Lisa – 7 years old

What little girl doesn’t long to feel cherished?
We long to hear the words, “You are beautiful!”
We love to feel special and worthy of love.

From the time we are young, we dress like princesses.
We look to our Daddy to tell us we are his little princess.
We hope for the day that our Prince Charming will whisk us away.

From the beginning of creation, God looked upon man and said, 
“It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make a helper fit for him.”
And the man’s response to this woman God created?
“This at last is bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.”
He cherished her.
He loved her.
God created her to fill his loneliness.
And man was satisfied.

Some know my story, but many do not.
I have never written about it publicly but have told it privately.
I am a victim of sexual abuse.
I was only about 5 years old when it started.

Shawn (about 4) — and Lisa (about 5)

My own grandfather, who should have protected and cherished me, instead destroyed me.
His own fleshly desires led to violation.
Trust broken.
Shame gave way to insecurity.
Insecurity gave way to self-hate.

Try as I may to tell myself that I am beautiful and cherished, simply because I am a child of the King, at times, those words fall flat.
Insecurity takes over.
I look to the men in my life to tell me that I am beautiful, that I am a princess.
When those men fail, the lies creep in, and Satan fills my mind with his voice of destruction.
“You are worthless.  You will never succeed.  You are a failure.”

It’s a daily battle.
A battle against the deceiver of the whole universe.
A battle against the very gates of hell.

I know I can stand on the very words that King David penned of God.

“For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.”
Psalm 139:13-16

And yet, instead of looking to God and His deep love for me,
I look to the men in my life, especially my husband, to cherish me.
I look to people around me to tell me I’m wonderful.
And when they fail to do so, it wrecks me.
I start listening to the lies all over again.
I’m worthless.
No one will ever cherish me.

I often ask myself how I expect my husband to show that he cherishes me.
I’d be lying to say I don’t have expectations.
Date nights.
Romantic get-aways.
Telling me, daily, that I’m beautiful.

Even though my expectations may not be out of line,
they still put pressure on Steve to perform in a specific way.
Then when he does not.  Boom.
I’m crushed.  I’m devastated.
I feel unloved.

I’m certain that I’m not alone in this vicious cycle.
Yet I don’t know how to stop it.
I can get off for a bit, only to find myself right back on again.

I have to hold tight to the words Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 4

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.  We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies.
… So we do not lose heart.  Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day.  For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen.  For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”

Although the struggles I deal with do not feel like a “momentary affliction” I know they are.
And I must hold on to the conviction that one day … all will be made new.