Over And Underneath

I met Shannon about 5 years ago at a mutual friend’s house; we were there for her daughter’s baby shower. There were a lot of people there and quite a bit going on, but I still very distinctly recall seeing Shannon and thinking of one word at the time; tormented. She looked tormented. Over the next few years I would see Shannon more often in and out of twelve step meetings as she tried and tried to stay clean. Finally, after coming to the realization that if she kept doing what she was doing nothing would change or get better, Shannon moved in to Truly Motivated on December 2, 2010. I am privileged to share Shannon’s story with you two years later, two years of walking through her worst fears, two years of triumph, two years of set backs, two years of growth, two years of self discovery...... two years of a beautiful journey to the heart of her Savior who Shannon calls Jesus.

I approached Shannon about allowing me to take her through the Genesis Process as I saw her struggling after she had been in our home for women for awhile. I saw the heavy burden of shame that shanshe carried that permeated her life and the lack of self worth that drove everything she did. She agreed and what a pivotal day that was for both of us. As we went farther through each process I learned about Shannon’s childhood and the traumatizing events she endured that shaped her addiction.  For addicts who use chronically is not about getting high but a way to feel normal or stress free. Since healthy coping skills are usually not modeled or taught in dysfunctional homes addiction and other self destructive behaviors are quickly formed. Statistics show that in the first year of an infant’s life the brain decides whether the world is safe or unsafe by the environment he or she lives in and then wires itself accordingly. By age ten everything an individual believes about herself and the world is basically set again by the environment the child lives in; worthy/unworthy, valuable/no value, seen/invisible, loved/ unloved. These beliefs become foundational in a person and create emotions which are what drive behavior. A child who is made to feel, worthy, valuable, seen and loved will automatically be able to try new things, becomes exploratory and has the ability to move through life and see and solve problems and embrace their future. Likewise, a child who lives in a constant state of stress, is made to feel invaluable either by words or actions and feels unloved and not worthy will become hyper vigilant as the world is now unsafe. The ability to see and solve problems does not exist and soon a protective personality forms and the need to self gratify is equated with survival and an addiction is born. Shannon’s experiences growing up had left her with a wide variety of false beliefs about herself and the world that left her feeling alone and worthless. They drove her behaviors that hurt herself and others. Time and time again we took these lies to Jesus and would ask him to speak his absolute truth to Shannon..... each time he was there breaking the lies that had destroyed Shannon for 40 years with his love. Each time the reality of Jesus love for her became more and more real, more personal and more intimate. The beautiful exchange began to take place; her fears for God’s courage, her unworthiness for God’s value, her chaos for God’s peace, her shame for God’s forgiveness. I remember when Shannon and I first started Genesis and she told me that she preferred to be alone, that she is just an isolator. Everything in Genesis is built around relationships. Safe relationships that heal and build value are the cornerstone of recovery; a relationship with God and those who He lovingly places in our lives. It usually took an act of congress to get Shannon out of her room and come and hang out with the other women in the house.... “I just prefer to be alone, I am safe there.” As Shannon went through the Genesis Process life continued to happen on life’s terms. She relapsed as well as lost her Mom. These two events were either an invitation to spiral into absolute isolation or reach out and receive the love and support that surrounded Shannon. Shannon chose to finally let people in to her world in her most vulnerable time as well as grab on to the Lord. What we witnessed was nothing short of miraculous and absolutely beautiful. My most blessed moment was watching Shannon with her hands raised in worship, tears streaming down her face at a concert we went to. Peaceful. She looked peaceful I thought. Shannon now hears Jesus when he says “My love it’s over, it’s underneath, it’s inside it’s in between. These times you are healing and when your heart breaks. The times you feel you are falling from grace. The times you are hurting, the times that you heal, the times you are hungry and are tempted to steal. The times of confusion in chaos and pain, I am there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame. I am there through the heartache, I am there in the storm. My love I will keep you by My power alone. I don’t care where you fall or where you have been. I will never forsake you, my love never ends. It never ends.”

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