Have you ever been in a situation that was 100% out of your comfort zone? Where you feel like you just don’t belong and either you aren’t ready or aren’t qualified? It seems that God has me in these types of situations often, as I am willing to keep surrendering my will to His. And no matter how upset I get about the leadings I feel tugging my heart, I still keep surrendering to His will. Upset may not be the right word. Often times I get down right angry about where I feel the Holy Spirit directing me. It seems like pure madness sometimes! Yet I somehow am able to continue to trust in God, even though there are still parts of my relationship with Him that are so broken.
This past weekend was another one of those times where I was 100% out of my comfort zone. I went to my church women’s retreat. Now I know to some that may sound odd that I was uncomfortable at a women’s retreat; a place where women are supposed to relax and rejuvenate; but this is not the case for me. First of all, I am a home body. I love to be with my family and sleep in my own bed, where my husband is. Not to mention my adorable puppy who is so sweet to me. Second of all, I am going through a very difficult time. Last summer I began a journey of healing where I began to uncover memories of satanic ritual abuse in my childhood. This has absolutely shaken my world to the core. I am going through healing sessions on a weekly basis. I am recovering new memories pretty often still. It has been rough, to say the least.
It is hard to explain really how hard this has been on me. And when I explain these things, it is without intention for people to feel sorry for me. Quite the opposite. Instead I would prefer that people understand the truth about satanic ritual abuse and how real it is in our world today. On a weekly basis I struggle often to do the basics that a wife and mother should do. Laundry, cooking, cleaning and taking care of the kids. I have gone through a period of at least 2 months where I just could not cook. And I previously loved to cook and bake. The house was becoming a disaster and the laundry has been sitting in baskets in the living room. Pretty embarrassing if someone happened to drop by. I expect more of myself obviously, being that it is basically my job.
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Thank God for a husband that is so understanding and helpful. He does not complain about a messy house or eating frozen lasagna and things like that for dinner all week-long. Nor does he complain that I stopped making his lunches and healthy snacks for him to take to work. I feel awful of course, but I have finally gotten to the point where I am as OK with it as I am going to be. I mean, rightfully I should be in the corner drooling after learning the things I have about my abuse. It is horrific to say the least, yet here I am, still functioning at all. I guess it is a miracle, really.
So back to the retreat. I really never had the intention of going. Like I said, I am a home body. I would prefer to go away for the weekend with my husband to be honest. My husband is my safe place, and getting away with him would be amazing. But I digress. The retreat had two big things going for it that really drew me in. Worship and food. What women would not enjoy a weekend of no meal planning, grocery shopping or cooking? Lovely! And worship, well that is where my heart is. Right in the hands of God the Father, adoring Him and basking in His presence. I knew the worship leader and knew the worship would be awesome! After much prayer I knew it was God’s will, even though I really, really did not want to go. I actually cried and whined many times leading up to the day. Yes I did.
I decided to put on my big girl panties on and go though, taking a new friend I met in a support group. We hadn’t known each other long, but I was excited for her to experience God that weekend. I was very nervous because not only do I prefer to be at home, but also I really struggle with people lately. Especially church people. To be fair, all of my abuse happened at church. It was a Mormon church, but try explaining to a young child that a Mormon church is not a real church. You can’t. That was my life, and church was Christian to me. It was where God was, and God was who left me to be abused by church people.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
So while I completely recognize that the people at my church are not abusing me, I also understand that there is a little girl inside of me who feels that church people are evil and hurt you. It is a part of my healing journey. So it was hard to feel safe around people, especially when I already feel the other moms my age have rejected me completely. Not to say they are rude to me, but I guess standoffish would be a better word. Certainly never warm and inviting. And for someone like me, who is trying to cope with the thoughts and beliefs that have grown out of abuse, it is particularly hard. I know they can’t understand where I am coming from, yet that little girl is very, very hurt nonetheless.
I have to say, I am a sharer. I have no qualms about being open and sharing my self and my life, especially when it comes to what God has done. So when our cabin had cabin time, I was open and shared some of what I have been going through. It was difficult and painful for me, yet I did it because I knew it was right. Somehow though during that first evening I was triggered and started on a downward spiral that went into the next day.
