November 21, 2007

“I will give thanks to You

because You have answered me

and have become my salvation.”

Psalm 118:21 (Holman CSB)

I read the book of Psalm on a very regular basis; it is my mainstay in life. The Lord has done so much for my family that it amazes me every time I think of from where He has brought us.

Last year, my mother committed suicide. It was extremely traumatic, as I, my two young children, and my father were in the home when she shot herself. One shot, and my life changed completely.

Without going into too much personal detail, the hand of the Lord protected us that day, as my mother had been hallucinating. We tried to get help to her, but no counselor or doctor would help. Things could have been much worse that day. I could’ve lost my entire family…not just my mother.

The Lord hears, He lifts His hand to protect and guide and He has been the absolute strength of my life. I am so thankful for the Lord’s providence and goodness.

“I love You, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock,
my fortress, and my deliverer,
my God, my mountain where I seek refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation,
my stronghold.”

Ps. 18:1-2

Spiritual Abuse Pt. 1

November 19, 2007

No church is perfect, I know. No person is perfect, that’s for sure and I am the first to admit my own imperfections.

It has taken me many years to get to this point in my life to realize that I was not to blame for the wrongs done to me at the hands of my spiritual leaders. I know so many people who have experienced the same as I, so I feel that this all needs to be said. Maybe my experiences might help others.

Having said that, here is my first entry on the painful subject of spiritual abuse.

It was always an unspoken rule. -Those who left “CCC” were to never be spoken to again or considered truly ‘saved’. They had left the flock and gone astray, so snubbing a former member of “CCC” was second nature. I didn’t quite catch on to this so-called rule, but understood it fully. I would never be one of those who had ‘fallen away’.

I was the perfect child in church. As mentioned earlier, I began attending the adult services at “CCC” when my contemporaries were still attending children’s church. I was learned in the ways of the Lord, so I understood all that was taught. I sat quietly in service, paying attention as well as I could since the pastor was not always very concise or even interesting.

By the time I turned 12, I joined the adult choir. I had to try-out since the director didn’t know how a child could sing and I passed the test. I have always been talented in music, teaching myself how to read music and play piano. I was a full-fledge member and attended practice religiously. Always on time and willing to take direction, I absorbed every vocal technique our director taught. I soon began singing special music on Sunday nights and I faithfully tried out for solos.

Within a short time, the director saw that I was sensitive emotionally. (Hey, I’m artsy and I was so young) “E”, the director, began an attack on my psyche that nearly drove me to suicide.

It started out with bizarre ‘prayers’ with me while “E” was teaching me vocal exercises. She would say incredibly hurtful things to me, such as, “You have a good voice, but you’re not pretty”, or she would “prophesy” strange messages over me. This happened on a weekly basis for approximately 5 years. The recurring theme of her speeches to me were always about me not being pretty, or that I wasn’t that talented. -I knew I wasn’t the classic picture of beauty, but I knew I could really sing.

I was invited to many secular events to sing, because despite what “E” said, everyone else knew I had great talent.

By the time I was 16, I tried out for the worship team, because that was where my heart was. I hated to perform, but loved to worship God and point people to Him. Again, I was not beautiful enough. Just a side note: If I had been a hideous teenager, maybe I could accept the harsh and hurtful things constantly being said to me by “E”. However, I was not ugly. At the time, I did think I was ugly, but when I look back at my pictures, I see I was far from ugly. I was pretty, but not blonde, tall and skinny.

At the age of 18, I traveled to Hong Kong to attend a Discipleship Training School (DTS) with Youth With A Mission (YWAM). I lived in Hong Kong for 3 months and had a 2 month outreach to mainland China.

In the first 2 weeks of my DTS, I was asked to sing on the worship team. I was shocked. By this time, after years of continual abuse from “E”, I had convinced myself I was ugly and untalented. The staff at the DTS thought I was very, very talented. I was the first student allowed to help with leading worship. -So I was talented after all.

After my 5 months, I reluctantly returned to New Mexico and the abuse once more.

I was happy and for the first time in my life I had confidence in my talent and I felt on top of the world. I braved my fears and attended a choir rehearsal at “CCC”. I had no clue that I was going to become a lost sheep.

Practice was about to begin, and a member said a prayer. All of a sudden, “E” said she had a prophecy. My heart sank. I knew it was going to be directed toward me.

She began spewing hatred and cruelty in the name of God toward me. She continued her “prophecy” for 3 minutes or so and I couldn’t take the humiliation any longer. Although there were over 30 choir members in attendance, they let her continue her hurtful barrage. A friend helped me out of the sanctuary as I was sobbing.

I was in total disbelief that “E” could attack me under the guise of a “word” from the Lord. I was shocked that not one person had the nerve to stand up to her. But they were sheep….they were fearful to become lost sheep. Afraid to be shunned by the all-powerful leaders of “CCC”.

I left. I washed my hands of singing in the choir…

To be continued….

My past

November 19, 2007

I was raised in a non-denominational church in the southern desert of New Mexico. My earliest memories are of attending children’s church, singing songs about Zacheus, a man of height limitations and of Jesus loving all the children. At the age of three, I went forward to “give my heart to Jesus” and while I was only 3, I knew what I was doing. -I was asking “Jesus into my heart” so that I could get a colorful hand puppet given to the good little children who asked Jesus to dwell in their hearts. I had had my eye on that plastic ‘salvation-plan’ hand puppet for quite a while, so I made my move for it.

Truth is, I already knew God. I never felt a love, or a drawing toward the person Jesus. Nonetheless, I was a Christian and continued to attend church and I even attended the Christian school ran by my church.

I had a knack for seeking truth. I began studying the Bible from the time I was 6. In the first grade, I was given my first full Bible and I immediately began to read and take it in.

Within a few years of reading on my own, I had tons of questions. I asked leaders and adults I knew that were ‘mature’ Christians. My questions about the Trinity were hushed when my adult mentors could not answer my questions fully.

“Don’t question the Bible!” I was told.

Why shouldn’t I?” I always asked.

I was not a popular child at children’s church once I had begun to read on my own….by the time I was nine years old, I stopped going to children’s church and attended the adult services. -That opened up a whole other can of worms and with it, a whole lot of shushing.

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