Healing From Abuse Is a Painful Process


broken-to-beauty

After writing the post that celebrated the resurrection of Jesus, such joy and peace flooded the depths of my soul. It was confirmed to my heart that Jesus is truly alive yet today, He is always with us, and He will get us through anything. I felt that with my God I could level mountains.

Then one night I woke up with such vivid memories of my abuser. The scene was so real. Frightening emotions overwhelmed me. I cried, “Why, Lord? What is triggering this now?”

Then I realized it was probably because I was thinking of going to church again. I had felt so bolstered up by the truth of Jesus’ resurrection, I figured it would be a breeze. It had been almost a year ago since I last tried, only to end up staying home at the last minute. And now the more I thought about trying it again, the more fear and anxiety grew in me.

The next day I was telling my husband about it, and he said as he has before, “That man has ruined your life.”

And as before, I quickly replied, “No, he hasn’t. Jesus is with me and has helped me. I wouldn’t be where I am today without Him.”

I’ve been pondering this, and I wonder – Even though it’s been over 40 years since a pastor abused me, why do I still so easily deny that he ruined my life? Is it because I think it would be an insult to all the love and care Jesus has shown me?

Every time my husband has told me this, I don’t think I have ever said, “Yes, he did ruin my life.”

It’s true. He has. My life has never been the same, and it’s okay for me to admit how much damage he has inflicted to every part of my being. And even though I have come a long way on this healing journey, I still have a long way to go.

If someone has abused you, he or she did ruin your life. It’s okay to acknowledge the extent of devastation our abusers have caused us. It’s okay to be vulnerable. It’s okay to admit the three D’s abuse victims often carry with them haunts our lives, too. Dirty. Damaged. Different.

Abuse damages the soul, the very essence of one’s being. The deeper the damage, the longer the healing process takes. Often a lifetime.

I often forget it’s a process. Sometimes I think I should be past it by now. And I heap self-condemnation on myself that if I would have more faith, I would be totally free by now. And the negative voices again taunt me like a stuck record in my brain – “You’re not enough. Not enough. Not enough…”

Then the uplifting truth of Jesus’ resurrection becomes elusive. I can’t capture it again. I know it in my head, but my heart doesn’t grasp it.

It is true what I told my husband though about how I would not be where I am today without Jesus. He suffered unspeakable cruelty. Devastation ravaged every part of His being – body, soul, and spirit. No one ever has or ever will suffer like He did. He took upon Himself all our sins and the sins committed against us. And He conquered. He gained the victory. Even death could not hold Him. Because He wants us to have life in Him. He wants us to be healed in Him. He wants to take all the ugly, shattered pieces of our soul and restore them to beauty in Him.

Restoration may not happen immediately or even in this lifetime, but some day when we may be with Jesus, we will be fully restored. Radiant in beauty. Forever rescued from all painful memory triggers. Meanwhile, Jesus has promised to be with us through the process, and He always keeps His promises. And every time we go through a rough spot, we can come out stronger when we lean into Him.

So let’s take His hand and let Him lead us on our journey of healing. And let’s support and strengthen each other in this battle of life. Because of His unfailing love, we will survive and gain the victory.

“Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.
Heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony.
I am sick at heart.
How long, O Lord, until You restore me?
Return, O Lord, and rescue me.
Save me because of Your unfailing love.”
Psalm 6:2-4

“For I will restore health to you
And I will heal your wounds, says the Lord,
Because they have called you an outcast, saying:
This is Zion; no one seeks her and no one cares for her.”
Jeremiah 30:17 AMP

“And provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.
They will be called oaks of righteousness,
a planting of the Lord
for the display of His splendor.”
Isaiah 61:3

A Child's Trust

“Healing Hand of God”
by Jeremy Camp

“I have seen the many faces of fear and of pain
I have watched the tears fall plenty from heartache and strain
So if life’s journey has you weary and afraid
There’s rest in the shadow of His wings…”

Jesus

26 thoughts on “Healing From Abuse Is a Painful Process

  1. Sorry it’s been a tough week, Trudy, but thank you for sharing so honestly. Healing is a long, slow process with lots of ups and downs and it often seems that just when we feel we’re making progress that’s the moment when the fear and lies return. I know those negative voices too well.
    Things like abuse do have an on-going effect and I think it is absolutely okay to admit that your life is different than what it would have been without those experiences. It doesn’t in any way discount the healing you have already received. I think the way you write of knowing Jesus with you and your hope in that final restoration are a beautiful testimony to his power and love.
    Praying for you today to know God’s love and truth deep in your heart, and that you know his continued healing and restoration. Hugs!

