Coming Out of the Shadows

Have you ever felt the Lord nudging you to move, speak, share, or pray and you’re not quite sure what to do?  I have had this overwhelming feeling to stop what I was doing and share something about myself that not many people know about me this “something” has shaped who I am as a wife, mother,  daughter, sister, friend and  every other aspect of my life.

When I was about 9 years old I was sexually victimized by a family member (this went on for a number of years). Because of the trauma I experienced  I learned to  push my feelings down, if  I  had feelings, then I would have to deal with pain, so great I thought I would die if I uttered it to anyone, a hurt so deep I honestly didn’t believe it would ever heal. I carried this burden around like it was luggage or a souvenir, only I couldn’t escape this pain with a trip, a relationship, even after having my first child or getting married helped.  This would begin a life of not trusting people and relying only on myself,  I didn’t need anyone but I longed for  deeper relationships with those I loved but didn’t know how to get there.  I would only allow those around me to get to a certain point and then  I would put a barrier between us. What if they didn’t like me if they knew? What if they thought it was my fault? So I went through life pretty normally on the surface, but inside I was a scared, insecure child that wanted to be rescued from this pain.

I didn’t share my past with my husband until we were married for over 10 years. He was so sweet and loving but in over his head he didn’t know how to help me,  I was so angry , guarded and hell bent on keeping everybody out  including my husband. Living beyond the surface was too scary and since I couldn’t control how a person loved me I just kept them at arms length.

Shortly after I told my husband about my past my mom came to live with us, I tried to get it together for my mom by pretending I was okay and again stuffed my feelings.  One of my co-workers invited me to her church I knew church was very important to my mom so we began to go to church. I hadn’t gone to church regularly since I was a teen, I was angry with God I didn’t understand why he didn’t protect me. The more I came to church my real “feelings” would creep up,  memories began to flood back and I honestly thought if I didn’t tell someone I would totally loose it. I became a believer as did my then 9 year old daughter.  I  mistakenly thought I would be healed immediately and be done with all of this pain. (by this time I was carrying this baggage for over twenty years). The Lord began to soften my heart to be more open with my husband, God was freeing me  from this bondage that was slowly killing me. My husband  saw me changing and he wanted what I had, he couldn’t believe that I was letting him in and that I was beginning to heal.  He was saved a few months later, along with my stepson.

For the first time in my life I felt there was hope for me and I wasn’t damaged goods. I went to counseling through my church for many, many months. I remember one session the counselor told me as I shared my story how totally detached I was and that I had zero emotion sharing what happened to me. The thought of feeling, frightened me but  I had to embrace this pain so that I could move beyond it. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. I made peace with that little girl and  I now  knew  that God is real and He did love me and He was with me even in my darkest hour, even when I didn’t know him and didn’t want to know Him He was there!

I sought out women in the church to befriend which was so outside of my comfort zone, I was involved in small groups and ministry. Even when hard things happened I didn’t push those feelings aside I  embraced  them; I know that sounds crazy but when you have lived your life without really feeling anything, you’re just numb.  As I dove into my new relationship with the Lord He gave me more than salvation He gave me a special gift, a new desire to dream to not play it safe and trust Him. Most children growing up, dream to be an athlete, an actress, doctor or whatever I couldn’t  imagine being anything I just wanted to keep as far away from the pain as I could get. As the Lord continued to cradle me and heal my battered heart and rebuild me in my brokenness, the desire to dream kept coming but I was scared so I  pushed my dreams aside.

