Fearing the worst

I hope I am posting in the right place!
Without going heavily into my “story” let me just sum things up by saying that living in other cultures than my own, living with an emotionally abusive husband and father to my children and suffering severe depression and agorophobia for about 20 years, I was pretty traumatized once I “escaped” my situation. Now, about 10 years later, I am still praying for my “christian” husband who made good on his promise to divorce me and get another woman if I ever left and “took HIS money”. I did leave, maybe 7 times, and finally once I got my children “safe” I left for good.
About 10 years have past and the Lord in his AMAZING goodness has cared for me and my children more that I could ever even articulate. My Lord is my treasure and delight. However, my daughters and myself still really struggle with a “self destructive” attitude, which other Godly people have brought to my attention. In seeking the Lord I still wonder if there is more I could do to redeem this thought pattern, which I am certain is not righteous. I am wondering if anyone at this forum might have some suggestions.
Basically the question is this: If one has suffered the dismantling of their person hood, shaming, rejection, and known mental illness and fear to be a constant companion, then experienced healing through God’s great kindness,why do they still carry a terror in the back of their mind that says “just wait, another horror is just around the corner, because life is too hard?”

I am not sure that I am making any sense. I view myself as someone who really believes that God ( and only God) is good. And He is my best friend. But getting out of bed in the morning, dealing with people who are “whole” is so hard. I can deal with the broken very well (hence why I am an advocate) because I have “been there”. But I seem to be just waiting on death, hoping I can get out of this world, while at the same time, Loving to serve the Lord and longing to do His will.
People I know that care about me feel that I am a real “downer” I think. And, unfortunately, I do view this world as a battleground, not as Disneyland! I guess I wish that my faith were stronger in that I felt that there was hope. I feel no hope in my heart. I seem to have faith in my Beloved, but no hope. It is strange. Any advice?

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Hi Tami @Palmtree :heart:

Your story sounds filled with heartbreak, and yet, covered by His grace all along.

I am sorry for the pain you experienced all of those years. I hear your heart for your children, and desire to serve the Lord.

At this moment- Scars, by I Am They (you might love it- look it up!) is playing in the background, and I just felt compelled to tell you that God is using you…the trauma you’ve experienced has given you a special understanding for other women who have been in your shoes.

I’m sorry about the loss of hope, all the while still clinging to faith-( which is a silver lining in your struggle). You must have a strong connection with our Lord- continuing in faith… - I’d encourage you to have hope through the lens of the women you are helping and discipling. Just think of the light and truth you have shown them…there is hope for them, and you’ve let God use you in this way.

I hope you sense a renewed hope in the way He has kept you and used you all these years.

Be encouraged, Tami. He cares for you and loves you and clearly has been working through you. :heart:

Also, a blessing to hear the way your children have been kept these years, and gone on to give you 9 grand babies to love.

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Hi Tami, I am sorry to hear the pain you went through in your life. I think at some point everyone gets the same thinking of “Worst is around the corner”, i believe it is the lie devil puts in our thoughts for he is a liar, Bible clearly says to take control of our thoughts and fill the thoughts with our Faithful Heavenly Father. I would like to quote you below verse, and encourage you to memorise and rebuke the thought when you get it, i use this technique
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24 NKJV says
[23] Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. [24] He who calls you is faithful, who also will do it.
Psalm 53:5 NKJV
[5] There they are in great fear Where no fear was, For God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you; You have put them to shame, Because God has despised them.
Jeremiah 29:11-13 NASB
[11] For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. [12] Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. [13] You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.
Isaiah 43:18-19 NASB
[18] "Do not call to mind the former things, Or ponder things of the past. [19] "Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:1-2 NASB
[1] But now, thus says the LORD, your Creator, O Jacob, And He who formed you, O Israel, "Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine! [2] "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you.

