There is so much going on in my mind and heart right now. I feel as if I just need to blab a bit before I get to what I really wanted to blog about.
I need to tell myself that God works according to what each person needs; that I am not to compare myself with others. My relationship with God does not depend upon it's comparison to another's relationship with God.
Let that sink in, Jaime.
Okay, let's try to do this now. . . .
After the significant healing that God blessed me with concerning my sexual abuse, it became blaringly obvious that I was still starving for a father. I believe this hunger for a father is linked to my abuse. Regardless of my sexual wound, I still would be missing a father-figure in my life; but the presence of that wound made my need insurmountable and unignorable.
I have therefore spent the rest of my life in search for the father that I needed.
(I must insert here that I do have an earthly father who loves me, and knows that I love him; however, his love was too painfully inadequate and broken to handle the huge need that my experience left me with.)
I fully realized this deep hunger a few months ago. It was during the time that God allowed me to become flooded with the emotions that I had numbed out for my entire life. I found myself yearning desperately for a father to pull me up into his lap, put his arms around me, hold me tight, and say, "Everything is going to be okay." This was the desire of the buried 5-year-old girl within me.
This desire has was led me to unknowingly (and knowingly) idolize many older men throughout my life (see my post, "Are you my Father?"). I needed the affirmation of a father-figure.
I spoke with a female friend of mine about my desire. I told her that I knew God wanted to be my father, but. . . . And this understanding friend knew the answer: "But you want that physical touch." Exactly.
This problem slapped in the face a week ago as I moved into my grandfather's house. He is the deepest father-figure in my life. But in allowing him that deep into my need, I also allowed him to become a powerful idol in my life. This was not actually a "problem" for me until my grandfather opposed something I wanted very deeply to do, and even thought God was directing me to do. All of the sudden there was a face-off in my heart between God and my idol.
A few days ago, I went to visit a friend. I had warned him ahead of time that I was in an extremely haggard state. When he told me of his desire to comfort me, he said that his first instinct was to pull me into his arms, squeeze me tight, and tell me that "everything is going to be okay." I was shocked--he knew exactly what I needed. But he did not do it, as both of us agreed that it would not work out well. I knew inside that, even though I craved him to do that act, him doing so would simultaneously make me cringe inside. Because I did not see this man as a father figure--I saw him, being the young man that he is, as a threat to my abuse-ravaged self. So I left this friend with another reminder of my deep yearnings, and yet no way to have them fulfilled.
I read this quote yesterday from Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love: "I'm tired of being a skeptic, I'm irritated by spiritual prudence and I feel bored and parched by evidence and proof and assurances. I just want God. I want God inside me. I want God to play in my bloodstream the way sunlight amuses itself on water." It was with this attitude that I took myself to a tent revival this evening. I didn't know what to expect. I just knew I was starving and parched. I felt distant from God; and yet I yearned to be close to Him. I just didn't know how to do it.
All the speaker had to do was mention the word "father" and I was in tears, ready to go up for prayer. (Now, I have to make a side note here. I knew going up would be part of this revival. I knew I wouldn't want to do it. I knew it would mean stepping into the unknown. I knew I would have to suspend my rational mind. And I KNEW I would have to go up front regardless of my own objections.) So up I went. Crying all the way. In my mind, I wondered to myself what I would say if someone came to pray over me. Because technically this was a healing prayer time. And what did I need to be healed from? I kept saying quietly to myself: "I just want a dad." That was the truth. And I knew that was what I would have to say if anyone asked. I kneeled. Crying and listening.
Then someone touched my shoulders from behind. It was a young woman. She asked my name and what type of healing I needed. I told her my truth. She looked at me for a bit. I thought, "Oh, great--she must think I'm an idiot for being up here without needing healing." Then she said to me, "God is telling me to just hold you right now." If I hadn't been trying to rationalize why her statement could have fit any person who was crying up front, my mouth would have dropped in genuine surprise. But my mind was holding onto a moment of skepticism. But she pulled me out of it with, "I know that might sound creepy, but I promise I'm not a creep." That was all the distraction my mind needed; I let her pull me into herself, and I let myself collapse once again into tears. As I was laying in her arms (thankfully she was a bigger woman, so I could truly get lost in her arms and chest), I thought to myself, "This is the hug my 5-year-old self has been wanting. God sent me a hug." I could have stayed in her embrace for minutes or hours, but she decided to talk to me and pray over me. I must admit that I don't remember much of what she said. I was still so shocked that God had sent her to hug me. I do remember her saying that God was there when I was breaking; He was my father then; and He is just waiting for me to ask Him to be my Father now. She prayed some prophetic stuff over me as well; over which rationalization and faith are still battling within me.
