Apr 16

Leaving the Grave & Learning to Trust

Today’s post is a testimony from our amazing friend, Online Bible Studies Leader, and professional counselor, Stephanie Clayton.  May her story bring you the encouragement you need to trust God and leave the fear behind.

As a survivor, as one healing, I had certain expectations. I expected to heal quickly. I expected my therapist to save me. I expected everyone to “get” what was going on with me. I expected God to bring me back to joy. I knew it wouldn’t be immediate in my head, but my heart expected it now. I had countless, un-admitted, un-acknowledged expectations of the bystanders.

Who are the bystanders you might ask? They are the people who are a part of our lives while the abuse, assault, or pain occurred. Often they are completely oblivious to what is going on. The question is asked over and over again, “How could someone not have known? Couldn’t they see what I was going through?” Our pain is so obvious to us that we think it should be written across our face like a scarlet letter and the bystanders should notice it. Why do we have these expectations? How could they really know?

Many of us developed a very convincing mask. The mask told everyone that we were just fine. The mask told us we were okay. We could carry this burden alone, on our own. We were survivors. And in that moment, survivor meant doing things on our own. A part of us desperately wanted someone to help, but we were too “strong” to ask for it. Too scared to let anyone see the turmoil. No, it was ours to bear…and bear alone. 

At the time, I did not see the pride that was motivating my actions. I was strongly bent towards doing life on my own. I wasn’t going to let anyone else share in what I had endured. I had endured it, it was my piece of hell to survive, not theirs. And I was angry. I was much too angry, hurt, and prideful to reach out.

Years were spent ensuring that my pride was validated. Years were spent proving to myself that he hadn’t hurt me. That no one needed to know what happened. That I would achieve regardless, and I would do it on my own. It was only when the valleys in the road got so deep that I could no longer pull myself out (10 plus years of ever deepening valleys) that I RELUCTANTLY went for help. God forced me to a place where I had no choice. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus that you force deliverance out of us. That was the only way my heart was going to move. It was time for me to learn to trust God.

I had to let God be God. To let the Savior do the saving. I had to make the decision to trust God and not do it all on my own. I needed to realize and accept that no amount of achievement on my part was going to change the past. The only thing that could “change” my past, redeem the awful circumstances, and make it something beautiful, was Jesus.

At the end of Chapter 6 I love the verse that Micca shares…

 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:44

It was time for me to remove the mask. It was time to stop living as the walking dead. It was time to let the past be the past, walk forward with Christ, and trust Him to turn my pain into purpose. It was time to stop looking for a bystander to blame…or a human to heal me…and start looking to Jesus. It was time to walk with Him and leave the grave and go. I chose to trust Jesus.

 

If YOU are a survivor (and if you are here then you are!)…please don’t be too afraid to ask for help. It’s your time, and yes, you, are worth God’s time and healing. You are worth getting help. You weren’t meant to bear this alone. It’s time to make some beauty from ashes. Your life is a praiseworthy testimony of His amazing grace and power. It is time for the redemption songs begin! Leave the grave sweet sister and walk forward. Learn to trust Jesus. I’m so glad I did.

Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message):

Trust God from the bottom of your heart; 
   don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; 
   he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all. 

 

Can you relate to living like the walking dead?  Are you ready to take that leap of faith and begin to trust God with it all?  Share your thoughts with us today.

***To read more from Stephanie Clayton, click here.

Melissa

Comments

  1. Rosanne Huber says:

    Thank you so much Stephanie for sharing. It was powerful.

  2. Thanks for sharing your words here Stephanie! I’m reading them with tears as I’m in the middle of a rough patch today. What a very Powerful testimony right here. I’ve been able to relate to so much of what you’ve been posting recently. Thanks for your willingness to share & the honesty with which you share.

    • Oh girl…that honesty is hard fought at times, but I have found that being honest about my life is the only way to live feeling whole, known, and loved by God! Glad this blessed you today sweet sister!

