Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed He will not break and a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish. . . NASB version
Trauma at a very young age, caused by sexual molestation, forced my awareness of the presence of evil alongside good. It also opened my mind to the presence of God. The scripture says the angels for little children constantly behold the face of God. There is no other explanation for a small child to know of a certainty, that God is with them, as I knew after my traumatic experiences. I never told my parents or siblings, and it was only many years later that I found out all three of my siblings had been molested, too.
My parents sporadically attended a Unitarian church, and once I’d turned six or seven, I lobbied to sit with the adults because they got to hear more about Jesus than we kids did in Sunday School. Jesus captivated my secret attention and fascination throughout my child and teen years, which were spent in the turbulent 60’s and 70’s. Throughout the horrifying upheaval of assassinations, war casualties, widespread generational discord and trouble, the spark of faith inside me remained. Every time there was a movie on television focusing on Jesus or God, I wanted to watch it. Though my parents were and are decent, highly moral people who helped their community become a better place and taught us to live by the golden rule, they didn’t share my fascination for the Bible.
I began to read it when I was eleven, after I experienced panic attacks which I now know to be because of post-traumatic stress and strong feelings of shame and guilt. All I knew at the time was that I needed help that nobody could offer. So began my child-like, fearful steps toward a relationship with God. Trust was very difficult for me, but I wanted to know if God was really accessible to me. I never spoke much about it, but it was always on my mind. I’d listen to Billy Graham crusades on television, but part of me was sure that only certain people were allowed to be close to God. Probably not me, because I was damaged inside.
After I was married and had two of our five sons, my husband and I went to a seminar for people wanting to start a business, and on the weekend, there was a Sunday service I decided to attend. What I heard there blew me away. The man who preached that morning told how he and his wife were helping a couple heal their marriage. He said they all prayed, and followed the answers God gave them. I couldn’t comprehend it. Regular people could talk to God, and He would answer them? He healed marriages? Though the seminar was meant to hook people into charging after a business goal, I got hooked on the idea that maybe I could talk to God, and He’d answer me.
The seed planted that day took a while to grow in such cautious ground. I said the sinner’s prayer many times over the next few years, but couldn’t figure out why my level of faith didn’t grow. I knew I needed something more, but didn’t know what. My husband John brought home a co-worker from the salt mine, who read me Acts 2:38 and told me I needed to repent and be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. As soon as I heard it, I knew it’s what I had to do. The following Sunday, I did! It’s been quite a journey as I gradually allowed God to heal my broken, fearful areas over the years, and replace my heavy burdens with the light yoke of His Son. I am forever grateful!