Fakes, frauds, the broken and the deceived.

IMG_0182It’s amazing to me. As a preacher, the first rule to ongoing support and personal survival is to never, ever allow the people to see the sausage being made. You post a nice picture of you and your wife on the site, everyone smiles, there are no issues in your lives (see? We are a shiny, happy family) because God forbid you have issues, you would be disqualified from ministering.
So from the jump you’re a fake. Your career becomes about growth, numbers growth. You wear jeans and a hip button down shirt with the sleeves slightly rolled up. You make up for your lack of content in your sermon with multimedia and lights. You make sure that the praise team sings the newest contemporary songs so everyone knows how edgy you are. Your wife plays her role, no holes can be seen in her game. Your kids are not immune either, they must be paragons of the young, leaders among their class.

The reality at home may be far, far different. Because of the discrepancy between the performance that you and your family are forced to put on and the realities that you face, your kids may grow up hating church because they’ve seen Mom and Dad fight like cats and dogs. They’ve heard Dad’s comments about the church people he was just hugging on. They have watched Mom cry from frustration and loneliness. They grow up and avoid church altogether.

After 26 years of ministry, almost 19 with my wife as my best friend and partner, she has filed for divorce. This after leaving me around 8 months ago and taking the kids. During that time I was diagnosed with CPTSD from multiple traumas that I have experienced since age 10. Now I’m not talking about garden variety PTSD, bad memories because someone yelled at you or you lost some stuff. This is complete shut down PTSD, the worst my doc has ever seen. It seems that when my wife left, it triggered hell in me.

I drank a lot. I did not really pray. I fought physically as much as I could. Why? Because of the torture I was enduring inside. The doc explained that we have an emotional side and a rational side to our brain. Between the two sides, normal folks have bridges. These bridges allow memories and experiences to pass from emotion to rationality.

With PTSD, that bridge may be burned, you can no longer take an emotion that has trauma attached and move it from emotion to the rational side. With CPTSD, it is multiple traumas over a broad spectrum with all bridges burned. Welcome to hell, cowboy.

Example from a normal mind: this guy is staring at me, maybe he knows me or maybe he has had too much to drink. Just ignore him and enjoy yourself.

Example from PTSD: this guy is staring at me, he must be plotting on me, if I don’t move first, I could be hurt. /punches guy in the face and continues beating him.

No, it makes no sense to you. It makes no sense why a single memory can cause you to go into a trance and get stuck. Why someone would have to rock and make noises to keep thoughts at bay.

How this could happen to a believer.

I could expose my wife, what she’s done. I never will because I have made mistakes that I wouldn’t want broadcasted. I could go into details regarding the traumas that I have endured, not stories but realities. I could explain it to you as I’ve explained to close friends these last months and watched tears roll down their face about my memories.

It would all be for naught. That’s not the kind of preacher you want. You want the plastic hype filled primadonna that grew up in church, went to youth group, got his own church and is now tragically hip and completely unable to give you anything other than pat churchian answers to your issues.

I am not him. I am no one’s hero. I am damaged, limping, hurt and wounded. I wake every day with nightmares whose terror is quickly replaced by loss, mourning, fear and betrayal. They drop like pinballs in my mind, bouncing around and keeping me from focusing- all I can do is re-live or feel. Soon more balls drop, banging around inside until I literally shut down.

Why don’t you just pray or worship or read your Word you ask? Do you not understand that mental illness is real? That mine was caused by things done to me, things I’ve done and seen? It was caused by being completely shut down until I was 26 years old? Then when I did trust and give my heart, to have that betrayed and destroyed? How do you pray then if not about that?

I am not normal, never will be. But my pain and my hurt gives me the unique ability to love people that the church despises. They know they are safe with me, that I love them and actually care. I am broken as a man but whole as a heart given for the least of these.

My support has dried up. I forgot the cute couple’s pic on the blog apparently. I can’t post a family picture because my kids are withheld from me. I don’t have a family now, just a hole where those that I trusted and loved the most used to be.

I am trying to get better, allow God to move again. I have had issues doing it alone. I have to pay thousands literally by tomorrow and I have no support. I am working a secular job and doing my therapy. I have ministry opportunities that God and I seem to care about.

I have nothing left to qualify me to you. You know me, you’ve been in my services, you’ve seen the miracles or watched as God showed up. You’ve listened to my teachings and read my articles. What you didn’t see was the price that was paid and that continues to be paid.

Here is my point, please put down your copy of Max Lucado and listen; quit forcing each other and particularly your leaders to be fakes, frauds and phonies. In the end, you won’t be helped and they will be destroyed. Have the courage to show your issues and warts. Let God shine through your ugly. God moves around me because I don’t have guile, I know what I am and I will let you know as well. He’s the only good thing about me. Man, give others the grace to say that. Support them as they do, be honest, be raw, be real. Quit acting like you’ve got an answer, if you do, you’ve not come to the real question yet.

As for me, I need your prayers and your support financially, I do, sue me. I need you to pray for my wife and kids, that they will end up okay. I need you to pray for doors of utterance to open for me. It won’t be in a stadium with big names, I tried that and me and them don’t play so well together. It will be doors to the jungle, to Slavic Village, to Spain among the lost that think they have answers, to Kenya and babies with AIDS.

Real ministry to the broken by the broken for the one that was broken for us.

Shalom to you with all my heart.

JC

http://www.americanpentecost.wordpress.com/give

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