    • I thought of you immediately as I began reading this – God is trying to tell you something Tricia!!!!

    • I happen to agree with Veronica. You came to mind alot as I was reading Stephanie’s blog. I love

      “Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
      don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
      Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
      he’s the one who will keep you on track.
      Don’t assume that you know it all.

      It is so true….don’t try to figure out everything on your own”. I am working on this myself…I am working on Putting God first…What do You want today LOrd? What are your plans for me?

      • Thank You Lynne & Veronica. You both know me well, don’t you! This post did hit me hard. So much in it was speaking to me. I’m sure that God is trying to tell me something. Now to pray that I’ll sit still with him & really listen so I’ll know what that something is.

  3. Stephanie, thanks so much for sharing this!! It is so very encouraging and powerful!!
    God gave me the courage this year to ask for help and what an amazing blessing it was, but also what a terrifying journey. God has been there the whole way!

  4. Stephanie and Melissa,

    I too like Tricia am absolutely BAWLING right now. This has been such a rough patch for me…so rough to admit what I’m going through, what I’ve been through. I’ve not wanted to trust God. I’ve wanted to do this all by myself. I don’t know what to think..I’m so confused, overwhelmed and broken. But everything I’ve read today is about surviving, trusting God, and letting go. I don’t know how to do that. I guess I assumed it was going to be a feeling. I guess I have to take the feeling out of it and just decide. That is tough for me because I am so driven by my emotions and have been for so long. I have wanted to reach out, to start asking God for help…but I’ve been the one with the “strong mask” on for so long that I don’t know where to turn. Its time for me to decide to trust God. Thank you for both being so open and honest. I don’t feel as if I will ever recover, get better, and move past the abuse. Your posts have started what I hope is a glimmer in my soul that recovery is possible….and that I can and will move out of the grave.

    • Brooke, I will pray for you. I have been there, not too long ago and it’s a place I NEVER want to go back to. You can be healed through Christ, you can feel valued and worthwhile again. I pray that for you.

    • It can be very difficult to admit where we are honestly and where we have been. What I want to tell you sweet sister is that feeling and healing don’t always go together. In fact, healing is a very very active process full of choices to do things different than we might have done before. It can be difficult to know where to turn, but dear sister I hope you know you can always turn to Jesus…and all of us bible study sisters here. And I know it is difficult, but I want to encourage you to reach out to maybe just one other individual in person around you. Just one person you know you can cry on if you need to. Pray about who that person might be. Love you way big sister…and I am praying for you…in fact…let me pray for you now…

      Dear Lord, You know sweet Brooke by name, you know every hair on her head, and every reason she is afraid and feeling confused overwhelmed and broken. God I claim Your powerful and active Word in the Name of Jesus…You came to heal the brokenhearted and bind up there wounds. Bind up her hurting wounds Dear Lord, bind her up with Your everlasting fantasic amazing love!!! Let her be no longer a slave to bondage but a women who serves You Lord. Thank you for the healing that you will, that you are bringing into her life. Help her to know the steps she needs to take and bind up any fear that may hold her stagnant. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.

      • Beautiful prayer Stephanie. I will pray in agreement with you.

        Brooke, I know how you feel. I have battled with this too. And you are right, it starts out just choosing to trust God even when we don’t ‘feel’ it. Ask God to help you in your unbelief…I have to do that alot…And know this: God is just waiting for you to ask Him….He is right there…arms open wide…

      • Beautiful prayer – prayed it for you too Brooke.

        AMEN!!!

    • Brooke, I’ll be praying for you too! Keep choosing to trust God over your feelings. I know it’s hard to do & I still struggle with my feelings getting in the way more than I would like. That’s better than I used to be though. So one step at a time is the way to go, one choice to trust at a time.
      Healing is possible for you & you’ll get there. Just take it one step at a time, one moment at a time. Go to God!

