The post-trauma transformation, part 2 of 4

Spiritual denial

Have you ever had to eat a piece of Humble Pie, as they say? In other words, you thought you were getting it right. You may have even thought you were worthy of praise. But in the end, you had to eat your words and/or apologize. You had to vamoose your way out of the Victory Dance you thought you deserved. Woohoo! turned into Uh-oh.

That’s how I’d describe the first 33 years of my life—in a nutshell. I thought I was getting things right until I opened my eyes and looked at the truth. The truth of who I was, the truth of what I’d done, the truth of the people who surrounded me.

The power and the love
In the last post, I dug into my salvation and how it happened in the wake of my first husband Greg’s destruction—his infidelity, addictions and abuse. I found myself in a desperate situation and I cried out to God. I asked him to help me. And he did. I asked him for something very specific for Greg. God answered my prayer with a yes. Something I considered impossible was handled in a snap by God Almighty. And he did it for me. Rebellious, clueless me.

I experienced and acknowledged
God’s power and love—
not just in theory or in creation,
but in my life.

That was the key to my salvation: Experiencing God and loving him in return. He reached out to me and I said Wow!

In the club—not
What did I think about my spiritual life before I got saved? Hmmm. Not much, really. And that was the problem.

Growing up, I heard The Altar Call twice every Sunday (i.e., “Come to Jesus. Be saved!”). I heard the Sunday school lessons and the sermons. I went to youth camp every summer. I sang in the choir. I knew all the words to the great hymns—“Trust and Obey,” “Blessed Assurance,” “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us,” “Just As I Am,” “Great Is Thy Faithfulness,” “It Is Well With My Soul,” and many more. I knew the message of the Bible. And I believed it all.

Frankly, I thought I was covered in that department. I believed it all in my head and I got baptized when I was nine years old so I could join the club and start drinking the grape juice and eating the crackers during communion. I bought my fire insurance policy, right? Wrong.

What they had
How could I move from “I know it” to “I have it”? How could I move from believing to receiving when I didn’t even realize that I had a problem? Truth be told, I didn’t go looking for the answers. I just kept doing my own thing. Remember this mantra from my dad’s arsenal? The arsenal of emotional abuse? “If you want something done right, do it yourself.” I just kept doing what I’d always done…. Until I didn’t.

I knew that my cousin, the missionary, had something that I didn’t have. I knew that some of the teenagers in my youth group at church had something that I didn’t have. I knew—deep inside, in the hidden, unacknowledged place—that they had something worth having. But I didn’t know how to get it. I didn’t have a clue what to do. I really didn’t.

Spiritual denial
Call it a case of Spiritual Denial. I pretended that I had something that I didn’t have, and I pretended that what the True Believers had was just a little more deep or mature than what I had. The truth was this: I knew about Jesus, but I didn’t know Jesus. I had read a minuscule amount about him in a book (i.e., the Bible), but I never met him personally. And that, Peaceful Readers, was a big problem.

Frankly, it was the biggest problem that I had, even though I didn’t acknowledge it. I had a false sense of security that was based on lies—the lie that I was a Christian and the lie that I was in right standing with God.

I wasn’t.

Turning around
I needed to humble myself and admit the obvious—that I didn’t have the answers. I didn’t know what to do—in my troubled first marriage or in my messed-up life. I needed help. Big time. I needed more than the answers our marriage counselor could give me. I needed more than the advice of my friends.

What was my biggest problem? I was walking in the wrong direction. I was spiritually lost.

I needed to turn around.

I finally asked God for help. I talked to him. I looked for him. And I found him. I decided to trust him—enough to ask him to help me. Then my trust in him could grow and grow and grow. And it did.

What a relief to start walking with God instead of walking by myself with my back to him. The picture I have in my mind is at the beginning and the ending of this music video to Crowder’s song, “Lift Your Head, Weary Sinner”—a great depiction of the story of The Prodigal Son.

A taste of the powerhouse
Do you need some encouragement from the Lord? Start here.

What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who didn’t spare his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how would he not also with him freely give us all things? Who could bring a charge against God’s chosen ones? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes rather, who was raised from the dead, who is at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Could oppression, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Even as it is written, “For your sake we are killed all day long. We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” No, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-39, World English Bible

If you’d like to dig more into Romans 8—the powerhouse chapter of the Bible—I highly recommend this sermon, “More Than Conquerors.”

Coming next: Next time on Choosing Peace, you’ll read about doors and truths. Sounds like a game show, doesn’t it? Just kidding.

Healing through truth and music
Peaceful Readers, I’ve found great healing in my life through the beauty and truth of God’s word and through music. I hope the truths and songs that I share at the end of each post will bless you too.

Truth from The Word: 2 Corinthians 3:16-18

Song for Healing: “No Borders” by Ginny Owens

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