Child in a Dungeon

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So many children, and adults, are in spiritual prison, put there by “religion.”

From the Book, Lions and the Bride

Chapter 1 – The Child Within

“I love them that love me; and those

that seek me early shall find me.

Hearken unto me, O ye children: for

blessed are they that keep my ways”

(Proverbs 8; 17,32)

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I was raised in a typical, traditional, non-charismatic church. As a child, my personal relationship with God was very private.

My parents taught me to accept the truth of God, to love the Lord with a pure heart, and to give my life and my best to Him. I innocently accepted everything they offered.

As a child, I had very little to repent of, but I did learn right from wrong. The terms “saved” and “born-again” were never used with me.

I loved the Lord, and I knew I belonged to Him, but I grew up knowing very little about Him. I listened to all the stories and movies I could to learn.

I said my prayers. I did everything I could think of as a child to please Him. That’s all, I think, the Lord was expecting out of me.

As I grew and matured into adolescence and adulthood, I was not getting all I needed to mature spiritually.

I needed to grow in understanding in the promises of God, in weapons of spiritual warfare, in my spiritual rights, and in knowledge of the works of the Holy Spirit.

I became spiritually dwarfed. I was a seed that had been only partly watered, and never grew into the fullness for which I was created. I give my church credit for imparting what it had, but I felt I needed more.

Because I was awkward, and did not speak the language that others more well-versed did, I was frequently told that I was walking in darkness and not saved.

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There is a difference between being saved and being well educated in the Lord. How I managed a lifetime to cling to the Lord, in spite of how little I knew, is a miracle in itself, and a testimony to the grace of God.

I never seemed to understand much about God’s ways. I just knew that I loved Him and that He loved me. It was His love that carried me, and inspired me, when I had nothing else to cling to.

I was a small child, and accepted the faith that my parents imparted unto me. I was very devoted and wanted to stay as close to my Lord as possible.

I would volunteer to help at church, just so I could stay in the sanctuary and feel His peace.

There were many pleasant moments in my childhood, but there were also some very hurtful moments as well.

And as a child, who was a little too sensitive, I took these experiences to heart, and would eventually need healing in these areas.

My early education in this church taught me to love the Lord and follow His ways, to repent when I offended Him, to be truly sorry for what I had done, and to be faithful to Him, even if it meant I had to die for my faith.

The seed had been planted in me, and I needed to grow from that point on.

In my adult life, I read my Bible on my own, attended services, and tried to understand the different viewpoints of various churches where I worshipped.

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The first Pentecostal service I ever attended was very new and different to me. People there automatically assumed that I was not saved, because I seemed confused.

Later, another pastor asked me if I knew the Lord, and I said yes. He then asked me how I knew I was saved.

I wasn’t sure what kind of response he was looking for, because I thought that was something between the Lord and the person.

I wasn’t raised to answer questions like this. It turned out that I was supposed to quote a particular Bible verse to him, to convince him the Word was in me, but because I didn’t get the procedure right, he questioned my salvation.

As I studied what it meant to be “saved,” from scripture, it described the response of the heart, and the faith, that was the basic fabric of my life.

I had accepted all this my whole life, but had never been taught the terminology and language that went along with it.

Another church told me unless I could remember the actual day I was saved, that I wasn’t saved at all.

This frustrated me, because I couldn’t remember back that far. I was then told that I needed to ask God for the date, so I could prove to myself that I was saved.

I was told just because you go to church does not mean you’re saved.

This was discouraging.

It made me feel that I should just stay home and not attend church, since it didn’t prove anything.

Yet, another church I attended also questioned me because I was so naïve about everything.

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After adulthood, I found myself divorced, and a young mother of two children.

I was alone with no one to really help me. I was burdened down with many responsibilities.

Time flew quickly as I worked, and worked, and worked, and my children grew.

One of my heartaches was that the world was raising my children instead of me, because it had the best hours of the day with them, as I was absent, trying to make a living.

I felt I had failed myself in life, and failed my children.

Every day was a struggle, and this went on for over 20 years. 

My children had problems as they grew, and this intensified my heartache, because I could not spend the time I wanted with them, to help them.

But the Lord was still my comfort…

I would dwell sometimes on the passage from Isaiah 54:4-8, where it says,

“Fear not, for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shall forget the shame of thy youth…

For thy Maker is thine husband: the Lord of hosts is his name: and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth shall He be called.

For the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and as a wife of youth, when you were refused, saith thy God.

For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee.”

I was also a wife of youth, who was also forsaken and grieved in spirit, and the Lord was all I had.

