Aug 012016
 

All I had ever really needed was a pen and paper. Somewhere to jot down my thoughts, in words or sketch. I wasn’t thriving, I was surviving, despite my best efforts to end that for good-on more than one occasion. Never happy, never even content with how things were moving along.

I had escaped but I had also been exposed.

Exposed to this world where love often hurts and the sting of a whip can feel amazing while making your lips part and primal groans come from somewhere deep within. I didn’t love him though. I may have at one time, I must’ve in order to have been with him in the first place, right? But everyday was its own hell and left its own scar on my soul that I can’t erase.

You can’t just pluck those wounds from your mind and pretend they don’t exist because they do, and there will always be a trigger for a different time and place. The tightening of your chest as panic rises and the bile of the past boils deep within. Amazing how the mind can evoke such a physical response after trauma. The psychology of it all has left me intrigued and violated all at once.

I dated, quite a few guys and pretty seriously for a fair bit of time. The last guy told me he loved me. I may have loved him back. Yet he wasn’t what I needed and when he said those words my flight or fight response kicked in and I did both. It ended with a call from me to 911 and me sounding completely nuts explaining to an officer that he hadn’t hit me, or hurt me or grabbed me or done anything even remotely wrong… he simply said he loved me.

Over the next few years there was coffee and even sex but I wasn’t handing out my heart. I hid it behind the screen and it could be seen by those who I did care about in the words I shared. If I shared those words at all.

As the shadows buried in my soul began to stir I was seeking answers to the questions that no doctors or therapists or other victims could ever give. No one has written the book and maybe that’s because us victims don’t share enough to write, or maybe it’s because we get lumped into the categories of other mental health issues and the actual cause of the PTSD is overlooked.

I went to a website that I don’t think exists anymore. It was called Collar Me. A place for the kinky people of the world to look for people to meet or chat with or… whatever. For me? I wanted answers. I wanted, no I needed to know how he got to me and WHY. I found one guy who was an older married man with grandchildren who called himself a “Master”. I don’t think he really knew how to live the life and I know for sure he couldn’t do it 24/7, but for the first time he made it feel like it could be safe.

I didn’t even remember that I had added another person claiming a similar status to my yahoo chat until months later, long after I had visited that site that one night. I was on my laptop and a message popped up asking me if we had talked before and who I was. I explained we hadn’t talked and where I had likely got his info.

We talked for several weeks and I knew I loved him. Love seemed so extremely elusive and unattainable and yet there I was longing for a man who I had never spoken to or met. A man who could read me like a book and never made me feel like I was a game. He had answers to my questions and wanted to keep me safe. I respected that, 3 years later I still do.

I have wanted to be his in real life for the majority of those 3 years. He hasn’t been ready and honestly, I don’t even know what that means. I have grown a lot in this time. I have stopped cutting myself almost completely, meaning there have been slip ups but it went from several times a week to once or twice a year. We still don’t talk on the phone or skype. He has never asked me for dirty pics or tried to trigger me like others in this lifestyle.

He feels closed tight. A wall that separates us more so than the distance, yet, if he told me I was moving next week I would ask him what to pack and be ready to go. I never realized that freedom could be given to me by someone else, another human, and yet I feel more free now than I ever have.

The idea to land my ass on his doorstep and refuse to leave has crossed my mind more than once. Maybe he needs a similar push to be “ready”, especially since I wasn’t even looking for this.

I have also been told that I am being “cat-fished” and that he isn’t really who he says he is. Especially since we have never talked on the phone or skyped, and of course because he is so closed off. Initially, this made me defensive and even mad. How dare someone question our relationship!? Slowly though, those same questions crawled under my skin and caused me to feel insecure about it all.

Awhile back I realized that even if he is a she and I am being “cat-fished” and “wasting” my life talking to someone who will only ever lead me on but will never actually take me on –I can say I am better for it. I am happier. I am alive. I am trying to make changes to be healthier.

I feel understood for the first time in my life. So how can that be wrong? Even if it never does lead somewhere physical?

My family worries that I will hide out behind the screen forever waiting on a man who doesn’t really want me. I would like to think that at some point I would draw the line and choose to be happy in the flesh and maybe that’s what he is hoping for. Or maybe he is waiting for me to be bold and show up at his door to prove my love and devotion.

I don’t know.

What I do know is that the stirring in my soul grows greater and more impatient as I sit in wait. The days turning into years that rapidly pass us by. I want to live under his roof, cook his meals, vacuum his floors, kiss him good morning and kiss him goodnight. I want his mouth to explore me and I want my scars to be exposed the way my heart is. I want to be one with him and I want to grasp at the earth and feel it grab me back. I want to show him my love, adoration and appreciation for all that he has done.

