I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31:3 ESV
Recently, I started reading Dan Allender’s book again, Healing the Wounded Heart, as well as working my way through the first chapter of the companion workbook. I highly recommend both of these books even though it is hard work getting through them. The questions are difficult. It’s not a book to rush through. I have had to take long breaks from this work, but God has continued to call me back to it, especially this time of the year which is when the worst abuses occurred in my life.
Grieving the sexual abuse that has happened to us in our lives is probably the most important thing we will ever do, because it is through grieving our losses that we connect with God in ways we cannot any other way. It is through our grief and pain, that God gives us lasting hope and joy. God takes no pleasure in our pain, but He longs to heal it, to be invited into it, to be trusted. He pursues us and invites us consistently to let Him into these dark places in our lives. I have fought Him long and hard. I have run far away from my grief. I have tried to find relief from the pain of my past on my own, and have only suffered more. God is the only One Who has given me relief. His kindness and faithfulness to me have been an anchor for my soul. But still I recognize there is more work to be done. I wonder if it will ever end. God assures me that it will. It will for you, too. He can be trusted. God is not a child abuser. I’m so very thankful for this truth.
One of the first assignments Dr. Allender gives is acknowledgeding the abuse we have suffered. Naming it. I confess I thought it was too much to name it all again. Haven’t I thought about all of that enough? Then I began to compile a list.
I was sexually abused by my adopted father and another man beginning around the age of 8. The abuse happened off and on until I was around 11 until my mom moved back in with him.
I was molested by a teenage male around age 9 playing hide and seek.
I was sexually molested by a much older cousin when I was 13 while my parents sat in the next room.
I was fondled and shamed by two different guys in my class over and over again in high school when I was 14 and 15 until I got an older possessive boyfriend that they were scared of. However, he was also mentally abusive and tried to talk me into terrible sex acts.
Finally, I was sexually abused by my former pastor for six years but stayed in the relationship with him for ten.
I realized as I wrote all of this again, that I indeed have much to overcome and grieve.
But I also realized what a miracle it is that I am still sane.
Is it any wonder it’s so difficult to trust anyone?
Is it any wonder I struggle to trust myself?
If you have suffered from sexual abuse, please be kind to yourself. You have suffered greatly.
Also, know that God sees your pain and will meet you in it.
He won’t let you go.
A few questions from Healing the Wounded Heart Workbook.
1. How has trust in God, others, and yourself been shattered because of your abuse?
2. What would you like to see happen for you in the realm of trust and faith?
3. How has hope been undermined by your fear, anger, and contempt?
4. What would you like to see happen for you in the realm of hope?
5. How has love come to be viewed as dangerous and/or foolish?
6. What would you like to see happen for you in the realm of love?
Song for reflection: Faithful by Sarah Reeves