Jo’s Ocean Heart

a rough excerpt from a WIP

Once upon a time, a princess was born to a toad and his wife.

The baby was pure love, made with a heart to love even the most disgusting creatures.

Josephine grew comfortable with her dad’s freakish differences, but she never stopped being disappointed in and afraid of his violent outbursts, his intense anger, his verbal attacks, or any of his other violence.

She had to adapt at a very young age in order to survive. She had to become extraordinarily sensitive to the toad’s moods, needs, and signs of an upcoming violent outburst to feel safe as an infant.

Her heart, which was as big and deep as the ocean, could emit powerful healing waves that knocked the scary anger down onto its knees – but only if the anger was caught before it had become too consuming.

Before she could walk, Jo was sending powerful healing waves to her toad dad, so that his anger wouldn’t have a chance to take over.

The toad had no idea what was happening at first. Mostly because he was either drunk or high whenever he was home. But also because he had himself been forced to adapt to unfavourable conditions in his youth, and he didn’t have an ocean heart.

One day, when Jo was about six, her toad dad came home after being away all night and his wife made him promise he would quit drinking. She said that was the last DUI or she would take the kids and leave.

Jo was listening at the door. She could tell that her toad dad didn’t care right then if his nagging wife left with the children. He just wanted to drink himself to death.

The princess was upset. Part of her was mad at her mom for not knowing the toad man well enough to help him want to quit drinking. Another part of her was mad at her mom for being too focused on herself to even see toad man. There was a part of her that was mad at her dad, but she had hidden that part away years before when she discovered that being angry at him came with the consequence of having him turn his anger directly on her, turned up to full blast.

Jo thought it was hypocritical that toad man kept drinking even though he had no respect for his own dad for being a drunk and losing their family home when his mom was in the hospital for a year with tuberculosis.

Then something weird happened. Jo’s mom blurted out that toad man was a hypocrite for drinking while hating his dad for being a drunk.

Jo was very scared when she heard that. She couldn’t stop shaking. She was afraid for her mom, not knowing how toad man would react to being hit with such a powerful insult. It was something that penetrated his stony heart. Or so Jo believed when she was six.

There was a lot of yelling, but Jo couldn’t hear any bodies being thrown into the metal filing cabinet or any wet raspy gasps for air.

And then there was silence.

Jo held her breath, waiting, listening.

It felt like the silence was never going to end.

In that absence of noise, guilt grew up from her belly in seaweed strips and reached to entangle her heart.

Jo suddenly understood that somehow she had opened up her dad’s vault in a way that her mom wasn’t able, and that somehow that knowledge had been transmitted to her mom, who then used it to hurt her dad.

In that moment of realization, the door to her parents’ bedroom opened and her dad walked out with a duffel bag over his shoulder. He walked down the stairs and out the door.

Toad man had left the bedroom door open. Jo looked inside. Her mom was in bed with the blankets tucked around her.

Jo saw by the bright red numbers on her dad’s alarm clock that it was almost lunch time. She went downstairs to the kitchen to make a sandwich for herself and her sister, who was in the living room watching Sesame Street.

As she took the bologna from the fridge, she replayed the events of the morning in her mind.

Her gaze turned to the courtyard between their house and the apartment building, which she could see through the kitchen window. Jo had seen her mom stare out that window so many times. She found no comfort in it. It just made her want to run outside and stay there until the streetlights came on.

But as she was looking out the window, she realized that she had not sent any healing waves from her heart.

She felt the guilt seaweed grow up into her lungs. Jo was ashamed for withholding her love – a love that she believed from past experiences would have been able to keep her dad’s anger in check.

back to you

I miss you, God

Holy God,

thank You for allowing us to come boldly to Your throne as we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Thank You for welcoming us at Your throne. I want to sit here at Your feet and worship You and drink in Your presence.

I feel like I’ve lost touch with you, even though I’ve been reading the word and praying each day. I pray all day every day.

But I’ve been missing a closeness with You that I have enjoyed in the past. I don’t like feeling far from You.

Help me draw near to You. Help me prioritize, organize and balance my activities and studies and prayer life so that I have the time, wisdom, faith energy and dedication that I need to come back to You as You will.

Abba Father, I’ve felt stressed and busy. This busyness has crept into my life. I think I’ve been trying to keep up with people who don’t have CPTSD, and I’m starting to recognize that I need to do certain things differently.

There’s quite a lot of healing, body work, thought processing and changing that needs to be done on a daily basis in order to walk grounded in this world, because of the effects of trauma I have experienced.

I need help finding the perfect routine for me that includes prayer, bible study and healing.

Jesus, can you take over this process for me, please? Help me allow Holy Spirit to fill me and teach me with the wisdom of Abba Father.

Help me take it one step at a time. My heart tumbles ahead and I end up doing too many things at once.

Show me how to slow down and still get everything done that You will me to do.

Please give me a clear supernatural understanding of Your will for my priorities and the direction of my studies.

I know You want me to read the bible from Genesis to Revelation. I’ve tried twice this year and then I start to read the bible out of order.

There are times I feel Holy Spirit putting a certain book on my heart and I will read that instead of continuing with the canonical order. I think I’m afraid to miss Your guidance if I don’t read a passage put on my heart, and then I don’t want to read it out of context.

The result is that I’ve read a large chunk of the bible, but I haven’t read through from start to finish, and I really want to do this but I need Your help.

I confess, God, I’ve been trying to do all of this alone and I confess that what I’ve tried hasn’t worked. I confess I need Your help.

Thank You for always being here with me, for watching over me and my family, and for leading me down the path You will me to walk.

In Christ,


Having My Spiritual Gifts Abused

Please protect these gifts

God I just feel gross. I feel filled w gross yucky sadness that can only come out w a mess

After yesterday I need to cry but I’ve been holding it inside and I don’t want to cry. I don’t want to cry here in public

My shoulders hurt so much

I’ve overwhelmed with everything that is happening in my life and with all I have on my heart and my mind.

I don’t feel right now like I can handle it all

Part of the abuse I experienced as a child was being provoked into a state of overwhelm, anxiety, panic response, trauma response and then once I was in that state of overwhelm, I would be mistreated and shamed and blamed into believing it was my fault I had been mistreated.

When I was a child, I was purposefully triggered and then abused emotionally and psychologically while in that vulnerable state.

This was a tool used to oppress me.

I don’t know how to heal from this but I feel it coming through and I know it’s Your will for me to heal.

I feel it has to do with my fear of joy and all the ways a human has tried to take my joy, which has made me afraid to have joy.

I know now that joy comes from You, Holy Father. I know this but I don’t believe it or have faith in it yet. I don’t trust it yet.

Please help me experience the joy that You have to give me. Please help me be open to Your gifts, love and joy.

I can’t write when I’m overwhelmed, God, and I feel like writing is part of Your purpose for me.

On top of all this, I feel connected to my dad still even though we haven’t spoken in over four years.

The trauma bond hardwired me to him. He knows this. He uses this knowledge to his advantage.

I don’t know how to keep myself protected from provoked and unnecessary overwhelm.

I believe he abused my spiritual gifts when I was a child and somehow this is still affecting me today, though I don’t know how.

Please help me surrender this entire situation to You.

I need peace. Please hear my cries. Hear my calls of distress.

Help me see this situation and everything and everyone involving this situation as You see it.

Please help me protect the spiritual gifts You gave me.