  5. Shawna Wright says:

    Wow!! Your message hit me right between my eyes! I need help with what I struggle with, and I understand your message, yet it is still so difficult to reach out. I will keep praying for a special woman who I can be honest with.

    Shawna

  6. So, besides being tardy at responding to the blog..I am up-to-date on the Bible Study! YEA! I have squeezed my book along on doctor appointments with kids, late nights of waiting for kids to get donw with play practice…you name it. Thankfully, NO EXCUSES for staying on task with the Bible Study…just not very quick on the blog responding! I do want to post though what my 1 sentence was from chapter 5…pg. 92 “This is NOT what I want, nor what I planned, but I trust You, Lord!” When I read that sentence I literally STOPPED! I went back and reread it and reread it again! I was thinking..NO WAY! God…did you really put those words there or what?????
    Our family has been looking for a house, or first house to buy for a year. We are techniclly a country/farm family…we have NEVER lived in town. Both my husband and I have grown up on farms and have never lived in town. But, my husband, leader of our family, really feels that now is the time to buy and that this 1 particular house in town was meant for us! I was draggin my feet… you know.. if I wait long enough the house will be sold and someday that perfect place in the country that we can afford will come along!!!!! At the beginning of this Bible Study I was for sure that my husband was just in a hurry and that we were not meant to live in town.. I knew best and God was going to show him my way was right, RIGHT? NOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    When I read that sentence last week it hit my heart and set me back 10 foot! I knew God had put that in my lap for a reason and I knew right then and there my husband was right and I was not being submissive or obedient to God nor my husband! To make a long story short we put an offer on that house and found out it already had an offer that was accepted! We were devasted…I was too:( We continued on in our search, in town. 3 days later we got a call that the people backed out and we could be the backup offer if we chose to be. We now have that house and are going through the paperwork!
    Bottom line: God is good …ALL the TIME! I know He is in the midst of all of this and He has a plan for our family….I’m trusting on that. Because the feeling that comes from being obedient is so warming and I know without a doubt it is from HIM.
    On a side note: I realize now…HE knew I was going to need this Bible study in order to get through all that..without it…..we still would not have a place!:)

  7. Stephanie…
    I made the mistake of reading your post at work and almost started bawling. I, too have led all my life hiding behind a mask…not one but probably too many to count. Currently I am going through a storm. My pride says I can handle it…that this is familiar territory and I will get through it OK. Reality is I am not OK. And nobody seems to care. Today I am with heavy heart at work and I have to pretend that everything is OK. I wear my mask so well..none of my co-workers don’t notice that I am ready to break down. And then I wonder why nobody notices? I’ve asked for help…or at least let people know what is going on but it doesn’t last. People are busy with their own lives and I don’t know how to make connections with people to where I matter to somebody. In desperation..I turn to God. Sometimes knowing how good he is and that he will never leave me helps…other times it doesn’t. Sometimes I am angry at him because I am still in the same situation..other times I am grateful because I see that he has been with me through the bad parts of my life. I struggle with letting go of my mask..but I know I have to. I don’t want to live as the walking dead anymore.

    • Well Doreen, I would say I agree that reading something so emotion provoking for you was a mistake…but I am not sure about that. Maybe this happened just to show you how hard it is indeed to maintain that perfection mask! Not that we need to jump out bawling at work, LOL, that might be a big awkward…but it is okay to share with others what is going on at appropriate places and times.

      Something else you said really struck me…in desperation I turn to God. True…God is there in our desperate moments…but He is there always…we don’t have to wait till desperation to run to Him! The truth is no human has the strength required to pull us from our pit…if we try to get them to we will exhaust them and they will leave. That doesn’t mean we don’t share with them, we just release them from any expectation we have of them saving or fixing us. Then we are able to have a relationship without so much pressure. Because the one and ONLY one strong enough to heal us and pull us from our pits, and handle all the emotions that go with it is Jesus. Truly we must cast our cares on Him. Big hugs sweet sister…You are going to make it out of that grave alive, beautiful, strong and fighting! I have no doubts! HUGS!!!!!

