“Janie was a short, petite woman about 40 years old with short dark hair. She was soft spoken and came across as a very kind person. Janie accompanied her daughter to the lesson and while the girl plunked out a tune on the piano, Janie asked, "Shawna, you told me that you write poetry. Would you be willing to share some of your poetry with me?’"
“I was pleased that she remembered and decided there had to be one or two poems that weren’t too revealing about my life, that I could read to her. I took her upstairs to my bedroom where I had been sorting through my poetry. There were several piles of printed poems spread out all over the floor. Janie quickly glanced around the room with a curious expression on her face and asked, ‘Did you write all of these poems?’”
“‘Why do so many of them have different names as authors?’”
“I was stunned. I felt like a rabbit caught in a trap. I had forgotten that the poems were written by different parts of me and that I had written the authors' names on some of them. Oh, why had I done this to myself? I was extremely embarrassed and didn't know what to say. How could I explain something as complex as DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) or MPD (Multiple Personality Disorder) without disclosing way too much? I was determined that I would not fully disclose to someone I hardly knew, so I said, ‘Some bad things happened to me when I was a young child and because I was so young, I created pretend friends, or parts of my personality to hold onto the memories for me and these “parts” wrote some of the poems.’”
“Janie seemed to take this in stride and said, ‘Oh, you mean like multiple personality? I know someone else who has “parts,” too.’”
“After she left, I wondered how she would react to me the next time we saw each other. Little did either of us know this awkward introduction to my private world would be the beginning of a very intense journey in which Janie would assume a role she could not have anticipated.” (The Silent Cries, pages 17-18)
Many of our blessings come in unanticipated ways. Sometimes we have pre-conceived notions of how God can bless us and if He blesses us in different ways, we don’t see God’s hand. God is much more free to bless us if we do not put boundaries or limits on the ways He can be involved in our lives. Try to trust that God does love you and wants to help you and then take notice when He does.
“Shortly before Dixie and her husband left on their mission, God reassured me that even though Dixie was leaving, more people would be sent to help me. Six weeks after their departure, I knew I was in desperate need of another support person. In fact, on March 2, 1994 I had prayed to the Lord and told him I was in trouble and needed more help and I asked, ‘Where are the people that are supposed to come?’ Little did I know that God already had a person in mind and that she had already been coming to my home."
* * *
“After my ‘Dixie Mom’ departed to become a missionary in Tonga, I was beyond inconsolable. Dixie had been the one person to whom my child parts had become attached. Her love, concern, and warm embrace had become a reliable pillar in my life, especially for the children within me. Following Dixie's departure, it became necessary to develop relationships with others who were willing to carry a very difficult load as my healing process continued, but my deep-set distrust of others created a continual challenge and God had to direct others to reach out to me.
“Within a week of my prayer asking God for more help, I was in my home listening to my daughter teach piano to a young neighbor girl. The girl's mother, Janie, was someone I didn’t know well but had spoken to on occasion when she brought her daughter to piano lessons. In fact, just a week earlier I told her that I had written some poetry.” (The Silent Cries, pages 15, 17)
Often we pray desperately for help from God, and when He sends aid, we don’t even recognize He has sent it. We are so wrapped up in our own problems that we don’t initially see His hand in our lives. Initially this was the case with me. I knew I needed help, but didn’t realize He had already sent someone. Perhaps it is important to not only pray for help, but to pray to recognize that assistance when it is sent. In what ways has God helped you?
“As a result of Dixie's departure, these troubled child parts who had gotten used to working through their pain with the help of a loving ‘mom,’ felt desperately alone again and re-traumatized.
“When Dixie and her husband had to return home due to health problems after only three months on their mission, parts were elated. However, Dixie had learned that she could no longer handle the physical and emotional stress associated with sympathetically re-living my ritual abuse. So our relationship had to change. As a result of that change I decided I was healed and no longer needed help from anyone. I even quit therapy and didn’t discover until months later that parts within had decided to keep their pain hidden away. Within a couple of months of the relationship change with Dixie, my pain was successfully obscured, and I was once again unable to cry and to feel the depths of my emotions, a condition similar to the way my healing journey had started.
