I was molested when I was eight years old by someone who should have protected me. When I was twelve/thirteen I watched my mom suffer through nightmares, daymares (yes they are a thing), flashbacks, depression and wanting to end her life. My dad was often distant, although I don’t blame him as he was trying to survive like the rest of us. Someone had to keep functioning. I have lived in poverty sometimes from bad decisions and sometimes because life is life and things happen. My marriage has been more of a struggle than bliss (although now, praise God, we are on the path to healing and we have been restored).
Where was God when my mom and I were being abused? Where was God when depression would set in and I wanted to walk away from the earth forever. Where was he? How can he still be good? How can I continue to curl up in his lap and call him Abba? In a world where it feels like everyone has gone insane and hatred fills the air, how can God be good?
I could give you scripture answers, religious answers and Christian answers. What I have is experience answers. What I have is what it feels like. The only answer I have is mine.
When I was thirteen years old I became a rebel, at least in my own eyes. I was a good, Christian girl and good Christian girls didn’t do what I was doing. I ran around with my friends smoking and drinking (as a parent myself now this horrifies me). We would mix beer and cool-aid together to make the beer taste better. Although I would never get drunk and I would never do drugs because it terrified me to not be in control of what happened to me. I had already suffered at the hands of other people and if something was going to happen to me, I wanted to go down fighting, kicking and screaming. Even then I was a fighter.
We got our cigarettes from guys who were way older than me and my friends. How old were they? 18-21ish, give or take a few years. What the hell were we doing with guys that age? The answer is easy, we were finding love, acceptance, seeing ourselves as beautiful and getting what we were not getting from those around us.
The funny thing is while we were drinking, smoking and hanging out with older guys I was still preaching Jesus’ love. In the middle of smoking, drinking and fraternizing we would have talks about salvation. I still knew where to find my peace and my hope. Isn’t it funny how deep conversations happen in these kinds of situations?
I would also walk through some of the loneliest days of my life. I would survive it by writing, journaling, and reading. Allowing myself to go from one world to the next. Worlds where love and acceptance lived because beyond the pages I didn’t feel them.
Every time I would try and attempt life on my own and I thought I had walked away from God, ironically, I always walked into the arms of the father. I would fall into his arms and sob. I would stay close to him, reading his word and finding hope in scripture’s pages. I tried to run, but at the end of every dead end there my Abba waited for me. He knew where I would go mentally, emotionally and physically. I could not outrun him or fight him.
He knows how to speak in a way my rebellious heart will not run from him. Abba’s love is the only love that has only asked me to love him in return. He does not ask me to be religious, he does not ask me to walk a straight line, he asks me to love him first. It is always how it has happened. I read scripture not because it tells me what to do or not to do. I read it because it is where my daddy is and I have learned to trust my heavenly daddy. He is the only one who has smiled at me with love, picked me up, dusted me off and has always wanted me.
Somehow I have been able to separate what fallen human beings have done to me and said to me from who Abba is and it makes a difference. I see fallen hurting human beings and yes God created them, but he gave them and me a choice. When I think about myself in light of God giving us choices, it is amazing. What kind of God would he be if he made us love him? How is that love? It’s not real. Love, real love, has to be able to hurt and be able to inject the most horrible pain imaginable. It’s amazing to me that a God who could have chosen to make us love him didn’t. He inflicted the possibility to be hated and to have the whole human race walk away from him on himself. He didn’t create puppets. He created living, breathing beloveds he wanted to walk and talk with because he wanted to enjoy our company.
I know this is all my experience, but my experience is all that I have. I come from a place of knowing pain. Experiencing situations I could not change, but wanted to change. Places of deep, dark, pain, anger, bitterness and hating life and myself. So many times I have wanted to throw in the towel and walk away from everything. I turn around and begin to walk, but all I see is darkness. I can’t see in the darkness, it is scarier and uglier than my pain. When I turn around and look at God’s throne there is light, I can feel even though it hurts. While it hurts there is also peace and joy.
I don’t know how to keep going, other than continuing to take one baby step after another. Sometimes continuing to keep going is sobbing my eyes out, then starting another load of laundry, thankful there is laundry soap. It’s driving my girls to dance, thankful there is gas in the car (even if the gas is almost gone). There are times when death would be welcomed because at least you know the suffering would end. It’s a welcome thought sometimes and tempting. Then I walk to Abba’s throne and tell him I don’t understand, but all I do know is how I feel when I’m at his throne. All I know is I don’t want the darkness and I don’t want to be where he is not. I don’t have religious answers, Christian answers or magic answers, but I do have how it feels and I want to be where love is, I want to be where Abba is because it’s the only place I have found light.