The great tragedy of life is not unanswered prayer but unoffered prayer.— F. B. Meyer
Trigger Warning: Sexual Abuse Content
If I remember correctly, I believe the only time I ever saw anyone pray in my family was when the phone rang and I heard my mother gasp inward that bone-chilling breath of air and grab her heart. My Uncle was being rushed to the hospital. When she hung up the phone, she immediately grabbed our hands and said, "We need to pray right now!" As a child, I remember thinking, "Oh, okay--so this is when we pray...when someone is close to death!" The only other time I heard people pray was when they recited The Lord's Prayer at funerals. I remember noticing I was the only one in the room who didn't know the words to the prayer but I would just move my lips, pretending like I did! I recall feeling genuinely scared of the prayer. I didn't know who they were talking about or to,and my imagination certainly ran wild at the notion of what type of evil they needed to be delivered from. As I've illustrated for you, all that I knew about prayer was that it was related to death; we pray when someone is about to die and we pray when they have died. I also attended some baptisms but I never truly understood them. Hence, the question always lingered, "What about the living? Do we pray for the living? Do they need to be delivered from evil too?" I have recently learned the deeper history regarding my parents and their thoughts on not taking us church. Not only did the Catholic church restrain my parents from getting married because my father was not Catholic, but my grandfather also became fed up with the church's money and molestation schemes & took his family out. I don't blame them at all for not taking me to a place that was supposed to represent peace but had danger written all over it. However, I wonder if prayer would have at least soothed me in my teen years when I had experienced being raped at a party, getting jumped in an alley, or starting my first relationship with a woman who would psychologically abuse me for the next 4-5 years. Those years were rough and lonesome. When I first hit puberty, I was deviant and desperate for attention--dating older men, sneaking out of the house, drinking & doing drugs. I believe that the very first day of middle school I was slut shamed because people found out I was dating a high school boy. I remember exactly what I was wearing that day: a black tank top with a velvet rose. It's funny how an outfit can stick with you in your mind when you've experienced pain with it. There was a beautiful angel with me on that first day of middle school though. She heard others slut shaming me and whispered into my ear, "My boyfriend is in high school too." She passed away shortly after high school. I've heard that God gives you a life review when you make it to the other side. I sure hope God showed her that moment when she whispered into my ear as a declaration of her loving spirit on Earth. To say that I absolutely hated middle school is an understatement. I cannot even drive past it without wanting to vomit all over it. I had no other reasoning for this mayhem happening in my life but, "Something must be wrong with me." So, in high school, I changed my deviance into good-girl and people-pleasing tactics-which I've hung onto for most of my life and they have proven to be just as destructive as deviance. I do believe God has always been with me. In the midst of the chaos in my teen years, I met a really kind boy during one of the breaks I was having with the abusive woman. He was a part of a church band. If I can recall, I think his father was one of the church leaders. It was one of the first times that I was exposed to a "church like family." Sadly, I felt extremely "unholy" around them and painfully awkward... That awkward pain of feeling unholy carried through with me until 2017 when I was in the middle of a divorce with my ex-wife and seeing a married man behind his wife's back. My life just became a whirlwind of, "I'm truly the worst person ever right now. How did I get here?" Luckily, the relationship with the married man did not last long. As I recall that relationship from healed perspective, I replay all of the red flags in my mind over and over again like a movie reel... picks you up in his car & the first thing he does is slide his hand up your shorty shorts, in defense of cheating on his wife, says "I've never done this before", takes you to a FIElD to have sex... You get the picture. Girl, you needed prayer so badly back then!
I'm not saying that he was the only one in the wrong--it takes two to tango & I pray God works his way through him too. It could have been a lot worse.
Sidenote: When writing a blog that pertains other people, I have to continously remind myself to be brave. I have written many posts and then deleted them for fear that the other person will be offended by my perspective of our situation but God keeps reminding me, "This is your story. You have to be honest but you can also be compassionate." So please know that I have compassion for the people in my life that have made terrible decisions either with me or against me. A lot of behaviors all come down to trauma. For example, I know the woman in my story was inflicting what was put on her onto me--but at the same time, I didn't deserve it so I need to be honest.
Clearly, prayers were with me because something drastically pulled me out of it all. It is the moments like these that have continously proven to me that someone does care and someone IS offering a plea for my life--whether it is a human or just God witnessing me and offering His love. Shortly after this experience is when I really dived deep into the waters of New Age ways... Stayed tuned for the next post to see how my thoughts on prayer changed in the New Age.