If Goldilocks had ever come to my childhood home, she’d have found three bears alright – alcoholism, violence, and incest. For such is the history of my heart. What is the history of your heart, my friend? Were you sexually abused too? If so, keep reading, for there’s hope ahead.
In-sid-i-ous – proceeding in a gradual, subtle way, but with harmful effects.
The insidious nature of childhood sexual abuse is like an autoimmune disease, twisting, tangling, taunting, and tormenting the soul – ultimately turning you against yourself. The injury to your soul, mind, and body and the resulting numbing of your soul, mind, and body are so severe you can’t even imagine the possibility of healing.
When it’s dark enough you can see the stars.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Will I Always Feel Hopeless?
Now, I don’t know where you are in the healing process. Maybe you’re experiencing the emergence of suppressed memories. Memories buried since childhood but now their seeping out? Or, as I experienced, flooding out like someone cracked open a fire hydrant.
Maybe you’re trapped in unbelief – mentally and emotionally unable to accept something so dark, and evil happened to you? Acceptance was a massive challenge for me too.
Perhaps you’re the only one who knows. Aside from the predator who abused you, no one else knows your story. And the isolation and loneliness have grown claustrophobic.
When sexually abused as a child, there are about a gazillion ways to become silenced, paralyzed, overwhelmed, confused. Hopeless.
Healing is Possible
But there is hope. You, my friend, are not hope-less. What you have experienced, what you have endured is grave indeed. Evil personified.
But God has given us hope – as an anchor for your soul, firm and secure.
So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls.” Hebrews 6:19
Even when their paths wind through the dark valley of tears, they dig deep to find a pleasant pool where others find only pain. He gives to them a brook of blessing filled from the rain of an outpouring.” Psalm 84:6
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. Isaiah 43:2
They have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me. Plowmen have plowed my back and made their furrows long. But the Lord is righteous; he has cut me free from the cords of the wicked.” Psalm 129:2-4
Post Traumatic Hope
My friend, even the darkness of being sexually abused as a child, is no match against God’s grace, love, and power. Healing is possible.
I absolutely used to believe things were hopeless. I thought I was hopeless. But God took me by the hand and guided me step by step. God provided for me moment to moment. He kept me and sustained me. He untangled my tormented soul. And slowly but surely, he’s releasing me from all the ways I learned to numb my soul, mind, and body.
Now you might be wondering, But did she go to therapy? Therapy is a tremendous tool, and I can’t recommend it more highly. For years, I processed all the darkness and pain with a most trusted and skilled psychologist, Dr. Richard Clark. But the source of healing was the grace, love, and power of Jesus.
For in him (Christ) all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17
In and of myself, I have no power to heal, but I can point you to Jesus and invite you and encourage you to trust him with your healing journey. Healing is possible!
So, what’s it look like to trust God with your healing journey? Honestly, I don’t know what it will look like to trust God with your healing journey. I only know what it looks like to trust him with mine. Every journey is different. And yet, there can be similarities. Therefore, I’ll share a glimpse of mine in hopes you might be encouraged to trust God with your journey.
- In 2005, Dr. Mack, an internal medicine doctor, asked me a troubling question, “Somewhere along the way, you’ve decided you weren’t worth taking care of – why did you decide that?”
- I didn’t know why or what to do next, so I asked God – the only one who knows everything about us.
- A few months later, the same doctor uncovered that I had fractured my neck in a 1996 auto accident, but I’d gone on with life as nothing had happened, never feeling the pain. “How did you not feel the pain?” she asked. I didn’t have a clue, so again, I asked God.
- Dr. Mack gave me a book on trauma and asked me to complete the trauma history exercise in the first chapter. In doing so, I discovered I had four lost years. I could remember details before those missing years and details after those years, but no memory from age 8 through 6th grade. Completely baffled, God, why can’t I remember those years?
- After studying my trauma history, Dr. Mack encouraged me to seek counsel. But I didn’t know who to call, who to trust. So I prayed, I don’t know who to call, help me?! A few minutes later, a name came to mind – a girlfriend who’d shared her wonderful counseling experience with me.
- Not having any insurance for counseling, but knowing counseling was necessary, I asked God to provide. And he did. He provided in ways that surprised, tickled, and humbled my heart.
- For the next eighteen months, I took all my bewildering questions to God – the only one who knows how to solve a human puzzle.
- And then, in January 2007, God released the lost years. Memories long suppressed by his grace for my protection.
- And as God continued to release my memory, all the mysterious puzzle pieces began to come together.
All Hope is Yours
Healing is possible. In fact, I believe your healing journey has already begun – it’s how you found your way to these words.
For greater clarity, since I’ve written ‘healing is possible’ like six times – the suffering, the grieving, the dark nights of the soul one endures as they heal compels me to say, yes, healing is possible and challenging. Possible and ongoing. It’s been 15 years since God released my memory, and yes, I’ve healed in profound ways. And yes, I’m still healing. Still journeying. And now, the sweetest gift of God is we get to journey together.
Beloved, God loves you. God is for you, never against you. And what the enemy intended for your destruction, God will turn for good.
You are near and dear to my heart too, Beloved. Here’s a song I’ve been praying over you. Crying tears of belief as I pray the lyrics over your life. Give it a listen and be deeply encouraged, The Blessing by Kari Jobe, Cody Carnes, and Elevation Worship.
May His presence go before you
And behind you, and beside you
All around you, and within you
He is with you, He is with youIn the morning, in the evening
In your coming, and your going
In your weeping, and rejoicing
He is for you, He is for you”
I’m listening – and I would love to hear from you! Subscribe below to share your thoughts, comments, and questions directly with me.
Thanks for stopping by. Do you know someone else in need of Post Traumatic Hope? There are so few good resources for encouragement when it comes to healing from childhood sexual abuse. Be an encouraging hero by sharing this post today.
Trusting in Jesus, you have more treasure than pockets. From my heart to yours…