After the woman moved away from me, I rose from my knees and found a chair--still up front. I sat and meditated on what she said, and chatted a little with God. I asked God that He would really have meant everything that that woman had said. I asked that I could trust and be truly joyful.
When I was finally reunited with my boyfriend, another woman approached me. She sensed that there was still something going on. I tried to avoid going deeper. The woman acquiesced to a prayer request from my boyfriend over the two of us. And yet, at the end of the prayer, she insisted again upon speaking with me. Fine. Just let it happen, Jaime. She told me she would listen--I really just needed to cry. There is so much pent up pain and fear. I thought that I had pushed God too far away, and that He wasn't coming back--therefore, He couldn't really be my Father. It was interesting that this woman (and another that she brought over) kept thinking that I was an unbeliever, or I was a new believer, or I never read God's word, or I don't go to church, or I don't listen to Christian music. They kept speaking to me as if I knew nothing. At first I wanted to set them straight, but then I realized: the amount of imprisonment in my life makes me appear (and experience life) as someone who is unsaved. It was a humbling realization. (And it is now my current inner struggle as I sit here writing this--not to feel condemned in my weakness and neediness and brokenness.) However, there was a very helpful, elementary lesson that I came away with: I've always known that faith must be divorced from rational thought; but furthermore, faith must be divorced from feelings. This is something that has been brought to my attention before, but it was made concrete tonight. I had been wanting to feel God as my Father. I expected my experience of God to be feelings based. One of the women pointed out that spiritual warfare often does occur in the realm of feelings; and yet, feelings themselves are neutral entities. Therefore, faith must be used to combat feelings that have been hijacked by agents of darkness. Furthermore, when it comes to God being my Father, I must have faith that He can be and is willing to be (and therefore is) my Father; rather than waiting for it to feel that way.
As I was driving home, this song came through my stereo,
"Hold Me" by Jamie Grace:
"I’ve had a long day I just wanna relax
Don’t have time for my friends, no time to chit-chat
Problems at my job, i'm wonderin’ what to do
I know I should be working but I’m thinking of You and
Just when I feel this crazy world is gonna bring me down
That’s when Your smile comes around
Oh, I love the way You hold me, by my side You’ll always be
You take each and every day, make it special in some way
I love the way you hold me, in Your arms I’ll always be
You take each and every day, make it special in some way
I love You more than the words in my brain can express
I can’t imagine even loving You less
Lord, I love the way You hold me
Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh, oh whoa, I love the way You hold me
Whoa oh oh oh oh oh oh
(I love, I love, I love, I love the way you hold me) x 3
(I love, I love, I love, I love the way you)
Well You took my day and You flipped it around
Calmed the tidal wave and put my feet on the ground
Forever in my heart, always on my mind
It’s crazy how I think about You all of the time
And just when I think I’m ’bout to figure You out (figure You out)
You make me wanna sing and shout
I’m so grateful and thankful for all You’ve done
Wish I could tell You in a short story or poem
But, all I have is my voice and this guitar
And You have my heart"
As I was listening to this song, I remembered "The Box" (see blog post with same title). God's words floated back to my mind's ear: "Maybe I could actually hug you again." I'm pretty sure I didn't willingly put down my box tonight (although, maybe you could say that choosing to go to this tent revival was me putting it down). Regardless, I see God tearing the box out of my arms--too love-possessed to wait for me to surrender on my own--and grabbing me into a clutching embrace. He whispers in my ear, "My daughter. My princess."
And I say back, tears in my eyes, soaking in His embrace, "Hi, Daddy."
I sit here. Back home. I am exhausted. A different kind of exhaustion. A good kind of exhaustion. Tears still run down my face periodically. There is still so much for my mind, heart, soul, spirit to mull over. I would not describe myself as "happy"...and I am cautious to describe myself as "joyful." I certainly am not jumping up and down or laughing light-heartedly. However, I would describe myself as more peaceful and definitely more hopeful.
Daddy, can you please sleep here tonight? I like having You here. I don't want You to go away. I don't want to feel alone again. I trust that You are here even though I don't see You. And I will choose to trust that You are here even when I can't feel You. But can you please stay here tonight? Maybe I can fall asleep in Your arms.