God, the Best Father

August 15, 2014

You know how I have been feeling. I’m confused, and I need clarity. Speak to me. I need to hear your voice.

Do you think I am mad at you? That’s what you’re feeling, isn’t it? That feeling is a phantom, not reality. I’m not angry with you any more than you were yesterday when your daughter was afraid you were. Let that feeling go. It is born of spiritual abuse.

Thank you for seeing me, knowing me better than I know myself. You are not angry with me. You’re my Daddy. I am your daughter, and you love me. Thank you for that.

You’re right when you say spiritual abuse is the biggest dragon you have ever fought. You’re beginning to recognize it as the thing that has kept you buried all these years. I know you grieve for the 20 years you have spent in depression, feeling as if this time has been wasted. But NO. It has not been. I WILL redeem it. Every day, every hour of it will be to your benefit. Do you believe I can do this?

Honestly, it is beyond my ability to grasp. But I believe you can do anything.

I will do it, and you will be amazed. As for today, like so many days, you are imagining what must be done and planning for it. So often when you do this, you end the day filled with regret. Let’s not live that way today. Let’s take today as it comes. Will you take my hand and walk through it with me?

Yes. Thank you. You’re such a good Daddy. You know just what I need.


This post is part twelve of a series in which I share past prayer journal entries documenting my process out of spiritual abuse and into the freedom God intends for all of us. To read a synopsis of my story, click here. To go to the first of this series, read Looking Back.

If you feel this conversation is important, please share on social media.


Photo Credit: Rafal Olechowski, Shutterstock, https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/mother-holding-hand-her-daughter-spring-100800745?src=JzZfGsKOB8uTHa2xHNPn1A-1-47

You Are Free

August 12, 2014

Thank you for your help yesterday. I was unsure whether I really followed your plan for the day. Sometimes I just did what I wanted. Surely there is a balance. Surely I can sometimes do what I want?

Of course. Do you give your children time to do what they want? You show them balance between their desires and their responsibilities. Sometimes they get out of balance. Sometimes you do too. It’s not an easy thing, even as a adult. What I really want you do to is stop allowing your spiritually abusive background to speak to you about this.

Spiritual abuse says, “If you’re not giving ALL your effort, you’re failing.”

I say, “I don’t need your effort. I want you to be a whole person.”

Spiritual abuse says, “Redeem the time because the days are evil.”

I say, “I am the great redeemer. I am beyond time. I redeem all things for my children.”

Spiritual abuse says, “Perfection is the goal in all things.”

I say, “Be mature enough to realize perfection is not possible. Enjoy my goodness.”

Spiritual abuse says, “When you look back on your life, will you regret this?”

I say, “When you look back on your life, you will see my hand in every day, every moment.”

Spiritual abuse says, “God has a plan for your life, a path designed for you to walk in. Don’t stray from the path.”

I say, “I made life to be an exciting journey! Though I know your life in its entirety before it begins, you have more say in it than I do. That’s the way I wanted it! I give you life and breath and a beautiful world in which to live, and then I revel in what you do with it!”

I am always with you. I always have been. I always will be. Whatever you’re doing, I am there. You are free!


This post is part eleven of a series in which I share past prayer journal entries documenting my process out of spiritual abuse and into the freedom God intends for all of us. To read a synopsis of my story, click here. To go to the first of this series, read Looking Back.

If you feel this conversation is important, please share on social media.

I Feel Like a Failure

May 23, 2014

Fail, fail, FAIL! It seems everything I set out to do I fail. Is it any wonder I hesitate to set any goals at all? I cannot write here the depths of my sadness and regret, the intensity of my self-loathing.

My husband has been gone on a business trip since Monday. I’ve missed him, but I’ve had a great week. I had planned a thorough cleaning of the house to surprise him when he comes home. Monday we worked very hard, got the bedrooms almost done.  Tuesday we were less motivated, got the girls’ room almost dome. Wednesday I helped one resheet her bed, and after I was so exhausted from fibromyalgia I went to bed for 3 hours. Yesterday was the girls’ school end-of-year party at an amusement park. It was fun, long, and tiring. Nothing got done. Today, my husband comes home and the house looks worse than when he left.

And now the pressure I feel every day, that lifts when he leaves and descends as he returns, is back. I know it’s related to my upbringing, spiritual abuse, and the arguments my parents used to have over the state of their house. It’s also in part from something my mother-in-law said to me once. “The last thing my husband said to me when he left me was, ‘You’re the worst housekeeper in the world.'” Am I going to drive my husband away with my lack of housekeeping? What am I teaching my children? Am I failing them as well? Would they all be better off without me?

I know I should listen to your voice right now, but I’m afraid to. I don’t want deep religious insight. I want this problem to just go away. I want to have physical stamina, a pain-free body, and intestinal fortitude. I want to be young again, skinnier, and not depressed. And it seems all I want is beyond my grasp. I don’t want to fail my kids or my husband, and yet I do daily. Failure perpetuates failure ad nauseum. I don’t want to hear your wisdom right now. I just want to know you care how I feel, love me as I am, and are with me in the depths of my despair.

