Berean Study Bible
Psalm 18:1 He brought me out into the open; He rescued me because He delighted in me.
Fast-forward a few years and I’d met my now husband, Jacques. My father had died a few years earlier, tragic and alone. In a sense I was free from the past and the double-life I’d led, but the guilt and shame always remained.
Once my first son was born, I poured everything into raising him but I found myself conflicted. Everything I said I didn’t want to be, I became as a parent. I was angry, controlling, excessively strict… all the hurt inside was spilling out onto the people I loved most.
I remember very well the day things started to change. I was listening to a Joyce Meyer teaching with earphones while cooking one Sunday. I was angry again and sad without knowing exactly why. I felt trapped and was desperate to find peace. Suddenly I heard Joyce say the words: “God is not angry with you. Someone listening needs to hear this: God is not angry with you.” I felt a jerk in my chest. Could this be for me? For the first time in a long time, I felt hope. She went on to quote Romans:
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.
Joyce explained that the difference between condemnation (from God’s enemy, the devil) and conviction (from God through the Holy Spirit), was that overwhelming feelings of self-hatred, shame and guilt, were not from God but that He spoke with the still, gentle, voice.
I rewound the CD and listened to her words again. “God is not angry with you.” Could it be true? I had always assumed that the feelings of guilt originated from God. Because my own father had been cruel, spiteful at times and abused us verbally, I had assumed that God my Father was the same.
For the first time ever I started to pay attention to my self-talk and the thoughts going through my head. The Bible says to “take every thought captive into obedience that sets itself against the true knowledge of God.” I started to recognise the lies as I studied more of the Word of God (the truth). The Truth: “It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance.” The lie: “God is cruel and is waiting to “catch me out.”
I got my life group from church together shortly after that day and confessed everything to them (poor unsuspecting ladies).
All my secrets and addictions and failures. If you have known me for a while you will have heard me say, “It is what you keep in the dark that keeps you prisoner.” As my secret shame of many years was exposed to the light, I felt free for the first time.
It has been a long journey since that day, of personal Words from my Father reminding me how much He loves me, of counselling – layer by layer – to uncover what He says about me, of asking forgiveness for reacting on old ingrained patterns. I still get triggered at times or go back to old patterns of acting. I still close myself off and live inside as I became used to. I still act harshly and critically and judgingly and often care way too much what people think.
Yet He still surprises me in the most amazing ways with messages like Psalm 18:10, when I forget what He said over me. The most recent time was at a Women’s Conference where He came and dealt with another layer of hurt and unforgiveness I didn’t know I was struggling with and He again reminded me of this verse.
But for the most part, I live thankful. I cannot explain what it felt like to lose the weight of sin, but it was heavy and it was not mine to carry. It’s made me think about what people go through inside and I am passionate about telling people what He did for me. I try to live light and forgive quickly because I have also learnt hard lessons about what poison it can be to my body and soul.
Not a day goes by when I don’t talk to Him. Sometimes less, sometimes more. Now not as a slave to a ruthless taskmaster or distant guardian, but as a daughter to a good, good Father and friend. I am not perfect, but then… I don’t have to be.
If you have been molested or sexually abused, I would like you to read a previous post: A letter to someone who has been abused