be honest, it benefits you not.

One of the stirrings of my heart has been for you.

Every time another case comes to light, memories dust themselves off and remind you of your own story.

Within the Duggar conversation, authority figures and counselors diminish the offense to “adolescent exploration,” or mere “touching,” which probably required you to clench your teeth to withhold the annoyed anger those words taunt.

Or at work during lunch, people may freely discuss their thoughts and opinions, saying things like, “Well, I don’t know why the media even brought this up! I mean, it happened so long ago! Let it go, people! Move on with your life!” Did you choose to take another bite of your sandwich to keep yourself from shouting, “It’s not as simple as that!”

See, that’s where my mind has gone.

I’ve been thinking of you at work, at the grocery checkout, at the bank, at church, and at your screen, scrolling through your favorite social media website.

I’ve been thinking about your heart.

I’ve been thinking about what emotional triggers this has stirred up within you.

And I’ve been praying for you.

It’s not easy being a survivor. It’s not easy listening to men and women–who oftentimes have good intentions–say the most thoughtless and ignorant comments; especially when so many around them have suffered like the Duggar girls, like you.

So my heart aches for you as you’ve had to combat through intense emotions while others fling venom or trite “forgivisms.”

They don’t mean to belittle you. They are ignorant; meaning, they just don’t know. They are uninformed.

Please try to see them in their lack of knowledge, like one might regard kindergarteners, attempting to give their opinion on American politics. They just don’t know what they are talking about.

You are loved.

As a survivor, I questioned that reality. I remember asking, “Am I really loved?” Because I hold fast to what the Bible says as true, I cannot sidestep the truth that God loves me. Nor can you. God loves us.

“God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us–even when we were dead in our transgressions–He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:4-7)

What does this have to do with the Duggar story?

Everything.

The pain, shame, anger, depression, and bent toward isolation and silence will never change, heal, or resolve itself without, first, saturating our hearts with the love of God.

You are of great value.

Whether it be the conversations the Duggar disturbance has roused or the clinging remnants of your past abuse, let it be known. You are valuable.

I hope you didn’t sneer and say, “yeah, right.”

In case you did, let me encourage you. Your value isn’t dependent upon your abuse. It’s not related to other people’s opinions or acceptance or rejection of you. Nope.

If you are in Christ, the word says that you are God’s workmanship. That means you are God’s “work of art,” which is not a common thing. The word also says that this work of art is not just some stationary object like a trophy portrait, but rather a functional work of art, purposed and created in Christ for good works.

Those good works indicate an activity that mirrors the Father’s business. Following after the God of all gods’ family business places each of us in a position of worth and value.

Lastly, you are remembered.

Others may have forgotten you in your healing journey: family, friends, classmates, co-workers, church body.

Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals, has not, nor ever will forget you. Remember in His great love He sent His one and only Son to give up His rights and die on the cross for you and your sins, so that you may have full rights to the rich inheritance of the throne, if you are in Christ.

Remember in His great love (expressed through His grace toward you) through the gift of faith in His Son, you participate in the work He predestined for you, even while you were still dead in your sins. 

How could He forget you after that?

See, I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you.

With the Duggar incident fresh in the media and the conversations continuing in your face, the father of all lies–the one in whom no truth resides–intends to distract you, to blind you, to handicap you from the truth by taking advantage of your pain.

See, I write you this love letter because my heart is burdened for your peace to be secured in Him. For your joy to be made full in Him. For your heart to thump with gladness as you begin to see the progress of your healing in Him.

I write you this love letter because you are loved, worthy, and remembered by a God who has kind intentions toward you.

With much love,

Krista Nuñez

What’s your next step?

Pray and ask God to reveal those areas in which the father of lies has blurred your vision of God’s love for you. Memorize Ephesians 2:8-10 and meditate on the fact that you are His workmanship, His work of art.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

Join me on the healing journey.

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