Beauty for Ashes: Finding Peace Amidst the Pain

September 23, 2014 Becky Oberg

I've written about my abuse at the hands of the Antioch movement and my escape. It took a long time before I could attend church again, and the abuse did much to exacerbate my symptoms of borderline personality disorder (BPD). I had to find what the Bible calls "beauty for ashes." I had to find peace amidst the pain.

Lessons Learned from a Hindu Yogi

Antioch taught me that other religious paths were allowing Satan to invade my life. They pressured me to drop out of my honors curriculum because it required me to read the sacred texts of other religions. I'm glad I didn't listen, because I discovered there is beauty in all spiritual paths.

Wondering why "it" happened? I discovered Paramahansa Yogananda's Why God Permits Evil and How to Rise Above It. He writes:

"If everything here were good and perfect, no one would leave this earth of his own accord; no one would want to go back to God. So in a sense misery is your best friend, because it starts you seeking God. When you begin to see clearly the imperfection of the world, you will begin to seek the perfection of God. The truth is that God is using evil, not to destroy us, but to make us disillusioned with His toys, with the playthings of this world, so that we might seek Him."

"This is why the Lord Himself permits injustices and evil. But I have said to Him, 'Lord, You have never suffered. You have always been perfect. How do you know what suffering is? Yet You have put us through these tests; and You had no business doing it. We didn't ask to be born as mortals and to suffer.' (He doesn't mind that I argue with Him. He is very patient.) The Lord answers, 'You don't have to go on suffering; I have given everyone the free will to choose good instead of evil, and thus come back to me.'

"So evil is the test of God to see if we will choose Him or His gifts. He created us in His image and gave us the power to free ourselves. But we don't use that power."

That's the best answer to the Question of Evil I've ever heard.

How to Apply Spiritual Answers to Borderline

I've learned through mindfulness and other spiritual techniques to find peace amidst the pain of life and borderline personality disorder.It's one thing to read something that rings the bell of truth within you. It's another thing entirely to apply it to your life.

Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh writes,

You cannot force yourself to forgive. Only when you understand what has happened can you have compassion for the other person and forgive him or her . . . When you are mindful, you can see the many causes that led the other person to make you suffer, and when you see this, forgiveness and release arise naturally.

Practice mindfulness. Step back and assess the situation. Ask yourself, first of all, what happened--as people with BPD, we may feel as if it's worse than it actually is. Look at the facts and come to a conclusion. Then ask what could have driven the person to act the way they did. For example, the man who raped me had recently been dumped by his girlfriend and felt emasculated. The five hundred pound woman who attacked me was a child abuse survivor. Insights like this can be immensely helpful.

Time is Your Ally

I'm fond of saying "The problem with time is that it never moves at the right pace." Time is your friend. Time enables us to step back and re-examine the situation.

When I initially witnessed a burglary, I could not step back and assess the situation--I was too angry. But time allowed me to calm down and look at it differently. True, he was committing a crime, but what was his motive? Based on what I've learned from my neighbors, he was a homeless man who was squatting. Once I realized this, I was able to come to terms with it.

Your healing is out there. It's up to you to find it, but you will find it if you search with all your heart.

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APA Reference
Oberg, B. (2014, September 23). Beauty for Ashes: Finding Peace Amidst the Pain, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 23 from

Author: Becky Oberg

September, 23 2014 at 10:52 pm

Hi I love your blog would you please take a minute and tell me what you think of mine? Love the name!

October, 5 2014 at 7:23 pm

my life has always been upside down, so I turned to god hoping to find relief, and before you know it, I was implicated in a cult, and when you are half deaf and blind, you don't realise it until it is too late, all my life I had people use me and abuse me, they say it was my choice and I say no it isn't, when you don't see or hear evil, you can't make that choice, but now I understand better and trying to change my life around and yet I am still judged on my past

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