2012: A year of transformation

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In about three hours, we say goodbye to yet another year. As is often custom of New Year’s Eve, I have been reflecting on the year that is almost pass. Wow – what a year! I am not the same person I was this time last year. It is hard to capture all that I have learned and experienced in the past year in a single post but I am going to offer a glimpse as I say goodbye to 2012 and welcome in 2013.

Last winter held deep moments of struggling for me and wrestling with my faith. I walked some dark roads and played with fire as I tested the limits of God’s love for me. It was quite a surprise for me to discover that God’s love is limitless, that he walked with me even in the dark roads and that when he said he will never leave me nor forsake me, he really meant it. I experienced the love of faithful friends in a deep way that made me realize that much about my life had to change. And in those days, I realized that I can run as far from God as I want, but whether I liked it or not, he was not finished with me yet.

I tackled my trauma in an intensive 8 week program of about 20 hours of group and individual counselling a week. I am still reaping the benefits of this program. I was affirmed for my keen interest in social justice. I faced skeletons in my closet. I spoke out when I needed to and spoke into people’s lives when I felt I had something to say. Most of all, I emerged from this program with a freedom that was quite transformative.

Up until this point, I had tied happiness and the meaning of life with my family. Idolatry in a sense. But through conversations, a powerful dream and God’s hand in my life, I realized that I do not need my family to be whole, that I could move forward without them and in fact, I was moving forward. This is not to say that I don’t want my family – quite the contrary, actually. I love them dearly and they are always in my thoughts and prayers and as I have said on here before, I long for the day of feasting when wholeness, truth and life is breathed into my family, healing all wounds. This newfound freedom got me dreaming about the future – which was suddenly wide open.

In July, my dad made his formal appeal before a panel of judges asking for a retrial. The darkness in my family was present that day. My hope is that the many people in the courtroom that day – including four of my siblings – will take away at least something from all the dreadful stuff they heard that keeps them questioning and keeps me in their mind, somehow. This day began another period of waiting. Oh how I have hated times of waiting. I will return to this.

I decided to go back to school. Now that has been an adventure of its own taking me to places of thought that still surprise me. I started to see marks that I had not seen before which affirmed that I am capable and I am moving forward. I began working for a family with a beautiful little boy who is now 8 months. Nothing can melt my heart like a smile of a child who is happy to see me. There have been many times I have shown up to work worn and tired and discouraged – but somehow, in the midsts of singing taize songs and him falling asleep in my arms, all was right in the world again.

I also took another job that I once said I’d never do. I believe God’s hand was all over this, especially when I found myself saying yes to working for a church. I thought two people were being interviewed and on the way to the church I decided that they should offer the other person the job. I was mistaken though – two people were interviewing me. I said yes and left the church wondering if I had gone mad! Man, I love my job and thank God each week for it.

There have been many memorable moments. My ‘Anne of Green Gables’ experiment in dying my hair purple (it went green, and we managed to get it to a dark blue), deciding to go red and black, and the added touch of an eyebrow piercing. Cooking Indian, Greek and African meals for my housemates and for friends. Saying goodbye to my grandpa and hearing him call me “darling” and saying he loves me. Watching a beautiful ceremony in which my housemate married a wonderful man. The cottage weekend which was still one of the most beautiful two days of my life. Having the twins greet me (unprovoked) with “Happy birthday Bisbeff” on my birthday. Singing my first solo in many years. Preparing worship and prayer services. The “rave in the nave”. Teaching a class with Bob. Walks with Chris down by the lake.

Ah, so many moments. moments that last a life time.

But when I reflect on this past year, there are three things that stand out to me and are deeply intertwined.

I am utterly loved by God with a love beyond what I am capable of even imagining. This has been a common theme. I have many flaws, have made many bad choices. But the God who created the world loves me. Not with some casual or conditional love that depends on my fickleness. No, a love that loves me warts and all and a love that will not let me go. I had a wonderfully beautiful moment that is worthy of an entire post but I heard God loud and clear that he loves me and is pleased with me.

God’s timing is perfect. I said I’d come back to waiting. I have often joked that patience has never been my virtue. Patience as in the waiting thing. You don’t know how many times I’ve yelled and screamed at God that his timing SUCKS and if it were up to me, this court thing would have been done a long time ago. I often joked, “If this court process doesn’t teach me patience, I don’t know what else”. It was only a half joke. I have to admit there was fear in the midst of my laughter over my lack of patience – because what if this court process didn’t teach me patience? What would? After I finished my last exam, I came home to find a notice that the appeal decision would be delivered the following day. My employer had cancelled work for that morning, the stress of final exams was behind me, and I had an appointment already scheduled with my therapist after the decision would be released. I actually had ‘known’ for about two weeks that that would be the day. How? My only answer is God. He tends to prepare me for things every once in awhile. But what I didn’t know, was that there were others who had me on their mind and in their prayers specifically around this time and that there were others who had hunches that a decision was imminent. Now the timing for my family sucks – being sent to jail a few days before Christmas sucks. But for me, the timing was right. And who knows how God will use this timing in my family’s life.

As I read the judges’ decision, I was amazed at the carefully reasoned words. The words held everything I would want my family to read. I don’t think there was anything missing. And the only way they would have been able to glean that much detail would have been to read through the trial transcripts. This made the waiting period completely worth it. I was humbled by how God had this totally in his hands. I confessed my unbelief and affirmed that God’s ways are higher than my ways, his thoughts are higher than my thoughts and his timing – although not mine – is perfect. I smiled – as I felt God smile with me, saying “you have now learned patience”.

I am in love with my Lord and Saviour. A very good friend of mine always spoke of this deep love for God and how he loved nothing more than to spend his time with God. I was drawn to that, yearned for it but never got it. Well, I do now. God has become my faithful friend – i have yelled, screamed, kicked, complained and then laughed when trials have passed by. People often ask me how I get by with all this stuff – and I’m not kidding when I say a lot of prayer and a lot of coffee/tea. Prayer has become a vital part of my life and I am learning to pray without ceasing. Sometimes God annoys the hell out of me. Other times I think he is taking the hell out of me. Yes, there are still valleys and doubts and struggles. I said to someone recently who is struggling with faith that I think that is what faith is – struggling through life, but holding out that there is something bigger, someone holding us in the midst of our struggles. But man do I love God. I didn’t know such love was possible. I found the picture at the beginning of this post and fell in love with it – it is perfect for what I want to use to sum  up my year.

And here, in the words of Anne Sexton, is another beautiful summary of my relationship with God.

Dearest Dealer,

I with my royal straight flush,

love you so much for your wild card,

that untamable, eternal, gut-driven ha-ha

and lucky love

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  1. March 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    This is a beautiful testimony of your last year. I love reading about your last year, and all the ways God has blessed you and brought you through.

    Thank you for sharing this with the Blog Against Child Abuse.

  2. March 31, 2013 at 12:01 am

    Thank you for sharing your growth. I believe when we share like this that it gives other survivors hope that they can do the same.

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