Tramer, Sue (McDonald)

The Only Way Out Is Through

I grew up the youngest of four children. I was an unplanned child and my parents had wanted me to be a boy. My Father was an alcoholic for as long as I can remember. My Mom was a Christian but didn’t attend church regularly. She did send me to Sunday School. Because my Dad was an alcoholic, he was an angry person. My fear caused me to avoid him and to become invisible.

During my childhood, I was the victim of incest and molestation and was emotionally and physically abused. I felt in the way and unwanted as a child. My family was pretty much dysfunctional, although there were some good memories as well.

My great Aunt Maude lived with us and instilled in me a great love for Bible stories. The best part of my childhood was to crawl into bed with Auntie Maude and listen to her Bible stories and funny stories and jokes. She is the one who taught me to pray and to think of others in prayer. She instilled in me a good value system. Girlfriends at school invited me to Job’s Daughter’s which is a Masonic affiliation, an introduction into the occult, although to me it was nothing more than a social club.

I met my future husband, Phil MacDonald while we were in high school. The first time I met his Mother and two of his sisters, their wholesome appearance attracted me to the family. The second month I knew him. I met a houseful of “friends” and relatives, all professing. Compared to my troubled family, they seemed like an ideal group of people. Later, I was to find out the reality that Phil had been just as victimized in many ways by his family as I had been by mine.

I went to my first meeting at Benson High School in Portland. It was a Special Meeting held on Easter Sunday, so I thought it was an Easter Service. (It was about four years later that I found out that they didn’t celebrate Faster.) Willie Jamieson spoke. I was immediately attracted to the physical appearance of the women, their smiling faces, their pretty hair. My mother forbid me to go to meeting again, without explanation.

My first Christmas with Phil’s family was at his parent’s home and there was no Christmas tree. Phil’s brother-in-law dressed as Santa Claus and asked me to put his make-up on since I was the only one with any make-up. He had rented a Santa outfit and looked the part quite well. He came downstairs with a big bag of toys for the children. The little ones were so excited and I wondered then why there was no Christmas tree even though they were exchanging gifts. I was told later that they “don’t celebrate Christmas”. The statement left me in a state of confusion for many years because it was obvious that they did celebrate something at Christmas time.

Phil and I got married when I was just out of high school. Phil was not professing. He always told me that he knew that it was “the only way,” that everyone else, all other churches were going to hell, BUT that he just wasn’t willing for it and didn’t want to be a hypocrite, pretending to believe something that he couldn’t live.

We had been married just a few weeks when Phil’s mother invited us to Gospel meetings. Phil said to get her off our backs, for us to just go. We attended but did not profess. Phil stopped attending meetings because he was studying to be a dentist and didn’t have time. But I continued going just for something to do and to be accepted by Phil’s family. Howard Mooney was the worker in our field. He made it clear that this was the ONLY WAY and if we weren’t in it we were lost.

I was 20 when I professed at Boring Convention. Willis Propp was speaking about Jesus and the crucifixion. I was spellbound and of course, professed. When I came home, Phil knew immediately that I had professed. My first words were “Can we turn off the TV, I have something to tell you.” That was the end of the TV and we got rid of it. Phil wasn’t willing to profess, but he might as well have because he had to live with me and therefore had to abide by almost as many rules as if he had.

My father-in-law died suddenly when I was pregnant with the twins. He was the most wonderful man, loving, affectionate, and of course, professing. He was 55. The night he died, he had gone to a business meeting related to the radiator shop which he owned, instead of attending Bible Study, as he usually did. He came home, went to bed complaining of not feeling well, saying “I feel like I’m going to pass out.” And he died of a massive heart attack. This death was hard on all of us and especially on his wife who doubted his salvation since he had missed that meeting the night he died and because he hadn’t taken part in meeting in years.

