You can wear a cloak for a lot of years, unknowingly draping most parts of you in a deep shade of shame.
There are unsettling, unexplainable times in all our lives. Events that drag a child from innocence to knowing. Apple times when the serpent dangles life altering fruit in front of us and we naively reach out, taking a terrible nibble.
I was twelve I think when he came through the door. He met my parents and asked for me to do some babysitting. I was standing in our foyer with Mum and Dad. As he and his wife chatted with us, his eyes wandered to mine. Dark eyes. Hungry eyes. I can still see them. Feel them. Like I was something to eat. The room seemed shaded as if the sun was blocked and I couldn’t catch my breath. And then the air changed. Bright conversation again. Happy to have the request for me to help, my parents smiled at me. His wife was pleased (I think) and they left. I was uncertain but had no words for the dark butterfly trapped in the pit of my stomach.
This one story wound its’ confusing narrative up into my teen years. This heaped on top of other, earlier exploitive chapters. As I look back I wonder if I was marked for this, for the insidious worm kept surfacing at segments of my life, and into adulthood.
What is it that decides this child, this young girl, this teen, this woman is chosen for exploitation? Or who I should say.
Is it the sins of the fathers, the mothers, generations back? Not my father, respectful and kind, or Grandpa. I didn’t have that crippling story added to mine. It was another.
The marks it left robed me, roped me into a thinking that tarnished my whole life.
How do you bounce back when you don’t know what’s tying you in knots.
One evening I sat at a table, in a gathering of wholesome and safe people. But this particular evening someone was absent. The one other women at my table was away. Part way through, as we discussed heart matters and watched the video the church had selected to lead us through, I became aware of panic. A sense of danger and the need to flee. Three men and me. Not safe.
Breathe. Not the same. Breathe. Reason. Don’t cry. Calm. Go to the bathroom. Settle down. Note to self: Make an appointment with counsellor.
Phew! Where did that come from.
And why on earth am I sharing this vulnerable story with you? Why say things that no one has any business knowing. Except that if we don’t tell these things then where will it end…. and….there’s the other side of it.
The gem in this dark soul space. The place of hidden stories.
I sense that when I became a Christian, there was a mere changing of clothes but the heart stuff stayed hidden and festering.
I grew, yes.
I fell in love with Jesus, somewhat.
I worshipped, kind of, the best I knew how.
I was catapulted into the place of being a ‘saved person’, part of the youth group, part of the Christian community that reaches more unsaved people and brings them into the kingdom.
But I was broken.
And I couldn’t express it but always felt something was amiss but assumed it was just being a maladjusted teen.
Don’t mistake what I’m saying. Jesus saved me! I did become part of the Kingdom and knew His voice. But there was this undealt with part of me that just got pushed to the side, the deep inside and caused a limp that wouldn’t heal.
I don’t understand God’s timing, why it’s taken these 40 years to get to the root. But it’s been now and before and will continue I’m sure….
I didn’t understand the depths of his caring, the layers of intensity and purpose in digging into what matters to Him. That He’s present, was there in my history and is here now and ferociously loves me. And is leading me in this healing. And His timing is right.
My heart is soil and He’s turning it
Hauling out shame
Digging deep for the vestiges of these roots.
Planting me a beauty garden
It’s a tenuous walk,
A tentative navigation of unearthed sensations, revealed rawness
Swirling consciousness as comprehension awakens
It’s a rebirthing
A needing to flail and wail
A wanting of being swaddled into safety
A peeling off of masks
A stripping down to the most vulnerable me
I believe it will lead to that garden, in time….
A pure place.
This confidence emerging.
He’s rooting out lies, amending me with love
speaking in His truthful word, gently
as I just lean in and allow this honesty.
Is the story complete? Is the healing done and I’m all better?
Will I ever be fully restored? I hope so but know that this side of Heaven there may always be scars.
For now… just learning to be safe.
Learning to rest in the freedom of letting that young girl not carry the blame.
And that my friend, is good.
My prayer for you is freedom as well. We all have different narratives but the undergirding truth is that Jesus wants to set us free from all that binds us. To help us understand that He is FOR us. So then, honestly, who can be against us?
I hope you let Him into the most tender parts of your story and that you learn He is good and so wants to redeem what you’ve been through.
~In Christ ~