Stuck in the Ashes


When you become defined by your hurt, your heart becomes fertile ground for bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness. Do not become defined by what has happened to you.

Stuck in the ashes
Of guilt and shame.
I try to grip the earth below me
But for miles all I can see,
Are ashes and dust all around me
They dissipate beneath my feet
Leaving me unsteady
Engulfing me in a sea of grey confetti. -Leilani Glassmyer

I am a survivor of childhood abuse, which led to ongoing abuse into my adult years. At times that's been hard to say as it tends to come with a stigma attached to it: a stigma of being damaged goods, of being disgusting, or of somehow allowing it to have happened. Though I have always been open about my life and my testimony, there have been times when I've felt ashamed of it. 

God has opened my eyes to the fact that many have been through and are still going through abuse.  It could be one event that has left you in shambles even years after or in continued abuse.  It could be sexual, physical or emotional abuse suffered and endured for many years, but because of it you have felt like you could never be the same again. 

As much as it may be publicized in the media, it is still a taboo when it comes to many individuals.  It is heavy on my heart as there have been many times in my life where it felt like it takes everything I've got to stay afloat in this sea of ashes.

What are ashes?

The remains of something destroyed; ruins.

That “something” destroyed could be many things;

Your innocence or childhood

Your body, heart or mind

Your ability to trust or love

Your security or safety

Your past

“And provide for those who grieve in Zion-- 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

Steps to help you get out of the ashes:

1. Do not become defined by what has happened to you.  You are not what someone did to you.  When you become defined by your hurt, your heart becomes fertile ground for bitterness, anger and unforgiveness.

2. God CAN and WILL pull you from the ashes (if you allow and commit yourself/your healing to Him)

“God wants you to be delivered from what you have done and from what has been done to you - Both are equally important to Him.”-Joyce Meyer

3. SPEAK.  Share your story and testimony.  You have no idea how liberating it is to not be bound by secrets, but instead sharing what you have endured to help and inspire others.  Others need to hear your story to help them to get out of the ashes!

4. FORGIVE.  The most difficult thing you can do, but necessary is to forgive.  Believe me I know how terribly difficult this is and it will be an ongoing process.  Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”-Luke 23:34

“Forgiveness is not always easy. At times, it feels more painful than the wound we suffered, to forgive the one that inflicted it. And yet, there is no peace without forgiveness.” - Marianne Williamson
"Of one thing I am perfectly sure: God's story never ends with 'ashes.'" -Elisabeth Elliot

The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE(7233)

Written by Leilani Glassmyer

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