When our first children, twins, were little, there was some kind of scandal involving workers and a conversation arose which my mother-in-law immediately hushed up by saying, “Oh, let’s not talk about that now, Sue is just a babe and doesn’t need to know about those things.” Her statement and the problem went right over my head and I accepted the comment without protest. That was the beginning of many other nuances and questionable situations that I learned to ignore. I couldn’t wait for my hair to grow long so I could look more like his family.

I was so excited to go to Gospel Meetings and to be a part of the fellowship and be accepted by Phil’s family. At first, I wasn’t aware of the many restrictions, but gradually began to notice the subtle unspoken rules that governed everyone’s thoughts and lives. I took part in all the meetings and if I didn’t give my testimony in a meeting, I felt terrified and overwhelmed with guilt and afraid to die for fear that I would perish before the next meeting.

So, most of the time I would read my Bible simply to find something to say for the next meeting. There were times when I would be in a meeting and have a prepared testimony yet someone else’s testimony would touch me so deeply that I would testify to something totally different than what I had prepared. And those were times that emotionally affected me and my desire to please God.

Some meetings were more special than others, when the friends would speak about “love” and “unity” and “joy” and the feeling would be so real that I would think, “Yes! This is the way it should be, this is why I’m here! I’m going to really faithfully serve God and love the people more!” …. Be more professing! And I would purpose to really follow the rules! The feelings of spiritual highs were brief and replaced quickly with new fears and more guilt and depression.

For a time I felt accepted by the family, but then it seemed to be so difficult because Phil wasn’t professing and we had what is termed a “divided home”. We had less social acceptance because of Phil’s non-professing status and among the friends we felt left out. Life was chaotic, I had twins, Phil was in school, studying constantly or working at the radiator shop. There was never time for fun. It was meetings, meetings, work, school and entertaining workers all the time.

In those days, the workers would stay for about five days and it was my privilege to entertain and cook for them. It was always the highlight of my life to have the workers in our home. After the workers left, I would vow to do better now and be more spiritual in order to please them. I tried so hard to please the workers and the friends, but if I ever did please them I never felt like I had succeeded. The few times that I did succeed I felt pity for those who weren’t as spiritual as I was at that moment. But the moments didn’t seem to last long enough to suit me.

During my second pregnancy, I had an abscessed tooth and other health problems and after Brad was born I got a breast infection and I had the abscessed tooth worked on. During the root canal, I went into shock from the injection they gave and spent the next several months in bed.

Subsequently, I had a complete physical breakdown and my hair started falling out. My doctor advised me to cut my hair and to wear it down so that my scalp could breathe, so I had it cut to shoulder length and attempted to hide the fact that it was shorter than before. I would look out the window if anyone came to the door so that I could scoop my hair into a bun real quick. My doctor also asked me about my religion at that time, wondering why I had protested cutting my hair. He suggested that I attend another church and the idea horrified me. I said, “I can’t!”

Phil graduated from dental school and we moved to Arizona when the twins were 6 and Brad was 4. When Lorci was six, she wanted her hair cut and I allowed her to get a pixie cut, much to the criticism of workers and friends. At that young age, she developed a tremendous sense of guilt after the disapproval of the church and she couldn’t wait for her hair to grow out to the same length as her twin sister’s.

When the girls were nine, and the boys were ages seven and three, I stopped going to meeting out of desperation to be myself and normal. I had gotten sick and tired of looking dowdy. I was worn out with trying to please the workers and God. In fact, I turned away from God. I figured if I couldn’t please Him even while i was attending meetings, there was no chance that I could please Him if I didn’t go to meetings and follow all the professing rules. But, while I wasn’t going to meetings I was so happy because for once I was honestly myself.

A Christian girlfriend of mine asked me to attend church with her one day. I said, “Absolutely not! It would be a waste of my time, I’m a sinner and I’m going to hell. I can only go to meeting. We believe that is the only right “Way” and that all other churches are wrong.” She said, “You mean to tell me, if you don’t go to this meeting–that you can’t go to any other church or you will go to hell? That isn’t true, Sue. You can be saved, you can go to other churches.”