A trigger according to psychcentral.com “is something that sets off a memory tape or flashback transporting the person back to the event of her/his original trauma.” I have these at least a few times a month, and I never know when one is going to pop up, or what might set it off. People cannot understand what it is and why it happens, so I have never attempted to explain it to anyone. I am not even sure what triggered me that night, because there was so much going on, I was really overwhelmed. It could have just been me sharing with a group of strangers and triggering a feeling of being unsafe. Whatever it was, I was in a bad state that went to worse, and by noon the next day I was on the porch of the building I was staying in, rocking like mad in a rocking chair, playing worship music to try to not completely lose it.
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
A friend asked me to take a walk and I had to decline. I was shaking and everything inside of me was freaking out. I mean I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Apparently I kept it together pretty well, because no one noticed anything amiss. God is that good. I was able to talk on the phone (another miracle, because the cell service was terrible!) to the person I do inner healing with. She was able to walk me through, with the help of Jesus, into a place where I could heal some trauma and get into a stable place. I was really thinking I was going to have to go home. Yet I actually did not want to. At this place I had really felt the presence of God. Even just sitting out on the rocking chair with the wind blowing, I could feel the Holy Spirit stirring me and speaking clearly to me. I wanted more of that.
It has been a long time since I felt that close to God. Part of my abuse is being told God had abandoned me and Jesus was abusing me. So I have gone through a time of being extremely hurt and angry with God. I am healing that and it’s getting better. So I was relishing it the moments of feeling Him so closely during this retreat. It was absolutely wonderful. We had 5 different worship sessions! I was ecstatic! It was so moving and so wonderful. It was what got me through the weekend.
I did met some very lovely ladies at the retreat. I did have some great learning moments from the speaker as well. Yet by the time I got home I was on overload. Emotionally and spiritually I was at rock bottom. On a spiritual level there was so much witchcraft coming at me I got to the point where I stopped being able to discern it. Witchcraft is a very real part of my life, because as I have been separating myself from it (its from the satanic rituals I was in as a child) I am learning so much more about it. It is everywhere. No place is exempt, least of all Christian places. People do it and they often have no idea. That does not make them bad or evil, it just means they do not know. I am learning to distinguish it and protect myself from it everywhere I go. But that is another story.
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
Coming home was a wonderful relief. I have to say, I was absolutely kicking myself for going though. Part of me did not feel that it was worth it to be on complete overload. The other part of me enjoyed not taking care of the house and kids, and eating great food and worshiping. That brings me back to the will of God. Did God know that the weekend was going to be difficult for me? Yes. Did He know that I was going to be triggered, or be overloaded spiritually? Yes. God knew all these things. Yet He also knew that I would spend two hours worshiping Him through art, or that I would connect with some lovely ladies that made me feel very special. And God uses all things for our good, even bad things. So He was able to use the trigger I had over the weekend to bring me more healing in my session just a few days later. He is a worker of miracles, which all stem from His love. Nothing is too big for our Daddy. He knew what I could handle, and He led me there. I as unsure, but I trusted in Him anyway. It was difficult, but I made it through, and stronger in some ways I am sure.
As a matter of fact, this weekend has taught me a lot about setting boundaries. I have realized it is OK to say no to people, or groups, because sometimes saying no is for your own health (emotional, spiritual or otherwise). It is OK to take a break from church related activities, or even church itself, because church does not make you Christian. Following Jesus makes you Christian. And sometimes Jesus leads you to those uncomfortable places that fall far away from what you think your life should look like. As long as you are willing to listen, and to follow, He will get you through it, and bring good out of it too. He is just that good.
My prayer for you is that you would be willing to surrender to God’s will in your life right now. I know He is asking you to do something that is far too hard for you to do. But no matter what it is, He is not going to leave you alone in it. He is going to walk with you through it, and see that it works for your good. You just have to be willing; you don’t have to even be brave. Look at me: I was a total whiner and God did not even mind one bit! Life is a new adventure waiting for you, if you will just surrender it to Jesus Christ. He is the One that will take you to places you never dreamed were possible, and He will use them to train you to help others go there too. Bless you!
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.