Toronto (at Toronto, Ontario)
Rochelle - An Artist’s Blog
Today’s progress on the bus… (at Dawn-Euphemia)
Also you can now shop directly from my website just go to the shop page thanks
New custom pendant I’m working on today
Glazing and firing today #art #studiotime
Excited to share the latest addition to my #etsy shop: Dichroic tree pendant http://etsy.me/2BQQzgQ
My testimony- Healing from trauma and abuse
ok just a quick rough draft. Here it goes……
My Testimony - Healing from Trauma and Abuse
God has brought me an amazing way. From where I was in the ashes and pits of despair to becoming an overcomer and walking in the victory. What I’m about to share with you today is not easy. My life has had many struggles and heartaches. I’m not sharing what I’m about to share with you for you to feel sorry for me or because I need to get it off my chest as it is pretty heavy subject matter. The reason I am about to share some of the hardest moments in my life as raw and real as it has happened is because of what God has done to bring me out of it. See I went through some heavy trauma and abuse in my life. Not just once or by one abuser and not just one form of abuse. I experienced every form of abuse and trauma you can imagine from sexual abuse from a very early age to physical and mental abuse. The first time I met my first abuser and the one who abused me sexually I was three years old. He was our next door neighbour and soon his daughter and I were best of friends. We still are to this day. The first encounter with him at 3 years old I was scared of him. I saw dark figures surrounding him when I walked into his backyard one day by mistake and stared at him through the window. I went home terrified of this man only running into him for a few seconds and went home and told my mom a bad man I was scared of lived next door. She laughed thinking it was funny. Later I discovered that this was one of the first incidents that led to me not trusting myself and my own gut feeling as well as my judgement on hearing Gods voice. This was not discovered till I was 41 and at a cleansing stream retreat where it was revealed to me in a vision where God healed that brokenness. I was later abused by this man until I was 14 and we moved to Canada and therefore were no longer neighbors. This brought a huge amount of shame and guilt and self-hatred to how I saw myself. I don’t exactly remember when he first started to abuse me but I also don’t remember a time when he wasn’t. I know it was really bad and escalated between ages 12-14. After that I blocked out this memory. I will share more on this later.
I was away from this man for the moment but my mom got remarried as my parents divorced when I was 3. This man also abused me but this time it was physical abuse. I was beat and hit and went to school with hand print bruises on me from him pinning me to the ground. This was done not even when I did something wrong, but even if I got a phone call from a friend. That was enough to set off his temper. I had to take myself to the hospital several times for concussions due to this but yet never said a word to anyone.
I moved to my dad’s shortly after this to get away from him but that was not always a whole lot better. There was a lot of fighting there as well and also a lot of manipulation and emotional abuse. I started turning the abuse on myself and started abusing myself as well. I began to be self-destructive including cutting myself. I was numb and broken and depressed inside and I always felt unworthy and dirty and had very low self-esteem. I began college at the local community college and I was working three part time jobs on top of that. I was getting roughly 3-4 hours of sleep at night. It was during this time that the memories of the abuse came flooding back as my friend’s dad was also a professor at the school and started stalking me in the halls. I had a nervous breakdown that led to my first hospitalization. There were many more to follow. I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and later told I was bipolar.
When my mom was in the hospital after having a heart attack and quadruple bypass even though I was an adult this man beat me again. This time for the last time. All over letting the dog in the house which my mother told me was ok to do. He pinned me to the ground and bashed my head against the tile floor. He also threatened to shoot and kill my dog and he had a gun ready. This time I called the police on my cellphone and he ended up staying in jail and his guns taken away.
I had one more man that abused me. This one I let into my life on my own as I married him. Things got bad quickly and the violence, emotional and verbal abuse escalated fast. He worked at a beer warehouse and spent his paycheck on beer rather than bills or groceries. We went without heat often in winter. He would even take my car keys and take the phone right out of the jack and take them to work with him so I couldn’t call anyone for help even if it were an emergency. I was so sick at this point that I couldn’t use my legs. They simply couldn’t hold me up and so I used a wheelchair the majority of the time. I also had trouble even getting to the bathroom on my own and often just left alone to lay in bed feeling completely alone and helpless. This was probably the lowest point in my life. I wanted to die. I felt dead inside. Along with the other forms of abuse he also forced himself on me when he came home from work drunk. He made me feel useless, unworthy, broken and empty. I was lost.
One day one of my friends came over and I finally had the courage to tell her what was really happening in my life and at home and how I felt I no longer even wanted to live. How I felt suicidal even. On the subject of suicide, because of the abuse and trauma and how horrible and empty and alone I felt I had attempted suicide multiple times. Luckily I was not a success at this. My friend that stopped by took me home to her house and let me stay with her and helped me get away from my ex husband. This was not an easy process though. He not only threatened my life but everyone that helped me. Those friends’ life’s as well as the pastor’s life that tried to help me get out as we turned to her for marriage counselling but with no success on his part to do much participation. She finally realized that it was a matter of safety and suggested I stay in a domestic violence shelter and we all got a personal protection order out on him. It was the scariest time of my life.
This abuse affected me for a long time, I had nightmares and flashbacks, I’d get so sick I’d throw up from just the trauma of the memories.
So where was God through all this you ask? Well He was right there with me. I just couldn’t see it because I was clouded with the cloud of depression, shame, guilt, rejection and self-hatred but He was still there none the less. And he eventually got me out of it as well. I’ll share more on this later.
