“Before the truth can set you free you need to recognize which lie is holding you hostage. ~ Unknown”
I’ve always been told to speak the truth. Believe the truth. Hope in the truth. But the reality is that I’m afraid of the truth. It’s hard to be a truth seeker when the last thing you want to find is the actual truth. So sometimes the truth has to find me. In this case the truth found me through an angel named Katie.
Katie arrived in our lives in the midst of a crisis. It didn’t take her quick to figure out that a lot of the issue was unnecessary drama. She began to help us figure out our drama triangles, inherit personalities and familial systems. I believed that she was in our lives to help our daughter. Until she looked at me and said, “You can’t expect her to do something you are not willing to do yourself.” Ouch.
She invited me to attend an upcoming workshop about finding identity in Christ which she calls the “Imago Dei”. The weekend of the workshop she was stranded at the beach and we were stranded in town. She rescheduled for early February and I made plans to attend. Unfortunately this landed on the very weekend we planned to move our office. The husband and I agreed that no matter what I was to go to the workshop.
I am a fan of Katie’s work. She gave us confidence to release our teens to make the transition from childhood to young adulthood. In the 4 months with us she’s already worked miracles. I am not surprised she managed more this weekend.
We went back to the garden story, only Katie told a different story. A story that exploded my brain, smashed my theology and set my heart free. The original sin wasn’t something they did, but something they didn’t do. Quite simple: They did not accept that they, in their humanity, were created good. And that simple concept…that not accepting my humanity is sin…that concept just completely undid my entire theology and my life. And finally I understood that the ability to finally, FINALLY, heal from the pain of my past was VERY VERY possible.
“We cannot change the story, but we can change the way we view the story.” I wrote this down and then whispered a simple thought, “Is it possible that I can change the way I view my life?”
The problem with me is I talk. A lot. When I get comfortable around people I share things. And that’s how I found myself talking about the cult I grew up in and my marriage and my father. And I should have known that Abba had orchestrated heaven and earth for this very day…moment.
The last hour she offered us several options to talk about. One of those was family systems and leaving mother and father. Of course everyone wanted to talk about that. I didn’t, because the idea was making me uncomfortable and I didn’t want to meltdown in front of people I never met before. But I agreed, because I have learned that when Abba moves I don’t have a choice but to move with him.
Katie’s gift is using inner healing prayer to help people get past things that are holding them back. It’s not easy to describe so she asked if I’d be willing to let them pray with me. Right there. In front of everyone. Now, I knew what I was getting into, sort of, so I said yes. But still when I sat in the chair I could feel the panic stirring.
She asked me to say words that I think of when it came to my father. Which was easy. The first one was mean. He was mean. Scary. Monster. Abusive. Neglectful. Then she asked me to do the same when it came to my mother. I couldn’t. I couldn’t speak out loud the first word that came to my mind. Because, I knew….knew I’d say the word and my entirely held-together world would come crashing down around me. But she encouraged me to be brave and I spoke out loud, for the first time, that which I spent all these years avoiding.
It took my breath away. I felt like I had betrayed her. I exposed her. I was not a daughter. I was willing to judge my father. But my mother…she didn’t deserve that. And honestly, I didn’t want to admit that I viewed my mother as weak. The rest of the words tumbled out. Hurt. Abusive. Abused. Neglectful. But then another word emerged. One I’d known, but never said before. One that explains everything.
And then I understood. She was both. And…so was I. And that was OK. And the reality of that exploded through me. I cannot explain, but in that instance the truth…set me free. Free from the pain of watching my father beat my mother and hear him rape her and hide in my room at night praying the nightmares would go away. Free from the unrealistic expectation of being courageously strong in my human weakness. Free from being the protector of my mother and the judge of my father. Free from being responsible for the lives of my siblings and upholding the reputation of our family. Free, to be Abba’s daughter and my babies Momma…and my husband’s love. Free, oh blessed free.
My mother was weak. So was I. So was my siblings. But my momma, she was also strong. She was strong enough that at the end, she stood up to my father and left. And although the ripples of that STILL affect our family, it changed the course of her life. And now I see the moments where she was weak, she was actually strong. I thought I was protecting her, but she protected me, in some ways. I didn’t see the times she’d threaten our father. I didn’t see the times she went without so we had what little she could provide. I didn’t see the ultimate sacrifice she made to be sure we were safe. Yes, she failed in some ways, but in so many more…she succeeded.
It doesn’t change the story. I still grew up in a cult, sexually abused by my neighbor and my father, beat by my parents and emotionally scarred by the theology. But the story is different because I can see the entire truth now.
I couldn’t talk after the workshop which made the husband suspicious. I finally told him the story and he stopped me, “Is this why you seem so centered? You are different. In a good way.” It made me cry.
The truth has set me free.