This is what I wrote in my journal the first day of our vacation in Mexico;
Jesus says; Come with me on another adventure. Hold on to me, learn from me. My yoke is gentle, my burden is light.
“Father God, as I spend some time in quiet rest and relaxation I ask Lord God that You speak to my heart, kiss me with Your promises, gently caress my soul and bring quiet assurance and hope to my spirit. Holy Spirit enable me to hear- open my spiritual ears.”
This was my hearts desire while on this holiday. Not only did I need rest and time alone with my husband but I longed for God’s voice, His touch, His presence, His care…..I was basking in His glorious creation, celebrating His goodness, enjoying precious time with my love…..praying and asking God for His favor and His blessings…..and then I saw the first one….a snake so repulsive that all joy and delight seemed to drain from my spirit in an instant….it left me shaking inside….but more than that it left me reeling…feeling abandoned, unsafe….the joy of our Eden stolen.
What’s the big deal you ask? Believe me I have asked myself the same thing over and over. I’ve pleaded. I’ve wrestled. I’m going to be totally honest here but I hate wrestling and although I know (in my head) God honors our wrestling, I would much rather run and hide. Just like Adam and Eve did in the garden I would rather take cover. However, just as with Adam, God is calling me to come out of hiding….to step out of hiding & rebellion and step into His truth. But doing so means that I must face myself, face my longings, face my wounds, face my idols and face Him…and no amount of spiritual makeup can make me more acceptable, more presentable to Him…but Lord knows I try.
Today I felt so heavy in myspirit and after a dear friend phoned me, prayed with me and spoke words of life and truth to me I finally asked the Lord what was going on. I knew the snake had triggered something but what? The Holy Spirit then brought to mind an incident when I was a young girl. My cousin (who was 10 years older) and I often played “sword fighting”. We would find willow branches, peel off the bark and make swords out of them.
One day he called me outside and asked if I wanted to play sword fighting. Eager to play I agreed. Standing only feet from me with both hands behind his back he asked which sword I wanted. I chose one, but it was the wrong choice because instead of a willow branch he thrust towards me a snake. It was alive and writhing. I screamed, burst into tears and ran into the house terrified. And of course no one was there to console me; my only saving grace was that he knew he couldn’t bring it into the house.
But more than the fear of the snake was the awareness that I had been deceived, betrayed. Looking back it really wouldn’t have made any difference as to what choice I’d made, left or right hand; it would have been the wrong choice.
Instances like this, which seem insignificant or small, are not insignificant to a child who has been abused. Betrayal such as this is often the norm for children of abuse; their homes are already unpredictable and dangerous setting the stage for devastating sexual abuse.
Please understand I am not saying that all boys who chase girls with snakes are abusers, that’s not what I’m saying. What I am saying is that as a child this was simply one more devastating incident in the life of a little girl betrayed over and over….a child deceived.
Let me further explain. Dan Allender says that something deep inside us reacts to deception and betrayal. Betrayal not only inflames doubt and severs relationship with others, but also inevitably deepens hatred for ourselves. The one who was betrayed assumes that she could have prevented the betrayal if she was less needy or naïve.
A child longs for legitimate healthy relationship, love, acceptance and nourishment yet when they are offered what appears to be good, and it turns out to be horrific and awful, it creates a catch 22 situation. As Allender says; “The victim of abuse is left thirsty and then is forced to participate in consuming something that both touches the legitimate thirst of her being, while also destroying the very aspect of her being that has been relationally aroused.”
So what does this have to do with the snake on the beach? I felt betrayed by God. I had asked God for a blessing and I got a snake was where my train of thought went. I was angry and hurt. I thought of the Scripture in Matthew where it talks about effective prayer;
7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
9 “You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? 10 Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! 11 So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him?”
Would God betray me, would He truly give me a snake when I asked for blessings…and so began my wrestling.
Could God be trusted?
Was He safe?
I’m going to leave off here for now, and although I am still trying to process my thoughts and get it down in writing something broke loose today. I still don’t fully understand it all, but I can breathe!! I know God is taking me somewhere and now instead of fearing the process I am welcoming it.
…to be continued.