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@Palmtree, I am thankful for your post. You are describing a season I find myself in, and I have not been through what you have. When your past has been a pattern of negative happenings, which I can relate to, it is very difficult to break out of “negative self talk.” I will be honest in telling you that I just requested prayer for this yesterday. The love @HeidiMitchell has expressed and the sound advice that @chatjoel gave is golden. I have surmised that what is happening to me, is spiritual warfare. And it is probably the same for you, because you love the Lord. Prayer, fasting if you are able, and vitally important, is quoting scripture. When my feet hit the floor this am, that is what I decided to do. The scripture @chatjoel posted is perfect. I plan to read those out loud and as I do, I will be sure to lift you up as well.
Let’s encourage one another to continue in this. The Lord promises us that if we “ submit ourselves to Him, resist the devil and he will flee.” James 4:7
This one really stood out to me because this is where we are struggling,

Please keep us posted on your progress. Reach out any time.
Much love :heart::latin_cross::pray:t3:

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Thank you so much for posting these. I am quoting them now as lift this precious sister Tami up, myself and any one else who struggles here. :pray:t3:

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Hello, Tami/@Palmtree! My heart breaks for the abuse that you had to endure (and are still enduring!) and the trauma that has left its lasting imprints on your soul. I don’t want to minimise what you are experiencing, but know that trauma has a way of messing with your brain and body in crazy ways.

I wanted to encourage you in a couple of ways off the back of some of the things you wrote…

The word ‘righteous’ is an interesting one. I want you to know that thinking the way you do is not a sin; it is a result of being sinned against…repeatedly. (I don’t know if that’s what you meant by using the word in that context, but I wanted to make sure you understood that there is no moral failing on your part as pertains to the existence of these thoughts! :slight_smile: )

The thought pattern is there for a reason. I can’t know for sure, but it seems those thoughts come because your body senses danger of some kind. It’s like your repeated experience of being sinned against has heightened your body to always be on alert. A doctor named Bessel van der Kolk wrote a fascinating book about trauma and its effect on our bodies. I would highly recommend it if you are curious to know some of the science behind trauma’s impact.

What I would really recommend is that you find a good therapist who can help you on your journey of healing. That is, someone who is well-versed in trauma and who has experience working with people coming out of abusive situations. Their impact could be monumental for you and your children!

I thank God that He is in the business of healing and transforming the brokenness we all experience in our lives. Which reminds me…no one this side of heaven is (as you put it) ‘whole’. Instead, we seek the One who is whole and who brings ‘healing in His wings’ (Malachi 4:2). He is working for you, dear one!

I know I have only skimmed the surface, but know that you are not alone. There are others in this community who struggle alongside you and are praying for you! :heart:

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@Palmtree

Hi Tami,

Like all other people above my heart goes out to you. I can’t imagine at all what you’re going through. If I may, I’d like to share a quick story… it’s not meant to be a comparison in any way to your story… but it does have a point, I promise, and I will keep it as short as possible. :slight_smile:

About 10 years ago I was in a job working for one of my best friends. The company got into financial difficulty and over the course of 8 months or so I got paid erratically, then not fully, then finally not at all for the last 3 months. I stuck in as long as I could but eventually had to find another job when our savings finally ran out. … When I started the new job, for the first few paychecks I didn’t believe that the pay had come through until I actually saw it in my bank account. I can’t remember how long it took, but I just couldn’t believe that the pay was coming through until it was there.

This is way in the past for me now which I am truly thankful for… the only reason I bring it up at all is that I think it’s totally normal that when you face ongoing trials like you have obviously been through then it leaves a lasting impression that would be hard to shake. Mine were small difficulties that left their own mark… trials such as you’ve been through, I can only imagine, are bound to leave you with the worry that it will all come back. I echo what @KMac said though… thinking of that kind is not sinful and I don’t think you should feel guilty for it in any way.

The beautiful thing in your story is that God is so obviously still holding on to you and you can still turn to him even while facing these trials. I have little advice to give, but agree wholeheartedly with that of those who have already written. Continue to find grace and love in the Lord and hold firm to him. As Kathleen suggested, I think the best thing you can do is to find someone to talk to on a regular basis.

If no other encouragement I can give, know that the Lord is capable of anything and will continue to work in you by His Spirit. And nothing… “Nothing can separate you from the Love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” Rom 8:39.

I hope and pray that God gives you wisdom and grace in what you’re going through. I pray, too that he puts someone (or more than someone) alongside you and your children to help and encourage you in your walk with God. Feel free to bend the ear of those of us here on Connect as well. :slight_smile:

In Christ
Tim

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Great posts made by brothers and sisters in Jesus. Cling to God’s promises that others have shared. As a Christian, you are given the Mind of the Messiah. He writes his words on our hearts. Psalm 119. Soak in His Word. Ask God to renew your mind daily. Journal and see what you are saying in your head and then learn what God says on the subject in the Bible. His words are true. Right thining will help you. Read the Bible. Memorize scripture. Live in faith daily. Trust daily. Acknowledge God daily everywhere you are. Jesus is Lord. Lord over your life, words, decisions, future, etc. The LORD God of the Universe who knows you personally cares for you. He supplies your needs. He blesses you with favor. He orders your steps. He is faithful. Ephesians 2:8 You are saved by grace. You are His.

