Abuse is a powerful weapon; destroying its victim’s sense of value and robbing their voice. Years of ongoing physical, emotional, and sexual abuse had reduced Bonnie’s voice to a mere whisper.
In this episode of “Becoming Whole,” we are honored to let Bonnie use her voice to tell her story.
The fact that Bonnie would sit at a microphone to share with you reveals the triumph of her healing. Her words are transparent revealing a beautiful honesty with God even through the details of her abuse.
And while she’s experienced healing, Bonnie is still doing the work with her Regeneration Ministries counselor, Anne Donahue.
This conversation is a unique opportunity to hear from both counselor and client; how their partnership of Spiritual Coaching and prayer operates.
Hearing Bonnie tell her story, Anne affirm and encourage Bonnie, and hearing the Lord through it all is tender and powerful.
Light a candle. Invite Jesus to listen to Bonnie’s story with you. And, let Him tell you what He wants for you on this journey to “Becoming Whole.”
“Abuse is an invasion of our boundaries. It is an attack of our personhood. It usually happens when someone stronger than we are overpowers us physically, emotionally or sexually. It affects our value.”
I was told on a daily basis that I was never wanted
We don’t always realize we’re in such a hard situation until we share it with others or until we are freed from that situation
Retreat vs Repeat – do you see this coping mechanism in your life? Are you running away from pain and trauma? Or do you find yourself repeating the narrative you grew up with?
Journal – Try using this daily practice to record gratitude and to ask God the hard questions
Path through the Wilderness: Becoming Who You Were Meant to Be by Rev. Bob Ragan
Exodus 23:30 Little by little I will drive them out before you, until you have increased enough to take possession of the land.
Juanita Ryan – Guided Prayers to promote healing from childhood trauma
Click for Full Podcast Transcription
One of our staff members, Bob Reagan, in his wonderful workbook path of the wilderness writes this about abuse. He says, abuse is an invasion of our boundaries. It is an attack of our personhood. It usually happens when someone’s stronger than we are overpowers us physically, emotionally, or sexually. It affects our value. I think one of the things that we’ve all understood about abuse over the years is is the damage it can do to our our sense of identity and our sense of who we are and who we are not. And so, it’s a big part of what we do at regeneration. And today, we have a special gift gift for our listeners, Bonnie is one of our coaching clients who’s been walking with in Donahue on our team for a couple years now. And, and, and Bonnie’s just got a wonderful story. I mean, so much that’s happened both at regeneration in the gods done and other places in her life and, and she’s just as a desire to share with what God’s been doing. And we are excited to have her here to share with us. So today on the podcast, Bonnie and Kitt. And me, so we’re gonna, you’re in for a lot of voices, but I think you’ll be blessed. So Kitt, you’re gonna kind of lead us through the question. So why don’t I hand it off to you,
Mommy, I just want to welcome you and tell you how grateful we are that you’re here. You know, it takes a lot of courage to be willing to tell your story. And I know, as you said, before we started that you’re doing it to really bring honor to God. And that’s a beautiful thing. And so we trust that that’s going to happen, and just really are so grateful that you are willing to tell this story. So let me begin by just asking you to, you know, tell us a little bit about your story. Tell us a little bit about what you know, what is at the core of your story that you want to share today.
