That isn’t God

That isn't God

We love glorifying pain, trauma, and abuse as God’s will. We love making God a violent, manipulative man just so we can make sense of the hurt in our lives. But…

That isn’t God.

That’s the effects of trauma and pain working against us in favor of itself and the ones who harmed us.

Want to heal?

To be clear: to heal, you must be ready/willing to accept that the pain is not the sum total of who you are, who you can become holds the greatest possibilities for your future and that you are not alone as you make the journey to wholeness.

I was not chosen/called/favored to be raped. I didn’t need to accept that to heal from it. Do you see how dumb that sounds? It’s nonsensical and antithetical to God’s heart to suggest that these experiences were sent as positives. 

Just stop.

There are entirely too many sisters (and brothers) whose lives have been transformed by all the pain and trauma they’ve endured. They deserve a freeing, liberating word that is rooted in their humanity and the truth that God loves them and would never cause them harm.

We live in a world where evil is present. For reasons beyond our control, people lean into that evil and cause harm of various magnitudes. It is unconscionable and it is not right. And it is not God’s doing. God is just as upset and heartbroken over what I endured as I am.

Where is God in all of this?

In the darkest moments of our lives, God sits with us and journeys with us through them. God holds our hand as we cry, cuss, question, and scream. And God pushes through with us as we fight for our wholeness and healing.

God is not sending pain in our lives to produce something glorious. We’ve not been “called” to pain and trauma. 

God calls us to community, to hope and to healing. 

God reminds us that God’s intention was always for us to flourish and be well. 

Healing brings us back to that.

The “Why?” question is real.

  •  If God is God, then why did these things happen? 
  • Why didn’t God stop them? 

These are valid questions and those who ask them of God are right to do so. The danger is when folks try to answer for God. 

You can ask why all day, but can I be honest with you? No answer will ever be sufficient. 

There’s nothing that will justify the presence of pain + trauma in our lives. 

Think about what you’ve gone through. What can you hear that’ll make you say “Okay. I get it now”?

Nothing.

I used to ask why. 

Sometimes, when I get mad at my current conditions, I still ask why. 

That’s a real place. But “why did this happen to me” is not my posture. “What do I need in order to heal and move on” is where I land these days. Because that empowers and shifts the focus.

Healing is a beautifully messy journey towards the people we are meant to be. We are called to be healed, whole and well. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise and you don’t have to accept anything other than that truth to be free.

My deepest prayer for all of us is that we truly come to know God’s heart for us. It is big, wide, deep and filled with a love that is beyond our comprehension. We need that love to heal and free us. We need that love to truly live.

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Types of people who don’t want you to heal

I (and others) have been sexually en mentally abused (gaslighting) by my narcissistic ex-husband for over a decade. Here I share my thoughts and my healing process and hope to inspire and encourage others. I follow many writers, bloggers, survivors, and share occasionally things that I have read that have touched my heart or rang true.

Like this:

One thing that really shocked me as an abuse survivor was learning that there are some people who don’t want you to get better. And I’m not talking about your original abuser(s). There are others, such as subtle narcissistic abusers, who will try to keep you in pain. Here’s why:

  • There’s the ex-enabler narcissistic abuser. They covered up your abuser’s crimes, but now derive attention and their sense of value by pretending to be a co-victim. If you recover, they feel it discredits their continued charade, or shames them somehow, so they lash out at you.
  • There’s the narcissistic fake advocate. This could be a pastor, counselor, mentor, or activist. They love playing savior. “Helping” you feeds their ego. They claim to want to comfort and protect you. Really, they want you to remain stagnant in your pain and continue to need them.
  • There’s the narcissistic fake friend. Basically, for them, being your friend is a kind of virtue signaling. They like the attention and respect building up a victim affords them. But if you progress beyond victim status, you’re of no use to them. They want you to stay injured.
  • Then there’s the enabler false accuser. They want to exacerbate your pain until you spiral into self-destructive or erratic behavior so they can say, “See? She’s irrational. We can’t trust the sanity of people who claim to be abused. We must protect the careers of powerful men.”

Jennifer Michelle Greenberg

My Self-Care plan

My self-care plan

Why do I need a Self-care plan do you ask?

This past year and a half of my life looked like a badly written sitcom storyline.

