I Was Afraid to Write It: Spirituality & Abuse

Maybe I am an experiment. A wonder. A what would happen if. .  . Job reincarnated as the woman with the issue of blood whose son is blind and daughter has died and…maybe I’m watching this on instant replay.

Every time I tell someone I’ve been abused (as a child)—it is like I vomit and a really big stomach that they could obviously see (in my opinion) gets smaller.

“But wait, there’s more!” I want to tell them, not that I survived (yay, me!) but since  I experienced those things, I can see “these things” and I feel “other things”. A window of sensitive discernment has opened or something and I just. . . know what I know. Spirituality (or religiosity) is often combined with abuse like taking bread to make sure the medicine goes down easier. When it happens inside a place of worship, this abuse doesn’t look like anything else. Whether it’s verbal or physical, inappropriateness associated with worship, religion and spirituality–connected to doctrine–becomes spiritual abuse. I’ve read church doctrines and I’ve participated in ministries and never, have I ever seen anything that would make me consider that spiritual abuse was “a thing”. It certainly didn’t look like that 8 years of my childhood. . . or did it?

Praise the Lord, he’ll make you whole again!

They are not listening.

What I’m saying is, if it happened to me, it could happen to you. To you. To You. And to you too, little girl.

Oh, if it were only teen pregnancy that I experienced too soon in my own non-baptized, worldly life. Life, love, trust and now, I know–even religion  may be so wasted on the youth, yet so forsaken in the wisdom of the old.

They act like they have no eyes. It used to be them, their sisters.  If word and statistics hold, 1 out of 4 and there are sixteen of us in a room. I know I’m not the only one. But in this room, I am. Ha. There’s a leak in this old building. . .

Purification

The process of melting silver for use requires a very high heat for what is a relatively short time. However, being in that high heat results in a purifying that separates the usable silver from the unusable parts, which get burned off in the process. How do you know what is usable?

If you’re wanting to work with melted silver in order to pour it into a mold perhaps, the usable part is the melted part. Whatever doesn’t melt or whatever burns up at the melting temperature is obviously not melted. Therefore, what becomes liquid remains. The Bible talks about this process and says that if we are consumed by the fire as that which is left behind (doesn’t become liquid silver), then we aren’t going to make it. We have to become the liquid silver, the fire being our access to and onset of the issues that lead to trials and tribulations, such as addictions that come about to compensate for shame, heartbreak, temptations—though the things themselves are what should be burned away in the purification process.

If Abuse is a fire, shame is a residue. If the shame doesn’t burn off, we’re in danger of suffering other things–like temptation to mask the shame (protecting it) through the use of other things. Whether it’s achieving, abuse of self, others, or substances, keeping the secret inside itself is a mask—masking gives these issues a better chance of manifesting, growing and leading to more destructive forces which take us out of the will of God.

Yes, he knows what caused our pain. He gives us opportunities to cast all of our cares on him.

I thought I had done just that—praying and singing and clapping.  I can finally let go and be used by God. But if I’m showing up hungover or tired from being up all night. I’m losing control so something hasn’t burned off. If it doesn’t burn off, I’m going to burn up with it. I cannot be purified for use until it’s gone.

So we stay in the affliction longer than is necessary. We create additional affliction. How do I get out of the affliction stage? How do I tell the truth but protect my sanity? The point is to tell the truth’s and let the shame leave. Let the forgiveness flow. Work within the faith I have that telling these truths is what God wants me to do and that he will protect me. He doesn’t have to show his protection before I have to show my faith.

Solutions? 

Abuse is a tricky, sticky, slippery, shape-shifter. Maybe you see it coming, sense it’s near–but you can’t quite grab hold of it before it happens. There are so many forms–not all is sexual and involves touching, so many precursors and more access points than most of us realize–or want to accept.

To accept that fact is to know, I realized all too recently and all too abruptly–if it can happen in the home with your biological family–it can happen at your church home within your Spiritual family. And that, my readers is why I’m willing to talk.

Keeping secrets based on shame or habit is fuel to the fire   So we take away the fuel. I focus my pen on abuse, spiritual abuse, abuse prevention and recovery in spiritual life. This allows me to present the ways people have dealt with these issues and the courageous stories of those who have fought their way back from their experience or the experience of someone they know and gone on to develop a healthy relationship with God, free of crutches. In other words, I am going to tell. It’s time to shine the light on my darkness.

It’s also time to hear the pain that other women and men have and to create a platform for transformation through the upbraiding and accountability of the brethren. I could die in my shame answering these questions of “how did it happen, why didn’t you tell? Don’t you think it’s your fault–at least a little?”–but what I won’t die of is secrets.

What you won’t find here a list of people and their alleged transgressions, you won’t find victim blaming or shaming or a just pray about it, response. What you will find is an opportunity for sharing, for discussing, for solutions, for healing. What you will find is truth and light.

Perhaps this is the forum to come up with a safety plan. I don’t know. I do know, we’re going to write it out until something happens.

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