“At first, I was disappointed in this setback because it seemed I was falling back into patterns of numbness that I had worked so hard to overcome. Soon, however, I concluded that I wasn't regressing after all; I was actually healed! . . . I mistook my lack of pain for the final resolution of a very long, painful process. I thought I was finally beyond my misery.
“Taking nothing away from the progress I had made with the help of [Dixie], my celebration was premature. I so desperately wanted to be healed that I failed to recognize the simple fact that the child parts inside of me were still traumatized, still in need of warmth and safety, and still surrounded by a darkness purposely placed there by a ruthless enemy. It soon became clear that I had taken three years to ascend one arduous ‘mountain peak’ in my healing, only to see the next one looming even larger.” (The Silent Cries, pages 12-13)
“I stopped by Dixie’s house just to get a hug, with no intention of telling her anything about my insecurities. I knew that she was exhausted. When she put her arms around me to hug me, I just started crying. I told her how frightened I was and what Carla had told me. Dixie told me that she was not going to read my sessions anymore. She also informed me that things needed to change.
“Concerned child parts of me asked, ‘Will you still be my mother?’ She replied, ‘Not in the same way.’ Through my tears I responded, ‘It is probably for the best.’ I said this even though I still truly felt lost and confused. Dixie went on to say, ‘I feel very strongly that I need to do this. I feel like if I don't do this I will emotionally cripple you for the rest of your life. I love you too much to do that. I will always cherish those precious moments with your child parts and I will love you forever and ever!’
“Though I was traumatized and sad, I knew three things. I knew that Dixie really and truly loved me (a remarkable break-through for me). I knew that she could hear the Lord, and I knew that I could hear Him.” (My Tears Fall Inside, page 179)
Looking back on this experience with Dixie, I realize that Dixie had given me all that she had to give. She could no longer handle the pain I was experiencing. Unfortunately, the little child parts still needed a mother in order to complete my healing, but Dixie could no longer fulfill that role. I knew she still loved me, and because I totally trusted her, I mistakenly determined that if she couldn’t be my mother, I must not need one. Thankfully, God knew much better than I.
“I knew that Dixie's focus would have to be on her husband. My journal recorded:
“‘I knew that although Dixie was home, that she really could NOT be there for me, and so it was very different to see her and not be able to tell her all my troubles, but it was okay with me, cuz I knew she needed to deal with other stuff. I could sense that things had changed since they had left. . . I felt they were good changes, but also felt confused and lost—not really knowing where I could belong’”.
“A few days later, I received an accidental phone call from Carla. She had dialed me by mistake, but we ended up speaking for an hour. She let me know that her mother would not be able to read any more of my therapy sessions; it would simply be too difficult for her, and that her mother was becoming more aware of what she was capable of. Carla told me that her mother would always love me, but that even as her biological child, Carla would often refrain from telling her mother things because they would be too difficult for Dixie to bear. I understood, and I got her message.
“I sensed that this new relationship with Dixie was healthy, but it made me feel anxious and confused. I told Audrey that it felt like something good was happening but it also felt like the umbilical cord was being cut and I was terrified. (My Tears Fall Inside, page 178-179)
Change was always very frightening for the insecure child parts within so I suffered from great anxiety at this time. Though the adult me, realized I had no control over other people’s choices and would just have to deal with whatever happened, little ones within did not have any perspective in the matter. What was going to happen?
“The very next night, Carla called me on the phone and said, ‘Shawna, do you know Heavenly Father loves you?’
“I reassured her that I KNEW that, and she said, ‘No. I mean He REALLY loves you!’ I asked her to explain and she told me that Dixie and Guy would be home in 26 hours. She explained that Guy needed to return to the United States because of a heart problem. Immediately, I remembered the dream I had had about them having to return home because of medical problems.
