Beauty from ashes daughter

Words of hope from an abuse survivor

My spiritual battle with food November 14, 2012

When I was a child and adolescent, suffering from the affects of domestic violence in my home and the subsequent sexual abuse, food often became a source of comfort for me. Sugary sweets and carbohydrate rich foods satisfied a deep emptiness within me, if even for a short time. Looking back, I know that I did what I needed to do in order to survive that time period. I do not blame myself for the choices I made at the time because I was managing the best that I could with the resources I had available to me. At the time, the method worked for me. Unfortunately, it also ingrained a pattern of self-reliance on food that has stayed with me into adulthood.

 

Its been about 12 years since I have been out on my own and sufficiently distanced from my perpetrators. Yet, the method of using food as a coping mechanism has remained. Now this habit has begun to affect my health. I am overweight and at high risk for diabetes. I am lethargic and easily exhausted. I am unhappy with my appearance, but even more so, with the way that I feel physically.

 

For years, the truth that I lack self-control and am not properly caring for the body God has blessed me with has weighed heavily on my heart. However, whenever I have attempted to change my habits, I always succeed for a while and then revert to old ways.

 

Around May of this year, I picked up a book at the Christian bookstore – Made to Crave by Lysa Terkeurst. With the help of this author, I have come to realize that my battle with food is a spiritual one. God cares about what I eat and turning to Him as my source of strength in this battle is the only way I will ever defeat the power that food has over me. I have also learned that when I value food above everything else, when it is the one thing that is constantly consuming my thoughts, I am worshiping another god besides Jesus. I am breaking one of the ten commandments by putting food above God. With this realization came the understanding that I have to replace my cravings for food with cravings for Jesus because He is the only one who can fill the void in my soul.

 

For the first time in my life, I have been able to tackle the issues of healthy eating and exercise with motivation that is greater than this world. It isn’t about losing weight or looking good, but about being obedient to God’s will for my life, which is to be wholly dependent on Him and Him alone.

 

On July 22, I began using a fitness app on my iPod called My Fitness Pal. There, I track my calories every day. I also started walking more with both my husband and some close spiritual friends. I have surprised myself with the distances I have been able to walk. My initial goal when starting this journey was to lose 20 lbs by Thanksgiving, which I have already achieved. But my greatest satisfaction comes from knowing that I am doing what God wants me to do. And my relationship with Him is deepening because when I am struggling with cravings, I turn to Him to get me through.

 

I have added my weight loss badge to my sidebar so that my progress will be continually shared. I have 42 more lbs to go to reach my goal weight.

 

This is just one more step I am taking to reclaim all that was taken from me by my abusers. I hope it will serve as an inspiration for others to do the same.

 

RKB

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The Love of my Life September 22, 2012

Filed under: Healing,Hope — Beauty from ashes daughter @ 12:29 am
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Today is my husband’s birthday and I have to take a moment to tell you how special he is to me. Phil and I met when I was 17, just a few short weeks after Tara’s death actually. I was a new person – drug free, focused on Jesus, and planning for my future.

I had been away visiting college campuses with my father. I had taken some time off of work at the movie theater to do so. It was my first day back and I walked in to the theater for my shift and saw him standing behind the concession stand. I said hello to my coworker who was chatting with a man I had never seen (I assumed he was the new manager I had heard about). He said, “You must be Rachel.” I found this odd and said, “How do you know that?” and he replied, “You’re the only one that I haven’t met yet.” We made small talk for a few short minutes and I made my way back to the break room to change into my uniform. I immediately had this strange feeling that I was going to know this man for a very long time. I couldn’t explain it. I just felt certain that he would be an integral part of my future. So I told a coworker in the break room that I thought I was going to marry him some day – 5 minutes after meeting him. Crazy, right?

But it wasn’t really all that crazy because it came to be. We were good friends, laughing and flirting for the next 6 months. A fellow coworker convinced us to go on our first date in April of my senior year of high school (I was still 17, he was 26). I graduated high school in May, turned 18 in June, and we were engaged in August. We got married the following summer and have been married for 13 years.

