For the LORD your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24, NIV)
"turn the other cheek," says ma,
wafer pages whipping in her soft voice.
the girls at church know better than me
how to be perfect wives for jesus,
how to make their mouse brown hair into wild horse manes,
and they speak my iniquities out of sisterly love.
i submit again and agree; i roll over to their dominance.
a woman's hair is her glory,
says corinthians, but beauty
fades with time.
"a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised."
i learn to pray at church camp,
and wish i could speak tongues
like the other devout kids. i do not have the courage
to pass gibberish as angels' speech,
but feel my stomach turn in fear as the girls in my cabin
speak to god in his language.
"god will always love you," says ma,
and i know if i do not love him back,
he will drown me in a lake of fire.
jesus tells me no one will love me
the way he does, that his love is beyond
my minuscule understanding. he tells me
that everything i do is his plan.
i give him my credentials, all my accomplishments--
he sees even the sins that are to come,
and because i love him, he wants ten percent.
my clothes should not tempt my christian brothers,
for this body is his,
and he tells me that i should be grateful
that he doesn't send me to hell.
sisters, pack your things and flee--
he says he forgives your sins, but now you're indebted.
there is no man for you here. the scriptures
speak true. he is a jealous god.
If you’re being mentally and emotionally abused, trust your instincts. Know that it isn’t right and you don’t have to live this way.