“I’ll see you at camp,” he said and we embraced, deep and long. I was not sure when I would see my beloved again. We planned to meet at the camp where his parents were volunteering for the week. We needed family before deciding what to do next. I hoped that he would be no less than an hour behind me. If I let my imagination run wild, well. . . the worst that could happen was something I could not handle. The fear lingered throughout the entire four hour commute. Fears and lies screamed at me as I drove the stretch of highway.
“You’re a Jezebel. That’s what they’ll say. This is your fault. They’ll blame this whole thing on you and tell people terrible things.”
“Your secret will come out, but it will be twisted. He’ll say you agreed. He’ll say that you lie. He’ll say that you lead men astray.”
“They will rejoice when you’re gone. They will think that the darkness has left. You were the one holding them back, keeping them from this divine nature, this divine love. Finally, they’ll be able to move on.”
“No. They won’t rejoice. They won’t let you go. They will come for you. They want you. They will follow you forever.”
The lies followed me all the way through the camp entrance. I parked in the gravel lot, weary from no rest and burdened by the voices. Willing my legs to walk calmly and my face to smile, I searched for family. Familiar faces greeted me with the standard curiosity of one you have not seen in a while. Quickly answering questions and avoiding small talk, I stated that I really needed my in-laws. They were not there, I was told. They had gone for lunch.
Of course, they had. The cook would not arrive until evening and they would be hungry now. They did not know we were coming. They only knew we were leaving. As exhausted as I was, I had to do something. I could not wander the campground aimlessly and I did not have the presence of mind to be social. I returned to the van, setting my children free to run and play. I would take care of the dogs. They needed water and to stretch their legs.
My mother and sister-in-law drove up as I was taking a frisky lab to a pole. I wanted to tie him up so I could have a hug and find a place to rest. Sister followed me, asking if I was ok. “No, but I will be,” I think was my answer. I was hot. I was tired. I was so weak. I tied the long leash to the pole and the dog let his legs feel the freedom. He ran straight for another animal, causing the leash to snap tight and knock me over.
The grass was hot beneath my shins and forearms. I let my face fall into it and a fountain of emotion burst forth. I trembled. I wailed. I wanted to scream. I wanted to curse the evil that had shrouded my morning, but all I could do was kneel there and cry.
My sister-in-law picked me up. “Just get me out of here,” I whispered. My mother-in-law joined us and took me to her bed for rest. “Watch my children, don’t let them get hurt. I need. . . to sleep.” My mother-in-law opened the window and turned on her fan. They left the room and shut the door. I turned my face into the pillow and sobbed.
This pouring out of my heart is a true story. It is my story. I share it with you in bits and pieces, hoping that it will point you away from man and toward Christ, who is the Truth. There is a father of lies who wants our souls and will torture those who listen to him. The day that I was freed from a controlling religious group took place after I found freedom in Christ. I could not have survived this experience without a relationship with Him. It was hard, but it was not endured alone.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.”
2 Corinthians 1:3-5