The Choice to Forgive: Healing is a Choice Part 2

Steve Arterburn

Real resentment over real damage by a real person produces a justifiable resentment, and it becomes such a huge part of your life that it feels like a vulture sitting on top of you, a dark and dangerous presence that affects everything that you do.

If the resentment was not justifiable, someone could just talk you out of it. A friend could tell you things he or she has told others who had a bad attitude;

1. Stop being so negative

2. Look at the bright side of things

3. Stop seeing the glass half empty

4. Start thinking more positively

5. Look for the good in people

6. Try accepting people for who they are.

These are the things people say to someone who just needs to make a few changes to make herself more comfortable and enjoy life more.

But none of those things apply to you, because you have something to hang on to. There is a date and a person and a trauma that really happened. It is your Auschwitz, and those who know of your terrible ordeal support your feelings. That is the problem; no one questions your feelings. Everyone feels horrible for you, so it is easy for you to hang on to the resentment. Anyone would, but you can’t.

You can’t, because it is eating you alive. It is your own internal terrorist that is destroying your life, keeping you from living the best life possible. It is hurting your relationship with God and with others. You will be firmly rooted to your past and to your abuse as long as the justifiable resentment grows within you. Everything you do in life will lean up against your grudge. It will come to define who you are and limit what you can become.

Although it might be very difficult to imagine, you really can be free from that justifiable resentment. You can let it go and experience the healing power of forgiveness. You can choose to heal a very troubled area of your soul by choosing to walk through a path of forgiveness. And if you take this path, something very amazing is going to happen to you one day.

One day you are going to awaken and realize that everything in your life has changed. You will sense that you are no longer rooted in your past. You will realize that what once defined your life and your inner thoughts is no longer relevant to how you live your life. You won’t forget what happened, but you will be aware of something with the magnitude of a fly you just swoosh away. That little fly is nothing compared to the vulture that now sits atop your head, talons deeply implanted in your heart. One day you will awaken and that vulture will no longer be there, and you will be free!

Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you’re carrying justifiable resentment, we’d like to help. Please join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Keeping the Faith – No Matter What

Hilary Griffith

‘Hear my prayer, O Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. In the day of my trouble I will call to you, for you will answer me’ (Psalm 86:6-7).

In my short 19 years in this world, I had been fortunate enough to never really experience the ‘day of trouble’ mentioned in that verse. In November of 2004, I had a great family, loyal friends, and a boyfriend;  I was doing well in school and competing in the Miss Arizona program. Then one night, my life changed drastically, and I now understand what Psalm 86 means.

On November 9, 2004, I came home from my night class at Arizona State University, did some things to prepare for the upcoming Miss Scottsdale pageant, and took a shower. When I got out around 9:30 p.m., a man was waiting for me in the hallway. He took me by surprise, threw a towel over my head, and raped me. The man threatened me with a knife, and I had no choice but to comply with his demands.

The rape was the most terrifying experience of my life. During those 45 minutes, I thought about what it would be like to be stabbed, what it would feel like to have my throat cut, and who would find my body after I died. It was horrible to think of never seeing my family again, and I was terrified of being murdered. However, because of my relationship with Christ, I knew where I would go after I died. DYING frightened me, but DEATH did not.

I am so glad that I was able to have that sense of peace because I know the Lord.

I know God was with me during the rape. I prayed throughout those 45 minutes, and I had ‘God thoughts’ that I know were not of my own mind. I remember thinking that I needed to forgive the man that was raping me. I would not have been able to think that if God had not been with me. I believe that God also distracted me by letting me think about other things, such as the pageant, and by helping me focus on the voice and size of the rapist so that I might be able to identify him in the future.

God did not abandon me during the rape, and He has never left me since. With His help, I was able to win the Miss Scottsdale pageant four days after the rape, and I have since changed my community service platform to ‘Strength Over Silence: Rape Awareness and Recovery.’ God has opened so many doors for me to speak about my experience, share my testimony, and raise awareness about rape. He is definitely taking this awful event and using it for His glory.

Unfortunately, rape is all too common in our society, and many people can relate to my experience.

It is my hope that even if you cannot identify with my story, you will be able to get hope from my experience. I know everyone has troubles and hardships in life, but with Christ’s help, we can make it through anything.

Whenever I am feeling down, I remember what Christ said in John 16:33. ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.’

No Victims Here (A must read!)

Jennifer Cecil

As a counselor for LIFL, I have had the privilege of submitting approximately 20 articles over the last 2 years. My articles usually are directly related to the issues pertaining to compulsive overeating and weight-loss.