I have always had a heart for younger women to encourage, be a safe nonjudgmental confidant, something I really didn’t have.  This blog is  a part of me dreaming to be comfortable enough to  share.  I am purposefully sharing my life, because I know there are other women who have a stories like mine but are ashamed or scared.  That horrible secret kept me bound but sharing my testimony freed me! I am no longer shackled to my past and insecurities.  My life is far from perfect; but I know the One who is perfect He has healed my soul!  I am no longer in the shadows. Because of the pain I have experienced I have a tender spot for those that are overlooked, and under valued, unappreciated and wounded.  Luke 4:18 The Sprit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim freedom to the captives and recovery of sight the blind to set free the oppressed. (Jesus set me free) 

My blog with all  the self-care, makeup, reviews and all the other things I love about being a woman are apart of who I am and who many of you are. We can love our families, love the Lord but do we extend that same love and grace to ourselves? I can now say I love who God has made me.

Psalm 139:14-16 (MSG) Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God-you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration-what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing to something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all of the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day. 

What are your dreams? What is your why? Are you holding on to past hurts? ( loss of a child, financial woes, divorce, a wayward child, abuse, etc.) Are you living numb or just surviving? Are you living free?

Me at 7 years old

 

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20 Comments

  1. Your lifetime friend
    April 21, 2017 / 9:43 am

    Sooooo proud of you for releasing and sharing your testimony in this manner, on this platform. I know this is monumentally huge and I’m so happy for you!! #LiveLoveLaugh. It’s the best annointing…

    • Karen's Essentials
      April 21, 2017 / 1:34 pm

      Hey there! Thank you sissy for your encouragement and prayers! love you girl

  2. Janice Davis
    April 21, 2017 / 10:24 am

    My God niece you are a true blessing and I’m glad that our God is using you to help others. Thank you for this!!!! I’m a witness that God can set you Free!!!!!Love you to life!

    • Karen's Essentials
      April 21, 2017 / 1:35 pm

      Thank you that is my prayer that others will be encouraged and set free!

  3. Evie
    April 21, 2017 / 10:58 am

    Thank you so much for sharing your testimony, and allowing God to use you.

    • Karen's Essentials
      April 21, 2017 / 1:36 pm

      Thank you Evie for stopping by! It was all God I was just obedient! I am FREE! If you like what you see here on the blog please consider subscribing!

  4. April 21, 2017 / 2:32 pm

    This post moved me to tears..so heart-wrenching and beautiful at the same time. It is so amazing how God weaves a story together! And when I got to the part, your declaration (Jesus set me free!), my whole face smiled and my heart rejoices with you. I am one of the women you have helped to encourage. I was in a really different place when my oldest was born, and your reaching out to me is just something I will never, ever forget. Ever. And then with what my family has gone through lately, you reached out again. I am grateful. It is just such a blessing, Karen, to be used by God. You are a beautiful person and the love of the Father is all over you.

    • Karen's Essentials
      April 21, 2017 / 4:13 pm

      Stacie now you have me crying! Thank you so much for your encouraging words and your support!

  5. Joyce Riley
    April 21, 2017 / 6:24 pm

    What a blessing this is to me. Thank you girl for all that you do! My dream was to be married all my life and to grow old with the man I married at age 19 but after 32 years of marriage we got a divorce. That was the hardest thing for me, I was embarrassed, I was hurt, I was scared. Because all I knew was him, I depended on him for everything. So when this happened to me all I knew to do is call on Jesus to get me through this. I was bitter towards my ex-husband hoping that everything he did failed. When I Heard anything about him doing well I got mad at God asking him how could he bless a man that walked out on me. Long story short God was trying to get me to trust him, he wanted me to know that I was his source not my ex. God kept telling me to pray for him I couldn’t at first but when I started praying for him my heart changed. God took care of me, he provided for me and he changed me. I have peace and I’m free! I can now be in the same room with my ex and smile. I now know that being single doesn’t mean I can’t have joy. Joy comes from within and I now know the Joy of the Lord is my strength! To answer your question Neicy, I’m now living free!

    • Karen's Essentials
      April 21, 2017 / 6:39 pm

      AMEN!You are making me cry! Happy tears though joyful tears! WOW! LOOK AT GOD!