I wouldn’t listen to her, but her reminder of God triggered a major guilt trip in me that I had to go back to meeting. Soon afterwards, my sister-in-law and mother-in-law came to visit and after a night-long conversation, I started attending meeting again and reprofessed and our twin daughters professed at age 12. Brad professed two years later and our youngest son, Duane, professed at age 11. The boys later admitted that the reason they professed was for approval from myself and the workers.

Even though I had reprofessed I was still miserable. I was so repulsed by “the professing look” that I fought it inwardly all the time. The only time I put my hair in a bun was for meeting. When the children wanted to do something normal, like attend a movie or watch TV, we would fudge the rules and then tell the kids to keep it a secret. It was awful, living two lives. I felt detached from reality and from my own feelings. I couldn’t admit aloud how I felt, not even to myself.

There came a day when I knew that I had to leave the group again. The feeling had been growing for years. There was like a voice in my head saying “This can’t be right! How do you know that this is the ONLY WAY?” I didn’t know that the way was WRONG, I only began to feel that maybe there were other people in the world who were saved. I have always been an outgoing “people person” and love the people that I meet.

After I professed, the idea of believing that so many other people were going to hell and were of Satan depressed me tremendously. I felt cut off from others and alone. Life seemed so futile. I thought, “Now why would the Lord die on the cross only for the few of us, whom I saw so many imperfections in (and had in myself, too.) When all these other people had been created with so many tremendous gifts and useful godly traits.”

Certain sermons which we heard often used to leave me feeling more frustrated and empty than ever. And it left me with a sense of hopelessness. We heard the workers say that “we are nothing but dust”, or “worms,” that “we need to be emptied of self’. But I couldn’t see how to do that. I didn’t understand anything except that I wasn’t good enough. They told us to “lay up treasure in heaven where rust or moth could not destroy”. But what did that mean? And THEN these WONDERFUL WORKERS would get up there and say they were “nothing” and “not worthy” and “barely going to make it”. I would think, “What’s the use? What is the point in going on? If they can barely make it, where does that leave me?”

Conversations, the futility of social interaction which went nowhere began to bother me. Friends couldn’t be honest with one another and admit how they feel and think about spiritual things or natural things. We weren’t allowed to think for ourselves. There was a mindset against thinking. Friends couldn’t talk about what they believed, because they don’t know what they believe. They didn’t talk about the Lord because there was nothing to talk about. They only thought of Him in the “spiritual” realm, so there was nothing to comment on His involvement in their daily lives. They didn’t praise Him and they didn’t seem to know Him. The “spiritual talk” would be a brief comment on how great a speaker or how spiritual the worker was and perhaps something about the workers’ latest convert or travel plans.

The conversations in a group had to be “safe,” therefore health, recipes, babies, workers, weather, and sewing were the accepted topics. Occasionally you could talk about furniture but you had to be careful in case you might offend someone who had less possessions than yourself. The one-on-one conversations among “the friends” almost always was gossip, putting people down, telling on them, passing on juicy information about workers, elders and others. Afterwards, I would feel sick and guilty and determined never to gossip again but it was inevitable.

We lived two lives, one that the workers wanted us to live and the other that was normal for us. I can remember hating the relationships with the other friends, hating the meetings, hating the way everyone looked. It was like watching life from the sidelines, not living it. There were times that I felt like that I wanted to throw up from the lack of sincerity in the testimonies. I began having major panic disorders. Many times I would stand out in the hall or go in the bathroom because I couldn’t stand being in the meeting.

For a time I became unable to leave home. Dinnertime became a living hell. I couldn’t even sit at the table with my husband and four children. My panic was exploding in my head. It would attack me in a physical way, almost throwing me to the floor. My doctor said I was having the symptoms of a seizure without a seizure and it was all due to the panic. The walls in the grocery store and the lines of people would appear to trap me in. I even became afraid of my own bedroom. I lost 32 pounds at once.