This month, I would like to switch gears. We all know the old axiom, ‘we eat over what’s eating us.’ How well we know that it is the trials and tribulations of this life that lead to our misuse of food as medication for what ails us. Sometimes, the origins of these patterns are related to childhood trauma. Often it is the pain and stress of our adult lives that ‘push us over the edge.’ We can become so stuck in our pain that we become as helpless victims with no way out, but to medicate our pain away and hide out behind the layers of accumulated fat.

I would like, to tell you about a very courageous young woman, who endured a very traumatic ordeal and is emerging VICTORIOUS instead of remaining a VICTIM.

Her story is compelling; her strength, inspiring. She will be sharing her experience, strength and hope. You will see how God, the wonderful counselor, will turn all things together for good (Romans 8:28) and will restore all that the enemy has stolen (Joel 2:25).

Let me introduce you to my niece, Hilary Griffith. She is 19 years old and loves the Lord. Hilary’s life was near perfect. She was attending college at ASU, shared an apartment with friends, had a great job, went to church and enjoyed time with her family, friends, and boyfriend.

Her life was shattered on November 9, 2004 when she was raped at knife-point in her apartment by a man that had broken in while she was in the shower. The next 45 minutes of her life, Hilary was not sure if she would live or die. She was not sure if she would ever see her family again. She was not sure if her assailant would follow through on his promise to cut her throat. Hilary will talk about the supernatural comfort of God, the way that He sustained her, the things that He told her during the assault.

As unbelievable as it sounds, Hilary competed in and won the Miss Scottsdale Beauty Pageant FOUR days after the assault. How she gathered her strength to participate in the swimsuit portion and perform her talent with her bruised and battered body is beyond our comprehension. She will tell you how she was able through the grace and strength of God to ‘press on’ in the midst of seemingly insurmountable odds.

Hilary has chosen to NOT be a victim. She could have canceled her plans to compete in the pageant. She could have dropped out of school and quit her job. She could have stayed holed up in her room, staring at the walls. She did none of these things. She chose to move on with her life and let God redeem her sufferings. Although she has gone through the emotional and psychological issues that you would imagine, God has been gracious to her. Hilary has not turned her back on God. She has not asked God why He allowed this horrible thing to happen to her. She has asked Him, instead, to show her His plans for her life because He allowed her to live and not die.

I have said enough. Please show up to read her articles. You will be blessed as Hilary shares with you the comfort with which God has comforted her (II Corinthians 1: 3-7).

The Truth About Trauma, Abuse and Weight: Part 2

Brenda Allison

continued from… “The Truth About Trauma, Abuse and Weight – Part 1″

John 8:32
Then you will know the truth,
and the truth will set you free
.”

What does it mean to be traumatized. It’s to have something so awful, so unbelievable, so unspeakable happen to you that it literally throws you into a state of psychological damage; that it causes you to not be able to function properly in relationships. It doesn’t mean that you don’t function, that you aren’t out there in the world attempting to function.

We are seeing the results in people’s lives of Satan’s dirty work; only he could author the forms of abuse and trauma many have lived through.

We live in the midst of a world where there are multitudes, not a few, but multitudes of people, that are literally traumatized by past hurts and wounds; 8, 9 and 11 year olds emotionally, trying their best to ‘act’ like an adult. They are out there together trying to get along together and it doesn’t take very long to figure out why we derail our lives and relationships, and fail to reach our potential, and are addicted, overweight and miserable. Its overwhelming work carrying adult weight, while yet a child, emotionally and developmentally.

As I look back at my young mother self, in the early 1980′s, I see a 30 yr old woman trying to function in adult life with the emotional maturity of a fifteen year old. The trauma had kept me at age 15 emotionally, as my physical body continued to age around me.

So what is trauma, anyway? The word trauma means to be wounded physically or emotionally; it is to have sudden or substantial shock that creates severe and lasting damage to the psychological development of the individual. The person is basically stuck where they were when the trauma occurred. My counselor explained back then that it was as if the hem of my dress were stuck in the door and even though life moved forward; I couldn’t move forward until I went back and opened up that door and freed myself.

It was truth that opened the door for me, and it was looking at the truth hidden behind that closed door that has since set me free.

I write this today to encourage you that freedom is a reality; it’s the best part of my story. It’s the best part, the good news; the freedom part of knowing truth. I believe with all my heart God wants us to function normally. He is my Jehovah Rapha, the God who healed me. My life is changed. I wish you could ask my husband of 29 years and my grown kids about the difference in their wife and mother since those days. They love to share the story, for you see, their lives were changed, as well.

I don’t know what path God wants to take to heal you, because he deals individually with each one of us. Maybe you’ve already started on your journey and feel like you are in the middle of the process. I want to encourage you not to give up. I know well that middle ground where God’s pulling you out of the mess you used to be in, but you haven’t exactly reached that place of victory yet.  You seem to be stuck somewhere in the middle and you are not sure you want to go on, but you can’t go back.

