I write because its 2013, and I’m still pretty torn up.
I went on a mission trip with GE in 2011.
But who knew one month of my life could hurt me so much?!
when I think I’m over it, I can see and feel everything all over again.
Its like time picks at scabs and makes them bleed again.
I used to
be SO ON FIRE for the message of Christ. I wanted nothing more than to
be His hands and feet. I want to BE like Jesus before talking about Him.
I was so ready to just spread His LOVE. (The real kind of Love, not
Teen Mania Love.) I still am, in a way…
But I am scared now.
am scared because now, whenever I find mission organizations, I freeze
up. I become suspicious. And I automatically shy away the moment I hear
ANYTHING concerning “checklists.” SO MANY ORGANIZATIONS require
“training” in prayer and healing. Whether or not they are up to the
standards of Teen Mania is beyond me, but I see TM EVERYWHERE. I
see traces of it in almost every ministry and the moment I see any
similarity, I freak out. I get angry, I cry, I become anxious and can’t
feel any peace. There are no words to describe how fearful TM made me.
For instance: The other day, I thought I saw my Project Director. My heart sped up and I almost had a panic attack. I am not kidding you. My breath quickened and I got dizzy. I HID.
And I KNEW it wasn’t him! Yet him LOOKING like him was enough! He looked like the man who had no grace for me whatsoever. He looked like the man mocked Hindus to their faces. He looked like the man who, for one month, almost made me believe every single sexist lie TM teaches.
Oh those lies!
came home, and for months all I could do was sit in a hot shower and
BEG God to turn me into a boy. I had begun to believe that there was no
way I could be this “perfect, Proverbs 31 woman.” I had begun to believe
that I had to be silent, and beautiful, and submissive, and that there
was no way I could POSSIBLY be a pastor because I was born without skin
hanging between my legs.
I swore to myself that I would rather cut off my breasts than be the image TM taught.
And that scares me.
Even when TM found out I was hurt, you know what happened?
They called me.
And they said, “Sorry for your experience.”
Then you know what happened?
They DEFENDED all the crap that happened on my trip.
And here I am, scared out of mind, terrified of this person over the PHONE, sobbing my eyes out.
I told someone who I thought was a “friend.”
And she said I was deceived and speaking the lies of Satan.
Both people offered to pray it out of me.
And all I did was CRY.
And ask myself what I did wrong.
I had NIGHTMARES for MONTHS.
And you know what?
I was a Jerk when I came back. I was legalistic beyond belief. My family was concerned. And I beat myself up over everything.
I still beat myself up.
Because somewhere, deep down, I still believe that everything was my fault.
That maybe I didn’t “have enough faith.”
That maybe I really was “deceived.”
How can one month screw you over so badly?
How can it keep you from going to church?!
How can it strip you of all your conviction for ministry?!
How can it take your fire away?!
How can it keep you from trusting people!
And the truth is, a year and a half later, I am still scared to speak out.
I am still terrified.
And I am still hurt.
(Note from RA: This individual asked me to remove the indentifying details and specifics of her story because she does not want to be contacted by TM again. Suffice it to say that her experience is a common one on both GE mission trips and the HA internship: abusive physical conditions, inadequate rest and medical care, oppressive legalism and the lesson that everything bad that ever happens to you is your fault.)