  6. Michele Walker
    April 22, 2017 / 8:58 am

    Karen- You have such a brave (and delivered), caring heart. Thank you for choosing to share and not staying in the shadows. You’re a testament to God’s healing power.

    • Karen's Essentials
      April 22, 2017 / 1:40 pm

      Hi Michele, thank you for taking the time to read my post I am humbled and amazed by the outpouring from my testimony you have no idea how encouraging this has been for me a liberation of sorts.

  7. Theresa
    April 22, 2017 / 1:00 pm

    Hey Beautiful! Thank you for sharing and being so transparent and “Coming out of the Shadows.” We don’t realize how much we may have in common with another sister until we have the courage to take the step share our story. Mine is very similar to yours, just a little different. After I got saved and had been saved for roughly 10 years, I really thought I was fine because I had told people what had happened in my past as well as my husband. I even faced that family member as well many times. I was telling myself that I was fine. I had spoke with a counselor about what had happened and I really thought I had let it all go . . . and I did to an extent. 10 years after salvation and about 2 years after marriage, God showed me just how much I had still needed to let go. My grandmother had died and I go a call from a family member saying that the family member (my perpetrator) wasn’t doing well with the news . . . so much so that they were on the brink of suicide. I ended up talking to them, crying with them, telling them that I forgave them (they knew what I was referring to) and low and behold during that conversation, I led them to Christ! What…crazy huh? That was the starting point for them walking a different path and God has truly done some great things in their life. Did I ever think I would be the one to lead them to Christ, Nope! But after a couple of years went by, they have grown deeper with the Lord and have said that was a pivotal point in their lives changing. They are in love with the Lord, which is wonderful to see. After some time and growth, that person came back to me and asked for forgiveness. Our God is great and we don’t know what we are capable of forgiving and I realize NO sin is exempt from God’s forgiveness. The devil was none to happy about that and you can ask my husband after all that that happened that night it was as though every dart of the enemy was turned towards me. But God is GREAT! Still working on some things, but I am confident that God is ABLE! And yes I am crying as I am writing this. (lol) Love you Sis!

    • Karen's Essentials
      April 22, 2017 / 1:46 pm

      Oh my goodness! What a testimony! As I was writing this post I was home alone and hadn’t shared with anyone what I was going to write about (didn’t have any plans of sharing my story) but the Lord was just pressing on my heart to share. Since sharing my story I have gotten emails and text messages some with similar stories or just coming from a place of pain. What I have learned from this that our suffering is not in vain we may be able to help someone else who is feeling alone or isolated and hopeless. Thank you for sharing your story!

      • Theresa
        April 22, 2017 / 4:36 pm

        Yes Ma’am!

  8. TB
    April 22, 2017 / 4:08 pm

    Hi Karen, I am so glad you shared your story. I believe I may have shared with you at one point my story which is similar. The sad thing about my story is I thought I was over it and I thought I had a breakthrough by seeking counseling, and trusting God, but I now see myself living in that dark pain when issues of Love, trust and faithfulness arise. I question myself all the time where am I and what am I doing……

  9. Valerie
    April 23, 2017 / 10:17 am

    Thank you Karen for letting God use you. Some people erroneously believe that God only uses those with clean, stain and pain free lives (they don’t exist!) to do His work. God wants us to BE His work. The enemy cannot hold shame, pain or guilt to blackmail us emotionally when we truly walk in the freedom we have in Christ. Freedom in Christ is trusting Him more than we care about what others think. It’s coming out of our comfort zones to share our story to help another seek the same comfort God has given to us (2 Corinthians 1:4) Keep on walking Karen! ❤️

    • Karen's Essentials
      April 23, 2017 / 1:40 pm

      Hey Val! AMEN my sister! Thank you for be so encouraging! If you like the blog please subscribe.

  10. Angela A.
    April 23, 2017 / 7:31 pm

    Beautiful!

    • Karen's Essentials
      April 24, 2017 / 8:49 am

      Hi Angela! Welcome thank you so much!

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