Real Love

What I wanted more than anything else the day I walked into my abusive pastor’s office was for him to love me.

I still don’t understand fully the depths of emptiness and despair that were in my heart that day, but I’m continuing to ask God to heal and fill the big hole that is there.

Yesterday I talked to my mom on the phone.  During the course of the conversation, she mentioned that it’d been a year since I’d been home.    Don’t you want to come home? My mom asked me.  The weight of guilt was heavy on me, but I couldn’t lie. I explained that that wasn’t my home anymore.  Then she said, Don’t you want to see me? Your brother and I are all you’ve got.  I can’t even remember the words that I said, except of course I wanted to see them. I could tell she wasn’t satisfied with what I said.  She knew in my heart I was not longing to see her, and when I hung up the phone I felt sick to my stomach, empty and alone.  I so desired for things to be different, but I didn’t know how to make them that way.

I emailed my counselor telling her to remind me to talk to her about this next time.  I knew the overwhelming emotions I was feeling needed to be explored more.  The rest of the day yesterday I felt sad and tired, but what was even worse than that was I felt rejected and like I was a heartless soul.  How could I not want to see my own mother? The question haunted my soul.  Another question shook me to the core, How could I betray my own family the way I did?  For years I’d bowed at the altar of my abusive pastor, putting my family second. I continued to get hit with the thought that I just wasn’t capable of loving anyone.

I knew the enemy of my heart and soul was behind the attack. I continued to ask God to help me see the truth, to get me through the day.  I watched a lot of tv and managed to silence the voices, but it was so very hard.

This morning I felt the familiar despair over not feeling a part of the church here, and a longing to be a part of something bigger and better than my own little world.  I thought of my former church, and wished I could tell them how much damage they did telling the entire church about the abuse I’d suffered, and allowing them to think it was just an affair.  I wanted to scream and tell them how they have made it so hard to believe in anything anymore. 

I know that somehow I’ve gotta get past this, to continue to cling to my unseen hope in Jesus Christ, to understand He’s never left me, not even once.  He’s been there through all the pain.  He’s cried tears and prayed for me, because he knows what it feels like to have the weight of all the world’s sins in His shoulders and to feel abandoned. He knows better than anyone else that that is what sin does, and that’s why He died to save us from having to experience this pain for an eternity.  He knows.  These words bring me comfort and give me hope to carry on.  And I realize that He has given me what I longed to receive from my abusive pastor that day, also what I desperately wanted from my abusive father. 

God is not a child abuser.  He really does love me. He loves you, too. Thank God. 

Thinking back over my life all I can feel is this huge void, a deep emptiness that longed to be filled with love.  My adopted father told me he loved me, gave me gifts, but only so he could satisfy his own dark desires. It wasn’t love.  My former pastor said he loved me, too.  He gave me the gift of acceptance, saying he understood my pain, but once again the man who was supposed to lead me was meeting his own selfish desires.  It wasn’t love.  My next pastor gave me acceptance and understanding, stood by me through the horror of having to tell my husband about the deception I’d been involved in with my pastor and his best friend for almost a decade.  This pastor shed tears and prayed and did what he could to help, but when it came down to it, he chose to protect himself and his job. He tried, but it wasn’t love. 

Because love lays down its life for its friends.

God help me to be loved by you, so that I can truly love others. This is the cry of my heart today, because I know it’s the only way to know real love.

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