We have certainly had our share of ups and downs, but no one has taught me more about love than him. Because of him, I know there are trustworthy people in the world. He restored so much of my faith in humanity. I am forever grateful for him. He in many ways redeemed me from my childhood. He has supported me through every step of my healing journey. He loves me unconditionally. He is compassionate, gentle, honest, and reliable – all of the things I never experienced growing up. I love him with everything that I am. This one is for you, babe.

 

I LOVE YOU MOST

I love you short or tall

I love you slim or fat

I love you young or old

I love you grumpy or sweet

I love you asleep or awake

I love you tan or pale

I love you blind or deaf

I love you sad or happy

I love you rich or poor

I love you black or white

I love you forever

No matter what you are

But when you are you

I love you most

RKB

 

And a song that perfectly captures my connection to Phil:

 

Joy in the Morning September 14, 2012

Filed under: Healing,Hope,Jesus,Survivor — Beauty from ashes daughter @ 12:50 am
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One of  God’s most beautiful promises:

Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30:5

My new day is dawning and as God reveals more and more of it to me, He takes my breath away.

Beauty Will Rise

Steven Curtis Chapman

It was the day the world went wrong I screamed til my voice was gone

And watched through the tears as everything came crashing down

Slowly panic turns to pain as we awake to what remains and sift through the ashes that are left behind
But buried deep beneath all our broken dreams we have this hope:
Out of these ashes… beauty will rise and we will dance among the ruins. We will see Him with our own eyes. Out of these ashes… beauty will rise. For we know, joy is coming in the morning… in the morning, beauty will rise

So take another breath for now, and let the tears come washing down, and if you can’t believe I will believe for you.
Cuz I have seen the signs of spring! Just watch and see:
Out of these ashes… beauty will rise and we will dance among the ruins. We will see Him with our own eyes. Out of these ashes… beauty will rise. For we know, joy is coming in the morning… in the morning…

I can hear it in the distance and it’s not too far away. It’s the music and the laughter of a wedding and a feast. I can almost feel the hand of God reaching for my face to wipe the tears away, and say, “It’s time to make everything new.”
“Make it all new”
This is our hope. This is the promise. This is our hope. This is the promise. That it would take our breath away to see the beauty that’s been made out of the ashes… out of the ashes… That it would take our breath away to see the beauty that He’s made out of the ashes… out of the ashes…
Out of these ashes… beauty will rise and we will dance among the ruins. We will see Him with our own eyes. Out of this darkness… new life will shine and we’ll know the joy is coming in the morning… in the morning…beauty will rise!
Oh, Beauty will rise Oh, Beauty will rise Oh, oh, oh, Beauty will rise Oh, oh, oh, Beauty will rise Oh, oh, oh, Beauty will rise

 

Family Tree August 28, 2012

Filed under: Survivor — Beauty from ashes daughter @ 1:00 am
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Its always helpful for me to have reminders that I do not have to become like my parents and I can choose to stop the cycle of violence. I thank Jesus for giving me the freedom from my past in order to make that choice. Here is a song that illustrates that freedom in a beautiful way.

Family Tree
You didn’t ask for this
Nobody ever would
Caught in the middle of this dysfunction
It’s your sad reality
It’s your messed up family tree
And all your left with all these questions

Are you gonna be like your father was and his father was?
Do you have to carry what they’ve handed down?

