This is a three part series:
- My story – part #1 – the story
- My story – part #2 – lessons
- My story – part #3 – meeting Him and coming out
I have been feeling an intense amount of anger since sunday. More or less it has always been there, along with pain, but I guess I never had the breathing room to let it out before. This move has been a HUGE change for me and a time of growth.
I have been feeling since yesterday to share my story. I did this nervously. I didn’t see the wisdom in it, but having written it, perhaps there is some value. I haven’t shared this before because I didn’t want to dump. I dumped on a friend 2 days ago and paid a price for that – but I hope that this post is not me dumping. I hope it’s constructive and useful.
Here’s my story and my recovery story as well.
The sign-up for all God has for me
When I was about 10 or 12 I knew God very very personally. We chatted. I felt this enormous joy inside. My nickname was smiley. I just smiled and loved and played. I was a kid. When I saw people who had a problem I asked God how to help them and then I helped them. Once I found a woman’s ring – she had lost her engagement ring and was very upset, in tears. I asked God where it was and gave it to her.
I had big gifts, prophecy was working big time and I gradually came to see the inner world of people around me. Everyone was in pain. Everyone was struggling. I began to pray for people. I asked God to share the immense joy I had with them. Give some of it to them Lord. I wanted to swap, take some of theirs for them.
But all my little prayers did nothing for them. I decided to ask Him to use me. I had to ask three times before He accepted. I won’t go into detail on the actual prayer or conversation (unless you want me to) but He warned me it would be a very painful time. I accepted.
Painful? My life gradually descended into hell… or perhaps hell came to me would be more accurate. Either way, my nickname was no longer smiley.
There but for the grace of God go I
I know what that saying means now. I know what the grace of God is now. I have it now, but I didn’t have it for the longest time.
I took the bible literally, because I KNEW the God of Heaven and Earth. I KNEW Him personally. But He had moved away. The joy faded. I lost all peace. I began to have terrible nightmares. I spent some of my teenage years thinking about stepping in front of moving cars, to get away from the pain I felt.
The world was not lining up with God’s bible. How could that be? This contradicted all the teachings! People had said this would never never happen and now it was happening! How could this be?
I had been promised protection and I believed it, but in reality I had been sexually abused several times over a long period of time. I had trusted and here I was, considering stepping in front of cars to end it all. I didn’t want to die, I wanted God to come and help me, to save me, to fix me. I prayed and prayed. After church I’d go back and pray more. I’d try to talk to preachers but they didn’t have the time or didn’t have the answers.
How could they be God’s anointed church and not be able to help me? I was astounded. They were powerless to help me. I needed help, desperately… no one could help.
God… gone… the other guy
By the time I was 17 I couldn’t find God and even though people would often say that I had God, I hadn’t felt Him personally for a long time. I have no doubt He was there, setting limits, just like with Job. But I was alone and in pain.
I had been a leader in the youth group and now I was literally trying to get people to explain the gospel to me. I sat down with a girl and said, please tell me about Jesus. She thought I was kidding and coming on to her, she refused to share. After I fell away she tried to talk to me, but it was too late.
Meanwhile for a few years I had been have weird feelings and desires and horrible thoughts. No doubt they came from the sexual abuse that I had experienced. But no one could help. No one could stop it. And God wouldn’t come help me either, no matter how much I prayed.
I fell away and gave up. It doesn’t shock me or surprise me that I made this choice. I couldn’t reconcile the theological promises with my day-to-day life. Life won, I walked away. But… if I thought my life was bad BEFORE this moment, it only got disastrously worse after making this choice.
In more recent years God would explain to me that other people’s stuff could come onto me – I was like a garbage bin and anything could be thrown into me. If I even looked at a sexually active person I would somehow pick up their stuff. It was crazy-making stuff, let me tell you. Madness was only millimeters away. I heard voices, I routinely saw in the spirit realm… the whole shebang.
Needless to say by 20 I had begun to use sex and food and marijuana to keep the inner noise levels down. I had ADD/ADHD and if I drank a LOT of Coke, then I couldn’t hear myself think or feel anything. So I drank heaps of Coke. hehehehe. Anaesthesia.
Around this time (19) my natural father decided to try “tough love” on me. So he didn’t see me or speak to me for 7 years. What did I learn from that? That fathers reject you and have no contact with you if you’re too messed up.
And that overlaid into my relationship with my Father in heaven. Inwardly I guess I decided that He had rejected me too?
