Years ago, a woman named Lena called my ministry. She had come across the website searching for answers and I began to mentor and minister to her. She was a middle aged woman. She had been a Christian for more than twenty years. What led her to contact the ministry were feelings of emptiness, disappointments, and major discouragement in her zest for Christ. As Lena spoke, it wasn’t difficult to realize Lena’s suffering from spiritual abuse. She also had problems with her weight. Originally, Lena was disappointed with God. She had anger towards Him because He had not done the things that others had prophesied to Lena. While she carried these negative feelings toward God, she also felt that she was responsible for the reasons why God hadn’t fulfilled the promises, spoken to her by others in the church. Lena couldn’t understand God’s mistreatment against her. She felt God was mean and she was responsible for this mistreatment. She had also been mistreated by leaders who she allowed to set standards of her level in Christ. She felt she worked hard to acquire a high level status-quo of ministry and when leaders in her churched blocked her or diallowed her to thrive, it took life away from her. This high level of ministry is what other leaders prophesied for her.
I recognized the complexities with Lena’s situation but I also realized that God would work through them one at a time and at His pace. From the very start, I was easy for me to be with Lena, in her situation. She was comfortable because she knew that I’ve experienced spiritual abuse before, which was no secret in my ministry, and that I had overcome, only by Jesus Christ. That was a big help. It was very easy to love her with Christ’s love. With the security in our new relationship, the first thing I wanted Lena to begin to see differently was God and who He really is as opposed to the seemingly prophetic voices in her life. I recognized that Lena needed to be deprogrammed from a god set up in her heart by herself and others. I revealed that to Lena and she agreed that she had put her faith of God in leaders instead of God, Himself. Lena shared with me that she had been raised Catholic as a child. However, when she got of age, she left the Catholic Church because she didn’t like the fact that they prayed to Saints and not Christ. She was uncomfortable with that. But it’s very interesting that she had come to replace Saints with church pastors and prophets who were now her source of getting through to God.
I turned Lena towards God’s Word. I didn’t want to begin to tell Lena to just read her bible or find a favorite scripture or even to just listen to me and what I say. I begin in reading scripture to her and placing her name in the text. I read scriptures like John 17, where Christ shows so much of His love for us in asking the Father that we may all be one with Him. This scriptures help to feel God’s love in action and it reiterates who she we are in Christ and that we are secure. Scriptures like these show our Lord’s character and His heart for us. The goal was to get Lena to a point where she would not need the words of others but only the Words of our Lord Christ, who is the manifestation of the Father. God's Word needed to be heard in her ears and heart, in order to know Him and trust Him. Lena had identified and defined her relationship with God from the voices of many people and past abusive relationships; based upon this she had salvation one day and the lost it the next.
She had followed after people to be validated that she is good enough and good enough for God. She had been taught that if you want God, you have to do good works, just like the sacraments, putting faith in performance and not belief itself. Because Lena had been in the church for 20 years or so, had a good academic background, and had been an achiever, she felt inadequate speaking to me. She felt that she should have been what others would call the prospering and abundance level of life, so to speak, with great leaders. She even compared herself to her friends who have achieved their goals.
What we leaned on God to work through with Lena were repentance, guilt, legalism, anger, forgiveness, and disillusionment. Disillusionment can be a big one when it comes to spiritual abuse. What some people don’t recognize is that prediction can be an addiction; where prophecy and God’s voice is perverted and lines or boundaries become foggy up against new age; where “I have a word for you” and “God is getting ready to” become questionable. Because it’s not on the most wanted list of needing counseling, it can be overlooked or not as important. But it’s torturing, to say the least, when one has been programmed to be effected by many voices (even supposedly of God) that make promises instead of heart changes with Jesus name stamped on it.
If you go within, it is the first place to hear the voice of God and most of the time, it is accompanied by change.