Deuteronomy 28:1-2- And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God.
We all hear that voice. Everyone has one. That voice inside of us. That does its best to protect us from harm and bad decisions. It’s what we call our “conscious” or “inner voice,”
But that voice doesn’t always come from our “conscious.” Sometimes the voice of my Father comes from outside. From people who I least expect at times. Through nature & through my environment. It took some time to understand that this is how He speaks to me daily. God has an audible voice, just not in the way you think. You just have to listen for it with more than just your ears.
I started my journey to find mental freedom almost two years ago at 43 years old. Not necessarily a typical time to create a new, more meaningful beginning. But as the saying goes, “better late than never.” So here is my grand entrance to being late.
My journey began a little over two years ago; I went through a divorce that turned my life and my children’s life into a whirlwind. I was left financially devastated; my children were emotionally torn, and life seemed hopeless. God speaks through those you least thought you would hear from in those dark times. God has a sense of humor that way. Before I explain, let me tell you about where it all started.
Your parent’s voice is a child’s first calming, soothing voice. The voices that play a vital role in your development. Their words can be used to build up or also break down. This is where you begin to learn how to listen to voices. For some, these voices teach and nurture. For others, the voices are dark. They only damage or destroy.
My parents’ voices have been and will always be the voices of comfort for me. They always spoke kind and comforting words to me. They were always pushing me to be the best I can be. And although their words were the first most impressionable voices, there was also the physical side that sometimes overpowered their words.
My dark times started with my physical abuse as a kid. My father is a great man. He has always made sure that I had what I needed in life. Sometimes a little too much. He was loving but very stern. As we all know, I’m the oldest of four, and being the first child makes us first in line to be the guinea pig for parenting.
My father was raised in a physically abusive home in his native country of El Salvador, as was my mother, so he unknowingly inherited those negative parental traits. He tried to be the best father he could be, but I was the test subject being a new parent. Which involved harsh physical punishments. I was severely beaten over school grades, not following directions, etc. They were very overprotective and conservative.
One of the earliest memories that sticks out most in my mind was an event that took place when I was about 7 or 8 years old. My father worked for a hospital in San Francisco, removing organs from donors and ensuring they were transported to the receiving patient. He put himself through medical school and became an anesthesiologist. He was very passionate about school and hard work.
We were one of the only Hispanic families living in an all-white neighborhood. My father drove a Porsche, and I had everything I could want. But even with all our financial security, demons were lurking beneath. My father had a quick temper when it came to certain matters.
I attended a private catholic school (we were Catholic then). I had come home from school, and my parents required me to complete homework before doing anything else. Homework was my priority over all else. It needed to be done before my father arrived home from work. Of course, as a kid, at 7 or 8, this was not my priority. I became sidetracked with other things and never got to it.
Before I realized it, time had gone by, and it was almost time for my dad to come home. I ran to my room. Realizing the agonizing mistake I had made and began working on my homework. I was so into what I was doing that I failed to realize that my dad had come from work and was standing at my doorway. I had my back to the door and never realized he was there.
I remember him clearly asking me, “What are you doing?” With that sound of disappointment in his voice. I jumped up as I was startled from concentrating so hard on what I was doing. I turned around and instantly became nervous, knowing what was coming.
In my small, scared voice, I responded, “my homework.” My father’s face quickly turned to anger, “why is it not done already? It should have been done by the time I came home.” I painfully remember the sound of my father’s belt whooshing through the belt loops as he prepared to give me the beating that was, until now, considered excessive. One example of many beatings that followed as I grew up.
Learning to associate love with pain began at a very young age. This began the huge mental scar I did not deal with until I became older. A wound never healed because I chose to return to it mentally from time to time to pick at it. Not realizing that every time I did this, I only opened my wound a little more each time. The pain of picking at my scar slowly began to blind me and not allow me to see the value in myself and to only see the negative side of others.
This began with me placing brick onto a brick foundation of what would later be the wall that kept me from getting close to anyone. More importantly, it kept me from seeing who I was and what I was capable of. I had lost my identity, and I had lost trust in others.
As I transitioned to my adult years, I experienced it all in my personal relationships. I dealt with everything from physical to emotional, sexual to verbal, and mainly mental abuse. These events unknowingly added to the deep wound that never truly healed. I had mentally associated pain with love from childhood, which carried over into my relationships.
