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

My People-Pleasing Addiction: I Want It to Stop

drowning

I beg God about what to write, but when He says, “Just be real and don’t hide what you’re struggling with,” I don’t want to accept His answer.

I sit here stuck because I know what He wants me to write, but I don’t have a clue how to say it. Ok, I’ll try…

I’m a people-pleasing addict and I have a daily struggle with it. My life is too much about trying to please others and to control things that are out of my power instead of about being real, being who I am and who God created me to be, accepting who I am and what God has placed upon me.

I stress myself out far too much about hurting and disappointing people and it’s taking its toll on me. I will stretch myself beyond my limitations just to please someone else with no regard to my own health. I worry. I don’t want them to think I don’t care and that they’re not important to me. But the truth is I’m also worried they might love me less, and I drive myself crazy with it. I further terrorize myself with guilt that I’m not trusting their love enough.

“Something has to change,” I tell my husband for the umpteenth time when I again got sick. “I don’t want anyone to feel hurt, disappointed, or unhappy because of me. I’m always trying to please others.”

“But not yourself…” he replies.

But my mind reasons that I should think of others above myself. But I have that all mixed up. I would be thinking more of others if I took care of myself. When I don’t take care of myself, I’m disregarding the feelings of my loved ones who are pained when I get sick. It tears my heart out when any of them suffer, so I should remember how they must feel when I suffer.

My need to please others results in my becoming a bully of myself, and I know in my heart that God does not want that. But I don’t know how to stop it sometimes. Maybe that’s the problem. I keep trying to stop it instead of admitting I can’t stop it myself. I’m always spinning my wheels and getting nowhere. Sliding back into that addiction again and again. I need help from a Higher Power, but I’m afraid to release my own power.

As I lay sick again, God whispered, “Just rest, My child, just rest.” Rest physically for my body but also rest in my spirit. Giving all things into His hands. Relinquishing my power to Him. Free-falling over the cliff into fear and uncertainty, trusting He’ll catch me and carry me on.

We all have an addiction in one way or another that punishes ourselves and detrimentally affects our loved ones who care so much. No matter who we are, we can all learn from AA’s Twelve Steps. Based on these steps, let’s search our hearts:

  1. Do we admit we are powerless in ourselves over _____ addiction? Do we admit our lives are unmanageable?
  2. Do we believe a Power greater than ourselves can restore us?
  3. Do we make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understand Him?
  4. Will we search our hearts and do a fearless moral inventory of ourselves?
  5. Do we admit to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs?
  6. Are we entirely ready to have God remove all our defects of character? (Jesus says in John 5 – “Do you want to get well?”)
  7. Do we humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings?
  8. Do we make a list of all persons we have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all?
  9. Do we make direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others? (Amend means to change and make improvements, not just to say I’m sorry.)
  10. Do we continue to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admit it?
  11. Do we seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out?
  12. As we have a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, do we try to carry this message to other _____ addicts, and to practice these principles in all our affairs?

It’s time for us to take care of ourselves as God wants us to. God is for us, but we can be our worst enemy when we’re wrapped up in our addictions. Let’s let go of our own self-sufficiency and fear to trust anyone else and fall into the hands of a God who loves and has our best interests at heart.

“For I know the plans I have for you,”
declares the Lord,
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you,
plans to give you hope and a future.”
~ Jeremiah 29:11

Victorious-Gods-Heart-for-You-Embracing-Your-True-Worth-as-a-Woman-by-Holley-Gerth

May we relinquish our control to God
Who has the power of love and grace in His hands!
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21 Days of Rest: Finding Spiritual Whitespace