Gentle Recovery

Hope and Inspiration for Overcoming the Damaging Effects of Child Abuse and Rape

Archive for the ‘Gentle Recovery’ Category

We are more then overcomers!

Book Release Nov. 2009

Posted by A Write to my Voice on October 31, 2009

Like a Dream

I never told anyone. I kept it all inside. I started to wonder if it was some crazy  dream or if it even happened at all. I thought maybe I made it up? Other times I thought – it wasn’t that bad – it was no big deal. But last year people I hadn’t seen started surfacing – family, friends – people who knew….

You’re a miracle they said. How did you survive?

Survive? Miracle? What did they mean? They started to tell me stories of their memories of  how bad things were, how thin I had become, how out of control……My older sister who I hadn’t seen for a long time returned from living overseas. She needed to talk. She forced me to listen….forced me to remember.

The memories hit. They hit hard. I wrote to get the images out of my head.

I couldn’t eat or sleep. I wanted to get in my car, close my eyes and drive. It felt like it was happening all over again – the beatings, the confinement, the rape – throwing up day after day after day even if I had tasted even a small bite of something – shoving needles in my arm – three and four times a day – ripping my arms with jagged rocks to feel something because I felt nothing. I was numb inside.

Why now God? Why are you letting me go through this now?  I didn’t want to remember and yet in remembering it dawned on me – finally – just how far down God had reached to free me.

Everyday in the heat, rain and cold – I ran – alone in the woods – in the hills near our home. There I felt the gentle touch of God – And I heard His whisper – You’re stronger now. It’s time to tell the truth of what happened. Tell your story to give someone hope –

How could I have never told anyone what He did. Nothing worked. Nothing could break the chains that kept me in living on the edge. Nothing except the gentleness of His touch.

The power of His gentleness…….

This November, I will publish my story In the Eye of Deception.

For information on the book please email


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Posted by A Write to my Voice on September 20, 2009

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Braver than you Think

Posted by A Write to my Voice on July 6, 2009

Braver than you Think

“Promise me you’ll always remember; you’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.” A.A.Milne – Christopher Robin to Pooh

I remember being really stoned. My eyes had gone all weird and I couldn’t focus. I felt off balance, dizzy and separate from myself. Almost like I was on the outside looking in. I was having problems walking. I had no idea where I was, how I got there or how to get out and go home. I remember falling, crashing into a wall and hitting my head. Some old lady popped out and started screaming at me. I had no idea what she was saying. Then the sound of sirens and the ambulance……. Life was a constant crisis. Constant chaos.

I kept saying I wanted it all to stop. I wanted it to be normal. I didn’t want to do the drugs. At least that’s what I said and even as I said it, I was shooting up and ripping my arms open with razor blades and jagged rocks. Even as I said it, I threw up if I ate even a small bite of something. In my mind, I wasn’t allowed to be free. I wasn’t worthy. No amount of wanting or needing made a difference. No threats from any authority could bring about the freedom I said I wanted.

I needed to stay high. I needed to hurt myself. I needed to throw up. I needed to not feel or think. Especially to not think. The images of what happened tortured me. Anything to numb out from feeling the terror, the shame, the pain – I needed that more. And then God touched me. He broke through the torment in my head, in my soul – He took away the 14 year drug addiction. The memories though, the pain and shame and feelings of extreme worthlessness – they were still there. I continued to throw up and hurt myself. I still needed to numb out.

I felt guilty. I wondered if God would kill me because I was destroying myself. I screamed at Him to do it already. I dared Him to take my life, but He wouldn’t. Years went by. I lived two lives. I looked ok. People thought I was fun, happy, Christian. I wasn’t. When people said, God is in control, I knew my life was completely out of control.

I started writing. Then running. In the woods, alone – He whispered to me. ‘Face the pain. Don’t run from it.’ I never wanted to face it. I never wanted to admit it. I couldn’t. To admit it meant it happened. I didn’t want to believe it happened. But it did.

All I know – God is my strength – my anchor for freedom. The one thing in my life that gives me the courage to do what I otherwise can’t. He brought me to the point of being ready to confront what I never could. He allowed me to use the cutting, the throwing up, the hiding to stay alive. Cause that’s what it did. It kept me alive. It helped me survive until I was ready to face what happened.

All I know -is in His presence, I feel at peace. In the woods I feel His gentle touch and hear His whispers of comfort and there I gain the courage to come home and not use things that hurt me.

I want to make a difference. I want what I lived to help someone else find their freedom. Maybe that’s why God let me live.

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Willingness to Fly

Posted by A Write to my Voice on June 22, 2009

“How does one become a butterfly, she asked pensively.You must want to fly so much, you’re willing to give up being a caterpiller.” Trina Paulus (Hope for the Flowers)

I am grateful. Really grateful. As I write and remember, I am filled with gratitude. So often I have to shake myself and ask, ‘did it all really happen?’ The years of living on the street, shoving needles in my arm, not allowing myself to eat, throwing up if I did and cutting myself until I couldn’t stand the pain or until I bled.

