For the Woman Who is Struggling to Heal from Child Abuse
Child-abuse is more common than most of us would like to admit.
A while back, I did a poll on my Instagram story and received many direct messages of “Thank you, I don’t feel alone.” A lot of sisters were shocked at the numbers. However, I wasn’t shocked at all. Statically, at least one in five women have been sexually abused. I have personally found the numbers to be a lot greater.
As one who has experienced many types of abuse, I know the difficulty it is in trying to move forward in the healing process. Most of my friends would describe me as: goofy, an avid learner, writer, a lover of the little things, and a coffee hugger- cause coffee is definitely not a ‘little thing,’ my friend! Some of those titles were once used to mask the pain that I felt for so long. I was abused for the first 18 years of my life, and nobody knew.
I was told that I couldn’t tell anyone. That pain doesn’t go away just because you don’t speak of it. It gets hidden back in the brain, and it eventually shows itself in a way that we don’t normally prefer. For me, my body cratered one night and I had over 25 seizures, resulting in an emergency room visit, where I was heavily sedated.
After a long journey of visits to doctors and the hospital, we finally realized that my body was responding to what I thought I had been successfully hiding for 23 years. My body was literally making me deal with what I had been avoiding. I was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
The Lord really did make us fearfully and wonderfully (Psalm 139:14). Our bodies will protect us when they need to be protected and it will make healing happen when it feels like it can. I thought it was just me, but so many women experience health issues like anxiety, depression, seizures, flashbacks, and nightmares. All of this is a way the body often tries to deal with what we refuse to acknowledge.
I can testify that the journey to healing is hard. I’m not gonna lie, it’ll make you want to quit. I remember wishing with Job, for the relief death would bring (Job 3:11). Let me tell you, I can’t count how many tissues I went through and that's not a metaphor. That’s for real! (The ones with lotion in them are the best kind, just for future references.)
God allowed me to be in such a dark place. I didn’t even know such a pit was possible. I was in so much pain, yet so numb at the same time. I now see that the Lord was taking me through the process of healing. During that time, I learned more than I had ever received from sermons or Bible studies. I discovered what it meant to truly experience the presence of God. I learned what it meant to fellowship with Him. To crawl back to Him again and again. Sometimes with words, and sometimes just with a heart that knew He understood. A nearness to Him was developed...and that, sister, is priceless.
However, it was still grimy. I looked down at my ‘hot-mess-self’ every day, and He said, “Come to me…” every single time! And still, “Come to me…” He continues to call (Matthew 11:28).” Some days, I spent the whole time in bed or on the floor whimpering at the memories and the grip they seemed to have on me. I couldn’t shake them. Trauma isn’t nice, sis! This is the kind of stuff many don’t want to talk about. Why? Because it's so ugly.
People are hurting in silence! I think it’s very important for us to acknowledge the fact that healing is hard. Spiritual surgery on the heart hurts. But, it doesn’t last forever. God works on the wound so that we can continue on in victory!
“ If we place our hope and future in the hands of our unchanging, unflinching God who never leaves us or forsakes us, we’ll find healing and freedom. We’ll be able to see something on the other side of all the pain.” Lysa TerKeurst
God loves us so much. His love will not allow us to sit in our childhood abuse, feeling helplessly shackled to the pain and memories. We are not in slavery anymore. God‘s children have been set free by the blood of the Lamb. It may feel like we are chained, but it’s false. And God will deal with this in the most gentle way… Though it might feel like He is pulling out teeth without Novocaine.
He is for us and not against us (Romans 8:31). But, sometimes being for us means making us have no other choice but to look the pain squarely in the eye without any emotional shield. Then, we will realize it can’t kill us after all! Not with our Captain by our side!
The Lord graciously allowed this to happen in my life...and continues to! I still have memories that bother me. Each time is an opportunity for further healing. I once used to think it was a fail. "I'm still sick. When is it going to finally end?" But, sister, it’s like sanctification. We are being continually refined! I still have to make the choice to get back on that table before my perfect Surgeon, letting Him do His work again. Trauma is not a drive-by experience. But, once you have experienced measures of healing, you begin to trust God with the process. It becomes easier to surrender and embrace the pain, that will one day turn into a testimony. Eventually, the memories slowly become just... memories. You can look at them, but they no longer hurt. They tell a story. Painful memories still come up for me and I have to intentionally decide to feel and work through them with the Lord.
This is a gradual process the Lord takes us on and it takes a great amount of patience. Also, many (including myself) have frowned upon medicines. However, it can really help with the process. I say this from experience. I do strongly recommend counseling when healing from abuse. You have to face what you are afraid of.
If I can share anything with someone who has experienced abuse, I want to tell you that you know it was abuse. Many times we try to hide behind the mask that it ‘wasn’t that bad.’ But, if you experienced abuse, it was bad! I want you to know that you are not alone. The statistics show it. I want you to know that the only way is through. You gotta walk through the wilderness with Jesus. He is your Healer! He is your Hope! He is your Rescue! You gotta lay on the table, open to the gentle hand of the perfect Surgeon.
Also, you have to tell somebody. I don’t know if you have anybody around you but find someone. The enemy will like to lie to you while keeping you in isolation. He would love to whisper in your ear false statements like, “you can do this alone.” But you can’t do it alone, you need someone speaking truth to you when all you hear and see are comfy lies. You need the Body of Christ. You need intercessors. You can’t do it alone! Ask God to show you, someone, you can trust this with. For those who have been trusted with the information that a loved one has suffered abuse, love them, even though you may not understand what it feels like. Be gentle. Point them to Christ, and help them get counsel. They may not want you to. However, chances are they are operating from a place of fear. Pray and seek to do it in a way that is discreet and best on their end. However...get them help. Last but not least, I want to tell you that it will be a long journey.
Don’t give up. God is walking right beside you, sister. Remember, this will not break you just to break you. Your Father is building something beautiful in this mess of what seems like never-ending brokenness. He is bringing beauty from ashes, though you don’t see it yet.
Keep walking. You might trip and fall. But get back up. When the enemy is throwing so much at you, stand with the Armor of God on (Ephesians 6). It’s hard… It is hard! But God knows and understands. Christ has experienced pain like no other, on the cross! Go to Him. Wait. Seek. Stand. Kneel. Pray. Cry. Fall. Get back up. But, don’t give up. The way to healing is through!
>>>Josephine is the creator of the blog stonesofdiverelines.com and the Instagram page @diverselines. Daily, she strives to love God above all, while pointing others to the Christ who brings true salvation. Her passion is for women to find the freedom in being authentic before a loving and sufficient God. She has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and lives in Mississippi.<<<