I’m a wee bit excited but also nervous to share this post. As I stated when I switched domains to rebeccalemke.com, I really want to talk more about my faith. This post is an adaptation from an email I sent to my email list.
Despite the name, this isn’t about fun stickers than my toddler plays with, it is about a type of thorn that is also referred to as sandburs.
What is Biblical Femininity? In this post I’ve outlined how a feminine woman of God should speak, treat others, what she should do, how she should dress…
So I received this question on Twitter a few weeks ago and decided I wanted to respond in more than 160 characters. 😉 Check it out here:
“Boobs are ONLY for babies! Boobs are ONLY for husbands! Guess what ladies, you are both pretty, so quit screaming about your tits. They’re multipurpose!”
If you have taken dagger to your flesh in yearning for release, I want you to know that there is an other side to this. It doesn’t end with this and it doesn’t continue in it. God has healing for you. Maybe you’ve cried out to Him for it but didn’t receive anything. Or perhaps you are too angry or hurt or ashamed to ask for it. You may think you deserve to feel this way or that you are beyond saving. I have been there.
I remember the rush of panic and how feeling so out of control was ironically my only sense of control. Self harm was easy and hard at the same time. It was scary and satisfying. I have felt so much emotion boiling up inside of me that I had to give it a way out. And after tears dried up, after the breaths evened and the attack stilled, I was left feeling shocked at the wounds. How did I get to this point? Am I too far gone to ever not do this? Where will this go from here? How will I hide these marks? I don’t want to be this way, but yet I kind of do. See, my ‘want’ was broken. I didn’t really want away from these feelings because they were mine. They were familiar and reliable when the hurt the rest of the world gave me was outside of me. I couldn’t control those hurts and I couldn’t face them like I could the ones I made myself. So I hid there. And when life got too stressful, I would go to the knife drawer. I would hold the blade against my arms and just press it in, then a little deeper, to see the mark. Many times it would end there, but sometimes it wouldn’t.
Please hear me. I have not only been free from this destructive battle for 4 years, but my marks are all gone. Jesus took my scars and added them to His own. You are worth more than feeling this way. Your creator and Heavenly Father wants you. He wants you. 2 Corinthians 11:2 “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.” You need to reach out. One of the things keeping you in the pit is isolation and darkness. Carefully seek a trustworthy councilor, confidant, a support group, and church family. They will help you find your way to freedom. Purge all unholy things from your life. Proverbs 4:23 “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This includes tasteless television shows, foul music, sour relationships, and poor dietary choices. What we put in to our minds and bodies effects what comes out.
Forgive. Forgive those around you and forgive yourself. Bitterness alone is enough to weigh a person down. And breathe. When you feel the escalation coming on from being overwhelmed, stop and just sit, slowly counting your breaths, then seek help. There is no shame in having weak moments. We were made to be in community. We were designed to receive and give support. One day you will be healed. You will be healed. And God will use your testimony to help heal others from the same. Isaiah 61:3 “and provide for those who grieve in Zion– to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
You are not alone in this. You do not deserve to feel this way. You are not too far gone. You are wanted, loved, and are being waited for, longed for, by our God. Find the courage to step out and see what that really means. Find the strength to be healed forever.
I’m Stacy, an early 30’s stay-at-home mom who has a degree in film production that I do little to nothing with. I was born in raised in Las Vegas, NV then moved to Maui two times in three years. My husband and I have an amazing marriage because God is in the center of it. Our first child was born last year and we currently reside in Oklahoma City. If babies can be assholes, ours is one. Each day I just try to laugh, serve, and be a better version of myself than the day before. I love cookies, coffee, and Jesus. I am a neurotic organizer. I like to craft, drive fast, and feel pretty. I am funny, sometimes in a twisted way. I love loving people and sharing what I have grown through. I’m very transparent so let’s chat about anything!
I don’t talk about my faith much, especially here on my blog and personal social media pages. In fact, I discuss it so little that you probably didn’t even know I am a Christian. Sure, I’ve talked about my previous experience with fundamentalism and legalism within Christianity on topics like sexual purity, purity rings and modesty, but I haven’t talked about my faith as it currently stands.
