If you have always remembered your abuse and hated your abuser, this post may seem strange to you. That was not the case with me. For years my abuser was my hero. In fact, I didn’t remember my abuse until after it was disclosed that he had also abused my child! My suppressed memories resurfaced then, and I struggled to accept a brand-new reality. Even after the memories returned, I still struggled with conflicting feelings of love and disdain for my abuser.
The reality was my older brother had a way of making me feel really special. He would call me frequently for heart-to-heart chats, and he gave me thoughtful gifts. For years I was convinced that I was his favorite sibling. (My counselor referred to this as “grooming,” and we even discussed the possibility of Stockholm Syndrome.) After my daughter’s abuse and prior to her disclosure many years later, my brother distanced himself from me more and more and began to criticize me frequently. I discounted all these hurtful behaviors and attempted to regain his favor until the day my daughter told me her story. During my late forties I confronted him.
My brother is now deceased. In spite of all the harm he caused, I still sometimes remember how special he made me feel and miss that part of our relationship. I have been deeply saddened by the fact that my child and I were expendable to him, just a means to an end. After the confrontation, rather than repent and seek professional help, he ended all contact with me, even choosing to die years later without ever seeing me again. To put it bluntly, and as crazy as this sounds, I have struggled with his rejection!
Recently, as I tearfully shared all these confusing feelings with God in prayer, I realized that a heart-felt belief, established during this painful saga, has been that I am indeed expendable—just a means to an end—in the lives of people I love! In response to this belief, God began to speak to me about a ball of yarn. I know, who would have expected an analogy related to yarn? This is what I heard in my spirit:
As a ball of yarn is used, it becomes smaller. A child may pick the yarn up to play with for a time then throw it away. Yarn is fairly inexpensive, easily tangled, and quickly discardable, especially in the hands of those who don’t know how to knit. Yet, yarn is transformed into a thing of beauty in the hands of a skilled knitter. It becomes the very substance of a design that is created to serve the knitter’s purposes.
The true value of yarn isn’t found in the ball of yarn itself. Its value only becomes apparent as a knitter takes it in hand then chooses to share His handiwork with others. Even then, untrained eyes may fail to grasp the intended purpose of the knitting unless they ask Him.
Then, I heard God say to me:
I know and value the unique creation I am making from the substance of your life. A ball of yarn is most valuable when placed in the hands of someone who knows how to knit. Never forget that I knitted you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13 AMP). You are not expendable in My hands! Your value is found in relation to Me and how I have chosen to knit your life into a thing of beauty and significance. Just because others fail to appreciate that, your usefulness is in no way diminished. I know the purpose of my knitting , so let Me be the One who ascribes significance to you.
Wow! As I began to reflect upon the truth of this analogy, my tears subsided and peace came to my heart as I realized I am not expendable to God. It is true that my brother failed to receive the gift that God intended for him to have in a little sister who readily loved and respected him. Instead, he chose to use me and my child for dishonorable purposes. As a result, I believed lies about myself for many years and began to distrust other relationships as well. Yet, my brother’s failure to understand my true value in no way changes it. To him, I was like a ball of yarn, but to God, I am a work in progress that He shares with others who have eyes to see and choose to appreciate the value of His handiwork. Thanks be to God!
Can you identify with my conflicted feelings? How is God helping to restore your sense of value and purpose? I would love to hear your story!