May 24, 2014

Thank you for listening to me yesterday. After I wrote all that I began to bounce back. Thank you for bringing my husband home safely. It’s good to have him home. He’s even noticed some of the work we did. The kids are so full of excitement to be with him! It’s wonderful to see.

And now I really want to hear what you have to say. Please speak to me.

It’s okay. I do understand how you feel. And I know all the reasons for it. Some came from inside you, and some, MANY, from outside. Your “personality” isn’t now what I designed it to be. It’s full of coping mechanisms you’ve put on to deal with your experiences in the world. Can you give me those coats and hats and mittens and galoshes?

If I do, how do I live? How do I weather the storms?

Take refuge under my wings.

Wow. Sounds easy. Somehow I doubt it is. This will require some thought.

Take your time. Imagine how a mother bird protects her young from a storm. Under her wings they are safe and warm. That’s where you are, safe and warm under my wings.


This post is part eight of a series in which I share past prayer journal entries documenting my process out of spiritual abuse and into the freedom God intends for all of us. To read a synopsis of my story, click here. To go to the first of this series, read Looking Back.

If you feel this conversation is important, please share on social media.

Violated in Church

April 20, 2014

Yesterday, my pastor showed a clip of “The Passion of the Christ” in the church service. People all around me were moved, but I was stoic. I’ve never wanted to see that movie. I was really angry that in church, where I am supposed to feel safe, I was being assaulted with horrifying scenes I had successfully avoided to this point. Is something wrong with me? Why do I avoid the grim details of the crucifixion?

It’s just a movie. You don’t want to see Saving Private Ryan or Lone Survivor for the same reason. But you’ve read Lone Survivor and you’ve read the passion. You’re not avoiding the stories. You’re avoiding the graphic violence depicted on the screen. It’s okay. You have a tender heart, so tender that images like that undo you. It’s that feeling you’re avoiding. It’s okay to feel undone, but right now the feeling is overwhelming to you. It’s just a movie. You don’t have to watch it.

Thank you for understanding me and helping me understand myself. As I closed my eyes and tried to block out the violent sounds, I felt so alone and afraid in that dark sanctuary. I felt like I was somehow defective, broken. And I was so very afraid.

I know. I’m angry that you were subjected to that. Boundaries you had set for yourself were violated, and because of where you were and who you were with, you felt something was wrong with you. Truth is, something is really wrong when a person does not feel safe and unconditionally loved in what people call a “sanctuary.” You’re okay now. I’m going to show you how to be who you really are and not be ashamed. I’m going to show you how to stand up for yourself so that no one will be able to do this to you anymore.


This post is part five of a series in which I share past prayer journal entries documenting my process out of spiritual abuse and into the freedom God intends for all of us. To read a synopsis of my story, click here. To go to the first of this series, read Looking Back.

If you feel this conversation is important, please share on social media.


Photo Credit: Jane Fox, original image modified: cropped. https://www.flickr.com/photos/runjanefox/9214235312

“Spiritual Abuse”

Author’s Note: Next to the day I was born and the day I was married, March 29, 2014, was the most significant day of my life. It was a Saturday morning, and I woke with the words “spiritual abuse” circling in my head. I had heard the term once or twice, but had never given it any thought. I grabbed my phone and searched it up. Soon I was reading pages that fingered my conservative Christian college as spiritually abusive. I was stunned. I mulled this over all day, and the next day, I began to write.


March 30, 2014

I’m beginning to see. I’ve always thought the source of my 20-year depression was what happened to me 20 years ago, but you’re showing me it stemmed from my college and even my upbringing. Thank you for opening my eyes. I want to understand the effects of those years on my life. I’m seeing this morning that my fear, the stronghold I’ve talked about so much here, is rooted there. And the years that followed, when I ran from you, were rooted there too. Please repair the damage that was done there.

Apokalupto: to take off the cover, to expose. That’s what I’m doing. I’m exposing your abusers for what they are. I’m uncovering the hurts they have caused. I’m removing the veil.

It was not your fault. The dynamic that caused you to run from me was so much bigger than you. You were not rebelling against me. You were rebelling against the god your abusers had painted me to be. I hate that picture of me. It’s so distorted, so ugly. No wonder you’re afraid of me. Will you let me show you who I really am?

Oh yes! Please show me!

I will. You’re going to be surprised.

April 13, 2014

I’m not afraid. I see you painting a new picture of yourself in my heart. It’s so different, so surprising! Yesterday I began to realize how many man-made rules I try to follow, some from others and some of my own making. For example, what I do or don’t do every day. If I set a goal for myself and don’t accomplish it, I have felt condemnation from you. But you DO NOT condemn me! As for what I do day-to-day, I am free! I am always free in you! I’m starting to get it!

Yes, you are. To you, it feels like you’re breaking out of tight bonds. To me, it looks as if you’re blossoming like a rose. You are blooming where I have planted you. It’s lovely to behold.


This post is part four of a series in which I share past prayer journal entries documenting my process out of spiritual abuse and into the freedom God intends for all of us. To read a synopsis of my story, click here. To go to the first of this series, read Looking Back.

If you feel this conversation is important, please share on social media.

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