There are a few reasons for that, but they all come down to the friends I have made over the last few years. Specifically, my non-religious friends. Theses folks range from various forms of agnostic or atheist to strange mixes of pseudo-religious, but only barely.
I started making non-religious friends in college. While I was growing up, I heard about the dangers of college and how it could lead you away from your faith because of the secular curriculum taught and the pressure of peers to conform to the majority. This resulted in me having some trepidation about coming across these people.
Luckily, when I began attending classes at one of the bigger state universities, I was blessed with a Christian friend right off the bat and I didn’t feel quite so isolated. Soon after we became friends, things took a turn for the worst. We had an art class together and quite a few of the pieces we studied were about Christianity. When the class as a whole went over these pieces and were asked to talk about them, we were shown the true colors of several of our classmates. While I don’t want to get into specifics, we were told exactly what they thought of us, and it wasn’t pretty.
We learned that they hated us, they hated what we believed and they hated Jesus. We hadn’t said or done anything to them, but their venom towards us remained.
Nothing makes me more horrified than knowing someone thoroughly hates me purely because of my faith in Jesus.
I’d be disingenuous to say that the experiences with non-religious folks ended there, but those classmates, and people like them, are the reason I rarely talk about my faith anymore. It would be easy for me to say that they were all the same and that they were all genuinely hateful people, but that wasn’t the case. As the title suggests, I later made friends with at least one of these classmates and subsequently more people late in my pregnancy with Bubba.
While not all of my experiences with non-religious folks were good, I learned a lot about myself and my own faith through them. After listening to the stories of those who had been hurt by legalism within Christianity and those who had lost their faith because of it, I gained a new perspective on how to think about and interact with them. I’m grateful to these friends who not only respectfully shared their perspective, but unknowingly build my faith up.
I recognized a tendency in myself to be heavily influenced by what people who hated me because of my faith thought, and instead of completely shutting down that tendency, which would have been easier, I decided to try something else.
I learned to listen to their stories and reasons to be empathic, not to respond, minimize or argue. I prayed for and came to peace with not trying to debate and with the answer “I don’t know” for their hard questions, and for mine. I accepted the fact that they might be angry at me, or Christianity, but that wasn’t something that I am called to change (unless it is through the Holy Spirit’s work in me).
The way my faith strengthened the most during this time, was, ironically, through taking a page out of the book of those people who hated me and also those who were non-religious due to legalistic forms of Christianity. At the end of the day, they were strong in their lack of faith, not based on having all the answers (because many admitted that they didn’t, and I admit the same), but by saying “this is what I believe” and being unmovable in that belief.
If someone who professes to believe in nothing and will defend that position with tooth and nail (and sometimes attack and threaten the safety of those who disagree), I see no reason why I should waver in saying that I believe that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6) and I am unashamed of it.
I’m done with being silent, I’m done with being attacked and I’m done with wavering because of others.
Proverbs 20:5 tells us, “The intention of the human heart is deep water, but the intelligent draw it forth.”
I know that in my heart flows deep rivers of intention but I, to this point, have been unintelligent. I have let those intentions grow stale in my heart and fade to the backgrounds of my memory. If I learned anything from my best friend’s mom, it is that you don’t know how many days you have ahead, you cannot sit around thinking that you can put the intentions of your heart on hold until tomorrow. Tomorrow might not come. Therefore, I’ve made a small list of things I plan to do in this season of Lent that will help me be more intentional:
1. Send letters or cards to five different friends or family members – just because.
2. Call two people I haven’t spoken to this month, to catch up and really listen to what is happening in their life.
3. Send two small care packages with something bought and something homemade in each. These would go to people who don’t receive the letters/cards mentioned above. (I want to reach as many people as possible).
4. Designate a day to someone and be very intentional with my thoughts and prayers for that person. This will be done in the privacy of my own heart and I will NOT tell the person about my intention but God will hear the cry of my heart.
5. Make baked goods for two different neighbor families.
I challenge you to be more intentional with your thoughts and prayers. Join me in this commitment to manifest the intentions of your heart. What are some things that you can do in your everyday life to bring forth the deep waters of your heart?