When I was pregnant with Daisy, and so depressed, I told my girlfriends two things.
Number One: I don't feel like my husband has ever chosen me. We just exist. I'm just there. He just never said "no" to me.
Did he ever really say, "yes".
Number Two: I don't feel like God has chosen me. I've always felt like he liked other people better. Maybe he tolerates my presence.
It probably sounded co-dependent.
I never got my answer to either. I just moved forward eventually. The darkness slowly receded and I chose to just be.
This week, two years later, I'm looking at those old wounds again. I'm sitting in those questions with a different perspective.
Because this time I can see with a renewed clarity.
Number One: My husband didn't choose me. He never chose anyone. In the seven years of our friendship, before we started dating, I watched him fall in and out of love. He was always with someone new. He was always involved with SOMEONE.
I NEVER saw him initiate a relationship on any level. He was never so drawn to someone that he chose to pursue her. He just never said no to anyone. Ever.
He didn't say no to me either.
When he was young he wasn't allowed the boundary of his own skin. He wasn't given the right to say no.
It's carried over.
He's never regained that right.
Which explains why he has always resented me. He didn't take the time to learn who I was. Almost sixteen years later and he still doesn't know who I am. He doesn't know why he's with me.
He loves me to his greatest capacity, but how much can you love someone you don't even know?
Number Two: I can look back on the years of my life when I was learning who I was, who God was, and I can see how spiritually manipulated I was. I was handed the idea that I was second, I wasn't righteous enough, holy enough, surrendered enough. I was led into a spiritual sickness that went deep. I formed my life around it.
I firmly believed that God just liked other people more than me.
I feel sick even typing this. I feel betrayed. I feel manipulated. I feel twisted and burned.
Right now, in this moment, I can see the distortion of God's truth, of his character.
I know now that it was bullshit.
Narcissistic, self-righteous, blasphemous bullies used the word of God to create fear and condemnation.
They built themselves up by tearing others down.
They used shame and condescending behavior to puff themselves up.
But they are small people, hell bent on being first, more important and grossly exaggerated. No matter the cost.
I can also look back and see how influential some spiritual leaders were. I was affirmed, encouraged and loved. Thank God for them.
If not for the people like Gary Black, Kurt Cotter, Deborah Vogt and others I would have crumbled.
I'm just starting to uncover the damage. I'm just starting to see how deeply I was affected.
I resent it.
I won't always, but for right now, I do.
I wish I could have those years back.
I wish I could stand up for myself.
I wish I could have identified what was happening.
I wish that I had known that abuse isn't defined by being hit.
Spiritual abuse is just as damaging.
It seems like God must hate spiritual abuse with a passion. It distorts him. It takes his holy, rescuing intent and turns it into a feeble, disgusting corpse.
Isn't this why he was so clear, so harsh, with the Pharisees?
They were spiritually abusing people. They were manipulating the truth to fit their purposes.
And if I have ever done it to you, I am so sorry.
Jesus is gravity. He draws everything back to balance, to a firm space.
I want to stand in that space, balanced. I want to stand free of the ache of not knowing I could be chosen. I want to release those who have abused me in the name of church. I want to release Joe from the knife wound of being married to a man who never took the time to know me.
It's all connected.
I married a man I felt I deserved. I searched out someone who saw me the way I thought God saw me.
I thought I was invisible, so I lived that lie.
It soaked into me.
I let it.
I'm done letting it.
I want to fight for freedom. I want to fight for truth. I want to root myself in the depth of God's love for me. I want to wear the banner of Loved like a crown. I want to speak it, know it, live it.