Part of Healing is Learning to Think of Others

In honesty, writing a blog tonight is not easy. I could think of a thousand and one things to say, I’m sure, but all fall flat as I think about the tragedy in Paris, France. It’s a current crisis and dreadful thing for any human to suffer, ever…  And it is not a crime against one city, or one nation. It is a crime against all of us, as is every careless and violent act political or otherwise.

Inevitably, because this is a crime that does not fall into sexual victimization, my heart is drawn to the importance of taking time from our own pain and working through things, as victims of sexual violence, to think of others in pain.

Together let’s remember Paris, France, and the families and loved ones of those left behind, and stand in solidarity with them, praying for them. Remembering them doesn’t mean that sexual abuse victims are less important than victims of terrorist attacks. Nor does it minimize the pain and suffering of those who have been violated sexually, or make less glaring the wickedness of sexual violence.  One is an act of terror against the body and the country, and ultimately the world–instilling fear, causing grief  and forever changing lives of those left behind–the other is an act of terror against the mind, body and spirit–instilling fear and shame, causing grief and forever changing the life of the victim.

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There is always the risk in grief, that we forget to see the pain and suffering of others, and become so deeply lost in our own pain that it even consumes us, and robs us of a full life. So it is good to look away, every now and then, even when we are in the deepest throes of personal sorrow.

With time, we will look away most of the time, and every now and then remember what we once suffered. But until then, we have to be intentional about it.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Your Feelings Are Valid & Open the Door to Healing

Western culture, particularly stoic Christian culture, has robbed us of the gift of grieving, and the release of weeping. The wailing wall created opportunity for ‘realness’ in agony and pain that would land the average westerner in a mental institute, or at least labeled. Trapped emotions, suffocated feelings and buried pain contribute to emotional breakdowns, depression and anxiety. When we learn to feel, to weep, and to grieve, we begin to heal…

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…and out of our healing, life flows to those around us, offering permission to feel, permission to grieve, and permission to heal.

Love,
~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Interview with Boz Tchividjian, Founder of Grace

The horrors of child abuse not only extinguishes the innocence of childhood, but so often defines survivors who spend a lifetime struggling to process such devastating childhood trauma. When abuse is perpetrated in faith communities and is rationalized with scripture and distorted theology, most victims come to understand God as the ultimate abuser. All too often, these precious souls get weary of processing what seems to be a forever dark journey and simply give up hope.

Last year, I was privileged to come into contact with an amazing individual who is walking that journey and has given up hope more than once. The life of Trudy Metzger is one that is both deeply tragic and remarkably hopeful. She was the one beaten and left to die on the side of the road in the parable of the Good Samaritan. She is also the one pursued, embraced, and loved by the ultimate Good Samaritan. Trudy’s journey is not unlike the painful journey of so many others who are weary and who have or are giving up hope.   Her life is a declaration that there is hope.  

In order to share this hope with others, Trudy recently wrote a book about her journey entitled,Between 2 Gods.   This amazingly honest memoir doesn’t hide the truth about the deep physical, emotional, and spiritual pains caused by childhood trauma. It also doesn’t hide the truth about a loving God who crosses the road and gets down into the dirt with the hurting and brutalized.

I hope that we can all find some comfort in Trudy’s words that have been formed out of a life that for all intensive purposes should have ended long ago. I’m so grateful God had other plan. – Boz

Boz: Can you tell us a little bit about your family background?
Trudy: I was the 12th living child, of what would eventually be 16, born into an Old Colony Russian Mennonite home. With a history of unaddressed abuse and violence in my father’s family, and murder and unacknowledged sexual abuse in my mother’s family, we didn’t stand much of a chance at escaping abuse. Intertwined with this were deeply rooted religious beliefs that presented God as volatile and harsh, rather than a kind ‘Abba Father’—or ‘Papa’—who loves us and understands our humanity.

Boz: What was it about the culture you grew up in that you believe contributed to an abusive environment?
Trudy: This topic would produce at least a chapter, but more likely a book, if covered with any kind of thoroughness. Certainly male dominance was a problem—and I say that as someone who believes all are created equal, with something of value to contribute in every situation—and this robbed women and children of any voice. Contributing to this was the ‘elders are to be respected view’ that required younger children to submit to older siblings, giving older siblings almost the same authority as parents. While these older siblings were not necessarily the abusers, the mentality very much affirmed ‘voicelessness’ and demanded submission and surrender to the wishes of anyone older. This is a set up for abuse throughout life.

I want to add that our communities in Mexico were infested with sexual abuse on every level, and it was not only the girls who were victimized by fathers, brothers and men in general. Male to male violations were a tragic reality, leaving young boys devastated by the impact of rape, often from older boys or fathers. Teen boys raped teen girls and older girls seduced younger boys, and mothers molested their children. I wouldn’t have known all of this in childhood, and didn’t address its brutality in my book but it goes without saying that such depravity is the result of multiple issues, not only male dominance.

Another piece was little teaching about sex, and what was communicated was presented more in strict warnings to ‘not sin’, and warnings to protect against ‘evil boys’. This made sex an altogether horrid thing, feeding the unhealthy lifestyles and resulting in much sexual promiscuity on besides abuse.

