Thursday, May 30, 2019

Guest Blog Post by Paula Abbott - "The Woman In The Mirror"

*The images in this specific piece are granted copyright privilege by:  Public Domain, CCSAL, GNU Free Documentation Licenses, Fair Use Under The United States Copyright Law, or given copyright privilege by the copyright holder which is identified beneath the individual photo.

**Some of the links will have to be copied and then posted in your search engine in order to pull up properly

Guest Blog Post by Paula Abbott
“The Woman In The Mirror”
“Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?”  How many times did I say that to myself over and over?  The mirror was for many years my worst enemy.  Did you know that the mirror has two different functions?

The first function is that the mirror gives us reality. Right?  How many of us got a big dose of reality this morning when we woke up? 

The second function is that the mirror gives us an illusion. Think about it, the mirror will show you the outside, but never shows the inside.  It never shows us the real person inside.  Imagine a beautiful neighborhood with beautiful houses lined up in a row.  Each house is decorated so beautiful, with flowers and a green lawn groomed to perfection.  The family that lives inside looks like everything is perfect.  Great kids, great dog and the mom and dad are so happy.  They drive a really nice car and are always together.  OR is that just what you see on the outside?   Even if the house is pretty on the outside but trashed and broken on the inside the house is still broken. 

Have you ever thought about what happens behind closed doors? That was my home growing up.  Beautiful home, flowers, trees, groomed lawn, great car and an awesome dog, but behind closed doors, it wasn’t so great.  What you saw on the outside was not what was on the inside.  When you knocked on the door of my home you would see that not everything was so perfect.  Actually, it was opposite.  This girl hid behind the close doors of bondage, abuse and pain.

I was born an unwanted child. Can you image such a thing? Now, imagine, it is 1961 in a small hospital in El Paso, Texas when a woman walks in pregnant ready to give birth to a little baby girl. Instead of excitement of becoming a mother she has a different plan, a plan that would change the course of that baby’s life. That baby was me. My birth mother did not know who my father was and I was her 4th child. Not sure why, rather out of shame and embarrassment, she signed in under another woman’s name and that woman (not my birth mother) walked out with me in her arms.
Only 6 months later that woman abandoned me and her husband. She put me in my baby bed while he was at work, turned around, shut the door and Ive never seen her since.  Two months later he got killed at work.
I was adopted at the age of 8 months old by a woman that wanted children and by a man that did not.  My mother was a wonderful person and provided me a safe and soft place to fall and I needed that quit often.  and my mother was a secret follower of Christ. Yes I said secret follower of Christ, she never was able to share her faith because my father would not allow it. We never talked about God and we never went to church.

My adoptive father was mentally abusive, emotional abusive, physically abusive, but most of all he was verbally abusive. Do you know what I’m talking about when I say verbal abusive?  Physical abuse is sometimes easier to heal from than verbal abuse. The verbal abuse normally lasts a lifetime.  You can be told you’re worthless for so long, until you actually start to believe it. 
At the age of 7 years old, I became “Approval Addicted?” Do you know what approval addiction is? We all have it. When you set the table for your family to eat, you’re really hoping to hear how good it was. We all have this in some kind of capacity. We get our worth from someone else’s approval of us. Reflecting back on all the bad choices I made in my life, it was because I was seeking someone else’s approval. I was trying to fit in.

*Click on link below to read more about Approval Addiction:

