I have just finished a science lesson on weather with my son.
For a second grade science level, we were only supposed to cover some of the basics, like the different types of clouds – cirrus, stratus, and the cumulus – and the general definitions of storms like the blizzard, the tornado, and the hurricane.
However, since my son was extremely interested in learning more about hurricanes – could the recent hurricane Matthew have anything to do with this? – a few days ago we made a short trip to our local library to get more reading material on hurricanes.
My son learned a lot about hurricanes.
I learned a lot about hurricanes…
For those who, just like me, only knew that hurricanes are horrible storms that cause an incredible amount of damage and that you do not want to be caught in one like Matthew or Katrina, here is a little crash course on the making of a superstorm.
For a superstorm like Category 4 hurricane to form, a series of necessary weather conditions have to be present.
The ocean water has to be warm. Therefore, the hurricane season is from August – October, the warmest months out of the year over the Atlantic Ocean. Warm water and the blazing sun together create a huge amount of warm air that rises up towards the sky. Cool air moves in fast to take place of the warm air. As the warm air rises faster and faster, the winds becomes stronger. The warm air condenses, the droplets form clouds that become the storm clouds, which start turning in a humongous circle (this has to do with the earth spinning apparently). The center of the storm is the eye – no winds, no rain. Everything is calm in the eye while the storm is raging all around…
This was an interesting second grade science lesson for both of us to say the least.
Little did I know that my own heart had all the perfect storm conditions for a superstorm to form…
For a few months now I have been praying for clarity in regards to some very confusing problems in my mind.
How can I fully trust God with protecting my children from evil if He didn’t protect me from childhood sexual abuse?
Please, do not get me wrong. I am not angry at God for what happened to me. Nor do I have any unforgiveness towards the man who sexually abused me.
I have been struggling with trust issues towards God in regards to protecting my own children.
In case you are wondering, I am that neurotic, overprotective mother who doesn’t trust anyone – ANYONE – with my precious little ones.
Will my children hate me for not letting them do sleepovers or even go for a quick visit to someone’s house?
Where is that perfect balance between being a responsible mother who reasonably protects her children and the one who wants to wrap them in a bubble or, better yet, attach them to her hip until they are adults?
What about praying for God’s protection? Do prayers matter? If God didn’t step in and protect me from evil even after my mom prayed specifically for that protection, how can I trust Him to protect my children?
What role does His will play in all of this?
Just before this storm of painful questions was brewing in my mind, I believed that none of what happened to me in childhood was God’s fault. And then someone said, “Remember, nothing happens outside of God’s will.”
Well, that’s just it then? God’s will?
Was it God’s will that a 10-month-old baby girl was brutally raped and beaten to her death by a 32-year-old man?!!!
How do I reconcile God’s sovereignty, His ability to do anything, His love, and everything that He is with the fact that millions of innocent children get abused on a daily basis?
If nothing happens outside of His will, then anything that does happen in the world (all the evil) is, in fact, His will?
Or do we simply have a case of bad theology?
As I wrote in the previous post, the issue of childhood sexual abuse is very personal to me.
More precisely, the issue has become a personal cause.
While the tragic and the most horrific story of the 10-month-old baby’s suffering and death is not from my community, childhood sexual abuse is all too common in the Slavic Christian community…
Recently, upon hearing yet another story of a girl being sexually abused in my own Slavic Christian community, my heart cried, ENOUGH!
Yes, childhood sexual abuse exists in all communities. Yes, the issue is not limited to just the Slavic community.
But can someone, anyone? explain to me why childhood sexual abuse happens in the Christian community of all places?
Why and how does childhood sexual abuse happen at the hands of those who call themselves Christians – the deacons, the choir directors, the Sunday school teachers, the pastors?
No doubt, many will promptly provide a perfectly learned explanation: “These people are not true Christians.” Or say something to the effect of “I don’t know what you are talking about. This issue is not as prevalent as you are making it out to be.”
Please, I implore you, get your heads out of the sand, my fellow Christians.
As a teenager, wrestling with unforgiveness towards the man who abused me, with self-contempt, self-hatred, and with suicidal thoughts, I went to my local pastor and told him about my past childhood sexual abuse.
