I was right.
God has spoken to my spirit a few times about things over the past 25 years, and I continue to find out that I heard Him correctly. Yet– when I try to step out in faith of what I know my Lord and Savior has shared with me, has led me to pray about, or has warned me about, it amazes me how my brothers and sisters in Christ— some near to my own heart– shut me down. They don’t trust me or believe that God would choose to be active in our– in my— relationship with Him.
They don’t want to hear from God– through me.
Well, I’m not letting people hold me back or push me down any longer.
They can live with their skepticism, I choose to step out in the faith of my amazing, loving, kind God Who leads me in all wisdom, Who increases my understanding, Who gives and increases my discernment.
I blame me for trusting in or relying on the opinions of those around me– for allowing myself to be gauged by people I have believed would listen to God’s Spirit for confirmation rather than skepticize– and I repent from that. Their lack of faith in God’s Spirit for confirmation and trust in my ability to discern my Shepherd’s voice is deeply hurtful.
I’m trusting God to guide my steps forward with new confidence because–
I was right.
With all the recent scandals from Hollywood and politicians, I’m again thinking about my own past of sexual abuse, and different reactions I’ve experienced about how I do/don’t do things.
First, I’ll share some of my background.
I was molested by my dad as a young girl. That in and of itself is still a humiliating experience for me. I’m still emotionally sensitive at times and in different situations. It’s just the first abusive situation I experienced, but it’s the foundation of abuse in my history, so it’s my focus today.
Bringing it up now and admitting my emotions can still be affected by the memories– at times, the nightmares– does not mean I’m not healed, that I haven’t forgiven him or that I am stuck in the past. These are some of the reactions I can count on getting nearly every time I mention it.
No matter the reasoning behind my dad’s actions against me– it still happened.
So, when I see and hear things people say to others, it frustrates me. Things like– “Pick up the broken pieces, and move on.”
Well– start where in picking them up? To me, this is like telling a person with 2 broken legs to just stand up and walk away.
Everything about me was broken. I say was, because God picked up my broken pieces, and He helped me move forward– towards Him.
But, you know who didn’t? People. The Body of Christ didn’t. Once when I asked for special counseling from a Pastor’s wife, she blamed me for causing problems with my reactions to having been hurt!
Much of my life I have fought to be heard. Most of my childhood I struggled with being seen and learning how to fit in. All of my victim-hood I’ve fought to survive.
You won’t believe the attacks of my mind, my heart and my body that I experienced as a result of what was done TO me. I fought to get away. I tried to run away. I tried to make it stop by taking my own life away from it– physically– forever. Thankfully God intervened and had Compassion for me.
These were my wrong reactions and thought-processes growing up– I cut because I was numb and that made me feel something. I starved myself because I deserved to be punished because I must have been an awful person for that to have happened to me. I clung too tightly to guys I just wanted to love me– I just wanted to be loved and valued. I thought if I removed myself, I would no longer cause problems for my dad– because he told me that.
My mom did all she could to protect me and handle an impossibly difficult situation. She sent me where she knew I would be safe during the summer years of my childhood– to her parents. I don’t know what they knew, I only know I was told to never ever talk to anyone about things. You see– I didn’t even know that my mom knew. I thought I was completely alone, and had to fend for myself all alone. But, she was looking out for me.
“Pick up the pieces and move on…”
When you’re self-perception has been damaged through the mental abuse of someone else that should be trusted to protect and build you up– how do you move forward? Where is forward? Which way is up? Because everything I knew was filtered through that experience and how others reacted to me.
It’s by the Grace of God and my mom that I survived my childhood years.
I am not hanging onto what happened. Talking about it doesn’t mean I’m hanging on to it. Hopefully talking about it will extend a lifeline to someone else who may need someone to look out for and reach out to them.
God has brought me through it, to the other side. I don’t need pity of the stuff of feeling sorry for me, or counseling.
My purpose for writing this is– those “encouraging” sayings do not help real people with real needs.
Picking up the broken pieces for me, at that time, meant the equivalent of picking them up and then walking barefoot through more broken, sharp pieces. I saw no clear path, until God in His Mercy reached out to me and pulled me out of it.
He had to carry me, because I was far too broken to walk on my own.
For those who are broken– you can Trust God. I promise! His ways are gentle and kind– and always perfect.
For those who are unbroken observers– Please– Allow God to work through you to reach out and help the broken with more than cute sayings that often feel more like salt poured into open wounds than healing balm.