Living with extreme shame, out of control rage and debilitating fear – and one day, just like that – God touched me and changed everything. He gave me purpose and hope. He helped me heal. He gave me freedom. Now I owe Him my life.

There is a story about ten lepers being healed. Only one came back to say thank-you. I don’t want to be like the nine who showed no gratitude. I need to tell what happened – what God did because had He not touched me in the ways He did……

How do I tell people what I lived? How do I say all those horrible things that happened? It’s easier to tell strangers but I struggle with telling people who are close to me – my friends and people at work – I don’t want them to think differently about me. I don’t want them to be disgusted.

It was bad. Really bad. How can I tell them? Sometimes I just want to blurt it out but I can’t. The words are stuck inside me. Many of my friends know I’m writing a book. They don’t know what I’m writing, but they know I’ m writing.

I get lost in writing. I think in some way it validates what happened really took place. And it’s a way for me to have my voice. I need to write. Writing has become like breathing for me. Seeing the words in print diminishes the shame and gives me strength.

My friend came for a hike in the woods with me the other day. As we walked the secluded trails, she asked if I ever get scared out there alone. I don’t. I feel safe in the woods. That’s where I hear God speak to me. That’s where my heart gains courage. In the woods, in the beauty of nature, I never feel alone. God whispers to me there. He reminds me I am never alone anymore. He tells me everything will be ok. He reminds me He has purposes and plans for my life. He tells me not to be afraid.

I don’t want to live like a caterpiller anymore. I want to fly. I want to tell. It will be my way of saying thank-you.

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Posted by A Write to my Voice on June 13, 2009

Awhile ago I learned the words I use help me move forward or keep me stuck in a cycle of pain. So many times I berated myself, calling myself all kinds of names, names my parents called me when I was a child. Names that defined who I was, who I became, what I became.

Words and thoughts affect feelings which affect behaviour. Believing I was stupid caused me to use coping strategies to numb out the feelings generated from that thought.

I learned to speak words of empowerment. Words that push me towards where I want to go. For me, I use the scriptures. I am made in His image. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Shall the pot say to the potter why did you make me like this? Let the weak say I am strong. Saying these scriptures empowers me.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

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Faith and Dignity

Posted by A Write to my Voice on June 8, 2009

Saturday, June 6, 2009
Hope and Dignity
“I was confused. You cleared my mind. I sold my soul. You bought it back for me and held me up and gave me dignity. You gave me hope when I was at the end and turned my lies back into truth again. You even called me friend.” Anne Murray

I am overwhelmed with God’s love. He reached out to me and in His gentle way, freed me from the awefulness of living on the street, fighting to survive and using my body as a target for all the rage and hatred I had for the people who hurt me. I often wonder why me. Why did He touch me and let me live? I should have died like so many of the people I knew, – like my friend, Sue. One night, she turned on Anne Murray’s song, Snowbird, letting it play over and over while she swallowed a ton of pills. She was dead in the morning, – the song still playing, “But now I feel such emptiness within, for the the thing I want in life’s the thing I can’t win. Spread your tiny wings and fly away.”

Someone once told me, the best revenge is to live my life happy and successful. It’s been a fight, a struggle, a war. So many times, I wanted to do what Sue had done, let go, give up, “spread my wings and fly away,” but God put a fight in me, a determination to live.

All those beatings, being kidnapped and raped, the crazy, terrifying street life, the drugs, the throwing up, the incarceration in jail, confined in a psych hopsital – somehow God used all that to make me strong. He didn’t let me die. He wouldn’t let me go even when I begged Him to kill me. He “bought my soul back and gave me dignity.” He touched me, broke the chains and set me free, when nothing else worked.

Why me? Why not Sue? I had other friends who took their lives, or accidently died from overdosing or because of being so stoned and doing something weird. I used to climb to the top of buildings and stand on the edge with my arms out not caring that I could have fallen to my death. I thought I was invincible. Other times I just wanted to dare life to let me go.

I owe Him my life. The gratitude I feel makes me want to help people like Sue, to give them hope and let them know, if I can do it, they can too. With God, nothing is impossible. I have discovered, there is no darkness so black, no valley so low, He can not redeem it for his glory.

I am alive today because of Him, because of His touch on my life.

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The Strength of Gentleness

Posted by A Write to my Voice on April 20, 2009

“There is nothing stronger in the world than gentleness.” Han Suyin

Growing up in a strict religious Jewish home, I learned very young, God was harsh, demanding and to be feared. We were taught if we didn’t submit and obey His commands we would be punished and punished severly.

In our house, there were tons of rules to follow, – rules for everything.
Entering our house or any room in the home, we had to kiss the mazuza, a
small case that contained scriptures from the Torah attached to the doorposts. Rules dictated when we could answer the phone or doorbell, or what days we could or couldn’t drive the car . Tons of rules centred around food. We had two sets of dishes and cutlery; one for dairy and one for meat products. At Passover, we had to hide those dishes and had two more sets because those plates had to be strictly free from having any leavened bread touch them. Everything we ate had to be ‘kosher,’ blessed by a Rabbi. Specific foods were considered ‘unclean,’ like pork and shell fish. These were forbidden.

