My Jonah Story

The Lord Jesus led me to read Psalm 119:105-112 ESV.

Back in the early 1980s, when my children were still quite young, and I was a young mother of four, I had a situation in a church with the leadership misjudging me, and honestly, not being very nice about it, either. The pastor said to me, “Would you say that you have been crucified with Christ?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Well I say that you haven’t.”

Wow! That hit me like a ton of bricks. My heart was broken. It was crushed, in fact. So, what did I do? I ran! I mean, what else could I do? He had sealed my fate, and there was no other way around it, right? I felt I had no other recourse. So, I just played the game “I’m ok.” “You’re ok.” And, then everything was fine. They were happy with me, but I wasn’t happy with me.

Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light to my path.
I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,
to keep your righteous rules.

Then, one day I was reading the story of Jonah to my children, and God spoke so clearly to my heart that that was me, that I was running from God, not for the same reasons Jonah ran, mind you, but still I was running from the situation. So, he told me to get back in there and to fight this thing through.

And, then I said, “But God, you don’t understand!” The thing of it is, I really believed that. I believed God had no power over my situation, but that this pastor did, and that there was nothing I could do to change it. I was doomed!

But, the Lord kept encouraging me to get in there and to fight this thing through, so I went and talked with a good friend of mine, who was also the wife of one of the church elders. I told her my situation, and she told me that I came across too much like I “had it all together.” So, she tried to help me identify where that was coming from. But, I kept saying, “No, that isn’t it.” It wasn’t until she said, “I know what it is. It is a spirit of fear,” that I knew this was it. So, we prayed for God to deliver me, and he did.

I am severely afflicted;
give me life, O Lord, according to your word!
Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,
and teach me your rules.

But, what came next was something I would not have ever imagined. I had been severely abused by my dad in my childhood, but I was told I just needed to stuff my pain, basically, i.e. to forget it. I had no one I could talk with about it, so I thought I was doing the right thing by just trying to forget it. But, I wasn’t forgetting it. I was just hiding the hurt deep inside me.

So, when God delivered me from this spirit of fear, all these memories and hurts began to come to the surface, and I began to weep out loud to God. I didn’t know what to do with what I was feeling, and my friend didn’t know either, so she suggested I talk with the pastor. “Oh, no, I couldn’t do that”, I said. “He hates me.” So, she talked with him for me, with permission from me, and she told him what my deal was, i.e. about my childhood.

I hold my life in my hand continually,
but I do not forget your law.
The wicked have laid a snare for me,
but I do not stray from your precepts.

Well, this same pastor who had been so cruel to me now called me on the phone. He told me he was sorry. He told me that, as my pastor, he is supposed to be a spiritual father to me, but that he hadn’t been a very good one, and he asked me to forgive him and to give him a second chance. And, so I did. I did cry, though, when he told me that. I couldn’t hold back the tears. No man had ever said such words to me, that I recalled.

So, I told him about all these memories that were surfacing, and I asked him what to do with them. He told me to cry them out to God, and then to just release them to God and let him have them, rather than to stuff them back inside, so that is what I did, and God began to heal me.

Then, this pastor gave me an assignment within the church to observe another woman in the church teaching a class, and to see what I could learn from her. I submitted to his request, did what he said, and then he and I met a few times to talk about what I was learning, and to see how things were progressing with me and with my healing process.

Just think of it, if I had hung in there with the whole Jonah thing, I would have totally missed out on all that, and so would have this pastor.

Well, to make a long story short, the Lord took me through a long healing process, because there was so much damage done to my heart and emotions and mind, but this pastor was there to help me through the beginning stages of it, anyway, until we moved away from there, and through it all we actually developed a friendship. Weird, huh?

Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart.
I incline my heart to perform your statutes
forever, to the end.

Anyway, when we run from things God has allowed in our lives, for his purposes, we miss out on all the blessings he has for us through them, and so do many other people for whom the Lord wants to do marvelous things in their lives, too.

