Sunday, October 26, 2008

A Good Parent...

Hmm... it is time to go to bed, but I feel like I need to record this - and I thought I'd share...

This week has been a little rough - digging - looking deeper. My therapist gave me an assignment a couple of weeks ago to make a timeline of my life and then chart, using color coding, the different types of abuse that I experienced throughout my life. It wasn't easy. The night before I was to see her again (last Sunday night) I finally felt it forming in my mind, so I grabbed paper and pen and.... hmm... what emerged was a new concept to me: layers of abuse. I took each person that was abusive and then separated out what type of abuse - some were physical, others emotional, some both. Then the sexual. Anyway, there were points in my childhood when there were as many (or more) as 8 layers of abuse going on.

This has had me thinking a lot. I found a one-act play I wrote for a college class when I was 19. It's pretty cheesy, but the end - there is a soliloquy by the main character just before she kills herself. I was actually writing about a friend that had killed herself about 15 months before I wrote it. But that last bit - what I had her say - was me - a cry for help. What I wrote all those years ago still rings true. Interesting. As I write, I realize I am finally at the place where I can give myself permission to hurt. I am not embarrassed by what I wrote or what I felt anymore. I see it more clearly as not being a defect but damage that was not my fault. Hmm...

Tonight, I picked my Bible up and read it for the first time in 3 months. Some of you are probably thinking, "so?" Understand, I used to be religious about reading it every day. Had my own schedule worked out - did this for years - and well... But when I moved into my new place and away from family and started working, I quit. It wasn't premeditated. I just forgot. And when I would think about it, there was no desire and only flitting guilt (which for me is amazing). But a friend had shared something with me just after I moved in that actually helped...
"But regarding anything beyond this, dear friend, go easy. There is no end to the publishing of books, and constant study wears you out so you're no good for anything else. The last and final word is this: Fear God. Do what he tells you. And that's it. Eventually God will bring everything that we do out in the open and judge it according to its hidden intent, whether it's good or evil." Ecclesiastes 12:12-14 (Message)
What I got from that at that time was - relax, you don't have to spend so much time "studying to be approved."

But tonight, I picked it up and just read where I left off. A chapter in 1 Kings, a chapter in Jeremiah, A chapter in Luke and a chapter in Revelation. What a mix, eh?

I read 1 Kings 19, Jeremiah 1, Luke 11, and Revelation 2. As I was finishing Revelation 2, the old fear and guilt began to rise - you're not doing it right, you're going to be in trouble you're are a bad Christian. Hmm... I actually told a friend the other night that I had no desire to be a 'good Christian.' And I don't. That's all just a religious game of works and brownie points and cliques. Wow, I'm all over the place tonight. :-)

Back to the chapters I read. As I finished reading the 2nd chapter of Revelation, and the fear and crap were there, a question rose up through the filters and the fears and all that crap... It was sparked by part of what was in Luke 11, I think...
"Don't bargain with God. Be direct. Ask for what you need. This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we're in. If your little boy asks for a serving of fish, do you scare him with a live snake on his plate? If your little girl asks for an egg, do you trick her with a spider? As bad as you are, you wouldn't think of such a thing - you're at least decent to your own children. And don't you think the Father who conceived you in love will give the Holy Spirit when you ask him?" Luke 11:10-13 (Message)
The question that rose up was actually referencing another passage....
"Fathers, do not provoke or irritate or fret your children [do not be hard on them or harass them], lest they become discouraged and sullen and morose and feel inferior and frustrated. [Do not break their spirit.]" Colossians 3:21 (Amplified)
First this verse came to mind, followed by the question: would God do this to His children? Paul admonishes fathers not to do this - would God do this? I have to admit that I can't quantitatively say that He would not. But my heart says that He absolutely would not. But my soul, the little girl, says that He better not or she doesn't want anything to do with Him. And I have to admit that I agree with her. If God is abusive, then He does not deserve to be worshipped or followed. But... my Papa God is not a child abuser. I know this even if I don't fully trust it yet. 

It's funny. My ex-pastor used to say this, "God is not a child abuser." He said it in reference to God making people sick to teach them a lesson or sending hurricanes, earthquakes, etc., to show His displeasure. And you know what? As much as I hate agreeing with my ex-pastor on anything, I agree with this statement. And this brings in one of the other chapters that I read today. It kind of showed me that this was true. I am going to be ornery and not quote where I saw this. It was in 1 Kings 19. I would ask you to read it for yourself and see what you find... I was relieved to find where God wasn't...

I finish with this thought: take a look and the various mythologies from Sumaria to Greece to Rome to Polynesia - where did they find their gods? My Papa God does not behave like the Pagan gods...

7 comments:

Sue said...

Okay well you thanked me for writing my last post because it spoke to you, and I fulsomely return the compliment.

Thank you for writing this post. There are so many things we share in common. I loved this:

"I am not embarrassed by what I wrote or what I felt anymore. I see it more clearly as not being a defect but damage that was not my fault. "

As I read those words, it was a reminder to me again that these damages places I am looking at in my own soul are places that have been dmaged and were not my fault, and now I have tears in my eyes. Thank you. It is a long thing to learn that, isn't it?

Of course, I guess when you're messing around in those places, doing some necessary rejigging and rearranging and dusting and hugging of yourself, it is going to hurt and so many things will be brought up from the past. And sometimes it feels like it's all inflamed again and sometimes I lose hope and think, "Will I ever move on from all of this stuff? Is there more healing?"

And then I remind myself, like you have, that God is not a child abuser, and that no tear is wasted. I believe that in my heart, but my little girl soul is just a bit bruised like yours. Papa is very tender towards those parts of us methinks

Erin said...

I just want to give huge hugs and love to you both (Sue too!). What tough stuff to deal with. May God be a gentle Papa and help you reconcile the lives of those bruised little girls. He is special that way.

Katherine Gunn said...

Sue, hmm... {{hug}} I think we do have much in common. I'm glad this helped. ;-) It does seem, sometimes, like such a long haul. And I wonder sometimes, too, if there is an end to it. But there has to be or what is the point? Hmm... the paradox of believing and doubting. I'm glad Papa understands that....


Erin, thank you. I hope and know you are right. ;-)

Barbara(aka Layla) said...

Katherine, good post. I am sorry that you have gone through so much abuse...I can relate to a certain degree.

I want so much to believe that God is a good parent. I just don't understand why he allows so much suffering of so many types in so many lives.

I like "being around" people like you, Erin, Sue and many others who think of God as Papa or Abba or Daddy....I am still struggling with "Father". My earthly father would l have provided so much for my son if he were alive, but my "heavenly father" is letting him go through hell on earth emotionally. I know the Christian answers to this, but they are so unsatisfying to me. I want my son to experience some peace and joy - or at least peace - now not ten years from now and not in the "next life"

Katherine Gunn said...

Barbara, hmm... thanks. I understand. And I don't know the whys, either. Sigh. {{HUG}}

Tyler Dawn said...

Yeah, this is a good place to be -- if God is abusive then He doesn't deserve to be worshipped. It is the most honest and rawest place to be, and He can actually do something wonderful with it :)

Katherine Gunn said...

Tyler, I hope so. :-)