Pray at all times, without ceasing, giving thanks to God above for one another. Especially those that you just don’t understand. Don’t turn a cold shoulder, don’t be short or abrupt– that helps no one, but instead often feels like condemnation poured-out on those who might be crushed under the weight of it. God is not in that.
Love is Patient. Love is Kind. Love does not dishonor others. Love is not self-seeking– Love does not prefer its own opinion over the needs of others.
What does every woman want, universally? Is it to be a “sex symbol”? To be loved by everyone? Is it to be known as the prettiest? The friendliest? How about the smartest?
On the surface, every one of these may fit. But, what’s at the heart of it?
I believe it’s simple acknowledgement of our accomplishments, talents, gifts and hard work. To be taken seriously. To appreciate our contributions. To be loved for the individual we are
Without giving us the “gender” handicap.
With all the Hollywood happenings and exposures lately, my thoughts have returned to my past issues of running into sexism. Whether it was about being a “woman driver“, “too emotional“, treated as if I were “too delicate” to lift weights or as though I were ridiculous to think I could do the “man’s job” the USAF trained me to do, as a civilian– or as though I were a stupid female for making mistakes– I have experienced sexism many, many times, in many, many ways. And– not always from men!
I have overcome it, for the most part anyway, by meeting it head on and challenging those who think I need to be suppressed in my desire to prove I can do nearly everything a man can do– as well, if not better– than men can.
We’ve allowed Hollywood, Hugh Heffner, and Larry Flynt to shape our views on women. They’ve brainwashed us into dehumanizing and minimizing all females into categories of size, looks, and potential popularity– all the while overpowering and/or capitalizing on each victim they’ve chosen.
Hollywood has created this system of failing demand– and we have allowed the land of make-believe to convince us it’s reality.
What is it you love about your spouse, if you are married? If looks and size changed, would you still love them and be attracted to them?
When we watch movies and shows, we are seeing things through the writers’, directors’ and producers’ eyes and imagination. Since we are looking through their biased and skewed perceptions, we may as well be placing scales over our own eyes.
Women want to fight back, but so many are misdirected. It’s not everyday men we need to fight against, it’s the lie sold to them and the people selling the lies. It’s the Harvey Weinsteins, the Anthony Weiners, the perverts changing laws to allow more perversions– like Governor Brown in California. Those are the ones we need to focus on, and then the rest will be small potatoes– easy to ignore and walk away from as we just live our lives and fulfill our vision and God’s vision for our lives.
In the world, there are separations based on all sorts of differences.
In Christ, there should not be.
Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (NASB)
I am a survivor.
I survived childhood trauma, dealt with it and moved on. -Taught me how to be a better parent for my kids.
I survived life with a mentally ill parent. -Taught me the importance of trusting God for who would father my own children.
I survived nearly dying from alcohol poisoning. -Taught me I got a second chance, life is a precious gift, and there are reasons to limit alcohol in-take.
I survived emotional, physical and yes– mental– abuse in my first marriage. -Taught me to appreciate those who treat me as God wants them to treat me.
I survived divorce. -I learned to pay attention to details about who I married next.
I survived date-rape. -I learned to not be so trusting, and eventually how to forgive someone who did something so horrible to me.
I survived remaking my life choices. -I am a better person today.
I survived Basic Military Training– which for some was no problem, but for myself triggered many raw childhood emotional scars. -Taught me I could do whatever tough thing I set my mind to.
I survived moving to another country all by myself. -Taught me I am capable of adapting to new environments and situations.
I survived being deployed to the Middle East with bomb threats, violent threats towards me from a local man– as the only woman in charge of men who hated me because of my gender and my Christian faith. -I am stronger and more resilient than I even know.
I survived and overcame PTSD. -I can do ALL things through Christ Jesus Who is my strength.
I survived being laughed at because of my gender as I applied for a job I was qualified to do. -I learned to dust myself off and find a job where I was treated with respect.
I’ve survived unfair and inaccurate slander about me and to my face. -Taught me how to know who I can trust.
I’ve survived unforgiveness for mistakes I tried to make up for with relatives. -Taught me to forgive and do my best to make better decisions, not just out of wanting to help.
I’ve survived unfair judgement. -Taught me people may never be fair, but God’s Judgement is always fair.
I survived being fat-shamed. -I can hold my head up even amongst the small-minded.
I survived anorexia. -Taught me I’m not attached to any label– anorexia no longer “owns” me.
I survived losing loved ones to tragic or natural causes. -Taught me that relationships are more valuable than I often realize.
