I’ve found that it takes me about four years to be ready to blog about something hard in my life. So here we are.
Four years ago my birthday blog post was called “A Warrior’s Tale.” Of the few pieces of creative writing I’ve done, it might be my favorite (even if all its Facebook “Likes” have been removed).
Maybe that’s because I know what was behind it. That piece of work was born through retching sobs.
My birthday post has been an annual tradition since my blog started in 2009, and in 2016 I was ahead of the game, having already written one for it in July.
Then came August 2016.
I was planning to go to a conference early that month and then devote the rest of the month to the writing of Untwisting Scriptures that were used to tie you up, gag you, and tangle your mind.
As planned, in the early days of August I went to the conference, which was held by Restoration in Christ Ministries. I knew I was called to help satanic ritual abuse survivors, and that’s their area of expertise. (We were supposed to come to the conference in pairs, an SRA survivor partnered with a support person, but because none of my SRA survivor friends were able to go, I was paired up with someone after I got there, someone who is still a friend.)
I already knew a lot of what they were talking about—understanding dissociative identity disorder and working with parts, working with survivors in prayer ministry such as Immanuel prayer ministry in which I had been trained, the falsehood of so-called “false memory syndrome,” understanding the perverted evils of the Satanists who conduct the rituals, and understanding the MK Ultra program since MKU survivors are all around us and for the most part cannot tell their stories because even Christians won’t believe them.
But there was plenty that was new.
And as you can imagine, it was a very overwhelming three days.
The day after I arrived home, emotionally and spiritually tired, I received some devastating news that brought on the beginning of the Month of Weeping.
Two more pieces of devastating news that month caused me to be increasingly doubled over in sobs, day after day . . . after day . . . after day . . .
Every day that I was alone in the house (which was most days that month), I trudged the living-room-dining-room-kitchen circuit over and over and over, sobbing and sobbing.
I could not write the book.
I knew that the birthday blog post I’d already written was not appropriate for where I was in my life.
And finally, the day before my birthday, I sat down and wrote “Reflections on my 59th Birthday: A Warrior’s Tale.”
I wanted so much to end with hope. I have always wanted to end with hope.
But at that point, hope was hard, really hard.
So I drew from Psalm 84 (among other Scriptures), a Scripture I had studied at length and drawn great hope from in the past.
My friends, the way is still dark. When I see what has been done—with apparent impunity—to some people I love very dearly, the devastating effects on their lives, and the ignorance (and sometimes even hostility) of Christians, it’s still sometimes hard to hope.
But our strength is still in the Lord our God, and His ways are still in our hearts.
His ways, that is, of love and peace and righteousness and hatred of satanic evil. (Is anyone else with me in this? Will anyone else be able to rise above the political foofaraw and see what is really happening around us? Will others say, “Yes, no matter how hard the way, I want to help those who have been relegated to darkness.” Is your God big enough to handle the enormity of this evil?)
I’d like to show you the blog post I had already written for that birthday. It was . . . nice. But it wasn’t filled with agony, which, by the time my birthday came, I had to communicate.
As a side note, I did get the book written after that, and it was published in October of 2016. That was the same time I converted this blog over to a full-blown abuse-advocacy blog. Maybe it was the Sobs of August that made it happen.
Here’s to my 64th year. We trust that, in the Lord, we will go from strength to strength.
And here’s the birthday post that has sat in “Drafts” for over four years.
I have a Box of Things I Don’t Know What to Do With. I can’t really call it a “miscellaneous” box, because “miscellaneous” implies unsorted, and this box has been sorted; it’s just that all the things in there are things . . .
Right. Things I don’t know what to do with. Sometimes I don’t even know what they are.
So anyway, I have one of those in the spiritual realm too. Like the “what was THAT all about” experiences. And some passages of Scripture. You know, things like that. They go into the Box of Things I Don’t Know What To Do With. The spiritual one.
Every once in a while I’ll pull one of them out and go, “Ahhh . . . . I think maybe I know what to do with this now.”
And sometimes the Lord pulls one out and flashes it in front of my face.
This has been happening to me a good bit in the past year of my life. One of these happened in March , when I was minding my own business thinking about absolutely ordinary things.
It was a memory of the time a man had spoken a “word” or “vision” over me. It was about eight years ago  from someone at the church we were attending, which wasn’t a charismatic church, and I think this man wasn’t there very long.