  8. This is so much of what I walked through Stephanie. Thank you for sharing your story. I know so many will be touched and ministered through it, just like I am. God is good and faithful and get get us from being in survival mode to THRIVING! It takes time and TRUST in Him above all things.

  9. Stephanie, Thank you so much for sharing. I can relate to this so much. I used to people please because I was living in my own hell. Because of wanting to be in control of everything since my abusive childhood, I completly wore that mask. Thank you for your words and a reminder that we can choose Christ or our own will. Life is so much better when I choose Christ. Thanks again!

  10. Steph – I am in awe of how you allow God to use you to so many troubled hearts, mine included. You inspire me so much – I don’t even have the words to eloquently describe it. Thank you so much for this post. As I have said before: when I grow up…….

    Love you!

  11. New pin for page 111 – Romans 8:28

    http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875391417812/

  12. A new pin for Zeph. 3:17 – this one is my favorite, I love this scripture.

    http://pinterest.com/pin/221520875391417856/

  13. Lisa Kramp says:

    WoW Steph~ So powerful and exactly what I am working on for myself right now and asking God for guidance in this area. I have kept my mask on for most of my life and I am now trying to lay it aside and acknowledge that it serves no purpose now. That I am safe right where I am. No more bystanders. They chose not to get involved for their own reasons. Thats not me or because of me. Its a daily process and acknowledging those opportunities to take off my mask with the end result being never to put it back on. Baby steps. But I am moving forward in the right direction. Its takes my heart a little longer to catch up with my head. :-) <3

    • Amen girl! Three steps forward and 2 steps back is still one step forward!!!!

    • I am sooo glad you are taking your mask off. You are such a beautiful person…so loving, kind, generous, warm….I could go on and on….Keep it off..it is a process, but God loves you…He created you….WE love you too!

  14. kim johnston says:

    I had certain expectations. I expected to heal quickly. I expected my therapist to save me. I expected everyone to “get” what was going on with me. I expected God to bring me back to joy. I knew it wouldn’t be immediate in my head, but my heart expected it now. I had countless, un-admitted, un-acknowledged expectations of the bystanders…..

    …I love this. I have not been abused, but I am living with a chronic illness that has lasted almost 6 years, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and I am in a very difficult place. as I am a single parent. It has become more and more difficult to work and try to maintain my home, and provide. I have been praying that God would show me what to do, because relying on myself, is not an option anymore. I love what you said Stephanie about bystanders. This illness is an invisable one, you look okay on the outside, but in reality you are falling apart at the seams. Some people, even those closest to me, and some still don’t understand, just how sick I am and that this is not a tired that just goes away. I don’t know what God’s plan is in all of this, but I am trusting in His goodness. I just wish I had a clearer road map of what to do next, because right now I am totally overwhelmed!!

    These 2 chapters were right on time for me, but have also been the most challenging chapters. If you have any advice or would just say a prayer for me I would greatly appreciate it, I am not sure about so many things right now, but I am sure that God loves me and does have a plan, but the unsettledness in my heart is so heavy.

    Thanks for this study and all that you do to help encourage me on life’s journey!

    • Unsettled…dear sister a word I know well. But unsettled can be a good thing…it usually is a precursor to movement… I wish I had advice, the only advice I have would be fallible because I am a mess…so I would say go into the Word of God as much as possible…but prayer…now that I can do!

      Dear Lord, You are the only one that can truly see and understand all of our physical pain, emotional pain, ailments, thorns, and hurts. And You are the also the only One who can heal. I pray right now wherever sweet Kim is that that the warmess of Your grace and love will wash heavy over her. Lord that you will comfort her even in the midst of her pain and stand close beside her when she feels alone. God help her to know that with You in our lives, we are never alone and completely understood and loved just as we are by You. Lighten Kim’s load, grant her peace and rest and sustain her Lord, not only sustain but bless her beyond her wildest dreams! In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.

