Today I was sitting in church reflecting on my life and my emotional walls. I counted them, evaluating all the reasons why they were built. My mother, the rapes, the broken promises, the lies and all the times I was betrayed. The little girl I once was, the little girl I used to be………I felt a tear escape my eye and I brushed it away never wanting to show any signs of weakness. I am good at building walls but have no idea how to tear them down.
Over the years, I’ve meticulously placed each brick, forever locking out the world, never trusting a soul, never letting anyone get too close; never letting the secrets of the past get out for fear of losing the love and respect of others. I’m a prisoner of my pain, my soul resting on a bed of nails.
That’s how it’s been my whole life but there’s a lot of brokenness in my walls now, all of them once pillars of strength, now cracking and slowing breaking under the stress of the haunting memories, the torment and the bleeding wounds that have never healed. They’re slowly crumbling from the weight of my heavy heart and a tangled spirit that doesn’t still.
Pastor Rusty has an altar call every Sunday at the end of service but I never answer for prayer because my scars just don’t give credence to others, leaving me to deal with my own personal thoughts and struggles.
There’s a sense of control and power in that but it’s extremely exhausting because the protection of all these walls by far exceeds my level of joy in life.
As a child my level of happiness was dictated by my circumstances , forcing me into a miserable existence that was totally out of my control but my life as an adult is governed by me and my need to live without all of the walls I’ve built has become greater than my want to keep everyone out.
I was reminded of that today during altar call so I climbed over my walls and like a soldier, in the front line of fire, without any armor, I made my way up to the war zone. “I’ve never been a coward” (total lie); I told myself as I made my way down the aisle and sat facing the congregation. Having never gone to the altar before, I looked them all straight in the face, my pain dislodging, fighting to spew about.
I couldn’t see for the tears built up in my eyes but I felt someone sit down beside me; she was a teenager or a young adult not yet in her twenties. She asked, “Have you been saved?” I automatically reflected back to being cornered all those years ago and panic set in. My eyes no longer able to hold back tears, failed me, as I searched for any amount of air in my lungs to breathe. I nodded my head at her as I lied to myself again, “You’ve never been a coward, Kerri”.
I was scanning the faces in the crowd, when she placed her hand on my back and asked, ‘What would you like to pray about?” I wasn’t sure how to answer having never said the words out loud.
Struggling to breathe, I pieced out the words, “I grew up in a house where I was raped over a period of thirteen years and I’m struggling with demons because of it”.
She waved her right hand, firmly, to the left in front of us, as if to push what I said aside and with a tone that screamed ‘That’s no big deal’ she said, “Oh, well……I’ve been through that”. Her words, kicked me in the face, smashing harshly against my soul. I was stunned as I turned to find a pursed lipped smile upon her face. Satan was sitting right next to me. Satan was working the altar.
I didn’t hear anything she said after that. She prayed about something but I was focused on the seething anger flowing through my veins. My walls were because of people like her and situation like this but sitting there, I knew one thing for sure; not this girl or anyone else was going to stop me from tearing them down, from improving myself, from finding my happiness.
It hit me then that God did not bring me this far to let me fail.
I stood up and faced the congregation, turning my back to her never speaking a word, and with a smile on my face, I walked up the aisle and out the front door of the church, her words leaving me with the wind. (Matthew 10:14)
I don’t believe that Jesus told us to follow him just to have us on his team. I believe he told us to follow him asking us to leave our current lives behind, traveling through life with him to make a difference, not just for ourselves but for others. (Mark 2:13-17)
I no longer have faith in organized religion, however I will continue to call on God.
From the personal journal of Kerri Bishop Reece
Healing Kerri – written January 14, 2007