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"Many times they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me" (Ps 129:2).
April is National Child Abuse Prevention & Sexual Assault Awareness Month
I made the call. I scheduled the interview. And then I chain-smoked on the way to the first meeting.
I didn't want to participate in group therapy. I didn't want my horrific past to be my past. I desired a new and improved past. A new and improved me.
Every Monday I begrudgingly showed up with my crappy past. There were ten of us. That's a lot of crappy pasts in one room. At times our stories bled together and the shared pain (much as I despised it) left me feeling not so alone. That was something new. But I lacked the experience to navigate new. New was unpredictable; a fate worse than death for someone like me.
Could I truly embrace a healing process that threatened the signature rhythms of how I got from one day to the next? Coping skills may be artificial light, but I depended on that light to deflect the lurking shadows of everything I fought to hide.
It was time, and I knew it. An alarm set for adulthood; circa 1999. I did what most folks do when they're not ready to get up. When the emotional pain superseded my ability to appear "fine," I knew I'd hit the snooze button one too many times.
There was a deep sensing that the life I'd longed for would leave me behind if I didn't start moving towards it. Hence, therapy--the monumental mountain with potential mudslides that I set out to climb.
In the months to come, I learned. I worked hard. I did everything the counselor asked of me. But I wasn't free. Something was missing . . . I didn't trust God.
Faith didn't move any mountains for me as a child. There was no reason to believe it would help me climb this one. By grace, I'm convinced, I challenged myself to pretend that he would listen if I broke my decades long vow of silence.
I told him everything. What I learned in therapy. How I still hated the way I felt most of the time. I told Him it wasn't fair, and I didn't understand why healing was such a long and difficult process. Hadn't I suffered enough?
I talked, and he listened. I shouted, and he didn't strike me with lightening (not even when I threw my Bible across the room). I prayed. I confessed. He comforted. And the day I cried the way I never could in front of others, he offered his sleeve in place of a tissue, and I swear he smiled over me.
In all of God's listening, my own ears were unstopped. And then, listen . . . the still, small voice: What happened to you matters. YOU matter.
I felt a flicker of love for myself because God first . . .
Years later, I would come to understand that faith moves the mountains in me.
Q: Has an alarm gone off in your heart? How often have you hit the snooze button? Perhaps it's time to face a painful past or address a situation you purposely avoid.
Prayer: God in heaven, thank you for internal alarms and the still, small, voice. It is time to heal. I invite you to lead the way. To be my comfort as I seek refuge in your presence. Grace me, please, to be receptive to the folks you place in my path along the way. Amen.
Peace and good,
Published on Thursday, April 2, 2020 @ 11:33 AM CDT