Home » Musings » Does God Love Even ME?

Does God Love Even ME?

This past weekend was Easter Sunday. I didn’t make it to church.  I wanted so badly to be able to go to church and not be filled with anxiety and literally break out in hives.  To have a “normal” church experience where I don’t need to find a seat on the end of the row and a direct escape route with nothing between myself and my exit.

As a child, my basic needs were not met.  Food was scarce, and what there was, was seldom prepared or served to me. The private Christian school did not offer breakfast and lunch, so I learned I needed to steal or horde food to quell the familiar hunger pangs.  As mentioned before there  was a pizza shop near the farm.  The stop owner had pity on me, and would  “treat” me to a pizza and soda. His gentle smile and kind words are one of the few positive memories from that time.

Clothes were old and worn. In anticipation of the regular spring and fall shopping sprees someone would give me black trash bags with second-hand clothes. The were a few times when I actually found an outfit I thought pretty enough to feel pleased about but my hopes were ruined by the glances of the girls in school who stared knowingly at my cast-off dresses. The humiliation caused a flush to spread on my cheeks..

My body was sold to child molesters. When I was very young one of them used to tell me that God had created me to be his concubine. The way he presented this  I believed this man was talking about a princess.  When I was old enough to learn what a concubine was,  my response was to feel deeply ashamed.

Both the Christian school and church were harsh places too.  Punishment was quick, sure and harsh

As a result I began developing an anxiety disorder. I became paranoid of breaking even the smallest rule.  I worked harder and harder to be good enough, but never could seem to meet it, no matter how hard I tried.

Although in some ways I grew up very quickly, understanding early on that I had to fend for myself, a part of me remained frightened even when I couldn’t show it.  This has extended into my adult life too. 

Success was because I am too darn stubborn for my own good.  I wasn’t going to quit and be the miserable failure some people had informed me I was destined to become.  I’d show them!


After an assault in my early 20’s, I pressed charges and saw a successful prosecution for the crime committed against me.  Shortly after all of it was over my life began to unravel.  I couldn’t keep it together like I had once been able to do.  All of the pain came to the surface. I mentioned before I was hemorrhaging emotional pain from years of abuse, just as if I would have hemorrhaged literal blood if I had severed my femoral artery.  I was a suffering mess.   The abysmal Christian counseling I received made my suffering worse.  Fortunately, I began seeing an exceptional licensed therapist and we began unpacking all the pain in a safe environment.  I still remember staring at her business card the first time I anxiously dialed her number.

The compassionate voice on the other end answered and within a few days I was sitting in her office where  the dam broke of my emotions, and I sobbed out my story to her. The next few months are a blur, as I treated with professionalism and compassion.  She has never broken my confidence.

After a several months had gone by my therapist recommended that I attend a support group for survivors of human trafficking. Sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings in a group setting was something I did not believe I would ever be able to do. However, after listening to the members tell their stories, I realized that my deepest secrets had been experienced by others. Though some of the details were different, the underlying issues were amazingly similar. The looks of understanding that passed between us gave us all strength to move forward as we were restructuring our lives.

 My coping skills were weak, but as usual, my stubborn streak was a mile long. I devoured the information from the human trafficking support group and completed my writing assignments assigned by my therapist with zeal — much to my therapists delight.

But, my therapist continued to point out that the little girl inside of myself also needed tender loving care.

Gradually I learned how I could stop being a doormat. Slowly, I began to make decisions which reflected my own strengths and desires instead of worrying so much about what others thought of me.    I stopped worrying so much about the future. I took it one day at a time.

I am still a care-taker.  Often still tend to second and third guess myself.  I remain somewhat of a people-pleaser at heart but I now realize that the difficulties which I endured have enabled me to see past the mundane chores of daily life, and to appreciate the need to also care for myself.

The thing I lack and desire with all my heart is to feel secure in the knowledge that God really does love me even as a result of my many physical and also emotional scars. Since God is perfect, I was left with believing that I am not worthy of being loved and protected by Him.  I want to rest and be able to truly believe He’s not disappointed nor mad at me.  That I can come to Him just as I am with all of my shameful scars.  With the pain I still hold in my heart….

Maybe someday…

 

Psalm 56-8

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6 thoughts on “Does God Love Even ME?

  1. Thank you for being so brave and sharing your story. You are an incredibly strong woman! I pray that the people who’ve hurt you are brought to justice. As a former IFB living in south eastern PA I’m afraid of the names that one day may be revealed. Rest assured that God knows them and his justice will be far worse than anything on this earth. God bless you!!

  2. Thank you for sharing this. I am so glad to hear that you are free and have some peace in your life. Praying that more healing will come your way.
    God never stopped loving and never will.
    Kathleen

  3. You are loved. Accepted in the beloved. Keeping moving forward as you deal with the past. I like reading your posts. Keep up the good work.

  4. Cathy, the people who treated you so horribly, are hideous people. Period. The pizza man, and anyone else who took note and gave you kindness, those are the true blooded. My heart cries for the little girl that you were, I am angry at all of those who used and abused you… and at those who knew something was up but did nothing. I am glad for your therapist, and I hope you realize that YOU are the one who has done the work to help you heal. YOU. Not God, not anyone but YOU. God was not there for you in the times you needed him most. Because to think there is a God who would allow that is horrible! How could a god allow a vulnerable child to be treated so? Your story shows that there is no god, Honey. It is you who are rising up and healing yourself. YOU are amazing!

    • Kittybrat – I know you and I won’t agree on some of your points. But your compassion shows through so greatly and I know you are a great blessing to Cathy.

      The God of the Fundamentalists was most certainly absent … that much is very true. That God (or “god”) is a vindictive, schizo mess who is always on the verge of zapping somebody. It’s that aspect of fear and control that so many of Cathy’s “saviors” used and still use. But that is far from the God I know, love and serve.

      As C.S. Lewis said, in a world where man has choice given by the Creator, both good and evil are options. God isn’t pulling puppet strings here … and that’s a difficult concept to grasp. The book “The Shack” actually opened my eyes for the first time to a much broader vision and much deeper relationship. Yes it looks wild to the Fundy crowd, but it is the sweetest thing because it’s alive and real rather than dead.

      I believe the true God showed up in the PIzza Man and those others who reached out to Cathy. I count you among that crowd as well.

      And yes Cathy is amazing … and God still stands with her as a beloved daughter.

      Mark

  5. Oh yes, God loves you dear Cathy! More than you could ever comprehend. I know the questions we survivors all struggle with about God – why didn’t he protect us, rescue us, stop our abusers? I don’t know all the answers. But one thing I do know…He does love you. In fact, he is just crazy about you. There is not a thing you could do to change that love. You cannot do anything to make him love you less and nothing to make him love you more. He just flat out loves you. All you have to do is breathe and he just loves you. You don’t have to do anything to impress you and you could not do anything to disgust him.

    I had a hard time with trusting God – God was a father and I didn’t like fathers. God was always portrayed as the righteous judge in the heavens waiting to smash me with his fist if I did something wrong. Jesus was the one who loves children and I could relate to him better. As I focused on believing that Jesus loved me, it became easier for me to trust and believe that God did. Try it, it might help you too.

    And don’t forget that I love you heart and soul – and you can’t change that either. I flat out love you too!

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