I’m a survivor of Mt. St. Helens. -Taught me about a volcano near where I lived, and what it’s capable of doing when it erupts.
I survived an attack from a “domesticated” mountain lion– have the scars in my scalp to prove it. -Taught me never to trust dangerous wildlife at any age as a pet.
I survived natural childbirth without any drugs– 3 times. -Taught me how to push through and embrace pain, rather than cringe and try to hide from it. Pain actually serves an important purpose.
I survived emergency gall-bladder removal surgery. -Taught me I didn’t need to rely on drugs for pain so I could again nurse. I valued being able to nurse my baby afterwards even more.
I’ve survived several deployments without my husband, while living in a foreign country far away from family. -Each has taught me I can be self-sufficient when necessary, the importance of schedules for my kids, and how much I value my husband being home with us.
As a survivor of so many things, I in turn have sought to help others as I would have wanted help from someone.
I’ve helped 2 guys violently threatening their own lives with knives, one cost me a hospital visit and stitches in my hand.
I’ve counseled many people, and helped those who wanted help, over the past 3 decades, to find their inner strength– GOD– and turn their focus to surviving and thriving, and to walk away from self-destructive behaviors and thoughts.
I no longer see young survivors that seek truth and the betterment of society. That concerns me deeply.
What’s the deal with all these people who are having a meltdown over a Presidential election?
I survived 8 years of Obama blowing off and ignoring everything that seriously concerned me, and I didn’t have an emotional meltdown. I did, however, have a personal time of mourning the future deaths of so many human babies. I have kept my eyes open and myself informed of important things. I have given voice to concerns and passed on information I believe is important for others to be aware of.
I’ve been a part of the healthy vein of our Nation.
The in-Dems-pocket media force has our young adult generation so afraid, and believing outrageous lies like anyone not with the Dems is for racism, or whatever the current slanderous word-of-the-day is injected into their malleable minds. There are actual outside forces doing everything possible to stoke and stir-up emotions and irrational actions– some are even paid professionals. That’s been proven.
If these are our Nation’s future leaders, our country is in trouble. These aren’t survivors. These have been programmed and controlled as puppets of a monster political organization that does not care about them in the least, to have a “victim” mentality. Where is their discernment?
I used to also be a controlled-programmed “victim-mentality” puppet of the Dems. Until I woke up.
I hope they all wake up before it’s too late.
I wish they could see they are being played.
As I read about high ranking military officers not being disciplined for sexual assault, I felt sick at my stomach, disgusted and angry. Here are men that are at the forefront of our Nation’s safety, yet they are purposely hurting those under their authority!
Sounds like something our Nation should already be past, does it not?
So, why aren’t we? Why is that an untouchable issue? What gives these men the impression that they can do whatever they want and not be held accountable? Stars on their shoulders? High prestige? The fact that they are men?
No matter how it gets overlooked, blown-off, and ignored–
it is not ok.
It’s NOT ok that they get to walk away while the woman– or man– they assault has to try to move past it. It’s NOT ok that the attackers’ lives are intact, while the victims’ lives are shattered. IT’s NOT ok that they abuse the authority that they have been entrusted with.
It’s NEVER ok.
For every life they have destroyed, they are accountable. For every suicide that happened as a result of their abuse of authority, blood is on their hands. For every child conceived in their selfish lustful greed, borne or aborted with shame, they are accountable. For every life shattered, every career destroyed, every hope smothered– they are accountable.
Ladies and Gentlemen– This is our current day Air Force, led by yesterday’s male chauvinist pigs.
Think it’s time for a change yet?
If we call enough attention to this, things WILL change. They have to.
As a veteran and military spouse with 22 years of Air Force experience, what can I say about my beloved branch of service on its 69th birthday?
I was proud the day I stepped out of MEPS with a promised new, exciting yet completely unknown future.
At 24, after a failed marriage to a man who was abusive and mean, I was beginning a new life– one I’d be proud to say I’ve lived.
I think I was a joke to my first recruiter, but I found another recruiter who took me seriously and helped me find my door out of the destructive life going nowhere that I’d made for myself.
To the Air Force, I was a female body filling an empty spot in a predominantly male career field. I had high expectations of learning my job, being trained exceptionally. I trained waitresses before I enlisted, and I expected at least that same level of professionalism and depth. My expectations were not met– it wasn’t even close. I was a female after all– someone to flirt with, try to date, but keep at arms-length in what was, after all, just a man’s job.
