I’ve come to understand over the years that all of life really is about perspective. How we see things, through the lens of our experience and emotion and thought processes, determines how we interpret every single teeny tiny thing that comes our way – well, big or small… the events that our lives consist of all wrapped in the neat little package of perspective – making it good or evil in our sight. And we look at things and judge it so – good or evil – for better or worse. And because of that there are quite a lot of us walking wounded… We have gone into the places we believe God has called us to and set up camp to do “His work”… (also another largely misunderstood endeavor) and we have laid our hearts and guts on the table and ended up walking away beaten and bloody. I don’t begin to presume that the wounds are not real, or even that injustice was done somewhere along the way to those of us writhing and fighting to regain our dignity and wholeness… Yes, the wounds are real and the healing process is also a very real thing – that takes precious time and energy and sometimes people never fully recover from the wounds they attain through the bloody battlefield of “church ministry”… this grieves my heart on such a deep level.
i watched my parents encounter pain and the destructive sharp end of many a church member’s sword growing up. we moved every year to another church to pastor. we traveled from church to church to church to small, white haired, country po-dunk church in eastern north carolina, to church, ad nauseam. I was little – too little to understand what the ins and outs of the decisions were that moved us so often, and even as i got older i was still not let in on the reasons for why we never stayed. All i knew is Daddy was unhappy, Mama was unhappy and things weren’t going well… There were only a couple places (well one really) that I remember sadness over us leaving. One church threw us out with near violent vehemence – but again, i maintain that I was never really let in on what was happening – it just seemed to happen around me. So my perspective was born.
Churches are mean little places filled with old people who don’t want to grow spiritually. They sit on the pew and suck the life from you till you’re useless then they throw you out and vote in the next preacher and his family who they can feed from. there is no real relationship in the church. no one really cares about you. no one really wants intimacy with God, oh and by the way – if there’s a problem to be had in the church – it will come from the musicians – and the money people. bottom line – they can’t be trusted… my, my – what a nasty perspective on church and church people.
I grew up with so many warped and twisted ideas about church in general and God in particular – it took me years of healing and re-forming before my perspective even began to resemble something stable – or close to reality. We all make judgements based off our experience – what we’ve seen and learned. I realized a couple years ago that across the board my memories were negative ones. No matter how hard I tried to remember happy times in my life, inevitably they would take a nose dive into a dark place. It has been completely frustrating. In my memories I was always the victim, I was always the outcast and I was always, ALways alone.
About three years ago the Lord sat me down in this little town, in our little rental house, having cut off every relationship in my life (save my relationship with my immediate family) and He said, “Sallie – I’m going to change your perspective.” I felt like I had been gutted and cleaned out like a dead fish. I lay bleeding on the floor, stripped and vulnerable. And that’s where He met me. He called me to Himself. The only problem was that He was was completely surrounded by pitch black. Utter darkness. and i couldn’t see Him. I was terrified. He called out to me and told me to come to Him – That was the beginning of those three years. He slowly began to reveal to me the true state of my heart and how He saw me. It was the most awful and most wonderful thing that ever happened to me. Eventually I started to see the truth. All that time I thought I was surrounded by darkness as black as pitch – I was (in reality) completely engulfed in Light – in His liquid-love light – where there were no shadows at all – no darkness – the only dark place was my mind, which caused my perception to be dark. But in that place He held me in His lap, breathing over my head, and the longer i stayed there, the more my mind was filled with that same light.
Yes, I walked away from many places deeply wounded. Yes the wounds were real. Yes there were injustices. However, had I had the Light of the Holy Spirit in my eyes I would have seen every one of those times and places as He saw them. I would have seen them for what they were in Reality – in His Reality. I can look back over my life and I can see How he took me by the hand and led me through the fire. That fire burned away the things in me that couldn’t stay… not if I really wanted to be used by Him. He pruned and lit fires in me and around me – but all I could feel and see was the stripping and the falling away of things I held dear. Of course hindsight affords us all kinds of perspective. I can see what He was doing now. And I can count it all to His glory.
I guess my point – in this extremely long bit of rambling – is that had I seen with His sight, had I been able to lay down my judgements of the things I was walking through being good or evil – had I been willing to simply TRUST HIM – I could have seen it all sooner. I would not have walked away so beaten and battered. I would not have perceived those people and events in my life as out to hurt me. The way we see things – judging things as good and evil based on our perspective truly does bring destruction into our lives. To such a large extent, the pain we suffer is based on what we believe. I believed I was in the dark – and i walked through life feeling and groping my way along like a blind, lost little girl. When all along I was someone completely different. I had the keenest sight and the strongest weapons but just didn’t believe it – so all those glorious things i attained were made useless by blindness.
Do you see what I’m saying? My prayer for us all is that we encounter the Love of God in such a way that it takes the scales off our eyes forever. I pray that we see with such clarity and through the Lens of True Reality so we can move forward with confidence and Power – move in true POWER. I pray that we will surrender at long last and stop nursing our wounds – that we will stop cherishing those deep gashes in our hearts, but put on Love and Grace and be healed in THIS day – that we will rise up and be who we were created to be. That we will come out of the darkness into His glorious Light.