When I was about 19/20 I had my first breakdown – although I probably first broke down as a young teen and just remained broken ever since. A counsellor explained to me that I had no EGO to protect me. Being from a messed up family with very little love to go around, I had not learned to defend myself or to seek love elsewhere… wherever possible.
My faith in God had actually made things WORSE because the teachings were so idealistic and so devoid of human love or reality. That is what I call “Christian Philosophy”. It’s idealistic. We see some words and we think we know what they mean.
Real life Christianity
Now think about how Joyce Meyer explains the bible. She makes it real life, she has been through it all and come out… she actually knows what works. She has let God shape her, let God teach her.
I’ve been shaped regardless of my choices. hehehe.
What made it worse for me was because I simply trusted like a child, so I didn’t see any need to protect myself. I took the bible literally. Very literally. Jesus said He would protect me right? I therefore had no need to protect myself… so I developed nothing to shield my ID (the tender raw emotions inside) away from the big bad world.
Everything and everyone just cut me up on the inside. I had no protection of my own, no EGO. Everyone could have their way with me – and usually did. I smiled at them and trusted that NOTHING could happen unless God permitted it. I trusted everyone and tried to love everyone – even those who sexually abused me. I just believed that God was permitting this, so He must be ok with it. That is Christian Philosophy. It’s simply what I call rubbish teaching.
Love and God’s character (of love) is the filter through which all scripture must FIRST be filtered and process BEFORE it is spoken into the lives of followers.
I can only imagine what my life would have been like with some good and balanced biblical teaching rather than idealistic biblical teaching. I still believe the bible is exactly right, but I now know that there is a balance and a context to it all.
The counsellor was right, of course, I had no protection for myself. I should have learned SO MANY things from my parents and I would simply have lived them out without even considering if they were “biblical”, but not haaving that foundation of love… I was lost. No one was teaching it in a way I could understand.
The counsellor was right, but I was already suicidal and I had no idea what she was talking about. I couldn’t hear any more.
I was about 20 and I had been suicidal off and on for years – I decided to do it. A friend had decided that he also wanted to do it. I heard a voice saying to delay the decision until saturday. I thought that was reasonable, so I told my friend that. He agreed. For the next few days I looked for a reason not to do it. I looked hard. Visited people. Phoned people. Visited places. The saturday evening came and I saw no reason not to do it.
As I drove to meet my friend, I prayed a last prayer and said “God I know You’re there, I just don’t know who You are. I am sorry if this is not ok, but I can’t remain alive on the earth any more. I have tried and I can’t find anything to live for.”
And He talked back. He said: “What about Me?“. I was stumped. I didn’t really want a reason to live. But then again… if this WAS God… if my life wasn’t just a random mess…
By now I was so messed up and it had been so long, I had prayed so much, I had been through so much, seen so much, I had experienced so much of the enemy being thrown at me… I wasn’t sure if this voice was God or not. I put out a fleece. (If you want to know about the fleece and the miracle, just ask, I’ll write about it). The fleece came back very wet. A total miracle. It was God for sure.
He had a plan for my life. I could not find a reason to live, but He said He wanted me to live for Him. What does that mean? But that was all. Nothing more. Saturday evening came and went. Sunday arrived. Then Monday. The pain didn’t stop. There was no quick fix solution.
And we talked
We (“God” and I) just talked… about Him… about stuff. I still could not accept He was the God of the Christian religion, because they had not been able to help me or love me. How could He be that God? Who is He? Really? What is He able to do?
So He started me at the beginning.
He started by showing me the religions of the world and identified them into two groups: Abraham-based ones and new age ones. I had to choose. I chose Abraham-based ones because they emphasize a God… and the other emphasize energy. I was talking to “God”… so it had to be one of those three right?
Now I had to choose between the two (Jewish and Christian) and Islam. I chose the two. Then I had to choose between Judaism and Christianity. Christianity was the closest to love and had the values I desired the most, self-sacrifice etc. So I chose Christianity.
This happened over months of slow conversation. No topic was off-limits. No topic was left uncovered. As a result I have a deep understanding of what I believe and why. We talked about religion and about the bible and Jesus and eventually I began to learn about the Holy Spirit.
I started reading the bible again, just the red words (Jesus’ words), then the gospels, then Acts, then more and more. The OT was left for much much later.
No stone was left unturned, I asked any question I wanted. Basically this process has never stopped… a slow path of seeing a problem, asking, learning, trying, failing, getting hurt, crying, anger, frustration, seeing, asking, re-learning, re-trying, success… basking in the new warmth, finding new obstacles, new learning, new failures… and so on. A process. Almost everything in the bible is a process.
