Today starts a new day; I realize that I have been abused by religion. It took me through Day 8, 9 before I realized this, but I am glad I did. You can go back to see my comments on Day 8 and 9 to see what I am speaking of. I am taking the time to do the exercises as outlined in the book; Recovering From Religious Abuse, 11 Steps to Spiritual Freedom written by: Jack Watts. While I know that hurt and abuse as described and presented in the book are two different things, I have come to the understanding that in regards to taking advantage of me I have in fact been abused. I will admit, one of my greatest concerns is I may have at times abused religion. I don’t think I have but this journey will help me understand where I am at and in the process help others as I journal each day with the steps outlined in the book.
Abuse, what are the impacts and how has it impacted me? Hmmmm, let me count the ways. It is kind of crazy, last night I was speaking to a group of at risk youth, kids who have been in trouble with the law for one reason or another, kids who have had family issues that prevent them from living with their families. I see the cycle often, the loss of hope, the hatred towards religion, and ongoing suffering. I try to be honest in these things; I realize the pain will likely never leave these kids. I know because it has never fully left me, yet there is the expectation by many, to forgive and forget, of course this comes from those who have been abusive in one way or another, for me, it was many who sinned against me that say to ‘forgive and forget’ and things of the sort.
What have I lost? I lost my childhood, my innocence, an appropriate perspective of sexuality, many hours of sleep, at times needing sleep aids, and I have lost confidence, I have lost, lost, lost. I could go on, I know God heals, God forgives the wrongs but there are scars that will likely be there until the day I die.
I would love to let it all go, to ‘move on’ as some have suggested. God will provide the healing I need, He has already provided more healing than I deserve for I have my own sin issues. But I anticipate the day I receive full healing, the day I enter Heaven. I can relate to the Apostle Paul when he says that to die is gain. I have a life to live though; I have people to help with the help of the Holy Spirit. I want to continue to progress. I would love to have a family like most people. I guess in some ways maybe I do, I don’t know, the family I have is the Christian friends I have. It is in Christ that I have found my real family, but I realize that for many of them; that impacts me more than them. I am often the one in need of a family, they often have one. The relationships from North Carolina, Kansas, Oklahoma, California, Texas, Tennessee, South Carolina beyond is not lost on me. People in these places and others have touched me and became the family I never had. I can’t blame them if they don’t understand the hurt that forced me to see them this way. I don’t complain much about this, but I do hurt and grieve. I would like to have a longstanding relationship with a friend; someone I could call brother or sister.
What would life look like to have a friend to spend time with, watch a movie with, have dinner with, and to celebrate holidays with? I sort of have that with my immediate family; my children have never really known an uncle, an aunt, a grandma, or a grandpa though. As crazy as it sounds, if this family existed for me, it would be like Heaven.
I don’t know how to make these things happen because I need others to recognize the hurt and pain I have gone through. I don’t even know if my own family, my wife and children fully understand this. One day, maybe they and others will read these words and understand the long-standing pain I have gone through. Then maybe they and others can understand why the comments like, ‘move on’ or ‘it will be better’ hurts more than helps.
I pray that my God will allow these things to happen. I will say this, the best, most open and honest relationship I have ever had is with the one I blamed at one time, God. I am grateful for that. I have a God that cares, and I will be with him for an eternity. At that time, I will have my family; I will have the things I long for. Until then, I pray that God, in only the way He can, make these things happen for me.
Today I will quote a passage that comes with each part of the journal process. While I haven’t posted it on other journal entries, it just seems appropriate today:
Remember the word to Your servant,
In which You have made me hope.
This is my comfort in my affliction,
That Your word has revived me.
The arrogant utterly deride me,
Yet I do not turn aside from Your law. – Psalm 119: 49-51
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