I want the comfort of being able to watch the wounds heal. I need to be able to look over and see him fast asleep. I need the release that only he has ever offered me. I can keep on waiting. I don’t want to, but I can.

I think I need more. Those quick voice chats. Messages that don’t just arrive on my screen. I wonder how long I can keep on waiting though. That concerns me the most. I don’t want to give up or throw in the towel because of time.

I want to feel the stabbing of the steel knife gut me as he tosses me aside and makes it known that I am not what he wants. I can accept that. I will be destroyed but I can respect that. I can’t respect a passive-aggressive hope that I will end it so he doesn’t have to. I love him from the deepest parts of my soul. I want nothing more than to please him and be his in the flesh.

Loving him is easy. Being separated is becoming impossible.

What a wonderful grace it’s been to… love him.

Dec 162015
 

Why doesn’t anyone reach out to me and tell me how it is? Why do I have a permanent residence in the back ground of humanity with no one looking on, checking in, asking how I feel?

To them I am dead already, and a huge part of me –the part that used to need the slice of the blade to feel alive, knows I am already gone and the blade no longer cries out to me because even the droplets of crimson are no longer felt.

I quit cutting because Jon told me to. Demanded I do –or else.

Now, I tell myself that’s why I don’t cut, but the truth that I hold so deep is that I am scared of not feeling. That no blood will be there to fall. That I am already gone and don’t feel because that’s something the dead don’t do. And if I make it hurt, if I start again, what if I am alive and I can’t stop? What if I can’t go back?

Perhaps I am simply an addict in recovery –not that that is any simpler, but it makes more sense than being kidnapped by Jesus, dominated by man and abused by the lowliest kind.

This is not here. I am not sure where here is or how I will know if my hands have bones or if the shackles I can’t see are what paralyzes me into place.

I am sobbing and I am sorry.

It’s been just over 9 years since I signed that paper and let killers taker her life. 9 Years since I pulled the trigger and the unborn, my unborn died.

One thing I know about me is that I have no clue who I am or what I want.

I am an enigma wrapped in an illusion and I am trapped in this realm, in love with my own delusion.

A place where I am far from safe.
That lacks an escape.
Where nothing else matters because life is ours and it can’t hurt any worse.

Jun 202014
 

Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Finding Spiritual WhitespaceAuthor: Bonnie Gray
Published: June 3, 2014
By: Revell
ISBN-10: 0800721799
ISBN-13: 978-0800721794

Summary

Move beyond Coping and Surviving to a Rejuvenating Place of Soul Rest

How many of us find ourselves exhausted, running on empty with no time for rest, no time for ourselves, no time for God? Bonnie Gray knows exactly what that’s like. On the brink of fulfilling a lifelong dream, Bonnie’s plans suddenly went off script. Her life shattered into a debilitating journey through anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. But as she struggled to make sense of it all, she made an important discovery: we all need spiritual whitespace.Spiritual whitespace makes room–room in one’s heart for a deep relationship with God, room in one’s life for rest, room in one’s soul for rejuvenation. With soul-stirring vulnerability and heartbreaking honesty, Bonnie takes readers on a personal journey to feed their souls and uncover the deeper story of rest. Lyrical writing draws readers into Gray’s intimate journey through overwhelming stress to find God in a broken story and celebrate the beauty of faith.Guided by biblical encouragement and thought-provoking prompts, Gray shows readers how to create space in the everyday for God, refreshment, and faith. She also offers practical steps and insights for making spiritual whitespace a reality, right in the midst of the stress-frayed stories in every season of life.”We live in a culture that brags and boasts about being busy. Into that reality steps Bonnie with a new idea. Whitespace is an important concept and Bonnie has captured it perfectly. If you’re exhausted with being exhausted, read this book. If you feel too busy to read this book, then that’s probably the best sign of all that you need it.”–from the foreword by Jon Acuff, New York Times bestselling author of Stuff Christians Like

My Review

Finding Spiritual Whitespace –Awakening your soul to rest by Bonnie Gray

I have been reading Finding Spiritual Whitespace by Bonnie Gray and to be honest I have been struggling with it. Why? Because it is a really good book and while my experiences and hers are different they both lead to the same place, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

It is hard to read about a fellow person, someone who I read regularly on their blog and see regularly online and know that they too feel pain, have suffered mentally and are on this insanely crazy journey of healing through doctors and God.