God to me was mean, demanding, punishing. My father held high positions in the synagogue. He was greatly respected and given honors, but at home, he yelled and cursed and beat my sister and I so badly. We were nothing more than scapegoats for his frustrations. I was terrified of him and he represented God to me. Once I failed a french test. He beat me so badly, smashing my head over and over against the wall until I passed out. He told me later, it hurt him more than it hurt me. I never understood that. Many times he told me I was to obey and respect him, no matter what he did. That was God’s will.

The rapist was well respected in his religion, but like my father, he terrorized the vulnerable and weak. He forced me to sit cross legged and unmoving for hours in a cold dark room listening to tapes of him. Then he raped me. He told me he owned me. He said God gave me to him because of his religious devotion.

I’m not sure how God convinced me of His gentleness. Everything I lived taught me He was cruel. But from the moment He freed me from the drugs, I felt the presence of His gentle Spirit.

I fought with Him, screamed at Him, dared Him to kill me…
But He waited, waited until I calmed down, waited until I could hear His gentle whisper. Then He drew me close and showed me what I had been taught was deception. Lies. Deceit.

I discovered God is nothing like I had been told. He is not a series of strict rules nor is He cruel and hard to please. The gentleness of His love frees me, heals me on the inside.

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Posted by A Write to my Voice on March 17, 2009

“Not to know the past is to be in bondage to it, while to remember, to know, is to be set free.” Dr. Sigmund Freud

Nobody knew. I never spoke about it. I never told anyone. I carried the shame, the terror inside. I couldn’t face what happened so I pushed it down, way down, deep inside. I didn’t want anyone to know. I thought everyone would think I was disgusting and horrible.
The years have gone by. Last April while sitting at my computer, thoughts of what happened popped into my mind. Just like that. Out of the blue. Closing my eyes I could see it as if it were happening all over again. I became ill. I stopped eating. I sat in the dark for days.
I hadn’t thought about it for years. Why now? I started to write. I wrote in the third person, as if it happened to someone else and not me. As I wrote, I connected with people, – people who knew, people who told me he had gone to jail for some of the things he did, people who said I could still lay charges.
Last summer I went back to that house where he held me, a prisoner, for six months. That big black iron gate surrounding the property was gone. It was replaced by a small one in front of the house. It shocked me to see how close the neighbours had been, yet no one heard anything, no one came to help. I went through every room of that house, like a holocust survivor returning to face the camps. I needed to put it to rest. I needed to let it go.
Running through the woods, I can feel my hearting pumping hard, my breathing strong, my body one with nature. – Here in the midst of God’s creation, I feel free, alive. The whispering of His voice in my spirit gives me a deep sense of peace. I survived. Now I can tell. Now I can speak about what happened. Somehow God empowered me. He reached through the terror and shame – He set me free. Because of what He did, I want to tell. I want to say what happened. For His glory.

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Free from the Darkness

Posted by A Write to my Voice on February 13, 2009

“I have come into the world as a light so no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” 1 Peter 12:46 NIV Bible

For so many years I lived in darkness, desperate to be free. Nothing could accomplish that freedom until…………He intervened. God did what nothing else could. – He broke the power of darkness over my life. He brought me into His light. He was my key to living free.

I always think of bugs scurrying around in the darkness until someone opens the light and they run in every direction hating that light. That’s what God did for me. He turned on His light and the “chains” fell away. He shines in the dark and the dark can’t comprehend it.

Nothing is too hard for God. These aren’t just positive words. I have learned His word is backed by His promise and His promise can be trusted.

If you need freedom, if your floundering in the dark, open your heart and take God at his Word.

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Posted by A Write to my Voice on January 19, 2009

“We are only as sick as our secrets.” John Bradshaw

To disclose what happened, to tell our secrets, takes courage. Lots of courage. To not tell maintains our shame and for some of us, makes us physically ill. Keeping the secrets of the harm done to us continues to empower the pepetrators. If we don’t tell, they are the winners. To tell, to speak out, to admit – empowers us.

Funny how that works though. When I started to disclose: it felt like I would die or somehow fall apart. A huge part of me screamed, ‘don’t tell.’ I didn’t want to own what happened. I just wanted to move on with my life and forget all that pain and shame and terror of fighting to survive.

I didn’t realize though, that it lived inside me, taking up way too much space and limiting how I moved in life. I strove to be invisible. I told myself if I wasn’t seen, no one could hurt me anymore.

Telling for me has been very difficult. It’s still difficult. I’m afraid the people in my life will think bad of me, somehow blame me or think less of me. The few people I told didn’t think that at all. They said they are amazed. They tell me I am a miracle. I have been shocked to hear them say that. I never thought overcoming what I did was anything special. I didn’t think it was that bad although I lived for years punishing myself.

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