I have something heavy on my mind, stirred up by a sermon I recently heard.
Part of the message was about community, not being isolated, having people you can talk with about stuff who will pray with you.
I have prayed about this, and I feel I should share openly. So, here are my thoughts on this, and I will confess up front: this is a sensitive issue for me. I will start by asking a question, or two. Maybe more:
Where was community while I was being molested? Where was community when I struggled through years of eating disorders, as I blamed myself for all the horror of what happened to me? Where was community in the aftermath of a close family member almost purposely killing another close family member, as I watched? Where has church community been in the 30+ years of my fight to survive, muddling through all the confusion and pain, wounds and scars, trying to make sense of it all, struggling to learn how to live a healthy life, while learning I could trust others?
I’d like to tell you where community has been for me, for the most part. It has been ignoring me because it doesn’t know what to do with me, doesn’t want to see what I’ve been through, doesn’t want to get its hands dirty trying to help me. It’s been unapproachable and out of my reach. It’s been there for others, but not me. I’ve been “too intense”, or “too sensitive”, and I have never fit into those boxes of “acceptable things” it has tried to stuff me into.
I am different. I was shaped differently because my life has not been anything like most people’s. I have walked hard roads, learned lessons the most difficult ways, hit rock bottom more than once, in different ways. I am unique. I love people, value them with a passion and intensity that I have never experienced. I hurt when others hurt, I cry when others cry, I rejoice when others are blessed. That is what God has formed from the ashes of my life, the beauty He has given to me. I am uniquely and wonderfully made, and if you don’t get to know me, if you don’t hear my story, you will miss out on some amazing things. Most of my story can only be told one-on-one. Someday it will be written in a book for all to read, but you won’t know it’s my story.
I am not bitter or angry, I’m sad. I can’t pretend the things in my past have never happened to me. I can’t pretend I never went down the wrong road, reacted badly, have never been sinful as a result of having so little human guidance readily available for me.
So, I find I am expected to rise up and be there to reach out to others, despite that not being a viable option for me, and I will because I want to be for others what I have needed others to be for me. I understand things from a perspective that is sometimes lacking in the church community: God doesn’t look at people the way we do.