Today’s guest post is written by Cheryl Meakins…
A Date with a Time Machine
Time. It is persistent and consistent. I am constrained and defined by time. But God is not. Though I know it in my head, I often act as though God is limited by time.
When I consider how God has prepared me for my purpose, I easily slip into a linear box. I assume I am prepared and then live out my purpose. If you had asked me a year ago how God had prepared me for my purpose I would have answered in a time-line. I experienced childhood abuse, God healed me throughout my twenties and thirties and then he broke my heart for the cause of human trafficking. It makes sense right? First I was hurt, then healed, then called to heal others!
But God turned the tables on me.
God arranged a date with me and a time machine.
I stood lost in worship on a Sunday morning. Everyone else faded away and it seemed to be just me and my Lord in a melodic dialogue. The lyrics caught in my throat as I prayed the last half of Hillsong’s Hosanna, “break my heart for what breaks yours, everything I am for your kingdom’s cause.” I had no idea the magnitude of that prayer.
Within a few months, I was confronted with the horror of human trafficking. My heart truly broke as I came face to face with this inhumane scourge across our nation that also reached every shore in our world. I saw what broke my Father’s heart.
It seemed as though God had woven all of my experiences and education together for this call. Opportunities for awareness talks began to pop up, but there was always this nagging idea that I was supposed to do more. I was supposed to get my hands “dirty” in this fight.
I began to read books on healing from sexual abuse so I could better understand the trauma that human trafficking causes within a woman’s soul. But as I began to read, I found myself on the edge of a panic attack. I began to wake from dreams that seemed all too real. I was rattled, shaken up, struck to the core of my being! Did it mean I could have been sexually abused and not remembered?
Over the next six months, while in the care of a counselor, I began to experience flash-backs. Repressed memories were fighting their way to the surface of my mind, a clinically significant sign of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
My little brain, at the age of five, could not comprehend the horror of sexual assault, so it shut down. Disassociated is the clinical term. My mind shut it out, until it felt safe enough to bring it to my memory at the ripe age of forty! One of the hardest parts of the journey into my past was comprehending how the emotions, concepts, facts, lies, shame, and guilt of the assault never got processed at the time of the trauma because my mind wasn’t mature enough to do that work. Though the trauma had physically happened 35 years ago, for my mind it was as though it happened yesterday. Time warped.
Traumatic flash-backs were not what I had in mind when I asked to move forward in my purpose.
To heal from any abuse is a life long journey. Layers of shame and guilt get replaced with anger as the perpetrator is finally seen as the guilty one. And anger gets replaced with acceptance. It happened, it was, but I am here today. The past eventually loses its power to manipulate my present, as lies are silenced with the truth.
Though I was processing the grief of my childhood, my present life suddenly made sense! No wonder my heart broke for those women and children suffering sexual abuse in slavery. No wonder he had called me to fight for them.
In the time travel God had performed, he took me forward in purpose to bring me back to my past. And out of the new review of my past came a broader, deeper, and wiser purpose.
You see, human trafficking lies at the far end of the continuum of abuse and 95% percent of the women and children being trafficked have been sexually abused as children.
This is where he has asked me to pound some stakes in the ground and stand, in the land of healing from abuse. My healing continues while I begin to get my hands “dirty” with the work he has called me to. He has planted a vision for a ministry to heal abused women by providing resources and services that address the wounds of their body, soul and spirit in the safety of restorative community.
Preparation doesn’t always happen before the Purpose. Sometimes the Purpose reveals the preparation. And the journey? It might feel a bit like having a date with a time machine!
How is God using your today to prepare and purpose your tomorrow?
Cheryl is passionate about strengthening women to courageously face their wounds and become the healers and warriors God made them to be. She shares her journey on her blog and at speaking events. Cheryl has published several articles across cyberspace and print and has recently been published as a contributing author to two devotional books. If I can do all things through Christ, Why can’t I find my car keys and Big Dreams from Small Spaces by Group Publishing. You can visit her ministry at www.MeakinsSpeak.com.
(The current Preparation series is intended to help you look for, notice, and acknowledge God working in your life. At the end of the month, I’ll give away a free ticket to the Living Proof Live with Beth Moore event in Springfield, IL, October 25-26, 2013. All you have to do to qualify for the free ticket drawing is to comment on one or more blog posts throughout the month of March. The ticket will be given away on April 1st (and it’s not an April Fools joke!). (If you live too far away to attend the event, I have an alternate giveaway and will then pass along the ticket to someone else.)