Yet I can’t seem to put the book down. It feels like it is my story too, maybe Bonnie wrote it so it would feel like that or maybe that’s just how close to home this book is. It seems like a lot of the books I have read lately are about PTSD and God and this journey and I firmly believe that God is speaking to me saying “look, these people struggle to, you are NOT alone, and I am with each of you always!”

My Review of this book is pretty simple.

Buy it, borrow it, whatever you need to do in order to read it because if it’s not YOU who is suffering from PTSD it is someone you know or will know and knowledge is power and knowledge through God is the ultimate power! This is a candid account of a real life journey of a strong person breaking down and being built back up through psychology, prayer and a whole lot of determination!

I am beyond proud of Bonnie Gray for writing this book, her story, because it is books like this that really heal. Not the ones written by doctors who have never experienced any of it and think that the letters after their name give them the ability to cure you, because they can’t. It’s the real people with real issues who have really went through it that actually help you reach a level of peace, healing, a feeling of not being broken and alone. Community, even if the other person never knows.

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Move beyond Surviving to a Rejuvenating Place of Soul Rest

How many of us find ourselves running on empty with no time for rest, no time for ourselves, no time for God?

Bonnie Gray knows what that’s like. On the brink of fulfilling a lifelong dream, she saw her plans shatter into a journey through painful memories and anxiety. In her search for answers, she made an important discovery: we all need spiritual whitespace.

Whitespace.
 It’s the space on a page left unmarked. Untouched. Whitespace makes art beautiful. It gives the eye a place to rest. Just like beautiful art, our souls need balance and beauty.

With heartbreaking honesty, Bonnie guides you to discover a better story for yourself, one that feeds your soul and makes room for rest. Infused with biblical encouragement and thought-provoking prompts, this book shows us how to create space in the everyday for God, refreshment, and faith–right in the midst of our stress-frayed lives.

“Whitespace is soul grace. Bonnie Gray ushers weary women into the real possibility.”–Ann Voskamp, New York Times bestselling author of One Thousand Gifts

“Women need this message. If you want to hear Jesus speak more tenderly to your soul than ever before, this is the book for you.”–Lysa TerKeurst, New York Times bestselling author of Unglued

“We live in a culture that brags and boasts about being busy. Into that reality steps Bonnie with a new idea.”–from the foreword by Jon Acuff, New York Times bestselling author of Start

Bonnie Gray is the soulful writer behind faithbarista.com, serving up shots of faith for the daily grind. Her work is featured on DaySpring (in)courage and nationally syndicated on Crosswalk.com. After graduating from UCLA, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons.

About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the soulful writer behind Faith Barista, serving up shots of faith for everyday life. She is a featured contributor for DaySpring (in)courage and her work is also nationally syndicated on Crosswalk.com. After graduating from UCLA, Bonnie served as a missionary, ministry entrepreneur, and Silicon Valley high-tech professional. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Eric, and their two sons, and blogs about her fascination with the challenge of keeping faith hot and fresh in the daily grind at www.faithbarista.com

Jan 242014
 

Reading…

Reading HIs VisitsI have recently been reading and inspired by a book I reviewed called Seeing the Voice of God. Somehow, this book changed me, changed me in one of those good ways where instead of feeling like you’re wrong, or like you’re a freak you can actually say that yes I am having dreams, day and night and I am able to see His voice.

Reading into these thoughts and realize that yes, they are messages from God. I am not “evil” as some people think because I am not practicing some form of evil. I am practicing my communication skills with God, with Christ! I am reading the Bible, I am reading blogs by women who love Him as dearly as I do and I am one of the ones who is blessed to be visited by Him in the form of dreams!

His hands cup my soul, they give me visions of the past, the future, the present. He visits me because I am His child. He tells me His story because I am ready to read. His presence is always there because He lives in me but it is those visits that truly reveal to me the plans He has for my life.

Reading-Oh How Good It Feels

When I found out I was pregnant with DS9 my grandma had died only about two months before. Six days after conception, yes six days, she came to me as a spirit in a dream and she congratulated me on being pregnant with a baby boy. About 3 weeks and a dozen pregnancy tests later a FAINT line could be seen, one that I could only see in the brightest of windows and it had confirmed what I had already been told. I remember this visit from my grandma as very spiritual. I remember it in its entirety. She was whole, healthy, excited and at peace and she was my grandmother, sent to me from the Heavens to announce my pregnancy.