At the age of 7, I was already in so much bondage, feeling unwanted and worthless, I tried to take my life.  That’s right 7 years old. How many of you have children or grandchildren that are around that age? You would never think that a 7 year old could even think of something like that.  I should have had other things on my mind, like puppies, friends, playing ball, school and yes, even, homework, but instead all I had on my mind was receiving the attention and approval of my father.  You are probably wondering why would a 7 year old want to do that?  What was her family life like that was so bad that she felt she needed to take her own life? My parents divorced when I was 16, because my mother could not take the abuse from my father anymore. She had taken all she could and she was done. 
Why was my father so abusive and unhappy?  Why did he abuse us all those years?  Because he was an atheist.  Do you know what an atheist is? Someone that doesn’t believe in God, he only believed in what he could see and touch.  If he could prove it to be real then he would believe it. We were not a very happy family. We never hugged or told each other that we loved them. We just lived everyday trying to survive that day. My family was a very cold and unloving family. My dad couldn’t love us, because he didn’t have love inside himself. This was my life, the life of a child being raised by an atheist. Unhappy can’t begin to explain our family.
Then I became a rebellious teenager. Anyone else? I was going to become what my dad said I was. “Worthless, no good, hopeless and a mistake.” You know if we hear it long enough we’ll start to believe it. I went to the nightclubs looking for male companionship. Why you ask, because I never had it as a child.  At age 16 I met an older man that told me everything I wanted to hear. So I went on a date with him and he raped me and beat me and now I was pregnant from this rape. I got kicked out of school because I was an outcast. But, that was not the worst of it:  I had to marry my abuser out of fear. He told me that he would kill my mom if I didn’t.
By the age of 17 I was a mother to a beautiful little girl, but I didn’t know how to be a mom (because) I was a child myself. Now I’m in another abusive relationship; first with my dad and now with my abusive husband.  Abuse had become a way of life me. What did I do to deserve this? Where did I go wrong? So many questions that could not be answered (because) I still didn’t know Jesus and I had never been to Church.
My husband was a violent man and it was only a matter of time before I knew he would begin to abuse our daughter.  Three years of abuse almost everyday lead to me sending my daughter off to be adopted by my cousins in a different state. And then I began to run. Running for my life – because he had become obsessed with wanting to kill me. Out of fear, I ran from him for many years. 
Hiding from one place to next. I’d turn from one man to another. I ended up having 2 more children by my mid 20’s.  No matter who I was with, I was never happy.  I had a huge void in my life that no one could fill. 
In my late 20’s, I thought that if I moved to another state that all my problems would just go away. Everywhere I went there I was. I could not get away from myself and that’s where the problems were. Have you ever tried running from your shadow? You can’t.  Why?  Because it’s who you are and you can’t run from you.
So in Kansas City I went to the nightclubs again looking for companionship. You would think I’d learn by now. Well, I didn’t. I was asked to go to an after party. Do you know what an after party is? It’s a party after the bar closes. That way you can party all night long. When I got there, my worst nightmare awaited me at the door. It was like he was standing at the door and pulled me in by my throat. 
I’m sure you have heard his name -it is Methamphetamine. Yes, it was a methamphetamine party.  “Oh, now this was the answer to all my problems.” or, at least I thought it was. It was actually the entrance to one of the deepest and darkest pits of my life. They told me that if I would just do it once that it would change my life. (Pause)…. And that it did.
I thought my life was bad then, it was nothing compared to what was about to happen.  This drug took ahold of me and didn’t let go. I became a hardcore meth attic and headed straight into that pit until I couldn’t breathe anymore. I lost everything, my family, my children, my job, my home and my car. I was homeless and had nothing.
     So I started selling what I had, my body. I started working in the nightclubs to get my next fix. I couldn’t live without it. I hated my life and I hated what I became. During this “13” year period, I tried 2 more times to take my life.  
     I was always seeking something to fill that void that was deep down inside me.  Drugs and alcohol would only last for a while and then the high they brought was gone, too.  Nothing would fill the void in my life. Not the drugs, not the alcohol, not the men, and no amount of money. It wasn’t that I wanted to die; no one wants to do that. I just wanted the pain to stop. I wanted out of this nightmare that I was in. I couldn’t get out and I saw no other way.
     On my last attempt at suicide they put me into a mental hospital. A MENTAL HOSPITAL! Are you kidding me? There were crazy people in there. I wasn’t crazy. I was just hurting. I needed someone to love me, that’s all.  So I got out of there and went back to Texas. I tried really hard to do better, but I didn’t have in me what I needed to overcome this. I still did not know Jesus, so I didn’t have the strength to overcome something so evil.
   Then one night in Amarillo, Texas as I was driving to meet my drug dealer, I passed a sign on the side of the road that said, “Cowboy Church – Saturday nights at 7:00pm.” It was kinda like the, “Here’s Your Sign!”

     Well, it was my sign and it would end up being my reward. You see the top part of the sign was intriguing to me because it said “Cowboy”. Being the “Cowgirl” that I was, the “Cowboy” part of the sign caught my attention.  I would have never noticed that sign if it only had said “Church."

     I was not one of those church type people, and I was not going to let these people tell me that I was living in sin. What was sin anyway? Everything was ok. I didn’t have any problems. But, the sign caught my attention and I thought to myself, “It did say “Cowboy” Church, right? And that means there will most likely be Cowboys there.”

     You see, I love rodeos and pretty much anything to do with “Cowboys.”  I worked cattle with my dad all my life. So this was a big part of who I was. But, then there was the church part of the sign. That was not intriguing to me.
     Actually, I wanted nothing to do with church or church people. You see my father had always told me that church people were crazy and a little weird. He told me that they would suck your brains out. You know the brainwashing thing.  He also told me that they would make you ride a bicycle and that you would end up giving them all your money and then they might just send you to Africa to live in a hut. This is not what I wanted to do. Church, are you kidding me? No way. But, again it did say “Cowboy” Church.     

