Approaching the Same Problem from Opposite Sides

We had a guest speaker this week, a Pastor nicknamed “The Dark Shepard.” He said when he was a kid he wanted to be a professional wrestler and that would’ve been his name. Now, he’s still going by  that nickname, but he’s “drop kicking demons” with the word of Jesus instead.

So, the title of his sermon was Life Ain’t Fair. He said life isn’t fair because it’s so much better than death. He said you make more than 2,500 choices every day and you determine the quality of your life by those choices.

The Pastor quoted Deuteronomy 30:19-20 as his supporting verse for choosing life/the Lord.

This post won’t be long because I kind of internalized after his “announcement.” He said he was the victim of childhood sexual abuse. First, wow! The nerve (in a good way) to say that in front of a congregation of people as a victim is incredible! There’s so much stigma attached to being a victim of sexual abuse. It’s like you’re supposed to suffer in silence and no one can ever know it happened. Second, WOW! Men in general don’t speak up about being the victim of sexual abuse. It’s not “manly” to be a victim, much less “manly” to be the victim of sexual abuse. So, really, kudos to the Pastor for sharing that.

He said he was depressed for a long time until a point came in his life where he turned to God/Jesus for his happiness and chose life.

I cannot relate to a single syllable of that! I was the victim of childhood sexual abuse. I didn’t get relief when he died. I had hoped for it so hard! It happened, three days before it would’ve been a year since it happened. He died of a heart attack on the way to the hospital. After that, took me a decade to confront my dad for having knowingly left me in the house of a pedophile. I didn’t talk to him at all for five of those years and to this day, there’s never been a more awkward moment for me than when I say “I love you,” when I get off the phone with him. My granddad is the reason I have so few friends I would actually fall back on should I ever reach for help. He was my “person” and he violated everything about that relationship. I engaged in self-harm for a long time. I had lost my person, I didn’t have anyone to confide in. No one to grieve losing my childhood innocence with. Around the same time I confronted my dad, I stopped self-harming. I was ready to face it all and I had found my “people” to do it with.

How do you have some epiphany and you’re all healed from it?! The Pastor didn’t claim everything was better over night, but it was on it’s way. It took me a long time. Even then, when I spoke to my dad about it, I think there’s only ever been one other time when it’s been so satisfying to hear someone cry. To know that they’re hurting. It was satisfying to the core of my being! I’m unapologetic about that.

Fourteen years later, I’m not angry anymore. I don’t want to hear, nor make, anyone involved cry. I feel like I’ve moved on from it, but a Godly intervention never came for me. It was a life lesson. It was just one stepping stone in learning to read through people.

So, yeah. I really derailed after he dropped that bit of information. I lost the spiritual message.

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What do we want?! BRAINS! When do we want it?! BRAINS!!

*You can thank the Associate Pastor for mentioning a zombie apocalypse survival guide for the title*

Indeed, the title of this service was “Survival Guide.” In the Associate Pastor’s Amazon search for survival guides he found: Zombie apocalypse survival guides, short term & long term wilderness survival guides, 101 hiding places (A survival guide for hide and seek?), and parenting. The CDC joined in on the whole zombie obsession and created a disaster preparedness page using the threat of an impending zombie apocalypse. http://www.cdc.gov/phpr/zombies.htm

Of course, the service didn’t focus on any of the topics mentioned above. It focused on spiritual survival. It focused on giving you a list of things to remember when you’re trying to stay on the right path.

The list included:

  • Remember your friends

As far as faith goes, the Pastor said that God works through relationships, the best example I can recall is that every person living is a product of a relationship! God used your parents to bring you into this world. So, when you’re struggling, you should fall back on those relationships, God put them in your life for a reason. Isolation from your friends and support systems allows your fears to grow and warp.

I’m truly torn on the subject of friendship. There are friends and then there are friends. I know how stupid that sounds, but it’s how I see it. We can be friendly, hang out, the typical stuff friends do. Then there are friends. You can be next door neighbors or live hundreds of miles apart and they’re your rock! My “fall back” people would probably be limited to my husband, a friend I’ve known for 13 years, and my in-laws. In the end though, I’m one of those “tough it out on my own” type people. I don’t like to rely on anyone else for support. I acknowledge that’s a defense mechanism, but I’m not ready to remedy that.

  • Remember your focus

I thought the Pastor’s example for this was rather funny: A case of miscommunication about directions led to him and his wife bickering on their honeymoon. He said it got to the point where she was questioning his leadership abilities and he was questioning her submissive wife abilities. During all of this arguing, he noticed two toucans in the trees and declared that he couldn’t even enjoy them because he so angry! They had forgotten the focus of their honeymoon, to enjoy each other’s company.

  • Remember your name

I think I can identify with this the least. My name means “appearance of God.” How ironic. Oddly enough, my son’s name has a Godly definition, too. I’d tell you, but I Googled it and it was the first result! But seriously! How does that happen? I completely lack the ability to harbor faith and yet I was given a name meaning appearance of God?!

Please note that the following is not a condescending view on your belief and faith, but simply how I process things.

This service referenced 1 Kings 19: The main character in this story was Elijah. He prayed and God immediately answered him by lighting an alter on fire. Elijah continued to pray and a drought ended. Elijah later runs off to hide from the queen and God speaks directly to Elijah. Admittedly, such direct communication/contact doesn’t take faith to believe, but what I don’t understand is how people maintain faith in present day without ever having such a direct connection with God. That’s where I disconnect. I could believe if I had an interaction like that, I wouldn’t be left with much choice. The Bible is full of stories of people being commanded to do things and speaking with God directly. Yet, in today’s time, that doesn’t happen.

Maybe I’m too cynical and put too much faith in modern science.