Soul Stripped Bare, I Stand Before You, Dancing

It is quite a feeling to wake up one morning and realize you have officially placed your soul in front of the world, naked. It’s been a process, the peeling back of the layers, to get to this place. Sometimes a painful process, sometimes exhilarating and sometimes just ‘plain old normal’ and peaceful. All have been good; all have been necessary. For today would would have felt overwhelming if one of these things had been missing.


I was tired last night, but it felt a bit like New Year’s Eve, so I played Angry Birds to keep myself awake. Seconds before the clock said 12:00am, I shut everything down and waited. I posted a short status update: “Today is 3/3/15.” It’s all that would come to me, believe it or not, in a moment like that–excited and tired.

Tim, who had dozed off, as he should have, opened his eyes, “How long now?” he asked.

“It’s past midnight now,” I said.  He leaned over, gave me a kiss, whispered, “Congratulations!” and he was gone again. It took me less than 60 seconds to join him in dreamland.

To wake up this morning with that ‘Christmas morning’ feeling, or, better yet, “Easter morning”, took me a bit off guard. Between 2 Gods has been on pre-order since January 30, and the publisher, my friends and I have been busy sharing about it. It’s almost like it’s been out there for over a month. In fact, this week, as people started to receive their orders, and private reviews trickled in, it all became very real. With that reality came the encouragement of countless people identifying and encouraging me to keep pressing on. People from my former church denomination–some still in it–contacted me, also encouraging me, appreciating that I had not bashed my culture, and that I had not shared the abuse scenes graphically.

This morning notifications popped up on my iPhone.. messages on Twitter, on FB, in email… And the first one I opened was from a conservative Mennonite pastor. If I hadn’t been so excited, I think the tears would have started. I could feel them spilling all inside of my heart, washing out things that were there so long, but they wouldn’t reach my eyes. (Unlike now, as I try to put into words how that feels, to have a pastor–whose wife wears a veil/covering–bless what I have done. I will hold on to that for a great long while, and thank God that, on this day, it was the first thing I read. And, of course, now I’m sitting in a coffee shop where an outburst of tears might distress those around me, so I hold back again…)

Watching the Bestseller rankings rise and fall on Amazon has been fun. Making it to #1 in main category, and #1458 in all of Canada is a big deal to a newbie. (You seasoned authors have the right to laugh; you know exactly what I’m talking about, if you did the Amazon scene.) And staying on the Amazon Bestsellers for all of the 32 days since opening for pre-order was also thrilling.

We are humans with feelings and emotions; we should be excited about milestones and achievements. Truth be told, there will come a time when the memory of these moments will carry us through hard times, and remind us that we can trust God. It’s one of the advantages of years of experience; we see God’s faithfulness to redeem hard times, and we celebrate the good times, but always we hold on to His promises.

Whatever lies ahead, of good or of pain, these days of reading reviews, men and women alike connecting with my story, have blessed my heart in ways I’ll never forget. I’ll always remember the the first people to read Between 2 Gods, and offer that feedback were a couple, Dave and Becky, who spoke truth over me for almost a week before the official release. I’ll always remember that the first message on this day was from a conservative Mennonite pastor, and that he thanked and blessed me. And I’ll never forget the first three Amazon reviews were 5-star, with kind words, promoting the truth of Jesus.

I’ll always remember that my Heavenly Father smiled on this day, this project, and that He called me, and I answered. And that’s really all that matters.

Thank you all for the incredible support you have showed. Whether words of encouragement, sharing links, or reading Between 2 Gods, you have blessed me, and blessed others. If no one  was willing to read it, it still would have brought much healing to my heart, to go through the process, the tears, the prayers, and the struggle. But hearing from others, knowing they’re finding hope and healing in reading it, and finding Jesus in their stories, is my greatest reward; it is what I longed for most!


My heart is full, my spirit dances!


~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Between 2 Gods Facebook Page

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Mennonite Bishop’s Bold Stand In Sexual Abuse Case!

Finally, some good news to share! On the heels of The Elephant Grows Fat in Church, it is a thrill to share how a bishop in  Mennonite church, in Ontario, took an unusual and bold stand in a childhood sexual abuse case.

But, good news, in the case of childhood sexual abuse, is always bittersweet, because it comes at a price. Tragically the good news always hinges on the initial crime of victimizing a child. That, in and of itself, makes today’s post as tragic as it is exciting for me to write about.

When it comes to the topic of sexual abuse, I find the material heavy and somewhat depressing. I take a bit more emotional ‘down time’ just washing away the darkness that inevitably wishes to latch on to me, depressing me. I cry out to God a little more. I feel a bit more emotional. A bit more vulnerable. There seems little good to write about.

I admit, I feel badly exposing the dark side of my Mennonite heritage when there is so much good in it, but I fear if I remain silent, as many have, the good will be lost. So, depressing as it may seem, I press on….

But this post is different. It is a beacon in a dark and stormy night, giving hope to the many on the rough waters of victimization in the Mennonite culture.

To protect the identity of any victims, I will not use real names, and will not disclose the ‘brand’ of Mennonites, other than to say they are very conservative. That fact gives me hope that more will follow suit.

The perpetrator, Dan, is a friend of mine from the past, whom I met when I lived in Fresno, California, in the summer of 1987.

Dan was a ‘nice’ guy, and respectful. He had Mennonite background but didn’t ‘buy in’ until he was in his twenties. And that was twenty years ago. Over the years he stayed single, a member in good standing in the church. From time to time, when mom had talked to him, she would pass on his greetings, saying he would love to see me again, and meet my family.

Recently Dan’s bishop discovered that during his twenty years in the church, he has been sexually abusing young boys. What makes the bishop’s response unique, and a noteworthy detail, is that Dan is related to him, quite closely, through marriage. What’s more, Dan’s family is ‘highly respected’ as the ‘elite’ in the church, which alone gives cause for cover up at times, because the potential damage to church reputation.

To his credit, Dan’s bishop talked with Dan and told him he needs to turn himself in to the local authorities and offered to drive him. I am sick and saddened by the discovery that Dan violated young boys all these years. My heart breaks for the victims, some of whom are now adult men, no doubt struggling to make sense of their journey.

And my heart aches for Dan, for making choices that brought so much destruction. I know a bit of Dan’s story. His father was a rather vile man whose example was about as destructive as they get. His older brother raped my best friend in California while I was there.  Who was there for him? Who showed him the way? What was his story? Did he first suffer at the hands of another perpetrator?

Unanswered questions. None of which, if answered, would make the wrongs right. They could only shed light on the journey, but could do nothing to bring any sense of justice to the victims.

Above all, I am proud of the bishop for taking the hard road within the culture. I know him, though not well, having had occasion to speak with him a few times. It encourages me to see men of integrity within a culture of silence, men who are willing to take a stand. I never want to overlook honouring them and acknowledging the good they do.

Whether it will be the new norm, I don’t know. Whether this means that victims will be acknowledged and helped, emotionally and spiritually, without any guilt and shame placed on them, I don’t know. I pray so. I pray this is a new standard being set, for the purpose of hope and healing through Jesus, not any other reason.  Not to judge, punish or condemn. But to bring redemption, through JESUS, to the mess stuff of humanity.

Jesus came to give life, hope and freedom,  and truth is the channel through which these flow. Often we, humans, are called to guide that truth, to carry it, ad to ensure it is protected and revealed. Thank God for those who do it honourably.

© Trudy Metzger

Return to 1st post in Sexual Abuse Series