Thank you, thank you for having me today. I feel so honored to be able to share this story. So basically, I lived a life of abuse and had pockets of harmony in my life, but kind of live two different lives, so to speak, one where I was very functional and accomplished. And that’s what other people got to see. And then a second life that was marred with abuse, and kind of a hidden secret that I’ve carried, and shame. Because I was the youngest of five kids. And I grew up in a neighborhood a Catholic neighborhood, every family had six or more kids. So always an instant softball team, you just had to knock on a few doors. But anyway, we were very respected in the neighborhood. I went to church every time the doors were open. I love Jesus in my little Sunday school classes. I would memorize all my scripture. I was a really good student, always on a roll, excelled at sports, competed at the state level. And was a first generation college in my family. I worked my way through school, and after school just seemed like a great path, finished college, got a nice career, and went on to marry my college sweetheart, and had two beautiful children was very involved in their education, as I homeschooled participated in all of their events as a volunteer taught Sunday school helped coach sports teams and so forth. So on paper, I had this really great life. But this is a hidden part, the secret part was that being the last, in my family, the last born before the last three children were born, my brother had died. He was eight years old. And my parents never really recovered from that death. And so we lived under that shadow of death, so to speak over our family. And that same year that my brother died, my parents tried to have another child, they wanted to have a son, but they ended up with twin girls. And within a year of that time I was born. So kind of Irish triplets. And so never dealing with the grief and being overwhelmed by all these children and not replacing a son. That’s the story. I was told pretty much on a daily basis that I was never wanted, you know who has twins and then another baby. And so I really grew up not really bonding with my mom, my sisters more or less took care of me. And I just I never felt wanted as a matter of fact, side note when I was 52 my mom called me one day out of the blue and told me you know what, I really grew to love you. And it stung a little but I was in a healthy spot to kind of ask why. And she said well you were so different from other your sisters and you know you really weren’t planned and this and that but I thought to myself how many of us has moms are in love with that baby before that babies been born, the minute we find out that we’re pregnant. And so that kind of just helped summarize where my standing was. But in our home, there were no boundaries. I was physically, emotionally and sexually abused. And often on a daily basis. Mostly what I remember consistently throughout childhood and into adulthood was the physical abuse, you know, because I had, so to speak the scars to bear. I remember one time my mom was mad at me, and she pushed me down a flight of stairs, I landed on the basement floor and concrete. Another time, I had a long shag. That’s how popular those were back then, when I was a kid, my mom hated it, it went all the way down to my waist, and I cut through the kitchen one day, and she just grabbed me by the back of the hair, and I cut it all off. And then the sexual abuse was kind of in glimpses, we know that the brain is so powerful that for children to survive childhood, they repress those memories. So I would have bits and pieces of those memories, and then in an adulthood, and they became full blown. And I know we’re going to discuss that in a little bit. So the emotional boundaries were difficult, because I was constantly called names by my mother. And so that kind of gave permission for my siblings to join in. So basically, I never felt safe, whether I was at home, or in people’s homes, and so forth, I just really lived my life not feeling safe.
Honey, that is a lot of pain, a lot of brokenness that you’ve endured, and also just a tremendous amount of self awareness and understanding. So clearly, you’ve done a lot of work and prayer. And, you know, to get to the place where you are, do you want to share a little bit about some of the avenues of health that you did seek out that brought you to this place of some insights and understanding even though the pain still there, how you kind of, you know, sought out help?
Yeah, I’m happy to share that. So initially, when I first moved out of my parents home about age 22, I had a roommate, and we shared an apartment together. And I realized that I had different patterns or lived differently than other people. As a result of the abuse. I remember one evening, my roommate came home from work. And she said to me, why are you sitting on the floor? Why aren’t you sitting on the sofa. And it occurred to me that because I was an athlete, and I was always dirty and sweaty, I was never allowed to sit on the living room furniture. And I really didn’t connect the two. But even when I had my own place, I would sit on the floor. So I started to go to counseling at about age 22. And really uncovered a lot of the physical and emotional type of abuses and meet some really strong ground and, and healing. I had also one of the ways that I coped growing up, I shared that I was a competitive athlete, so I exercised all the time literally running from something right. As well as I had an eating disorder in middle school, I was anorexic. And but that kept me from being able to engage in my sports because I was so hungry and weak. So I became what you would consider an exercise bulimic, where you would just exercise for hours. And so I got help for that as well. Then, when I did get married at age 26, I realized I had repeated patterns. Little by little as the marriage unfolded, I realized I was in an abusive relationship, I kind of had some strength and some healing from abuse from age 22 to 26. And then I get married to kind of repeat those patterns. So I did seek avenues, while married as well, individually and as a couple. And although there would be times of growth, sometimes being in an abusive situation, it just kind of outweighs kind of two steps forward, one step backwards, and so forth. So eventually, the marriage ended, I needed to get out of that situation and protect my children, but God was good. And, and then in my adulthood, following my divorce, I did seek other avenues, as well.
So it’s interesting that you make that observation, you know, that you went back to what was familiar, even though it you know, when we are brought up in a environment of dysfunction and abuse, it’s interesting that we return to the familiar even when it’s not good for us, until we receive some healing, which clearly you are now.