For example, this pastor finally admitted to me that he was threatened by me because when I shared during group Bible study discussion, I spoke with too much authority for a young woman. He told me, at one time, that I should wait until I had gray hairs on my head, and then people would listen to me. But, now he was admitting to me that he had misjudged me; that they, the elders had misjudged me. Now he could truly see my heart.

So, instead of running, we need to see what God wants to do through our circumstances, and believe that he is completely sovereign, and that he does truly understand what we are going through, and that he has a plan.

But, to be perfectly honest, that is not the last time I ran from God. You would think that I would have learned my lesson, and I did for a long while. But, there were other times in my life when the pressures of life got me down, and instead of running to God, I ran from him, again.

Some of those situations had to do with other pastors or church leaders misjudging or mistreating me. There were many of them, in fact, more than one could possibly imagine would happen to just one person. Some of these situations had to do with other people abusing, betraying and/or using me for their advantage. So, God had to heal me of those heartaches, too. I had to learn to trust fully in his sovereignty, and to rest in his promises, to rely fully on his grace to help me in my time of need, and to keep pressing on, in his strength, in being the woman of God he created me to be.

Praise the Lord, I stopped running from God quite a few years ago. Now I run INTO his arms, which is the ONLY place to be ever!

Jesus, I am Resting, Resting
Jean Sophia Pigott

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.
Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
And Thy beauty fills my soul,
For by Thy transforming power,
Thou hast made me whole.

O, how great Thy loving kindness,
Vaster, broader than the sea!
O, how marvelous Thy goodness,
Lavished all on me!
Yes, I rest in Thee, Belovèd,
Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
Know Thy certainty of promise,
And have made it mine.

Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
I behold Thee as Thou art,
And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
Satisfies my heart;
Satisfies its deepest longings,
Meets, supplies its every need,
Compasseth me round with blessings:
Thine is love indeed!

Ever lift Thy face upon me
As I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
Earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory,
Sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting,
Fill me with Thy grace.

Jesus, I am resting, resting,
In the joy of what Thou art;
I am finding out the greatness
Of Thy loving heart.

Friday, November 17, 2017, 9:45 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for how you spoke your words to my heart this morning, and thank you for putting this song in my mind when I awoke. I praise you, and I thank you. Love, Sue

11 thoughts on “My Jonah Story

    • Thank you. I am glad the Lord nudged me to share my story here and that he nudged me out of my fear zone and into being courageous in doing what he told me to do way back then, too. And, I am thankful, too, for friends like you to help encourage me.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amen! The Lord has used that story of Esther with me when he told me that it was for such a time as this that I was placed on this earth, i.e. the time being now. This is my time when God is taking all of my difficult life experiences and he is having me share what he has taught me through them, in the hopes that it will encourage others who have faced similar difficulties in their lives. Yes, he will use these situations in our lives for his glory if we will let him, or maybe even despite us. Thanks for sharing.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Phyllis, Thank you so much for reading and responding to my story. I am glad/sad that you were able to identify with any of it. I hope that it encouraged your heart to run to him with your troubles, instead of to run from him. But, yes, especially if we have faced a lot of mistreatment, our tendency when hurt may be to run and hide rather than to face the situations. I empathize.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m glad I read all the way through – I was not happy with that Pastor! I’m glad he came to terms with his own issues. Unfortunately, many pastors, including myself, can misjudge people. It’s a learning and loving process we all must endure if we want to mature in our walk with Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • True. It is true of all of us. We are all in process. The important thing here is to be in process, always learning, and always growing, and never stagnating. Thanks for sharing. I appreciate what you said. Sue


