Give Yourself a Little Grace

 

October 18, 2019

Problems seem to latch onto people like pesky ticks. They can suck the joy out of life, if allowed to fester. Addressing issues, as they arise, is a healthy, life-affirming choice. However, it is not easy, especially if the problem happens to have a root that goes back to childhood trauma. It takes a lot of courage and tenacity to effectively deal with such intense issues as childhood sexual abuse and the trauma connected with it.

 

I am doing remarkably well; I am 61 years old and a successful author of three very unique books. In my young adult years, I received intense counseling for about 12 years, dealing with the intense emotional and physical pain from being sexually assaulted repeatedly from perhaps before 1 year old (I was unable to walk or talk – to even attempt to get away) through about 12 or 13 years old. I thought I’d faced all there was to face and then, just a few years ago, something triggered a memory of an idea and another problem hit me hard.

 

I remember thinking as a child, “If I could just get rid of this part of my body, cut it off, the pain would be gone too.” I’m not exactly sure when that thought reared its ugly head during the years of abuse, but something opened the door to it when I was in my mid-50’s and I began scratching to the point of bleeding. After trying to deal with it, unsuccessfully, for about 6 years, I again went into counseling this last summer. I learned a lot of things, which is helping me tremendously.

 

I learned to listen to the little girl who suffered so much in the original trauma. I heard her tiny voice, asking if I wanted to punish her. I recoiled, as I realized her perspective on what was happening. I learned there may be a part of me that wants to be the bully and explored how that feels and further, is that who I really want to be? I also heard the Little One admit it was her who was continuing this strange, awful behavior, but she could not control it and was very confused. Then, I learned that what was happening was a reenactment behavior that is deeper than then conscious thought processes. It is like the body and mind is re-creating the trauma because it is familiar. I was so young and did not have the fight or flight skills that would have helped me to try to avoid the assault if it had happened when I had been older. Instead, I went into another way of coping, shutting down (as if feigning death) and then, the further step of disassociating from the trauma of what was happening physically by emotionally going to another place, for me a black cloud of safety. These helped me to survive, but also caused the experience of the assaults to settle in as intense trauma.

 

This re-traumatizing that I am doing is a part of both my conscious thought processes (my hands are doing the scratching) and also a compulsion from a place deep inside. It encompasses the very young child who experienced the original trauma and the adult who re-experiences the trauma through pain. The challenge I am facing is to lessen the occurrence of this reenactment and also the severity of when it does occur. It is such a powerful situation, I sometimes feel beyond the ability to control it. I even wake up during the night, scratching. It is a daily endeavor, throughout the day, being aware of this deep-seated compulsion, and trying to not give in, or to at the very least, minimize the extent of the behavior.

 

At the same time, I am struggling every day on a totally different level. I learned as a child, that food is very comforting. My out-of-control eating began at about 7 years old and manifested into a full-blown gorging every day until I was about 40 years old and was diagnosed with diabetes. I was identified as morbidly obese. That just means carrying that much weight could cause me to die prematurely. In many ways, the diagnosis was extremely beneficial because I learned for the first time in my life that I could control my eating. I had a very good reason to choose to eat to live, rather than living to eat as I had been. I learned to limit my choices to healthy meals and am much healthier now. However, I have been struggling with my eating choices during this season of dealing with the re-traumatizing problem. Taking a step back, just to gain new perspective, it is not unrealistic to see that these two issues are butting up against each other and I’m caught in the middle.

 

Rather than throwing condemnation at myself, in big clumps of disgust, I am instead choosing to give myself grace, a measure of peace, acceptance, and love. I am offering myself the space I need to not be perfect, to not always be successful, and yet, to always be loved and valued. In time, I will be able to completely stop the re-traumatizing behavior and I will also be able to be more in control of my eating. In the meantime, I daily make the attempt to minimize the pain I put myself in and also try to make healthy choices in eating and exercise.

 

Problems are certainly a rotten part of life! But in the process of working through the issues that come hurling toward us, personal growth, maturity, compassion, and empathy are developed. Grace is that measure of compassion that eases the process of getting through the rough moments of facing even very intense, difficult issues. It’s like warming yourself on a cold winter evening in front of a crackling fire. 

If you would like to share your story, privately or publicly, write to me. I would love to hear from you, and encourage you. If I receive stories from those who want to share publicly, and give me permission to do so, I will add a page. I love to encourage, uplift, and provide compassionate support to those who have also suffered. There is hope and I absolutely love that, hope for tremendous healing and a joyful life!