And I think, Bonnie, I mean, you highlighted a couple things, I think that are are you actually lived out both sides of that there’s the tendency with abuse, on the one hand to to retreat or run from Our past and you talked about your, your, your athleticism being a form of running away trying to run away from some of the things you’ve been through, or the repeats. So the retreat of the repeat is the is the kind of the pattern or the unit when we toggle back and forth as we seek to kind of, in some unconscious way reckoned with the abuse that we’ve experienced the past the wounds that we’ve walked through.
I also hear Bonnie, you know, with pain, your ability to still reach out for help. And that’s woven throughout your entire story is is suffering and pain, and then a small voice that still reaches out for help. And says, I’m going to go to counseling, I’m going to seek out somebody to help me even though your voice was faint, I can still hear it.
Thank you, that reminds me is all three of you had shared there. And I so appreciate the words of encouragement. I asked God one time, why why did you not give up on me, so to speak. And he reminded me that as a little girl, I sang Jesus loved me all the time, through my tears when I would cry myself to sleep at night, while I was raising children, I made every decision I made for them in prayer. So it’s also an indication that God uses you almost despite yourself, so to speak. And and I’m so grateful, I think we also don’t always realize we’re in such a hard situation until we share it with others, or until we are kind of freed from that situation almost looking backwards, so to speak. And so I feel so blessed. One place that that my journey took me that following my divorce with just the pain and scrambling to be I was a state of a mom who had been homeschooled, and now children are being enrolled in school and I’m finding a job and so forth. Just being immersed in that I did have a time a phone away from God, a few years I spent, not going to church not praying, and just kind of being out there living my own life. And I dated some that I should have never dated with all that that entails. I spent time with friends that probably were not a good influence on me, again, looking for love and in the wrong places, so to speak, and affirmation. But even God has restored that just as you said and just kept with me even though that voice was so faint. That my cry for help. And so I’m so grateful for what God has done.
So Bonnnie. I think if I remember right, that it was about that time, when your life was kind of spiraling out of control, in some of the ways you just described, that you reached out to regeneration. Can you talk to us a little bit about how that happened? And what that was like for you?
Oh, absolutely. So it kind of happened. This this healing, if you will, and the strong me back to God happened in two stages I had, I want to say secular counseling, I guess if that’s what you call it, you know, through your healthcare. And then my second phase was to reach out to regeneration. And if I could just step back a second, oh, man, I share sort of the rock bottom that brought me back in this same time where I’m healing from a divorce, making sure my kids are doing well in their journeys and coming back to God. I was out of control though, in I believe these repressed memories of the sexual abuse were trying to come to the surface. And so I stayed super busy. I work two full time jobs, one as an educator, and one as a personal trainer slash group fitness. And I was that job, the full time job was completely physical. So actually involved in exercise probably 25 to 30 hours a week. So my coping skill, and then the teaching and I was not sleeping maybe three or four hours a night trying to keep up keep up with both jobs. And meanwhile, My children are having their own personal issues. My house was broken into my car was stolen, just so many things happened at one time. So what do I do? I do what I know best, I kept staying even more busy if that’s possible. And so essentially, I had a nervous breakdown, maybe not in the mind, but more of the body, my you know, systems in my body, so to speak, started to shut down and I was going through a series of testing many doctors to try to figure out if I had rare diseases, things we’ve never heard of. Finally, the doctor said, Bonnie, I know you, you got to stop. You’ve got to slow down. You got to stop So I had to stop exercising completely. So not only did I lose a third of my income, but I didn’t know who I was, I always identified as an athlete. My whole life. That was my identity. I didn’t have an identity separate from my sisters. I didn’t have any boundaries, but the athlete was my own thing, the athletics and so it became a surrendering to God, rather than fighting it. I said, Okay, God, I read every verse I could find on healing, prayed to God, and I was experienced this wonderful physical healing, while I was going to counseling through my health insurance and got lots of great advice, but not necessarily spiritual advice, advice that regeneration offers. But really got back into church back into regular prayer and Bible study and saw just a tremendous healing physical, but we know God works on the inside, too. And so that became important. So how regeneration steps in I was so so blessed, Josh, was a guest speaker at my church. And I’ll never forget, it was a Saturday day evening. And he comes to the pulpit, with a rock in one hand, just a size that would fit in his palm, and a cinder block bigger than a brick, a cinder block on the shoulder. And Josh, how you spoke for an hour holding that I do not know. But
I didn’t hold it for the whole hour.
