Pastor # 4 – MONTANA
So what will you tell someone who is abused, struggling, confused and overwhelmed? To strengthen them in faith and action?
Pastor D is a good man, who worked hard for his congregation, which was like home to me. We talked in general, not as in “help me, help my marriage.” I thought he said submit. I remember feeling surprised and irritated when he later said that he never tells women in difficult marriages to submit. Memory problems. Maybe it’s just me. Maybe it’s part of the backlash of long-term stress. Maybe I’m not the only one who can forget stuff.
I did go to Pastor D about another, related issue:
We had a dinner hour that got psycho then violent (another post). After this event, Abby had stomach problems. She was afraid to eat because she would feel sick, or vomit. She lost weight, became very skinny, and I had doctor’s orders to pump extra calories into everything I cooked for her. He didn’t call it ANXIETY. I went to Pastor D, who prayed for her, and explained how prayer for healing works. He told me you have to BELIEVE that the person will be healed in spite of all evidence to the contrary. Abby continued to feel sick and lose weight. He said she WAS healed, in the HEAVENLY realms, but that the healing just wasn’t MANIFESTED yet. I was open to believing this, but was troubled by the theology – not only as related to healing my daughter, but to healing of a marriage or a damaged person.
So what was Pastor D telling me? To ignore the evidence that Abby was losing too much weight and living in fear, because that evidence wasn’t real? This is a little like Peter telling me to ignore the evidence that the girls and I were being bullied and living in fear, because it wasn’t really happening. Crazy-making.
When Abby continued to be sick, I expanded the theme, with the help of others: That I didn’t have enough faith. If so, what could I do to correct that? What about Pastor D’s faith as he prayed for Abby? If I sought other medical care or counseling for Abby, would that be LACK of faith, and so hinder healing? Do I become more legalistic, pursuing obedience – to gain God’s favor and help? Or search less, analyze less, rely on faith, leave it to God – to gain God’s favor and help? Or does it just not matter – do what I see fit and God will bless me? Wow. OR, is it really horrible, as in “get those kids out of there now” – in which case I failed as a Christian AND as a mother.
IF I had been able to hear what God was telling me to do, IF He was telling me anything, it would have cut all of that out. I was WILLING to do what He said. I asked, “If you want me to submit, stay out of Your way, so You can deal with him (and me) without me adding my human twist, I will do that. If You want me to stand up to him in love, please give me the strength and guidance, and I will do that.” I heard from others (and still do) that God IS speaking, but I’m just not hearing Him. Why? He knows me, right? He knows I want to hear His will but am confused. His Word says, if you ask for wisdom, He will give it. I don’t get it. BUT I SO WANT TO. So what will you tell someone who is abused, struggling, and feels that way? To strengthen them in faith and action?
Again, crazy-making. A little more intense and less fun than another salad supper, isn’t it? Feels a little overwhelming and maybe obsessive? Yeah. That’s it. That is the way it feels. You can take a break, do something lighter and more fun. That is good. You should. Just remember that an abused woman or child doesn’t have that option. So don’t do something lighter INSTEAD of learning to identify or instead of preparing for the next time you will be exposed to the effects of abuse. Do both. Learn…AND take a break. There is a lot of abuse; you WILL be exposed again to abused women and children.
It is NOT my goal to undermine another’s faith, OR to disrespect scripture or individuals. Faith is priceless. I envy those who have the peace that comes with faith. But I hope (pray?) that by expressing my doubt and isolation as I “ran the gauntlet,” someone can offer better counsel or meaningful strength to someone else. I don’t apologize for my lack of understanding. I’m not unwilling to understand, just unwilling to lie to myself or others by saying that I do.
I WOULD LOVE TO HEAR FROM WOMEN WHO SURVIVED PSYCHOLOGICAL ABUSE AND KEPT THEIR FAITH. I am loving reading a number of blogs by people who are contagiously positive. I NEED that! I want to know HOW YOU THINK, day by day, through joys and disappointments. I want to say something positive that will encourage someone else. I want this blog to do good. But, today, I just hurt, and am so frustrated that I can’t JUST thrive and be joyful. I’ve heard it said we should spend 5% of our energy on identifying a problem and 95% of our energy on solving it. Today’s blog is my 5%. The rest of the day I need to spend trying to climb back on the horse.
A few confusing (to me) verses, out of hundreds possible, for consideration:
Immediate tangible healing:
Matthew 8:4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”
Healing manifested on the way to giving proof of healing:
Luke 17:14 When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed.
I guess this COULD mean that one is healed in the heavenly realm without earthly evidence:
Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
Never manifested, even with faith:
Hebrews 11:39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Faith from the Word:
Romans 10:17 Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.
Faith a GIFT given by God:
Romans 12:3 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.
Plenty of faith:
Matthew 15:28 Then Jesus said to her, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed at that moment.
Faith of others:
Matthew 9:2 Some men brought to him a paralyzed man, lying on a mat. When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the man, “Take heart, son; your sins are forgiven.”
Not enough faith:
Matthew 13:58 And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.
Hebrews 11:6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.
Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.
Talk with me.