Friday, April 25, 2014

To Those Who Don't Like Christians...

I started working on this a couple of weeks ago and had a hard time actually finishing.  For the past couple of days, God has really put it on my heart to finish this post.

I don't blame you for not liking Christians.  I get it, I really do.  Probably more than you realize.  I know I am always talking about Bible verses, Jesus, and living a Christian life, but I haven't always been like this.  There was a time when I didn't even really want to step foot into a church.  In the past, I have been hurt and neglected by the church, and if my faith was based on the way the people in the church have treated me, I would be an atheist.

When I was a young girl, I survived a period of sexual abuse.  I didn't tell anyone when it happened, and this caused me to build up walls and push people away.  I had friends, but I never let people get really close to me.   I don't really have a lot of memories from my childhood.   Because of the trauma, my mind split my memories and locked up a lot of them so that I could cope with life.  I remember school more than I remember home life because that is how my brain decided to protect me from dealing with the hurtful memories.  The abuse didn't happen at home, but for some reason, I shut out any memory that could possibly remind me of the pain that I went through.

As I grew and became a teenager, most of my friends were making plans for life.  I was just trying to survive each day. They all seemed to know exactly what they wanted to do after they graduated from high school. Because of the past abuse, I just wanted to slip into a coma until a time when I thought life would be easier, and wake up with a new, perfect life.  So, I was like a walking zombie, just sleepwalking through life hoping that some day it would get easier.  However, it didn't.  Life just continued to get harder to deal with. I was going to a Baptist church and I had a lot of Christian friends.  I had a lot of fun with them and I felt close to them.

I went to college because it was the next step that I was expected to take.  I had made good grades in high school and received a scholarship to Louisiana College.  I had now idea what I wanted to major in or what I even wanted to do with my life.  I felt like I was wandering around aimlessly.  I am so thankful now that I never really got into drugs or drinking.  It was just something that I never really liked.  I felt that if I lost control of my cognitive functions that I was opening myself up to be abused all over again.  What I was doing, however, was not living, I was just scraping by.

I seemed to have it all: a scholarship to a good college, a brand new car, a great family who supported me, "good" Christian friends. But, I was miserable.  I didn't see the point to anything that I was doing.  I started to dress strangely and shaved the hair off my head with a pair of clippers.  I started to fail my college classes.  I went back home to visit, and all of my friends from my Baptist church that I hung out didn't want anything to do with me because I looked weird.  I didn't fit in with the image that the church deemed "acceptable." I was struggling, and I felt so alone.  When I went back to the church after my extreme style change, I felt as though the church had turned its back on me.  I needed a friend, but instead of opening its arms to me and comforting me, no one would talk to me.

I met and fell in love with the man who would become my husband.  I dropped out of college to my parent's disapproval and got married.  I went to beauty school, not because I really wanted to, but because I didn't know what else to do with my life.  I liked the creative aspects of hairstyling, but hated beauty school itself.  I didn't really want to be a hairstylist, but I stuck with it because I was afraid of failing at anything else that I wanted to do.  Years went by and I felt like I could never get myself together.  I felt like I was digging myself deeper and deeper into a hole and couldn't get out.  I was still just getting by in life, like a zombie.  I was technically alive, but not really living.  Working in a salon, I made a lot of money and seemed successful.  Just like before, I appeared to have it all together, but inside I felt empty.  I actually tried different churches and have visited many over the years.  I just never felt like I fit in.  I was always an outsider, I went because I kept hoping that things would get better.

There is so much more that I could tell about, but for the sake of time, I will skip ahead.  I got to a point where I couldn't cope anymore.  I was attending a church that was around the corner from my house.  The only reason I went was because my kids had friends there and they loved the huge indoor playground.  I would try to pray and felt like my words were just bouncing off of the wall.  I would try to read the Bible, but I couldn't focus.  By this time, I had two kids and was working full time.  I was depressed.  My husband and I were not getting along and were fighting all of the time. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders.  I didn't know how I could go on.  Then, I found out I was pregnant.  I felt stretched past my limit.  I went on as long as I could until after my son was born. Something inside snapped and I gave up.  I started showing up later and later to work and couldn't keep up with house work.  I wanted to sleep all of the time and give up on life.  I tried as hard as I could to keep up with things, but I couldn't.  I made horrible mistakes and neglected my kids during this time.  I took care of their basic needs, but I just couldn't give any more than that.

One day I was taking a shower to get ready to go to a funeral for a friend who had passed away, and out of nowhere I felt Jesus whisper to my heart to start facing my past so that I could heal from the abuse.  I was afraid to face that area of my life.  I had buried that part of my life so deep that I didn't even acknowledge it anymore.  Soon after that, I was lying on my bed, unable to get up because I was depressed.  I was crying because I felt like my life was in shambles.  At that moment, I felt Jesus put his arms around me.  I could physically feel His presence.  He told me to give Him all of my troubles.  I did.  I felt like I was taking all of my hurts and troubles and wadding them up in a huge ball and throwing them away into a trash can that Jesus was holding.  I had pretty much been in church in all my life, and had never experienced anything like this before.  This was not religion, this was real.  After this, I started seeking out other people who had real experienced like I had.  I met others who didn't view Jesus as a religion, who actually had a real relationship with Him.  I eventually did find whole churches that were focused on a relationship instead of the religious aspects of Christianity.  I realized that too many churches are just Christian social clubs instead of places where people can truly worship Jesus with their lives.

 Soon after I gave Jesus my hurts and troubles,  I went on a retreat with my church that a friend invited me to.  During this retreat, I was allowed to share in a safe way with someone about my past hurts and decided right then to start going to counseling.  I learned healthy coping skills and began a journey of healing.  It has been a long, hard road to where I am now, but ever since I let Jesus take over, I have had so much peace and joy.  I have watched Him rebuild my life into His picture of what it should be, which is so much more beautiful than what I was able to create on my own.


  1. Great post Jamie. I can relate to some of the things you've experienced, and spent a year and a half writing an autobiography as a part of the process of purging all the past hurts. I went to one of those retreats about a year before that, but it was only the beginning. The writing process was excruciating, having to re-experience all those things, but I handed them over to Jesus one by one, and by the time I was finished, I felt freed from all that weight for the first time in my life. I'm glad you took the time to finish this post. it is very encouraging.

  2. Thanks, David! Are you going to get your book published? I would love to read it.

  3. Great testimony Jamie. More people should share their testimony about JESUS and how HE does HEAL and RESTORE HIS children./