For years I dwelled on this promise, and asked my Lord to help my children where I couldn’t, or had failed somehow.

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One day, after I was praying for my children, I came across a dress that I wore when I was a little girl.

It was a special memory to me, because when my daughter got to the right age, she wore it also, and looked so pretty in it.

Many years had past for both of us, and it was a time when my daughter needed prayer.

I found it tucked away, so I brought it out and hung it up in front of where I prayed.

I would not take it down until my prayers were answered, and my daughter came back to me.

A year went by, and the dress was getting rather dusty, so I had it dry cleaned. There were other accessories that went with it and I hand-washed them.

Since the day was a sunny one, I put them out on a drying rack in the sun to dry.

I came out later to retrieve them, and a feeling of sadness came over me.

I thought of all the years I had tried to belong to the Lord, and how my salvation was denied by others, because they believed my church and faith were wrong, and didn’t count.

I thought of all the criticism against the church of my youth, and what must have seemed like all the wasted years belonging to the “wrong church.”

Everything that was in my heart all those years, as a result, didn’t count either because those in the “right churches” said I could not have been “saved.”

As these thoughts passed through my mind, I picked up the dress and was straightening it out to remove any wrinkles, when the Lord spoke to me.

“You were seven,” He said to me, “ you were seven.”

This was the age when I had been taught about the Lord, and I was old enough to understand and make a decision, and I accepted Him in my heart.

And that day, He accepted me back.

We belonged to each other that day.

No, I couldn’t remember like adults do, how I turned from a life of sin and repented.

At seven years old, I was an innocent, fragile child with a loving heart who sincerely said her prayers of repentance as she had been taught.

In the years ahead, others would not recognize my worth as a child of God, and my salvation, because of denominational differences.

However, there was a very special Person who did recognize that day and took me to Himself. It would not count to them, but it counted to Him.

His confirmation meant so much to me. He was true to His word, that once you are His, no one can take you out of His hand.

And really, it is no one’s right to deny the salvation of another, if it is truly birthed of God.

It doesn’t matter what denomination one belongs to, if any, or how much that person fumbles, or falls, in life, or how uneducated they seem to be in the Word.

The Lord takes each person to Himself just the way they are.

I was considered ignorant of the scripture, because I could not quote it, but the spirit of the scripture was alive in my heart.

There were times in my life that I forgot, or didn’t think about certain instructions in scripture, and because of that I got in trouble.

But, as soon as I found again the truth on each particular issue, I immediately recognized it as truth, and turned back again to the correct path.

Just as a child wanders from his parent’s instructions, but runs back, many times I wandered also, but I always knew Who to run back to.

I was God’s child and I am so glad I was, and still am.

No one can take Him away from me.

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The Lord had become my husband in my adult years.

But, at the same time, there was a child within me that had been suppressed and saddened over time.

That child had not been nurtured properly, so she could fulfill her true potential in this world.

She also had been hurt at times, and needed to heal.

She was like a small flower seedling that had not been watered properly, and was struggling to stay alive, as life became tougher and tougher.

She did not know how to handle life’s problems well. She was not sophisticated enough.

She didn’t know how much the Lord she loved was ready and willing to help her.

Her ignorance was hurting her.

One day, early in 1994, I had a dream.

In it, I was walking in a deep, dark dungeon somewhere.

It looked like a prison that had been abandoned and was no longer being used.

As I walked down different corridors, I finally came to a large, locked, steel door.

It was cold in there.

As the guide that was with me opened the door for me, I saw a curled up, abandoned, desolate, hopeless 4-5 year-old child, all dressed in black with her face turned toward the wall.

I recognized her, and gently spoke, “Marianne.”

She looked up at me in quiet surprise, and responded, “I’m Marianne,” as if she was so surprised that anyone would know who she was, or even care.

It was so sad, but at this moment, I had reached her, and was ready to help her know she was loved too.

As I was ready to start the process of healing my inner child, it was, unknown to me, in God’s plan to help me do it.

I would not have to do this alone.

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5 Responses to “Child in a Dungeon”

  1. Sometimes I think bringing to the surface the hurt, sadness & loneliness, truly tells you, that you were never alone.
    May you be filled with the peace of the Lord.

  2. Most “Religious” people are freeks. It is a dangerous road to go down particularly if you are “led” by some group. Go it alone every time, you will find that you are never alone.

  3. Must watch this video about radioactive poisoning of Israeli citizens. I see this as figurative…religion as much as worldliness causes poisoning. When people try to fix something like people’s souls with the wrong kind of treatment like criticism and judgment and abuse then it causes death in people. The government “church” hurts its own citizens.

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