At times I felt I was dying. I was diagnosed as agoraphobic and I went to group therapy for panic disorders. I really got help from the therapy and overcame many, many fears that I had. The name of the therapy course was Terrap. One of the books that I read that was so helpful was Living in Hell: An Agoraphobic Experience. Another book that helped me, that was recommended by a professing person, was How to Live 365 Days a Year. Now I realize there are so many other books that are even better that can be found in Christian book stores.

My depression and the feeling that life was out of control or full of chaos that I couldn’t understand, led me to seek out psychic counseling. I went to a man who told me all about my past and my future, and scared me to death. Then I consulted still another psychic woman who went into a sort of trance and read my aura. Then another woman read Tarot cards for me and I got really involved in Louise Hay’s metaphysical books. Another woman did fragrance and color remedies that were supposed to help my depression and health.

All this while I was still heartily professing. I never had a clue that these things were dangerous and of the devil. Several other professing women were interested in such things with me and they still are. Then I went to a Tibetan pulsator who had me sit in certain positions and hum things. People were supposed to be healed by these activities. Later Phil and I attended the Silva Mind Control Seminars, still looking for answers. All of these things gave me a feeling of danger, yet without any understanding of them, I kept looking, but finding no answers, I went on to something else. I also went to a man who conducted rebirthing sessions in his home. I went to three different sessions and each time I felt an actual physical warning in my spirit that I ignored and reasoned away. During the third session after he had put me in an altered state of consciousness, he raped me.

One of the biggest challenges that I faced while professing was when my daughter, Lorci, who was living in California (and I thought was going to meeting) called me and told me that she was going to have a baby. She had broken up with her boyfriend and she wanted to come home. We went to California to get her and brought her home to Arizona. The pain we were suffering was magnified by the attitude of the friends and workers. This experience taught me one of the ways in which Satan lies to us. He leads us to believe that our sin is our business, that it won’t hurt anyone else but ourselves. But we all suffered the consequences.

Our love for Lorci was as strong as ever, but her pain kept her from feeling it. The friends were shocked and understandably so because Lorci had been considered “worker material”. But no one knew how to cope with the situation. Some went into denial, others were sympathetic, some began to draw away but nobody thought to pray about it, or for her. And not even me. It didn’t occur to me to pray about it. This was a natural situation and how could we ask God for help? She decided to keep the baby and everyone was accepting of that, but when she decided to marry the unprofessing boyfriend who was divorced, all hell broke loose.

Dale Bors and Robert Gustafson talked it over and decided that Lorci would not be allowed to even attend meeting. Robert Gustafson and his companion came to our home where Lorci lived with the baby. They sat in our living room while Lorci sat with her baby in her arms and they told her that she could no longer come to meeting. I will never forget the look on her face when they sat there and so calmly condemned her to hell. Quoting the scripture about being unequally yoked they said that she couldn’t come back. I said, Well, couldn’t she go to Sunday morning meeting and just not take part?” And they said, “No. She has blatantly done wrong when she knew what was right, so she can’t come to meeting anymore.” Then I said, “Well, what about Gospel Meetings?” They said, “Gospel meeting is for the public and we couldn’t keep her from it, but what’s the point of her coming anyway?”

With that, Lorci got up with her baby, walked down the hall crying with such anguish and I just sat there numb with pain and did nothing, while they sat there and literally tried to take God from her. (But Praise the Lord, it didn’t work. In retrospect, I wish I had ordered them out of my house and never gone back to meeting again, myself. But, I didn’t know I had that option. Lorci did marry the father two weeks later, but the marriage didn’t last but a year and a half. Since becoming a Christian, I have asked forgiveness from my daughter for the way that I handled that and she too, has become a Christian and so has her little boy, before the age of five.)

