I’m placed in a town called Rochdale, which is basically northern Manchester, and it’s pretty quaint. Also, my host home is like ten minutes walking from the only Starbs there 😉 My team is awesome! My team leaders are named James and Hannah, and they just got married to each other this past summer. They’re also both British. 🙂 My team member is a Brazilian girl named Thamiris, and she’s quite possibly one of the sweetest, most caring people I know.
This week has been long, exhausting, and hard. But FT is almost over, and I can finally go to a place that I can call home.
I don’t really know how to explain FT, except in one way: intense. Basically, we start at 9, have a bit of a team time, then worship, two 45min-1hr long sessions, lunch, three or four more 45min-1hr long sessions, reflection time, FTTV, cleaning, tea (aka dinner), then either a social or a free night. We have a bunch of breaks between everything, where we all stack up on coffee or tea, and we usually get home around 8 or 9. Like I said, these days are pretty intense. The teachings and the bonding times are so, so good, but a girl just wants to sleep sometime.
I’ve been sick for the past couple of days, which may come from some weird bug or it may come from being exhausted or both… So I guess this girl got her sleep.
Back to the point–
On Sunday, I felt like everything hit me like a wall of bricks. Dave Baker (Pete, the GB National Director’s dad) spoke about child safeguarding, and since he lives and works in Rochdale (where I’m placed!!!), he mentioned it a lot, which makes sense because he would know their statistics more than any other town. But as weird as this sounds, when I had originally thought about the topic, I thought about child safety, like within the Internet and personal space and stuff, but I have no idea how I forgot about neglect and abuse (physical, sexual, and mental.)
Dave started going into WHAT IS sexual abuse, and then different ways to see if you can spot it and how to respond, and my heart basically felt like it stopped. I know this sounds weird, but sometimes I forget everything my dad did to me. Sometimes I block out those two years of my life out. I know that they’re there, and I can mention it in my testimony without even thinking about it, but sometimes I don’t feel like it’s real… Like it’s a really horrible nightmare that I never want to have again.
Until I came to the Cornerstone at 19, I had only mentioned it to two people at the fresh age of 12. One was alarmed, and the other didn’t necessarily believe me. “Why would he do that?” was asked, so I partially feel like I forced myself to believe it didn’t actually happen.
Now when we were talking about how to respond and all, I didn’t know what to say. I honestly don’t know if I could keep a level head if a child (or anybody, really) told me that was happening to them. I would be so sad, so angry, so emotional, so afraid that I would say the wrong thing.
I don’t understand how people can be so perverse and twisted, but all I know is that whenever I think about this topic and think about this issue that’s going on in the world, in our hearts, all I can think about is how God created all of us, and how I need to love others, even if I disagree with their actions. And then I think to myself that these people probably (maybe…) hate their actions more than I hate their actions. Because they’re the people who have to live with this everyday, and I only see it from a bystander perspective, or from my dad, a victim perspective.
And I come to this, because I feel like I hate my sin more than others hate mine. (I don’t even know if that sentence made sense, haha.) But I sin everyday from idolatry. And from that, that causes a whole lot of other sins.
I think when people think about idolatry, they think about worshipping other gods or celebrities. But not me. I idolise depression and perfection.
Since I was twelve and realised what had actually happened with my dad (that the suicide and the abuse was actually a bad thing and that he was never going to come back, etc.), I used “Depression” as my identity. I was a super angsty teenager, and I played the victim with my family, and I played it well. I didn’t see myself as living past 18, and I felt hopeless. I thought of myself as a low, worthless person that didn’t need to exist. I mean, it was so bad that I’ve attempted suicide four times.
But that was one side of me–
My other face was “Perfectionist.” As I was a selfish, spoiled brat on one side, I attempted to be a simple, sweet, perfect person to everybody else that I encountered. I like order. I like organising. I like cross-referencing and colour-coding, everybody knows this. But it was more than this. I wanted everybody to think that my life ruled. That nothing was ever wrong. This also affects me being a people pleaser. This made me give in to horrible boys and toxic friends. I wanted to show people that despite having a suicide-committed dad, that I could still smile and help others all that I wanted. (Up until a year and a half ago, I also thought of myself as an extrovert, only to find out the hard way that I’m a social introvert…)
I suffered from pride from both directions. I thought of myself of the worst person in the world, yet also the most perfect person in the world. I was confused, and if I’m being honest, I still suffer from these two daily. (These is me asking for accountability within these issues.) As I’m working through my issues, I know that my identity is not in depression or perfectionism, but it is in Christ! And who am I to struggle in these things daily but to judge the people who are also still struggling?
Though I know that their sin is different from mine, sin is still sin. Jesus is working in their heart all the same, whether they are Christians or not, and I pray that these people will find their identity in our great Almighty King and will stop sinning, but for me, I pray that I will stop judging and sinning, but also just continue praying whenever I feel either of these coming onto me. If Jesus has washed my sins away, then I need to give thanks more to that and less to my flesh and be more like Jesus.
If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
– Colossians 3:1-4
Sorry if this seems all over the place and probably for the millions of grammatical errors! The progression seemed right in my head, and I typed all of this out on my phone. 🙂
I’m not condoning any of the above behaviour, haha. But our God is just, and He knows what He’s doing. All we can do is show Jesus through us.