I found Ann’s comment (below) in moderation, but felt it deserved a wider audience than where it was intended to be posted. Ann’s story most certainly is not unique. Her struggle goes along with the previous two posts on abuse in marriage, but is compounded with a childhood of teachings that have been harmful to so many. It’s easy to copy and paste Ann’s personal story into a blog post, but think about what it’s like to live in Ann’s shoes, and the confusion she faces – daily. Ugh!! There are so many Anns out there. ~Julie Anne
I grew up as a conservative homeschooled, Gothard-influenced, reformed Christian who kissed dating goodbye and married at 18 years old to an older guy I thought was a solid Godly man. Those 26 years of marriage are now known as one big deceitful lie and filled with the most heart-breaking trauma, some of which I knew and have been trying to process for years, and others I’ve been blindsided and destroyed by.
It’s been a surreal journey to work though so many years and memories that are remembered as one thing and yet known now as another. I feel trapped in a splintered mirror only able to look out into the real world, and no matter how hard I rage and pound against it, this fractured reality keeps insisting that IT’S the ‘real world’ and has been all along.
And through it all is the crushing guilt and self loathing for loving someone who turned out to be a monster, for not protecting my child better, for trusting and believing the best of people, especially the church, and for letting this shatter my faith in God. This faith is slowly finding it’s feet again, but on new ground, as I watch it grow back and study it from all angles trying to understand and make sense of it.
One of the areas of faith that has been weighing on me recently that I’m feeling unsettled about is that while I have a true gratefulness and belief in God’s forgiveness for me and place my hope and trust in that truth, there is also a separate part of myself that cannot forgive myself for my failures, nor do I have the slightest idea on how I’d begin that process. I see these two truths coexist inside me and they don’t exactly feel at conflict with each other- just exist parallel to each other, if that makes sense.
My former reformed theology tells me that it’s my pride that cannot fully embrace God’s forgiveness for me and that I need to confess this in order to move on, find true freedom and peace. Problem is, I don’t feel prideful, just broken. And the whole thing is really depressing as I still believe that trust in the saving grace of Jesus is necessary for salvation – and to reject this, or disbelieve it, is an act not in keeping with the salvation He offers. I want Jesus. I want to belong to Him and be safe in Him, and this nagging doubt terrifies me.
Anyway, I’d appreciate prayer about this and that I’d be able to find my way clearly.