The pain of what happened is gone, but healing continues. Because relationship continues.
I’m still learning to trust God—really trust him. No matter what happens. This one is hard for me. You see, I was always where I was supposed to be when the bad things happened—in my classroom, in my house, with family, at church, at work, at youth camp.
Not that I was perfectly behaved, but most of my foolishness took place after all the abuse and betrayals had occurred. The only explanation is that evil sought me out. It hunted me.
(Don't assume that I mean a woman's foolishness or wisdom justifies or condemns the wrongful actions of others. Assault is assault, no matter where she was when it happened.)
At times, bad things happened to me because I did the right thing. (Doing the right thing usually comes at a price.)
I have to make peace with the fact that I can follow God with every breath until my last, and bad things may still happen. My heart may get broken. I might be betrayed. I could get hurt. Jesus did, and I’m no better than him.
I’m still learning to lay myself bare before God—God who never promised I wouldn’t have trouble, but pledged to overcome it—and bid him to come and work his character into mine. Through trouble.
I’m learning to be a daughter. I’m learning what being a daughter means. From my daughter.
In Sara, I see trust, confidence of love and acceptance, a hunger for physical contact, delight in my presence. There’s much to learn from her.
The Father/daughter connection is imperative. If we don’t know God as Father, we don’t know him. Furthermore, we have no sense of who we are, of who our brothers and sisters are. (Consider the devastation of fatherlessness in the world today.)
The enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy. What he comes to steal, kill, and destroy are destiny and identity. One of his favorite tools is childhood sexual abuse. It’s highly effective.
I have no idea who I am.
So I’m going to learn him. Father God. He’s the way back home.
Though the events of my past no longer cause me pain, I still feel the pain of the judgments I made against myself due to those events and other events that reinforced those judgments. Not enough. A burden. Inconvenient. Worthless.
I’ve given up renouncing these judgments. They aren’t lies from the enemy. They’re my judgments. My truth. They’ve been there a long time.*
Instead, I look at the life of Jesus—King Jesus who came to us as an infant pauper—and allow his upside-down way of doing things to redefine the meaning of my judgments. In essence, I identify with him as he identified with me.
Jesus was homeless, remember? He didn’t have a job or a family. According to the standards of his culture, what did he contribute? Not much.
Jesus wasn’t enough for his brothers and sisters or the rich young ruler. He wasn’t enough for his disciples—not even Judas Iscariot who was one of the twelve. Jesus knew he wasn’t enough for them, and he didn’t fight it. He never did anything to prove himself. He just...was.
God is so confident in himself that he says of himself, "I am who I am."
Jesus didn’t work, but lived off of prayers for provision and the hospitality of others. My culture would consider him an abuser of the system.
Jesus was extremely inconvenient for the Pharisees and Romans. He caused them all kinds of frustrations, and they hated him for it. In the end, he was judged and murdered as a worthless criminal.
Just like Jesus, I will never be enough for some people. Heck, I’m not enough for myself. I can’t save myself, please myself, manage myself. My own personal standards are too high.
I am a burden. Every time I need something, there’s a breakdown in the system. This has never been truer than when I was so sick for all those years with mast cell activation syndrome.
I’m inconvenient too. I’m inconvenient to anyone who would rather not talk about the prevalence of sexual assault and harassment in our culture. I’m inconvenient to the enemy who would keep these things shrouded in darkness. I’m extremely inconvenient to those who want to self-righteously hold onto their pain, rotting in bitterness, because you see—I’ve shown them a way out. And that implies personal responsibility. For the victim.
Victims content in their victimhood hate the revelation of personal responsibility because it's easier to blame others for their misery than get out of it. I should know.
And dude, I am worthless. Who spends their time lying in bed talking to God anymore? What’s the value in that in today’s economy? It makes me crazy, right? Why do all this digging around? What is it all for?
What is it all for?
I’m so glad you asked.
I serve a God who offers benefits to believers. These benefits, listed in Psalm 103, include forgiveness for all iniquity, healing of all diseases, redemption from the pit, steadfast love and mercy, satisfaction, youthful energy, justice for everyone who is oppressed, and the gift of knowing him.
This is an exciting list, but I want to focus on the redemption part.
Redemption implies a transaction. One party is able to buy back land or freedom that another party lost.
In the Old Testament, redemption could only be accomplished by a living blood-relative. Christ made himself our relative by coming in the likeness of sinful flesh. In his perfection, he fulfilled every requirement of the law, thereby making me free to be not enough. And by his death, he bought us back from death and sin. And not only that.
The Hebrew word for “redeem” in Psalm 103 is the word “ga’al,” which bears the connotations of “avenger” and “revenger.”
Not only did Jesus buy back what was lost; part of my inheritance as a believer in Jesus Christ is revenge upon the enemy in every area of my life where he has stolen, killed, and destroyed.
That means I get revenge in the areas of betrayal, sickness, and sexual abuse.
What does that look like lived out?
It looks like seeing people saved, healed, and delivered. It looks like leaving the 99 to go after the one lost lamb. It looks like bringing her home. It looks like bringing others into freedom from the captivity of bitterness and pain.
It looks like attracting people who feel worthless and not enough. It looks like shining a light for them to find their way home to God.
It looks like being a burden and an inconvenience to the kingdom of darkness.
It looks like making Satan sorry he ever glanced my way.
I plan to build the rest of my life around discovering who God is and who I am in him, becoming like him, and helping others do the same.
I am no victim. I’m an overcomer by the blood of the Lamb and the word of my testimony.
And I won’t rest until that’s the song of the blood-bought bride of Christ and we learn to stop hurting each other and start healing each other. Until death do us part.
Because this whole Gospel thing? It's about relationship--with a Father and one giant family of brothers and sisters. It's what Christ died for. It only makes sense that it's what we live for.
May you know the love of the Father through Jesus the Son this holiday season.
May all the victims become victors. May they have their revenge upon the darkness.
May the abusers come to Jesus and no one hinder them. Yes, even the pedophiles and pimps, the by-standers and those who have covered up crimes in the name of convenience.
May they all repent and be healed and transformed.
May there be peace on earth and goodwill toward men and women.
*The idea of changing the meaning of personal judgments comes from Tim and Katie Mather of Bear Creek Ranch. I credit their ministry for providing me with several of the tools I needed to help me heal.