Friday, September 10, 2010

"Vulnerability, the Key to Freedom" written by Barb Lengyel

This beautiful, heartfelt piece was written more than 20 years ago by Barb Lengyel for sharing her testimony as a member of the Women's Aglow Christian organization. Barb is 63 and has been the care-giver to my daughter Sophia for three years and has become part of my family. I feel very honoured that she shared this with me. I asked her if she would mind if I posted it on my blog to share with others and she agreed.

One of the reasons I chose the topic, being vulnerable the key to freedom, is because I have just walked through it and realized how very much the body of Christ needs to deal with this issue in order to be set free from the past.

It is a hard thing to do and even harder to talk about, but the enemy likes to keep us in chains using anything he can to keep us in bondage. The word vulnerable means to be "open to be wounded, no self-protection" and the word openness in Webster's dictionary states we permit "unobstructed entrance or exit. Not closed, not covered, clogged or shut. A state which permits freedom of view. A lack of pretence. Expanded as an open book."

Openness is more of an attitude than an action. It is a feeling we give to other people that we are willing to share our hearts, our real selves down inside without fear.

It is a willingness to risk disclosing ourselves which always brings with it risks of being misunderstood, criticized, hurt, rejected or judged but because we are growing in our capacity to trust God and His love for us, we are willing to trust ourselves to one another.

Honesty and truthfulness are critical in our pursuit of God.

I could never have done this six months ago, but as usual God's timing is always perfect and His love for us much greater than the past and all of the walls we build around ourselves for fear of being hurt or rejected.

My mom was barely a teenager when she had me. A baby having a baby. It didn't matter what she did, according to my grandmother it wasn't good enough. That made my mom feel very insecure and unfortunately I grew up feeling very unworthy and unloved. I was the child who was always bubbly and happy. No one knowing the crush of my heart on the inside. I learned from very young to hide things and put up walls that no one knew about, but my heart ached constantly. I wanted to feel loved and protected.

My parents tried the best way they knew how to bring up myself and my two brothers. I appreciate that. As kids themselves it must have been hard.

When I was a young girl I was molested by someone. I never told a soul for fear of being rejected or not being believed. Another wall went up in my heart. I vowed at a very young age no one would ever hurt me again nor would I trust anyone.

I went to church and bible camp in my younger years. I loved going.

It was very legalistic though and we were told every Sunday if we didn't get saved we were going to hell. I was always the first one at the the altar time and time again but was not sure what salvation meant. I thought God was this giant in heaven who would punish me if I did anything wrong.

My misconception of God was extremely bizarre to say the least. I would look outside at night and if there were stars in the sky I knew He wasn't coming to get me but if it was really dark I trembled in fear.
I have no idea where that thought came from. I wanted to follow the Lord but who was He?

As I became a teenager I decided to have a good time because I was going to get struck by lightning anyway. My mom and dad were strict with me because I was a girl so my curfew time was really early.

Well there was one way of getting around that. I would get married and I could do what I wanted. (Talk about walking in rebellion.) So I married the first guy that asked me and at the young age of 18 I became a wife. What a shock I was in for. He was a farmer and here I was stuck on a farm. I didn't drive so saw nothing but cows for days on end. I couldn't do what I wanted either.

For the first year I was happy. I had a beautiful baby girl named Michelle. She was the highlight of my life and I was content to stay at home and be a mom.

It was after that things went terribly wrong. My husband had an affair so I packed up Michelle and left.

He talked me into coming back and I had two more children, Shawn and Jason.

After, the abuse started. I was physically, emotionally, and sexually abused.

I felt helpless, scared and paranoid of everything. I had no self-worth and was put down so bad I was a little less than a worm crawling on the ground.

When he came home drunk he would hit me. I had a place cleaned out that used to be our chicken coop and slept there or under the kids' beds so I wouldn't be found.
This led to 10 years of hell and no self-esteem at all. Resentment filled my heart.

I finally decided to leave before I ended up killing myself. I packed up the kids but Michelle wouldn't come with me. No matter how hard I tried or what I said she was staying with her dad. She was at the age where she could decide so I had to leave her behind. The rejection I felt was overwhelming, again another wall went around my heart.

The boys and I moved to Coaldale without her. I got a job at McLennan's bowling alley and tried to pick up the pieces of my life.

One night I got a call from my babysitter at work telling me my ex-husband came in and left with the boys. I called the police immediately but they said there was nothing they could do. For three weeks I did not know where my boys were. I could not cope with this. How could this happen? Where was this God everyone told me was so good and loved me? Was He really the God with the iron rod and the big stick in His hand?

A friend of mine came into where I worked and said her church would fast and pray for me and that my boys would return by Sunday. They also prayed for my salvation.

To my amazement the boys were brought back on that Sunday. A church I never knew had prayed just for me. I did not know this kind of love existed. Was the Lord real and did He love me?
After this happened I moved into Lethbridge and started attending this church.

My friend called one night and asked me to go to a Buzz Gertsen concert. He was up there yodelling, singing and everyone was clapping their hands to the music. Out of nowhere I started to cry and could not stop. I told my friend I didn't know why I was crying so much. She said Holy Spirit was convicting me.

I went up for prayer after the concert and a very special lady, Marie M., led me to the Lord and I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. From that moment on she was my spiritual mom.

Only the Lord knew what was about to happen and how very much I would need her and Bud to see me through the next tragedy.
I came home from work one day to find my kids gone again. They had decided dad could give them all the gifts in the world and mom couldn't. I called my lawyer and he told me there was nothing I could do. If I fought for them I would lose custody and if I didn't I would lose them anyway. That same day I had lost my job. The rejection again was overwhelming.

I sat in my living room the next day as my ex-husband came into the house and took everything away. I watched in amazement as beds, toys, clothes and my kids walked out the door. Again I was left with nothing. Self-pity and worthlessness filled my heart.

It was at this time the Lord surrounded me with a physical presence of His love. I was totally encased with the peace that passes all understanding.

(To be continued.)

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