You’re strong. But the topic was on forgiveness. And and I remember it went something like this not to put words in your mouth. But you said you know, as members of the body of Christ, we need to always be forgiving and extended forgiveness. But what we often do is extend a rock sighs amount of forgiveness. That’s all we’re willing to do, rather than extending the cinderblock size, that’s called for. And mind you, in my own way. I was praying and seeking God. And when I heard this, I said to God, right there in my seat. But I have forgiven a cinderblock. Because Because part of the healing for my physical is that I asked God to search my heart, anybody I had to forgive any ties I had that were not godly, and so spent a lot of prayer. And so I knew I had forgiven a cinderblock size. But then I felt like the Holy Spirit said to me, oh, but what happened to you is a boulder. And I saw in my mind’s eye, the tip of an iceberg with such a big, big rock underneath the surface. And I realized that I didn’t fully understand the gravity of what had happened to me in childhood, and the abuse and so forth. And I spent the rest of that sermon crying. My friend next to me when we got up to leave, so you had a rain puddle under your feet. I wept. I really don’t remember the rest of your sermon because I think I was having a little healing and deliverance time, just one on one with the Lord there. But that was the catalyst to seek out regeneration. I didn’t call you all right away, a few weeks have gone by. And I want to admit that in those three weeks were probably some of the most painful times of my life. Because it was if the box the volt, in my mind had been opened, and all of these repressed childhood memories of sexual abuse had come to the surface rapid fire, but God prepared me I was ready the physical healing game. I was open to receive from the Lord. And then Josh really, the the sermon the the teaching that God placed on your heart was meant for me.
Gosh, Bonnie, I’m going to just touched me to hear that but I, what strikes me I think, just I got chills as you’re sharing the good kind of chills is God does not. He doesn’t settle. I mean, I think so often in Christianity, we can struggle with, you know, we want things to be done, and in our own pain, our own fear. And maybe even our own own doubt it can, we can, and this is not me putting words in your mouth, just my observations of in my life and other people’s lives, we can kind of want to wrap up bolder size things that have happened to us as though they’re theirs. They’re smaller, they’re less significant. And, and oftentimes, I think even our own shame pushes us to do that. Like it’s, you know, it was my fault if I had been better if I had, you know, whatever. Or we or we excuse our abusers in a way and but what I what is beautiful about what God said to you, or revealed to you in that moment showed you in that with that iceberg picture of the boulders. He does not shirk away from the magnitude of what’s happened and he’s not afraid of it and and Because he loves us. So anyway, I just I’m not putting words to it very well. But there’s something really powerful in that, that that moves me. I’m really glad to hear it.
Amen. I totally agree, I think and to add to that, that God’s timing is perfect. And I love how you said that he’s not afraid to work into us with those big things where we just kind of want it over with, we want to keep it small, and so forth. But if I could add to that something God showed me, is I’m the type of person who wanted it done yesterday, you know, I just want to be healed and delivered and, and have that issue taken care of. And I remember one time I asked God during the the journey, let’s say that in art and sessions with Anand, and me that I had asked God one time, why, you know, this is taking so long, little by little, and he reminded me, and I think it’s an exodus, forgive me. But when the Israelites were told to go out and conquer the promised land, they were told to do it a little at a time. Because if they went in and took over the entire land that was promised to them, they would be taken over by the wild animals. And God said, little by little, this healing, so that you’re not overwhelmed. And God is faithful to show me those little pieces at a time. And he still is, even yesterday, he shouldn’t be something that my little area to work on and so forth. And you gotta just love that process and love how God works.
It’s very powerful, how you hear from God, Bonnie, how you, you know, you, you receive images, and you hear from him. It’s a very powerful part of your story. So let’s look, can we talk a little bit more about your experience with you having spiritual coaching with Anne, and how that continued to be, you know, a significant part of your healing journey?