I’d faced that challenge my whole life with relatives that mocked my efforts because of my gender, as though I were less than any male.
I rose to the gender challenge in school by taking a car repair class, acing it. I knew my way around a car engine, transmission and a/c– you know, back in the day when things were repaired and replaced, not sent to someone to fix or throw out.
I fought against that whole “weak girl” mentality, and the Air Force decided to throw me into that, once again. I was left at job sites by my supervisor, to figure things out without his help, tools or replacement parts. My 25th birthday was spent alone in my dorm room until my supervisor called me to go on a call at the dorm next to mine. The lighting was nearly non-existent outside, and as I was walking, I didn’t see a step in the sidewalk, and fell. I got up, and not realizing I had a concussion from the fall, I went to try to stop a broken shower. I had no user’s manual, no training, and no supervisor taking me through the troubleshooting steps to fix it. 45 minutes later my supervisor finally showed up, disappointed that I hadn’t magically solved the problem. I went back to my dorm, finished that birthday by falling asleep. A week later I went to the doctor because my head had been hurting since I fell, and that’s when I learned I had a concussion. God still had plans for me, even if my co-workers thought I was just a waste of space in their career.
I’d love to say there were many high points, but I was constantly held back. One guy even became my supervisor, after being turned down over the phone for a date. I’d never seen him face-to-face, so I didn’t realize who he was until my career was nearly ruined. As soon as I figured it out, I changed supervisors and shops, but he had already said too much negative about me, gave me a bad EPR and convinced me I needed to work on my CDCs rather than drive around to jobs we never had the parts to actually fix. My personal challenge was a ruined opportunity, I’d never make Msgt by 13-14 years. I also no longer cared.
After that, I learned the outdoor part of my job. I had better opportunities at being trained, and hands-on repairs. I learned a lot and I worked hard physically. It was a better fit for me, but my shop boss hated me and I got another low EPR because he didn’t agree with the positive things my new supervisor reported in it. My shop boss never actually went to my job sites and saw how hard I worked, or how good I had become at everything I was given the opportunity to actually do with the right parts, tools, and training.
I received orders, so I moved to another base. I wasn’t hated because of my gender, this time I was too delicate to do my job. I was given jobs like painting, hammering a few nails in, controlling and sitting-in for my commander’s secretary. I volunteered to deploy to the desert, and my leadership nearly had a heart attack! They fought me on it, tried to keep me from going, but no one else was volunteering. So I went. But, not to do my actual job. No. I was an escort for the local nationals. And then, because I couldn’t be alone with the local nationals, because I’m a girl, I was put at the gate for 12-16 hour days, in charge of who was allowed in. Over Muslim men. You can probably guess how good that went over. Besides the fact that I was a girl, I was a girl that drove, told men what to do, and read her Bible openly in front of men. Now, I had no idea women weren’t allowed to read religious stuff, and as a Christian I read my Bible because I needed God’s encouragement and wisdom to handle some difficult people and situations– like bomb threats and air tests, and men who hated me, refusing to follow my instructions without cops threatening to pull out their guns telling them they had to do what I said.
Anyway– that was much of my enlisted experience, though definitely not all.
As a spouse, I’ve endured 18 years of constant changing plans and the results of the spectrum of various leaders my husband has worked for- from awesome to abusive at times. We have been blessed, and most of the time he has had awesome local leadership. Though it often feels like he’s away more than he’s here, we have had it better than many.
His extended leadership has gotten worse, though. Most of the time they’re clueless about what they put their people, and their people’s families, through. They are uninformed, and “yes men”, not professional enough to get needed information or listen to the needs and complaints of the workforce they are near breaking.
It’s not unlike Benghazi, where they are communicating needs, concerns, and asking for more bodies– but being ignored, blown off, and having more work than is even possible dumped on them. I have watched my good-natured husband, who has already put his 20 in, in a much needed career field, be crushed by unrealistic expectations, pushing of regulations, as well as physical and mental exhaustion to the point he falls asleep as soon as he gets home some nights. His schedule is all over the place, he has no time or energy to keep up with the rigid demands of PT because the nature of his job is already far too physically and mentally demanding.
And now, we celebrate the birthday of a force to be reckoned with– by its own people. From leadership that sexually abuses and assaults those lower-ranking than themselves, getting a “pass” from being held accountable, to leadership that has no clue what they are putting their people through– this year, I’m not celebrating the birthday of my beloved Air Force.
This year, I mourn its self-destruction, from the inside-out.