Girl, Entangled

"Underwater Life" by  Elena Kalis (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Underwater Life” by Elena Kalis (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) No changes made. Not endorsed by licensor.

Gliding through the ocean of people and pressing her face upward while eyes open, the sting of the ocean doesn’t bother her eyes like it normally does. Nora rhythmically brings her hands to a point in front of her body, pushing aside the ocean’s surplus: affiliates, associates, acquaintances.

Turning her head to the left, Nora sees someone she’s been longing to talk to, so she changes the direction of her swim, passing the minister, the front-row-seaters, and the Sunday-late-comers. The ocean’s mass sways as Nora’s arms and legs work through the ocean’s weight, and she thanks the Lord for the strength He’s given her to move so quickly, so efficiently, and so smoothly. Indeed, Nora has grown stronger.

Nora’s friend sees her approaching and greets her, “Hi! What’s new with you?!”

Opening her mouth to speak, Nora notices that—although her thoughts, opinions, and desires of her heart dance with eagerness to leave her tongue—the surrounding ocean mass threatens her voice: choking, strangling, suffocating.

 Remove that thought.

Speak not, offend not, expose not.

Reject and destroy all manifestations of bad mood, pain, injury.

Halt swaying the ocean; remain as you are.

Perfection, only, please.

 Nora’s eyes clench shut, fists curl-up, toes straighten as she shakes off the entangling kelp and other seaweeds.

Another clump of kelp, ensnaring her wrists from reaching upward, away-ward, freedom-ward: Such foolishness! What ever made you think you could find freedom?

Forcefully exhaling, Nora’s lungs sting and burn as she screams at the top of her voice, only to discover that the water’s density muffles the sound to her own ears.

Fear emanates, tingling first behind her belly button and diffusing throughout her extremities. Nora blinks, blinks, blinks, attempting to squeegee the blackening frame closing in on the view of her friend.

Remove that thought.

Speak not, offend not, expose not.

Reject and destroy all manifestations of bad mood, pain, injury.

Once more, this time firing every muscle and elongating every limb in an effort to launch her voice, her words, her heart’s treasure even just a smidgen closer.

Blasting her vocal cords, “Help me! Can you hear me?”

Nora relaxes her body and drops her eyes to the kelp still clinging to nearly every inch of her.

Internally, Nora has two thoughts collide at once, and confusion manages to arrest any decision in the here and the now. Her body fear-freezes.

First she replays the the ocean’s mantra: abandonment, relapse, paralysis.

Halt swaying the ocean; remain as you are.

Then, she hears the passage from that morning’s church service:

“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb. 12.1-2, NKJV).

Surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses??

Lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us?

Run with endurance?!

“O Lord! How do you call THIS a great cloud of witnesses?!” Nora cries out to God in her heart. “How can I lay aside anything when nearly every way I turn obstacle, manacle, and criticism secures itself to me: mind, body, and soul!? How can you expect me to run when I can’t even voice to be heard, let alone breathe with ease at such a pace?”

                      Intrusively, the ocean whispers: Perfection, only, please.

Anger rising and contempt for the circumstances she’s found herself in–consuming every fiber–Nora blasts her final prayer before expending her last energy, as sleep quiets her.

“O, Author and Finisher of all Faith! Revise, rewrite, and alter this story in me. Make it Your story. Your story, alone. I cannot attain this level of perfection!”


With whom did you identify in the story? Nora, her friend standing afar, the massive ocean?

The healing process that follows sexual abuse–or abuse, in general–is lengthy and trying and confusing, at times. Choosing to heal also means–to some extent–that the healer has engaged in war with her surroundings.

“When change is bumpy and messy, particularly if it impels others to change, it is viewed with suspicion and rancor usually reserved for the worst heretics” (Allender, The Wounded Heart; 1990, 44).

Not to be insulting, but rancor entails loud expression of bitterness, resentment, hatred, and malice.

Allender continues, “But what is viewed as the greatest heresy is usually the thing that calls those committed to comfort to the deepest change” (emphasis mine, 44).

Like Nora, when you choose to heal and to grow and to throw off everything that entangles, you will cause the ocean to sway. You will cause conflict.

You will cause discomfort in those around you.

  • In those who listen to your story for the first time.
  • Those who have heard your story a million times.
  • Those who love you.
  • Those in your own home.

So, then. Do you continue telling your story, speaking up, and speaking out?

Did Jesus only tell stories filled with roses and tea cakes? Did He only tell stories that resemble the photo-shopped, have-it-all-together church leader of today?

No, He didn’t.

For what reason did Jesus tell His stories which included the good, the bad, and the sinful? For what reason?

For His glory.

Always and forever. For His glory.

Dear Nora,

His glory manifests itself in you during your swim, your struggle with the kelp, your crying out to your friend.

Your strength will continue to increase, and He will be glorified as you put Him first. Don’t quit, sweet sister. Keep trusting The Author of this story. He knows best.

And, yes, sweet Nora, He will hear your prayer. He’s the best life-editor there is and ever will be. I can’t wait to see you in Final Draft Form in glory.

When you wake, Nora dear, His Spirit will give you direction.

Your sister in Christ,



What’s your next step?

God is calling you–each of us–to stay consistent within Him. Yes, there will be spiritual warfare, relational hangups, obstacles of all sorts. Quitting will not make it go away. It won’t. To quote a sweet friend of mine, “God is allowing these things. He knows we will be tougher, we will be stronger, we will have more perseverance.” In what ways have you given up and need to re-engage? Listen closely to God’s Spirit direct your ways.


“You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” (1 Jo. 4.4, NKJV).


Join me on the healing journey.

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