I didn’t want to write this post. I didn’t want to talk about my pain. I didn’t want to share my trauma. But, as my Facebook newsfeed loaded with countless versions of #metoo, I knew I had to speak. So, let me share my #metoo.
1) #metoo #metoo #metoo #metoo #metoo #metoo #metoo #metoo #metoo #metoo #metoo #metoo #metoo #metoo
Each one of these hashtags represent an individual person, not necessarily specific times of abuse or harassment. Some were a one time situation, some were friends, and some were family. Each one wrote with ugly permanent markers across my heart. Less Than. Worthless. Unloved.
2) I think that drawing attention to a problem, especially speaking out as a victim, is extremely courageous!!
I didn’t speak out for a long time. By the time I did, things were already in motion that tied the hands of those who would’ve helped. It left someone I love vulnerable, and now she carries a #metoo as well. There is no greater guilt in my heart than that one. (And, no. It’s not my guilt to carry. I take it to God’s altar often and know that I am forgiven. It is just another scar of my life that I have to acknowledge.)
3) Thankfully, #metoo is NOT the end of the story!!
This world is eaten up with sexual immorality. It is something that has launched some of God’s fiercest warriors into action, though. Some of the strongest women I have ever had the privilege of knowing are in my own family. My Grandmother, Aunts, Sisters, and Cousins all have various scars. But they refuse to let those scars be their labels. They have used their voices to say #metoo long before hashtags were a “thing.” Their strength and stories have shown me it is often the ugliest part of our story that God turns into the most beautiful redemption.
After all those #metoo situations, I found a relationship I thought would be safe. I put my whole being into another human. And was rewarded with 10 years of misery. I was so angry at God for making me develop early, for putting me in situations where I was at risk, vulnerable, victimized. I couldn’t believe He loved me.
When I finally came back to Him, I was hesitant to really believe. I mean I started going to church again. I was “doing the right things,” but I hadn’t given Him all of me.
For the better part of the next decade, my favorite scripture was Psalm 13. With its opening refrain of
“How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?….”
Y’all, it spoke to me. It spoke to my pain. It was the cry of my heart in the darkest of hours.
But God gently, patiently showed me that I was the one forgetting; I was the one who had turned my face away. I had tried to use human ideas to fix spiritual problems. Y’all, it just doesn’t work that way.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this darkness, against evil, spiritual forces in the heavens. Eph 6:12
See, I didn’t want to write this post because I didn’t want to cause anyone any more pain. If you are like me, every single one of the #metoo statuses you’ve seen pricked your heart. It was engulfing. It was overwhelming. It was suffocating. There were so many ways and thoughts people shared of “doing something” to change the world. I felt completely out numbered and ineffective. I saw man-bashing. I saw victim blaming. I saw fingers pointed in every direction but at the ground where the serpent slithered past undetected. Satan is keeping us locked tight in a battle and we are relying on our own understandings. If he can convince you that there is no way to change the whole culture, you won’t try to help the single mother next door. If he can convince you the problem is too big, you wont notice the uncomfortable, furtive glances the woman on the bus is giving to try and get away from the unwanted conversation she has suddenly found herself in. He wants you to look out at the forest and see the vastness of it all. He wants you to be discouraged. He doesn’t want you to love the people in your own neighborhood. He doesn’t want you to be aware of what is right in front of you. I was at a leadership conference recently, where a speaker went out of her way to make sure we understood no program is going to solve it. How the casserole brigade is organized has no bearing on the fight. There is no podcast, no committee, no agenda, no creed, or mission statement that will fix this world.
The answer is Love. Jesus loves us so much that he has already won this battle for us.
Don’t be guilty of turning your face away from God only to be overwhelmed and discouraged by the enormity and prevalence of sin. I have been guilty of this, but now I hold tight to the final two verses of Psalm 13:
“But I have trusted in your faithful love;
my heart will rejoice in your deliverance.
I will sing to the Lord
because he has treated me generously.”
My friends, as you see these ladies (and men) stand up and say, “This is a real problem,” I pray that you will not be overcome and discouraged. I pray that you will find your effectiveness in the lives of the people God has placed right in front of you. He planned and planted you right where you are. So, look around you. Ask Him to show you who needs His love. And then, take a deep breath, and dive into their mess! Be the hands and feet of Jesus.
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment. 2 Tim 1:7