Category: Abuse

What’s In A Name?

“Your Dad’s name for you is Fer? Yeah, that’s got to be the lie!”

We were playing Three Truths and A Lie, the get-to-know-you group game where every person share four short and unlikely “facts” about themselves. Each member of group then makes their best guess to pick out the one fictional story in the mix.

They unanimously picked the first fact I shared, to label as mythical.

“Nope. Mom calls me Jenni, and Dad calls me Fer. That’s been 100% true of their in-private nicknames for me, for as long as I can remember!”

I love my Daddy. I love that I’ve had a special nickname from him.

Given those two choices, however, I ever-so-thankful that it was Mom‘s name that stuck with the rest of the world! For decades, I’ve gone by the name “Jenni” to all who have known me in person, even online, if you’ve known me well at all.

“Jennifer” was reserved for business ventures. It was a quick give-away when I answered the phone to a “Jennifer” request, that I would be talking to a stranger, likely a medically-related call. I occasionally got “Jennifer” letters too, often about my book, but from my first reply as “Jenni,” the formality I equated as comparable to “Mrs. Saake” was quickly dropped.

This all changed in January of this year.

After a lifetime of loss, I found myself again. Rather, God found me and put me back together again.

I realized, through counseling, that most of my worst memories were as unseen as my Dad’s name was unheard. These were my realities alone, and even though the evidence was there, even those who knew me best, had little idea of these unseen and unheard parts of my everyday life.

So, in a grace-drenched decision, I announced that God had been gracious (meaning of the name “Jenni” when I dug back far enough) to carry me through these decades of brokenness, and I am now closing that chapter of pain. God has restored my full identity, and in celebration of this fact, I’m slowly asking friends to honor this renewal by transitioning to my full name, “Jennifer” (meaning, among other things, blessed).

When I say this is a grace-soaked transition, I mean no one is to get tense, hyper, nor upset over slipping into old habits. Friends call me “Jenni, I mean Jennifer. Sorry!” often when I wouldn’t have even caught the problem myself. My ears are used to “Jenni,” so at times “Jennifer” sounds (or reads, in type) foreign still to me.

I am re-learning how to introduce myself. It’s socially acceptable to say. “Hi. I’m Jennifer. You may call me Jenni.” “Hi. I’m Jenni. Please call me Jennifer,” is a little awkward! My tongue doesn’t always catch the transition of my heart and mind in time. I really stumbled over my first few self-introductions in January and February!

Now, I try my best and when I forget, no big deal.

If I remember, I smile because I remembered. If I forget, I smile because hearing my “mistake” simply reminds me of the specific reason that I want to do it differently, and that I will probably get that chance the next three times I meet this person and apologize with my typical, “I’m sorry I’m so bad at names. I’m Jennifer. Could you please remind me of your name AGAIN?”

Old habits die hard, but in no way cancel my reality! What God has renewed is not broken by a childhood nickname. This “name change,” is simply my declaration of what God has restored. In this I greatly rejoice.

 

My Darkest Darkness

I’ve been blogging for more than a dozen years, but since this is a new blog, you may be a new reader. Even if you have known me personally for decades, you likely don’t know this about me.

*DEEP BREATH*

The single-most intense part of my past year, really of my entire life, has been coping with some deep-seated trauma from childhood, that has negatively impacted me for over four decades. This finally came to bear a little over a year ago, in ways that required immediate and intensive help. Thanks to the ministry of Hope Preserved, I am a changed, free woman today.

The abuses that transpired on the mission field in Asia, God has stepped in and dramatically healed. Every part of my life has been transformed, from how I relate to the ongoing limitations of my strokes (allowing God room to bring about several significant physical healings in my body in 2018, added to all He had already done in 2017; and grace to live to the fullest in areas where limitations yet remain), to my views on of self and pleasing God, like headcovering (a practice I no longer observe).

What was done to me when my parents were targeted by the enemy, was done “in the name of worship.” This abuse has messed with my head and heart for decades. I finally know, deep down in the deepest parts of my heart, that I am a daughter of King Jesus. I am learning what it means to worship in spirit and in truth.

Back in December or January, I left this review on the Hope Preserved  introduction video:

A year ago, I likely would have rejected this video. But, by God’s profound grace, I’ve lived the truth and freedom presented here over the past 10 life-changing months! I went from not even understanding the concept of “parts” of my soul, to actively seeing how my silent, but shattered, pieces, had been profoundly impacting me, and thus my family, for over 40 years. Thank you Hope Preserved, for walking me through this journey as Jesus brings profound healing and freedom to my life. – Jennifer Saake, author, http://strokeofgrace.blogspot.com/2017/05/core-deep-lies.html

The final post on my old stroke blog, offers fuller context concerning recent seasons of my life. This is pretty much all I’m ready to say quite yet. It has been my “bravest brave” to go public with my “darkest darkness” and even share this much publicly yet. Yes, we are talking events from over 40 years ago, but we are talking healing from less than a year ago, in some cases, just several weeks ago. The process is still fresh. I’m still settling into my newfound freedom in Jesus.

 

 

 

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