Redemption

Redemption

I don’t know how to untangle the threads of my childhood. There are good elements and bad elements. Everyone has that. Obviously, there is good and bad in peoples’ lives, and they don’t just discard all of the good because they have had bad stuff. People pour positive and negative experiences into our lives constantly. No relationship is void of negative interactions. We are only human.

For some reason, however, I am having a terribly difficult time not throwing the baby out with the bathwater of my childhood. The bathwater being the terrible, torturous, satanic and sexual traumas that I so hazily remember. Maybe the difficulty lies in the fact that there is such a cloudy haze that has settled on the memories. They all seem to bleed into one another, so there is no distinct line between the good stuff and the bad stuff. The other thing that is so difficult to reconcile with is that the memories seem so incredibly contradictory. Okay. So satanic stuff, blood running down the walls, and groups of demons and darkness alongside of Bible stories and hymns? How does that happen? Is it even possible? Yes, anything is possible, but could I please meet someone who has experienced something similar? Does such a person even exist? Like parents who praise Jesus by day and Satan by night? Really? I find this scenario highly unlikely, in any case, including my own.

So here’s the deal: How do I come to a place of re-inventing or re-integrating my relationship with God into my current healthier, not traumatic life? How do I help my children learn about Jesus and scripture without dragging myself through the memories that seem to be hitchhiking on the backs of the Bible verses and Christian hymns? I don’t want to relive the trauma, but I wonder if that is what I have to do in order to move forward with my faith and my ability to facilitate my children in their faith.   And can I just accept that some level of Christian teaching and also Satanic ritual abuse co-existed in the same household?   This is a really tough pill to swallow. Like seriously, a pill the size of a dinosaur.

I don’t want to hate the Bible. I don’t want to question the validity of every passage and feel lightning bolts of anger shoot through my body when I read the Psalms. I don’t want to be swept into flashback when I stand in church and sing a beautiful hymn of the faith. I don’t want to feel the terror of thinking that I may be turning into my mother when I talk to my children about Jesus. Lots of mothers talk to their children about Jesus and don’t turn around and abuse them at night. Just because my mother did that does not mean that Christianity is a trap. I feel like these statements are so obvious that the act of writing them down is absurd. But they are far from intuitive for me. I want my children to know Jesus. I want them to experience the beauty of liturgy and celebrate the joy of knowing their Maker and Savior. They deserve to know Him and love Him for who He is and to be unencumbered by my wrestling-match with Him. That’s my deal.

I pulled out The Jesus Storybook Bible today and began to read it out loud to my children. That book is new to me, so it holds no baggage. It presents the Bible stories in words that do not carry haunting images or messages with them. My children are still too young to fully grasp the stories, but I would like to begin to absorb the simplicity of the truth that they carry and let my children witness the process. They will grow into it too. So we are starting there. Same message, but different words. Hopefully, the ghosts of my childhood will not hitchhike on the backs of these stories. Maybe I can read them with fresh eyes. Maybe I can approach God as an unadulterated and pure child, no longer jaded and cynical. And maybe it will also take wading (or swimming) through the muck of the abuse and working to untangle the knots of my past. Oh, God, lead me to the path of healing so that I can nurture and love my sweet babies in wholeness and abundance in You.

Advertisements

Remember Your Hope

Child, beloved, remember your hope.

There was life before the hell, and there is life beyond it.

It swallowed you whole, because you were so tiny. You had yet to learn words, trust, attachment.  Thus, your words, trust, and attachment developed twisted, intertwined with death and torture.  It is woven into your personality, into who you believe that you are.

But you are not death. Remember your hope.

The darkness wrapped it’s shadowy arms around you, seeping into your brain, intertwining into your neuropathways, tying knots around the wires, threatening to rip out your very existence if removed.

But you’re of the light.  Do you recall the hope?

There was light before the darkness.  There was pure love before the perverted love. There was hope before the despair.  There was good before the evil.  You belong to the light.  You are a child of the light.  The darkness kidnapped you, ripped you from the womb, and claimed you as its own.  But the Light has sought you out.  He is your true Father.

The darkness wrote EVIL over your heart, but within your heart is written the code of GOODNESS. Remember your hope.

Do you remember the melodies of your heart?  The deepest ones that the darkness could not deprogram? The ancient songs that the evil ones could not touch? Do you remember the rhythms that pulsed within the womb that beat with truth, beauty, light, and love? Do you remember the chords of His love?  Your heart, created for song, throbbed with life which was never quenched, could not be quenched, by the unspeakable evils.  The silencing powers of darkness failed.  Your song still pulses with every beat of your unbroken heart.

Sing your song of life.  The silencers are silenced at His music.  And His music is yours.