     So, I thought to myself, since it started at 7:00, I should be out of there by 8:00 and that would give me time to make it to the bar. Come on! It was a Saturday night, which was, “big party time.” I was only interested in the cowboys not the church; but little did I know what was in store for me there.     
      I visited that next Saturday.  When I walked in I wasn’t judged by the people.  Remember what I did for a job? I wasn’t dressed to be in a Church. Instead, I got a warm “Howdy!” and a big hug. I felt something there that I had not felt before, BUT - bless God I’m not letting these “church people” get to me. You know, I had to keep that wall up just in case they got too close. Well, they told me to make myself at home and if I needed anything, just to let them know. You know, I had only heard about this Jesus Person around Christmas and Easter time, but I didn’t really know who He was.

     There were 500 people there that night and it seemed like the preacher was talking straight to me. Like no one else was in that room but me. It’s like someone had called them ahead of time and told them that I was there. They said get her, she’s a bad one. Don’t let her go, she’s a sinner. Well, I sunk down in my seat to be incognito. Hoping that no one would notice me, because I was already high on my drugs.
     As I listened, I realized that he wasn’t one of those preachers that made you feel bad for things you’ve done. He actually was kinda funny and made me laugh. I hadn’t really laughed in a while. He talked straight to me that night.  He talked a lot about this Jesus Person and how to have that void in your life filled.  Well, I took it all in stride and didn’t think too much of it.  Because, remember, I was keeping my guard up, you know against those “church people”.

     I would love to say that I ran up to the altar to receive Jesus that night, but I didn’t. You see I didn’t want to ride a bicycle and I didn’t want to be a church person. But what happened is I got to hear about Jesus Christ for the very first time ever.  I got to hear His name in a positive way and not a curse word.  I had a seed planted in my heart.  I left that place that day and now I was in a fight with myself.  
     I now knew that what I was doing was wrong and that I was a sinner in need of a savior, but I didn’t want to give in. I tried to just go on and live my life the way I always did, but something kept tugging at me to trust Him.
     And then 2 months later I overdosed again, when I had used way too much “meth.  I should be dead. I should not be standing here before you today. You see, my heart was beating at least 1000 beats per minute, or so it felt.  And just a few weeks earlier, I had heard of someone’s heart blowing up from this stuff and they had died, so I got a little scared. 

     You see the party was over and I was at home alone in my bed waiting to die. I heard the words of that preacher in my head as they came rushing back into my thoughts, “If you want that void filled in your life, then all you have to do is ask Jesus to come live inside your heart.”  As I lay there I thought, “Well, it couldn’t hurt.  My heart was needing some kind of help that’s for sure.” I was tired and I had lost who I really was. I was broke, I was busted, and totally disgusted with the life I was living.  I felt like I had been walking through mud for years, and the mud had totally sucked my boots right off of me.

     Have you ever felt like that?  Like you’ve been walking in mud and you’re so tired that you can’t go another step?  You don’t even know what your life is all about.  You know, all I wanted from day one was a happy family, a house with a little fence, and a yard.  I wanted to be able to just smell the cooking of supper and to hear the sounds of laughter and people loving each other. All these things were going on in my head as I lay there in my bed with my heart pounding so fast. I knew that it was time.  I knew that I was fixing to die. 
     So, at that moment, I called out His name.  I said, “Jesus” and I paused for a minute – then I said, “If you are really who they say You are, I could use Your help. I’m tired of living this life. I’m in need of something real.” I said, “Jesus, can you help me? I don’t want to live like this anymore.” and that’s all I said. 
     At that moment, I felt that my Father loved me. Not my earthly Father, but my Heavenly Father.  The Bible tells us in Psalm 27:10: Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.  Wow how awesome is that?

     I didn’t get my recovery from Celebrate Recovery, because I didn’t even know it existed, but I KEEP my recovery through Celebrate Recovery. I know how important it is to STAY in recovery and I know that I need to make sure that I continue to walk it out. I am 19 years clean. Praise God for His goodness and mercy. 
     Let me explain how the restoration and healing began in my life. It's one word and that word is called forgiveness. Say that with me “FORGIVENESS!”
FORGIVENESS Number 1.  I had to receive the forgiveness of my Lord and Savior. And when I say I had to receive it I had to receive it and know without a shadow of a doubt that Jesus forgives me of all of my sins when I ask Him.  Many people will say the prayer to receive Jesus, but they never receive His forgiveness.  If I sent you a million dollar check through FedEX, but you refused to receive and sign for it, you wouldn’t be able to spend it. Would you?  That’s why it’s so important to receive Jesus’s forgiveness and grace into your life. 
     You see Jesus Christ was born to a virgin.  Did you know that?  That was hard for me to understand, because that just doesn’t happen.  But He was and that’s what makes Him a miracle. 
He lived 33 1/2 years on this earth going through the same pains as I did. He knew exactly what I have been through, all the rejection, pain, and hurts because He suffered those things too. I heard that He took a beating that was meant just for me. That He took it in my place.

