“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.” Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)
For years I have done something to deal with my past abuse and assaults which got me nowhere. I wanted to feel accepted and loved. I thought I was doing well. Making others happy. Instead I was only covering up and putting on the back burner what I really needed to deal with.
I love to give. It fills a place inside me when I give. For many years I thought this was a good thing. God said, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” So I figured how could I go wrong when God says it’s right.
However, I was going wrong; in so many ways.
When I gave to someone: cards, gift cards, needed money, special gifts, just because; I gave with a secret hope. A hope I would receive something in return. Their acceptance, their love, their friendship, their time, a gift back to me, or even just a card back to me showing they care too. It never worked.
I never received those things. It took me years of giving like this to realize what I was doing wrong.
First, for several years, I didn’t have the resources to be giving the way I was giving. God says to be good stewards of our money and I was going into debt at times to buy things for people just to get them to like me or show me their love and acceptance.
I felt they would think less of me if I didn’t give them things, yet they gave me nothing in return, most of the time, so my thought process was messed up.
Giving was a way I grew up thinking was how you show love. Gifts abounded in my childhood and teenage years. If I won an award or did a good job on my report card it was a gift or money given to me, instead of the simple love I so much desired.
I learned my habits from this time, and I thought it was how you show love. I also was using giving to avoid recognizing in myself what I needed to deal with about my past. The abuse and assaults.
As long as I focused on others and doing things for them, then I didn’t have time to focus on dealing with the memories and horrible things coming up about my past. When I did focus on my past I would end up in the hospital I was so bad off because I didn’t know how to cope, because I wasn’t dealing with things when they came up. I was avoiding.
God does not want this for us. He does not want us to give or do out of obligation, or to gain love, friendship, favor, or to fill the void we have from our abuse. He wants us to give, but out of the true spirit of giving. He also longs for us to heal and get better.
Our wounds are open and bare. We need healing. We need His love. We need help from professionals to guide us in our healing.
We cannot gain it by giving so much to others we don’t focus on ourselves. Yes, we need to give, love, and help others. However, there is a limit. When it isn’t within our means, and we haven’t prayed about it with God, and we know deep down we are searching for something for us…it’s time to give to yourself and let God begin to heal.
We are in a time in our lives where we need to heal ourselves so we can then go out and help and give more of ourselves to others. We are broken, yet beautiful to God right now.
I learned I needed to do this and began taking time to deal with issues coming up from my past. I now spend hours out of my day using resources I have been taught to use to deal with memories and the past resurfacing. I have learned ways to cope from my therapist, keeping me out of the hospital.
God longs for you to begin to heal too. To give to us something we need. He wants to give us something to begin to heal our wounds. He wants to give us beauty for the ashes of our lives.
“…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes…” Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)
We need to allow God to be the giver to us. Giving to others when He directs us to. Not to cover our pain, but to give in the spirit of giving. This is a lesson I need to learn.
Will you allow God to give to you instead of hiding your grief and past in giving to others?
Will you allow God to give you beauty for your ashes?
It is so much easier to focus on others and get lost in what seems right and good, and forget about dealing with what I need to do to heal myself. I have so many open wounds and I long for all of them to heal at once. I need you to help me be patient with the healing process and help me accept your beauty for my ashes as I continue this journey to recovery.
© 2018 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.