The final days in Indiana were dark. Hopeless. It was like stumbling through a black tunnel with no light and no way out, lost in the nothingness of empty existence. But light was ahead, I just couldn’t see it yet.
I filled out a job application at a fast food restaurant. I needed to make enough money to get out and return to Canada, even if I had to lie to do it. I looked it over, and crumpled it up. It was no use. I was living in the country illegally and had no right to work. It wasn’t an option.
Back in the apartment, in my little room, I returned to watching the tiny black and white TV, what shows I could get, to pass the time. I dug through my suitcase, looking for something to pass the time. I pulled out my ‘Dear Jesus’ Diary. Moments later, my Bible, long neglected at the bottom of my suitcase, rested on my lap, as I read.
“What shall we say then, shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound, God forbid….” (Romans 6:1) I kept reading, reaching for life, reaching for hope. It had to be there… “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ….” (Romans 8:1) I tried to imagine a life with no condemnation. Not easy given my condition. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, no anything else in creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39) Was it really true that even the messy life, the demons, the sin the darkness that I lived with could not separate me from God’s love?
It was all there but my mind could not grasp it. My experience was so real, and so contradictory to that truth, that I was blinded. Still, my heart softened with reading it. Tears began to fall. I felt so alone, abandoned by God, but a voice stirred in my heart… ‘Reach up, reach out…’
Would He even hear me?
I prayed. The prayers bounced off the ceiling and fell in a shrivelled heap in front of me. At least that is how it felt. I thought back to my culture. They said God only hears women who prayed with their heads covered. I scrounged through the apartment and found a baseball cap. Maybe God would recognize it and hear me.
I placed it on my head as reverently as one can place a sports cap for the purpose of worship. I prayed again. They bounced again, like a bad cheque. (My! God is fussy!) Maybe the sports cap offended Him. I would have to find something else.
I saw a box of Kleenex and remembered the story in The Christian Example, our Mennonite church paper, that told of a girl who decided to wear a head covering and her parents didn’t like it. They took it from her, locked her in her room, and fed her only bread and water. To pray, she covered her head with a Kleenex. Maybe that would work. It was as close to the Mennonite veiling as anything I had access to and it seemed God had heard that girl, so I gave it a go. Again my prayers fell flat.
I feared I had sold my soul to the devil, that I had unwittingly signed some invisible contract or having blasphemed the Holy Ghost. The previous night I had experienced a demonic encounter that had left me shaking for hours, and convinced that I had committed the unpardonable sin. After the attempt at prayer, I was more convinced than ever that I had. I was doomed.
There was only one prayer left to pray, only one shot at knowing God again. He would have to reveal Himself to me. So I prayed one more time….
“God, if You will give me one more chance… If You will call my name one more time… and give me the chance to repent, I promise to give you the rest of my life. I will never look back or turn my heart from You again.”
Nothing happened. No fireworks, nothing.
I returned to ‘normal’ life, such as it was.
Back home, at the church of my youth, the girl I did cleaning with planned an all-night prayer vigil. It was held on my birthday, November 23, 1987, three days before my world caved in.
My prayers were an ‘awakening’, a sign that my spirit was opening up to God. Little did I realize, when I asked Him to speak to me, that He was already calling me back. I didn’t realize that the hopelessness was not from Him, it was the enemy trying to hold me back and trying to keep me bound.
But truth would win in the end. Freedom was on the way. And much nearer than I could have dreamed….
© Trudy Metzger 2012
Go to first post in this series: http://trudymetzger.com/2012/05/22/spiritual-abuse-introduction/