     After they beat Jesus they put a cross on His back and sent Him up Calvary’s road. As He was carrying that cross He had me on his mind. He knew that He had to finish and that He had to go all the way, just for me. (and just for you). When he got to Calvary’s hill He climbed up on that cross and died, because He loved us so much. My Jesus is an all the way Jesus. He didn’t stop in the middle He went all the way just for me and you.
     But, 3 days later my Jesus rose again and He is alive today, just waiting on you to call out to Him.  Jesus is absolutely the most important Person in my life and not to receive what He did for me on the cross I would have never received my healing and the transformation in my life. 
Today I dance with Jesus.  He is my every breath, my every step.  Jesus Christ is my everything.  And guess what?  I am one of those church people now.  Yep, I would ride a bicycle in a heartbeat, and I’m just waiting on my ticket to Africa.  I love Him for what He has done for me. 

FORGIVENESS Number 2 - I had to forgive myself. I think this was the hardest thing that I had to do. How many of you have a hard time forgiving yourself for the mistakes and the choices that you made? I promise you it can be done because I did it. I had to forgive myself it took me 5 years but I did. I had to forgive me for the things that I had done. I couldn't turn back time. I couldn't have do overs.  It was done.  It was over and I had to move past and I had to move towards my future. I felt that in prayer one day that the Lord told me, He said:  Paula try to drive forward in your vehicle looking in your rearview mirror. So I did this in an empty parking lot may I add - I tried to drive forward looking behind me. How far do you think I got? I didn't get very far.  Think about it:  the rearview mirror is so small because that it is a glimpse of where we've been not where you’re going. 
     The windshield is so wide and so open because that’s your future. That’s where you’re going. You can't move forward when you’re looking behind you. Doing this exercise with God I realize that it did nothing but paralyze me and stop me in fear for moving forward; so from that day on I forgave myself and let the past go and received wholeness in my body, my spirit and my soul. I can’t turn back time and I can’t go back, so I let it go. I’m looking forward now to my future and what a great future I have. 
FORGIVENESS Number 3 - I had to ask for forgiveness from all the people that I hurt, (without excuses). You remember my 3 children? The daughter that I gave up for adoption? Guess what? She is back in my life, She is absolutely the love of my life. She is my best friend. She has forgiven me for everything that I have done. How amazing is that?
Remember my two little boys that I walked away from? Yes they are both back in my life. They have forgiven me. They are my absolutely best friends.
I have four amazing grandchildren and another one on the way. This is the restoration that only Jesus can give you! He will restore everything to you that you have lost. How amazing is this?
FORGIVENESS Number 4 - I had to forgive my dad I had to forgive him for all of the pain that he caused in my life. I had to let go of the bitterness and the hurt. I had to lay it down at the cross and give it to Jesus and I had to forgive my father. 

     Remember that hurting people hurt people and my father was hurting because he didn't know Jesus so he couldn't give me what he didn’t have. I had to forgive him and in doing that it set me free. So free! if you have anybody in your life that you need to forgive you need to let it go and get the freedom that only Jesus can bring.
     Do you remember me telling you that my dad was an atheist right? My father was 88 years old when he passed. I prayed for him every night that he would come to know Jesus before he died. I prayed and I prayed and I gave my heart to Jesus knowing that He would hear me. 
     Two weeks before my father passed away he received Jesus Christ as his Personal Savior. He finally realized how empty his life has been all of these years and how he really needed Jesus in his life.
     Steps to receiving full recovery in your life comes from God’s word in John 11:17-44 in the story of Lazarus:

Step 1.  You have to meet with Jesus.
John 11:20:  20 When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him.

Step 2.  Take Jesus to the place - that place where you were hurt, that place where you were betrayed, that place where you began to believe that your dreams were dead. Take Him there and let Him heal you.

John 11:34:  34 “Where have you put him?” He asked. “Lord,” they told Him, “come and see.”

Step 3.  Remove the stone from your heart and let Jesus in.
John 11:38-39:  38 Then Jesus, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone was lying against it. 39 Remove the stone,” Jesus said.

Step 4.  You have to believe.
John 11:40:  40 Jesus said to her, “Didn’t I tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?”

No comments:

Post a Comment