  • The finding out that my husband was an abuser and a narcist.
  • The lengthy trial
  • COVID-19
  • Moving twice. Just moved actually last week, during COVID, and whilst they decided to break open my street for waterworks. Was I stressed? What do you think?
  • The ex-husband going to jail.
  • Did I mention COVID? Then lockdown?
  • And then trying to homeschool, move and provide my family with a bit of stability after all of this.

And everything has started to hit me right now. Probably because we are now settling down. Maybe because the restrictions of the lockdown are slowly loosening and I’m not ready to leave my safe bubble yet.

So, it’s due time to do some self-care and hopefully it will look a bit like this.

Ways to Self-Care:

1. Read more. I have bought 10 books this past year and have only read two.

2. Take more walks/bike rides with the dogs and son.

3. Ignoring news that is designed scare to scare me (us).

4. Finally focus on that hobby that brings me joy. (it’s a secret what,shhht)

5. Spending more silent time with God. Just quietness.

5. Taking a Facebook sabbatical as it’s been giving me some stress lately. I’m not deleting it, I will be back as I find it really helpful. But lately it’s been making me feel bad and insufficient. So I need a break. Yet , you can still find me on Twitter 😀

Anything that you would add to this Self-care plan? Lemme know!

Sidenote in reference to Facebook:

Unbelievers may use my story to point out hypocrisy and sin in the church, and they are right in doing so (my husband being a proclaimed Christian), but the very existence of my faith is proof that God is real, for, without Him, I’d have lost my faith a long time ago. And so, by calling out abuse, I proclaim Jesus Christ.

Life by Mim

Letting go of the abuser

Several times in my life, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that someone I dearly love is abusive. They are not always criminals like my ex-husband, but abusive none the less.

Discerning abuse

Their words are cruel. Their smiles were disingenuous. They lie. They insinuate. They gossip. 

Psychological or emotional abuse may seem like no big deal, but it’s absolutely insidious. Someone you love and trust mounts an intentional strategy campaign to make you feel stupid, crazy, or worthless. Understand: they can destroy your friendships or even drive you suicidal. And don’t even get me started on the threat they pose your children. You want your kids to be healthy and happy with firm faith in God? Psychological abusers will try to destroy that.

My in-laws…I have previously written a post about saying goodbye. This was weeks after discovering what my husband had done. I had hoped for their help and support, but I knew that would not happen because I knew how they were during our marriage. What happened, happened over a period of years. This was planned. This was a strategy to sew discord. 

After I don’t know how many ridiculous situations where I have been avoided, where I heard mean gossip from them, getting angry looks, I finally acknowledged that my loved ones were abusive.

Is it in my mind?

I was wondering what could possibly be their motivation? Maybe It’s all in my head. But the pattern of abuse became undeniable. Upon confronting these people (only one responded by the way), wanting to be able to talk about how the situation felt for me, them ignoring me, cutting me and my children out of their lives, telling lies to others. They refused to talk about the situation. I somehow was an evil genius who somehow instigated my husband (and physical abuser) actions to frame him. They gossiped and lied. The mask fell off. The smiles turned to spitting rage. It was ugly.

Letting go

Before I confronted them though, the emotional influence they had over me was terrible. Just seeing their name pop up in my emails caused a wave of nauseous. I had nightmares about them calling me on the phone, seeing them in school or at the supermarket, insulting my kids, or spreading lies about me. I realized that for the sake of my mental health – and for the sake of my children, and my emotional stability – I needed these people out of my life. But they hadn’t committed any crimes!

Letting go of the abuser

There was no one event I could point to and say, “They’re dangerous.” But like I said, the patterns of abuse were undeniable. They stretched back for decades and demonstrated a clear malevolence and conscious intent to harm and destroy. And now, these behaviors were affecting my kids, my sleep and my ability to heal from the spousal abuse and divorce. That’s when Psalm 1 came to my rescue:

Blessed is the one

who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

or sit in the company of mockers,

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

and who meditates on His law day and night. 

I am not called to enable wicked, abusive people. I am not called to tolerate the damaging sins of the unrepentant. I am not called to socialize with people who mock, lie, and mess with my head or my kid’s heads or even other people’s heads. I am called to cling to God and meditate on Him day and night. 

I longed for their love and support, but they denied me this and instead were part of my torment. They made me feel like the criminal instead of the victim. I finally realized that I am so much better off without them. I finally realized what they did too, was abuse.

Healing

Now, if someone else were to go and minister to my abuser(s), I’d say, “Thank you! God bless you!” But my abuser is not my mission field. They do not love me. They do not respect me. Nothing I say or do can help them, except to deny them the opportunity to sin against me. 

