I Now can move through everyday life and use specific tools I need for each circumstance
Because of my ministry time with Discovering MErcy, I can now recognize patterns in my own emotions and behaviors in a way that does not heap shame and guilt on myself. I get to experience life and actually enjoy life, something that was so foreign to me.
What's different about ministry with Discovering MErcy versus other places I've tried the ministry I have received from Discovering MErcy changes something, I don’t even know what, on the inside. While my outward goals were always to “stop this or start that” suddenly I would realize one day, “Hey, I haven’t done that in a long time!” without any conscience effort to change.
I think the huge differences are:
1. I've learned my bad behaviors are not linked to “sin” but rather “indicators.” I was not told “stop this, do this.” Instead I was provided with framework to realize when I was reaching out towards poor behavior or bad coping mechanisms which gave me the freedom to check in with my heart and see what I truly needed. It allowed me to gift myself the freedom of choice when dysregulated.
2. It was recognized that someone that has been “removed” from self cannot feel or experience love, including the love of Christ. Feeling loved and not alone is a concept I never could understand. I “knew” I was loved by God but I never “felt” it in my heart. Discovering MErcy understood that and didn’t explain it away.
3. Self-compassion is teaching me to love myself and be kind to myself. This is not the same as selfishness. Also allowing myself kindness is teaching me to experience what actual love does feel like, and how Christ must feel about me. My walls are too thick for people to help me feel loved. But self-compassion and understanding, (mercy rather than condemnation and shame) is slowly letting in a trickle of love.
4. It is not about dwelling on past trauma, even though I can discuss that as much as I want, it is instead about moving through everyday life and the specific tools I need for each circumstance.
5. Understanding that the “system” that I built of parts was built as a child to protect me. Parts are good, not bad, (not usually taught) and parts are certainly not demons. There is no casting out myself from myself! Instead there is an embracing that is taught to appreciate every single part and allow my parts to work together for my wellbeing rather than fighting or hiding from each other.
6. Solid theology and understanding of spiritual warfare that does not put me on the “demonized” list to be viewed as a danger or a threat to the happy little lives we see around us.
7. By learning that these people were on my side and that all my parts are on my side I am able to let down some of the defenses that I’ve operated in for most of my life. Yes, my defensiveness and ability to fight (internally and externally) allowed me to survive the things I had to survive. Those parts did a GREAT job keeping me alive. But now, they can step back a bit and relax because my life is no longer under siege.
8. No directives, No handling, No TELLING me what I think or feel. My voice is allowed to be my own and I feel so empowered knowing that I do not have to be a victim to every person and situation that I encounter. Framework to see things differently and from a perspective that brings hope was challenging but now I can help myself do that automatically.
Looking back on my healing, I can now see that somewhere along the way I started to have hope. The first few years I did not see that and stuck it out only because there was no one else that could help me. I am now 11 years in my process of working with Sharon and then Heather as well. I do not believe I would have withstood this long without the help I’ve received. Intelligence doesn’t “help”. Good behaviors/abstaining from bad behaviors doesn’t “help”. Education didn’t “help”. No, it is much deeper than that and I’m really thankful that they saw underneath the surface when not a single other professional could.
I would describe my faith in God as…growing. I’ve been a Christian since a very young age. I’ve always chosen to worship God and I’ve always known Jesus sacrificed himself for me to be free of sin. But until recently I did not know that I could have experienced love from God or actually not be trapped in a cycle of destruction. Now, rather than worshipping God because I know he is the one true God and I don’t have a choice – I worship because I am truly experiencing just a small fraction in my heart (the love) of what has been in my head all along (knowing about the love).
Painting a picture of who I was before I started ministry and after, looks like this:
1. I would “Check out” mentally before daunting physical demands knowing I was alone and no one else would help me.
2. I would stay in bed for hours just staring at the wall on weekends.
3. I believed no one could ever truly love me I was way too ugly inside.
4. I would tell myself my “story” in the mirror over and over and over to remind myself what I’ve been through and what I’ve endured.
5. I would lapse large amounts of time.
6. My relationships would inevitably fail when I would become hurt and not have the capacity to work it through.
7. I felt like I had the Dr Jekyll/Hyde kind of syndrome, and felt like a hypocrite. I was high-functioning and successful but turn equally dark and do things I found abhorrent like drugs or promiscuous behavior.
8. I was considered by family and friends to be extremely on guard and defensive.
9. I spent my time trying to function with nothing leftover for fun or hobbies.
10. I felt that reactions from others were deliberate and full of hatred. I was quickly offended and angered without looking below the surface.
1. I ask myself what I need to accomplish physical demands and partner with my parts AND people around me to get them done.
2. I can’t wait to get out of bed, sit outside, read, spend time with family/friends.
3. I know now that everyone has a process to deal with and love and accepting each other flaws and all makes relationships beautiful.
4. My time in the mirror now is actually doing fun beauty treatments, makeup experiments, hair styles. I no longer have to study my eyes for the pain in them.
5. Sometimes I still do things and do not remember them. Mainly when in defense-posture, my spouse tells me. But those have become dramatically less frequent over the years.
6. I’m learning when there is relational conflict to talk about it. To accept other people will hurt me and that is ok. I don’t have to run from them but I can choose how to resolve it or address it and move on in a way that is best for all involved.
7. Over the years the “Hyde” behaviors just kind of diminished. When I am dysregulated I reach for what I really need – not just for drugs or tools to “escape” it. I didn’t try to change this, it just happened as a part of self-awareness took effect.
8. Sometimes it is easy to slip in to being defensive, particularly as I do not stay “on guard” any longer. But realizing defensiveness is a form of shame is helping. Most family and friends now regard me as nonaggressive and willing to show my heart before my walls.
9. I've been on a journey of exploring my hobbies and creative sides. I now make time and have capacity to do something I enjoy or try something new.
Learn more about Getting Started with Discovering Mercy.
Discover How to Adopt a Heart like Pamela to continue her path in healing.