No help. No one DID anything.
Sounds cool? No. Each day I remained on the planet and I dragged my sad and sorry feet from one day to the next to the next. Nothing got better, only inch by inch. If anything the enemy get more angry and I suffered more.
I had no peace. My life was a war zone. No joy. No intimacy. Not until very recently, not until things changed. I’ll explain that at the end.
People gave me books. I spent time with hippies and new agers – but I could see the truth. I just couldn’t get to it, or get it to come to me. At this point in my life the walls in my room seemed like they were bending and I felt incredible demonic activity in my life. I stopped the marijuana. hehehehe.
Psychologists and their drugs… sigh. I told them about my giftings and they thoughts I was psychotic. If you are not psychotic and you take anti-psychotic drugs… it’s not good. hehehe. In the end I dumped the drugs and just trusted God. It was terriying, but that’s when I grew the fastest.
No one understood, no one helped. I sought out advice – but none of it worked. I’d go to a priest crying, tears in my eyes, needing help, and he’d say he didn’t have the time to help me, he was too tired after doing three services that day. I accepted that is his choice and he’s had a tough day, I understand… but I walked away crying and crying and crying. It’s GOD’S CHURCH, why will no one help?
Spiritual fads… mere words
I tried every spiritual trick in the book to get free, to get back to Him, to get Him to come to me… everything, anything! I read and read and read. I worshipped. I prayed. I begged. I lay on my face. I soaked. I tried to find the “secret place”. I commanded. I rested. I strived. You name the Christian fad and I tried it. Nothing worked.
With nothing working, I just had to go from one day to the next. Every time I’d want to give up then someone would come out of nowhere and tell me God has great plans for me. Every 1 to 2 years they would say this. It was only just enough to keep me going. Barely.
Gradually I became determined to help people when I’m all fixed up. No one should be left like this. No one.
I got married and things just got worse. I didn’t hear God much in that time – maybe I was out of His will. The union of two hurt people… oh dear. Marriage requires a strong ego, strong ability to compromise and a determination police your own boundaries – while dealing with another person and their quirks too. I had no boundaries. I had no ego. I didn’t think I needed one, I had God! Right? Wroooonngggg.
God. For real. For a while. Sort of.
Then the marriage ended. I was 33-ish. I hadn’t eaten for 5 days, I hadn’t slept for 3 days. I was in serious trouble. I couldn’t physically function properly. It was below zero and my house was cold and I couldn’t figure out how to switch my own heater on to warm my house.
God began to lead me again at this time, when I was absolutely at the bottom. He told me what book to get, to run a bath and what chapter and page to read in that bath.
I got through, but only after completely falling apart as a person. I was so grateful for the help… but it wasn’t the big instant restoration that I wanted. Where was the healing event? The fireworks? ZAP!
Finding a loving church
I went to church for the first time in years. God seemed to lead me to it. But it was a church without love. No one cared that I had no family and nowhere to have sunday lunch. They might have noticed, but they didn’t DO anything ABOUT it.
The pastor had the whole “submission theology” thing happening, so the place was highly structured – but unloving. I got some healing in the prayer group, but after attending three times they asked me not to attend any more. I abided by the leader’s choice. Yet another rejection in the church. (The prayer group folded shortly afterward.)
He (God) moved me to another church and I got healed up to a new level. The pastor (by gifting, not the leader) was tremendous to me and helped me immeasurably. A father figure, he restored me in deep ways. For 3-4 years I remained there and grew and healed.
I attended many many healing sessions from all kinds of people and institutions and they worked a bit but not much. Nothing worked until I found the gospel and mystery of Jesus. For real. I’ll explain that at the end of this post.
Now, more recently, I’ve moved again to a still-more loving church where rules are even less in play and where emotions are even more accepted and shared. The pastor of this church phoned me this week to find out how I am and encourage me. It’s unheard of! The other person in the room with me at the time said “they phoned just to find out how you are?”. “Yeah!”
The leader of my previous church still hasn’t replied to my email about leaving, or to wish me well. That hurts.
I gradually formed an EGO and identity
In the last few years there has been tremendously painful growth. Bit by bit over 4 years I’ve formed an EGO and I’m able to take care of things, maintain a focus, have goals and defend myself in conflicts where an external SUPEREGO might have unfairly dominated me and hurt me. In a church environment the superego is legal laws, an over-bearing church leader, religous teaching, judgement etc. All of this is pharasaical and must be avoided.
