2 responses

  1. L D
    June 15, 2017

    Dear Tamara,
    I am in tears as I write this… My heart is so very moved by your sharing some of your experience with us your readers and I LOVED having a chance to hear your voice for the first time! Please know that through YOUR voice, I heard God’s voice and felt His presence.
    I have felt so inadequate as a Christian for so long now. I remember thinking (much like I tend to think about therapy lol) that I must be doing Christianity wrong. I began thinking that at times as a teenager–right around the time that I sought help from a few ladies in the church that I’d grown to trust and respect (my Sunday school teacher, also our pastor’s wife) and then, with their encouragement, I worked up the courage to tell the pastor himself that I was being abused at home, was becoming depressed etc. Instead of concrete help, I was silenced and told that talking to others would “disrupt the fellowship of the church” and that I should “just pray about it.” I honestly felt like I had been sent back into the lions den and began questioning my faith as well as my experience. “Maybe my stepfather was telling me the truth and all daddies did sexual things to their kids to teach them and to show them how special they are?” Except, I was old enough by then to know that was not the case thankfully. So it HAD to be MY fault–it must be a punishment and “you can’t even get faith right!” I assumed my Christian walk must be lacking. The abuse continued.
    Tamara, I’ve not attended church in years I am ashamed to admit. I remember trying on my own to leave the family home and was told by church members that I should stay and “honor thy father and mother.” I miss church but the real world was not welcome in my church growing up. No one seemed to struggle with depression, anxiety etc. and Heaven FORBID revealing suicidal thoughts or terror of being pregnant by your stepfather! I feel like church was my only safe haven–and it let me down.
    Truth be told, though I have not been there in years, it greatly saddens and bothers me that the pastor or the visitation team or ANYONE from there (I think all of the people I knew have left–or most anyway but still, I am listed as being a member) has called or visited even ONCE to see where I am or how I am.
    So thank YOU for “visiting” me tonight and letting me know I am not alone and that God remembers me and sees me. Thank you also for caring and for sharing a bit of your story.
    Lori

    • Támara
      June 17, 2017

      Thank you Lori. Your support and comment was so kind and encouraging to me. Thank you. Little did you know, at the time, I needed to hear this. When you’re going through so much (as you know) you can lose touch with not only what benefits you can offer to others, but you also lose touch with who God is within you. So to hear you comment on this article was refreshing.

      I think authenticity is powerful because God is nothing but authentic (one we get to know Him well). So why shouldn’t we be as well? That was the hope I had when writing this article. I also just added another audio blog on 5 things I think we can do to “rebound” from what the religious community may have done to our faith.

      Your experience is so representative of “overly religious” communities. I have so many clients who have experienced this, including my own mother. Your experience highlights the religious community’s lack of awareness of challenges occurring outside of the church. I think the c hurch (hopefully less than in the past) is very afraid of touching the topic of abuse, trauma, and mental health. I don’t exactly understand why but I think it’s because the church community lacks general knowledge and spiritual knowledge. In fact, in scripture, Jesus came in contact with a demon possessed man who exhibited many of the same characteristics of someone suffering from a mental illness. You may like to revisit this story: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%205%3A1-20.

      I would think that with stories like this in the bible, the church would be prepared to discuss this topic, dispel myths, and hold the hands of people like you, me, my mother, others, etc. Hopefully our voice can trigger some awareness in the community at large.

      Thank you again for being so honest and kind not only on this article, but on many others in the past.
      All the best

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