How many of you know what I’m talking about? You feel like, ‘God, I can’t stand this place anymore,’ and he reminds you there is no place to go back to.

I don’t know about you, but my healing journey parallels that of the Children of Israel. Starting on my journey of transformation years ago was like leaving the proverbial bondage of Egypt [trauma], not a place to return to, EVER. Being in the middle of the process felt like wandering in the wilderness, and taking laps around Mt. Sinai and never quite learning my lesson.

So what about Canaan; does Canaan exist? I’m here to tell you, yes, it does.

Truth set me free. Free to what; what is freedom? In my life, knowing the truth set me free to enter into the proverbial Promised Land of Canaan; a land of victory; a land of triumph over trauma. For me, freedom was victory over my raging, and freedom to move forward and mature emotionally. Life quit being so overwhelming. In fact, compared to what I’d known in Egypt and the wilderness days of my transformation, my life felt like the Promised Land.

The truth is Canaan is wonderful, it is milk and honey compared to the wilderness, but I want to caution you; Canaan is not a land of leisure. In order to possess the land there are giants we must slay. However, take heart, you’ll have tools to use that you never knew existed while dwelling in the wilderness. But then, if you’ve passed through the wilderness of your triumph over trauma, you already know that.

God wants all of us to enter into our own Canaan, to be free, and to know triumph over trauma. Satan wishes to waste us, waste our lives and he often gets a hold of us at an early age. Abuse and trauma cause actual development lags; but God is a restorer and healer, transformer and redeemer!

Are you a survivor of abuse? Do you need help facing and overcoming the trauma?  We’d love for you to join us at our next New Life Weekend.

The Truth About Trauma, Abuse and Weight: Part 1

Brenda Allison

“You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free,’ (John 8:32) is one of
my favorite Bible verses. Long after memorizing it as a child, I
learned I couldn’t know the truth until I’m willing to know myself and
vice versa. This may be a truth that you already know, but it evaded me
until taking a Life-Span Development class in graduate school.

The truth is, abuse and trauma can cause [unless you are a'resilient' personality type] a developmental lag.

I remember as a young mother going to a counselor, feeling like there was a ‘missing link’ in my life. I was 30-something and felt overwhelmed with parenting three children and the demands of running a home and being a wife. In truth I was a ‘rageaholic’ and a food addict. After the counselor summarized my life, including things like losing both my parents in a car accident when I was 15 years of age, I remember the counselor saying, “Adolescence is a critical time for something like that to happen.’ He likewise thought it was no small coincidence that my daughter was soon to turn 15 years old.

Years later in my undergrad work, I came to better understand delayed grief reactions, yet that day I thought, ‘Big deal, so what? What did that have to do with the fact that I am a mess?’ By this time in my life I had gotten quite good at anesthetizing myself with food, or raging until I felt better. My mind was incapable of seeing the connection of what I was feeling with what I was doing. I was far too split off to know what my counselor was talking about.

Today with my feet firmly planted in my middle years, I can see things my former blinded eyes had no knowledge or understanding. I do not write as someone who has mastered the way, but as someone who has been walking it, though often clumsily, for several decades of my life. I have seen darkness, but I have glimpsed a little light as well. I see a lot of people out in the world that are literally traumatized by things that have happened to them in their past and they are psychologically deficient. That is not an insult; it’s a fact. And yet they are trying to function in everyday life and cannot understand what is wrong or how to stop the madness.

The truth is sometimes you get hurt so bad, that you simply can no longer function.

That’s what it means to be traumatized, to have something so awful, so unbelievable, and so unspeakable happen to you that it literally throws you into a state of psychological damage. Trauma can cause you to be unable to function properly in relationships. That doesn’t mean you don’t function, and it doesn’t mean that you aren’t out there in the world attempting to function. We see the results in people’s lives of Satan’s dirty work; only he could author the forms of abuse and trauma many have lived through.

To be continued . . . .The story doesn’t end there. Part One has been the bad news; the truth part. Where’s the freedom part of ‘the truth will set you free?’ Here’s a preview for next month: I write this today to encourage you that freedom is a reality; it’s the best part of my story. It’s the best part, the good news; the freedom part of knowing truth. God wants us to function normally. He is Jehovah Rapha, the God who healed me. My life has changed. . . . .

The Truth About Trauma, Abuse and Weight: Part 2

If you have been a victim of abuse and are reading to make some healing choices, we would consider it our great honor to help you.  Please join us at our next New Life Weekend.

Tour Israel with Steve Arterburn and New Life Ministries