Let’s Make a Deal

Angry God

I have always believed in God.  I have been a Christian my entire life.  Some conservative Christians might say that my beliefs are unconventional, but I call myself a Christian.

When I was a child, I imagined God as a projection of my parents.  This is actually quite common among children.  I assumed that if God was an authority figure, God must use that power like my parents used their power.  Obviously, this did not bode well for my relationship with God.  I saw God as the old testament God on steroids.  My God was punitive.  My God did not forgive.  My God had rules that were inconsistent and hard to understand.  My God was angry … even raging.  My God was not happy with me.  My God didn’t love me.

So, as I tried to figure out how to survive in the world around me, I decided to make a deal with God.  My deal was something a traumatized child might contrive.  You protect me from harm and I will be perfect.  Unfortunately, my deal didn’t work.  I was still raped.  I was still beaten.  I was still sold.  I could only come to one conclusion.  I guess I was not perfect yet.

I went to church and heard all the key phrases.  “God will save you.”  “You need to find God.”  “God loves you.”  All those phrases just pushed me further away from God because it confirmed my belief that I wasn’t as good as everyone else.  I didn’t feel saved.  I didn’t feel loved.  And I didn’t understand how to change that.

So, I kept trying.  I kept cleaning the house and studying in school and trying to follow my parents’ inconsistent rules.  It didn’t help that my parents constantly told me that I was not worth much.  I decided God must agree with them.

When I made it to adulthood, the sexual abuse stopped, but the difficulty in relationships didn’t.  My self esteem was ridiculously low, so I kept attracting the wrong people.  The types of problems shifted.  It was no longer the abuse that reminded me that God didn’t love me … it was anything bad that happened in my life.

Of course, life is meant to have challenges, so I was constantly reminded of my imperfection.  I had the perfect house.  I had the perfect job.  I was always working … for my job or my home.  I rarely rested.  I didn’t think that I was allowed to rest until I was perfect, and clearly, I was not perfect yet.

When I started recovery, my image of God was one of the primary issues.  I had to stop believing that God was punishing me.  I had to stop believing that God didn’t love me.  It was critical to my recovery.  But I had to figure it out on my own.  That message could not come from anyone else.

So, don’t tell a survivor that God will save them.

Tell them that they are perfect … just as they are.

Tell them every day.

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26 thoughts on “Let’s Make a Deal

  1. I appreciate this post even though I am not a believer. The one thing that always grinds my gears is when I am told that “all things happen for a reason” or “you are a better person today” or “God has a plan…” No, and NO!! All those statements just put the shame on the victim make it seem like these sick bastards are part of the big mystery so they must be good. There should be a list of the top 25 things NOT to say to sexual assault victims.

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  2. When Jesus is the Lord of our life, God does see us through the precious blood of Christ, so we are perfect, we are accepted by God, our Father, who loves us unconditionally. We are righteous and holy because God only sees us through Christ. Even though we still sin, because of the cross those sins are already forgiven. What a brave and transparent testimony. I appreciate you and applaud your journey with God. You are perfect in His eyes. I will tell you the same thing tomorrow and the next day. You are perfect. May God continue to richly bless you.

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  3. I agree with the comments above. Abuse and suffering are never part of God’s plan for us – he didn’t allow those things to happen just so you could become a better person, and he didn’t allow those to happen so you could be an inspiration to others, either.

    The sin of the perps caused these things to happen. The good news is that whatever has been intended for evil can be turned around and used for good. That is completely different from saying God planned this so this good can come out of it.

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  4. I love the story of Hagar. She called God – El Roi – the God Who Sees. Rejected, abandoned and about to watch her child die, El Roi provided for their immediate needs and promised blessing for her illegitimate and rejected son – blessings the Arab world is still reaping. Amazing. El Roi is the God I NOW know and the God I trust.

    May the blessings of El Roi be on you as well. Amen.

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  5. Another piece written through seemingly amazing strength. Perfectly beautiful. Hopefully it is inspiring to others who may not be as far along their own paths of recovery…

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  6. I figured out early on that it was the failings of the pervert that was the cause of my abuse, in later life when being exposed to religion is when I questioned what sort of God would have allowed such vile abuse of a child? I still don’t have the answer to that one?

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    • This is the question for so many – whether it is untimely death, massive natural disasters or horrific child abuse. It is just too hard to reconcile a loving God with such events. I am not sure our human brains are meant to understand it. I certainly don’t.

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