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    1. Thank you for your loving support and prayers, Carly. I know you understand. How true it is that just when we feel we’re making progress, the fear and lies return. There is such hope in Jesus’ final restoration, isn’t there? May Jesus heal us ever deeper and may we cling to His unfailing love! Hugs to you, too!

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  2. “I often forget it’s a process. Sometimes I think I should be past it by now.” Thank you for being so open and vulnerable with your thoughts, Trudy! I too have a hard time acknowledging that it’s OK to be in a wounded place. Oh how Grace-Full that Jesus acknowledges it for us! Whatever the reason that causes our weakness, I am thankful that His hands are so sturdy underneath us, holding us up! You blessed me with your thoughts today; May Jesus bring Blessing and Grace to you!

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    1. I’m so glad you were blessed, Bettie. Yes, it’s ok to be in a wounded place, my friend. I love how you say “His hands are so sturdy underneath us, holding us up!” So true. Thank you. Those words especially bless me today. May we rest in that Truth! Blessings and hugs to you!

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  3. Amen. Agreeing with your husband’s assessment was courageous, brave, and honest. That you are sharing your healing journey is courageous, brave, and honest, too.

    I’m grateful that God can takes our deepest wounds and turn them into a pathway of healing for others. You are doing that here, friend.

    And may your healing lead you to a place of freedom where you are able to find a community of faith that is safe, warm, and welcoming.

    Bless you, girl …

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words of support and encouragement, Linda. Sometimes I resist writing openly like this, but God keeps nudging me to do so. It is often impressed on my heart that there are others out there who need to feel they’re not alone and who need to know there is hope in Jesus. God has led me to an online community that is “safe, warm, and welcoming.” I am so thankful for online friends like you and others. 🙂 May God bless us and keep us and cause His face to shine upon us! Hugs!

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  4. Trudy, thank you for your vulnerability. And pointing out the point to not be hard on ourselves during the healing. Healing takes time, maybe even a life-time but like you mention, He’s there to lift us up high in Him each time we reach out.

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    1. You’re welcome, Lynn. It’s so easy to be hard on ourselves, isn’t it? But I know Jesus doesn’t want us to be. I love this encouragement you give – “He’s there to lift us up high in Him each time we reach out.” I sometimes picture myself sinking in stormy seas like Peter because I took my eyes off Jesus. I’m gulping water and drowning but reaching up my hand, and Jesus so graciously reaches down and lifts me up again. His love and patience are so amazing, aren’t they? May we keep our eyes on Jesus through whatever storm we face! Hugs!

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  5. Amen to that unfailing love, Trudy. You are so beautifully honest about this difficult struggle you’ve suffered with for so many years. I’m sorry you are hurting and that church has such an awful tie to it in your heart. I love your answer to your hubby that Jesus is with you and helping. He will continue to heal you, my sweet friend. XO!

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    1. Thank you for your caring love, Candace. Yes, Amen to that unfailing love! It’s what keeps hope alive, right? May He continue to heal us ever more deeply and help us to trust Him in the process! Hugs!

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  6. Trudy, what you’ve written here reminds me of Francesca Battistelli’s song, “If We’re Honest.” I wish this was not your story, but I so appreciate your honesty in telling it. You are brave and bold, my friend, even if you don’t feel it. Brave to hold fast to Jesus for the duration of your healing journey, and bold to share it with us.

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    1. Oh Lois, thank you so much. I have never heard of this song before, so I looked it up, and it touched me deeply. Your words also about being brave and bold give me courage, too, because yes, I don’t feel it. I still think about the “epiphany” you wrote about, too. May we become ever more dependent on Jesus’s affirmation, not on people’s! Hugs!

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  7. Trudy,
    I just love the spirit of hope in your words at the end of your post as you take heart and with courage continue to be restored! You are such an encourager that you can still come through difficult circumstances, with your resilience and hope and faith intact — not in others or those who have let us down — but in God, who promises to never leave us alone! xo

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    1. I’m so glad you can feel the spirit of hope here, Valerie. My desire is to praise Jesus for His unfailing love and strength to get us through any trouble and to point discouraged souls to that hope there is in Him. Thank you for your kind words and for the reminder that God will never leave us! May we in our struggles lean into Him! Hugs!

