Well, good evening everyone. My name is Donna. Anne has been gracious enough to give me a little time to share with all of you tonight. This is the third time I've had the privilege of being here. I remember the first time I came and how apprehensive I felt, then last year I felt a little better and this year is even better! I would like to share the highlights of my progression and some of the changes that I am experiencing since I was here last year, most of which have taken place since the beginning of this year. But first I'd like to give you a little background. I am a survivor and now an overcomer of several different kinds of abuses for a concentrated period of about nine years while I was growing up. The perversions and corruption and traumas I was exposed to were the crime of sexual abuse, physical, psychological and emotional abuses directly from my biological father as well as witnessing him abusing my mother and my brother with his violence. Peppered through the years there were several other brief sexual advances that I had to either endure or fend off. In my years of marriage, there were also different offenses over a long period of time which, compounded with the darkness of my growing up years, caused me to be mentally, emotionally and physically sick often and at times I literally felt like I was dying. I was not able to find any help through all those years because, as you know, at that time there really was no help and no one ever talked about such things. However, the Lord provided His ways along the journey and one of those ways was through a minister by the name of Wade Taylor, who corresponded with me through letters before I was actually able to escape the dark situation I was in. I did have some counseling in 1996 which led to my going to a Christian clinic in VA for two weeks, which did help so that I was able to leave my husband at the time, who is now deceased. Due to some triggering and an escalation of my PTSD symptoms, I also went to counseling (pretty much) weekly from December of 2011 to the end of 2013, which was all very good, extremely needful and the beginning of more changes in my life. Well, like many others, I suffer every winter from the lack of the sun, but especially in the month of December. I noticed this past December was an especially oppressing time for me, so much so that I felt awfully stuck again which caused me to feel almost in despair and near defeat. So I cried out to God about my needs to start over and be rescued and come into higher levels of healing and wholeness. My prayer was answered because this year has really been a new venture for me and step by step I can see how I have moved forward to the point of releases at the present time. So more of my awakenings and changes kind of started in the beginning of this year when I watched a video called Dark Roots, Withered Souls, which was essentially about the root of bitterness. At the end of it, the speaker recommended the book, "I Will Give You Rest" by Ed Kurath. I ordered it and one day after it arrived I called the author and we talked for quite a while, so that was encouraging. All of this then led to finding John and Paula Sandford's books and videos online. They are known as the pioneers of inner healing and everything I've read so far has helped me so much to understand what goes on inside of us, in a deeper way, that we are not even aware of, as in how we make judgments and have negative opinions and conclusions about people in our past or in our present, many times accompanied by an angry or resentful or bitter feeling and how our deep hurts cause us to react. Of course, some judgments are definitely needed to discern people and situations, but I'm not talking about proper judgments here. The Sandford's teach how there are things like hidden bitterness, anger, resentment and unforgiveness inside of us, especially if we have been violated and how forgiveness from our heart is truly the way for us to become whole, in other words, to let forgiveness drop that 18 inches from our head to our heart. Well, this process of recognizing the hidden parts and the forgiveness all sounded very challenging, but I dove into it with my whole heart and it seemed as though a flood of memories came to me day after day after day regarding lots of people who had hurt me throughout my life. I had these hidden opinions I had made through the years and I saw how I had these roots of bitterness and how I still had hidden unforgiveness, even though I had been willing to forgive and thought I had forgiven during all those past years. The Sandford's also talked about how we, as humans, build up these walls of protection an make these promises inside of us that cause us to live a certain way, but that certain way is not according to our true self...for instance, we might say, "I'll never be like my father," or "I'll never be like so and so” or some such expression. So as these memories came to me and I admitted my reactions and as I forgave and asked the Lord for forgiveness and others where appropriate, I began to experience more lightness and peace. I truly wanted to be made as whole as I could be this side of heaven and become free from these dark roots which only produce dark fruit. I experienced awaking up of the sleeping parts of my spirit. I began to experience a release from my stuckness in a way I had never been able to before, no matter how I prayed about it or read about it, or tried, at least not in this measure, even though there were adjustments along the way. Around this time I also discovered Jim Banks with his trauma prayer online and each time that I listened to this prayer I noticed a difference in my whole being. Before this transformation, I would still feel hindered and stuck in certain areas and like I was hanging by a thread at times, fragile or limping inside, having anxiety. I've always felt like those of us who have been violated walk around with these invisible wounds, like we're crippled inside, only people usually don't notice our crippled state. I have now become my own true friend to my real self within, and that’s my treasure inside. So, recently, I have noticed a great decrease in many effects. I have experienced an elimination of deep loneliness and sadness, emotional crippling and deep soul pain, the intensity of the losses and so much more. I feel different in my brain and I learned some more through Neil Slade regarding our brains and the relationship to music. So here are some of the goals and desires that I have had and am now reaching: I have created a website called Compassionfortheabused.com but it won't be published for a while because I have many things I still want to write to reach out to other souls and offer them the compassion, empathy and understanding that we always need. I started to take dance lessons the beginning of this month and I really enjoy the social part as well as the dancing. For many years I realized that the social part was a much needed link in my life. I finally found a holistic dentist that offers a care credit card so that I can have all the mercury removed from my mouth, which is something I have wanted to do for years. I've started to take the bee pollen again and that has also given me stamina and energy and I am sleeping much better, which we all know, is key! I don't feel like I'm tied up in a knot as much as before with learning to paint this year and I am also working out at the gym. I have a passion to see more parents, grandparents and schools educate the children and adolescents about body protection and safety with instructions to follow if presented with a risky situation. A very important change is that the relationships I have with my family are so much better. Also, I've wanted to change my last name (from marriage) for many years, so next week, my plan is to begin the process of having my name changed to my mother's maiden name in honor of her and because I just love the name, Giovanni. All of this was stuck inside of me and I know there are more changes to come. I do believe that the process I went through and continue to go through concerning anything hidden that needs to be acknowledged and the forgiveness from my heart needed to precede the emerging of what was always inside. Truly, it is never too late to begin again. I consider this fresh beginning to be my Second Life. But I want you to know... that there's no way...I would be standing here tonight...if it wouldn't have been for the Lord and His Loving Presence, His constant guidance and His continuous rescues. So I want to encourage anyone here who may be struggling. Always have hope and keep on moving forward with whatever steps are helping you and consider the forgiveness from your heart and being your own best friend. For me, I don't believe that it is possible to truly forgive the ones that have left a deep mark on our souls without the help of God...But all things are possible with God. Thank you so much for listening and May God bless you all.
COMPASSION FOR THE ABUSED