In the past, I have hinted to the fact that I was searching for my identity. Even after thirty eight years, I’ve had questions for my mother about who I was as a man. Who am I really? Why do I react the way that I do? Why do I still have these inner struggles? Why does she never talk about my birth? How does it come into play with the purpose God has for me?
I’ve been asking God for years to open doors, to bring relationships, and give me insight that would help me fill this void that was inside of me. A young man, now a father, a husband, a brother, and even a minister of the gospel; trying to lead, and all the while looking backwards for traces of who I really am. I know that God is my heavenly father, but there is a natural link to your spiritual destiny. You must first discover one in order to uncover the other.
It was Monday, September 29th, 2008, approximately 9:45 pm, Eastern Standard Time. I had finally received a vital piece of a puzzle that I’ve been trying to assemble for most of my adult life. It was a key to my identity, and an understanding to my purpose. My real true identity, not the one the enemy tried to give me, but the one that he actually attempted to steal from me.
“I’m just trying to understand some things about myself”, I said. “Can you tell me a little about my father, or what happened with him? How come you never talk about what happened?” Earlier that evening I had been in our intercessory prayer. It was a good thing; now I was more prepared for what I would hear than I would have ever thought possible. “Well”, I hear over the long-distance phone call. As she clears her throat, and speaks with a mixture of fear and faith, “When I was 15 years old”, she paused again, “I was raped. He doesn’t know about you, and has never laid eyes on you. I don’t know where he is, what he is, or if he even still exists”.
She was 54 years old when she finally revealed her secret. She was only trying to protect her child from the demons of her past. What she didn’t know, is that I had the key to her deliverance. At that moment, I was able to draw on the power of God’s Holy Spirit within me to forgive this man, and also minister to my mother. I was able to release her from the burden of carrying her secret, and I prophesied healing and deliverance into her life; helping her begin her road to recovery. She has lived a life full of personal battles and financial struggles, produced by the pain of what she was forced to carry all of these years. I imagined how difficult it was for her over the years to look into the face of the child she loved so much, as he grew into the reflection of the man who brought her so much pain. Wow, what strength, what commitment, what love! Although I didn’t always hear the words come from her mouth verbally, I always knew it was there. Now, I feel even more what she could not say then. She sacrificed more than I knew.
That news didn’t put anger in my heart for what he did to my mom, but it did put a fire in my soul for even greater work towards spreading the Gospel and telling others that there is total deliverance from your past demons of sexual perversions, addictions, childhood abuses, rapes, molestations, incest, and any other tool that the enemy tries to use to bind up your mind and steal your true identity. You are not what you experienced! Your past may have shaped you, but it does not define you.
The unfortunate thing was that it temporarily put anger in my heart for my very own wife, who was completely innocent, and had played no part in this at all. I wasn’t angry at her because once again she went to bed early, and we had not made love. Believe me, that’s a-(whole)-nother article. I was angry because once again, she went to bed early, but this time I really needed her, but I didn’t need her physically. I needed to talk to her. I needed to hold her. I needed to release some of these emotions I was experiencing. I felt completely alone. I felt angry. I felt abandoned. Now, where was the same Holy Spirit that helped me to forgive the man who raped my mother 38 years ago?
The next few days would be a roller coaster of emotion. That weekend, I lay on the couch in the living room, nursing body aches and chilled bones, supposedly being attacked by sickness and depression. I slowly move towards the kitchen cabinet to grab a bottle of Advil, but know with a certainty that the pain I feel is not at all physical. It has nothing at all to do with anything that may be going wrong in my body. What I was suffering from was a simple case of pure unforgiveness, selfishness, stubbornness, and pride. I hear the words in my spirit, “It’s good that you are able to forgive him so easily, but why is it hard to forgive her? If you would just forgive her, and let her know that you need her, it will go away”. After I forgave her, and I asked her to forgive me, we were able to focus on the unity we would need to fight our battles together.
"So how do you feel?” she finally asked. Strangely enough, I feel even more valued, and more confident of my purpose, because God had entrusted His spirit to live inside of me, even though he knew how I came to be. It wasn’t about the method of my conception, but the meaning behind all the madness I had been through during my life. Why the sexual addictions and pornography were tormentors as far back as I have memories. Why the devil continually tried to destroy my life through mental and emotional attacks for all of these years. Even now, I am not ashamed, nor am I afraid.
Now I understood with more clarity, my course in life. And guess what? I had been led along the right road. I had been heading in the right direction. I just have to pick up the pace and walk with more boldness and confidence. There are more people who need to know about Arrested Development Ministry. They need to be aware of the attacks that the devil wages towards our children at early ages to try and cripple them emotionally for the rest of their lives. Others need to experience the freedom that my wife and I have been fighting to have in our marriage, despite histories of sexual addictions and childhood molestations.
If you are a woman, and you can relate to the experience of holding onto a painful secret from your past; know today that there is a God who loves you. Despite what happened to you, what was said to you, and what was done to you; you can be set free today! What happened was not God’s will for your life, but it will still work into the plan for your life to destroy the works of the enemy over your life. There is an anointing for healing right now where you are, to deal with that issue; to heal that memory, and to take you through the process of making it less painful day by day. You have to tell God where it hurts. You have to tell Him what they did to you. You have to uncover the pain.
You may not want to deal with it right now, and you just might be refusing your own healing. You may be comfortable in your confinement, but you will never be triumphant until you turn on the light, and expose what the enemy has used to control your life with in the darkness. If you sit in a room, and the lights are suddenly turned off, it could be uncomfortable for a while. If you sit there long enough, your eyes will adjust to your environment. You can still function. You have the ability to survive in darkness, but you can only thrive where there is light.
If you are a man and you read these words and relate to the search for your identity, know today, that you must first find out who you are in Christ, and what you discover after that point can be managed. There was a line in one of Tyler Perry’s movies that I will never forget. Wise-cracking Madea spoke to a little girl and said, “It’s not what people call you that matters, it’s what you answer to”. You are not who they say you are, you are who God says you are, and what you agree to what He says about you. You are not a man just because you have male genitals, you are a man only when you reflect the character of God (in spirit, soul, and in body). Genesis 1:26a, And God said; Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… Men, you only find your true identity, when you reflect God in every area of your life. Can God see His reflection in you?
Man of God, even if you may have committed one or more of these acts, still know that there is forgiveness for you as well. Know that you do not have to define your manhood by your boyhood. You don’t have to continue to be who you once were. Whatever your current state is, there is healing for you. Take this opportunity to ask God to help you find the missing pieces. Women are not the only ones sitting by wells, trying to fill the voids in their lives with people. Men also use people, positions, things, activities, food, drugs, sex, you name it. There is a void, but only one that will fill it totally and completely. His name is Jesus.
Right now, I am at peace. I’m walking without pain towards the promises that God has prepared for my life; with more of an assurance that I am loved, and with more of an assurance that I am a complete man. Not only because now I know where I come from, but because of the fact that I am able to forgive, I also know where I am going. I’m still not perfect, but I’m more complete than I was. Now, I have to reach back to bring some completion to another; the daughter that I have played the role of the “Prodigal Father” to all of these years. Not estranged because I wanted to be, but not close enough because I didn’t know how to be. Because I didn’t have all the pieces, I was unsure and afraid to at least give her what I had to give. Today is a great day, for putting together People Puzzles.