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

I have a dream for you
It’s better than where you’ve been
It’s bigger than your imagination
You’re gonna find real love
And you’re gonna hold your kids
You’ll change the course of generations

No, this is not your legacy
This is not your destiny
Yesterday does not define you
No, this is not your legacy
This is not your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

Cause you’re my child
You’re my chosen
You are loved
You are loved

And I will restore
All that was broken
You are loved
You are loved

And just like the seasons change
Winter into spring
You’re bringing new life to your family tree now
Yes you are
You are

No, this will be your legacy
This will be your destiny
Yesterday did not define you
No, this will be your legacy
This will be your meant to be
I can break the chains that bind you

And just like the seasons change
Winter into spring
You’re bringing new life to your family tree now

~ Matthew West

 

Beauty from ashes August 23, 2012

Filed under: Emotional Pain — Beauty from ashes daughter @ 1:52 am
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So, you might be wondering why I chose the name beauty from ashes daughter for my blog. Well, I am a beloved daughter of God and beauty from ashes seems to me to be the most poetic phrase to capture the essence of my life. It, of course, originates from scripture:

“To give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they may be called trees of righteousness.”      Isaiah 61:3

But I have found an even better description of this concept and it comes from the song whose lyrics are found below.

If I had a theme song for my life, this would be it.

Beauty from Pain

The lights go out all around me
One last candle to keep out the night
And then the darkness surrounds me
I know I’m alive but I feel like I’ve died
And all that’s left is to accept that it’s over
My dreams ran like sand through the fists that I made
I try to keep warm but I just grow colder
I feel like I’m slipping away

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today, someday I’ll hope again
And there’ll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

My whole world is the pain inside me
The best I can do is just get through the day
When life before is only a memory
I’ll wonder why God lets me walk through this place
And though I can’t understand why this happened
I know that I will when I look back someday
And see how you’ve brought beauty from ashes
And made me as gold purified through these flames

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today, someday I’ll hope again
And there’ll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

Here I am at the end of me (at the end of me)
Tryin’ to hold to what I can’t see (to what I can’t see)
I forgot how to hope
This night’s been so long
I cling to Your promise
There will be a dawn

After all this has passed, I still will remain
After I’ve cried my last, there’ll be beauty from pain
Though it won’t be today, someday I’ll hope again
And there’ll be beauty from pain
You will bring beauty from my pain

-Superchick

So I remind myself each day that the abuse is over and that this new day that God has blessed me with is my crown of beauty and I must wear it well.
RKB

 

My story – the short version August 22, 2012

Filed under: Survivor — Beauty from ashes daughter @ 1:20 am
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I was raised in an atmosphere of domestic violence from the ages of 0-14. Shouting, threatening, and breaking things was the norm in my world. My mother finally chose divorce when I was 14. During this tumultuous time, when I was at my most vulnerable, I began to be sexually molested by a youth group leader at my church. This continued for two years. Then, I disclosed the sexual abuse to my mother. She called me a liar. I recanted my claim as a result of this and didn’t talk about the abuse with her again until many years later.

At 16, I turned away from God and turned toward alcohol and drugs to numb my pain. Thankfully, through the death of a friend, He pulled me back to Him about a year later. I recommitted my life to Jesus and He has faithfully walked with me, and I with Him, ever since.

Now I am married to an amazingly supportive Christian man who has taught me what real love is. I work at a counseling agency for children who have experienced trauma. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Family Life Education. I am in graduate school at the University of Toledo.  I am ridiculously busy, but God is calling me to do this, so here I am.

I hope to blog once or twice a week, sharing stories from my life and experiences in no particular order. I will include poetry I have written, song lyrics that speak to me, and Bible verses that have brought me hope and healing. I’ll share about my struggles with anxiety and depression and the counseling I have sought to deal with those diagnoses. I’ll discuss my issues with food and weight and how I am reclaiming my health at this time. I intend to write about my interactions with the court system and how it is hopelessly flawed. Finally, I’ll probably occasionally offer some advice on how to keep children safe, how to fight against a system that lets perpetrators roam free, how to find mental health therapy that works, and how to advocate for yourself and your children.

Much love to my fellow survivors as I begin this journey.

 

Fulfilling my purpose August 19, 2012

Filed under: Mission,Purpose — Beauty from ashes daughter @ 7:03 pm
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I have started this blog so I can attempt to fulfill God’s purpose for my life. My personal mission statement is: To move and encourage the broken toward healing in Christ through the power of my testimony. Here goes…

 

 
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