I went to church today and as I drove there it felt like any other day. I turned the radio on and sang an Adele song, I think it was Someone like you or something like that. I turned right on Holliston, right on Union, left on St. John and right into the parking lot.
I parked in the parking structure, the next to the last row, a few stalls in so that I would have a fast get-away when church was over. I walked across the parking structure, up the steps and around the entrance to the auditorium. I walked in, saw my supervisor who was busy with other people, and walked down to find a seat.
As I sat down, because I was 5 minutes early I started thinking about something my professor said earlier that week. He was making a joke about “the frozen chosen.” These are Christians who cannot raise their hands high in worship but prefer to raise their hand right in front of their chest. I remember laughing at this because I can be like that sometimes and I remember in my home church when a member of the praise team started raising his hand in worship there was an outcry because he was doing something weird.
Any-who I was thinking about that when the music started. I stood up to begin singing and immediately felt overjoyed to be there.
During one of the songs (forgive me I don’t remember which) one of the song worship leaders asked everyone to raise their hands. I am for all intents and purposes a frozen chosen to my core, when it comes to raising my hands. I like to put my hand to my heart when a song is particularly moving, or I like to dance when a song is particularly fast. I like to clap my hands or hold my hands but I truly feel weird when raising my hands.
Anyway, so when this leader asked us to raise our hands I did so, because I felt like giving it a try. That act of giving it a try started my emotional Sunday morning.
I moved my hands to raise them and noticed that I was holding myself stiff (my therapist has been trying to get me to notice what my body is feeling and what emotions I am feeling so that I can begin to connect with myself). It was like my body was telling me I was anxious.
So I opened my eyes to see what was making me so anxious/tight. And I realized that I was holding my hands up in the exact same position my hands were in when I was being raped. (Yeah, take a moment and let that sink in.)
I immediately started to cry. I left one hand in the same position and moved the other over my heart. And I wept. I started talking to God in the middle of the 7th row back. I started telling myself and him that I didn’t do anything wrong. That in the act of being raped I was not submitting when I raised my hands. I started asking God to keep me in the moment, to keep me present (remember I dissociate and not just my feelings) and to help me heal this wound.
I continued to cry and thanked him for the moment. I continued to cry and told him that I freely submitted myself to him (God) because I trusted and loved him.
As I continued this healing moment, this tearful healing moment, I looked down at my hand and told myself to relax. That this was going to be a new posture, and that I was going to be free from the bondage of that posture.
You see when my boyfriend raped me he violated more than just my body. He violated my trust and my insides. He changed things, he changed my thinking processes and he stole innocence. Today I realized he stole the innocence of raising my hands in praise to God because the action was so closely related to what I naturally did when he was raping me.
Today God redeemed that. Today God set me free to raise my hands. Today God spoke to me. He filled me up and he didn’t allow it to be too much.
When the song ended the moment ended as well. I wasn’t an open wound. Instead I was knitted together and perfectly healed.
After the song was over Pastor Che spoke over everyone and he mentioned the verse that I have tattooed on my body. I started laughing when he quoted it because I have never heard anyone reference this verse in church. I felt like God was really speaking to me in that moment. God understood how freeing the previous moment was and he wanted to shine a light on the joy that lives within me. The verse was Ephesians 1:3, “for every spiritual blessing Christ received, we will receive in heaven” (NTV [New Tammy Version]). When I got the tattoo 9 years ago I got this particular verse because it was a message of hope for me.
It was indeed an emotional morning but it was not more than I could handle and for that I am grateful. Having that moment with God where he healed me of something I did not realize I was carrying made my day.