Introduction from Esther
One of the great experiences of this terrible journey through recovery from intimate betrayal has been the opportunity to meet some truly awesome women of God. I’ve had the pleasure of joining/starting several Facebook groups for Christian women in various tough spots. It’s amazing to watch these sisters band together and support one another. I met Kerry in one of these groups.
She is a constant encouragement.
Her vulnerability, authenticity, and obvious commitment to God are inspiring.
Several weeks ago she shared this amazing testimony with us, and I knew as soon as I read it God wanted her to share it with all of you too! Kerry was gracious enough to agree right away to sharing with us all here. I know you will be blessed.
Pain, loss, and tragedy are not new. In fact they are old friends of mine. My heart has been scarred from experiences of childhood abuse and chronic emotional neglect. Being widowed young then introduced me to feelings of grief and loss.
I wish I could say that my education in sorrow and loss was finished, but unfortunately the pain of relationship betrayal has now been added to my repertoire.
I have ranted and screamed. I have cried and cried.
What is God’s plan in all of this? Does he see this mess? Does he care? What is he doing about it?
I was talking to my sister about these questions recently. She, like me, is undergoing severe challenges. I could hear the sound of desperation and despair in her voice as she shared her latest struggles.
After hanging up the phone, I penned this letter:
Sorry I wasn’t more cogent during our phone call last night. I haven’t been feeling well, which has left me a bit fuzzy. I want to try to work through the mental fog to share what God has been teaching me lately about the availability, accessibility and depth of his love.
The more insight I get into who God actually is and how he feels about me, the more I can see how little I’ve understood the most basic aspects of his nature and of his love. I think up to now I’ve been stumbling around in the dark groping for my way like a cane-less blind man. This limited view of God has shaped my understanding of his character into a terribly distorted picture of who he really is.
But I’m learning—
My latest life experiences have driven me to the extreme edges of pain.
I used to think grief was the most devastating emotional experience. I was wrong. There are darker places.
I have since learned betrayal of one’s heart is far, far worse. It shredded my self-esteem, my confidence in myself, and my sense of safety. My excitement over being someone’s chosen and beloved was shattered.
After the discovery I was left barely breathing, barely alive. For a long time I was an automaton going through life’s motions.
Throughout this trauma, I held tight to the realization that what I was experiencing was the kind of pain I cause God every single moment of every single day. As an idolater, I too am unfaithful. God most often isn’t my first love, sometimes not even my second or third. I fit him in as it is convenient or when it suits my needs. I remember him when I’m in trouble only to push him aside when things are going well. Like Ezekiel 16’s Jerusalem, I instead chase after my own pleasures and interests.
This revelation simultaneously sustained me and broke me. It also began to do an invisible work in my heart.
For a long time I increased my vigilance. I snuck and searched for signs of danger. I barely slept, gained 20 pounds, and grew more and more unhealthy. Unwanted childhood feelings of chaos and uncertainty returned with a vengeance.
And as I saw myself spiraling more and more out of control, I discovered God was right beside me.
I began to see the oddest things. What the enemy of my soul meant to use to destroy me, God was using to bring healing. Deep deep healing.
I’m discovering I don’t know God at all. And, I don’t understand what Love is.
Just as a sex addict substitutes lust and empty sexual experiences for love and true intimacy, I have been using the need for control and the obtainment of personal achievements as a way to salvage my broken self-esteem and as a way to run from my fears of being unworthy of acceptance.
I made God impotent, apathetic, and unloving.
However, these questions challenged me—
Is the Bible real?
Is it to be understood literally?
Is God God?
When it says nothing is impossible for God—does it mean there is no obstacle, pain, or situation too big for God?
When it says that God has conquered death and evil—then can my partner’s betrayal, my parents’ neglect, the death of my late husband, or even my lack of faith overcome God and his plan?
When it says all must submit to God’s will and nothing is hidden from him—then can any action, motive, or plan be kept from him?
If God is working out all things for my good and my healing—then is there any action or circumstance beyond redemption or beyond his ability to create loveliness and wholeness from any and all things, regardless of the intended destruction and pain?
If God is always at work in my life to bring me healing and to shape me more into the image of his son, then can that goal be obstructed?
If I reply yes to any these questions, then I make God a liar and his Word a lie.
These realizations have stopped me short. I haven’t been worshiping the one and true God but a weak, pale imitation.
With all my heart and soul I want to know God. To really and truly know him. So I am stepping out and believing in him.
And with that in mind I attest that there’s nothing that can thwart God’s plans or his love for me. He is always with me and he is at work in me and in my life. There is nothing that can separate me from him. And, he is and will be victorious in all things.
Much love to you,
Kerry Kerr McAvoy is a licensed psychologist who has had over 25 years counseling individuals, families, and couples. She closed her practice early 2015 to care for her late husband who later succumbed to the disease.
As Quora’s Top Writer 2018, a Q&A social platform, (link: https://www.quora.com/profile/Kerry-McAvoy) Dr. McAvoy regularly writes on topics related to Psychology, Relationship Issues, and Life Advice. She has also published three devotionals: Jesus, The Ultimate Therapist: Bringing Hope and Healing; Jesus, The Ultimate Therapist: Healing Without Limits; and Pain as a Starting Point.
Currently Dr. McAvoy is at work on her latest book, a memoir, titled The Hard Road Home.
Check out Dr. McAvoy’s awesome devotionals on Amazon, and watch for her memoir coming soon!
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