What do I do with all this sadness?

Recently I have being working hard to be aware of my emotions and learn how to express them in a healthy way and live at peace with them instead of trying to avoid them in dysfunctional and unhealthy ways. The first step, allow myself to know what I truly feel. This proved more difficult than I imagined. First in knowing what I felt, but even more, what to do with it. I am surprised to discover how sad I am. What do I do with that?

It seems every time I start to rejoice in all the goodness that is around me some heart wrenching event sends me floundering on my knees in a pool of tears. I seem to brake a little more at every devastating phone call and tragedy that naturally hovers over abusive families and churches. I’m glad that my idols of family and religion are crumbling all around me, truth has set me free, but my heart still breaks for all the causalities and wounds of children and loved ones. My healing wounds seem to brake open again with every triggering event, judgement or memory. As I voiced to a trusted sister-in-law, “how much more of this can we take?”

At these times I love reading King David’s psalms. It’s nice to know that God encourages us to use the emotions He created in us without shame. No more fake facades of “happy perfection”. Only truth and vulnerability, two things I’m only now learning to be comfortable with. I may still feel uncomfortable with my sadness but I remember who is with me.

Psalm 25:16-21

Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart are enlarged; bring me out of my distresses. Consider my affliction and my trouble, and forgive all my sins. Consider how many are my foes, and with what violent hatred they hate me. Oh, guard my soul, and deliver me! Let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.

         

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“God saved you from all that…”

Someone I love dearly and I know genuinely loves me said this to me recently in reference to my abusive childhood memories. This is a phrase I’ve heard before and have probably said myself but this time it struck me hard, because,

I’m not where I used to be.

I am confident that the intent was well-meaning, meant to encourage me to focus on my blessings. And I’d be happy to oblige if that statement didn’t leave me feeling so…

…hopeless.

Here’s the thing, God didn’t save me from my horrible childhood memories. I asked Him to many times. But my parents didn’t *poof* turn into safe parents. God didn’t *poof* put me into a safe family and change my brain to think like one. I didn’t have ruby red slippers to take me to a place I cherished. Even though I do feel a little guilty for my sarcasm, I do believe this statement is truly that empty and fantastical. Because it simply isn’t true.

God didn’t save me from my abuse, rather He saved me in spite of it.

This is a huge difference to me. You see, for me, if God saved me from my abuse than I shouldn’t ever let it affect me, …but it does. So what do I do? Well, I pretend. That fixes it right? I’ll just slap that Christian smile on my face and pretend that everything is just swell because “God loves me and I have been blessed”. I’m sure after a while I’ll act good enough that the emptiness of knowing I’m a fraud will go away along with those horrible fears of rejection unless I perform just right. But where is the truth is this nicely packaged lie? Where is the gospel?

But if instead God saved me in spite of my abuse, well now, for me this is a different story. My abuse isn’t something I need to hide or avoid, instead it becomes my song of praise. What does this mean to me? It means that God’s not afraid of my story, that he weeps with me and rejoices with me and yes, we can do both simultaneously. It means that God isn’t this jerk that let all of these things happen to me and then wants me to pretend they didn’t happen. It means that He loves me so much that He never left me alone in the darkness and that He not only desires the mess I am now, but desires to, in time, renew it into something of glory and honor.

LIKE MAYBE A BEAUTIFUL MESS.

So desired that it was worth the price of His precious Son. My past tells of the glory of what Christ did on the cross and why He did it. For me to pretend it never happened or not let my mind go back to those days in which we wept together I think cheapens and even mocks the gospel of the cross. I believe living victorious in this present world isn’t to forget the past or even to put the past behind you, but rather to live at peace with it ( for me, a greater fight than it sounds).

After all,

Christ isn’t ashamed of the scars He bears that testify His love for me, so why should I hide my scars that likewise testify His love for me?

No God didn’t save me from my abusive past, but I can shout praise, because as much as He hates abuse, God loves me in spite of it.