He said, “I see you as a ballerina, dancing on stage.” He described it in detail for a few minutes, and I don’t really even remember what all he said, because I remember feeling pretty embarrassed (even though I don’t think anyone else heard it).
At the time I thought, “Well. I sure don’t know what to do with that.” And I gingerly dropped it in the Box of Things I Don’t Know What to Do With.
But now, in March of 2016, there it was in front of me.
I said, “All right, Lord. I’m trying to be more open to Your Spirit and what You want to show me. So I’ll try to actually think about this. Let’s see. A ballerina. What’s true about a ballerina? Well, a ballerina is graceful instead of clumsy. . . . .”
And I sucked in my breath. I mean, a full-on gasp.
I went immediately to the notebook where I kept the notes from the discipleship study a friend was doing with me.
On one page you’re supposed to write lies and truth, about God, about yourself, and about others.
For the lie about myself, I had written, only a few days before:
I am stupid and clumsy.
I could have added the words “incapable, bumbler, ignorant,” which were in my journal.
This is because I’d had a few experiences of triggering abuse survivors into flashbacks or full-blown dissociation.
Besides that, I had had not-that-long-ago experiences of saying the wrong things and asking the wrong questions and speaking in the wrong spirit.
In addition, I had spoken when I shouldn’t have and not spoken when I should have.
(I had also been rebuked by people I respected for these very types of problems, which reinforced the conviction.)
I felt like a clumsy cow knocking around fine china.
Then under that line in the notebook I was supposed to write the corresponding truth about myself.
I had written:
God loves me even though I’m stupid and clumsy.
There they were, my lie and truth.
The Lord had already shown me I was a safe person, and I knew my heart always desired to be a safe place, but capable? Graceful? I wasn’t convinced about that, no, not at all.
Was He really wanting to show me otherwise?
So . . . I have this friend who is a charismatic Presbyterian. (She has to keep the charismatic part secret.) She didn’t used to be either one—she grew up in a very fundamentalist Baptistic denomination. But then God did some things that upended her paradigm.
That can happen when one is on the mission field.
Anyway, we had known each other years ago and re-connected on Facebook and found that our journeys through the years had traversed some similar terrain.
In January  she and I got together in person to take turns talking with tremendous vigor and barely a breath between sentences. In March we got together again, and the Lord used me in her life to show her something profound that He had been showing her anyway but she had been resisting.
Then she bowed her head and closed her eyes and started speaking a vision over me.
It had been only a few days earlier that I had thought about the ballerina vision I had received from that other charismatic, and I still hadn’t really fully processed that one when here I was getting another one.
“I see you in armor,” she said, holding her hands out over me. “It’s shining. Oh, I wish you could see it. You know Joan of Arc? That’s what this reminds me of.”
She went on for a while, talking more about the shining—even glittering—armor, and I was thinking, “Ok, how does this fit with being a graceful ballerina?”
Little did I know at that time that Christian women thinking of themselves as Warrior Princesses (kind of similar to a warrior ballerina) appears to be quite a thing—I’ve met so many women who’ve said that about themselves. Three maybe. I think we could get a troop together. Or a troupe.
So, this was very new for me, but after that experience, I began to speak (to myself and to the Lord) the words that God had given me. He told me I was clad in His armor, which I knew because of Ephesians 6, a Scripture I’ve deeply internalized as I’ve battled sin in my own life. (But that part where it glittered, I hadn’t seen that before, I promise you that.)
I began to speak (to myself and to Him) of myself as graceful, even though, frankly, that one felt like armor that didn’t fit.
I was learning to walk in who God said I was rather than who my experience told me I was.
Ironically, that was the very thing I had been for some time encouraging others to do.
As I enter my sixtieth year, I continue to remind myself that I am indeed a graceful warrior—the very thing God has told me I am in Jesus Christ.
I pray that if you’ve trusted in Him alone for All your Armor, you’ll also receive what and who God has told you you are in Jesus Christ.
And I pray that He will continue more and more to show you—and me—the truth of who He has made us to be.
Oh dear friends, in the strength of Jesus Christ I pray that you will be able to rise above the fray in this crazy world called 2020. I pray that you will be able to walk in the truth of who you are, who He has called you to be.
And I pray that you will keep your eyes open for those around you in need, because they are everywhere. You will be the hands and feet of Jesus ministering to them, showing them and telling them who He really is.
There is no greater calling.
That, as I celebrate my 63rd birthday, is something I see more and more clearly every day.
Even through the tears.