I haven’t felt like writing for the past few months. Granted, I know I just wrote a blog about a week ago, but I didn’t write it because it was something I wanted to talk about. I just haven’t felt like expressing my own personal thoughts and ruminations for a few months because my life has just been in an upheaval, and I have been trying my best to keep my eyes on Christ during this entire season because He’s the only anchor I have. But things are a bit calmer now, so I’ll try to explain.
Last year that #MeToo movement started. As I periodically checked my Facebook I saw numerous women I knew change their statuses, publicly admitting that they were also victims of sexual abuse. As I thought about these women, it hurt my heart to know that so many people I knew had gone through the trauma of sexual abuse, but I also knew that it took a great deal of courage and humility to just do that simple act of putting up a hashtag. So after some considerable thought, I quietly changed my status to #MeToo…hoping no one would really notice, so I could just quietly carry on with my life.
Little did I know that the Lord was going to use something so small and insignificant in the forthcoming months, but He did. And as I found myself serving in my church with a dear friend several times, this topic of sexual assault came up, and I was finally forced to admit that maybe….just a little maybe though….I had some issues I should heal from. So I brought this book to help me begin to walk through this process.
Now, I admittedly didn’t intend to get the book initially. While my conversations with my sister were good and convincing, I had bigger fish to fry! My husband and I were in the process of removing my daughter from Kindergarten in early February, and I needed to begin homeschooling her immediately with no prior experience or opportunity to really plan. We were facing parenting challenges with her behavior, concerned about her heart, and I was getting hit hard with my 2 year old’s “two-ness” that was coming at me from left field. Honestly, it just wasn’t the best time for me. But I thank God for my sister who believed in her heart (and she had to be trusting and believing…LOL) that it was the absolute best time, and she kept the gentle pressure on so that I ended up buying the book.
Once I got the book in hand, I figured I would dive in this summer. You know….finish up the school year, let things calm down first. But I also figured that I could at least read the introduction as good heart prep for what I would be doing later. Well, I read the introduction one night after we got the girls in bed, and I threw it down. With tears in my eyes I told my husband that I absolutely did not want to read this right now. It was too much! I couldn’t! And my husband looked up at me (the way he does when he knows he’s right about what he’s going to say), and he said, “Well, honey, it sounds like this is probably a good time for you to start.”
It wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I knew he was right. And so I began spending my evenings reading and crying and talking with my husband for weeks and weeks on end. As I was trying to get our lives into a new schedule and routine with homeschooling, I was walking through the stages of grief, trying to keep my girls occupied playing upstairs while I was sobbing my eyes out quietly in the kitchen. But somehow, by God’s grace, I was able to pull things together enough to get dinner on the table and handle the responsibilities of each day.
I camped out in anger for a long time… a really really long time. Sometimes you just don’t know how angry you are. But you start to realize you’re angry when you wake up at 4:00 in the morning to ponder the reasons and the depths of your anger, and you can sit in the bathroom with your husband to discuss it at 5:00 am when he’s getting ready for work. And when he comes home and asks you about your day, you just say, “You know, I’m a really angry person.” ….it was a lot to deal with, and it’s still a lot to deal with. Anger is not a joke. Those feelings of being powerless, feeling betrayed, years spent with emotional confusion, always trying to figure out how to relate to people, the perpetual weight of guilt and condemnation over something you never wanted, realizing how deeply an act of being violated can stain and twist parts of your life that you never realized….all of this can leave you unimaginably angry, hurting and angry.
But this was the season of my life where the waters were being stirred, and I knew that if I could continue to step in, it would be for my good. So I kept on. The first days were awful. I cried myself to sleep on many nights, silently praying and asking God if He could save me to the uttermost. Could the blood of Christ flow to this deep and dark place in the depths of my soul? Can He make all of this for my good? Can the pain and the shame be taken away forever? Does He love me….even with this?
Now, I knew the answers to my questions, even as I prayed them. Years of studying God’s Word meant that His Word and promises were immediately came to mind as these questions poured out, but I realized I lacked faith to believe it. And I wept even more, praying that the Lord would help my unbelief and increase my faith. As my pastor so passionately reminded us yesterday, I had to recall that “The just shall live by faith.” Regardless of how I felt, I had to stand on the truth of God’s Word and without seeing anything before me, trust that He is able to keep His Word and perform His sanctifying work in all areas of my life…even the parts that I thought were best left untouched.
So fast-forwarding a bit, the past few months have been hard. I’ve been physically, mentally, and emotionally spent. I’ve had so many conversations with my husband, and I thank God that my dear sister was there walking with me every step of the way…always responding to my teary-eyed and angry text messages and all. He provided for me…each day, He provided me with what I needed, whether it was a comforting word, a timely exhortation, a gentle rebuke, a prod to go further, or a haven to rest. He has met my every need and given me grace to walk through these days.
But I have been left feeling fragile and weak, with very little to say. As situations arise, I immediately grow anxious trying to figure out how not to resort to old patterns of behavior. I wish things didn’t have to be this difficult, but as my husband reminds me when I grow frustrated, this will take a lifetime to work completely through. And if I’m honest, I will tell you that this has left me with an even deeper hatred for sin, but a far deeper longing for Christ’s return. I await that day with bated breath when sin will be no more. My God, I long for that day!
But until then, my desire is to be faithful to do the work He has given me to do and to continue to be of some encouragement to my fellow brothers and sisters in the faith. So I leave you with this:
There is no sin that is too deep, too dark, or too hidden away in the past that the blood of Christ does not avail for today. Whether it is something you have done, something you failed to do, or something that happened to you, His blood was shed to cleanse you from that too. Christ didn’t shed His blood just for the things that you will readily admit are sins, but He shed it for all of those things you wish would disappear from your memory, those things you wish could just be undone so you can forget it forever. He died for that too. In fact, He lived a life of perfect obedience to God’s law and died bearing the weight and guilt of our sins, and rose again so that we could be declared righteous before God forever.
Regardless of how you may feel at times, fellow brother and sister, if you are in Christ, you are right with God. His eyes didn’t miss the depths of your sins. Nothing about you has ever been hidden from Him, no matter how much you may try to hide it from yourself and others. And knowing the state we were in, and even are in now, He loved us and shed His blood to atone for all of those sins. It remains effectual for us today, and there is nothing too dark and filthy for His blood.
I pray that you would take Him at His Word always. I pray that as the Spirit of God does His sanctifying work in your life that you would trust Him with the dark places that you’d rather not deal with and that you would seek out help if you need it. I pray that when you hear the whisperings of condemnation that you would take up that shield of faith, and war against the enemy with the very Word of God which tells us that regardless of what we have done, we are in Christ and declared to be right with God. I pray that you would be encouraged to walk with your fellow brothers and sisters as they wrestle with sins of their past and/or present and that you wouldn’t shy away because it seems to be “too much” to deal with. And finally, I pray that you would walk by faith, and not by sight, and that your love for the Lord would deepen because He dearly loves you and has given Himself for you. His blood never loses its power.