This led to my living a nightmare with an ex-boyfriend I dated in my early 20s and one of the hardest rock bottoms I had to face. Beginning around age 15, I began to experiment with drugs. At 18, I married and had my first child with my high school boyfriend. This relationship was short-lived; after 2 years, we divorced, and I was left caring for my daughter. Again there was that voice that I faintly heard and felt but chose to ignore. I had my first child at eighteen. Which was the blessing that came from that situation.
I allowed the voice of my spouse to become louder than other voices. A voice that became negative. A voice that I allowed to take away from my self-esteem. A voice that superseded my own. This became my pattern for the next few years. This began the rage that would slowly build up inside me.
When I was 21, I met a guy who became my drug dealer. I was smoking weed mixed with crack rock, which we called “chueys.” This became my poison. I began to buy my dope from a guy who lived in a motel in San Francisco. I knew this was not the best of situations but clearly ignored the “voice.”
After some time of purchasing my drugs from this guy, we began talking more and getting to know each other more personally. Being in my state, I figured I could date the guy who could provide for my addiction. We began dating, and within a few months, my nightmare began. I grew deeper and deeper into my addiction. My “provider” soon began to isolate me from everyone. Soon after, the violence began.
The first incident, which I remember as if it were yesterday, began over a lighter. We were living in a small room downstairs in a home that supplied all types of drugs. I had my daughter and two other small children living upstairs. This was a party house. After a few months of living there, the abuse began.
We were having a party at the house in the garage as we always did. We had a pool table that everyone would have a blast playing on. There were four of us playing a game, and I wanted to smoke a cigarette but could not find my lighter. One of the other guys at the table offered me his lighter. I remember commenting on the lighter because it was in the shape of a wheel, and he was a mechanic. He said he had others like that one and that I could keep that one for myself.
I was stoked and put the lighter away. As I looked up, I saw my partner’s face and a look of disgust. About 10 minutes later, he calls me into the room. I walked in, and he immediately slammed the door behind me. He began to yell at me and ask why I was flirting with his friend. Before I could get any words out, he swung at me with a closed fist. My eyes watered, and the pain shot up my face, excruciating. I looked down to see blood everywhere and began to wince and cry from the pain. This time his eyes had changed. They had grown darker and looked empty.
I fell backward onto the bed and began to bleed all over the mattress. By this time, he had walked over to the dresser, grabbed a PlayStation controller, and was coming toward me. He straddled me and began wrapping the cord from the control around my neck. He pulled tight, and I could feel my throat closing. My eyes began to grow dark, and I felt very sleepy.’Then as soon as I stopped fighting, he released the cord.
His eyes cleared up, and his demeanor changed. He began to sob and quickly jumped off of me. I was so confused and scared. I didn’t even know how to react. He began to get on his knees and ask for forgiveness. “I don’t know why I did that. I am so sorry. I promise you I will never do that again.” That would not be the first or the last time I heard that.
Soon after, the violence escalated. The beatings more severe, the humiliation greater. My addiction to feeding my habit and dealing with the pain grew stronger. I came to a point where I knew I could not take care of my daughter. Because my addiction had taken over, I chose to give my daughter to my mom to care for. I had lost hope.
After 8 months of being severely beaten, spit on, lit on fire while sleeping, choked, and bitten as punishment. I had had enough. I wanted to be with my daughter and my family. I reached out to a friend who had been telling me to get out of this situation, but because I needed the drugs so bad, I chose to stay.
I told her I was ready to leave and needed her help. She quickly contacted people she knew, and one day, while my partner was out on a drug run, I escaped. She picked me up with the little I could pack and headed to my parent’s house, whom I had not seen in about 8 months. I returned a frail, beat-up, drugged-up daughter they no longer recognized. Yet, they were overjoyed to see me.
With my parents at my side, I went through withdrawals for the next few days. I promised never to put myself or my family through this again. I had truly hit rock bottom. I never went back on my promise but hit rock bottom in other areas of my life. Something needed to change.
I was full of anger and rage. Mad at the world, but more so myself. I had so many expectations for my life, and none of them worked out the way I had envisioned them. Of course, I had failed to realize that I held that power in my own hands. I had allowed others to drown out the important voices.
