October 25, 2017

National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

I used to shrug these sort of things off -- now it seems ironic.  
Ironic that I have lived (and survived!) EVERY facet of Domestic Violence.  
I will no doubt be writing much more on the subject in the future. 

But, for now, I want to implore you who are where I used to think I was...

Pause for a moment... 
it is guaranteed that each of you know AT LEAST
one couple/man/woman who is either currently in, or has been in, an abusive relationship.

I am asked many questions by others.

The top two I want to encourage you all to think about today is :

HOW DO YOU KNOW?
HOW CAN YOU HELP??

Here are some articles that I recommend:



(above is a collection I put random articles in which I identify with and which pertain to this subject)



  • I also recommend you know where your local help is found - shelters, counselors, etc.

For me, an agency called the Crystal Judson Family Justice Center here in Tacoma, WA helped me immensely.  
As did counselors who recognized the severity of the situation even before I did.  
At the beginning, only a small handful of close friends were privy to the abuse I was FINALLY acknowledging and confronting.  
Of that "handful," only a few believed me.  
And I am FOREVER thankful for them!!! (YOU know who you are! )
It is because of this small support team I was directed to get help.  
I would never had known what to do on my own... never.
I would never have been able to withstand the pressure to stay.
(Please note, the term "pressure" can be swapped with "abuse.")
Pressure from my Abuser.  
Pressure from my family.  

Pressure from "my church."


Pressure from my "friends." 
And even pressure from myself 
(being embarrassed and afraid of what others would say if they knew the truth)
.... and I would likely have stayed without help... to my death.
(And at the cost of my children's lives too.)
Never underestimate the strength one friend beside a person can give -- be that friend!


Stay tuned!!
2018 will hold many more writings on this subject, in hopes of helping people in these sort of relationships, people trying to get out, and friends/family wanting to help!

October 03, 2017

Walk, Swim, Dive

Recently, I've been seeing a lot of this picture online by Yongsung Kim 
(by the way follow the link and see some of his other work -- the Lord has really blessed him with such artistic gifting!)



 It's a picture with the viewer sinking under the water and Jesus reaching down to grab him/her/YOU/ME out of the water.  
It's beautiful.

I know I have felt this way many times.  
I believe we all have ... and, outside of the beautiful perspective and use of color, there is a part of every single one of us that can relate to this.  
There have been times in all our lives we feel ourselves sinking into the deep.  
Suffocating, drowning, helpless, hopeless ... just ... DONE.

The Bible tells us of how Jesus called Peter out of the boat during a storm - and invited him to walk on the water out to Him.  (Matthew 14:22-33)  There have been amazing songs sung  (Uh - Hello!... "Oceans"...!), poems penned, sermons brilliantly delivered and books written on this amazing story about Jesus, Peter, walking on water, doubt and sinking.

After all - it IS amazing.  
All of it.  
The courage to do something no other person on earth has done simply because the Lord Jesus Christ called you out.  The audacity to let go of everything you know to follow what you only know in faith.  The reality of storms and waves surrounding you ... and that very real fear.
The undeniable swells of fear and doubt every single one of us know all too well.
Then the growing fear and you feel the waters pull at your legs and drag you down.
....but it doesn't stop there....  
The humility cry for help - and then accept it!
And the Truth that the Lord Jesus will reach out and catch you.
Truth.
Incredible!

But, that is not what this post is about.  
This is about the storm.
You see, there are times the Lord calls you to walk on the water to Him.

And there are times He tells you to swim with Him.... 
maybe in peaceful waters ... 
maybe diving underneath the powerful waves and sometimes insistent winds.

https://taleofamermaid.com/2014/11/how-to-duck-dive.html

I've been there, too.
  
But then the storms whip up - the shore is out of sight.  
Like Dory to Nemo ..."Just keep swimming!"
Those times you just feel beat up by life.  
Yes,  Jesus is still there with us.  
But that freezing wind hurts.
And the force of the waves... 
even with ducking under them, the swirls sometimes spin you around a few times only to allow you to surface, gasp a breathe and go back down.... 
they have grown into a full-blown storm.  