“And it happened just like that. Less than three months after leaving on an 18 month assignment, Dixie and her husband had to come home to pursue the medical attention Guy needed. We later learned that he was experiencing a serious coronary blockage requiring angioplasty. They were very sad about having to leave their beloved Tonga, but knew it had to be.
“I went to the airport at 1:00 a.m. to welcome them home. Guy looked so weak and tired, and it was difficult to see Dixie so worried about her husband. I looked at them and realized how sad they were to have left their missionary work and the Tongan people who, I was sure, they had quickly grown to love.
“Of course, I was thrilled to have them come home, but saddened and concerned about the circumstances. The miraculous part of this experience was not that they came home, it was that they came at a time when I was beginning to see some growth and changes in my healing process. In fact, as with all mother/daughter relationships, this one had to change, and it did, even though the change was a major source of anxiety for me." (My Tears Fall Inside, page 177-178)
“What then? What would this change mean? I noticed that after this experience, I immediately felt more space inside. I felt the presence of more light and the ability to feel stronger in my spiritual connection to God. My therapy sessions changed too. I felt more capable of learning new things, things that I had previously been incapable of learning, things having to do with what was positive about me. I felt that people could truly love me.
“Was my pain and suffering over? Not by a long shot, but I believe this experience, combined with the emotional state caused by my grief, produced a subtle yet powerful shift in my capacities. I was suddenly capable of more healing. What a miracle! God had promised me miracles and this was one of them, but things were still extremely difficult.
“Within a couple of weeks I felt like I was at the ‘end of my rope’ again. I had received both a letter and a card from Dixie on my birthday but nothing in the four weeks after that. I was dealing with extremely traumatized five year olds inside, and to them a month is an eternity and a half! And now, after my creative visualization session, the emotions seemed so much more intense.
“After group that night, I decided to go over to the home of Dixie’s daughter, Carla. She and her 16 year old son came out to my van with me and sat and listened as I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I was completely five years old and it was extremely obvious. Although Carla had seen some of my parts occasionally, she had never seen me quite like this.
“Carla and her son felt very sad for this poor little girl and they reassured me they would write to Dixie and tell her she HAD to write me. She also reassured me that she was positive that her mother could love me for a whole month even though I hadn’t received a letter for such a long time. After two hours of sobbing, I finally had to go home.” (My Tears Fall Inside, page 176-177)
Though it may sound strange, this intense sobbing was actually good for me. It was absolutely necessary in order to get the pain from the inside of me to the outside and was the only way to release the deep sadness trapped inside. Even though it felt like all of the misery came from Dixie’s absence, other grief was being released at the same time. Crying is healing.
“In March of 1994, my therapist asked if I would be willing to come to an extra therapy session. He explained that another therapist had developed a new approach, a ‘deprogramming’ process to wipe out the brainwashing that the cult had instilled in victims of cult abuse. This therapist would agree to work with me but it involved having an extra session. I agreed to try it.
“On my way that Saturday morning, I became so frightened that I was almost physically ill. My therapist had told me more about this new process, explaining that his colleague would help me look inside in a process of creative visualization. . . but it would require all of my parts working together to do it.
“My therapist told me that for most people who underwent this visualization process . . . the healing experience [actually became] more intense because there would be fewer obstacles to the expression of the various parts' strong emotions.
“At this time, I was still grieving terribly after Dixie left only 60 days previously. All the parts of me were involved in this grief and it was probably the first time that all parts had agreed on something. My single focal point, grief over Dixie, had brought my parts together like nothing before had done. It was a perfect set up for this kind of therapeutic intervention. Because of this unity, I was able to fully participate in the visualization.” (My Tears Fall Inside, page 175-176)
This experience is just one example of how God can take what we think are very horrible experiences (i.e. Dixie leaving me) and use them to benefit us in ways we can’t even imagine. Quite often He does His work with us anonymously and we don’t see His hand in our lives when He is actually right there trying to help us. I hope I can be more attentive to His influence in my life so that I can thank Him for His loving involvement.
