Beauty from ashes daughter

Words of hope from an abuse survivor

Waiting November 24, 2012

Filed under: Poetry — Beauty from ashes daughter @ 4:16 pm
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I’m trying to take one day at a time.

I want to trust that God will see me thru this.

I long to believe that the answer is around the corner.

So I keep waiting.

For Him to show me the next step.

 

I want to believe that beauty will come in the morning.

With each new day, I am disappointed.

No clear answer or direction.

So I keep waiting.

For Him to respond to my plea.

 

His word says not to worry.

That He will guide my path.

But I am groping in the dark, lost.

So I keep waiting.

For Him to shine a light so I can see.

 

He promises He is with me.

But I still feel all alone.

Afraid of what happens next.

So I keep waiting.

For Him to give me peace.

 

I can’t seem to find my way.

I have forgotten where I belong.

No longer sure of my purpose.

So I keep waiting.

For Him to remind me that I’m His.

 

Confused, lonely, lost, waiting, waiting, waiting…

 

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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

 

Rock Bottom October 31, 2012

Filed under: Abuse — Beauty from ashes daughter @ 11:44 pm
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I may have hit one of the deepest pits of despair that I have ever experienced. I haven’t felt this alone and hopeless since I was in high school and in the throws of my sexual abuse. It seems that God is teaching me lessons lately about the people in my life not being as trustworthy as I thought they were or as they should be. Here is the problem with this: I already know all about broken trust. I spent my entire childhood learning the lesson that those who should love and support us no matter what, don’t.  Why then, does God find it necessary to drive this point home? I mean, really, I get the picture!
In addition to this, I find myself in a position of being abused all over again by a person in seniority to me. I cannot escape it without sacrificing my livelihood. But, on the other hand, what does allowing it to continue say about me? After years of self-empowerment and personal growth, which included setting boundaries with my abusers, how can I possibly stand by and allow myself to be bullied without taking ten steps back in my healing? And why on earth does this person have this much power over me?

 

I’m listening to this song on repeat right now:

Nothing is Wasted, Jason Gray

The hurt that broke your heart
And left you trembling in the dark
Feeling lost and alone
Will tell you hope’s a lie
But what if every tear you cry
Will seed the ground where joy will grow

And nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

It’s from the deepest wounds
That beauty finds a place to bloom
And you will see before the end
That every broken piece is
Gathered in the heart of Jesus
And what’s lost will be found again

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted

From the ruins
From the ashes
Beauty will rise
From the wreckage
From the darkness
Glory will shine
Glory will shine

Nothing is wasted
Nothing is wasted
In the hands of our Redeemer
Nothing is wasted
[x2]

From the ruins
From the ashes
Beauty will rise
From the wreckage
From the darkness
Glory will shine
Glory will shine

I just keep praying over and over again that the line I placed in bold happens really soon. I am not sure how much more I can take.

RKB

 

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:

 

Poetry with a theme of hoplessness September 19, 2012

Filed under: Depression,Emotional Pain — Beauty from ashes daughter @ 12:40 am
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These are from several years ago. I have come so far since then.

Life On Earth

Life on earth seems so hopeless

I am sad and alone

Scared of the future here in this empty place

I’m so tired of it all

Endless days of endless work and endless sleepless nights

Can’t make the pain go away

No matter how hard I try

I give and others take

I love and others hurt

I get nothing in return

Just heartache

Trying to understand what I have done

To deserve this life

But I must play the cards I’ve been dealt

Day after day with no goals and no aim

I must trust that the Lord has a plan

And someday it will be fulfilled

And I will have a purpose

And people will respect me

Maybe even love me

And the pain will stop

And the heartache will fade

And everything will be great

I am wishing for that day

SOMEDAY

Someday things will get better

Someday all of the work will be done

Someday all of the bills will be paid

Someday everyone will have a home

Someday the sun will shine forever

Someday all people will be at peace

Someday love will never die

Someday no one will have to leave you

Someday broken hearts will heal

Someday I will have no regrets

Someday the tears will stop falling

Someday I will be happy

Someday my life will have meaning

Someday people will love me just the way I am

Someday my fears will subside

Someday music will never fade

Someday all of my dreams will come true

Someday I will be where I belong

Someday everything will be just the way we want it to be

This day that I speak of is one that I will look forward to for my entire life

It is the day that I will meet my Father in heaven

 

Tara – September 16th September 16, 2012

Filed under: Jesus — Beauty from ashes daughter @ 11:03 pm
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I cannot believe its been 15 years.

It was 15 years ago today that the world lost an incredibly beautiful soul, my friend, Tara. She died in a life flight helicopter after a car wreck in the early morning fog on her way to college classes. It was through this tragic loss that Christ brought me back to Him.