I spent the next 14 years married to a man who spent half of our marriage in prison. After some time, he was deported to El Salvador. Being the faithful wife that I was, I gave up everything I had and moved with my daughters to El Salvador. That also became a verbally, physically, and mentally abusive relationship.
Eventually, I came back to California to start over. Full of rage and hurt, I did not take the time to heal myself. One year later, I began my third marriage. This marriage lasted eight years, yet I had not fully healed from all the pain and hurt I had been dealing with for so long. My insecurities and my anger once again pushed away someone I cared about. After being cheated on in all three marriages, I knew things needed to change.
I kept trying to find my identity through others, and it only kept pushing me deeper and deeper into my anxiety and depression. My rage had begun to overflow into every relationship that I chose to be in. I had unknowingly allowed my anger and bitterness to push those who mattered the most away from me.
My unexpected life-saving voice came through a series of voices. I had to slowly learn to filter out which voices I allowed to speak into me and which voices I would keep out. People are always trying to push their opinions and their insecurities onto others. Ultimately, I was amazed at the voice that God used to be my saving grace. A voice I never would have thought of.
I was a child and understood things as so; now that I am an adult, I see things as an adult. Although, I didn’t necessarily always react like one. Having a borderline personality disorder can be tricky that way. Then again, so are the voices we allow to speak into our lives.
I have come to see that we are surrounded by so many different voices. Voices that we allow into our minds daily. Voices we allow to form and mold our opinions and beliefs about ourselves and others.
Looking back, I think about all the people I allowed to speak into my life. God used many voices to speak refreshing, uplifting words into my life. I believe everyone you come across is placed there with a purpose. Whether good or bad. Our job is to discern what the voices are telling us. Are we going to reject or accept? And are we to allow their words to manifest in our lives?
As a kid, I had my fair share of troubles. At sixteen, I rebelled against my parents due to being restricted. I joined a gang and began running away from home and any other way I could piss my parents off. I have three younger siblings. one sister and two brothers. All but one had their fair share of rebellion.
My reckless actions and disregard for the feelings of others would soon quickly catch up. As life always does. Many say that Karma is a b****. I say that God designed this world that way. He made it so that the energy we give out is the same energy we get back.
When you grow up sheltered from the world, it distorts your perception. You don’t realize that there are evil, ugly people in it. People that want to infect others with their negativity and bad energy. Finding this out as an adult can definitely impact how you begin to process the world around you.
I began to listen to the voices that were much more audible. But as a faithful Father, he found other ways to speak to me. He began to use those around me to speak to me. At the same time, the devil was out, bringing voices of his own. I had to learn how to distinguish between them. This became the battle of voices throughout the rest of my life.
As a kid in church, there were many instances where I can remember God speaking to me. Not in an audible voice. But a soft whisper, a magnetic touch, an inner voice. As I grew up, that same voice continued to whisper to me, but the whisper became fainter as time passed. I chose to push it to the back of my mind. Sometimes I allowed the devil’s whisper to drown out God’s voice.
I think back to all the instances in my life when I chose to shut out the voices trying to help me. The people God had placed in my life to bring me a word. In our youth, we are so unaware and oblivious to many things. Our vision is usually nearsighted. We don’t see past today.
As adults, what once seemed distant becomes more in focus. We begin to see things more clearly. The voices that seemed faint before become more vital as we mature. The voices we were meant to hear from the beginning…
These voices help you mold your attitude, perceptions, and your identity. When there is a disruption in the communication between parent and child, it sets the foundation for developing specific traumas and disorders.
You also have the voice of teachers. Teachers are there to encourage and inspire. Others are there solely for a paycheck. Either way, these voices are allowed to speak into our lives daily. Many don’t comprehend how much these voices influence our lives.
I can clearly remember the soft sweet voice of one of my elementary school teachers, Ms. Valstad, who mentored me and taught me how to be a better student and succeed. She was very tall and slender. She had long, beautiful golden blonde hair and loved wearing skirts with long boots. She took time outside class to check in with my family and me. She always made sure that I was pushing myself to do well.
