Saturday, April 5, 2008

Onward christian soldier

I am a prisoner of war survivor.

i was released from captivity on May 15, 2004.

on that day, i left the church.

i remember the day i was freed from the camp.

i remember it because when i was freed, my enemy had still not been over thrown.

in fact, they still have not been.

i remember the day i walked through the doors to freedom, i was not sure if i was walking into freedom or away from freedom.

i was not sure if i had really just been captured or if i was walking into a deception of darkness.

i don't know who opened the doors to freedom, my friend or foe.

i walked with my husband as we carried our children through those doors.

our escape wasn't so easy as walking through the door and being transported to allied tents for food, clothes, water and a debriefing.

no. in fact, the door had a labyrinth tunnel that hid our enemies in many corners and crevices waiting for ambush.

they laid waiting behind every corner to tease, "you're being decieved, Satan is going to devour you".

they ignored us when we shopped in local grocery stores. isolation was a powerful weapon of torture.

they taunted with chants of "you're decieved, you're unstable, you're bitter, you have hurts, after all that we have done for you? ."

they murdered our reputation so that we couldn't join other believers. shame, another weapon, actually kept us from other POW camps.

What kept us walking onward?

the knowledge somewhere deep inside that there was a living God who loved us beyond our imagination.

the memories of walking with such a God that any place without Him was hell.

a dark place where we pretended to be worshippers while we couldn't see His eyes, hear His heartbeat or feel His love.

a place where we no longer knew that we were chidren of God, created in His image.

a place where we played church.

a place of conformity.

a place where we were called to sacrifice our own lives and calling for a mere man's.

we walked onward.......

reaching out to others who walked the path before us. some were an encouragement, others were so broken that we had to leave them beside the road in their blood.

at one point we followed a path that led us into another POW camp. we thought that you needed to be planted in a POW camp in order to be free.

we thought we snuck out of that second dark place, taking prisoners with us, only to discover that one of the victims was infact a soldier of the enemy.

he stole from us, left us on the side of the road wondering if God and our dreams were real.

we picked ourselves up and started walking again. we found comfort in the writings on the wall from other survivors. we found comfort in our own writimgs and even in anger.

we continue to walk looking for the green pastures where the sheep graze.

knowing only one thing, that we will recognize His sheep that graze by His tent, by the fruit that they have.

it is four years later, we are still walking towards the light of freedom and i pause to contemplate the writing of a synchroblog.

I will attempt to answer questions posed to the public by another POW survivor.

What do they/you need?
What did/do you need as you as went/are going through this transitional phase?
How can a ministry or service help them/you?

I can not pretend to answer these questions for others. Even speculating what other people need or want to me is a form of dysfunction that perpetuates abusive cycles. So many have felt that they know what I have needed without taking the time to get to know me or even ask.......

So my answers are very personal. They have frankly become very practical.

What do I need?

i do not need a ministry to fix me, to tell me how to heal, how to find jesus or how to do anything. as much as i would like a quick 4 step process on how to get over this the right way- it will not work.

futher i find the very idea of a ministery somewhat repeating the old way. it sets up relationships where one has the "answers" (ministering to) to things over the one who needs the answers. there is one mediator between man and God- if you are reading the new testament.

i do not need your pity, your judgements or your own quick answers for my life.

what i need is a friend.

someone who will listen to me without telling me how long i need to get over it, how i need to get over the pain, wounds or bitterness.

just listen.

a friend who will speak to me humbly and honestly.

how about someone to stand beside us and help us physcially?


we need help. people who can stand side by side and help us with the simple mundane tasks of rebuilding our house, parenting a child with autism and every day stuff...without being judged. we'll reciprocate- honestly- we are not selfish idiots who want to be served; we are just tired of serving for so long without stopping to eat or drink ourselves.

what i need in regards to theology is consistency.


why is it that the church follows new testament law when they talk about eating pork (for example) but old testament law in regards to tithing?

what i need is the ability to ask questions without being told to do so is rebellious.

what i need is to be able to agree to disagree with you sometimes.

what i need is to be able to make mistakes, be forgiven, hear "sorry" when you do, and a chance to offer forgiveness.

what i need in order to join another group is to know that the group is healthy and diversity is accepted. that they are focused on the empowerment of each member- helping each other find their true identity and calling- and standing side by side to see those things fulfilled as we are able; without judging the status of one's calling or giving value to some gifts over others. that if one can't walk, we carry him; that if one can cook; he cook and so forth, the building up of each other.

...a place where we let God do any needed convicting; that we spend our time encouaging relationships with God and each other.

what i need perhaps the most of all is love and being free to love.

without fear. without shame or condemnation.

and the return to the knowledge that we are all created in His image- wonderfully and beautifully; and loved just as we are.

with no exceptions.

hey, thanks for asking-

and to those who are reading- thanks for listening-

please feel free to respond.

in love;
Tera, his rose.....

*this post is not intended to disrespect any soldier who has survived a real prisoner of war experience. symptoms of ptsd are often felt by persons having left any abusive/controlling situations and the comparison to fleeing a POW camp is for the purpose of expressing myself creatively.


Anonymous said...

I agree completely with everything you have said here Rose.

Your experience parallels ours in many details.

As to the questions, and the synchroblog, it just feels too much like somebody trying to feed off my disillusion and pain once again. The vultures have gathered. I have discovered abusers even amongst those who come together as survivors. I just never thought that was possible. So I am extra wary of anybody asking me what I need.

How do you know its a transitional phase? Isn't that assuming a great deal about my spiritual walk?

Only GOd knows what is going to happen next, and I certainly DON'T need to be sharing my innermost pain and deepest longings with some anonymous person who wants me to 'share'. You have to be vewy, vewy careful.

I am sick of confession sessions.

I am sick of christians who say they just want to help, but don't even have the capacity to listen without judgement or advice.

I am sick of those who masquerade as those 'just trying to get alongside' the suffering, when all they are doing is feeding their own need to be needed.


What do I need?


From others, and in myself.

Jayne said...

Wow, I so wish you could come to my church and feel the love and acceptance I feel being a questioning believer. I am so sorry that you endured this abuse in His name. And it is abuse and control, no doubt about it. This is why so many people RUN from any type of organized religion. The fear that the options are a vengeful, angry God, or no God at all. It's just so not true. Love and light to you on your path of recovery Tera Rose.

glenn said...

Jane ~ That was beautifully written and honest. I am sorry that you had to go through all of that. For a long time I kept trying to break back into the cage. Being free takes some getting used to. I am just starting to like it. ~ Grace & Peace

Barb said...

Terra, this was such a beautiful way to express all of this. I'm so glad you are writing on this topic and have joined us here trying to process this place we find ourselves. I wonder sometimes if we will ever be able to hear the word 'ministry' with out the sick feeling in the pit of our stomachs.

kathyescobar said...

this was absolutely beautiful, thank you so much for sharing your heart so honestly. you definitely touched a chord in mine.

Jonathan Brink said...

You said, "the knowledge somewhere deep inside that there was a living God who loved us beyond our imagination."


Cindy said...

Tera rose, i'm moved by your story. i can relate to enough of it... i should say that it sounds like you're more than surviving. you're really living.
when i've been through a similar transition, i didn't know what i needed. i guess mostly i just needed time. and reassurance that nobody hold the rule book on how to do it.

beautiful words- i'm so glad you wrote them.