Since June 20 I have written over twenty thousand words (seven chapters) of a second book. When I began writing, my intent was to write slowly and take my time. I wasn't sure if this was a book I wanted to publish. And I really wasn't sure if this story would flow out of me or not. But friends have urged me to write this part of my history for years and I got inspired to take a stab at it. I thought I would probably know right away if it was going somewhere ... or going nowhere. And it has definitely turned out to be the former.

In the last few days, my writing has been a lot more driven. So much for taking it slow. I don't feel an urgency as far as publishing. I just find myself wanting to get on with it, get to the uplifting part of the story, and accomplish something positive with it.

When I finish each chapter, I feel emotionally drained. I keep asking myself how I lived this way for so many years. Just writing a fraction of the day to day events that were once my life brings me to tears and makes my heart pound out of my chest. There is definitely post traumatic stress. And next month will mark ten years since I left that life.

I had recurring nightmares for nine years. I have only had one or two since my ex-husband passed away last August. But the other night, I dreamed that John was lighting fireworks and burning down buildings all over town. And then he came home and told me (with fires blazing in the background) that he was leaving me. I don't think it's a coincidence. Maybe my subconscious mind combined the trauma of my past life with the Fourth of July fireworks. Thankfully, John and I have a wonderful marriage. We get along effortlessly and he is my very best friend. Waking up from my crazy dreams always brings such joy and relief.

As I wrote this morning, I made reference to some of the ways the abuse impacted my son when he was young. And when I finished the chapter, I was overwhelmed with the realization of what a miracle Danny is. Reading these events, one after the other, on the written page reminds me of how different the outcome might have easily been for both of us. God did not protect us from ever suffering the wounds of abuse, but He did protect us from many damaging effects. He blessed us with Rebecca and John. And He redeemed every bit of suffering, using all of it for our good.

Another thought I have had the last few days is how amazing God is in so many ways, but specifically the way He creates us with the traits and abilities for a specific role in His plan. He created me with an empathic heart, a desire to help others and a love of writing. And then He gave me a journey to write about; a testimony that could help other wounded people to break free from their own chains. The journey was long and hard. But so many times I remember thinking that I would be able to help someone else through their difficult challenges because of what I was going through. So many times that was the only redeeming quality I could imagine coming out of my circumstances. I didn't have the slightest clue how I would do that. But it was no mystery to God. And although I didn't always understand why He didn't come to my rescue much sooner, I trusted Him. I believed Romans 8:28 meant what it said. I clung to that promise in many dark days. And for the last ten years I have been seeing it come to pass in my life. I can't wait to get to that part of the book!

After I finished writing my seventh chapter, I was feeling the usual PTSD emotions. And I remembered that I hadn't listened to Danny's sermon from Sunday yet. I knew hearing my son preach would lift me up and bring tears of joy to replace the tears of sadness for those dark years. I went to the podcast and clicked on his sermon. Maybe I was just in the frame of mind to receive an extra blessing from his words. But I found this message to be especially meaningful. I am such a thankful mother that God protected my son from becoming an abuser as a result of the abuse he grew up in. The odds were much higher that he would become an abuser rather than a loving husband, father and pastor.

If you listen to the sermon, you'll understand why I call it The Katie Perry Sermon.

The Katie Perry Sermon (A Different Kind of Work)


Bonnie said…
Hi Shari....gosh I am so sorry you had that scarey experience with John. So glad you both are alright and you can even share it with us.

I actually used to believe that phrase...."God won't give you more than you can handle"....until my diagnosis. Then it became crystal clear that it was certainly not the case. It was quite a damaging belief because I kept wondering why in the world I couldn't keep my head above water during this crisis. I've had to re-learn that God is *still* good even when circumstances are bad, but that there will be pain and discomfort. I've decided that it must have been someones misinterpretation of Him never *leaving* us during the difficult times, which *is* true.

This false phrase reminded me of all the inappropriate things people have said to me when they learn I have cancer. Unbelievable. I'm sure you and John can relate.
Shari said…
Yes. However, I experienced that a lot more when my mom had terminal colon cancer. Much less with John's diagnosis. But there are lots of things in life that people cannot relate to unless they've walked a mile in your shoes. Cancer is certainly one!

Today is Dr. Flinn day. So my next post will be about how they are doing.

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