Please do not take this post as someone’s way of forcing their beliefs on others. I am not here to make you believe what I do or to tell you what to believe. By sharing my story, I am reaching out. This is a part of me. It is what brought me through the darkest times of my life, and I hope that it will bring comfort to some and understanding to others…
I grew up in a broken home. To me it was a way of life. It did not seem broken to me because I was only three when it broke.
At the age of six I was molested by my grandfather. By the age of nine I was falling apart under my father’s ever increasing expectations. My cousin took advantage of my innocence at ten and the rest was downhill from there.
Like I said before, my family was broken. I couldn’t fix it. No one really could. Most people just looked on from the outside wondering how we got along. On the inside, everyone was just trying to make it through one more day without falling apart.
I am thankful that my father did provide a home, food, and clothing (embarrassing as they were), and that he took us to church (even though his version of the gospel was a little skewed).
I can’t remember a time when I did not know who God was. Jesus was a gentle loving man who looked at me from portraits in my family’s homes and in the churches we visited. We read stories about how he cared for the children, the sick, the lonely, and the forgotten. He was just as real to me as anyone else in my little world.
At the age of eight, I learned that the only person who had ever really been there for me might disappear from my life forever. It terrified my little heart to know that I could be separated from God. Because I did not ever want that to happen, I asked Jesus to come into my heart and be with me always.
From that moment on, the pain was a little less when my body and soul was bruised and sore. When I had no one to comfort me or dry my tears, I had Jesus. He was my very best friend because he understood that I didn’t mean to do wrong. He knew that I was not trying to make people mad. He was the only one who knew what was happening to me, and he was the only one who loved me still. I was not upset because he would not “fix it.” I was just glad that someone out there actually cared.
So many things have happened since the time that holding my Bible at night would make the nightmares go away. I have learned that the way I see God often puts me at odds with others. I understand that most people do not see him as benevolent or kind. Most see him as detached and uncaring, and I understand. I do not think that makes me right or anyone else wrong.
I do now understand how religion can hurt so many people. My father was a very bitter man. He was also a music minister, Sunday school teacher, and self-proclaimed preacher, who held a very limited view of the world. He used religion to justify his actions and beliefs instead of using it as a tool for introspection and change in his own life. The fact that his actions and words were so very different hurt many people, including other family members. Several of my family members learned of a vengeful, hypocritical God from watching my father. It is truly amazing how people can believe in the same God, but understand him differently because of the shape others have given him.
From my little corner, I am still learning to cope and understand. There are days that I want nothing more than to climb up into God’s lap and cry myself to sleep in His arms. Other days, I want Him to wipe pain from the face of the earth with His mighty hands. And yet, most days I simply want Jesus to just hold my hand and tell me everything will be alright…..