Oh, absolutely. And I’m so grateful for you. And to all of you. I’m so grateful for this ministry. I can’t say that enough. I think I’ve said it four times already. But what what I really appreciate it, and I just so appreciate you. And I’m sensing that meeting kit and Josh getting to know you a little better is that the whole pace is God’s pace. And you’ve established this great place of peace and freedom and waiting on the Lord, there’s no hurry. And for somebody like me who you know, wants to just get out and run a sprint. It’s really been wonderful. regeneration is kind of like my happy place, if you will. But during this session that regeneration, we would light a candle to remind us that Jesus is present with us. And we would listen to a Parisian worship song, and pray and invite God into the session and really ask God, what do you want to show Bonnie today? What are some hard questions we need answers to and so forth. And we would move as God led us. And some of those sessions we asked God really hard questions. Where were you? Why did this happen? And every time God was so faithful to provide an answer, and sometimes kids, just like you said, God would show me a picture or drop in a truth into my spirit or a Bible verse and, and God was faithful to do that to and to, she would come up with a scripture, or be able to pull out of this wonderful bag of beautiful books that you carry a nice passage that just spoke into the situation, every single time without fail. And I was encouraged to journal and to pray and to sing and worship, in my own time to which I made that a practice. I still do it every morning. And I really found great comfort and help in the journaling as well. Some days, my journal would be God, why why or please help my kids Oh, Lord, and other days, the journaling is, Lord, I love you, you are the best, you are awesome. And then other times with the journaling, I get answers. I’ll be thinking about something and I’ll be writing and it makes sense as I’m writing, but it’s kind of not how I think. And so I know that God is using my ability to write which I’m grateful for. But one of the neat things that we did towards the beginning of our sessions when I first started is we were listening to I think it was a six part series of one eater Ryan and she’s developed this series that addresses childhood trauma to promote healing, and they were meditative pieces and guided prayer and teachings, so to speak. And one of the neatest things or the walkaway takeaway from that. Was that to look at yourself as this, I don’t want to say a victim. I don’t want to say a survivor. I want to say more than I conquerer of my childhood abuse, but to see yourself as kind of this three part or three, three people make up so to speak. I know I’m saying that wrong. I only hear one voice in my head, but we’re three parts. And one is that Wounded Child. And then the other, the other side is a compassionate self. And then a judgmental self. And the compassionate self pays attention to the triggers and, and figures out kind of how to love on that little Wounded Child inside of you. You know, what does that mean? Take a bubble bath today does that mean? You know skipped out on that meeting because you’re just not with it, you know, that kind of thing. But we tend to let the judgmental self take over. You shouldn’t do that. Don’t say that. Do this do that your dummy bla bla bla. And, you know from childhood, that judgmental self kept me safe. don’t stir waves because you don’t want to beatings Be quiet sit there be good and but why at my age, am I still listening to that voice so to speak. And so I learned to integrate the judgmental self started to creep in and allow the compassion itself to say, wait a minute, Bonnie, what’s going on here? What trigger? What do we need to address. And one of the beautiful things if I may share this journal or journey I should say that the again SPEAKING OF GOD moving us in small steps, that one of the things that one need to Ryan encouraged us to do in this journey is to remember the age and, or and that might have been you who told me to remember the age where I can first remember being abused. And I would say, you know, four or five, six years old. And so I found a picture of myself and I put it in a frame and in my little prayer area, I would look at this little girl, and through the prayer and meditation, just ask God to heal the hurts to show me where the hurts were. And I gotta tell you, that’s how can you not love a little five year old, you know, so that to me that part of the journey didn’t take so long, a lot of prayer, a lot of meditation, picturing Jesus spending time with this little girl. And I remember one time I like to kind of get on my face before God and I, I’m laying there and I’m praying, and God showed me to faceless parents, with the little girl in the middle who was me and we’re walking along and they picked me up in their hands and they swing me and I’m swinging and we’re playing. And I said thank you God. And I realized in that moment, God was showing me love. He was re parenting me, and just showing me what it would have looked like to have the love and care I should have had. Wow. Oh, thank you. So I was so grateful. And I have a silly sense of humor. I’m sure that helped me survive childhood too. And I know that God does. Because not long after that. I said thank you God for healing me, yay. And