An angel came to me, sent by the Lord and told me I was pregnant. Told me I was carrying a boy, even his middle name was revealed to me in that visit. These women of the Bible. The ones who had these same spiritual, soul encompassing and life altering experiences are still walking today! I know, because the Lord blessed me as He chose me to learn of this special gift the way those women from years and years ago learned. I am not alone. He visits. He sends angels. You just have to be readings the messages He paints for you so you don’t chalk it up to coincidence and write Him off. If you refuse to see what He places right in front of you, how will you read those bigger messages?

Accept His visits. See the Voice of God!

 

Jan 242014
 

Ordered – Working on God’s Time

I love how the Lord listens to our hearts and our prayer and how He listens to what it is I not only want but need. I am often found saying “if it’s meant to be it will be” and over the holiday season I began to follow a lovely Christian author -Ann Voskamp. Oh how I wanted to get her books but I just couldn’t afford it so I prayed and I tried to find a way or a place that made her three titles affordable to me, I couldn’t spend money on shipping for three separate orders so it only made sense to wait and order the books as a package.

Then, yesterday, it happened! I ordered the books from Amazon.ca! I also received a free 30 day membership to Amazon Prime and I lucked out and received free shipping! The Lord had LISTENED and He knows my heart is ready to read these books and be blessed by the impact they will have on my life.

I had woke up yesterday to an Amazon gift card in my email which not only covered the price of the books but also left me with 9 dollars to spend at another time. I plan to get my son the Action Bible and my daughter “Before You Meet Prince Charming: A Guide to Radiant Purity” by Sarah Mally. I have been using SwagBucks to work towards getting a gift card to pay for these two books and I have also been doing surveys.

I can’t wait for my newly ordered books to get here so that I can indulge in Ann Voskamp’s extraordinary, god-driven, prose. Oh how I love how she blogs and speaks in a manner that pulls one in because of the poetic and song like way she places the Lords Word into our hearts and minds.”

Hundreds of thousands of readers have already fallen in love with Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, and this Christmas, Ann invites readers into the rich and meaningful celebration of Christmas we all long for — a celebration of the complete love story that’s been coming for you since the very beginning.  
 
In what is certain to become an instant holiday classic, Voskamp reaches back into the pages of the Old Testament to explore the lineage of Jesus — the greatest gift — through the majestic advent tradition of “The Jesse Tree,” each day featuring its own exquisite ornament highlighting the Biblical story (free download of each of the 25 ornaments available from Voskamp’s website, annvoskamp.com ).
 
Beginning with Jesse, the father of David, The Greatest Gift retraces the epic pageantry of mankind, from Adam to the Messiah, with each day’s profound reading pointing to the coming promise of Christ, so that come Christmas morning you find that the season hasn’t blurred past you but your heart’s fully unwrapped the greatest gift you’ve always yearned for.
 
Sure to become a holiday staple in every Christian home, The Greatest Gift, a New York Times bestseller, is the perfect gift for the holidays and a timeless invitation into the richness of the true meaning of Christmas.
$19.99 USD
Just like you, Ann Voskamp hungers to live her one life well. Forget the bucket lists that have us escaping our everyday lives for exotic experiences. ‘How,’ Ann wondered, ‘do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does the Christ-life really look like when your days are gritty, long–and sometimes even dark? How is God even here?’ In One Thousand Gifts, Ann invites you to embrace everyday blessings and embark on the transformative spiritual discipline of chronicling God’s gifts. It’s only in this expressing of gratitude for the life we already have, we discover the life we’ve always wanted…a life we can take, give thanks for, and break for others. We come to feel and know the impossible right down in our bones: we are wildly loved–by God. Let Ann’s beautiful, heart-aching stories of the everyday give you a way of seeing that opens your eyes to ordinary amazing grace, a way of being present to God that makes you deeply happy, and a way of living that is finally fully alive. Come live the best dare of all!
$18.99 USD

Following the New York Times Bestseller, One Thousand Gifts — a guide to giving thanks and finding joy in all aspects of life — Ann Voskamp returns with this companion One Thousand Gifts Devotional. How in the world do we find real joy and experience grace in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and all these daily duties? 

 

These sixty reflections, each one like a singular tree, invite you to take wing into a forest of graces. Glimpses of grace that will lead you into your own lifestyle of Christ-focus and communion. Into how your desperate need of Him every moment is wildly met with His extravagant love for you. As practical as profound, this devotional offers real life transformation with intentional space to begin the radical habit of thanking God for your own one thousand gifts.  

 

The endless grace of our overflowing God, it’s meant to be experienced directly. The most important thing is simply to begin. 

 

Pick up a pen and this book — and change your life.  Take the dare to fully live!

 

God’s just waiting to bless you with the greatest gift of all—more and more of Himself….

$18.99 USD
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