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  8. My dear, sweet friend, I’m so sorry you’re struggling with this afresh this week. May the Lord Jesus comfort you, and may you truly know how beautiful, safe and perfect you are in His sight. Prayers for wholeness, dear one.

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    1. Thank you for your compassion and prayers, June. What a day that will be when we may have complete restoration! May God bless us and keep us and cause His favor to shine on us today and always! Hugs!

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  9. Trudi – thanks so much for sharing your story- I really appreciate your openness and honesty- it has helped me lot with my own journey – It seems to take forever sometimes- thanks Trudi- with hugs

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    1. I’m so glad sharing my story helps you with your own journey, Susie. Your poems and art work certainly help me with mine, too. Yes, that journey does seem to take forever, doesn’t it? We’ll have to keep encouraging one another. May we keep drawing near to the Father heart of God that is overflowing with love and grace! Hugs!

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  10. Trudy – you are a beautiful woman who is opening up so honestly in this space to allow God to fill you with the healing that only He can provide. I pray that you continue to open your heart and soul to make room for all the love that God has just for you. Love you friend!

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    1. Thank you, Mary. Yes, He is the only Provider of healing. It has been hard to open up my heart and soul both to others and especially to God to make room for love, but God has been faithful and always will be. It’s a comfort to know He will always complete the work He has begun. I am looking forward to reading more about what He has taught you in your Nicaraguan journey. May He guide us continually! Hugs!

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  11. Dear Trudy, I admit that when I saw the subject matter of your post I avoided coming over for a while. It didn’t help that I already felt low, discouraged and disheartened by the way abuse still sits like a bad taste on the tongue, souring feelings and leaving us rife with insecurity and pain. A few days on, I am in a stronger place as I lean harder on the Lord and listen less to negative hissing from the enemy. Now I have read your words and they find a deep echo in my heart. The loss and memories never seems to vanish altogether, do they? But we always have hope of seeing change, renewal and restoration by God’s grace.
    My friend, I applaud you for your courage in speaking out about the struggle to become healed and whole. It’s no picnic. But it is a certainty to come, whether in this life or beyond. We are not without hope or help. We are never as alone or lost as we may feel. And the past doesn’t have the final word on who we become. You shine, dear one, whether you see it or not. God is within you and although you fall, you will not fail. Blessings, hugs, love and prayers to you. We will get through this together! Xx ❤

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    1. Oh Joy, I’m so sorry you have been more discouraged and disheartened about how much the pain of abuse hangs on. And it’s even harder to process these feelings when our bodies are worn down, isn’t it? Thank you for being so honest. Let’s together hang on to that “hope of seeing change, renewal, and restoration by God’s grace.” I’m so grateful, as you say, that “the past doesn’t have the final word on who we become.” May we together listen less to that “negative hissing” and lean harder on the Lord of life and love! Hugs!

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  12. Hi Trudy! (I’m on my iPAD, so I can visit this way.) I know your husband just hurts so much for you. He is right there with you through your hard times…how can he not be hard on the person who took such advantage of his beloved wife?

    Realizing it’s okay to say someone has ruined your life can be very empowering. I hope it means that you can now begin to rebuild, and have more peace. It is so much work, and means being patient with yourself too, but I pray with God’s grace you will come closer each day.

    God bless you always,
    Ceil

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    1. Welcome back, Ceil! I’m glad it works from your iPad. 🙂 Yes, my husband does deeply hurt for me. He has stood by me through some really tough spots, and I’m so grateful for him. Thank you for your love and prayers. And for your encouragement to be patient with myself, too. I do need that. May God lead us ever deeper into His love! Hugs!

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  13. We live in an instant world and want instant results and relief. I still sometimes go back to something that happened almost 20 years ago and then tell myself I have been fine for a long time, so I have no right to think about him. But that’s not the way we work, is it? I am so glad to have Jesus and an understanding husband by my side!

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    1. I’m so glad you have Jesus and an understanding husband by your side, too, Sarah. Such awesome blessings. Those past hurts can go so deep, can’t they? Often lurking in our subconscious and they pop up so suddenly. May God give us ever deeper healing and help us to lean hard on Jesus! Hugs!

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