I’m thinking I’m all done. And God said, Oh, no, there is a year old inside of you. And I remember I stopped praying. And I said out loud. I hate her. And I’m telling you, I’m not gonna lose it now. But I just mourned this poor 13 year old adolescence, your your body’s changing. You don’t know who you are in the world, even the healthiest child. That’s 13. I hated her. She bore all that shame. And so I found a picture of 13 years old and that took a lot longer with the prayer and meditation and seeking God’s face. And I gotta tell you what, one day in prayer, I had forgotten about the faceless parents. And one day in prayer, I saw the faceless parents again. And they’re patting her on the back introducing her to friends very age appropriate for a 13 year old. We’re so proud of her. And I was humbled. I said Thank you, God. Thank you, God. So again, wanting everything done yesterday, I said, Thank you God for healing me. Yeah, I’m going on about my life. He said, No, no, no, no, no. There’s an infant that needed care. And you know, for that I really relied on the Holy Spirit to reveal those things. And so those next few weeks, and my sister helped fill in some gaps because she’s a few years older. I was able to piece together the neglect that this baby had me, not this baby me. And, but right away, I remembered the faceless parents. So in prayer, I said, God, please, please, please, please, please show me these faceless parents again, with this infant. Nothing God didn’t show me. And then all of a sudden, just like an old school slideshow. Image after image went through my head of me, caring for my children as infants. I was so humbled and so blown away that the creator of the universe affirmed me as a mother and as I remember when I share that with you, you said to me, God, in His grace allowed you to give to your own children, what you never received. And you know, that’s something no one can take from me. And I think that that’s the only thing in life that I’m aware of that I’m blessed. I’m blessed and, and so even as I have, I continue to have memories of abuse, or triggers or run into other life situations, because some of the toxic people in my life that I had to be careful with, I still have to interact with time and time again. And I have these places of healing, and memories and joys that God gave me to allow me to get through the next step to
Well, it’s a real quick, first of all, the deep dive that you are willing to take, I am still so proud of you. It’s such a deep dive that you you took, and God met you, day after day, session after session so and the compassionate self was weak when you first came, and how it grew to, to speak to the judgmental self and to the end to the wound itself in your life and how, as our compassion itself grows, how that can get louder, and speak stronger to those hurt parts of us. And I’m so grateful for, for the the movements of God in your in your life.
Amen. Thank you. Oh, and I can’t think of anyone else I wouldn’t have wanted to take that journey with. Thank you. Anne, thank you for your faithfulness to me. Each week
Bonnie, when a couple of things that just catch my eye, there’s so much that catches my attention. So it’s not fair to boil it down to things, but I’m thinking about people who are listening, and on is on a journey like this. Two things that I think are you do so well. One is, what do you think that sometimes when God speaks to us, it requires a level of have to borrow from kind of the way we approach movies, a willing suspension of disbelief, you know, there’s, I think that sometimes, you know, if somebody, like when you talk about the image after image of your, yourself as a mom, I think that there’s so many people who might see those things and say, well, that’s just me, I must be giving that because that’s too good to be true. And I think that those kinds of images, those kinds of responses from God, unlike abuse, he doesn’t force those upon us, he doesn’t make us receive that, you know, whether it’s the images of parents swinging you and delighting in you, or so I just, I think that’s such a huge and important step of, of faith to step into God’s grace in a way that the enemy would not want. That’s so important. And the other thing I just kind of noting, I love your unedited, unscripted kind of going after it with God, you know, like, even even as, you know, that I hate her, Oh, I hate her that, you know, to give God our, you know, to put it this way, our quote unquote, unchristian kind of responses to things or just what’s, you know, our, our head may know better. But what comes out of our hearts, I think that’s so important because it, it refuses to kind of accept that we we’d be whitewashed in the outside, but still, you know, filled with dead bones and the inside and so I think what you’re sharing with us is really modeling I think for all of us just the value of both the the transparency and brutal honesty with God and and the willing willingness to faithfully receive the good news he gets back. So anyway, I don’t want to hold this up for moving forward. But I do want to point those things out. Appreciate that.
Oh, I appreciate you for pointing those out. Because I you know, can sometimes just still see myself as this little kid trying to make it through the day each day. So wait for you to see it from a different point of eyes. I was really blessed me. I appreciate that.
