Monday, November 16, 2009

And Then It Got Real...Scary

**Continued from yesterday's post**

Coasting on the wave of having seen a soul come to glory only lasted a short while, as God began to whisper gently to my heart. His whisper is so gentle, though the message itself is not always so soft.

"Tell your story."

I'm sorry, what? Maybe You have forgotten where we are, and what I've been through (because You are so forgetful, right?). I argued with God, because that's productive and effective. I was sure that He was wrong, or maybe I just heard Him wrong. But He continued to press.

"Tell your story."

After surrendering to the fact that God's perseverance is much stronger than my own, and with great fear and trembling, I consented to share my testimony with the large group of prisoners. Now, this wasn't just a sweet story about growing up in church and coming to a realization that I needed a Savior. Nope. My story is a bit different. It's laced with a rape when I was 18, which led to years of alcoholism and various drug addictions. If it was out there and could numb my pain, I gave it a go, and then some, until I was completely incapable of being sober and absolutely loathed who I had become. Addictions like that will lead a person to do things that she never thought she would ever even consider, let alone be capable of doing. And yet she did them. I did them. Yep, this was the story that I got to share with that large group of prisoners, locked up for every crime under the sun, including what I had done, and what had been done to me.

When the large group time finished and everyone dispersed into their small groups, my group of one became a group of 8 men, unknown to me up to that point. They had questions for me. They had questions about how I felt about being raped. WHAT? Seriously? And over the course of the conversation that ensued, I discovered that every single one of them had been incarcerated for rape. They had been the cause of such deep pain and humiliation to someone else. They had questions, and so they asked, and I did my best to not vomit on them, or melt down in a puddle of tears.

By the time I left that day, I was pretty sure that I couldn't return. I was pretty sure that God had made a mistake, or that I had misunderstood Him and I had made a tremendous mistake. How could I have been so transparent? How could I have been so naive as to tell my story? I was so angry, so disgusted by what I had just experienced. I felt like all that I had buried for years under alcohol, drugs, and then church life, had just been resurfaced and was laid bare for all the world to see. All my wounds, all my hurts, all my disappointments and failures had just been violently ripped open into a gaping wound for these people, these prisoners, these criminals to see.

As I sat weeping on the floor that night, I could hear that whisper yet again.

"Go back."

Hmmm, maybe You missed what happened today. Maybe you missed the questions they were asking me. Maybe You missed the pain I was in at this moment. Maybe you missed the uncontrollable tears that have been pouring down for the past several hours. I think that I will not be going back.

"Go back. My work has just begun."

Oh, mercy. Just begun, really? That means it could get a lot worse before it gets any better.

On some level, it did get worse. But on other levels, it got so much better. Forgiveness was about to happen....

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