He did listen to me. I’ll give him that to his credit. What came next was a barrage of inquisitory questions. He began to ask if perhaps there is something else I wasn’t telling him. Could it be, he suggested, that I was also abused by my father? WHAT?! Or was there anything inappropriate going on between the siblings? “I am a pastor,” he said, “and I know of many examples where this kind of thing happens.”
No prayer. No referral to Christian counseling services (a valuable resource that is still grossly misunderstood in the Slavic community, by the way, and even held in negative light). Nothing else. Except more confusion. Oh, and the assurance that he will do everything from his power to not let my uncle come to the US (because that was one of my fears at the time). I honestly do not know how he was going to do that because he never even told my parents that I talked to him. Perhaps, it was just an empty promise given with good intentions and he didn’t know how else to react?
I don’t know.
I am not God and I cannot see this pastor’s heart…
But the simple fact remains: Childhood sexual abuse happens all too often in our Slavic Christian community and it is often swept under the rug, much like domestic violence.
I have listened to too many stories of young women telling me how they were sexually abused by their brothers, cousins, fathers, uncles, grandfathers, etc.
And make no mistake, boys are also being sexually abused and men aren’t the only perpetrators of childhood sexual abuse.
Most often the victims of childhood keep silent because they are dealing with an intense amount of shame and guilt. (More on that later).
If they do tell a pastor about the past sexual abuse, some Slavic pastors react in different ways that are not helpful to the victim and do not provide any direction towards inner healing.
I am not picking on the Slavic people.
I am not trying to paint all the Slavic people with a broad brush.
Nor do I have some sort of an evil agenda as some have accused me in the past.
I have just had ENOUGH of tolerating some of the specific cultural norms and unwritten rules that cause damage to God’s children…
Whether it is childhood sexual abuse, domestic violence (did you all happen to read a recent story of a man who beat his wife within an inch of her death and then cut out her tongue), or the physical abuse of children in Christian families, these issues need to be talked about and brought to light…
I’ve found myself in a middle of a superstorm. As I shared all the heartache with my husband last night, he listened and was somehow able to bring all of what I have known to be true into focus yet again.
God is God. We are His creation. We chose to know evil. We disobeyed. We are carrying the consequences of sin in our present world, ever full of evil. But there is good news: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one beloved Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
God so loved…
He loved us while we were yet sinners, full of all manner of evil thoughts and filthy deeds (Romans 5:8). Jesus chose to humble himself, to put on a form of a lowly servant to die for me and for you and yes, even for the man who did the inexplicable evil (Philippians 2:7-8). This thought just boggles my mind…
Some of my atheist friends ask questions such as, “Why would a loving God send people to hell?” My answer to them would be the following: God does not send people to hell. People choose to go to hell. God offers life not death. Jesus fully paid the price for sin and death and the offer for you to accept His sacrifice is on the table until your last dying breath.
And yes, the offer is free to take even for the man who raped the innocent 10-month-old precious baby girl and beat her to death…
I admit, I do not have the capacity to love like God… It’s hard to love my extended family sometimes, let alone someone who commits such a heinous act.
And I think most people in our society would agree that the man who raped a baby and the man who physically abused his wife to the point of death deserve the most severe of punishments under the law of our country.
But is there any punishment in any human justice system that is satisfactory for these kinds of evil?
While I may not have all the answers to all of the questions plaguing my mind yet, I want to do my part, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to expose the evergrowing present darkness that surrounds us.
I find myself in the midst of a raging superstorm. This one growing dangerously close to stealing my peace yet again. But in his goodness, God reminded me that He is my unshakable rock on which I stand. He gently whispered to me to remain in the eye of the storm because that is where He is – forever unmovable and unchanging…
As I take up my sword and fight, I know who walks before me – the Lion of Judah. And even when I walk through the valley of shadow and death, I do not fear for He is with me (Psalm 23:4).
It is my firm belief that the enemy has been bringing a tremendous amount of damage to the body of Christ by working undercover. I refuse to let him have any more ground…
What about you?
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