Thanks for joining me!
Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
The Little Girl
There’s a little girl I used to know, lived right across the street – the cutest, sweetest little girl anyone could meet. Somewhere, somehow, someone did her wrong. Now she’s out there on the streets trying to get along.
She’s making love to any man, for money and a bed – Just a broken little girl, trying to get ahead. Somewhere, somehow, someone did her wrong. Now she’s out there on the streets trying to get along. Now she’s out there on the streets trying to get along.
I stopped one day, to talk to her, to see what I could do. But there she laid on cold cement, her body cut and bruised.
‘Are you her mother?’ I heard them ask, as I wiped tears away.
‘I wish I was. I wish I were. I came some time too late.’
What ever happened to her innocence? Her young and carefree days, now were taken away. Somewhere, somehow, someone did her wrong. Now she’s out there on the street, I came some time too long. Now she’s out there, dead on the street. I came some time too long.
Song by, Teresa Bruce Push to Listen: The Little Girl Audio Acoustic
[I wrote this song, The Little Girl, several years ago. It’s metaphorically about me, and about so many others in survival through abuse. It’s a story about the results of abuse and about what happens when we turn a blind eye.]
January 6, 2019
I woke up feeling the tears waiting in the corners of my eyes again this morning. It was a sleepless night. Bad dreams. Tossing and turning. I really just don’t want to cry.
Yesterday, I admitted to a friend, “I keep myself isolated.” I always have.
I can’t risk letting anyone really know me. If I did risk it, you’ll eventually find out how I like to hide. You’ll eventually see that depression threatens to take my life on a regular basis, that it’s swallowing me whole – She’s been digesting me slowly all these years – But this latest hardcore bout is different.
As soon as we finished the Life Group conference at our church (a small group course about knowing God and living in the Spirit), I felt light. I felt good. I thought, this is finally it! I am going to walk free from now on!
It was quiet in my soul. It was quiet in my mind. All the inner chatter was silenced.
I had never experienced a quiet like this inside of me… ever. I enjoyed it but I didn’t understand what was happening. Truth told, it freaked me out a little too.
In this quiet, I don’t know who I am. I don’t know what I want. In fact, I have no hope or knowledge of myself whatsoever. It feels as though I do not exist at all. My SELF feels like a patchwork of remnants I’ve picked up from quietly weaving my existence in and out of the lives of others. It feels like the shell of a “life” I vicariously live while witnessing the lives of others. It’s certainly not my own life.
If I was feeling quiet and peaceful inside, why was I still keeping myself in isolation? Why was I still finding it so hard to get out of bed? Why was I hiding in Netflix and finding it impossible to do anything for my family?
The weeks passed and with each day the depression got worse. I really hadn’t recognized it as depression until I woke up in tears a few days in a row. I was frightened what I might do to myself and these feelings make no sense!
My family is good. My husband is great. My kids are doing great. My relationship with God and my understanding of His goodness is better than it has ever been. Even though I am frustrated He hasn’t yet healed me from the isolation and depression, I know He is good.
“It must be plain mental illness”, I thought to myself. Mental illness does run in the family.
Out of desperation and fear, I made an appointment with my doctor.
Okay! I’ll bite the bullet and get some antidepressants. I also set up an appointment with a counselor to sort all this stuff out.
I didn’t like what the counselor said to me. She said I need to process through the emotions of the abuse. She said I am living fragmented. I need to integrate so I can begin living and enjoying the great life I’ve worked so hard to build.
“But I don’t think about what happened to me, the way I used to. I feel like it doesn’t hurt me the way it used to.”
She replied, “Yet you still have all the same symptoms you always have. This is normal for what you have been through.”
The last thing I want to do is revisit the pain of my childhood. I’ve prayed for God to heal me for 48 years. I fully believed and had faith He would just take it from me, that I’d go on to live the life I’ve always dreamed (whatever those dreams may be). It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that the way He chooses to heal me in this, is through a process rather than a deliverance. I want to forgive and forget and just get on with my happily ever after! But apparently there are some good things He has in store for me in the journey through the pain. I have to reconcile myself to the fact that I can’t go over or under. I can’t go around it. The only way out, is through.
I now understand what the disturbing quietness was. It was the calm before the storm. God emptied me of all the chatter. He demolished the kingdoms I had built within me. All that was left was an empty bare slab for rebuilding. That empty bare slab is a foundation of the truth of Himself within me. God stayed with me all these years, teaching me about Himself through my frail efforts to find answers. Now that I know His true character, His goodness and His love – I’m able to partner with him (albeit reluctantly) to build a new kingdom. A better kingdom. The kingdom of I, in Him and through Him.
As I slowly awoke this morning God was revealing to me why I hide and avoid relationship with others. Aside from trust issues, abandonment issues, and the fear I can’t handle what comes with relationship, I hide from you because I carry secrets within me. I carry secret pain and depression and fear. I carry shame from keeping the secrets of what happened to me. For so long I had to keep the secrets of abuse. For so long I had to keep secret the belief that abuse of me meant I was evil and unlovable; that I somehow deserved it. I had to pretend nothing was happening and I just carried on that way my entire life. But I can no longer hide it. Psh… As if I was successful hiding from you anyway!
God also revealed to me that a part of The Little Girl song came dangerously close to happening, my father nearly killed me.
One afternoon my adopted father, Don, wanted me to go into the bedroom with him as he had done for many years. I was 14 and I was done with the abuse. I no longer cared what would happen if I told, or if I refused. Rage filled his countenance when I said “no”.
He chased me to hurt me and I ran out the front door, barely escaping his grasp. I tripped on my own feet and my bare knees skidded across the gravel. The rocks embedded deeper into my kneecaps as he drug me, by my hair, back into the house and behind closed door. He called me selfish. He called me a bitch; yelling and spitting in my face the way Drill Sergeant does. He put his hand around my neck and squeezed until I went unconscious. He had to jostle me back to consciousness.
A bit more of me died that day. My body was cut and bruised by the gravel, but deeper the wounds within my soul. I’ve lived with these wounds and have always wished the world could see and understand. Somehow it makes it worse that the wounds aren’t visible.
I’m inviting you into my journey of healing because I don’t want to do it alone. I actually want the world to know the raw and real consequences of abuse, so that we can stop the silence and extinguish the shame. I believe there are many others of you who need to know you are not alone. I want to encourage you to bring the secrets into the light. I want to encourage you in your own healing. I want you to know the good and loving God who walks with you, who has never left your side.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all. Psalm 34:18-19
2 thoughts on “The Journey Begins”
So proud of you Teresa having the courage to fight for victory! My heart breaks for that sweet little girl of your past, you are surrounded by love every day as you continue to walk through this.
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