Tag Archives: breaking free from patterns of sexual abuse

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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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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