Bittersweet

Don’t miss the great comments in response to my previous post. There is a lot of wisdom there about forgiveness and reconciliation.

Those of you who have been through the process of recovering from spiritual abuse will recognize the cycle. You are cruising along, doing pretty well, and WHAM! you step into a pile of “stuff” – maybe self-pity, anger, despair, bitterness.

With a little help from your Friend and your friends, you get the “stuff” cleaned off and continue on. What I have found is that in spite of this regression, we move forward in our healing as deeper issues are addressed.

As I sit here in the front row of God’s remedial class, I am learning a couple of things:

I forgot that there were valid reasons we left. I forgot that there were real reasons that we could no longer be a part of the club.

I had more trouble letting go of my ideal of what it “should have been” than what it actually was.

This was a big hit to our confidence and identity. On the good side, we learned where our identity was misplaced in relationships and position. On the bad side, it has been difficult to withstand the continual battering of undeserved rejection and disrespect.

I decided that I will no longer blame “them” for my unhappiness. I will take back responsibility for the happiness and success in my life. I will not be defined anymore by what they did to us, said about us, or continue to say about us.

I can see glimpses again of who we were before we started cowering in the corner. As my new friend said, we are shaking the dust off and moving on.

We went out for Chinese food the other night, and through the fortune cookie, God spoke, maybe….


“He who has not tasted the bitter does not understand the sweet.”

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8 thoughts on “Bittersweet

  1. That remedial class has a HUGE front row!! Scoot over.

    (Grace you’re doing great. Your honesty helps so many. If I had been blogging 10 years ago… Well, I’m sure I would have written things i shouldn’t have. You’re doing very well in choosing your words w/o compromising the truth.

    It does take a long time to figure out who you are again. Seems odd, doesn’t it? For me, it was an indication of how much of my self worth I had wrapped up in the approval of the “spiritual ones.” Gag. One of the best outcomes for us was that our spirituality became home centered rather than church centered. We floated awhle, but my husband and I always had each other. When we became regular at another church, our faith stayed centered at home. I can tell that’s happended with y’all too. I’d quote Martha here, but that would make me gag, too. You know what I mean. ;-)

  2. “Never trust a leader without a limp.” (John Wimber)

    Perhaps this is why so many people find you a trustworthy source of encouragement. You honestly share your journey, and your limp is real, but while you may struggle with bitterness at times, it certainly doesn’t show in your blogging.

    Cindy, your comment above is so wise — thanks for putting things so clearly! You and Grace make a good team!

  3. Grace,
    There is a line in a hymn “This Is My Father’s World” that goes “…in the rustling grass, I hear Him pass. He speaks to me everywhere…” So, why not from a fortune cookie? You’re a good sister in Christ.

  4. I loved your line: ‘With a little help from your Friend and your friends, you get the “stuff” cleaned off and continue on.’ One of my favorite stories in the Bible is about the four men taking their paralyzed friend to see Jesus – to get him healed. But they couldn’t get to him because of the crowds, so they climbed on the roof and cut a hole and lowered their friend down to Jesus. Sometimes I can’t get to Jesus myself because of my own paralysis, but my friends can get me to him – can support me, can pray for me, can do whatever it takes. Love your honesty and openness.

    B~

  5. I think that tasting the bitter is different from accepting and becoming the bitterness. I think the grace that brings us through the bitterness (or better yet transforms it) is what enables us to communicate that same grace freely to others who need it.

  6. I have found that writing down my perspective and reasons for decisions helps, because later when I start to forget what happened, I can be reminded. Maybe something like that could help you too. :)

  7. I’m glad you can feel better, because I can being nourished from your writings. I am sure others too.
    In this process that we can call “healing”, I am some steps behind you.
    But I think I’m better than 6 month ago. I cannot understand God’s purpose now but I could see through these kind of experience, people grow in spiritual sensitivity.

  8. Cindy,
    I loved what you said about having a home centered spirituality. Honestly, I think if we don’t get that right, not much else matters.
    Welcome to the front row. Maybe we can be the teacher’s pets.

    robby,
    That is one of my favorite things about the vineyard people, their value of authenticity. I appreciate your wisdom and encouragement.

    john,
    I appreciate you too. Sometimes I’m amazed that I’ve found such awesome friends and mentors through blogging.

    bruce,
    Thanks, your honesty and sincerity is what I appreciate about you and your blog also.

    inheritor,
    That is so true, and I believe without having tasted some of the bitter, we simply can’t relate to those who are truly suffering.

    dollymama,
    It’s nice to see you. I definitely can use help with remembering. I’m glad that I’ve journaled some of this process because it helps to go back and see how my feelings have changed.

    hugo,
    Sometimes I’m impatient, but healing really is happening as time passes.
    As much as I hated what happened, I’m grateful for the things I have learned. I’m glad that you can see this as a time of spiritual growth for yourself also.

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