Dagger-throwing eyes and accusing fingers pointed at me, “You whore.” It was so real that I woke up with a thumping heart, a sinking spirit, and a strong urge to run and hide.
Memories flooded in, swallowing my spirit like quicksand. So many years ago when I was but a vulnerable young woman in youth group who needed help, many people did accuse me of being a “whore” instead of the pastor’s victim. When their mouths didn’t degrade me, their looks and silence did.
On the day of the dream, the three big Ds that abuse victims feel hit me full force and smothered me. Dirty. Damaged. Different.
As my husband and I sat outside on the patio, I told him how I was trying to remember what he always told me, “God knows the truth.” I kept trying to replace the lies with God’s Truth, but I still felt so downhearted.
I tried and tried to focus on Jesus and who I am in Him, but it seemed so hopeless. I tried to consider how precious I am in His sight. How His thoughts towards me outnumber the grains of sand on this earth. That’s a lot of thoughts! Yet still darkness crowded out the light in my heart.
“How precious are Your thoughts about me, O God.
They cannot be numbered!
I can’t even count them;
they outnumber the grains of sand!
And when I wake up,
You are still with me!”
Psalm 139:17-18 NLT
Then that afternoon I was reading a devotion and I came upon a verse:
“One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved,
was reclining next to Him.”
I knew John is the one who was inspired to write the book of John, and yet it hadn’t sunk in before that John actually spoke this of himself. He considered himself “the disciple whom Jesus loved.” As he leaned against Jesus, he knew in his heart that he was the very beloved of Jesus.
Too often I still let past abuse and accusations define me, and it’s choking the joy out of my heart and life. It’s binding my wings, so that I cannot fly in Jesus. I can say I know Jesus loves me, but it doesn’t really sink into my heart that I am His beloved. His chosen. His precious child.
I took deep breaths in and cried, “I am the one whom Jesus loves!” Then every time I blew out, my heart shouted, “Get out of here, Satan!” I did this several times and comfort seeped into my heart along with a longing to truly believe and live as Jesus’ beloved one.
The negative voices of shame and insecurity and Satan’s lies become so strong sometimes in me. I deeply long to identify myself in who I am in Christ, not in the lies.
He loves you, too, my dear readers. YOU are “the one whom Jesus loves!” Many of you have had past or still do have experiences of some type of abuse, and perhaps you feel cloaked in shame. You feel so dirty, damaged, and different. But Jesus gives us a different identity in Him. He invites us to come to Him. Past abuse can burden us, but Jesus says His yoke is gentle and His burden is light. He doesn’t want us to carry the heavy burden of shame. On the cross He endured shame, degradation, and humiliation so we can be freed from it. Freed to fly!
“Come to Me, all you who labor
and are heavy-laden and overburdened,
and I will cause you to rest.
[I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls.]
Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me,
for I am gentle (meek) and humble (lowly) in heart,
and you will find rest (relief and ease and refreshment
and recreation and blessed quiet) for your souls.”
Matthew 11:28-29 AMP
“Jesus Loves Me”
by Chris Tomlin
May we believe with all our hearts
that we are the ones Jesus loves!
Linking up with:
Holley – Coffee For Your Heart
Jennifer – Tell His Story
Kelly – Cheerleaders of Faith
Bonnie – Faith Barista’s Beloved Brews