      • kim johnston says:

        Stephanie,

        Thank you so much for your encouragement and prayer. I love what you said about being unsettled, a precursor to movement. I am praying that God moves in a big way. I hate feeling this way, but I know that God’s plan is the best plan, maybe He sees things that I am unable to see.

        I am truely blessed by this study and it couldn’t have come at a better time!

        • I’m praying for you too Kim. I also live with a medical condition that I look ok on outside,but struggle to maintain some days

  15. From one survivor to another – Love this and love how your words connect my head to my heart!

    Loved this part:It was time for me to remove the mask. It was time to stop living as the walking dead. It was time to let the past be the past, walk forward with Christ, and trust Him to turn my pain into purpose. It was time to stop looking for a bystander to blame…or a human to heal me…and start looking to Jesus. It was time to walk with Him and leave the grave and go. I chose to trust Jesus.

    I love how He is turning the pain into His purpose!!

    From my heart to yours …. thanks is no where near enough!!!

    And loved this version of the verses: Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message):

    Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
    don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
    Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
    he’s the one who will keep you on track.
    Don’t assume that you know it all.

    Trust was also my word from Chapter 5!

    Thanks for touching my heart, yet once again!

    Love God’s Stephanie from Texas!

  16. Stephanie…. you have such an amazing gift. I have been meaning to let you know how much your writing touches me. I relate to you very easily. I have not been through what you have been through, but been hurt just the same. My father committed suicide 5 years ago, he was 68. That was before I was really close to God. I know I prayed, but I certainly didn’t give that up. I am realizing more and more that I STILL haven’t. I still harbor a lot of anger and resentment toward my dad… for leaving me…and leaving me to pick up the peices of his life. I have taken on a lot of things that are not my responsibility, but I feel like he knew I would. He expected that of me. Before I get off on my own tangent… I am in such a place in my life that I know I need to give it all to God and trust Him. I feel Him calling me, asking me to do this. He has such great plans for me! I just have to give in and trust. Thank you for honesty and thank you for touching my soul…. God bless you!

    • Oh Kandace, I am so sorry for what happened to you. What a heavy load to bear…might I pray for you…

      Dear Lord, lighten Kandace’s load Lord. She feels so responsible for everyone and everything. Help her to know that You have been and always are in control…that as hard as it is to hear…what should have happened did, and what she is experiencing right now is no suprise to You Lord. Give her strength as she continues to process through her pain. And grant her the desire and will to forgive where she is angry and resentful. Sustain her through the process and free her in all the places she continues to feel bound up and broken. For we know you DO have amazing wonderful beautiful plans for her, plans that are not only to come, but have already begun. In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.

  17. Robin Packer says:

    What a blessing Stephanie! I have not been through what you have but I have counseled and ministered to some who have. Thank you for sharing your story, sharing your heart and being so open and honest, you could be no other way as you’re such a sweetheart. You’re such a blessing as are your posts. God bless you “over and above what you ask, expect, or think” as His Word promises!

  18. Beautiful Srtephanie. I agree that the part about quick healing spoke to me as did the mask wearing. Abuse isn’t my past, but debilitating anxiety is. Turning to God and meds help,but then I start thinking I can do it alone. Wrong! I wear masks a lot so my friends and family don’t worry,but then get frustrated when they don’t understand. When I get down I cant imagine living the rest of my life with this anxiety and fear. I pray for quick healing and get frustrated when I continue to struggle. I’m not suicidal but I start freaking out thinking this is how I will always have to feel. I have to remind myself that God has a plan and his timeframe may not be mine. Thanks so much to all the ladies – leaders and Bible study members who continue to share. It is inspiring and eye opening.