“I had always felt it was important that I maintain and rely on three team members. With Dixie's departure and Sarah's understandable need to pull back, I considered re-establishing my relationship with Louise, even though I knew it would be disastrous for me. I resisted the temptation and am glad I did not take this step backwards.
“Fortunately, my team was not all made up of mortal beings. I was in constant communication with my Father in Heaven and consistently sought reassurance from him. In addition, I relied on God and His Spirit to convey the love I knew Dixie had for me.
“February 1, 1994: Part of a prayer -
“Me: 'I’m really sad and I miss Dixie Mother so bad! Does she really and truly love me still? I want to know?'
“God: 'Yes dear little ones. Dixie Mother loves you so dearly and tenderly and her love has not gone away and will never go away no matter how many miles separate you. Remember what I have told you about how you can know of My love for you—even though you can’t see Me? It is the same for Dixie Mother. She can still feel close to you even though she is far away and you can still feel close to her. She sends messages of love to you. She does still love you and she will love you forever!'
“Me: 'Thank You for telling me. Please tell her I need a letter bad!!!'
“God: 'Dixie knows and you will be getting a letter soon.'
“It is interesting that Dixie's departure became a catalyst for some rather miraculous changes in my healing process. The next few months of 1994 became a pivotal point where I felt I had turned a corner in so many ways.
“Two important events marked a distinct change in my healing process. One was completely unexpected; the other was a fulfillment of God's answers to my prayers.” (My Tears Fall Inside, pages 173-174)
God loves each of us so dearly and wants to reassure and comfort us—if only we will listen to Him and allow Him into our hearts. There are many ways He tries to communicate with us. Sometimes it is through nature, or through dreams, or through the love of another, and sometimes through speaking to us directly in our minds by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is worth every effort to develop a close relationship with Him so we can hear Him communicating with us.
“Although my other team members (Audrey, Sarah, and Bishop Scott) knew I was struggling with Dixie's departure and were willing to take up the slack to the best of their abilities, the loss of association with someone as important as Dixie seemed to leave me inconsolable.
“As if having a chronically ill husband, a lost home, and seven children to take care of wasn't enough hardship, my dear friend Sarah's rebellious son was missing. Being the oldest son, he left home and eventually ceased communication with his family, not letting them know where he was. Sarah and her husband knew he was somewhere in Hawaii, but did not know where and did not know if he was alive or dead.
“And it was about this time that Sarah's teenaged daughter contracted a fatal cancer, a disease that would claim her life at age eighteen. One evening, in the midst of all of this hardship, I was at Sarah's home and she started to cry. ‘Shawna,’ she said through her tears, ‘I love you and will always love you, but I need to ask you a favor.’ I was very aware of what was happening in Sarah's life and that she was facing a mountain of problems that most people would never have to face in their lifetimes. I was not surprised with what came next: ‘I can't handle hearing about the details [of your abuse] right now. There is so much going on in my life that I just can't handle any more.’
“It broke my heart that Sarah was going through such deep trials. My heart ached for her and I completely understood and accepted her need to limit her exposure to my traumas. And despite these trials, Sarah wanted me to know that she would still be happy to see me and love me, but she simply couldn't deal with the burden of hearing about the abuse. What an amazing friend!” (My Tears Fall Inside, pages 172-173)
Sarah’s remarkable behavior in the face of overwhelming life and death family problems was astounding. It was clearly evident through her tears that letting me know her limits was breaking her heart as she did not want to cause me any more pain. Yet she showed incredible amounts of courage, grace and love to give me the message while still being able to reassure me of her love. She was not trying to get me out of her life. She still wanted me to come and visit her because she truly loved me. Her huge heart made room for me. I hope some day I can become like her!