God heals. Saves. Makes all things new.

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You’re making good sense, and I realize there’s a lot of pain… I personally struggle to handle the effects my own “horror story”. Trauma is not simple.:no_mouth:

I think the following testimony (recently posted on this forum) contains spiritual encouragements and thoughts you might find useful because it’s the stories we tell ourselves that define the corners we fight from.

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Your kind words were the first I read and lifted my heart so much. Thank you for reminding me that I am passing on hope to other lives, even when I myself may feel a bit discouraged. This is such a good thought for me to hang onto. I am also going to track down the song you posted. I need to listen to some good Christian Music, as it always builds my heart up.Thank you so much for your post

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Thank you for these amazing verses. I will need to write them down and post them here and there so that i can memorize them. Thank you so much for taking the time to write them out for me

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How sweet you are dear to share that you are struggling with this a well. I am sorry that you are, but at the same time, your sharing about it made me feel that I am not alone. Sometimes, I think I feel like Elijah did when he felt cut off from other like minded people. At this stage in my life, with no husband, trying to be the spiritual leader of my children and grandchildren, and living in a very godless part of California, I can feel so alone. My father is a pastor but him and my mom are in their 80s and that is another way in which I must give support. So thank you so much for sharing with me in my pain, it makes the burden lighter for certain! And yes we must pray for each other! Thank you so much for your response

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Thank you so much for these corrections to my thinking. I guess why I feel that feeling hopeless is unrighteous, is that I am supposed to be rejoicing in everything, and instead I am ( in my heart not in my words) a real “Eeyore”! :thinking: I am going to be teaching my girls group about the goodness of GOD and as I started to write the curriculum, I started asking myself, “do I really believe God is good?” My answer was “yes I do” and then I had to ask myself “then why are you so afraid of what people can do to you, of the future, and so avoidant of engaging in life?” I couldn’t find an answer. I felt that perhaps, this is a faithless attitude. But as I read your answer, I came back once more to have to face that I am NOT as strong as I think I am, and that yes, I do need to continue to deal with the Trauma.

It is difficult for me to go hire a counsellor for myself, when -obviously due to the abuse- my grown children need counselling and support as they break out of the trauma and learn to live in grace.
I have been fighting for them all for years. And they are doing so well. I look at it as a priority issue, in that my adult children must be supported NOW since they are going to be teaching and raising the next generation and that is time limited. Where I look at myself as “on the way out” as it were. And I also consider that I as their parent allowed them to be put them through this abuse, though not as a perpertrator, but as a parent. I at least, had a very secure and loving upbringing, they did not.

Yet you brought me back remembrance of the fact that I TOO have experience Trauma, not just them. I do think that the Lord does want me to face this and deal with it. I am going to purchase the book that you recommended and start there.
I do have to say that all the responses of love, caring and prayer has truly ministered to my heart. I actually feel the prayer, as my heart is lifted to a bit more hope. And certainly, just being able to unburden myself and hear wise counsel, is so wonderful. I always feel so alone and sort of like a square peg in a round hole. Thank you for your response, it is very helpful

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The story you shared here was so helpful to make me realize that, indeed, it is OK that I feel this reaction. It made real sense what you said. It is almost like programming a person to react in a certain way. I am going to really have to mull this over. But I do think that this is what is happening to me. Thank you so much for this “real life” parable. You hit is right on the head! And than you so much for your kind words and prayers.

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Thank you so much for your kind words. I will be reading Psalms 119 and keep fighting the battle just as you say. Thank you so much for the reminder that God orders my steps. These are all really wonderful things to ponder. You are correct, right thinking is so important

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Thank you so much for posting that. What an amazing testimony this is.

I thank all of you who posted answers to my issue. How wonderful to be able to hear from other Christians and learn from their wisdom. I have a lot to think about now!

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You’re so very welcome Tami. Glad any words can help. You are an encouragement to us all in how you approach your struggles in such a godly manner.

