I am not sure how I found myself in this dark and cold cave. I suppose it was shelter from the scorching sun, a cool and numbing respite in the midst of the desert where I had wandered. I did not even know I was headed out into the desert, I thought I was home. It was not the attacks or the even the disparaging words that drove me out, it was the silence in which the enemy invaded my mind with his lies about me. And so I ran from this screaming silence.
Mind you, at ﬁrst I fought, then begged, then pleaded in tears and torment. But, with each step in trying to control this battle, instead of trusting in my Lord, the enemy found a deeper hold on me. I suppose he was always there within me, the doorway always cracked open from childhood wounding that never healed. And so, the enemy crept in silently or even boldly in lies of love. So many times he appeared as my soul mate, my true love, and created a happiness so wonderful that I professed regularly it was too good to be true. Ah, my spirit tried to warn me, my Guardian Angel appealed to me, but I had not paid enough attention to these inner voices to heed them. I had given over my trust to the world and what I saw. Each time the enemy asked me to give up my truth for his, I literally yielded my trust to him, even as people asked me why. “Why? I did it for love’s sake, self-sacriﬁce, both of which are good, are they not?” Such cunning I did not know anything of, such cunning I was no match for.
When the enemy was done with all that I gave to him, he did not throw me out as so much rubbish. No, that would be too easy, too merciful, and not any fun. He would profess his love for me and then torture me. He would bit by bit act in the ways he knew would hurt the most, punish me and make me question my own sanity. His torment was so treacherous because its perfect camouﬂage prevented me from understanding what was happening. I thought I was going crazy and if I could only ﬁgure out what I was doing wrong, surely he would respond with love again, for he did love me, he told me so often.
Trauma bonding, there’s an imposing word.
And so, I ﬂed. I ran within myself, to the very prison of the enemy. Here he had me all alone and where I could not escape. Lies of worthlessness, lies of blame, lies of being wrong, crazy and out and out unlovable. With each torment I ran without looking and into a desert of isolation, shame and powerlessness. I ran until I stumbled into a cave so deep, cool and dark, I could let the numbness quiet my mind. Here I stay a long while, hiding in my shame. But here the Lord my God did not abandon me. My journey had forced me to drop all pride and self-suﬃciency, and arrive at prayer very little. And as all control was surrendered, I prayed a prayer of utter helplessness and this is where my Lord defeated the enemy. For within the deepest part of us, His light shines in a place no sin could touch. This beautiful prayer of helplessness is the way to Jesus’ heart of which St. Therese speaks of. In this prayer I began to reach for Jesus in the way of the poor.
Through His mercy, guides, teachers and signs began to appear. He strengthened me and called me to journey back home to Him. As I stepped out from the darkness of my cave into the bright light of the sun, my eyes protested and my body fell weak upon the sight of the desert before me. I had wandered far and to journey back would bring much pain and suﬀering. This is where I stand and I know not even the way. Do I go back, do I go forward, do I head east or west? But, here in my helplessness the Lord blesses me, for to survive I will have to take each step with Him. Faith will be my map, trust will be my shield, prayer my strength, and His love my very will. This time I will be grateful for the struggle, because the struggle causes me to give myself completely to Him. I will oﬀer thanks for each painful step, because each pain reminds me I am alive, I am in Christ, and I need to continue to depend completely on Him. As the sun scorches me, I will claim the ﬁre of His love within me. As my steps stumble, I will call upon His Holy Name to assist me. As I thirst, I will drink in His love of me and love Him all the more. This time I will give all my trust to only Jesus and know that he will catch me the many times I fall.
And so, I step from the enemy’s prison and out into the fallen world, no longer alone, but with an army of angels, saints, faithful sisters in Christ and the Holy Word of God. I thank you Jesus, my beloved, the one my heart loves. Draw me in your footsteps, be my protection, my strength and my way. You are bringing me home, home to You and with you. If Jesus is for me, who can be against me, if Jesus calls me, who can stop me?
Copyright 2021, A Daughter of Hope