My first memory of something being inconsistent in my home was probably around age four or five. I took a big gulp from a leftover kids cup in the fridge and came to a quick and bitter realization that it was not apple juice. It was the first time I remember being exposed to the sad truth of what was happening behind the smokescreen that was our life.
The pieces came together slowly for me as a child, not quite being able to name it, but aware something was vastly off; Looking back at old pictures I see a sweet, innocent and care-free spirit of the three, four and five year old version of me. That version of Lily is clueless and jolly; Social and energetic. But somewhere conditions deviated. Though I can’t recollect my age, it took place around the time I voiced my concern and questioned what was going on.
It happened when, as a little girl asking the innocent questions of “Why are you doing this? Why don’t you stop? Why are you so sad?” was faced with the painful and accusatory rebuttal:
“Maybe one day you can love me for who I am.”
It was the seed planted, the beginning of torment and the start of what would be decades believing and owning the lie that I was the problem.
One day you’ll be thankful for what you have.
One day you’ll see what I did do for you.
One day you’ll see the things I bought you.
One day you’ll…..
One day you...
One day you’ll see… that you and your words and your feelings were the problem.
I’m not sure what was more detrimental in my life - the actual emotional and verbal abuse, or the manipulation and twisting of truth to make me believe it was my fault and my burden to keep it hidden.
I stayed living under the lie that I was the problem and that my words, my voice, my opinions, my feelings were all utterly terrible. There was a hand placed over my mouth and my voice for 25 years; and even worse than believing the lie, I believed my life and my story had to remain hidden. I believed I had nothing to offer.
For anyone who has found themselves in an abusive relationship, or maybe you’re there now, you know all too well that blame is the number one tactic from the abuser. The abuser will go at great lengths to deflect and shift the focus in an effort to hide the lie.
However, the more consuming and severe reality for all of us, is that blame is the number one tactic from our accuser. We are all in a battle with one who comes to steal, kill and destroy(1) and our fight is not against flesh and blood (2). In fact, when Paul is telling the believers to guard and protect themselves against this spiritual battle, do you know what he starts with? He starts with the belt of truth(3). And our accuser knows all too well; he plants a seed and twists that truth, and then tells us to keep it hidden. He attempts to shift our focus and draw our attention away from this very thing that God is saying to put on.
The temptation therein lurks in the darkness. The lie that I have nothing to offer, the lie that I must keep silent, and the lie that says I must remain hidden prevents us from moving forward and putting on truth. However, Jesus and His sacrificial life, the words of His testimony and the Word recorded for all of time speaks otherwise. While it is true that love covers a multitude of sins (4), and love keeps no records of wrongs (5), it is also equally true that love protects (6) and rejoices in truth (7). Holding on to someone else’s choices, taking blame, and owning their shame and accusation isn’t protection and isn’t rejoicing in truth. It is not honoring. It is bowing down to the king of lies and believing what he has to say about you instead of what God himself has to say about you which, involves knowing and walking in TRUTH.
When we expose the sin, it becomes redeemable (8).
When we expose the hurt, it becomes healable (9).
When we expose the lie, He can replace it with truth (10).
When we are willing to accept truth, He brings freedom (11).
Job in his honest laments and outpouring refers to God as one who sets the lowly on high (12). We see a similar acknowledgment from David in Psalm 3:3, in which he refers to God as the shield around him, the one who lifts his head high also. During a recent teaching I learned that another word for lowly or downcast is the word shame. In these honest conversations with God we are seeing a sweet trait of the Lord in which he is intentionally bending down towards those being attacked, accused, tormented and abused; those who are covered in shame whether from another person directly or from the guilt and condemnation their choices have brought upon them, and lifting their precious heads. And when our heads are lifted and we choose to walk in the light, whether from our own sin or someone else’s, there is room to work with and freedom to be had. Don’t you see? The lies and manipulating of truth are what bring us shame. A wonderful and relatively well-known Bible teacher once coined the phrase, “doubt, fear, shame and blame are all part of satan’s stupid game.” (13) Oh, what truth it is! If that “thing” you’re holding onto is rooted in doubt, it’s not from Him. If fear and shame are keeping you hidden, lift up your gaze. If your mind is being flooded with blame and accusation, take heart! He longs to redeem what the accuser has attempted to destroy.
So many of us have been duped into believing a lie and are held in a hopeless form of bondage, feeling there is no way to look but down. But God actually says to the abused and to the accused: There is Hope! (14)
One of the more painful realities I’ve had to come to terms with is that while my shame and bondage come from a lie I was fed at an early age, the one who is hurting and abusing others is facing a different type of shame. The truth is that hurt people hurt people. Unhealed people go on living an unhealed life. Abused people go on abusing people. And to be honest, I have hurt a lot of people out of my own shame and hurt. Not on purpose or intentionally - I just wanted to be wanted. I wanted to be chosen. But God picked up my mess, brokenness and my longing to be desired and showed me that I am chosen. I am loved. I am longed for. He is safe. My voice and my heart are created by him and he loves them. My brokenness can be mended. Were it not for him, my life resembles one who abuses and accuses. Were it not for the cross, my path to healing and redemption do not exist.
Is there a lie that has been spoken over your life? A lie that started with just a little deviation from the truth? A lie you’ve claimed as yours to hide and bare alone?
Dear ones, the liar says Be quiet. Keep hidden. It’s not so bad. You aren’t worth being heard.
But the Redeemer says speak up, child. Walk in truth (15). My ways are good (16). You are worth it all (17).
John 10:10 ESV
Ephesians 6:12 ESV
Esphesians 6:14 ESV
1 Peter 4:8 ESV
1 Corinthians 13:5 ESV
1 Corinthians 13:7 ESV
1 Corinthians 13:6 ESV
Ephesians 5:13-14 ESV
Matthew 11:28-30 ESV
John 17:17 ESV
John 8:32 ESV
Job 5:11 ESV
Breaking Free, Beth Moore, Living Proof Ministries
Jeremiah 17:7-8 ESV
John 3:14 ESV
Psalm 18:30 ESV
John 3:16 ESV
Co-Writer for The Hybrid Home, Lily is originally from North Carolina where she met Amanda Tovey, the other half of the “hybrid.” She currently resides in the northern suburbs of Chicago where she homeschools her four boys and partners in ministry with her college sweetheart, Billy. She is passionate about childhood education, discipleship, and equipping & encouraging women in whatever season they find themselves in.