  2. Hi Sue, I also read this one before but I read it again. When I was about 12 years old my adopted mother was mad at me for something and went to a drawer and pulled out my adoption papers that I had never seen before and waved them in front of my face and said, “Here you bastard, nobody wanted you!” I had learned to push down my feelings inside so I just responded that I had never asked to be taken by them and went outside to play with my friends. When I became a Christian in my early twenties I cried when I prayed for almost three weeks, I just couldn’t stop. I never cried, ever as a young teen boy. I could forgive the many beatings with a belt but I always had a hard time in understanding how someone could say something like that to a young boy. What I am saying is that I understand the hurt you experienced as a child, I understand what it can do to you. I’ve also experienced getting hurt from within the Church, not as bad as you evidently did but I’ve been there. I’ve also been blessed with some wonderful Christian friends too and that more than makes up for the negatives I’ve encountered. You and I have a mutual friend on the Internet, Lynn Abbott, she has a beautiful spirit. I’ve read the exchanges between you and her and I see how God uses you in a positive way. I’ve also read the posts where you bare your soul with regard to the difficulties you have had with your husband. That is extremely hard to deal with, especially with regard to trust. My wife and I raised five children and I have often times not supported her as I should have, I thought I was but now that I look back I can see where I could have done so much more. I can’t fix that but I try, by doing as much as I can for her now. But damage has been done and while she may forgive, she never forgets. Forgetting is hard.
    I’ve learned that loving someone superficially is not enough, it needs to be demonstrated, validated, reinforced, continually. When it isn’t, that’s where the trust is broken, that’s where the commitment is questioned. I didn’t get good marks in that area. I compared myself to what other husbands did and that was wrong, God has different standards and I failed to consider them as I should. We all end up hurting each other, not usually intentionally but the effect is still the same. We will have been married for 48 years in three days. I love her dearly, we’ve been through so much together, she is part of me that makes me who I am. Yet, in spite of all of my good intentions, in spite of how I love her, I still fall short. There’s a pattern there if you look for it. My wife says that when I married her, I brought my baggage and I did. We bring our hurts with us whether we acknowledge it or not. I didn’t think I had any baggage, ask me if I was wrong.
    Forgiving is not an option, we have to, and if we really love someone, we do but ….. we never forget and that is where God and I differ. He says He will throw our sins into the sea of forgetfulness, we can’t seem to do that, at least not all the time. It’s so easy to see where I errorred in hindsight but at the time it seemed to make sense. Men aren’t all that bright.
    When my wife and I were first married after a few years, I used to say our two children’s (at that time) prayers with them at night. I was mad at my wife for something and God told me to hug my wife after I said my children’s prayers. I actually said that I didn’t feel like hugging her, and He told me to look at her as a little girl, inside her, not as a woman, because that is the way that He saw her. Fragile, trusting, needing to be protected and valued. I did hug her but I forgot to look at her as He asked me to later on, too many times. Men and women are made different, each has a role and each has a quality that defines who they are. That’s where the trust gets broken and it is darn hard to repair. And the scary part is, after learning all that I have learned, I can still make the same mistake today. Men are also really slow learners when it comes to women.
    I can’t obviously understand all that you have been through, it’s just not possible, but I do understand what has happened. Men actually get hurt too, differently but hurt nonetheless, we just express it differently by what we do or we don’t do. It’s really crazy when you stop to think about it. I just can’t help but think that acknowledgement and forgiveness is the key to healing.
    Well I’ve rambled on far too long, sorry about that. I wish you well Sue, I really do. I hope we become friends, I’d really like that. God’s blessings on you and yours my sister in Christ.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce, Thank you for sharing your story with me. We all have a story, if truth be told, but hopefully we have all turned to the Lord for his healing, for his grace to help us in our time of need, and for his love, mercy and compassion towards others who will fail us.

      He has taught me much, throughout my life, in how to respond to difficult circumstances, to mistreatment, and to betrayal. And, his grace is sufficient to meet me in my every need. I give testimony to some of that in today’s devotional,

      Again, thank you for sharing. Yes, we are brother and sister in Christ. Amen!

      Liked by 1 person

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