    • Oh Alison, I am so sorry you are having such battles with anxiety. I too have had issues in this area. Often at the root of anxiety can be anger, even anger at yourself…just a thought….and when we are finally able to forgive ourselves or others anxiety can be lessened. But there is also a very biological side to anxiety, so I am so glad you take medication…I know it has worked for me as I have a strong family history of anxiety! Praying for some releif for you dear sister and no doubts, God doesn’t just have a plan, but a plan behind more than you could ever ask or imagine.

  19. This has been such a jurney and reading this blog I see problems I have. For one I have to much pride to seek help and another I get frustrated that no one wants to help or don’t notice what’s going on. Then I see how blind to others struggles because I am so focused on my own. I realize we are all trying to take care of our selves and we have this “every man for himself” mentality. Funny how we want both. I am praying for all of you as you are going through your own personal struggles. I am also praying that God opens my eyes to see his people with hos eyes and step out in faith and allow myself to be interrupted and help others in a way God directs me to help.

  20. Stephanie-
    THANK YOU for your openness and your transparency in this journey!! I certainly haven’t walked in your shoes, but in my own storms-some of my own doing, others due to life’s circumstances, have FINALLY learned and am continuing to learn to fully look to JESUS, for HE sees through our masks, and allow HIM to melt away the hurts and heal the pain that’s left!! THANK YOU JESUS, I can look back on those storms and know that HE carried me, that HE has turned those circumstances into blessings!!
    THANK YOU Sweet sister for you are a blessing!!!
    <3 u

  21. Dawn from Michigan says:

    Stephanie,
    Thank you so much for sharing. You have encouraged me many times through your posts and the conference call last year. I am thankful to say I am finally (after 37 years!) reaching out for help. I have found a safe, loving environment to share in at Celebrate Recovery and am doing a Christian Step Study through them that is making a huge impact on me. So far, it has been all about how WE can’t change ourselves, WE are not in control of anything! But GOD can change us! Praise His holy name.
    If anyone is interested in looking for a Celebrate Recovery Group in their area, here is the link http://www.celebraterecovery.com/?page_id=8
    I would highly recommend it, especially the Step Study.

  22. Thank you for the words from your heart. Proverbs 3:5-6 have been my life verses since childhood. It was on a plaque on the wall and I read it every day. Sometimes I think that verse (imprinted on my heart) has been what has saved me from myself on many occasions. When the thoughts swirling in my head just wouldn’t make sense of my circumstances, the promise that if I sought guidance from God, then he could make my path straight. Yes, it took faith and then trust, but He is faithful to meet my every need.

    None of us make it through this life without trials. Some worse than others, but we all have times that all we can do is look up and ask for help. Our lives become much more simple when we “Trust in the Lord and do good”, “Take delight in the Lord”, and “Trust God from the bottoms of our hearts”. The word says we will “dwell in safe pasture”, “he will give us the desires of our hearts”, and “he’s the one who will keep us on track”.

    Thank you ladies for sharing what you have learned as you walk with the Lord. I pray we all get to that place of being transparent with each other. Much love. T

  23. i too have been broken way too long… your story hit so close to home with me. trying to do this all on my own has been tough, seems no one understands, or get where im coming from, so i just keep to myself.

    • Kristi S says:

      You didn’t keep it to yourself today Robin. I’m so proud of you. Dear Lord, I pray that you will surround Robin with your love and peace. Allow her to grow closer to you each day. She stepped out in faith today to boldly talk about her situation and you have heard her voice. Lead her to individuals who will be your hands and feet on earth. Be with her in her valleys so that she can praise you on the mountaintop. You understand her situation and you know her heart. Give her confidence to speak the truth that is unique in her life to comfort others as you have comforted her. I thank you for your goodness and mercy in all of our lives and I pray that you will soften her heart to see them in her own life. I ask all of these things in your precious name. Amen!

