Thursday, January 2, 2014

I find some Healing for the Spiritual Abuse I suffered at the hands of my father.

In Sept 2013 my husband and I were called to talk in sacrament meeting. Here is a snip-it from my talk.

In our day staying active in the church, praying, and keeping the commandments is not the easy thing to do. In fact these things are hard and require commitment and dedication. Many personal obstacles must be overcome, and bravely worked through....

…..I have experienced anxiety and fears also. My anxiety and fears were around the topic of prayer. When I would kneel down to pray my body and mind would be so overcome with symptoms of anxiety that it was almost impossible to pray. It took a long time, and allot of support to overcome this anxiety. I started out by praying one sentence prayers, often praying that I could be able to pray more in the future. Slowly overtime I could pray a little more each time I tried. Until one day to my delight I realized that I had been saying normal prayers and I did not remember when it began to be natural to me again.
Then by many miracles a prayer that I had at the age of 13 has been answered in the last several months. At 13 I went down the checklist of what it takes to have your prayers answered, and I knew my prayer met all the requirements, and I could not understand why it was not answered. As it became apparent to me, recently, that my prayer was finally answered, after all these years, I found more of my doubts on prayer healed, and I found I was more eager to pray. Then the Sunday after my prayer was answered my co-teacher in primary said in her primary lesson. "God always answers prayers, sometimes it may take a long time for a prayer to be answered, but he always does." Now I tell you what, I want to pray for everything, and everyone. In fact I am praying for big prayers, for family members that I love to be healed as I have been. I figure the Lord can take his time healing them, as he took his time healing me, what matters is that they will be healed by him in the end.

There were times when it seemed to me, that turning away from the church, even taking one little step away, would make my life easier. But then I remembered my beloved friend.  She deliberately chose to take one step away from the church, but over time her steps became more and more until she was running from the church. Still, even away from the church she is a strong person, and she holds to a stronger moral code than many of the world. That I feel is the leftover effect of the gospel in her life. I am not worried about her standing in the church because I know what she needs, she needs my love, and the Lords love, and my prayers for her healing. The Lord heals through love, unconditional love, and I plan to be a part of his healing in her life. 
If you have found yourself stepping away from the gospel, or from following the commandments. I promise you it is not the easier path. It is not even the happier path. Coming back from that path will take work, and it will take the Lords Healing in your life. In addition, sometimes when a person breaks the commandments the people around them are hurt by their actions also. I know the Lord can help them heal too. Stand your ground hold to the strength of the gospel understanding you have now, and eventually it will become easier, and the Lord will heal you, and strengthen you, and you will gain more ground and understanding.

In Jeffrey R Holland's talk “Lord, I Believe” given in April 2013 he says. "In moments of fear or doubt or troubling times, hold the ground you have already won, even if that ground is limited... When those moments come and issues surface, the resolution of which is not immediately forthcoming, hold fast to what you already know and stand strong until additional knowledge comes. It was of this very incident, this specific miracle,that Jesus said, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” The size of your faith or the degree of your knowledge is not the issue—it is the integrity you demonstrate toward the faith you do have and the truth you

The second time I met with the state investigator over my case, I felt stronger and more confident than I had ever felt in my life.  I had stood my ground, and let the world know my position, and I no longer had to defend it.  Several weeks later, maybe even a couple of months later, it fully hit me that the Lord had finally answered my prayer from when I was thirteen

I can’t tell you how difficult my challenge with the church was, before this.  In addition to anxiety with prayers I felt anxiety walking into the church, and especially into the Sacrament room.  I felt anxiety to the point it was hard to stay sitting during sacrament.  I got up and ran from Relief Society Meetings in tears, making a scene several times.  When I took my daughters to Young Woman’s Firesides it was physical torture to me the whole time.  I just tried to sit, and look the part of a supportive mother, while inside all I wanted to do was run away and wail. Every time the repentance process was mentioned I felt freshly abused, and it is a favorite topic in the LDS church.  I hated and still dislike the all famous story of the Jewish woman who is healed after the concentration camps, who has to pray to the Lord for help to forgive one of her captors.  Conference weekends were always traumatic experiences that took weeks for me to recover from.  Thinking of going to the temple makes me start to breath heavy, and my head cloud and spin, because my father still had a temple recommend.

I cried in counseling week after week about the difficulties.  My counselor just kept encouraging me to keep attending church, and kept reassuring me that my anxieties would dissipate over time.  It felt like an eternity, and I wondered if I could live a lifetime of going to church every day to be confronted with so much anxiety.  Over time my anxiety did lessen and improve.  It was long and slow.

But the day my co-teacher in primary said in her primary lesson.  "God always answers prayers, sometimes it may take a long time for a prayer to be answered, but he always does."  I finally knew that the Lord loved me and cared for me.  That he is mindful of me.  That he lead me to the person whos referral lead me to my investigator with the state. This helped me heal the rift of my faith that my father created at age thirteen.

I have still a lot of healing to do.  I still feel anxiety over the topic of repentance, but it does not overpower me.  I still cry during conference when all I can hear is how my father twisted the words I heard in conference when I was 12-13, and all the ways I know he is twisting them still to my mother.    I still fight to not feel rage over my father’s church leaders and how they are still mishandling things today.  And I still have not gone back to the temple....

Several times before I reported my father I tried to confront my father through the church. My loving husband, excellent counselor, and amazing bishop, kept reassuring me that this time would be different, the church was more aware, and confronting my father through the church would not result in disaster    I met with my steak president several times.  He had been amazingly prepared for meeting me.  He was well educated and aware of how manipulative men like my dad could be.   This whole process took months. With his reassurance, and the reassurance of the other men I previously mentioned, I finally gave them the verbal approval to start the process of notifying my dad’s steak president.  Then following that I had a mental breakdown that took three months to recover from.  My husband at my pleading notified all involved that my counselor recommended we stop the process of confronting my father through the church.  It was after I had recovered from this I contacted the state to report my father.

It has been a long hard road.  And I know today, it is not done.