I want to preface what I have written by saying, if you have experienced spiritual abuse, I suspect you’ve wondered like I have if life will ever be the same again.
Being on the other side of this kind of suffering can feel like a very lonely and confusing place to be.
I am sorry that you are here. I have no doubt God hates what has happened to us. There is nothing good about what happened, and it must be grieved.
But evil has not won even though it may feel like it has. God can and will and promises absolutely to do what He does best and turn this evil that has occurred into good in our lives. This isn’t a pat answer.
It’s an anchor of hope that we can know is holding tightly onto us when it feels like we have been hit by a hurricane.
He will not let go of us.
So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary. Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.
As our family has continued to struggle with the past and the doubt, fear, anxiety and depression that surround it, our constant prayer is for God to show us His plan for our lives.
Most of all to know that it is good.
Sometimes we wonder if He is listening.
The journey has been long and confusing on a road with many twists and turns.
One of most difficult things to overcome is the tendency to look back at where I’ve been and question every bad choice I ever made, especially the ones that caused me to sin.
At times, my sins play on an continuous reel reminding me that if I had not made certain choices or if I’d made better ones, we would not be struggling as much as we are.
It’s been almost three years since I told the truth about the secret abusive relationship I had with the former pastor. Three years since I felt more freedom than I’d ever had before. And three years since I experienced more shame from others than I knew was possible. It has been a rollercoaster ride that has continued.
I don’t mean to discourage you if you have been through the same thing. More than anything else I want to tell you how much easier it gets as time goes on, but the truth is living with the consequences of spiritual abuse is still very hard.
And I think one of the hardest things is knowing God’s plan and trusting God’s plan for good when so much bad has occurred.
This past Sunday, the pastor of the church we’ve been attending acknowledged the painful reality of life in this broken world. Sometimes things get better. Sometimes they do not. However, he said because of God’s work in our lives that no matter what road we are on it is good.
Despite what sounded somewhat despairing in hearing that sometimes things do not get better, these words brought us comfort, because we knew that they were true.
A large part of getting through the damage of spiritual abuse is the acceptance and acknowledgement of all that has been lost and knowing that some of it can never be regained.
Actually what’s made things more difficult in our struggles are the people who’ve told us that if we’d just say certain prayers or believe certain things that we’d live a better life. If we’d just forgive and move on everything would be fine.
The lack of understanding of other believers concerning spiritual abuse is probably one of the most difficult things to overcome.
The reality that we have friends who are still in a relationship with our former pastor is difficult, too. They have forgiven and moved on. It’s not something that can be discussed with them. The only way to have a friendship is just not to bring it up. And it’s hard because so much of our lives involved the former pastor.
But the difficult question is:
How can this road possibly be good?
And the reel from the past begins to play again, and it keeps going back to the scene where I did things I’d give anything to go back and choose not to do again. If I’d made different choices everything could be so different. What would life be like without this overwhelming shame?
How can this road possibly be good, God?
My shame has taken me back to the cross over and over again. Clinging to His goodness and righteousness I’ve understood more than I ever did before I was abused how desperately I need Him every moment to remind me that because of Jesus death I am clean and I am His.
The evil that operated inside of the abusive system, the twisted desires that wrapped me and my family up in a tangled web of idolatry and deceit have caused our hearts seek the truth and worship the Only One capable of real love.
Love that doesn’t harm.
Love that doesn’t have a hidden agenda.
Love that casts out fear.
Love that tells me I belong.
And nothing in this world can give me this love.
Only one Person can.
He’s the one who called me out of the lies into the truth.
He’s the one who assured me over and over again when I almost lost my mind that He was going to bring good out of all the evil that had occurred.
He’s the One I held onto when there was nothing else to.
He’s the One who’s love is big enough to fill the desperate longing in my soul.
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
And I am so very thankful for Him.
The road is hard.
The road is long.
The road is a process.
But He is with us.
He has not nor will He ever abandon us.
The road I’ve been on has taught me this more than anything else.
Therefore, even though the road is painful, it is also very good.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”