    • Oh girl…although no one can truly understand our suffering except the Lord I pray that you will risk venturing out first to Him in your pain…letting Him in to heal small bits at a time. And eventually reach out to others who may not totally understand your pain, but can surely walk alongside you. Feeling broken is tough! But girl, God specializes in healing the broken. Do not let Satan fool you into thinking you are forgotten…God is with you sister each and every step of the way. HUGS!!!!

  24. Kristi S says:

    Dear dear Stephanie,
    Thank you so much for being so real and honest. I have walked a similar journey. Many of my friends saw the abuse but they didn’t see everything. I was so ashamed. How did I get myself into this? Was I really stupid? I was so afraid to trust anyone else because what if they might agree with him. And, I thought that as long as I achieved by the ways of the world in work and at school, I would be ok. God was an afterthought for so many years because I was so afraid of what He might say! If I was a disappointment on Earth, then how could I ask Him to love me. I continuously looked for a man to make me feel better. Who was this person? I didn’t grow up this way. I was independent, happy and silly. And, each relationship only got worse. “God forced me to a place where I had no choice.”-this was so true for me.

    And, like you, I thank God every day that I’m not there anymore but I’m grateful for those times because I wouldn’t KNOW the TRUTH of GOD’S LOVE! When I lost everything, He was there. I don’t have to look to others to “complete” me anymore. God completes me!!! I am a survivor of much by the world’s standards. But, I’m thankful that I don’t have to “survive” the day anymore. I still have fears but I keep my eyes on Jesus. Sometimes, I feel as if God had a hand in forcing me out of the boat. But, by boldly trusting in Him, I can skip across the water to Jesus and not look back. Love you sweet sister!

  25. This is very amazing!! I have become the super mask wearer. I work in healthcare and when I take care of someone the last thing they want is a “weak” person. I am ready to trust the Lord!! Thank you so much for helping me open my eyes… edging my mask off <3

  26. Linda R. says:

    I am speechless. Reading your testimony was like reliving a nightmare. I felt as though I had written those exact words. Thank you for sharing your testimony. And thank God for rescuing us from the evil we had endured.

  27. stephani, I am thanking God right now for using you to bring me this personal message. This morning I felt like I just wanted to give up, however, after reading this, I realized that I was letting go of antoher layer of grief. I too am a “professional counselor” and was just speaking to a resident about the same things that you wrote about. But I thank God that I was able to identify and apply it on my own life. Without getting into a long story to am “recovering from a great loss and betrayal. I walked around with a I’m fine mask. I was jsut telling God this morning that I was not use to be so weak, needy, vulnerable and tranparent. Thank you God for confirming for me that it is ok and I too am taking off the grave clothes and free to go where You are leading me to with the help of sisters that I have and are walking the same path that I am on. Amen!!

  28. Thank you for sharing Stephanie, you are an encouragement and your prayers are so beautiful. I feel like I have been walking dead for years. I struggled in my marriage of 24 years and it ended in divorce 2 years ago. So I have been struggling financially ever since and have been trying to heal emotionally. I was getting so much better than this past January my mom passed away so now I am struggling again with missing her. Some days its been so hard to even go on, I have never been suicidal but just longing for heaven. I have lost 3 friends in death over the years, my grandparents and my dad and those were hard to deal with. But losing my mom has been hard for me, maybe it made it worse because I was with her when she passed away and I’ve never experienced that before. In chapter 7 “What’s the worst that Can Happen” and on page 132 “Nothing we face on this earth is as tragic as not knowing the love of God.” This has stuck in my mind since reading it and it has helped me to cope better with the loss of my mom when I think about how so many people don’t know the love of God. I need to take the grave clothes off and help others to find that Love. I know that mourning a loved one is natural but not to the point you get so depressed you can’t function. Please pray for me and anyone has lost their mom and have advice on how you have coped please let me know! Thank you! I did read Melissa about losing your mom and it made me cry.

