When I was in my twenties, I read a book by a popular Christian author which told the story of a blonde virginal Christian co-ed who is attacked and raped by a stranger. She becomes pregnant and decides to go through with the pregnancy. Her fiancé dumps her and her Christian school kicks her out. By the end of the book, she has given birth to a perfect baby girl, she has forgiven her rapist (within nine months), completely gotten over her rape (within nine months) and has a handsomely rugged new preacher fiancé (within nine – ok you get my point).
Good Christian girls don’t have PTSD, evidently.
This is all perfectly consistent with the modern day Christian Theology of Pain, which is that no matter how horrific the event, God will buff out all the rough edges and make you as good as new. The signs outside churches promise it. The preachers on tv guarantee it.
I certainly believed this is the way it was supposed to work for a very long time. When I first left the POS church, I went in search of the sermon, the small group lesson, the Bible Study that would get me better. Then it was the conference, the therapy session, the book, the blog. And I would certainly find things that would educate or enlighten or make sense to me in some way and YES! I had it all figured out! I was all better now! It was like a temporary high. But in a few days or weeks I wold be hit in the face with my damage and brokenness, and I would be back in the pit.
The emotional and spiritual abuse I've survived are like an amputation. And for years, I've kept waiting for God to grow my leg back. Every story I heard and every book I read seemed to say that was how it was supposed to work.
And yet, the leg didn't grow back. I got furiously angry. I got depressed. I thought God hated me personally and intensely.
I'm beginning to wonder how many other people sit in church who feel how I felt. The couple who is called to testify how God "restored" their marriage after an affair, when in reality the consequences and the pain still haunt them both. The parents who have lost a child who can never say out loud that they no longer believe that "God works things for the good of those who love him".
What happens when the leg doesn't grow back?
I'm ready to get off the Hamster Wheel of Healing. It's not that I don't see the value in the blog or the book or the therapy session, but I'm ready to stop believing in salvation or rescue. I'm ready to strap on a prosthetic and limp through life, rather than waiting for God to turn me into this pink and perfect person.
Maybe that is what true healing is, when you stop waiting to be saved or fixed, and just live life how you are.