Continue reading interview here: Rhymes with Religions

Love

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

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When Mother’s Day Hurts So Much That God Cries

I opened my eyes, trying to shake the image of my son, lying on the ground, badly wounded from the explosion. He was unresponsive, almost lifeless, his breathing shallow.

The feeling of helplessness and agony that overwhelmed me, flooded back. I felt weak, nauseous. Willing the images to leave my mind, I sat up in bed.

What a way to start the day, and not just any day. The nightmare that woke me up, early Mother’s Day morning, started with numerous car crashes. Some family members were wounded, others killed. It ended with a massive explosion that nearly killed our son. It held no obvious meaning, and served only to torment my heart…

In church, a few hours later, we had communion. Jesus. Broken. Bleeding. Wounded…. for me. A Son who suffered and died, with purpose.

The nightmare flashed through my mind again. I thought of Mary. It was her son too, who hung on that cross.

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I put my head on Tim’s shoulder, and big tears splashed all over his shirt. I didn’t sob, but the tears kept splashing down on him. He saw the water spots, looked at me, and I smiled past the mess I was, willing myself to shut off the intense emotion, and that picture. I had told him the nightmare earlier…

“Dumb nightmare,” I whispered quietly, almost giggling with confused emotion, feeling a bit foolish that something not real could impact me so profoundly. 

Tim’s eyes held compassion and understanding. He is my safe place, here, on earth, no matter what the pain, the battle, the emotion. A true rock, he seems unmoved, though not untouched, by who I am.

I thought of all the mothers sitting in church that morning, or at their tables, with breaking hearts and brave faces. Maybe I was crying for them, because their tears were stopped. It wasn’t really about that horrible scene in my nightmare, I knew that.

Or maybe it was for the mothers still in bed, unable to get up, because of grief…

Or maybe it was for Mrs. Bosma, whose son Tim was taken from his young wife and little daughter… and for Sharlene Bosma, who didn’t have a husband’s shoulder to cry on this Mother’s Day, because of evil… pure evil… committed against her, against them as a family.

My nightmare ended when I awakened. But their nightmare continues, broken, and inconclusive. And I stop writing, to pray, because my heart aches for them. It aches for strangers I have never met, and yet, because I am a mother, and a wife, and a daughter, I feel it deeply. And because, through Tim’s work, I know of people connected to Tim’s family. And somehow that makes it more real.

It’s not the movies, it’s not a news report. It’s broken hearts, carelessly scattered for the world to see, by men with evil plans…. plans to hurt, to harm and to bring pain.

The reality of that evil hits me with a powerful force, like water from a filthy river, knocking the wind of hope from me, for a moment, as I contemplate that evil, and all the suffering mothers.

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The words of a wise man, depressed by life, go through my mind… What meaning is there in life… what new thing to look forward to? What has been, will be again, what has been done, will be done again… (Ecclesiastes 1)

And it seems that’s just how it is, and has been, since Abel disappeared, soon after the Garden. The first ‘missing person’ ever reported, when God came to question Cain, and it seems the evil has escalated and multiplied since then, knowing no boundaries, going from sibling rivalry to taking captive an innocent man like, Tim Bosma, with no apparent motive. And the mind can hardly grasp it, when the innocent suffer like that, simply for trusting.

But then I remember again, the Son whose mother stood at the cross, weeping and grieving at His innocent death. I see His body, again, mangled for the love of us, and bleeding hope all over place on that ugly hill. The Hill of Death–Gogatha, the place of the skull–and that hope flows like a river.

It runs down that wicked hill, and keeps flowing until it covers the earth, and fills the dead with its life, wherever it is received. (Ezekiel 47:1-12) And the skeletons and the dry bones, and the corpses of empty existence dip in that river, and they begin to dance, and run. They sing like never before because Hope has touched them…

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It is then I realize that my tears come from deep within my spirit, forming a prayer–in a place so deep I cannot express it. A place where words are lost, and only tears speak the language of that place…

And I think maybe they are God’s tears, flowing from my body, showing His heart of compassion. Weeping, not for His Son on the cross–because His Son conquered the cross, conquered death… hell… and the grave. His Son rose again.

It is His tears for His children, who are touched by evil. His tears, for us, because of the consequence of sin. His tears for me, waking from the horrible nightmare and having to see my son like that. His tears for Mrs. Bosma, and Sharlene and her daughter, whose nightmares go on and on…

His tears, falling, and splashing His love and compassion all over us, because He came–Emmanuel, God with us–to suffer, to grieve, to understand the worst of pains that a human can suffer.

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Being God, He suffered the grief of watching His Son brutalized. And being Jesus, He suffered the beating, the captivity, and the cross. All this, to understand our sorrow…

So this Mother’s Day weekend–yes, even on Monday, the day after Mother’s Day, because your grief continues–if your mother-heart breaks for any reason at all, my thoughts, my prayers and my tears are with you.

Especially with you, Sharlene and your little princess… and Mrs. Bosma and your family. This evil thing you have suffered should never have happened…

…God’s tears are with you…

Our prayers continue for Tim Bosma’s safe return. And, when you look back on this part of your story, we pray you will see only one set of Footprints, knowing that God carried you through this time.

© Trudy Metzger

Return to: Abigail’s Story Part One

Return to first post in Sexual Abuse Series

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