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Tor Lowell

Work-in-Progress: The Wrong Kind of Testimony: A Memoir

"I'm telling a different story now. This is not God’s story. This is not a story of happy endings, or redemption, of miracles and reconciliation. This is a story of what it is for the miracle to come to life, for the parable to challenge Christ. This is what happens when, just before the testimony ends, the answer to prayer opens their mouth, and begins to scream."

In the Evangelical faith I grew up in, trauma was a story, a testimony; something that happened to you because God was going to use it for his purposes. The story was supposed to go something like this: I was hurt, but I gave it to God, I was angry, but I chose to forgive, I was in pain, but God took it from me. Now I am transformed into a beautiful, sweet (straight, cis) woman without any traces of the previous trauma left on me.

I have always been a testimony. I belonged first to my mother’s words, to the tales she told me. She’d prayed for a girl, and she received me, her answer to prayer, her sweet child that would never experience the pain or trauma of our abusive family. This is the story I grew up with even as my father hurt me, as my brother hurt me, as she hurt me.

I am what happens when you grow up fractured on abuse and conflicting stories, when you are told that the world works a certain way, that God works a certain way, even as the narratives break around you. The bad survivor, the one whose trauma has no tidy ending, serves no inspirational tale, a wrong testimony that defies the narratives I was told were mine.

Some work in progress excerpts:

Innocent girl


When my brother...

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