Once I gave my Dad a birthday card. On the front of the card was a group of prisoners surrounded by a fence low to the ankles. Behind them was a guard. A cardboard prop. The words on the sign said, “Moron Maximum Security Penitentiary.” When you opened it read. “It’s your birthday. Be Free!”
A stand still. That’s where I am with God right now. In a place of internal suffering that only He and I know. Turbulent. That’s my soul is right now. Longing to fulfill the purpose He has called me to, but getting lost in the tossing to and fro of the waves that are pounding. See I have a story to tell. Quite a few actually. As the World Turns, and the Young and the Restless have nothing on the life story I have lived. And God has said it’s time. So I am writing.
Yet I struggle. I struggle with telling my story. One because I was threatened by a family member when I told them I was telling my story recently. Two because the things in my past that happened to me have left me ashamed. I shouldn’t be. They were not my fault, but I am. Dark things in dark places where secrets of families are held under lock and key. Where threats hide outside the door if you should utter the truth. So shame, yeah it mocks me.
Guilt too, it has been occupying the same bench as shame. “Why didn’t you ever tell anyone ?” It says. “You should have.” “It’s your fault it kept happening.” “And who would care what you have to say, because we know what you did.” Listing the painful memories of sin that encompasses my heart and attempts to draw the breath from my born again lungs. There they are when I slip through the window and crawl out into the open where I can be myself.
Fear, oh don’t think he doesn’t rear his head whenever I try to walk out the door of the prison I have been locked in all my life. He bunks with me. Nightly shouting at me and keeping me from sleep. Daring me to open the prison door and speak. He reminds me there is a guard outside should I try to leave.
That guard. She looks just like me. You should hear the way she talks to me. Sometimes her words are the harshest. Critical and downright mean. Reflecting the words of so many. Damaging. Brutal. The worst the religious saying, “If you are a Christian, and a new creature in Christ, you should just let it be.” But she is a cardboard prop. There is nothing behind those threats. Lies. Lies we believe.
But there is another voice heard faintly. One that still believes she can be free. One that whispers back the truth of God’s word and rains down love. And she, she looks just like me. She says, You are no moron, and this is no penitentiary God has condemned you to. You are not crazy and you can be free. More and more that other voice is winning. Her faint cry reminding me of Joan of Arc. Her strength astounds me. From God alone. Slowly we are winning the battle to speak. Longer and louder.
Today we are storming the gates that little girl and I. Today we stop apologizing for who we are. It’s time we stop giving into not stirring the waters because it offends someone else, or it keeps the peace. It’s time to give that little girl abused for nigh on fourteen years of her life sexually, and God knows how long emotionally, verbally, and physically on into adulthood a voice.
So I am going to share my story. Or rather, my stories. Will it offend. Yes. Will it be doubted. Yes. Will it be rejected. Yes. Will that family member and others still call me crazy. Yes. Will the panic attacks continue. Yes. Will it be hard. Yes. Will it hurt yes. Will the enemy do all he can to stop me. Yes. But he can’t. Unless I let him.
And you know what? At least I will be being me. Being myself after forty years is what I and that little girl deserve. God’s been waiting on me. The real me to take back the reigns of my life and be set free from the approval of others. We are still working on healing me. It’s a journey with a real destination. And this breaking of silence. This is a shout of “I’m Free to Be ME!”
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1 NKJV