Memories

As my eyes popped open this morning, I had a thousand thoughts come rushing at me.  It was as if a dam had just been broken, and the flooding waters of pent up thoughts had broken free to be analyzed.  I’m so thankful they didn’t haunt me during the night. I was able to sleep undisturbed for the first time in almost a week.  This morning I write.  I pour out these thoughts so that I can find peace in my day, and enjoy precious time with my loved ones.

Many years ago my daddy owned an Amoco food shop and car wash that sat right off I75 in Michigan. As you exited the freeway if you turned one way there stood the Detroit Truck Stop, and if you turned the other there stood our Amoco.  I grew up in that store.  In the late seventies, it was a full-service station.  Daddy and his brothers worked on automobiles and fully serviced gasoline.  I played in the garage and pestered the workers as a small little girl would.  My older brother and I would play with the hoist, laughing as we’d raise each other up, and bring each other down.  Those were happy times.

In the mid-eighties, the old service station was torn down leaving a brand new convenience store in its place.  I remember the excitement, yet the sadness of ending one chapter and beginning another.  When I was thirteen I’d ran up a high telephone bill, so my daddy handed me a brush and bucket.  He made me scrub every tire and lower panel of each car that came through to be washed.  If you have ever been to Michigan you will understand that in the winter this is gruesome.  Mucky salt sludge on the bottoms of each car, oh that wasn’t fun.  I worked every day after school to pay off my phone bill.  I loved working so much that daddy just kept me on the payroll.  I worked hard every day, and when I became old enough to handle the responsibility of the register and tending the store, I was trained.  I loved meeting the many people who were traveling from Florida to Canada, and Canada to Florida.  We had so many new faces every day, but I found joy in meeting them.  During those years this was my freedom from dealing with the abuse, and the horrific things that were happening to me.  This was truly my happy place.  I loved the week long training session my friend and co-worker and I went to.  We learned a brand new register system, that in the late eighties was considered high tech.  Our store was beyond busy.  We only worked six-hour shifts because of the high volume of sales.  This kept the employees from becoming overly stressed.

One powerful memory that dad and I reflect on often is in the late eightees we had all of our employees quit at the same time leaving just dad and I.  We tag teamed to keep our store open.  I would go home and sleep a couple of hours, dad would come and relieve me, then I’d come back and work a double shift.  Dad and I barely slept those few weeks while he trained new employees.  This is where I gained the strongest part of my work ethic today.  I learned so much during those few weeks, the struggles and pains of trying to keep a business going, but not only going but solid and strong.  We did.  Dad always commends me on this.  Even though it was hard, I would do it all over again.

I’d do it all over again because I could escape.  I could get away from the horrible things that were happening to me, and the memories of those that had already happened.  I was able to be strong even when I wasn’t.  I always say that working so hard during those years until I met my husband was my lifeline.  I was drowning, and no one around me could see it.  God did, and I know He placed everything in my path that I needed to get me to where I am today.  I am sure of that.  My testimony is raw but real.

What released the tidal wave of memories this morning?  The passing of an uncle.  When we lose people we love it causes memories to break free.  I remembered all the happy times that I’d spent with my cousins in their home.  He was a single father doing the best he could to raise his two children.  He always treated me as if I were the third child when I was there.  We had fun times filled with laughter.  My cousin found old photos of my mother and uncles during these years and then the held back memories were set free.  So here I am writing.  Remembering.  Aching.  Crying.

I don’t want to go back.  In the middle of those years were some of the most painful I’d ever endured, but if I could weed out those horrific years, and keep all the good ones I would.  I think this is what healing is.  When you can see how far God has brought you, and laugh at the good times, and then when you look at those painful years and the pain doesn’t overtake you, then you realize just how much God has done inside of you.  How when you share your story (testimony) with others it’s as if you are telling a story of someone else’s life, even though it was unmistakably yours.  This is why I share my story with others who have suffered abuse.  I will always be an advocate for abuse victims.  I will always be here to help them and encourage them in finding their way to healing and restoration.  This is my heart’s desire, and burning passion inside of me.

 

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Be Careful Little Heart

When God says it’s time to leave all that is familiar.  You must give up what is comfortable.  Letting go of friendships, relationships and people you once greatly admired.  This kind of detachment causes a painful ache in the heart.  Especially if you had been there a very long time.  The past year has been a new season of God plucking me up by the roots, removing the unnourishing soil, and planting my roots in new, deeper and organic soil.

I have never been very good at change.  I’ve been experiencing change quite often lately, and it still feels as if I’ve just stepped off a tilt a whirl.  Everything around me spinning even though I’m standing on stable ground.  I feel God drawing me into deeper intimacy.  I crave His presence more than any earthly food I’ve ever tasted, and I’m not satisfied until I’m in that spiritual realm where my heart is dancing with His.

I won’t lie and say that it isn’t painful to look back.  I know that God doesn’t want me to look back, but sometimes I see a comment on social media that just takes me back to a time when I was part of something very special.  Time changes things.  People change things.  Our season in a certain place and with certain people comes to a close.  This is such an important time to guard our heart because when we are hurting and God is changing things we can be open to so many things that aren’t a part of God’s perfect plan.

I know it is time to take all that God has taught me through those precious years, and move forward.  It is time to let go of the past, and allow God to use me right in this now season.  It’s not always easy.  I have to truly guard my heart by staying as close to the one who created my heart as I can.  He knows what is best for me, even if it’s not easy!

~The new journey continues…….

