May 292017
 

The pen and the paper have met many times over the last weeks, but the cursor continues to be cursed, blinking tauntingly at my weathered soul, begging for me to reveal to the world the depths of the holes that penetrate so far and wide that not even light can traverse the jagged mass.

Every breath I take hurts my soul, knowing its breath that I no longer want. My pain in my body can be dulled by the medications, but the pain in my soul has nowhere to go, nothing to take it away. I find myself in doubt. Questioning existence, torture, pain and beg the question why?


I’ve searched psychology books, history books, the Bible and my own faith and all that stands out to me is when Job says, “I have no rest, for trouble comes” because trouble always comes.

Only, now I ask myself, am I the trouble? Am I the cause of the pain? Do I bring this hurt upon myself? Do I beg it into my life instead of goodness and strength? Have I subconsciously killed away the children that once grew in my womb? Washing them out to punish myself… Can the subconscious mind even do that? Can mind really kill matter? Can mind end the life of another, stop the heart from having another beat?

Did I do this to myself? I can’t help but believe I did.

I deserve to be punished. I deserve to hurt. I deserve to choke on the tears of grief that can no longer be swallowed back. “I hurt myself today, to see if I still feel”, and the saddest part is I often don’t.

I am reckless. I am on the edge of a cliff unable to step back from the dangerous edge and begging to be pushed forward into the ending gravitational pull.

No one understands me because I simply don’t understand myself.

Life with depression, anxiety, and feeling like your value is only held in the hands of others is no way to live at all. Some days, I wonder if I am living at all. Most days I know I am not.

Sep 172016
 

I never knew that I could or would learn to be ashamed of my nakedness again, looking at my body and feeling like it should be hidden under layers of shapeless clothes, covering the saggy-breasts and stretch marks caused by having babies, the extra weight and even cellulite on my bum and hips becoming something that make me hate the mirror all while I am supposed to sit there and look into that same piece of glass and tell myself I am beautiful and loved, when a month ago I felt beautiful, I felt loved, and now I can barely look myself in the eyes without seeing the ugliness that everyone else must see when they look at me.

I wash my face and brush my teeth and when I lock eyes with my own tears well up and trickle down my cheeks, leaving a salted surface that feels like it’s eating away the very flesh that no one should be seeing anyway.

I am ugly.

I’ve never thought those three words before. I have thought I am fat. I need to lose weight. I have health issues. I have stretch marks or what I once called lines of love since they were formed while I was growing a child inside of me with months of bed rest keeping my weight out of control.

Yet today, and right now, I want to cover the mirrors in a shroud of black. I don’t want to see my reflection, or to be seen by anyone at all. I want to tape over my webcam just in case it accidentally gets turned on so that no one can be disgusted by the “what” that I have become. I toss on clothes despite being uncomfortably hot while covered in layers of thick blankets that already hide my body, just so I don’t have to see myself.

Like my ugliness is so appalling I shouldn’t even glance with my own eyes.

A month ago I was supposed to go in and get my annual check up and asked the nurse if my doctor could do it because he knows my scars and wounds and I don’t want anyone else to see them, now I won’t be making the appointment at all because I don’t want to disgust him with my nakedness, having to touch me through latex-free gloves and swab samples from the parts that are hidden away that most definitely shouldn’t be seen.

Last night I wore a long shapeless tunic with sleeves that met my hands and a skirt that met my ankles and I felt disgusting and exposed because I was wearing flip flops instead of something that would have covered me completely, like a pair of boots.

And yet, I am supposed to believe I am beautiful and all I want to do is hide.

Words cut deeper than any razor, knife or scalpel ever could. My confidence went from healthy to non-existent but it’s not anyone’s fault but my own because I am emotional and twist the words so they hurt instead of taking them to mean whatever they are “supposed” to.

I actually thought today that I should put on some makeup, not to feel pretty or playful, but to hide the disgusting skin I am in. Instead I stayed in bed all day because no one would want to see me anyway.

Because, I am ugly.

Aug 212016
 

I laid there with the hot water dripping down my foot and for a few seconds I wondered if the scalding pain would force me to move but my eyes have been so heavy and before I knew it they were fighting to stay awake, the sounds of a house asleep and the rhythmic burning drip running between my toes putting me to sleep like a parched-summer welcomes rain.

I opened my eyes and I was still in the tub, only I was standing in the shower and it was home, but not this home, not where I have come to be but where I ran from and my body deceived me, not moving or comprehending what was going on. My hair being used as a handle to push me to my knees and I thought to myself “I remember this” as the panicked bile started to rise.

I instinctively closed my eyes knowing what was going to come next. My head pushed back into the wall and there nothing to grab, the shower curtain replaced by shower doors and nothing to hold onto and the only thing keeping me upright at all is the knotted hand in my hair.

I heard his voice so far away and yet too close for comfort. Did I dream that I had escaped? His salted heat hit me in the face and I didn’t want to open my eyes because I didn’t want to see him, or his body. I just wanted it to all go away. Did he really just do that to me? And before another thought can even begin he twists me around and his urine hit my hair, running through it and down my back and then my face and chest. Tears stuck somewhere inside of me as the degradation and reality set in. I was his all right. I had no choice. Tossed out of the shower and cuffed behind my back before I could even try and wipe myself clean.

I jolted awake and saw my foot growing red under the faucet and looked around, I am not bound anymore and yet 11 years after escaping I could feel it all like it was yesterday. I scrubbed and scrubbed again, making my skin itchy-red-raw and my hair so clean that it feels like straw.

Flashbacks plague me. Not everyday, but when they do they come fast and hard and without warning or notice. I felt so filthy laying in the bath I had to get out and I couldn’t hold it down anymore and my body heaved and purged itself of the toxicity of the memories of the past.

I scrubbed my face and took in the smell of my moisturizer -fresh roses- and stood there looking at myself naked in the mirror, staring into scars I don’t want to see, scars that tell anyone who sees that I have been used, abused, and that I am ugly. I slipped on my pj top over my wet skin with my hair hanging and dripping into the thin fabric.

The panic still trapping me like a coffin being nailed shut even though my surroundings indicate I am free. I feel the weight on my chest and the strain in each breath. The lights are all on but it’s the blackness from the underground that I can see.

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

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