I always remember her telling me that I was capable of anything I put my mind to. I just had to believe in myself. She would keep me after class to practice my penmanship. She said proper writing and grammar will take you a long way. So because of her, I learned to write cursive in a nice, neat way. She was a great influence as a teacher and a person. Her voice stays etched in my mind.
I have always been a person of faith. I grew up in the church since I was an infant. The weekly routine of the church was like clockwork at home. At eight years old, we transitioned from being catholic to becoming Christian.
The voices I had been used to began to slowly change. I began to hear of the agape love of God. The ever-changing power of God. Here started my curiosity about Him and how He works. After listening, I found the voice that had always been speaking to and into me.
As a kid, I remember we rarely ever missed a service. I attended every youth group, conference, concert, and outing, and we loved it. I had some of my best times with kids I grew up with within the church. I found comfort here.
As I continued my journey into adulthood, many other voices spoke into my life. The older I became, the more I began to allow the negative voices to become more prevalent in my life. I wish I knew then what I know now.
As time went on, the pattern became apparent. I always allowed the voices around me to drown out the one voice that mattered. In my times of trouble, I reached out to others. Always seeking the comfort and the pity of someone’s voice. It kept me from ever so faintly hearing my own inner voice. The voice that would empower me and eventually liberate me.
The voice of my Father came through different channels. Each chapter of my life had different characters, yet the same voice resonated through each one in many different ways. Sometimes, it can be the difference between life and death. Often, we hear a voice telling us we are making the wrong decision. Yet, we choose to ignore it. We must learn in this life to become sensitive to that voice.
One of the most trivial times in my life came when my Father spoke in silence. As strange as that may sound. Sometimes, God becomes silent and does not always respond to us at the time we would like. Yet, in those moments and stillness, there are unspoken words. I have found myself in situations asking God for help with no response. No signs, no gut feeling, nothing. Just silence. But in that silence, He was working behind the scenes.
These were some of the most frustrating times for me. Moments when I felt that I really needed some guidance. Waiting for an answer. In desperation, I would make hasty, impulsive decisions instead of waiting. I began to realize that in these times, God was asking me to just slow down and wait on Him. His silence began to slowly silence my soul and my mind.
At the beginning of 2020, I embarked on a journey to find my true identity. Discover me and utilize what I had found and been through to create my ultimate self. In turn, help others who are on their own journey. I believe together, we can better understand how to bring down the borders that borderline personality disorder creates and turn it into what God intended it to be, a blessing to others.
I began my journey because I encountered a voice different than most. A little intriguing, maybe. This voice was very different from what I was used to. This voice became my partner for the next two years. I always see my life as a book with many chapters. Each chapter has a different plot, different scenarios, and different characters with different adventures. It is a book filled with unexpected twists and turns and possible alternate endings. It is a book that can only be read one chapter at a time. The exciting part is waiting for the next chapter to open because you have no idea what crazy adventure it will take you on this time.
This voice became my saving grace in a time of darkness. It also became the voice that forced me to be better in a way I would have never thought of. Being that I was coming out of a dark place with the situation with my ex-husband, I didn’t truly understand the importance of finding healing before moving on. But God knew.
I made the impulsive decision to move forward with another relationship before allowing myself the space to heal from what I had just been through, as I clearly had a pattern of doing. I was unaware of my hidden anger, bitterness, insecurity, and pain. So, I dragged it all into the new relationship.
This was a relationship that had started all wrong. My heart was in a hurt place, still trying to figure things out. I had not taken the time to heal my heart, mind, or soul. Sometimes, we don’t realize that our hurt begins to project onto others and takes them to a hurt place. When two people are hurt, they only hurt each other more.
My pain only led to more of my own insecurity. I became so afraid of abandonment that it led me to react in ways I had never experienced before. This triggered very heated and volatile arguments. My anger and insecurity from being hurt so much were spilling out. Being with someone who also suffered from BPD, made it much more complicated. We both became violent to one another.
Even if two people truly care for one another, hurt becomes rage and manifests itself physically. As it did for both of us. I had to learn to deal with not being able to have any space, which I had done in many of my past relationships. To not be able to have the time to walk away without being verbally and mentally abused. Strangely, I had to face myself.