Within weeks – even days – of cutting those people out of my life, everything improved. My depression lifted partially, my anxiety eased up, my prayer life blossomed, my Bible reading was more fruitful, and I really feel I became a better mom, friend, and worshipper of God. 

The moral of the story being, if someone in your life is spiritually poisoning you – if being around them damages your faith, causes friction in your marriage, exacerbates your depression/anxiety, or makes you feel stupid, crazy, or worthless – break free. Cling to God. 

“Blessed is the one

who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

or sit in the company of mockers,

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

and who meditates on his law day and night. 

Tips and Products that help reduce food waste

Tips and Products that help reduce food waste

The end of last year has challenged me to look for tips and products that help reduce food waste because, well…

I’m guilty, I’m guilty. Weekly I’ve been throwing out way too much stuff. It usually starts with the resolution that we are going to eat more healthily. And was we do have healthy meals, I convince myself that during the day I will eat a celery stalk or a radish when hungry…but I usually don’t. I currently have a celery in the fridge whose leaves have already become soft and soggy, so I know that I will be making a soup this afternoon (instead of using it as the snack I bought it for.)

So determined to make a change I have searched the web and my favourite Facebook mommy groups and came up with these tips and products that help reduce food waste.

Freezer marker and (wasi) tape

I freeze in left-overs that are usually enough for just one. This comes in handy for when my daughter of 25 is alone at home. However I realized that I didn’t really keep track of what I was putting in the freezer and when. Nameless meals, which turned out to be something else than what I though when defrosted. Suddenly we ate sweet potato soup with the pasta instead of tomato sauce. I used to stick post-its on the pasta, but they didn’t stick in the freezer. Stickers labels are not my thing as it’s hard to get off .

We have a chalk marker for writing notes on the mirrors or to make designs on the windows, so I though there must be a washable marker to use on containers. As a matter a fact there is, I found a freezer marker on Bol.com by the make of Edding. You can buy them apparently in most craft shops and office shops( I didn’t know).

I also have loads of wasi tape and together with the marker they now make the perfect combo for labelling all kinds of stuff. Scotch tape will do the job just as well by the way, I just like pretty things 🙂 It’s very easy to remove and leaves no residue. Both are standard in our kitchen drawer and are used almost daily. Because now I also put it on jars and packs that I open and that are not empty yet. We have an opening date on everything. You can call me neurotic.

Too Good To Go app

Tips and Products that help reduce food waste

Via the app Too Good To Go (iOS/ Android) you can buy a so-called Magic Box with products that have all reached the THT day. Don’t worry, it’s still safe to eat ! In the larger cities several shops, restaurants and even hotels participate. So I think that must be very interesting to do but in our village unfortunately only one supermarket. I did the test and bought a package for 4.95 EUR. The value of the package was 23.80 EUR, so good deal. But to be honest I found that there were quite a lot of luxury products, which I normally never buy. Also quite a lot of meat, while we as a family want to cut down. The contents were also quite kcal rich, I’ll say, and I missed vegetables, so you can make a full meal out of them. I still like the initiative, but doubt if I will do it again. When you buy products like that, which you don’t normally buy, is it really waste-free? Food for thought, shall we say…

Measuring buddy=Eetmaatje

“Eetmaatje” in Dutch as the one I have was created by the nutritional centre of the Netherlands.

It’s a measuring cup for rice, pasta and couscous. The measuring buddy makes it easier to measure portions. So you never have the tendency to cook too much and waste food. It also makes it easier to eat the recommended amount per person. Good for the environment, your health and your wallet! The Dining buddy is free. You only pay the shipping costs.

Living in Belgium I got it from Eco-Logish.

Food Huggers

Products that help reduce food waste food huggers
Food huggers

I only came to hear about them last year. Apparently I’ve been lying under a rock, because I had missed it completely. In 2013, a big crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter raised almost $84,000 in no-time. Now 7 years later, Food Huggers are still being sold. Food Huggers are an environmentally friendly alternative to cling film. They will last a lifetime. Made of safe silicone and free BPA and phthalates. The Huggers can be placed in the dishwasher, freezer and microwave.

The Food Huggers can be applied directly on food, but also indirectly as a lid. There are different sizes of sets.

In Belgium the eco-bio-fair webshop Kudzu sells them. I ordered them. Curious to see if the cling film really hugs the food!