Hello again!
Bless you, Tami, I can hear the deep love you have for your children in the words on the page. It is incredibly moving. I can also hear your sadness and heartbreak over it all…esp. here:

I suppose I would mostly just encourage you to have grace with yourself. We can be our own fiercest critic, and, my word how brutal I can be with myself! (I hope you are not like me in that!) You have a lot to unpick emotionally, spiritually, and physiologically, and you will need to be able to ask for and receive grace for yourself along this difficult road. I would contend that your children need that from you as much as (if not more than) you need that from you. :heart:

As for ‘rejoicing in everything’… that concept is a very deep and oftentimes confusing one. But I find it illuminated by the rest of Scripture. The author of Ecclesiastes writes:

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:
a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace. [3:1-8]

Lamentation and sadness are often expressed in the Psalms as well, particularly by David. Jesus expressed anguish in the garden and on the cross. Humans have a while gamut of emotion, and the Bible is full of people expressing that range. It’s not all about happiness and ‘joy’. We are allowed to express emotions other than happiness in the midst of our struggles or suffering!

However, I hear what you’re saying about despair. Though I struggle to do it myself, I do believe that one can mourn and express grief (and be sad) without vortexing (:tornado:) into despair, hopelessness, and self-pity, as I often do as well. Maybe we could pray for one another in that? I don’t often allow myself the space to try to grieve, and I pray that both of us could know God more deeply through that process.

I am so glad you have found encouragement here, and we will continue to lift you and your family up to the Father who loves us perfectly. :slight_smile:

You are so sweet! I have spent the day today mulling over what you said. I think it is helping me to understand just a bit of why I am struggling in this area. Firstly, you gave me scriptural reason to allow myself to grieve from time to time. Secondly, the vortex you mentioned, it really hit me.
It is the VORTEX that I really fear. I start being swallowed by it and then I panic. So I started thinking, "what is causing me to move from “grieving occasionally” to full out panic and avoidance mode? It really isn’t my belief that God is faithful, I never seem to need to run from HIM! Its coming from somewhere else. As I considered the issue, I kind of think that I am “re traumatizing” from the past. You see, I helped to start this advocacy group about 4 years ago. Almost every day for these several years i have been listening to people ( mostly mom’s and grandma’s) cry. I work for families who have disabled children, both mentally and physically, and I fight for them. But in doing that, I have to enter into their pain. I love fighting for these folks ( the wounded servant thing) but I have almost begun to believe that the suffering and evil in the world is stronger than the LORD. I talk to them about the faithfulness of my Savior, and then go home and feel beat up and unsure as to whether the Lord is really faithful.
At the same time, I see my parents aging, and I am already grieving their passing, even though they are fine. And then the whole political blackness of California, the whiplash of this consistent push towards extreme sexual perversion ( even to the point that I see young children being pushed into transgender out here), cities overrun with mentally ill, and the immigrant issue. It just looks SO black. I honestly feel like I am FRODO heading to Mount Doom with the blackness descending faster than I can move.( Lord of the Rings?). I almost seem to “see” the battle. And then I do despair.

I have been helping a young girl ( 20’s) who was kept “off grid” by her mom. I have been working with her ever since I moved back here from Canada. But I could not get ANY Christians to help me. They would talk to her, pray for her and leave her. One of our Elders even told me I shouldn’t be helping her in any way financially because she MIGHT get into trouble. So I had to eventually put her in a secular youth housing. While there, she was drugged and raped. Now, by God’s tremendous grace I have found her another apartment and a new job. But again, I feel beat up. And so tired. And so, well, hopeless. YET, I KNOW that God is going to care for her. He already has. But honestly, the battle seems so stacked against the broken and hurting of this world.

Anyway, I really didn’t want to overburden or over share, but honestly, I do thank you for your words of Wisdom ( as well as all the other people who have prayed and advised me) I have felt a change in my hopelessness, in just knowing there are other people who care about me and will pray for me. I am going to read the book you suggested AND I am going to read a bit of Ecclesiastes as well!

I honestly am feeling some hope coming back to my soul as I have seen the number of people on here who are fighting their own battles. I think that now, I don’t feel so alone. I WILL pray for you. And hopefully, I can learn how to “operate” on this site so that I can get more involved and build connections.
Blessings to you for taking time to encourage me- Tami

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