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Who I am in Christ


I am the apple of my Father’s eye ................ Deut. 32:10, Psalm 17:8

I am healed by the stripes of     

  Jesus ..............................Isaiah 53:6
I am the salt and light of the earth    ............................. Matthew 5:13-14

I am God’s child ............... John 1:12

I am set free ............... John 8:31-32

I am a branch of the true vine, a

  channel of His life....... John 15:1,5

I am Christ’s friend ........ John 15:15

I have been chosen and appointed

  to bear fruit .................. John 15:16

I have everlasting life and will not

  be condemned .............. John 5:24

I have everlasting life and will not

  be condemned .............. John 6:47

We shall do even greater things

  than Jesus did .............. John 14:12

I am a personal witness of Christ      ............................................ Acts 1:8

I have been justified ... Romans 5:1

I am dead to sin ........ Romans 6:10

I am free from condemnation     

  .................................. Romans 8:1-2

I am a co-heir with Christ ................................ Romans 8:16-17

I am assured all works together for

  good ......................... Romans 8:28

I am free from any charge against

  me  ...................... Romans 8:31-34

I cannot be separated from the

  love of God ......... Romans 8:35-39

I am more than a conqueror

  ................................... Romans 8:37

I am established to the end

  ............................ 1 Corinthians 1:8

I am in Christ Jesus by His doing

  .......................... 1 Corinthians 1:30

I am God’s temple

  .......................... 1 Corinthians 3:16

I am bought with a price; I belong to God .......... 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I am a member of Christ’s body

  ........................ 1 Corinthians 12:27

I am sealed by God 

  ..................... 2 Corinthians 1:21-22

I always triumph in Christ

  .......................... 2 Corinthians 2:14

I am being changed into His image

  .......................... 2 Corinthians 3:18

I am reconciled to God

  .......................... 2 Corinthians 5:18

I am a minister of reconciliation for

  God ............ 2 Corinthians 5:17-21

I am God’s co-worker

  ............................ 2 Corinthians 6:1

I am crucified with Christ

  ................................. Galatians 2:20

I am a saint ............... Ephesians 1:1

I am chosen, holy and without

  blame ...................... Ephesians 1:4

I have been adopted as God’s child

  .................................. Ephesians 1:5

I have been accepted in Jesus

  Christ .................... Ephesians 1:5,6

I have obtained an inheritance

  ................................ Ephesians 1:11

I am sealed with the Holy Spirit of

  promise ................ Ephesians 1:13

I am alive with Christ

  ............................... Ephesians 2:4-5

I am seated with Christ in the

  heavenly realm ...... Ephesians 2:6

I am God’s workmanship

  ................................ Ephesians 2:10

I have been brought closer to God through the blood of Christ

  ................................ Ephesians 2:13

I have access to God through the

  Holy Spirit ............. Ephesians 2:18

I may approach God with freedom

  and confidence .... Ephesians 3:12

I am strong in the Lord

  ................................ Ephesians 6:10

I am qualified to share in His

  inheritance .......... Colossians 1:12

I am delivered from the power of

  darkness; Christ brings me into

  God’s kingdom..... Colossians 1:13

I have been redeemed and

  forgiven ................ Colossians 1:14

I walk in Christ Jesus

  ................................. Colossians 2:6

I am firmly rooted, established in

  faith and overflowing with

  gratefulness and thankfulness

  ................................. Colossians 2:7

I am complete in Christ

  ............................... Colossians 2:10

I am hidden with Christ in God

  ................................. Colossians 3:3

I am beloved of God

  ............................... Colossians 3:12

I am confident that the good work

  God has begun in me will be   

  perfected ............... Philippians 1:6

I am a citizen of heaven

  .............................. Philippians 3:20

I have the peace of God that transcends all understanding

  ……........................... Philippians 4:7

I can do all things through Christ

  who strengthens me

  .............................. Philippians 4:13

I am beloved of God

  ........................ 1 Thessalonians 1:4

I am called of God .... 2 Timothy 1:9

I have not been given a spirit of

  fear, but of power, love and a

  sound mind….......... 2 Timothy 1:7

I can find grace and mercy in time

  of need .................... Hebrews 4:16

I am redeemed from the curse of the law..................... 1 Peter 1:18-19

I am God’s child, for I am born

  again of the incorruptible seed of

  the Word of God that lives and

  abides forever ….........1 Peter 1:23

My life shows forth His praise

  ....................................... 1 Peter 2:9

I am healed by the stripes of Jesus

  ..................................... 1 Peter 2:24

I possess the Holy Spirit in me

  because greater is He who is in

  me than he who is in the world

  ......................................... 1 John 4:4

I have overcome the world

  ......................................... 1 John 5:4

I am born of God; the evil one

  cannot touch me ........ 1 John 5:18

I am victorious ....... Revelation 21:7

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