It was about this time that our professing relatives introduced us to the Wings Seminar, in Eugene, Oregon. I went first by myself, and they asked the question, “What is your purpose in life? What is burning in your mind that you want more than anything else?” Instantly the answer came to me, “I want to be all of me.” I wrote it on a 3X5 card. But I knew that I couldn’t be. The hopelessness of the situation washed over me. What was the point in attending a seminar like this, with the burden of professing and trying to live up to someone else’s ideas of perfection? Depression was my constant companion. The idea of pleasing a God who was looking over my shoulder, ready to pounce on me with anger because I couldn’t follow the professing rules and lifestyle. I never felt saved or forgiven.

Wings brought up more questions than it solved. While I was attending Wings, God was growing out of the little box the workers and I had put Him in. While I was terrified of the thought of leaving meetings again, that seemed to be the only solution to the situation. The cry of my heart was, “Lord, I don’t want to perish, help me!! I want to be all of me.”

I began going to another counselor because of my panic disorder and she talked to me about religion. I said, “I don’t want to waste time and money talking about my religion, because that’s not the issue.” The issue I thought was important was the abuses of my past, the incest, the physical and emotional abuse and the recent rape. I failed to realize, however, that I was currently suffering from spiritual abuse. The counselor pointed out to me that my religion was another form of abuse. She said, “Look in the mirror my dear, you are dead inside. Look at how sad you look. Look at your face.”

Later, I remember sitting in meeting thinking, “This doesn’t work for me, anymore.” I felt scared that I felt that way but I knew this time that I wasn’t going to leave God out the next time I left meeting. God had gotten bigger. Wings gave me the skills to communicate with others and my husband. It began my journey of becoming a survivor instead of a victim. It allowed me to admit to myself who I was and that I mattered and that I did have potential and the responsibility to use it. I learned a real strong sense of right and wrong, something new to me. I learned about real sin instead of phony sin. I received a strong conviction about such things as gossip, about how to be a friend instead of a backstabber. I learned to play and to have fun and to be playful. I learned the importance of balance and that it is okay to be real. I found a confidence that was new to me. Wings does a lot of mother-father issues, forgiveness exercises, etc. It all helped me to let go of the past and move on.

While we were attending Wings, one of the founders of the seminar asked us, “Are you a part of that religious group that has been coming to the seminars? We have had more people from your church attend Wings than any other group.” He was trying to understand why so many professing people were all looking for the same kind of communication skills. Many others have wondered why so many professing people and even some workers have attended Wings.

I believe it is because of the widespread depression that the friends are trying to alleviate. Wings is a secular counseling system that works with large groups of people. It is helpful insofar that it helps people understand themselves and others better. It isn’t meant to be a replacement of God and shouldn’t be even be considered a religious organization or religious counseling. Many workers are quite worried about the friends attending Wings. Howard Mooney said he didn’t approve of people trying to “get in touch with themselves.”

Phil and I went to all of the Wings seminars. We were starved and eager to learn more about communication. It was helping our marriage and our understanding of ourselves. It was at one of the seminars that I realized that meeting just didn’t work for me anymore. I wasn’t growing in the Lord, nor did I know how to grow in the Lord. I wasn’t learning about scripture or what it meant, even though I attended meeting regularly.

I was both afraid and excited because I was going to go home and get my ears pierced and my hair cut. It was to be my statement of independence. It wasn’t about vanity, it was about taking back my womanhood, my femininity that I had never had since professing. It was about taking charge of my own life again. I was becoming all of me. I wasn’t rejecting God, I was just rejecting the workers’ control of my life.

When I got home I went to my elder and told him that I wasn’t going to come to meeting anymore. I asked him the question, “Where is the love?” And he agreed and sympathized with me, but had nothing to say to convince me that my decision was wrong. From that day on I never heard from him or his wife.

Dale Bors, the worker called while we were out of town, and our son Duane told him we would be home in two days, but he never called back. A sister worker called and asked, “Was it anything that I said to discourage you?” When I said, “No”, she said, “Oh, good, well, I hope you won’t stay away too long.” As I hung up the phone, I thought, “What just happened?” I received such an empty feeling from her attitude, that if I had been a drinker I would have gone out and gotten drunk. That was the last contact I have ever had with a worker. I was relieved and yet let down.

