There is no specific incident that is more painful or important than another that I can recall that would illustrate my distrustful beginnings with men. From the story of my conception, to the story of my childhood, even leading into adulthood, all that makes sense is that the enemy has been out to distort my view of the male counterpart.
Boys were mean, unsafe, and did not come through. They would lie, disregard, and give up on you. All of this had been communicated to me at an early age, through several different circumstances.
When I was in the third grade, I had a friend that was a boy. I called him one of my best friends. We would talk on the phone, talk at school, and I had thought we were best chummies. To this day, my mother will tell you he was desperately in love with me, and perhaps he was; however he felt about me, I don’t think he really knew what to do with me. Towards the end of my third grade year, he began to reject me. I would rarely ever hang out with him at recess, but one day I asked him what he was up to. He shot back in the full swing of frustration, “Why can’t you ever just leave me alone, for one day?!”
At eight years old, without any sort of context for this sudden pivotal change in the relationship, this was fiercely damaging to my already wounded heart.
This is just one little example that added fuel to my growing fire of hatred for men. A life time of abandonment, rejection, and abuse would simply stoke the flames into an inferno within my heart.
“Men? Eh, who needs ’em. They’re not really good for much other than perpetuating the human race,” I would often grumble bitterly. It was always “in jest”, but in my experience with bitterness, there is always a little truth to every “just kidding”.
My disappointment in men just kept me in my cycle of rejection and abandonment. I would always write myself off, never feeling like the Beauty, always feeling there were only Beasts. The heroes and warriors in stories and epic action thrillers were just that, make believe stories we’d create just for the thrill.
Because these beliefs were rooted so deeply, I could not even see the mighty men in front of me. No, my disappointment wasn’t just in men that had fallen short, it was in them all. No man was exempt from my disapproval, and I did everything I could to shut myself off.
But when God first dreamed me up, and decided to make me a little girl, He put inside of me the desire He put inside all little girls everywhere; to be the Beauty, to captivate, to be worth fighting for. No amount of sour disappointment, hope deferred, or fiery rage could choke my original design out. He had made me to be pursued, to be protected, to need man.
Late September of last year, I found myself standing on the doorstep to an apartment in the missions community I live. My heart felt like it had just undergone intense raking, and all of my dirty, overgrown roots were exposed. On the other side of the door, my mentor and another experienced, gifted intercessor shuffled about to prepare for our session. For a whole week I had been a weepy, sobbing mess. A recent rejection had poked at my wounds, and here I was, tail between my legs, ready to move forward.
I had a vague idea what we would be uncovering in this session. I knew that we would be tackling the issue of abandonment, which to my leaders’ surprise given my past, I had gone a whole year without. We’ll probably say a few prayers of forgiveness for my family and visit some memories, no biggie. Knocking on the door, I stepped in.
Sure, I did release forgiveness, and I did visit a memory and invited Jesus into it. It was incredible. But one of the most impactful things we chose to do, was to reveal the ungodly beliefs I had towards man, and break them.
If I had been initially surprised about the depth we were going, I was even more surprised to find what lay lurking there. Years of anger, burning on low beneath the surface, boiled to the top and overflowed. After bursting the dam of hurt and rage, my heart quivered inside my chest, my shoulders heaving from the deep sorrow I felt. For the first time in a long time, I felt the extent of my pain that had been caused by trauma from men.
After this ground-breaking discovery, and with the help of Jesus and wise counsel, I got major breakthrough that day. It created a monumental shift in my heart in the weeks to follow; I was beginning to see the men around me with clear vision. No longer was I filtering everything through distrust, but I was seeing them for who they were. I was surrounded by good men, godly men, and I began to see the many wonderful, necessary things they added to my life.
Man was made to come through. This is how God created Adam. He longs for a battle to fight, an adventure, and a beauty to rescue. There is something mighty in the soul of man, and he is dangerous, wild, and heroic. This is what John Eldredge talks about in Wild At Heart (a must read for men and women, I have to say). Eldredge writes on the fierce, strong heart of God, which is displayed through men. He talks about them being heroes.
That strength so essential to men is also what makes them heroes… It’s simply to remind us that God made men the way they are because we desperately need them to be the way they are. Yes, a man is a dangerous thing. So is a scalpel. It can wound or it can save your life. You don’t make it safe by making it dull; you put it in the hands of someone who knows what he’s doing. -John Eldredge, Wild At Heart, page 83.
Man in his original design offers us something that we need. I can see it in the men in my life now that the veil of pain has been lifted from the eyes of my heart. I used to despise men for their aggression, for their differences. Now I can see that in the hands of the One who knows what He’s doing, men give me something I need. They offer their strength in a way so powerfully that it renders you speechless.
I know many strong, dangerous, wild men living from the heart God gave them. For the ladies reading this, I encourage you to stop resenting men for not looking like you. He is not tame, and he is not feminine. This is not to say that women are not heroic, or cannot fight a battle. We are simply wired differently; and I for one am tired of wondering where the real men are when they are in front of us.
In my heart I have forgiven man for the wrongs that were done to me, but God has not stopped there. He’s shown me that while there are some men who don’t know they have what it takes, there are so many more around me that do. They’ve got what it takes to fight the battle, and they know that because they know Who and what they’re made of.
Praise God for men.