All Rivers To The Sea.
Kate, scarred from past tragedies and facing fresh fear in the potato famine, reminds herself of words that bore her through the past scars:
Grieve like Mary at the grave for all you cannot understand.
Give up to God the hopes your love has begotten.
Mourn at the tomb of what you've lost.
Then give up to God what you cannot change.
Remember there will be Easter morning.
Hope in that alone.
Bear your scars with joy.
That is where I stand on this Easter morning. I've grieved for the years lived in torment and fear of human.
I'm giving up to God the hopes that the abuse will end, for truly only from Him can come the freedom from the dark power of spiritual oppression.
I've mourned for friends who count me as one dead.
I cannot change one aspect of the abuse, past or continuing- so I place my faith in a faithful Creator.
And I remember that Easter morning does come.
All that is dead in darkness and pain will be changed in His power and resurrected in gladness by His grace.
So, I have reached a fork in my path.
I won't forget my past, nor do I want to. It is mine- I lived it, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful.
For me, it's time to close the book and not read the page of rage and hurt anymore.
I feel a bit like Bilbo Baggins when he said :
It's a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no telling where you might be swept off to.
I've stepped on the road of freedom and there is no knowing what wonderful adventures I will have.
So, I feel I've buried the enslaved, fearful Dobby part of myself in the quiet grave by the sea and thrown the ring of memories in the fires of Mt. Doom.
Because I am me, I have a few last words for the person who, for many years, held such a place of absolute control over my mind:
To My Former Pastor:
Did you know the apostle Paul was once the same as you?
He was a spiritual abuser- the ultimate kind: If one didn't believe as he thought one should or practice one's faith according to his rules, he had that person killed.
Chuck Swindoll, in his book The Grace Awakening , called him a grace killer.
There is an incredible twist to Paul's story- he didn't remain a grace killer and a spiritual abuser. He had a grace awakening.
He went on to vehemently fight against the effects of grace killers:
O you dear idiots of Galatia, who saw Jesus crucified so plainly, who has been casting a spell over you? I shall ask you a simple question...Surely you can't be so idiotic as to think that a man begins his spiritual life in the Spirit and then completes it by reverting to outward observances?
I hope that your story has the same redeeming twist. I hope grace awakens in your life: grace to let others follow God for themselves, grace to cease seeing yourself as God's judgement stone and God's rule enforcer.
Because, you see, God doesn't need a rule enforcer.
He is full of grace and His grace has given each and everyone the gift of choice.
He graced us with the gift of choice of where to spend eternity. Max Lucado says in his book He Chose The Nails:
There are times when God sends thunder to stir us. There are times when God send blessings to lure us. But there are times when God sends nothing but silence as He honors us with the freedom to choose where we spend eternity.
I believe that you honestly feel you are doing God's work by forcing people to salvation by your rules and regulations. Salvation by keeping a choke hold on their identity and freedom of choice. By giving your judgment on people now so God won't have to do it later, at His second return to earth.
You employed every skulduggery tactic available (lying, cheating, mind-control, phone-tapping, shadowing-should I go on?) to aid you in your endeavor.
You have significantly materially profited from stealing other's money and time- so all your motives haven't been squeakily clean and noble.
You are so angry any time someone speaks the truth of your actions.
You say they are motivated by evil, trying to destroy God' work.
I believe this reaction is due to the fact that you truly believe in your self-appointed title.
I challenge you to look at your flock.
Are they genuinely happy?
Do they abound in peace?
Are their actions motivated by fear of you or love?
I know I was motivated by absolute terror when I was under your control.
I remember that you dutifully squashed anyone who threatened your control out of a sincere belief you had to control the flock to keep them safe under 'God's Umbrella'.
You have chosen a heavy burden trying to maintain people's salvation through fear.
I hope you stand at the foot of the cross, like the weary Pilgrim, and let your terrible burden tumble off your back.
I hope you find grace.
The grace to let go and let others be.
For people will never grow up in Christ as long as they live by your opinion and your word. It isn't your job to be every one's conscience.
Quoting from Grace Awakening once again:
Grace...brings a freedom to enjoy the privileges of being out from under slavery and allowing other such freedom...It is a freedom to become all that He meant me to be, regardless of how He leads others... I can be me...and freedom is then released to others so they can be who they are meant to be-different from me!
The apostle Paul let grace explode his horizons- as I hope you will.
You have golden years to live- why not set your flock free from paralyzing fear so they may live theirs?
I am praying for you and for those you control.
A Toxic Sheep No More
"Promise me that you'll give faith a fighting chance,
And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance.
I hope you dance....I hope you dance. "
I really hope you choose to dance.
road image by jacedesbff in photobucket
dance image by carolinegrasso in photobucket