Just prior to Tara’s death, I found myself escaping the emotional pain of my sexual abuse by drinking, getting high, and fantasizing about ending my life. I had attempted to tell my mother about the abuse, but she did not believe me, so I recanted and found other ways to forget that it happened. However, I despised myself and the person I had become.  I knew I was sinning, but I had found a group of friends that encouraged my substance use and I was enjoying fitting in for once in my lifetime.  Every day I continued these behaviors while telling myself I would change tomorrow.

One day tomorrow almost didn’t come.  While driving to a friend’s house, I was in a terrible car accident.  I was told I only lived because I wore my seat belt.  My car was totaled but I suffered minor injuries and physically recovered quickly. Emotionally, though, I was a wreck.  When you’re an adolescent, the finality of death is hard to grasp until you experience it. For the first time, I began to realize I was not immortal.

Just two weeks later, Tara died.  She was young, smart, and talented.  Suddenly mortality was staring me in the face. I have to be honest and clarify that Tara was not a close friend of mine before her death. I mean, we hung in the same circles and had many of the same friends. We did high school theatre together and I shared a music folder with her in Varsity Choir. I knew her, but I did not know her well. Yet somehow, her death deeply impacted me. Unraveled me even. In fact, this tragedy changed the course of my life forever.

Those methods of drug and alcohol abuse were already a crumbling facade and Tara’s death unmasked me. Looking back, I can see how God used Tara’s death as a tool to reach me during an otherwise unreachable time. He succeeded. After her death, I knew that I had to get my life right with God. I began to understand that I would not be on this earth forever and I longed to be a better person. I knew I had to stop drinking and using drugs and trust that God could save me from the tragedy of my past. I slowly disentangled myself from my former friends and I broke my bad habits easily. I had new strength in Christ. I am so grateful to God for His redemption. He never stopped calling me to Him, but in  the wake of a tragic loss, I was finally listening.

I will carry Tara with me forever. She holds a piece of my heart and will never be forgotten. I’ve always wanted to thank her family. Here is a letter I wrote to Tara’s family but have never been able to send:

Dear Tara’s Family,

I’ve started this letter a dozen times.  Each time I do, I delete it before its finished.  Every year at this time, I think about your family.  And I think about Tara.  This year, I hear God telling me that its time.  So I will complete this letter and send it to you and know that God is giving me the courage to tell you my thoughts at the exact time that you need to hear them.

I didn’t know Tara well.  We had common friends and were at the same gatherings, but we rarely had conversations just between the two of us.  We were both in choir.  One year, we shared a music folder, which means we sat right next to each other during countless practices.  She had the voice of an angel.  I can still hear it sometimes.

It was the beginning of my senior year and I was at my lowest low.  I had been sexually molested by a church youth group leader for over two years.  When I told my mother, she didn’t believe me.  I was alone, vulnerable, and without a single trustworthy person in my life.  I was drinking and doing drugs to numb my pain.  I hated my life and I wanted to die.

Then Tara died.  Though we weren’t close friends, her death affected me profoundly.  I halted my sinful behavior, detached myself from negative influences, and clung to the Savior of my soul.  My relationship with Jesus grew deeper and deeper.  Tara’s death was a turning point in my life.  If it had never occurred, my life would be drastically different than it is today.

Over the last years, I have heard countless sermons, studied numerous passages, and had many discussions about how God can bring good from a bad situation – beauty from ashes.  In each of these situations, I always think about Tara’s death.  I’ve seen so many people struggle with this concept, yet I never have.

Tara’s death was for me.  My fear, and what has kept me from sharing this with you for years, is that I might sound pretentious.  However, my intentions in saying that is to give you hope.  I’m sure her death was not only for me, as others were surely also affected, but it was a tool God used in my life.  I can’t begin to understand what it is like to be in your shoes, but from talking with others who have experienced great loss, I think maybe you struggle with why God lets bad things happen.  Maybe you often wonder – Why did she have to die?  Or what beauty has come from these ashes?  For a Christian, those are tough issues to deal with.  And perhaps you think you’ll never understand any of it this side of heaven.  I hope to give you a speck of God’s purpose while you are still on earth.  What I want you to know is that Tara’s death was not in vain.  At least not to me.  You see, my life is part of the beauty that came from her ashes.  I pray that brings you comfort.

I often visit Tara’s grave – usually in September and December and a few other scattered times when I’m in the area.  Sometimes when I’m there I weep and sometimes I smile.  But most of all, I am filled with immense gratitude.  Because her life was taken, my eternal soul was saved.  I will live a lifetime in awe of God’s wondrous ways.  And Tara’s memory will be alive in me always.

God Bless You!

  • And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God… Romans 8:28
  • We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.  We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.  We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God.  2 Corinthians 5:8
  • For the kind of sorrow God wants us to experience leads us away from sin and results in salvation.  There’s no regret for that kind of sorrow.  2 Corinthians 7:10
 

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

 

 
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