One thing I am so glad about is that I can see all the biblical references for a healthy life now. He showed them to me and guided me through them. I have most of them journalled. I’d like to write books like Joyce Meyer and show people how to move into healing – and even more, how to have the promises of the bible actually come true.
But that will have to wait until I have these things myself. I won’t teach what I don’t have for myself.
I’ve now formed an identity – I have a sense of who I am, what I am capable of, what I am built for. I’ve come to understand some of my gifts. I’ve begun to understand perhaps why He let me go through this – although I can’t yet see the picture or outcome.
He leads us THROUGH the valley, not around
As my EGO forms, I am able to defend my ID (my inner emotions). As my ID recovers from the battering and punishment, I begin to feel again. At first all I felt was pain. Severe pain – from the years and years. Then after feeling the pain, I felt the rejection of my childhood. Then I felt more and more of that.
All the things I didn’t feel back then, they all had to be re-surfaced and felt. Twice that I can remember, God spared me the memory, I just cried out in pain with no memory at all. I was freed.
Having felt the pain and rejection, now I’m going through anger. Yesterday I felt like a teenager, theanger of a teenager. Uncontrollable, intense, passionate. Unwilling to bend. Sheer anger and frustration at having my will over-ridden day after day throughout my life.
It will take some time to be processed. Apparently growth goes like this: 1 month = 1 year of growth. So if I have to grow for 20+ years of suppressed anger, it will take 20+ months.
But my God is a great big God… and He’ll get it sorted out sooner than that.
How I got free and am getting free
Getting free is like entering into the promised land. There’s a before and after moment. Before when NOTHING WORKED (no matter how “biblical” it was) and AFTER when the same passages in the bible now suddenly work!
It’s an event, and yet it’s a process. How can that be? Well, take a look. In Joshua 1 and 2 God says He “has” given the land, He says He “is” giving the land and they should go “take” the land. It’s all a process. Bit by bit, just like the Israelites entering into the promised land. He says it 5 times, often in different ways.
The point is clear. Healing and promises are mine, but I have to go and take them, fight for them sometimes.
So what was the key – the before and after? What causes the promises of the bible to COME ALIVE and start being true? The key is Jesus. Huh? Figuring out what He did for me on the cross and then believing it.
Not believing passionately what Paul or John wrote… no, but believing passionately what and who JESUS is. He is the key. His life. His death.
Since coming to this understanding, that the OT points to Jesus, the NT points to Jesus. And the whole focus of scripture is Jesus… in Him are all the promises yes and amen, in Him is all the mystery Paul says. In fact, Paul says that it’s all HIDDEN in Him. Hidden! Like the jewel hidden in the field that is in fact the Kingdom – the one we sell everything for. Geddit?
So it’s all in Him, He is the key… and He is in us. It’s not that we are now the key, it’s that He is the key… and He is in us. He remains the key. We’re just lucky to have Him in us, but we’re still just us.
So what now for me?
Well, having dealt with the hidden and suppressed pain that I felt, I’m now dealing with anger. Lots of it. I’m remembering who did what to me and I’m trying not to get too angry with God for letting it happen.
I’m also seeing children and teens with similar problems who are being used and I’m feeling intense anger at their abuse. I want to protect them.
I’m seeing children and teens enjoying their youth and feeling angry that I lost that and I can never go back.
I’m just angry. And it’s ok.
I’m trying to find a way to let my anger out that doesn’t involve spiritually cursing someone or getting revenge by punching the lights out of the person who disrespected me like that. I tried to share my feelings with a friend, but I think I only mananged to confuse and hurt that person. (I am sorry.)
I’m learning to look after myself, learning to receive love and give love, learning to figure out who to let in and who to block, learning to have boundaries (got that sussed I think) and I’m generally just building an EGO to help protect me.
And don’t forget, to have fun. Fun comes from the ID. What I did in Dahab. The cool thing is, the stronger my EGO is, the more the ID can come out and play in safety. See?
God’s coming back (I hope)
And I’ve been feeling that God is back on my case now. Bit by bit. I experienced just a little of that joy I used to know.
And then God dissappeared for a few days this week and I fell around like a jellyfish, out of water and lost again. I tend to freak out when that happens, because I am very dependant on God for growth and stability.
But I do see that I have to keep growing, keep developing an ego, keep coming into myself and becoming a full person. I have to learn to walk by His side, not try and remain in His arms. The one is a child, the other is a baby. We’re called to be like the child, not the baby.
Maybe there is a point to the madness
Like Job I don’t know why I was thrown to the wolves – but as I write this post and listen to myself I do get a feeling that maybe it wasn’t all in vain.