AT THE FOOT OF THE CROSS

THREE YEARS AGO, at the age of 70, my life was shattered by the eruption of well impacted memories of atrocious sexual abuse by a church leader.  The man was also a Christian psychiatrist who used his power to force me to stay in my loveless marriage and remain the good, submissive Christian wife he decided I should be.

Shattered glassThere are no words to describe the torment that took over my life as I tried to make sense of the enormous damage that man had done to me, and the dreadful consequences for me and my kids; no words to describe the terror of trying to regain control of my life when everything had been torn from me—my faith in God, as flawed as I now know it to be, my sense of self, the injustice that my daughters had dumped on me while supporting their father when he eventually told me our marriage was over.  I was utterly devastated.  I felt cheated by God and completely betrayed by the Church.

When the full force of those memories slammed into me I was devastated and so angry, furious with God for allowing that man to do what he did, in effect robbing me of any choice to get out of that sham marriage and find happiness elsewhere, and anger that he allowed those memories to come at all, at my age.  Hadn’t I been through enough without this?  Couldn’t he leave me in peace for the remaining years of my life?  He could have, but he didn’t.  And now that I have moved through this agonisingly painful, confusing and heart-breaking healing journey I am once again grateful that he did not leave me alone.  Rather, he loved me enough—and believed in me enough—to take me through yet another incredible phase in my life that has brought with it deep healing and an even greater measure of wholeness.

The full story of this part of my life will be told in another format.  However, where I am right now could be summed up in two words “complete” and “liberated”.

Yesterday, after feeling so complete after the final work of healing, I heard again Don Moen’s song At the Foot of the Crosswhere grace and suffering meet…At the foot of the cross where I am made complete.     https://youtu.be/Z_e9Mzuk-RU

This morning I woke feeling liberated; by chance today’s Bible verse was Galatians 5:1

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

 This morning, sitting at the foot of the cross pondering upon all I have been through, I am truly amazed at the awesomeness of my God, all he means to me and all he has done for me.  I am grateful that he cares enough for his kids that he wants the best for each one of us and has promised never to leave or forsake us on the journeys he takes us on.

Foot of the cross

Sunday, 23rd September 2018

 

Authentic Christian Living

THE CHURCH TODAY has lost its credibility in the community. Incidents of child abuse by members of the clergy have tarnished congregations of all denominations.  Reports of domestic violence within supposedly “Christian” marriages are increasing.  And the teaching of many churches simply bolsters their particular theological brand rather than focussing on the Gospel message of God’s love, grace and mercy, and how we should live for him.

For many decades I had struggled to find a spiritual home where I could feel loved and accepted.  However, trying to find a church to belong to was a painful, futile experience that eventually came to an abrupt end when vivid memories erupted of my being sexually abused by the State leader of my particular denomination.  That betrayal affected every part of my life – body, soul and spirit. It took all my determination to process the many issues that surfaced, in particular aspects of my spirituality and my sexuality.

Although I had many questions about what had been done to me, and why, I could not turn my back on God.  I knew he would once again see me through this difficult time, just as he had with the many other challenges I had been through over the decades.

However it was obvious that there was no way I could belong to a church that had caused such offence.  The church had robbed me of my right to experience the reality of a loving, living God and had replaced that reality with their restrictive, legalistic teachings that I had soaked up for years.

As I worked through the many issues stemming from that spiritual abuse, I began to understand something of what it means to live an authentic Christian life, one that is genuine and which attracts others to the Lord Jesus Christ.   It is aspects of this journey that I want to capture in my blog Authentic Christian Living.

Many people have been wounded in churches.  Many have either lost their faith or are struggling to hold onto it.  It is for them, in particular, that I address this blog Authentic Christian Living.  I pray that it will be a source of comfort and healing for all who read it.

Many blessings,

Irene.