For thus said the Lord God , the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling…
If you are a victim of childhood sexual abuse, you are probably all too familiar with the how difficult it is to find rest, be still and trust. If you are a victim of clergy abuse, trusting God especially can seem like an impossibility. As a victim of both, I am still very much on a journey of learning how to rest and trust God. It is a journey I have discovered that must be traveled slowly without putting myself under pressure and patiently one moment at a time. It is a journey where I have learned only to expect enough grace to get me through each day. It is a journey where my own struggle for control is constantly being challenged. It is a journey where I am learning through crushed expectations of the way I think things should work out that God is a good Father Who alone knows what is best for me.
Yesterday, my husband and I took a ride through several miles of rural country a few miles from our house. Getting away from the noise of town is something that brings him peace. My husband has suffered from depression for most of his life. He grew up with an alcoholic, narcissistic father who physically and emotionally abused him, his mother and his other two brothers. Then, as an adult he was deceived in the worst possible ways by his pastor and the man who claimed to be his best friend with his wife. I struggle every single day with the shame of how my actions added more pain to my husband’s life. Even though we know the former pastor abused us, it’s still very difficult seeing my husband suffer as a result of my part in what happened. Probably the most difficult thing for me to do is be quiet and trust that God is a good Father who knows what my husband needs to get through this.
Sometimes I am able to look back and thank God for all that He has saved us from, however when the pain of the past comes crashing in it can feel like we are still in need of salvation. And I realize that we are.
God help us, God save us and help us to find rest in you. Help us to know that you are a good Father. Teach us not to chase after salvation apart from you.
I want to be able to believe that somehow salvation and trusting in God will mean that I don’t struggle as much anymore, but I’ve come to realize that is not true. As long as we live in this broken world we will always struggle and long to be saved. Acceptance brings quietness to my mind. Knowing it’s not up to me to figure out how everything should work out helps, too. Believing God isn’t at all like my abusive father or pastor is what I cling to the most. God is not a child abuser. He is a loving compassionate Father who promises to bring us only good. This is where my only strength lies.
Although it seems like everything is out of control at times, He knows what I need and He knows what my husband needs and what you need as well. Take it one day at a time, sometimes one moment at a time, be kind to yourself, find rest and quiet in whatever ways that you can and trust Him to lead. He loves us. He’s got this. He is with us. He will never leave. I’m preaching to myself today. Hope it helps you, too!
Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.