For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake,
Not only to believe in Him,
But also to suffer for His sake.
~ Phil. 1:29
I came across this verse of Scripture during my quiet time Thursday morning and thought to myself, "there it is ... in black and white ... Paul's statement that while we (as believers) have been given the gift of believing in Christ (for salvation), we have also been called to suffer for His sake."
About an hour after reading that verse, I was in the middle of something when I started experiencing the kind of pain I used to experience when I was young, and all of a sudden I got a very clear understanding of how that pain was brought about. Wow! I was not expecting that. And while that sudden insight did not give me any clue as to who the perpetrator(s) were who caused me that kind of pain, I now understood exactly why I was always in pain and why I always had so many bladder infections as a kid.
Truth be told, I also realized that it really didn't matter who did it, because it was not going to change anything. The abuse I suffered happened because our sovereign God allowed it to happen. It was His choice, not mine.
Later that the morning I stopped by my church as I was really needing the peace, quiet and safety of the church sanctuary to sort out my thoughts about a few things. However, when I started to walk into it, I discovered that it was already in use by one of our choir groups, so I went and sat in the "kiss and cry" room, instead.
The kiss and cry room is a soundproof room with glass windows, just off the church sanctuary, where parents can take their squirmy or screaming children and comfort them, while still being able to see into the sanctuary and listen to the church service. (In theory, it's a great idea! In practicality, I really do wish our ushers would take a more active role in encouraging people to use it -- but that's just my opinion!)
But, I digress ...
As I sat in the k + c room, watching the worship team having so much fun rehearsing together, the truth of how little joy / happiness / fun I have in my life right now really hit me hard. To some extent, I have been very aware of my lack of happiness since this trial first began in 2009. I would also say that I have been in a fair amount of denial about it, as well! But, it wasn't until Thursday morning that I really allowed that fact to penetrate my "everything is fine" façade and actually let myself feel the pain of that truth.
Once the worship team was finished, I went and sat in the sanctuary itself. As I have said before, it really is a sanctuary for me. So while I'm sure many people on our church staff wonder why I go in there and sit in the dark, I am very grateful that they allow me to do so just the same! And, as I was sitting there, I thought about this verse ...
Weeping may last for the night,
But a shout of joy comes in the morning.
~ Psalm 30:5
And that is when the tears began to flow. Just a few at first, until the flood gates opened and they came pouring out. Massive tears. Gut-wrenching tears. Can't-catch-my-breath sobs.
With tears in my eyes, as I poured out my heart to the Lord, one more thought crossed my mind, which was this: "If I had a friend like me in my life right now, I'd go running in the other direction!" Thus, it seemed only fitting when I came across this verse yesterday morning:
I have become a reproach,
Especially to my neighbors,
And an object of dread to my acquaintances;
Those who see me in the street flee from me.
~ Psalm 31:11
Truer words were never spoken! Because this trial has been so deep and has lasted for so long, it occurred to me that I have
been such a "Debbie Downer" for so long even I would not want someone like me in
my life right now! And I cannot help but wonder if the pastors to whom I've reached out feel the same way? Honestly, I would not blame them if they did!
It was at that moment in time when I truly wished the Lord would just take me home to be with Him. In fact, as I sat in the peace and quiet of the sanctuary, that was my prayer for at least the next 15 minutes. I didn't care if Jesus came back right then, or if my heart stopped working, I just wanted my life here on earth to be over so that I could enjoy the trial-free, tear-free life that awaits me in Heaven. Then this verse came to me ...
For in Him we live and move and have our being.
~ Acts. 17:28
Such a bulls eye of truth! Right now I do live, move, and have [my] being in Christ. I was bought with a price and as a result, I no longer belong to myself, so my life is no longer mine to do with as I please. I belong to Christ. And because of that fact, as long as I have breath in my lungs, I need to get on with the purpose of living my life here on earth!
O Father, help me! Help me to find happiness and joy, as I work through the pain and suffering of the abuse You allowed to take place in my life. Help me understand my purpose for being on this planet. Use my story and help me to be an encouragement to others who have also experienced or are suffering from the trauma of abuse. Help me keep my eyes on You; to find my shelter in You, and to live my life in a way that honors and glorifies You on a daily basis. In Christ's most Holy and Precious Name, that is my prayer to You today ...
You who have shown me many troubles and distresses will revive me again,
And will bring me up again from the depths of the earth.
May You increase my greatness and turn to comfort me.