TIP: I heard the other day that Ikea also sells them. Probably of a different quality, but if you are on a budget and want to make a difference why not. I love Ikea btw…LOVE!

Oxo Greensavers

Products that help reduce food waste Greensavers
OXO Good grips Greensavers

In my hunt for Food Huggers I heard about OXO greensavers on a sustainable mothering group I’m in on Facebook. Vegetables and fruit produce ethylene. Ethylene accelerates the ripening process. The Oxo Greensavers absorb the excess ethylene produced, keep the air around the food constantly moving and control the humidity. Oxo uses a (naturally) non-toxic carbon filter of coconut shell, which absorbs the ethylene gas. The active carbon filter lasts 3 months. An adjustable date slider indicates when it is time to replace it.

There are freshener boxes for sale and a freshener for in the vegetable drawer. I chose the latter. With the help of 2 suction cups you stick it in the vegetable drawer. Oxo claims that your fruit and vegetables stay fresh so much longer and you will recoup the investment of 9,95 euro for the holder + 1 carbon filter (or 12,95 euro for 4 refill filters) in no time. I’m going to test it! I’ll let you know!

If you are keen to get your hands on one of these products, keep an eye on my blog as I will soon be organizing my first giveaway! Yay!

Now please give me more tips and products that you know of that help reduce food waste.

Life by Mim

All products in the article have been purchased by myself.


Goodbye and taking a distance

Goodbye and taking a distance

I have been trying to write a coherent text about the last past year for a while now and for a specific purpose. To leave this all behind me from now on and to move forward.

I have been able to hurt, cry and heal this past year and now in a month I will be leaving our home behind to start a new life.

Goodbye and taking a distance

Relationships are freaking difficult. Just as difficult as blogging about divorces, it now appears. But divorces are really much worse. Practically and financially they are hopeless, but that is just the beginning. I had to grieve and say goodbye to my entire life as I had imagined. I once saw the love of my life in that other person, my ex. The other person once made my heart beat so hard that it made me so bloody nervous everytime we were near to each other. I remember the flow of hormones that screamed through my body the first time we kissed.

We had so much between us and our relationship felt sometimes as if it was overflowing with love. We had made huge lifelong commitments. We moved in together, raised our children from separate relationships together, got married, adopted a dog and then we became incredibly blessed by welcoming a child of us both.

Well, that has been a long time ago and can now be classified as adorable, cute and fun.

Because suddenly there were reasons to break that commitment. Not just the case of someone cheating on the other person, no. Serious reasons. Abuse, drugging, spousal rape, and child rape.

And now I have chosen to say goodbye and distance myself from him. Even though he does not want the divorce. Even though overzealous people tell me that it is not God’s will for us to divorce.

I try to distance myself from my emotions, from the hurtful things that people have said. From him so I can try to divide my life as I would have built it up by two. The math will never be right, I will always be left with less anyway.

In this there are only victims.

But I choose not to be one. I want to heal from this. And slowly, I am.

Goodbye and taking a distance

When your trust has been broken

When your trust has been broken

The breakdown of my marriage had caused so much confusion and sadness.

It even evoked a sense of mourning.

It felt like my husband had died.

It felt like this person I had trusted and sincerely believed in, no longer existed.

Have you ever experienced a loss like that?

If your trust has been broken, it can even be traumatic. Some dare not to trust anyone anymore. They struggle with depression and with loneliness.

I know of a few “sisters” for whom this is a reality.

How your trust can be destroyed if you are abandoned by your family, by friends or by the brothers and sisters of your church.

How great is the disappointment if your spouse cheats on you, if you are bullied or ignored by other people…If you trust a person, you will be embarrassed

Psalm 146 is clear about that.

You trust someone who is just as sinful, weak and mortal as you are. His plans go into the grave with him. His power, wealth and intelligence, his talks and his pretenses. They do not make him any more than he is … A man!

Can we trust?

Does this mean that you cannot have a role model, a mentor or that you cannot admire someone? That you cannot take an example from someone, and that you cannot maintain a strong relationship of trust with another person?

Of course, you can!

As long as we continue to see the other as a person “with whom there is no salvation.”

We can have salvation and we can experience happiness, but we should not depend on another human for that.

There is only One in whom we can fully trust. Our God, immortal, unchangeable, the Truth itself. Our Father, who always does what He says.

When your trust has been broken

He is the only one in whom a sinful and weak person can count on. The only one.

Because He is the Lord, Creator of heaven and earth, King for eternity! 