My relationship with Him at this point was a bit distant. I grew up going to a conservative Lutheran church where I also attended school. I remember as a young child loving church service and the worship music and I held onto that feeling tightly, but God still felt distant. I had loving grandparents who also took me to church with them and they were my saving grace. If it weren’t for them I don’t think I’d be the person I am today. They were nurturers and loved greatly. They were the two people that never once mistreated me or said anything hurtful or critical and like I said they were my saving grace. They were my heroes.
When I was in third grade my mom was working many hours as a nurse and she would watch kids during the week to be with me and cover a double shift at the hospital on weekends. Because of her busy schedule we stopped attending church for the most part. This led to being excommunicated from church followed by me being removed from the school. I then attended public school from 4th grade on and we never really regained a church life.
It wasn’t until I was a young adult that I started attending church again. I first tried a catholic church during the time I lived at my dad’s but it didn’t really fit me. Still I was searching. I didn’t find what I wanted though so I didn’t continue looking long. When I moved to Texas in my 20s I started attending a unity church. It wasn’t what I needed but it was a stepping stone. When I moved back to Michigan I moved in with my friends I mentioned earlier that got me out of an abusive relationship with my ex husband. They were a wonderful Christian family who later brought me to the Lord and I began attending church with them. This is actually where I met my ex-husband and since you already know that situation and how it ended I won’t repeat myself. However, I will state that once others found out about the abuse after I came forward instead of making him leave the church they made us leave instead. So, the two churches up till this point that I regularly attended I was told to leave from even though I didn’t do anything wrong. This turned me away from church for a while and I had a bit of a rebellious period. It didn’t last long but it was still there and it still effected my walk with God. He felt even more distant now as I felt rejection from church.
After I was free from my ex-husband I moved back to my condo in Ann Arbor. The abuse however and distance I felt from God still affected me. I was struggling but still had a desire to find what I was so desperately searching for. A friend recommended a church for me to try. It was the Ann Arbor Vineyard. I attended a bit reluctantly and a bit shyly sticking to myself. I finally felt home here. I finally found God here and Christ as my savior. I finally felt acceptance and freedom here. I felt the beginning of healing and wholeness but God was not even close to being done with me. I was baptized in the spirit at this church. Met some great spiritual mentors, and experienced some of the first stages of a deeper healing and a deeper relationship with Him. Even though I loved this church and always will and I am forever grateful for what I experienced here I also got hurt here as well. How or why doesn’t matter so much but I stopped attending regularly and started partying a little harder. I wasn’t celebrating but rather drowning my pain and struggling with my mental health.
Skip a few years ahead and I find out my mom has breast cancer so I moved back to Canada to help her out. I went through a really bad time of depression that eventually led to being hospitalized again. Many of you may remember this time and just how low I was. I did get help and got back up again but it was a long struggle. I was attending wpa at that time but I was struggling both in my mental health and my spiritual health. At times I wasn’t even sure what I really believed.
When I went to camp in summer 2016 life changed. I received so much healing from God through prayer and words of encouragement from so many there. I felt the pain, anxiety and depression lift completely. I felt different, I looked different, and I was different. It was life changing for me and many remember my testimony from then. However I struggled when I got back and still slipped back into old ways. The depression and anxiety also returned, not as bad but still there.
My mom while I love her with all my heart often criticizes and puts me down and I still slipped back into the depression and doubt again. I was still doing a great deal better than before and even started working. I really wasn’t looking for a job when I got my job, I was looking for a bus. I met Sandy at work and she became my boss. I liked and felt comfortable with her right away which is not the usual for me. I loved working there but I was still struggling with depression and anxiety. I started having nightmares of the abuse again and had one panic attack so bad it led to taking a month off of work. I wasn’t even aware at the time that it was the abuse triggering my panic attacks. After a month off and starting back up I felt like I needed to talk to my boss about what triggered my panic attacks. She had an uncanny way of calming me down when I had one at work and therefore I felt safe to talk to her about it. I had no idea however how much support she would be or how much of an impact this would have on me. I felt strength and I felt freedom in just telling someone the whole story and was overwhelmed with the love and support I was given. My nightmares stopped and they changed to her being a superhero with me fighting the bad guys with me. We even ran them over with the bus. I felt a strength and confidence I have never felt before. This lovely lady now means the world to me and I am forever grateful for her support. It has given me the strength to get to this point in being able to publicly share my full testimony in a raw uncut form.
I also feel like God is going to use this to help others greatly as many people suffer in silence from both mental health as well as trauma and abuse. There is a stigma attached to both of these that needs to be broken. Breaking the silence breaks the stigma so that is why I am choosing to break the silence and share this so openly and publicly. It is hard, it is frightening and terrifying, but in that there is also freedom and strength. As Joyce Myers always says “I may not be where I need to be, but I’m far from where I used to be.” God has brought me so far in my journey, in my healing and with my walk with him. He has brought me out of the brokenness, out of the shame, and guilt and fear. He has made me unbroken, fused me back together. He has made me whole and has me walking in victory. He never meant for any of this to happen but he certainly will use it for His good and His glory. What Satan meant to kill and destroy God will use for good. That is certainly what He is doing here. If I reach just one hurting person who has struggled through what I have it will make it worth it. I highly doubt that God is stopping there though. I feel He will use me to reach many.
So, If you feel broken or unworthy or suffered through abuse or even if you didn’t but still feel broken I want to pray with you. If you are reading this feel free to message me, call me, text me. I will listen, I will pray, and I will understand.
Feel free to share this as it needs to be heard to help others. Thanks for taking the time to read it.
Tiny painting (at Gunter Lake)