Darkness enveloped me; fear permeated my heart and mind.  Sleep was my enemy…eluding me, refusing to be captured.  Body thrashing, inner eyes wide with terror, the cry of my heart was to run.  RUN.  I. couldn’t. do. this. any. more.  With muscles tensed for flight, I quickly sat on the edge of the bed.   “I have to run,” my breathlessly panicked voice said.  There must be a way to escape.

Gently, quietly, oh so patiently, my husband spoke words of peace to my war torn soul.  Reason slowly eased into my mind.  I could not go; two beautiful young daughters needed me.  And, I would not do to them what my mother had done to me.  This had become my mantra…that which kept me going.  I would not leave them as she had me, fleeing to a mental hospital, abandoning her child to inexpressible pain.  I wept.  How could I care for them when my own life was being sucked dry by endless sleepless nights and unknown consuming demons? Closing my sunken eyes which echoed the hollowness within, I restlessly waited for the dawn.

Godly counseling uncovered deep trauma inflicted by my mother and my tumultuous relationship with her.  It was in that pain my Savior was working when my children were small.  Only after His wise, deft hands had accomplished much mending in those areas of my heart, could He reveal to me the inner, festering wounds wreaked from the physical and emotional violence of my father.  As I write, the Great Physician’s gentle voice again has whispered another hidden epiphany…I blamed my mother for what I perceived as one of the consequences of her abandonment, my dad’s sexual abuse, for when she returned in my sixth year it stopped.  I must forgive.  The anger gnawing at my heart must be released forever through the power of the shed blood of Jesus Christ my Lord.  Then, and only then, is there room for Him to work into me more of His life giving healing.


Out on a limb

Not wanting to jump to conclusions, I have waited.  In part two of Will she sleep or won’t she sleep, that is the question, I spoke of God working in me that night, expanding the boundaries of my soul and causing the skewer of fear to retreat from my gut to my heart.  But, I had questions as the next day unfolded….did it really happen…would it be lasting…if it was real, how would it affect (or not affect) those sleeping hours….would other fears rear their ugly heads in the dark….and, the question that haunts many of us, WHAT WOULD PEOPLE THINK if nothing changed after I proclaimed my Maker’s healing work?  Would the limb of faith on which I had gone out hold?  Knowing you were concerned, I still waited.  I wanted to have at least a week’s worth of nights under my belt (or under my pillows) before (hopefully) affirming that God does indeed work in miraculous ways His wonders to perform.

The first night following I approached the open door with trepidation.  Would that room still be filled with unseen darkness from the past in spite of Edison’s glowing invention?  (Like shining a flashlight at the mouth of a cave…little is done to dissipate the lurking shadows.)  I stepped in.  Something was different.  My heart ached, yet the air felt lighter; oppression seemed to have lifted.  Tentatively I lay there, thoughts flitting about, periodic fear darts again trying to penetrate my soul.  With my new inner boundaries I pushed back…Oh!….the flaming arrows bounced off.  Really.  Hmmmm…that was interesting.  There seemed to be a strength and largeness in the core of my being which had not been there before; something indeed was different.  Night followed night repeating the same pattern…fear darts became fewer.  And, I slept well.  

After this past week, I will go further out on the limb of faith (which sometimes feels as though it will break, and I will fall just like Wile E. Coyote of Road Runner fame) and declare again that my God is real, He does indeed work healing with great compassion and mercy and when He acts, who can reverse it?  No one….no force on earth and no force in the spiritual realm.  The step is done; it is finished.  Will there be more steps to take, more battles to be fought, more yielding to be done, more healing from the inside out?  Oh, yes.  My God loves me too deeply to let me stay the same.  He has promised to carry on to completion the good work He has begun in me. (Philippians 1:6)  And, I have given Him permission to do so.

Will she sleep or won’t she sleep, that is the question – Part 2

Approaching my bedroom door, the familiar fear nibbling on the edges of my mind, I wondered what tonight will be like.  Will I be able to sleep this second night without my 1/8 sedative pill security blanket?  I hunker down under the covers, shifting positions, tension in my muscles.  OK, relax I tell myself, this certainly will not help.  A fearful thought comes, I push it out and try to replace it with whatever would be normal…(what is normal when you have never had normal in your life?)  Randomness floats through my consciousness; I enter that realm between waking and sleeping.  There it is, grab it, hold it, I’m there!  I snap to attention, and of course the moment is gone.

Maybe if I construct another mental dyke I will be able to block that niggling fear.  I hold up the idea of the antidepressant I still take like a cross fending off a vampire.  Pushing dirt around it’s base, I start building.  But wait, experience has shown me sleeplessness can still come with only an antidepressant as my protection.  I continue construction anyway, anxiety staring at me over my small berm.  But, again, wait….if I try to build another dyke, attempting to deny my pain, I will also form a wall between myself and God shutting out the very One who has the power to change me forever.  Surrendering, I accept the pain, sensing Jesus’ presence with me.

With a weeping spirit, I hear His still small voice begin to speak.  Perhaps you are holding on to this pain because you want to keep it.  No, my internal cry arises!  How can that be?  In His grace He continues….perhaps you hold the fear close as a remembrance of the main way you received your father’s attention (in my formative years between the ages of 2 and 6) hoping against hope in your loneliness he would hold you again.  My inner-self draws back in disgust, but it is true.  (How can one hate and love someone at the same time?)  Continuing….perhaps the fear is also a shield.  Yes, I agree.  Fear keeps my on my toes, ever watchful, so I will never be taken by surprise again.  If I let it go…if I let down my guard, who knows what may happen in the darkness.  Then this parades across my mind in bold letters, YOUR FATHER WILL NEVER AGAIN COME TO YOU IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT.  I grieve and drift off to sleep.

Is it really me lying here, waking to the odd, electronic nature sounds of my alarm, relaxed and refreshed?  (Actually waking, rather than sluggishly sleeping through an hour’s worth of metallic frogs croaking and unrealistic repetitive babbling of a brook?)  With mental hands I feel myself, as one would feel a wound inflicted on one’s body.  Is it still there?  Sensing the pain is not as deep, I respond with cautious joy.  Last night while I slept, God had worked into me more of His healing.  Fear had pushed down as a skewer into my gut; my yielding enabled God’s Spirit to push back.  The boundaries of my soul had expanded, not completely, but there had been a step.  From my gut to my heart the pain had retreated.  Still more work to be done?  Absolutely.  Just as a surgeon will do multiple operations spread out over time to heal a damaged body, God does multiple surgeries on our being over time to mend us from the inside out.  I thank Him for His wisdom and gentle hands; His perfect timing.  I thank Him that He never gives up; always wanting to help me take that next step.  When He knows I am ready.

“He has sent me (Jesus) to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners… comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.”  Isaiah 61:1b-3a