When your trust has been broken

What’s wrong with me?

spousal abuse healing

What’s wrong with me? That sentence was one of the first things that popped into my head while finding out what my husband had done. What’s wrong with me?

To make a really, unbelievable, long story short; my husband drugged me he could have intercourse with me while I was unconscious.

I found out one morning after waking up and having a black-out. I did my research, confronted him with our pastor and a friend and after he tried denying it at first, he did finally admit to doing it. He said that he did it for me, because “I was having chronic pain and would not take medication to relieve the pain and that it made me more willing and loving…”

What’s wrong with me?

This was the first of the many things he would admit too. After surrendering himself to the police after I gave him the ultimatum to do so, he admitted to having been doing this for ten years, and that he had done the same to my daughter once. This daughter is from a previous relationship. He co-raised her from the age of 13 years-old and when we heard the details of what he had done to her from our lawyer, she turned to me and saidbut he was my dad“.

What’s wrong with us?

Why was I still asking this question?

Because some people did ask me if it was because of something I had done, or rather the lack of.

“Why would he do this, he was such a good man. Did you not give him enough sex or attention? “

I don’t believe their intention was to cause me(us) harm, but their comments placed shame on me. Those are the types of words that take root and cause us to blame ourselves.

Traumatic events can leave us feeling like something is horribly wrong with us. We question our worth, lovability, belonging, and—for some of us—even our very right to exist. Recovery takes bravery.

After my mother had shared my story through the “Go Fund Me” website, it hit social media and people have been reaching out to me. Sharing their stories. Women, men who got out of the deepest pits by never giving up, until the truth of what happened to them and who they are setting their hearts free. 

It’s not our fault!

And freedom is possible. I have hope and faith and love and with all that, all is possible.

Shalom,

What's wrong with me?

Helping me to understand was a Bible plan on You VersionHealing The Wounds of Sexual Betrayal” by D. Sheri Keffer. I found this Bible plan so helpful that I went on to buy the book. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

I am so thankful for Dr. Sheri’s candor, wisdom, and practical advice. She writes not only as an accomplished clinician with the training, experience, and research to back her claims but also with the knowledge of someone who’s been there and comes through stronger on the other side. This book combines helpful graphics, powerful anecdotes, spiritual guidance, and “tell it like it really is” authenticity. Whether you’ve been wounded or walk alongside those that have, this book should immediately catapult to the top of your “must-read” list.

Grace…I need it.

It has been three weeks since my husband needed to leave our home. It’s been three weeks that I have been trying to figure out how to face the uncertain future.

Yesterday was hard, really hard. The first week after he had left, I spent most of my days crying and praying. Then the crying became less and being mad replaced it, then sad again, then mad. You can maybe imagine the feeling of the rollercoaster emotions going up and down. But yesterday was just darn right hard. I felt sadness, anger, hurt, afraid, irritated. Almost every negative feeling you van have.

I am usually a very calm and a patient mom. I don’t like to yell, I like to take the time to explain to my very active pre-schooler why he needs to this or why he cannot do that. I like to read books written by L.R. Knost and I am in Facebook groups labeled “crunchy christian moms”. I like to call my parenting style “Gentle Christian Parenting”, but yesterday…I was failing. I was missing grace. I yelled, I let my son watch way too much tv, I let him way too much junk and I spent most of the day on my computer. I was trying to avoid my thoughts. Wallowing in self pity.

My thoughts would take me to places where I did not want to be. It put guilt in my mind, even thought it should not be there in these circumstances. It put the belief that no one cared for me, even though I had an army of friends already helping me. It put the feeling of being unloved, what could not be true seeing that we have a God that loves us unconditionally.

All those thoughts went through my head yesterday, and then some. I very much felt like I was being attacked.

But before going to bed, I spent some time reading my devotionals. I am going through Psalms (I really like the First 5 app). And Boy, that is an up and down emotional rollercoaster there. Poor David. I feel like I can relate to how he is feeling sometimes (without being attacked by a mob and all). I was reading yesterday’s devotion on Psalms 61-62 I read:

“For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him” (Psalm 62:5)

It is so hard to trust in God, certainly when the pain seems too much to bare, but all I have is indeed hope. Continuously reading the bible, even when I don’t feel like it brings me hope, it brings me nearer to the one who truly loves me and I need to remember that more. So instead of trying to hide from everything, I need to go to Him, and that is I will try to do today.

Lord, please give me grace today. Bring peace to my heart. I need you so. Amen.