I know full well, Jesus could easily calm the storm.  He did in the Bible!  
But, yet, this storm still rages.  
There's no boat to step out of.  
Just me, Jesus and the storm.

I hate those times.  I've been feeling like that lately.  
It's not a "walking on water" kind of time in my life.  
No.  
It's been more of the "How will I survive this?" kind of time.  
The swim has become more than exhausting ... the fun was lost long ago. 
(if it ever existed) 
The wave have grown from the routine paddle - duck - dive - breathe - repeat.  
I barely remember what it's like to breathe deeply a full breath of clean air.

And that's when the Lord told me I had it all wrong.

What!?

"Seriously??"... I thought .. "couldn't you have told me this sooner, Lord?"

Truth is, I needed to come to that point of calling for help to actually "get it."

That's when the Lord spoke softly to my spirit:
Go Deeper....

What?!

Deeper -- diver deeper.

To the bottom.  Come with Me deeper.

As I did I found the waters silenced.  
The waters embraced me - there was no more fight.  
No more waves beating the fight out of me.  
No more winds whipping cold sprays against my face.  
Just - peace.

Jesus Christ is referred to as our Anchor in Hebrews ... Set solidly on the bottom of the ocean.  
Holding me - you - us steady in the storms.  
Don't you see it? ... holding tightly to the hope we have in Jesus - our anchor - we are saved from the storms.
Oh - the storm are still there!  And there's no denying it's BAD!
But they don't own us anymore - they don't dictate our movement, spin us around and confuse us anymore

This was a new concept for me... looking at these water analogies together. 
(And I didn't even cover them all! ...!)

Of course, then the rational side of me got a bit nervous (yes, you can read that as doubt) as I was being shown this example of what the Lord was saying when He was calling me deeper... under the surface and far, far below the waves.  

HOW WAS I TO BREATHE!?

Hahaha!  I know .. silly, right?  Well, I thought it was a valid questions.  😏

And that query was met with a flood of Bible verses on the Lord giving and even BEING our breath.  
EVERY breath I take - every breath YOU take ... is from the Lord.

If there is to be any breath at all -- literal or figurative -- it is because you were gifted it by the Lord God Almighty.  
There is nothing to fear.  
And absolutely no ownership I can claim... it's all the Lord's.

So that's where I am these days -- a bit beaten up.  
Gimpy.  
But still learning.  
Learning that, as Ecclesiastes outlines -- there are times for everything.  
Including a time to... 
walk on water,
a time to swim - and duck under the waves, 
and a time to dive deeper --- all ... the ... way ... down to the anchor.

Are you finding yourself in one of these?  
If not, I praise the Lord with you for the rest He's given you!
  
If so ... know you are not alone.  
Every storm ends eventually.  

So, follow your Leader -- He may call you to walk on the water, swim and duck under the littler waves, or dive deeper -- all they way down to the anchor and find His peace... then HOLD ON.

August 03, 2017

"The Struggle"

This was an image the Lord burned into my spirit many years back.  
As I've grown and the years have ticked by, 
it's taken on different meanings to me.  
I used to say -- 
"If I could paint ... I would paint that".  
It's been bugging me lately.  I suppose I can liken it to a cleansing... 
I just needed to get it out.

It's the kind of thing that evokes a lot of emotion.  And, everybody who sees it has a different opinion and interpretation.  

None are wrong!

Here you go!
... "The Struggle" ...





July 21, 2017

I Have Seen

I'm now coming upon about a year since my husband violently attacked me, me waking up out of co-dependence, and forcing a separation from him through a court-ordered Protection Order.  

It was the thing of nightmares for me.  

However, in the awakening - in the honest look and admittance of the truth of my life and the masterfully manipulating abuser I was married to, there were other things I've seen that I want to document.

The Book of Ecclesiastes in the Bible actually resonates at an entire different level to me now... the listings of what he has observed.  Likewise, I have seen many things with fresh eyes over the past year, and I'd love to share a few of those with you.




I have seen...


