Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Life on a Rutted Dirt Road

 (Part III)

Frozen Ruts

 Some of the lessons learned on our rutted dirt road were only ‘surface’ lessons; lessons that anyone might be expected to learn just by the fact that they lived our lifestyle.  Other lessons were deeper and held much greater value; lessons about who God is and how He loves me.

 The ruts in the road were almost always present to some degree.  It was a very rare occasion when there was no semblance of rutting noticeable.  That seems to be true about my life as well.  Life experiences happen and they often leave ruts, or scars, to one degree or another.

 In my own life, some of the scars weren’t spoken of for many years after they were etched into the surface of my heart.  Hard as I might try, I could not erase the scars some experiences left on my heart.  Just as that grader made innumerable trips up and down our road trying desperately to fill in the ruts or grade down the walls, I tried filling my ‘ruts’ with lots of things.  When that didn’t work, I would switch tactics and try to knock down the ‘walls’ I had erected in order to protect myself.

 The most difficult of my own ruts to deal with was sexual abuse by a friend’s father when I was 13.  It lasted for an afternoon, evening and throughout the night.  For reasons too numerous to name here, I never told Momma and Daddy and did not tell my sisters until after my husband had died.  When my husband and I were dating, I told him.  Until he died, he and I were the only people on this earth who knew.  The man who assaulted me died about 4-5 years after my husband and I were married, and his wife died a couple of years later.

At that point, thirteen year old girls were much more innocent than today.  I buried the pain deep within the recesses of my heart and vowed never to tell anyone.  The pain became like a cancer growing deep within me.  It began to take root and spread into every aspect of my life.  I had become a Christian at the age of 11.  After the abuse, I was angry with God and no longer trusted Him.  In my eyes, God had let me down.  He had failed to protect me when no one else could.

 I felt ashamed and guilty.  I began to believe all the horrific things my abuser had said about me.  I believed the abuse was somehow my fault.  When you are a child and something horrible happens to you, you find a way to make it your fault.  It is even easier to do so when the lie is perpetrated by the individual who harms you.

 My rut grew deeper with every passing day.  The surfaces were more slippery and the danger of sliding into other ruts that intersected my own deep rut became more and more likely.  The walls grew higher and higher and icy crags developed in the recesses of my heart.  Coldness and hardness now occupied the place once so soft and pliable to the Spirit of the Lord.

I began to see myself as tainted and used; unfit for any good Christian man to ever desire for a wife and the mother of his children.  I also began to notice I had a certain power over boys, a power to get what I wanted from them.  I saw myself as a ‘bad girl’, the type girl only good for one purpose to men.  I was headed long and hard into a promiscuous lifestyle that would bring further shame to me and to my parents; but more than that, it would bring shame to my Lord.

BUT GOD......God had a different plan.  I had given up on God.  I had no use for Him.  I was disappointed in Him.  Where was He when I needed Him most?  He most certainly was nowhere that I could see and He had done me no good whatsoever.  Suddenly, when I was sure He had forsaken me forever, the ‘rut’ took on a new and strangely positive role in my life.

On a Saturday afternoon, God placed a gift in my world that changed me forever, for the good.  Strangely enough, that gift wasn’t even a Christian.  He was a long-haired, tobacco smoking, rock-and-roll listening, muscle car driving lost young man who showed me God in a way I had never seen Him before.  He gave me unconditional love and valued me more than I valued myself.  He treated me with respect, as though I were a person of intrinsic value.

Healing had begun and I had no idea I needed, or wanted, healing.  A tangle of ruts in my road were about to begin their repair; a process that would last years into my future.  I would see old ruts repaired while new ruts developed.  Slipping and sliding and dodging the ditches of sin became a journey that taught me who God really is and how He really loves me. 

I started to see God and the experiences of my life through the eyes of someone whose only desire was to protect me.  His thoughts and deeds always put me first.  He never allowed me to believe the lies Satan tried to tell me about myself.  He fought vigorously for my right to walk in love without the burdens of shame and guilt.

He made me believe in myself again and helped me to open my heart to God again.  Now, I know how wrong that sounds considering the fact that he was not a Christian.  He is where I began to understand that God uses circumstances and people in ways we can only imagine in order to accomplish His will in our lives.

I think most Christians have God in their own little ‘God box’ and we expect Him to work only ways we approve of.  When we allow God to get out of that box, I think we are all in awe of His great love for us.  I was at a point in my life where there was so much anger toward God.  It would take me years to make what seemed almost a sacrilegious statement…..I found myself needing to forgive God.

Think about that until I make my next post.  Don’t be glib about it, but really take it to your heart and think about it.  It is, perhaps, one of the greatest lessons this experience taught me about God, His love for me and how He often surprises me in the ways and means He uses to accomplish His plan.
I will bless you with a future filled with hope,
a future of success, not of suffering. 
You will turn back to me and ask for help,
and I will answer your prayers.

Jeremiah 29:11-12  (CEV)


Anonymous said...

Oh, how God can use the most unfortunate circumstances to complete his plan for our lives! I never knew this or would have ever guessed you had gone through something this traumatic. You are always so encouraging and uplifting. Thank you so much, Diane, for sharing and allowing God to work through your life-though it be through such an unexpected source. You are such an inspiration to so many people, i thank God for you...your love for him and for others! I love ya Diane! Love, Andrea :)

Jada's Gigi said...

your story is so encouraging to so you, sister, thank you for forgiving God and coming to the place where you can share your portion of Him with us.

Mrs. Mac said...

You are amazing, Diane! What healing and forgiveness God has blessed you with .. and you are always giving, giving, giving .... such a life of triumph and healing.

Love you much,

Margie said...

I have finally been able to sit and read these! WOW! AMAZING!

I loveyou my sweet sister!