    • You know sometimes we have to hurt deep deep to come into the knowing of His love…and it sounds like you have found that to be true. Things have been rough for you girl! I wishI or anyone could take that pain away, but then I don’t, because surviving that and coming through the other side is what makes you who you are…authentic and lovely and a beautiful daughter of the King. Youare so loved sweet sister. Allow yourself time to grieve. There is no timeline, no rush. And you have the right to grieve, and to receive love. Praying the love of the Lord wraps you super tight this week girl! LOVE!!!!

    • Melissa S. says:

      So sorry of your Mom’s passing. Praying for you! Like Stephanie said—allow yourself time to grieve. There’s no rush. Praying for you sweet sister! God bless you.

  29. Kelley M says:

    Stephanie – I will admit to procrastinating on reading this blog – why? Because I FEAR, yes I said it, the memories of my past that are so ridiculously painful to relive. Yet, every time I hear the testimony of a survivor – that door to my past opens up and I allow myself to feel (not for lack of attempting to stop it!) – thus why I had difficulty starting this book and why the calls are hard to face, the blogs are hard to face – this is REAL. These are REAL stories – and I lived a life of REAL, painful stories. In Chapter 7 Micca talks about how she felt when Porter died, “I ached inside. I felt so lost, empty, and alone” – THIS IS MY STORY. Every painful chapter of my life after another has left me lost, empty, and alone – regardless of who was with me in my life….and God blessed me with so many wonderful people throughout the years – an amazing Foster Mother, the parents of other friends that have taken me into their hearts and blessed me…He provided. But it doesn’t make the pain any easier – it’s there. In a sense, reliving my past thru others ties me to it, almost feels like ‘bondage’ – and I fight being bound by it ever again. Stephanie, through your testimony and through the testimonies of others I am learning to not be scared to face the past – it cannot have me. Micca says at the end of Chapter 6, “When you and I are secure in God’s provision, there is no situation that can destroy us” – WOW, WOW, WOW – this is incredibly powerful. I am not going back to relive it, it can’t have the safe affect on me now – because, I AM SECURE in God’s provision – there are no “stones” from my past that can harden my heart any longer and keep me in bondage. If there are, that’s because I am allowing Satan to roll those stones over my heart. That I WILL NOT allow. For I am a child of God and Satan has no power over me. Thank you again Stephanie for all you do for Proverbs 31 – for us individually and for every person you touch. You have been a huge blessing over these past few studies. Love you and HUGS!

  30. These last two chapters have helped to answer the questions I have had my whole life…Where was God? Why did he give me alcoholic parents…why did he he let me be molested and raped…..WHERE WAS HE…..Then to cope with life my Eating
    disorder began..again.WHERE WAS HE…WHY ME? I have stuggled with these questions with lack of trust and faith. Trying to live life my way in self will run riot. This Chapter (6) Has begun to answer my deepest questions and fears. Thank you Thank you……I’m a Survivor …but its time to Live instead of just survive!

    • Amen girl! Jesus did not die on the cross so we could play survivor. He came that we might have life and have it abundantly! Freedom is ours sweet sister…Thank you Lord!

  31. This study is bringing things out of my past that need to be turned into beauty so I know that God is at work. God knows where He is taking me and what hurts and fears that I cannot take with me into my future so I just want to Praise The Lord that He is helping me to have a faith that is stronger than all my fears.

  32. florence edeh says:

    I am so bless with this testimony and encourage too.Staphanie,more grace to the work.

  33. Wow! I felt as though God was speaking directly to me through this woman’s testimony. I was diagnosed with cancer 5 years ago, and God showered me with such mercy and grace through treatment, but I have so struggled since the treatment ended. Like the woman in the testimony- I had such expectations of wonderful things coming forth from that struggle and it ended up being so hard- hard on my marriage, and other relationships, including my realtionship with God. I developed a hard heart and a “grin-and-bear-it” attitude and it has lead to much despair and isolation throughout the past few years. But, now… now I sense God calling me to take off my grave clothes, and breathing life back into me. This literally brought me to tears, thank you so much for sharing this testimony. God bless.

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