I have seen ears - shut
I have seen eyes - blinded
I have seen the compassionate become the oppressed
I have seen love abused
I have seen institutions crumble from the cancer they bred
I have seen scriptures twisted to fit needs
I have seen whole families suffer at the hands of a trusted one 
I have seen otherwise good men adopt lies 
I have seen evil slither through a community like a serpent on the hunt - consuming
I have seen perversion quietly put aside - too appalling for leaders to address
I have seen entrusted men intoxicate themselves with the control it gives
I have seen true ugliness from those the community looks to for beauty
I have seen once meaningful friends betray the sacredness of the mothers' circle of trust
I have seen friends twist trust into lies and aim to injure
I have seen the gossip confronted and cry out in anger 
    - only to evolve more cruel than before
I have seen wicked men speak with such effluence, even Shakespeare himself would be wooed 
I have seen evil shed innocent blood without a hint of remorse - only great satisfaction
I have seen wickedness actively recruit the complacent and non discerning
I have seen insurmountable armies mount up from every side and engage the innocent - 
    - with one aim - to destroy
I have seen bullies in every shape, size, age, gender, and race fight each other for ranking
I have seen the influence the wicked have over the weak
I have seen systems intended to help the needy- exploited
I have seen children made fatherless
I have seen fear root itself deeply into the hearts of people
I have seen darkness overcome the Light
I have seen betrayal
I have seen thieves prosper
I have seen criminals lauded and idolized

I have seen the waves of the high tide destroy 
... and cleanse ...
... I know for certain, the high tide will not last forever...

I have seen the Lord give the weak strength - and they stand
I have seen the Lord give the silent breath - and they speak
I have seen the Lord give the dead and complacent life - and they live
I have seen blind eyes - SEE
I have seen deaf ears - HEAR
I have seen the godly embrace one another in fellowship and love
I have seen the Body of Christ in every color, gender, social background and form
I have seen the Lord preserve the oppressed
I have felt the Lord's wings cover and provide refuge
I have seen paths made where there were none before
I have seen rest given to the pure in heart
I have seen love stand in the face of fear
I have seen the value of true friendship
I have seen the Lord comfort the hurting
I have seen the Lord step in and hold the fatherless
I have seen the Lord heal - to the core of a being
I have seen the sunrise in the darkest of seasons
I have seen the awesome recreations the Lord can bring from ashes
I have seen the power wielded in the name of Jesus Christ
I have seen the Armor of God be used in real battle 
I have seen the power of prayer
I have seen the very miracle that was begged for - found in the querier themselves
I have seen the power of obeying and trusting in a Living God
I have seen as never before - the love of sisters
I have tasted the waters of God's promises found in His Word
I have seen the power of a community focused on love, friendship and Jesus Christ
I have seen the oppressed in unexplainable peace and joy - despite pain
I have seen beauty in the broken
I have seen the wounded tended to and cared for by the unexpected
I have seen honesty in deep pain bring healing
I have seen the joy of witnessing the Lord heal the wounded
I have seen the lost and hurting learn of the Eternal Hope - Jesus Christ

...I have seen the very tide that destroys, the very wave that comes as a destructive squall
      - suddenly come to a complete stop when voice of Jesus Christ commands.



June 23, 2017

Her Tree

This past year, my daughter was introduced to poetry.
She wrote a poem based on my tree painting 
(I wrote about here)  
For me, it was a self portrait of sorts... 
and, without me even knowing, she wrote this poem to go with it.  
This was her interpretation of my painting...
 I think it's pretty amazing. 
(I think SHE'S pretty amazing!) 
She gave me permission to share it with you here.  💓




                    Her Forest

Her forest was gone
Her world was destroyed 
She didn’t know what to do

Her friends were all lies 
Her friends ware all spies
To make sure she followed the rules

Those who she thought cared left her
Those who she thought wrong embraced her
Her world had burned up before her

But the rain fell as it always did 
To wash the ash away
To wash the fear away
To wash the doubt away

Her forest was gone
Her world was destroyed
But she was not confused
She now knew what to do

She may be burnt
But she’s not destroyed
No matter what they might think
No matter what they might say
She will stand for another day