Once Upon a Time
(Note: Part of my job duties as Care Connect Coordinator at Lake City Church includes acting as a liaison to various groups that provide caring ministries to hurting people. One of those groups is Betrayal and Beyond, a group for women dealing with the pain of sexual betrayal. I wrote the following after attending two of the Betrayal and Beyond groups. To learn more about Betrayal and Beyond, visit www.puredesire.org or for those residing in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho area, find a local group by clicking here.
Once upon a time there was an older lady who thought she was facing a normal—albeit busier than usual—workday. She rose early as she likes to do, got ready, drank a cup of green tea (yearning for her 10-day coffee/sugar fast to end), ate some breakfast, drove to the office, checked e-mail, looked at the clock—oh, almost 9 a.m.— time to head to her first meeting. The second would begin at 5:30 p.m.
A full, yet ordinary, work day. Or, so she thought.
The older lady walked across the parking lot to attend the gatherings of younger ladies. Wounded ladies. Courageous ladies. Women the older lady admired deeply. Today was a special day, she was told. Each group member would tell her story.
Their stories began…”Once upon a time, there was a little girl…”
The older lady listened to eleven heart-wrenching tales that day. Arriving home hours later, a plethora of emotions puddled in her heart.
She’d felt horrified and honored,
angry and amazed,
incredulous and impressed.
Their stories wakened memories in the older lady—memories from her own story. Some, she realized, had been healed. Others still lay buried, untended. I need to wrestle with those, she reminded herself.
Sleep arrived slowly that night.
Memories from the stories of her courageous friends lingered throughout the following day. She knew she’d been privileged to stand on sacred ground. I’ll never do anything to betray or dishonor those stories. I will hold each gently with deep respect and confidence, the older lady promised herself.
Before going to bed the next evening, her emotions still raw, the older lady knew she must spend some quiet time with the Lord.
Opening her Bible, she landed on Psalm 34. Verses 4-6 leaped off the page: I sought the LORD, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. This poor woman called, and the LORD heard her; he saved her out of all her troubles. (Gender references changed.)
Easter was a few days away, and the older lady contemplated the younger ladies’ stories in light of the Easter story. We all have issues. Every one of us is broken, the older lady mused. Isn’t that why Jesus was willing to pay the price he paid—for our issues, for our brokenness?
Resilience is the ability of the human spirit to bounce back—even after the most horrific incidents. The older lady thought about the connection between redemption and resilience. Indeed, our stretching may be severe. Our betrayal may be brutal. Our abuse may be atrocious. But, it seems, redemption begets resilience.
God gives us the ability to bounce back.
In faith, we’re given strength to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
We learn it’s possible to laugh and love in spite of a pain-filled past.
We realize God has a special way of recycling sorrow into something beautiful,
And, in spite of stretching, betrayal and abuse, our stories are significant and can leave
a lovely legacy.
The older lady’s ordinary workday had been transformed into something quite extra
ordinary. An exquisite,life-altering experience.
Listening on Your Journey:
- From what painful—even horrific—incident(s) in your life have you had trouble bouncing back?
- Considering Psalm 34: 4-6:
- From what fear would you like God to deliver you?
- What obstacle would keep you from being willing to seek God’s help in this area?
- If God were to deliver you from that fear and remove all shame, in what ways do you think your life could be more ‘radiant?’