Through the Eyes of a Friend

Through the Eyes of a Friend
That is me, Brenda J Wood through the eyes of Eleanor Shepherd

Eleanor Shepherd Award Winning Author
http://twgauthors.blogspot.ca
http://emshepherd.blogspot.com

The Interrupted Life VI – A Consequence of Sexual Abuse

The story I want to share of an interrupted life this month is a difficult one. There are so many people whose lives have been put on hold because of the devastation that has come to them through abuse of various kinds. One of the most pernicious seems to be sexual abuse, because it is often linked with an abuse of power that takes advantage of innocence. That seemed to be the case for my friend Brenda, who shared with me two significant interruptions in her life. Many of her own reflections about her experience of an eating disorder are detailed in her book Meeting Myself: Snippets from a Binging and Bulging Mind.
My friend suffered from bulimia for years as a result of being a victim or sexual abuse from ages 11 to 14. Before she even knew that there was a name for her condition, it was well established, as her way of coping with the emotional and psychological damage that she suffered.

The abuse that she received caused a numbing of her emotions, and she tried to fill the emotional void, with food. Her eating disorder did not mean that the food brought any satisfaction. She just kept stuffing it in to try to fill the void. Then she tried to get rid of it, so her choice of self-soothing would not be obvious to others.

Unlike many of the interruptions in the lives of others, both the abuse and the bulimia were not sudden interruptions in Brenda’s life, but rather subtly crept up on her. They became elements in her life that crippled her relationships with others because she was unable to experience and express emotions and thus grow into the person that she was intended to be.

Fear was the only emotion that she was not able to keep down and it came to dominate her life. Her reaction was to battle with it by attacking her own body through an eating disorder. She wanted to be able to tell them about the abuse and the toll it was taking on her life, but fear and guilt convinced her that nobody would believe her. In a way, she was trying to punish herself for what she was doing, as a result of the guilt that accompanied her abuse.

In addition to all this, her eating disorder also caused Brenda to undergo two bouts with cancer and a syndrome that causes her saliva glands to work overtime.

With the burden of her bulimia, Brenda struggled for years to finally regain a healthy lifestyle. It was only after she entered into a vital relationship with Christ, and grew in her relationship with Him, that she was able with help to gradually find freedom from her eating disorder and to allow her emotions to become a part of her life once more. Part of her recovery involved forgiving the one who had abused her, and although he had been dead for many years, it was only then that his power over her life was broken.

Many people suffer from the long term ravages of abuse and although it is difficult, I would not be surprised if like me, you want to be willing to listen to their stories and accept them wherever they are on their journeys. We do not want to pry into people’s lives, in a way that is unhealthy, but simply be ready to listen, if and when they feel safe enough to open the door a crack. Perhaps we can help them to more quickly recover the years that have been stolen from them by abuse. Maybe we can do this for each other and grow together. I think that was what the Apostle Paul was talking about when he told the early Christians in Galatia that they were to bear one another’s burdens. (Galatians 6: 2). This key can help us to deal with our own interruptions.

Me Too

Why don’t women tell? Because no one listens; because you get blamed; because almost all of us have been there; because people in power think they have the right; because when you tell people they don’t want to face their own truth.

My book, Meeting Myself, Snippets from a binging and bulging mind addresses what happened to me and the aftermath effects in my life. The latest news on this topic affects me all over again. This heinous crime harasses for a moment of time and then lingers for ever.

How to Recover

Margaret Terry (author of Dear Deb, A Woman with Cancer, A Friend with Secrets and the Letters that Became Their Miracle) offered these words when asked about her recovery process. I share them with you because they are so like my own and no doubt yours as well.

  1. I wanted a better life than the one I was raised in.
  2. I didn’t do it alone. I had a good counsellor and support group
  3. I had my faith and support from my faith family
  4. I stopped pretending things were OK when they weren’t
  5. I told my story and it lost its power to make me feel shame.
  6. I accepted that healing was a life-long process.
  7. I stopped being so hard on myself because God wasn’t!

No matter your struggles, keep moving forward into healing and remember this.

So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6, NIV)

Prayer-Thank you God that you see the trouble of your afflicted; you consider our grief and take it in hand. We were victims who committed ourselves to you because you are the helper of the fatherless. Now this we know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. You answer us with the victorious power of your right hand. Amen. (From Psalm 10:14, 20:6)

From everydaychristian.com



When I wrote “Meeting Myself, Snippets from a Binging and Bulging Mind,” I had to paw through tons of mind garbage that I would rather not have revisited. Some days I felt like Paul in a Roman prison, waist deep in a sewer. Truths I never wanted to see again surfaced into sight from a boiling pool of oil. Thankfully that oil changed from the type that made me cry ‘burn me into ashes, erase all these memories,’ into the healing balm of the Holy Spirit.

The book helped me clean out my personal junk storage and readers say it’s helping them with their own abuse/eating issues.

Yet I still wonder about the mind of the abuser. I ask myself if they care that they left a shattered person behind them. Surely if they did they would never abuse. Would they? It is said that abusers have themselves been abused. If they met that pain, endured that horror, surely they would not want to inflict it on another. Would they?

The Bible gives fair warning to all who abuse. Oh yes it does. Check out Matthew 18:6-7.

“But if you give them a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck. Doom to the world for giving these God-believing children a hard time! Hard times are inevitable, but you don’t have to make it worse—and it’s doomsday to you if you do (MSG)

A millstone is one of two massive circular stones used to grind grain in a mill. You can see one at any farming museum. Picture a person with their head through the center of that. God takes child abuse seriously.

Yet we, the abused, remain shattered. Or do we? Not if we receive the healing offered through the Christ.  Not if we let our minds be renewed and declare our bodies as God’s.

What has God called you to face that seems unendurable? Whatever it is, God’s Holy Spirit will get you through it.

Prayer: Lord, give us, the abused children of your world, your grace, healing and peace. Grant a sensible mind to those who abuse so that they might be willing to walk a new life that no longer includes an attack on the powerless. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

For Fast-Acting Relief?

Actress Lily Tomlin suggests that for fast-acting relief, that we just slow down..

Ouch. If I did that, my feelings would catch up with me. I’d feel the despair of my abusive past, the pain of rejection and the fear of the unknown. That is, unless I also slowed down into prayer, a Psalm or two and a quiet half hour or so with the Lord.

Are you going too fast? Give yourself a break. Let Jesus catch up with you and sooth the savage beast within..

Blessings, Brenda J. Wood

blog:   http://heartfeltdevotionals.wordpress.com

Secrets

Don’t you just hate having to keep a secret for someone? Me too. I have a post scheduled for September 7 and I can’t tell you what it is.. Now will I be able to keep my mouth shut until then? Bets anyone?

The trouble with secrets is that we keep the ones we should be telling. You know the ones.  The ones that sound like this: I was abused as a child, my boyfriend hits me, I have an eating disorder, I take drugs,I am a senior and my children are cruel to me. I could go one but there really is no need.

Speaking out on secrets like that means that we have a chance to get well.

When I confessed to an eating disorder, over time I was able to recover. That brought out another layer….childhood abuse.. and I am well on my way to health. Choose life, dear friends. Sometimes that means telling secrets.

Brenda J. Wood at:

www.heartfeltdevotionals.wordpress.com

www.inscribe.org/brendawood