This is your hope, beloved.

God is the Ruler Yet

As a child, I clung to music as my lifeline in the midst of unlivable situations.  My family had two lives.  One was Satanic.  The other was Christian.  I find this incredibly difficult to reconcile.  I assume that the church-going, Bible-thumping lifestyle was a mask for the dark nightlife for my parents. For me, however, Christ held me together.  Hymns and worship songs were my mind and soul glue for as far back as I can remember.  I was driving to therapy this morning, listening to a Pandora station, when an old hymn popped up. It was re-written with a more contemporary flare, but it whisked me straight back to age four or five.  I remember, as a child, weeping when I listened to this song on my children’s worship cassette tape.

The soul houses a language that goes oh so much deeper than mere human words can extend, and I believe that music reaches just a little bit deeper into our hearts.  There are ancient harmonies that, I believe, predate the creation of this planet, that our immortal souls ache for.   This is only a theory that I have, though I probably derived it in part from the great Madeline L’Engle.

Nevertheless, while listening to my Pandora station, “This is My Father’s World” began to play.  In my heart, a cacophony of grief, joy, comfort, agony, anger, and gratitude erupted.  How could all of this be sparked by one simple hymn? I tried desperately in that moment to figure out how as I child I could have experienced such heights of spiritual rapture and depths of demonic torment even within the same 24-hour period.  As I was wondering this, I heard the line, “This is my Father’s world, oh let me never forget that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.”

The wrong was strong.  It was so strong.  It almost killed me.  It tried to steal my soul and rip apart my brain, but God is the Ruler yet.  Still.  Even in the face of crazy terrible evil.  Somehow, He is still good.  He still loves me.  He is still all-powerful.  One day, I will understand.  One day, I will see it clearly.  One day, light will destroy the dark.  One day, right will un-do wrong.  One day, death will be no more.  Somehow, in the midst of all of this, God is the Ruler yet.  I don’t get it, not it all.  But I know.  I know that He is the Ruler because the ancient harmonies are still being sung. I could hear them when evil people were trying to destroy me, and I can still hear them.

“This Is My Father’s World”

This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears, all nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres. 

This is my  Father’s world: I rest me in the thought of rock and trees, of skies and seas; His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father’s world, the birds their carols raise, the morning bright, the Lily white, declare their Maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world.  He shines in all that’s fair; In the rustling grass, I hear Him pass. He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father’s world; Oh let me never forget, that though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet. 

This is my Father’s world;  Why should my heart be sad? The Lord is King, let the heavens ring! God reigns, let earth be glad!

The Death of Death

Death, you are the story of my life,

I wish that today were your death-day, but it is not.

Because you are still alive and well, you haunt me.

Peeking around corners,

showing up in the gummy grin of a baby,

hiding in between the little pink lines on the stick,

streaking the back windsheild of my SUV,

Painting the pages of every book,

Sprawled out on the side of every country road,

You lurk in the shadows.

Life captures my heart, and you steal it back in an instant.

Beauty catches my breath, and you turn the catch into suffocation.

You corrupted my mind.

There is no joy that is not tainted by your gruesome breath.

One day, oh death, you will be the one suffocated.

You will be the one who bleeds out.

You will be drowned.

You will be beaten, tortured, defeated.

Death, you will die.

And we will live.

Light and Dark

In Bible study last night, we spoke of the missional mindset, the call to “go to the nations.”  This call has been heavy on my heart for most of my life.  I remember Amy Carmichael being one of my major heroines.  I was asked what planted the idea of missions in my head, and I was perplexed.  My mother did.  

My mother, the one who along with my father, introduced me to the occult and ritual abuse, also was a missionary for the message of Christ.  How do these two things co-exist?  Surely my memories are false, if my parents also raised me in the evangelical Christian church.  Serious, death-centered cult by night and Bible-believing evangelicals by day?  

How did this happen? Does this happen?  The wonderful, loving pastor of our church was supposedly at the hospital when I was born, yet during the first four years of my life,  I was exposed to unbelievable evil, darkness, death, and terror.  How did this duality exist?  How did my parents live two lives?  How could the darkness and the light live side-by-side in my life for so long?  

This dichotomy is one of the main reasons why it is so difficult to believe my memories.  Sweet, loving pastor one day.  Demons the next.  “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” followed by Satanic rituals.  I don’t get it.  Was it a smoke-screen? 

My life is like two seperate puzzles out of two different boxes.  One is idyllic, and the other is horrific.  I am trying to fit these two puzzles together into one, and they do not fit no matter how hard I try to drive the pieces together.  Am I two people?  How does this happen? 

Missionary to torturer….my mother’s magical switch.  I can’t make sense of anything.