At this point, Phil and I began to go hiking on Sundays and on Easter we went to the top of Squaw Peak in Phoenix. We started in the dark so that we could be up there when the sun came up and each of us was lost in our own thoughts. While I was watching the sun, I thought about all the other people who were in churches, all over the valley celebrating Easter. I didn’t think of the friends at all. I said to the Lord, “God, I know there’s more and I want it all.”

An ex-professing man who had heard that I had quit going to meeting, loaned me all the available books on the history and doctrines of the Two by Twos. Phil and I began reading them immediately and would read portions aloud to one another. When I came to the information about William Irvine’s “revelations,” I realized how terribly victimized I had been. I said to Phil, “I have been wearing my hair in a bun for a ______ lunatic all these years!!!” I was pacing the floor with rage.

I thought of all the pain I had put my children through. Their childhoods had been denied them; friendships in school had been denied them. The girls had buried themselves in books to ease their pain. They had been denied Christian friends and education. They were the most professing looking girls their age and looked like workers. The other professing kids hadn’t accepted them because they were too “professing”. The boys felt like outcasts because of the effect it had on their lives. They didn’t know what was right or wrong, up or down, they only knew guilt.

Phil said, “You have every right to be angry.” He was and still is so supportive of every stage of healing, although he hasn’t always understood every emotion that I’ve felt. Our marriage has grown solid through the process of shared grief and experiences.

A few weeks later a woman who had sold me some skin care products called me, and in the course of the conversation, I told her that I had quit going to meetings. She listened attentively and then suggested that I talk to her pastor, Mark Fuller. I was resistant to the idea and cynical and thought he wouldn’t care or know anything at all about what I had been through. However, I did call him and when I told him that I couldn’t read the Bible or even open it without a panic attack, or even pray, he prayed for me over the telephone and it was the first time anyone had ever prayed for me out loud, personally.

I was so overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit’s attention through this man whom I didn’t even know and by the healing that began in that moment. He prayed the power of the Blood of Jesus over me, and the presence of the angels around me to protect me and to guard my mind and then he bound the power of Satan and his demons who were tormenting and keeping me from reading my Bible and then he told me to go and read Philippians 4:6-7 and Psalms 25:4-5 and then, “I’ll see you in my office tomorrow.”

I did as he told me and was amazed that I was able to not only read it and understand it but it fed me through the evening as I continued to think about it. The passage in Psalms says, “Show me your ways O Lord, Teach me your paths, guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God, My Savior and my hope is in you all day long.” AMEN.

When I saw him the next day, he handed me the book by David Seamands, Healing for Damaged Emotions. That book started me on my journey out, and into joy. That Sunday I attended that Nazarene Church all by myself and I sat in the back row, and people were so friendly even though I knew no one. The pastor greeted me with a friendly hug (instead of a cold handshake). The music was overwhelming. I loved it! I had never heard any of the songs before, but the spirit of praise and worship to the Lord was so awesome that it overwhelmed me. I had never experienced praise and worship to the Lord before in my life!

My walk with Jesus had finally begun. The next Sunday the pastor asked me if I would give my testimony in the next service telling about my experience of finding Jesus after having been in a religious cult for 30 years. He said, “There are so many others who have had similar experiences who can identify with your story.” I said, “Yes.” I felt immediately drawn to comply with his request because I felt God had placed the request on his heart and I have never wanted to say no to God. So, I did it that next Sunday and as I was leaving the church there were a half a dozen people who came up and said they were going to be praying for me. Their prayerful response was awesome to me. To know that people would actually tell me that they were going to pray for me was something I was totally unprepared for. My church is so dependent on prayer. I have learned to pray and praise God in all things. I feel that one of the things that has allowed me to grow in Christ so quickly is the ministry of prayer, deliverance, and intercession that my Christian friends and pastor believe in so strongly.