So Bonnie, were our times coming to a close and I’m kind of sad about that, because it’s been very deeply inspiring to to hear from you. And one of the things you said in the beginning of your story was how you felt like you were living two lives, which is often what’s true of us when we’ve had abuse and dysfunction. We kind of live these two separate lives. But I would love for you to to end our time by sharing with us about how God has merged these two lives.
Thank you. Yes. So when an invited me to do the pot podcast, we’re probably a month or So to prepare and to think about it, and I had shared with my sister that I had this opportunity, and I have never shared my story in full like this before. And I said to my sister, it’s kind of like I’m two separate people, that one person that everybody gets to see who thinks I’m just this accomplished person, and super kind and friendly, and, you know, on my prayer team at church, and so forth, and then there’s this other person who keeps the secret of the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse, who’s always anxious and very guarded, and always feeling shame. And she said to me, that’s all you you are that person. That’s all of you. And I never heard it that way. And I mentioned that to end while we were preparing. And in her most gentle way, she said, what, how does God want you to reconcile that? So with this timeframe that we had to prepare, I continue to pray about that, Lord, show me. Well, one week again, back to a word picture, one week one.
So my sister said to me, that’s all you you’re that same person, all of that makes up you. And so I had shared that within while we were preparing for the podcast. And in her most gentle way. She said to me, how does God want you to reconcile that. So as preparing for the podcast, I started to pray about that God helped me reconcile these two lives, the one that I want people to see, and the other one that I’m hiding. And one day, in fact, the word pictures again, I’m in church, and I’m singing, praising and worshiping. And God showed me a quilt. And it had all those many squares of fabric in the quilt, like we do the six inch square six by six squares. And each piece represented a different part of my life. But they were loosely sewn together. So I’m seeing this quilt hung up with just inches of exposed thread between the squares. And so it occurred to me much like my mom, I was really rejecting part of me, so to speak, I didn’t want to be marred by abuse and shame. And at the same time, I always walked around in life saying, if you would only know if you would only know kind of screaming that at the top of my lungs, but inside my head, so to speak. So I said, Okay, God, just show me what does this mean? How do I reconcile? I was a little more polite than that. Please, God Show me. How do I reconcile these two lives because you’re clearly showing me this quilt with all those pieces Good, bad and ugly, so to speak. Well, then all of a sudden, God showed me the quilt being mended. In between those six inch by six inch squares. God was adding strips of one inch fabric. So some of the strips were placed between the squares. And then others ran the length and the width of the quilt to hold those squares in place to finish the quilt design, so to speak. And the the quilt was held nicely, perfectly together, no exposed threads. So I kind of asked God, what was those one inch strips? What did that mean? And I got was showing me that he’s making me whole he’s completing the work, making my life story beautiful. And that in reality, it’s my story, but really his story of redemption and one of love, and one of healing. Wow. Thank you for letting me share.
That’s beautiful Bonnie. Thank you so much. It and it’s it’s fun for me to hear Bonnie share too. Because, you know, as we do coaching here, we have so many different personalities and different ways that people on our staff do coaching and so it’s kind of neat to get a glimpse into some of what she experienced with you too. So Bonnie, thank you so much. And thank you for I know that there’s so so so much more to your story than that and you had I’m sure leave a lot on the on the editing room floor of things that were really important and part of the journey and I know you’re still in the journey as we all are So Kit, maybe you could just wrap us up with a prayer for Bonnie and maybe a prayer for those who are listening, and then we’ll conclude.
Oh, God, I thank you so much for Bonnie, her spirit, her fighting, gentle, tender, loving, powerful spirit that you have blessed her with. And thank you for her sharing her heart today. I know, Lord, that there are people who are going to listen to this, and are going to be ministered to. And so thank you for the power of her story. Thank you for her courage. And I pray, Lord, that she would continue to feel your presence, your arms around her, she’ll continue to receive these images of strength and love and beauty in her life. And so we just pray a blessing over her. And Lord, thank you for the ways that you do this in our lives if we seek you, Lord, if we trust you, if we lean into the way Bonnie, did you do these things in your power and your love and your glory? So we praise you today, Jesus and thank you. Amen. Amen.
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Original music by Shannon Smith. Audio engineering by Gabriel @ DelMar Sound Recording.
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