My emotions led me to have a mild stroke at 43. This was the moment when I realized how short life can truly be. If we are unaware, it flies past us at 100 miles per hour, and we didn’t even see it go past. I am a mother of four beautiful, amazing children and the grandmother of two lovely, sweet angels. I knew that I needed to take care of myself. Not just physically but, more important, mentally.
Before I was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, I did not understand the complex emotions that I was feeling. Emotions are so intense. My anger had begun to turn into full-blown rage. My sadness had turned into depression, and my worry into anxiety. I had allowed my emotions to be the deciding factor in how I acted and reacted.
For the first time, I was arrested. We both had anger issues that I only exasperated with my built-up rage and anger towards others. I can honestly say that this was the most humiliating and humbling experience I had faced. But, nonetheless, one that I needed to begin my paradigm shift.
I remember sitting in the jail cell thinking to myself repeatedly, I was not created for this. I knew I had a greater purpose, yet I had chosen to put myself in this position. Sitting there in that cell that night, God allowed me to see a glimpse of myself through His eyes.
For the first time in my life, I saw myself through a different set of eyes. Not just any eyes, but God’s. It was only for a moment, but at that moment, I saw all the things I had missed all these years.
I saw every positive thing. My strength, resilience, unique form of loving others, determination, and every positive thing I brought to the table. In that small moment, something changed. It began the beginning of loving myself. Seeing everything that I was capable of and all that I had gone through and came out of.
I chose to begin to see a therapist and get an outside perspective on my situation. I was able to talk to someone who was an outsider looking in. No judgment, just help and advice. Coupled with reading my word and seeking God’s face in prayer, I was determined to make a change.
I received my diagnosis of anxiety, depression, and borderline personality disorder there. I also suffered from PTSD. My diagnosis was my stepping stone to repairing what had once been broken. To continue to let the right voices into my mind and allow them to speak life into me. My relationship with my current partner grew worse and ended in separation. Although it saddened me, and I felt so broken again, at the same time, I knew that this was the time to do things over and to make things right in my life.
There began to be a rising of a voice that I had never really taken the time to listen to. My own. I began to hear my voice telling me I had value and was worth something. I was not a waste of space on this earth; I had a purpose. Suddenly, I began to feel empowered by my own voice. Despite the obstacles, I began to see what I brought to the table and how far I had made it. I had found strength in my own voice. I no longer saw myself as a victim but as truly victorious.
God knows exactly what we need, where we need it, and when it is needed. I found the audible voice that I needed to listen to. Since then, I have realized that every day will be a different struggle with different demons. I must push forward and not allow these things to let me stop living life to the fullest.
I realize that life isn’t always meant to be figured out. Some things are just meant to be blurry. Until the time is right, what was once blurry will become clear and apparent. The pieces will fit; He will walk you through it if you let Him.
God works in very mysterious ways. There are so many things in life that are complex and honestly not meant for us to know…not in this life, at least. The time will come when I stand before the Lord and have the opportunity to ask him all the questions I have wondered about. Everything has a time and a place. There will be a time when the mysteries of this life will be answered.
Until then, my search for something new begins. And when l least expected things to turn around, they did. My ex-husband had been in Hawaii for the last two years in rehab and working with the recovery ministry. After two years of separation, we finally came to a place where we could not only talk to one another but find something new in each other that we had not had in the last 8 years.
We became different people who had grown through two very different situations. But situations that nonetheless made us see things through a whole different lens. We found forgiveness because God is good and restores what is broken when we learn the lessons we were meant to learn from our situations.
This brought us to Hawaii and allowed us to enjoy God’s goodness. Like I said before, our life is like a book with many chapters that unfold as we go along, and we never know what the next page will bring. But you understand that each chapter plays a role in the final ending. We may not know what is coming, which is exciting, but we can help create the ending we want.
Restoration in any circumstance is possible when you allow God to lead your life. When you quiet down enough in your soul to listen to His voice and allow him to whisper life’s secrets in your ears. He is a God of healing. He restores the brokenhearted and repairs the hurts of this world. We must learn to be sensitive in a world where sensitivity is seen as a weakness.
Until then, all we can do is maneuver through this life by knowing which voices keep us moving forward and which are there to pull us backward. Only you can decide what you allow in and out of your mind. Choose to listen to the positive voices. Listen to find your own voice. It’s in that voice that God will speak.