Earlier this week I asked, "Where is God in broken and abusive childhoods?"
The answers I received both publicly and privately, touched such tender places in my heart. They ranged from God doesn't win all the battles, to questioning the very existence of God, to God is quiet because He is sad too.
All very humbling responses.
So many searching for the same answer. So many suffering from dark memories that refuse to be forgotten. So many seeking to explain what may be unexplainable.
Or is it?
I hate the Sunday school statement, "We may never know. We have to live in faith." I hate it down deep in my bones. If the very nature of God is to be the God that answers prayer, why is He not also the God of answers?
So I've spent the last week seeking my answer.
Here's what I've gotten so far...
He never wastes a hurt. Anything I've been through, He can make it matter. He can turn the hurt into something beautiful. The very joy I'm having writing this book is only a small piece of the redemption in my life.
We have no idea what He's saved us from. I complain and cry and groan against all that has been allowed to happen, but I have no idea what He's NOT allowed to happen. Considering my background, I imagine there must be a quite a bit He stopped.
God didn't do it. Some will say God never gives us more than we can handle. A woman very dear to me said that's crap. God didn't do this, a person did.
God allowed it to happen. Here's where it gets sticky. When I have a certain amount of control, or power over my life, I see God working through, around and in what He's allowing to happen. When I was a child, helpless and small, it's a different story. He felt so very not there.
Here's where I think He was:
God was getting pissed off. That Old Testament angry God who everyone uses against you when you do something as horrific as vote differently...that guy... He's most ticked when the strong abuse the weak. He's not mad people don't "live right". He's angry for the children, widows, and the poor. In His world, the least are the first.
He was working a way out. I got out. Moments before it would've all been too late, an aunt stepped in and changed everything. Arguably, because God didn't remove me sooner, I formed an attachment to my half-sisters that might not otherwise have been there. Five years later, we got them out too.
He inserted survival spots. Small, shiny moments of good amidst mountains of bad. I saw them in the woman I babysat for who taught me to drive and bought me new clothes. The girls on my soccer team who didn't care my cleats came from Wal-Mart. A summer job that got me out of the house. A love of reading that took me away for hours on end. Sisters.
I still wish there'd been more comfort...more protection...more help. But since I started writing No Beauty Queen, I've had this scripture on a sticky note on my desk. I think it's simple and I hope it's true.
Out of Joel...
"I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten."