Raw and Real

24 08 2015

To know that we’re loved by God with the same love as His love for Jesus is amazing; heartwarming; unless…

…you’ve been abused most of your life…

…and you believe that God punished Jesus in your place;

that all Christ endured was God’s ‘heart’ for you.

He hated you that much.

Aren’t you so thankful that Jesus took the hit for you?

Don’t you want to become one of God’s children too?

Strong words?

Yes. I cringe as I type, for this is completely untrue.

Yet, I see that this is the ‘gospel’ most of us believe; is the reason why some Christians protest abortion clinics and homosexuality and other behaviors to which God is opposed by screaming curses and spewing hateful labels at those who participate.

‘Without Jesus’, they deserve wrath…ours, apparently.

In the loving name of Jesus, amen, of course.

(This is NOT my approval of their ungodly acts – just a comment about our ungodly treatment of them.)

I had many questions for God last year. Ones to which I needed answers if I was to continue in the faith. It was really messy, so I ‘unplugged’ from WordPress to spare you.

Utterly fed up with abuse of any sort, I was ready to ‘dump God’ as the worst abuser of them all.

Hell sounded pretty good: sure, it’s hot, dark, worms never die…but you are alone. At least I wouldn’t be mistreated by others anymore.

Jeremiah 29:13 reads, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.”

It was the ‘all my heart’ bit that got me into trouble.

Yes, His Spirit was dwelling in me, but it was ‘Standing Room Only.’ There was a crowd of ‘witnesses’ hanging out in there as well. People from my past whose words ‘dwelt richly in me’ – words I believed with all my heart:

Stupid, worthless, fat, ugly, lazy, ridiculous, good-for-nothing, inadequate, unwanted, unlovable, and many that I won’t type so as to not offend you. Their voices were so loud that I could barely hear the Spirit speak.

(Through the process of forgiving, most of them have been evicted this year. I’m doing much better. Hearing the Lord much better, too. 😉 )

If you tell a person who’s been abused that the cross was God taking out His wrath for us – on His beloved Son – they’re not going to want to ‘join your club.’

Just sayin’.

After all, children, believe that parents love. Everyone knows that.

The abused child assumes that this is what love does: Dad’s angry about an infraction of his laws. Mom interferes, deflecting Dad’s anger and receives what was about to be unleashed on him or her.

Which sounds a lot like what God’s love ‘did’ to Jesus…

…the innocent suffering wrath that was meant for us.

(Yes, this is what the mind of an abused person does with the ‘Good News.’)

Is this what we really believe about God?

More importantly, is it even true?

Have I rattled your cage? If this is the god you believe in, I sincerely hope so.

We will seek Him – and find Him – when we search for Him with all our heart.

*****

My next post will be a re-blog by Mel Wilde. It turns out, I’m not the only one on this quest. Being further along on the journey, he is better able to articulate what God has also been revealing to him. It was exciting to discover that what God was showing me, He is also revealing to others, and independent of others. Mel is one of many, I’ve learned!

For a more thorough, scholarly treatment of this subject, I highly recommend Healing the Gospel by Derek Flood.





Fearful Flight

14 05 2013

Both doors into the house locked, a suitcase hastily thrown onto the couch, I raced down the hall to gather clothes while I struggled to gather my thoughts. My heart pounded. If I was caught, the scene would get ugly in a hurry.

What lay before us, I had no clue. All I knew was that we had to get somewhere safe.

My children were with my mom, who waited for my call. She originally said that she wanted no part of this operation. “He will hurt us, Tami,” she’d stated, eyes wide with fear.

“Fine. Then you need to know that this morning your grandchildren and I will be on the highway. We will hitchhike if we have to. Mom, we have to get out of here! They are expecting us at the Women’s Refuge at 10 a.m.”

The guilt did the trick, and she relented.

Fighting back tears, nearly overwhelmed, I ran to the boys’ room, yanked open the dresser, and began grabbing clothes. I took the armload and hurried to the living room and dumped them into the awaiting luggage.

Next was the girls’ room. I searched for a stuffed toy for each of them as well. They would need all the comfort they could get.

Back in the living room, I turned, ready to get some things for myself when – for the first time in my life – I heard the Lord speak.

“Go get your Bible; the one your mother bought you for Christmas.”

You’ve got to be kidding. I’ve got to get out of here!

I started down the hall when, in my mind, heard the voice again, “Go get your Bible – your One Year Bible.”

I don’t have time for this. Besides, I don’t even know where it is.

“It’s in the girls’ closet, up on the shelf, in the bottom box. Go get it!!”

His voice was insistent – not the, “Hey, this might be a good idea,” sort, but rather the “NOW!” tone a parent uses with a child who’s had it.

I charged back to the girls’ room, opened the closet and took down the boxes. I opened the bottom one as I had been told. There, right on top, was the Bible I was supposed to bring with us.

Wow! This is weird.

On my way down the hall, I heard, “Open it. Read it.”

I stopped, and opened the book up to that date’s reading. Here is what I read:

“The Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says, ‘I am the Lord your God, who punishes you for your own good and leads you along the paths that you should follow.

Oh, that you had listened to My laws! Then you would have had peace flowing like a gentle river, and great waves of righteousness…there would have been no need for your destruction.

Yet even now, be free from your captivity! Leave Babylon, singing as you go; shout to the ends of the earth that the Lord has redeemed his servants.’ “

I crumpled to a heap and sobbed. After a few minutes, I calmly got up, finished packing, and called for my mom to pick me up.

[The above passage is from Isaiah 48 (supposedly “useless” because it is written to the Jews – and in the Old Testament, according to my childhood pastors), and from The Living Bible – a “heretic’s” version. The Lord didn’t seem to care about either of these issues! In later years, this recollection put to rest the “Battle of the Versions” for me. If God is okay with the Living Bible, who am I to question Him?]

For the next several months, that little Bible became like my diary, only written in advance. Each morning, what I read gave me a heads-up for the day. I was amazed at how specific and relevant the Scriptures were. After all, the scenery may have changed, but God does not. His ways are consistent throughout all the ages.

That was the beginning of “hearing” God, both through my thoughts and through His Word. These are His two favorite ways of communicating with me.

How does He speak to you? I’d love to hear your stories!

Our God is an awesome God. To Him be all glory, honor, and praise.

{Note:  if you are in an abusive relationship, you need to know that this is not God’s will for your life. In fact, the “law of the land” states that abuse is illegal. By staying, you are in violation of the law – as much as the abuser, for you aid and abet their lawless deeds. Seek the Lord’s guidance. He will deliver you!

And, if you know someone who’s in an abusive relationship, please don’t ridicule them or treat them with disdain. Without being in a situation like this, there is no way to describe the fear and worthlessness that person feels. Putting them down won’t help. On average it takes seven times before a woman leaves and stays gone. We were no exception, and were reunited within a few months. Thankfully, the Lord completely and gloriously delivered us from this nightmare a little over a year later.}