Control by fear

On my knees, repentance stirring my heart. How did I get here?

Fear has been blinding me, distracting me, overwhelming me. Words so powerful they strike me to my core. A threat that feels as real as hands around my neck. My children used as pawns, used to control me.

My heart in a panic, that is where he wants me. Firmly in his grip of control. His actions of betrayal and lies and stalking, all threatening my sanity, my sense of safety and my trust in truth. Where is justice? Where is truth? Where is safety?

My heart and mind torn up, trying to comfort scared children while not being able to breathe.

Then words of truth and power come alive off the page.

Psalm 18:16-19

“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”

So on my knees I fell. Confessing my sin of fear. Begging for strength and wisdom. My enemy does not use weapons of steel or metal, but weapons of words, manipulations and fear. Tactics specific to my weaknesses. He knows me intimately and well, he has studied me, knows how to keep me locked up in this invisible prison, even though I thought I was free, in my fear I am in bondage.

So now I speak to my heart. Take courage! The Lord has overcome! Truth will win! No matter the outcome, I will praise the name of Jesus. For this suffering is but a moment. This brokenness is temporary. I relinquish control over the unknown and the what ifs. I will praise Him in the morning and when I lay down at night. My faith is not in things of this world, but in the one who holds it all together.

My heart is beating steady now. My mind at rest. I will not cower in fear, I will stand and face evil.

Because I am not fighting this alone. I am surrounded my heavenly hosts, and earthly saints. I have the word of the Lord, the sword of the Spirit, the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of righteousness, the belt of truth. I am not alone.

Make noise

If you had told me when I was a younger version of myself, that one day I would call a meeting with a pastor and Elder to speak about the way the church had hurt me and not done it’s job, I would have laughed in your face. No way would I ever be that person! I have always aimed to please people. I have tried living in the background, never making much noise. But that version of me, seems to be disappearing. And I can’t say that I miss her.

This new me, listens when the Lord puts something on her heart. I obey, even when I would much rather turn and run. And in obedience I have found His reward. I have found courage I didn’t know I possessed. I have found purpose (I have also found that insomnia and knots in my stomach tend to go hand in hand with these things, hehe)

With sweaty palms and a heart that was racing, I sat in front of two men I highly respect and am somewhat intimidated by, and poured out my heart. I explained my hurt and disappointment at the lack of support the church has extended towards me, I explained how there is a serious lack of education in churches across America in domestic violence and abuse, and how this deficit is costing the lives of so many women. Women need church to be a safe place to go, to be heard and believed, to be helped and supported. They do not need a pat on the back and looks of pity without any action. Prayers are wonderful and needed, but so are meals, gas money, a safe place to live, childcare, help fixing things around the house, groceries, moving help, furniture, counseling, and most of all, companionship.

In the process of this conversation, I felt a weight lifting off my chest. Slowly, with each nod of agreement and each tear filled eye, I felt my heart stirred to compassion for these men who had no idea they were causing such pain.

The result of that act of obedience was more than I could have hoped. Repentance for their lack of action and care, questions on what they can do differently, and genuine gratitude for coming forward with this message. I was stunned. Not only that but they also cleared up some things I had been believing for many years concerning my prison guards time on the Elder board (yes friends, my chameleon was an elder for 4 years, revealing just how good he was at deceiving the people around him). Lies, so many lies that shaped my life. The truth of events and conversations finally coming to light, felt overwhelming. But I could also feel parts of my heart being mended.

I went to that meeting not to rant and complain or accuse, but to educate. And God used it in a mighty way. I made noise that night. Noise for women coming after me, women looking to our church for support and love and help.

I was promised that what I experienced with this church, will not happen again to any other woman who comes to them. I will help them put some things in place to make sure this happens, but can I just hear an AMEN for the work God is doing??

I am nothing special, I am full of doubts, fears, anxieties and a serious stubborn streak. Yet God is faithful.

And every time I take a step of faith, I find enough courage to take another, because He continually provides.