(c) Angie Counter *Beyond The Scars Ministries*

~*~ There is life beyond the scars ~*~

I Must Tell Jesus

This week in my studies I have noticed that most of what God is teaching me is coming to Him like a little child.  I think about my grandson.  When he wants to be held, he is never hesitant to crawl up in my lap for a cuddle.  He knows that my arms are always open.  When we were children we had less of a hesitation to be loved.  Life throws curve balls that leave us with gaping holes of hurt.  As people are more and more unaccepting, we begin to see God in that same mindset as well.  We feel that in order to go to Him with our problems we have to be perfect.  We get into this pattern of thinking that Jesus is expecting perfection, therefore it only leads to self rejection.  Others have rejected us, then we reject ourselves, therefore why wouldn’t Jesus reject us as well?

Jesus wants us to come to Him as a little child.  Letting go of all the lies the adversary has convinced us to be truth.  There are no restrictions for a longing heart.  Jesus wants to meet us where are, as we are.  He knows that we are not perfect.  We are going get angry, and sometimes lose our cool.  We are going to succumb to our flesh, because are flesh.  The important thing is not allow those failures to hinder us from coming back into the loving arms of our savior.  He doesn’t stop saving us at the cross, he saves us each and every day of our lives.  There isn’t a road block between us and his arms, and how often has the enemy convinced us there is.

It doesn’t matter what kind of house you own, or the make and year of your car.  When we were little children our friends were not chosen by how fancy their house was, or what kinds of clothes that they wore.  That came later as we followed the examples of the haughty adults in our lives.  When we are children we look at the heart, when we are adults we look at the flesh.  Sadly, we even judge our own selves by a set standard of what we should be.  This creates a barricade between us and that chair.  We won’t sit in that chair because we are not good enough.  We won’t sit in that chair because we have allowed ourselves to lose our child like love for Jesus to become tainted with worldly expectations.

We need to go back to our childlike love for Jesus.  Letting go of what holds us back.  Knowing that He sees us as good enough, even when we don’t see it in ourselves.

 

(c) Angie Counter *Beyond The Scars Ministries*

~*~ There is life beyond the scars ~*~

He Bore My Burdens For Me

     He bore my burden for me, he lifted my load, straightened the road at Calvary he set me free. The thorns on the crown were my hand me downs, the stripes on his back weren’t his own. Yes he died alone but now he lives own and he bore my burden for me…

     “Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows” Isaiah 53:4

Burden: a load, especially a heavy one.

What is your burden? What heavy load are you trying to bear on your own?  I know for me, there are a couple of weighty ones I’ve struggled with lately, and as I’ve been just spending time trying to let go of them, placing them into God’s more than capable hands, I’ve struggled with truly letting go.  It’s easy to say I’m going to let them go, and give them to God, but truly doing so isn’t easy for me.  A couple of years ago God gave me a powerful lesson that I came across while studying tonight:

Have you felt at times that you are walking in un-mapped territory on unsteady ground? I have felt like this over the past week, feeling like my emotions were so out of control I felt like they were in the clouds one minute and under my feet the next. God is so faithful to teach us during these highly emotional times, and I guess it’s just that we are so desperate for an answer from Him that we are more open to hear His voice out of our sheer desperate need. I felt like I was carrying a 100 pound weight on my heart, my stomach was tied in knots with tears that were constantly stinging my eyes. My heart was so heavy from trying to carry not only my own problems, but those of the ones that God has placed so close to me in my life. All day long when my heart would start to feel so heavy I couldn’t hold it in my body any longer I’d whisper, “Lord, it’s me and you!.

Midway through my workday, exhausted both mentally and spiritually, His sweet and calm voice stopped me in my tracks. “Angie, pray and release!” I froze, goosebumps spread from my head down to the tips of my toes. PRAY AND RELEASE! What a profound lesson. He then proceeded as he often does to tell me a story as example. He said, “If you are planting a garden, you plant the seed, cover the ground and wait. If you dig the seed up to keep looking at it to see if it is growing, the seed will die. You have to trust that when you plant the seed, that the rains from the heavens will nurture the seed, the soil of the earth will nourish the seed, and in its appointed time the seed will manifest its fruit or vegetation. The same is when you are praying to Me for an answer, plant your seed of prayer, and by faith know that as you cast your seed into the ground of faith, I will water and nourish this request, and in my own time, my own way I will bring it to pass. You have to pray to me, release it into my hands, then let go and let me work.”

What a powerful lesson from the Lord I learned this week. He is the one that carries our burdens, lightens our loads, because of his love for us, and our relationship with Him. Because of His journey to Calvary, we now have someone who takes our heavy burdens, works all things together for our good, as we then rest in the waiting. That’s not always easy to do, but Jesus is telling us today to Let go, and let Him handle whatever heavy loads we are trying to carry; give to him the heavy burdens we are trying to bear on our own. Today let us begin a new way of praying, PRAY AND RELEASE!

Heavenly Father, I ask that as each and every person that reads this they feel a new revelation of your desire for us to trust you completely. That we as your children come to realize that when we cast our prayer to you as seeds, by faith we are letting them go and trusting that you are all-powerful to nurture our need, bringing to the surface the manifestation the answer we so desperately planted. Father, you are so faithful and just, so ready to work on our behalf if only we will come to you in complete faith and trust. I pray that you touch the heart of each reader that reads this today, be to them what they need in their lives, as I thank you for each and every one of them as a blessing in my life’s journey. In the most wonderful and powerful name of Jesus I pray, ~Amen~

(c) Angie Counter *Beyond The Scars Ministries*