I have briefly hinted in some of my prior posts at some of the sins I’ve had to overcome in my own life. When I have some advice, you can bet I learned it the hard way. But in order to understand what I’m saying, I think I’m going to have to be a little more detailed. This isn’t easy for me, but it is necessary, I think.
My parents divorced when I was about 5 or 6 years old. It was devastating to me, and the way it was handled only left an open wound in my soul, that took years and years for God to heal. On top of that, I was regularly sexually molested at a rather young age by someone who was supposed to take care of me, which only introduced shame, guilt, and a blind rage into a personality that was inclined to be depressed anyways. I found it hard to reconcile these feelings with the fact that the person doing this to me was a church-going, proclaimed Christian.
Twice I sought help. Both times, I went to pastors. The first pastor did his very best to help me, but we moved away, and he was taken out of the picture. The second pastor blamed a demon that I had, basically giving the person doing this to me a pass. The molester just couldn’t help it. This spiritual abuse was almost more devastating to my psyche than anything else. Hence. I tend to shy away from churches.
I don’t write these things to gain some pity. Everyone has some kind of pain that they have to overcome, and I know people personally that have had way worse things happen to them. I spent most of my life hiding the things that hurt me because I felt that if anyone really knew the details of this crap, they would see me in a different light. They’d see something tainted and dirty. Really, I’ve only even told my family just recently. But I’m learning not to be so secretive. Secrets help no one.
I went through all kinds of stages of acceptance with this stuff. I pretty much blamed the molestation for my ensuing sexual problems. I used sex as a currency. First, I used it to get away from the molester. Then, I used it to get away from the guy I had “paid” to get away from the molester…it goes on and on. When I was 23, begging God to fix me — I couldn’t deal with the shame — He sent Don to me. My next problem became addictions. I call them addictions, but my doctor called them “self-medicating behaviors”, because I never engaged in any of them long enough to even have withdrawal symptoms. The third thing that happened was that I developed a “hypervigilance”. I had never heard this word before, so imagine my surprise when I finally broke down and went to see a therapist, and she told me I was a text-book case Hypervigilant Person.
I won’t go into a long explanation of the diagnoses. Let’s just say hypervigilance is like Obsessive Compulsive Disorder of the mind. I think, rethink, and then rethink again, every thing. It takes me a long time to come to decisions because all scenarios must be played out in my head. And that takes time. A lot of time.
It is a marvelous feeling to sit here writing this and feel at peace with God and with myself. All these things that happened so long ago, while having a huge impact on who I am today, don’t define me anymore. Satan had given me the prime excuse to blame every sinful thing I wanted to do on, but Jesus was having none of that.
Instead, what Jesus did is exactly what Romans 8:28 said He would do:
And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Yes, God can even use the trash in our lives for His good. I feel like God has made me a paramedic in His kingdom. While I am totally interested in the Greek and Hebrew origins of words, and love to hear about the history of Israel during the days the Bible was being written, I am always going to be useless in this regard. I’m not a doctor. Most of that stuff simply flies over my head. These teachers are more like doctors — surgeons, if you will. And I seriously don’t know anyone personally that has come to Jesus because the Greek origin of the word “the” meant so much to them they couldn’t deny His Lordship. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened, only that I haven’t seen it.
The paramedics in God’s kingdom find the wounded — the rape victims, the molested children, the hypervigilant men and women — you know, the broken people, and they bind up the wounds just enough to get them to the real doctors. They give them enough hope to buy some time before they spiritually bleed out, so God can begin the really in-depth work.
Without the things that happened to me, I would not have any credibility to the sinner that has had to endure these severely unjust things happening to her/him. Because of this experience, I am able to make a secure connection with these broken people, and point to my own life as proof that God was with me all along. He did care that this was happening to me. He hadn’t decided I was too far gone. And He didn’t let me use these things as a crutch either. He was the perfect parent.
There is a place for everyone in the Kingdom of God. I had to make peace with the things that happened before God was able to make good things come of those experiences. And now, I don’t have any of the shame or guilt that had been such a huge part of my life so many years ago. My scars are the proof I need to be effective in the ministry God has given me. They are my street credibility, if you will. My EMT license in my work here on earth!