Very soon I became part of the worship team, and a women’s Bible study, and I sang in the choir. I was on top of the world. Life was wonderful. Church was wonderful. Most of all God was wonderful!!!! I thought life was going to just keep getting better and that I could forget the past and just keep going. And then one day I walked out of choir practice with a major panic attack! The same thing happened the next day in a Bible study and a friend followed me out to my car and asked, “Are you all right?” I said “No, I’m not all right, I’m depressed and I don’t know why. How could this happen to me now that I’m a born-again Christian?”

I had been seeing a wonderful Christian counselor who specializes in helping woman who have been abused. I had heard about her from listening to a Christian radio station. She recommended that I go to Rapha in Scottsdale, Arizona, which is a Christian unit in a secular hospital. It was so comforting to walk in and see Christian quotations on the walls and an inspirational atmosphere pervaded the entire unit. From the first session, I began to experience healing.

I won’t pretend that it was easy, but it was so worthwhile and I knew that God in His Sovereignty and unfailing grace had led me there for the healing that I wasn’t getting anyplace else. It was like God had said, “Okay, Sue, you have grown a little, now let’s finish the healing, so you can really grow in me.” It was such a safe place to be. My counselor said, “Sue, the only way out is through.” I didn’t think I had the strength in me and I didn’t, on my own, but God was with me. She gave me a verse from Jeremiah 29:11-12, “For 1 know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”

While I was there I met a wonderful woman named Shirley who became a best friend. We were roommates and right from the start had a special relationship. There were 12 of us in the hospital at the same time. It turned out that counting myself there were five people who had a Two by Two connection and they were all wanting to know about the Two by Twos after I told my story to the group. It was more than coincidence that we were there together. I put information in their hands to help them and they were so grateful to understand why their professing relatives believed as they did.

I was in the treatment center for a month and we went to group therapy twice a day and we had daily Bible studies. We had private therapy sessions each day and on weekends we attended a local church. While I was there I began remembering things from my past I hadn’t known were there. I had many breakthroughs which could not have been handled any other way. When I was admitted, the diagnosis which was given me was “Major depression, panic disorder and co-dependency.” During our group sessions, we used several textbooks, one of which was Search for Significance.

I had been through secular counseling for years. The difference now was that God was brought into the healing process and they showed us how people have bought into false beliefs regarding life. The Christian counselors would help us examine our past and then they would point to the scripture and say, “What does God say about this?” Secular counseling had some benefits but it only dug up the hurtful past without the healing process of the cross and left everything up to ourselves to change on our own. Only God can change us, and heal us.

Since coming out of Rapha the Lord has healed me even more. What Rapha did for me was to give me the tools to cooperate with the Holy Spirit in my healing process. What I have found is that Jesus is the Answer to all our problems. It isn’t about religion, it is about a relationship with Jesus. I can’t express the joy that freedom in the Lord has given me. I love every day. I love every person I meet. I get excited about every person I meet. God has given me such an excitement about people. Jesus died for everyone and I can love them all. I do a lot of flying and every time I get on an airplane I am excited about seeing who I will meet and sit beside. I marvel at the people God brings to me. There are no accidental meetings. I can see God’s hands in everything.

After all the years of discontent, I am finally in the place of contentment. I love being in large groups of people now and knowing that many of them are Christians gives me such a feeling of security and pleasure. I don’t feel at all uncomfortable talking about God with strangers, like I did while I was professing. Writing my story and knowing that others will be reading it has not been easy for me but it was something that I felt I wanted to do because I have received so much help from the Lord. For those who have left the Two by Twos but are not seeking the Lord, I just want to encourage you to not be afraid of a relationship with our Heavenly Father. He isn’t there to hurt or condemn you. He is there to save and help and heal you.

By Sue (MacDonald) Tramer
Mesa, Arizona, 1993