Contribute to Redroad Outreach
Click the heart to sponsor my service work at Valiant Hearts throughout the month of October. In their weekly support group, I will present practical steps to overcoming the effects of childhood sexual abuse. For more information, visit www.valianthearts.org
[This blog is from my archives. I read over it this morning and decided to post it again. I marvel at how it applies to my life today--though within a different context. And I'm humbled at how God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. I can count on Him today as much (even more) than I did over a decade ago when I faced some pretty harsh wounds. I hope it blesses you.]
Once I summoned the courage to face a childhood riddled with sexual abuse the days morphed in to a desperate haze of pain and confusion. Mind you, the pain was nothing new. I hurt. Life hurt. Pain was familiar--an old friend, whom I loved and hated.
The confusion I experienced was another matter altogether. Was I ready to embrace a healing process that threatened how I managed to get from one day to the next? "Coping skills" may be nothing more than artificial light, but I'd come to depend on that light to navigate around the shadows of something I'd spent most of my life avoiding.
But it was time. It was as if God had placed an alarm clock inside my heart and programmed it to alert me in 2001. Of course I did what most people do when alarm clocks go off. I hit the snooze button. I continued to hit the snooze button until my heavenly Father allowed life circumstances to supersede my outward ability to cope. He out-managed me!
I had a deep sensing that the very life I'd prayed for was about to leave me behind if I didn't get up and get going. So, I got up and got going. I contacted an organization that provided group therapy for survivors of child sexual abuse. I kept going, and attended weekly meetings. I complied with the counselor's instruction. I learned. I worked hard. I did everything I was asked to do, but I wasn't free. Something was missing. That something was the word of God AND words with God.
Without realizing it, I'd resorted to the management of my own healing. Yes, the steps I'd taken were positive, but apart from the word of God AND words with God, the counsel of man (or in this case, woman) could not heal me.
I searched my Bible and held tightly to verses such as Psalm 32:8: I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you and watch over you. Then I got busy telling God everything. I told Him what I'd learned in therapy. I told Him 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 proved to be such a long and difficult process. Didn't He think I'd already suffered enough?
I talked. He listened. I prayed. He listened. I confessed. I cried. He comforted. And taught me to listen. One day a new alarm went off inside my heart: I cared. I cared about me. I cared about Him. The healing I'd sought was not nearly as important as the time spent with my Healer. Christ was and is the prize. I remember thinking, if I don't heal, I have Him. No attack from the enemy can eclipse the Love and light in my heart. He rescued me from "coping." My heart was under new management.
I continued to seek healing from the effects of sexual abuse. I read Scripture daily. I memorized it; spoke it aloud throughout the day. When I couldn't sleep, I meditated on specific bible verses. There were nights when I slept with an open Bible across my chest. I struggle to explain how this works. I only know that somewhere along the way the counsel and instruction of God pierced the deepest pain in my heart and darkness scattered. The time it took was a blessing, not a curse. (The building of ones faith doesn't happen over night.) Bonus: Today I live freely from the effects of child sexual abuse.
Has an alarm gone off in your heart? How many times have you hit the snooze button? Perhaps it's time to face a painful past or walk through a current circumstance you purposely avoid.
I encourage you today to get up and get moving. Do one thing different that doesn't require your "life management" skills. Choose a scripture that speaks to the deepest need in your life today. It'll either "jump off the page" when you're reading the Bible or resonate in your heart when you hear it.
You cannot go wrong talking to God. He's a great listener. The best. In fact, I'll go as far to say that His faithfulness to listen to me, fostered my faith in Him and enabled me to hear Him.
Prayer: God in heaven, thank You for internal alarms. It's time to heal. I invite You to instruct me and teach me in the way I should go. Help me to take refuge in Your counsel as You faithfully watch over me. And prompt me to be receptive to those you place in my path to help me along the way. In Jesus' name, Amen.
What do you feel prompted to face today?
You are not alone,
Published on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 @ 10:39 AM CDT
When I attended group therapy for survivors of child sexual abuse, I was taught to counter my negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Similarly, my Bible studies instructed me to apply Scripture to my circumstances. I did both. And at the risk of offending a professional counselor and a professional author, I must confess, I didn't experience the full empowerment of either plan until I confessed my thoughts and feelings to Jesus. Everyday, in my walk-in closet, I told Him everything. Everything. Who I hated and why I hated. Every time ugly arose, I bowed at the feet of Beauty and confessed. Then I invited Him into the center of whatever dreadful thing I'd just confessed. Jesus, I invite You into the center of my hate and rage. You are my only hope.
Over time and under no condemnation, I became aware of my destructive re-actions to the harmful acts against me. How I treated the ones I loved the most . . . and I didn't like what I saw. Divine light had pierced the darkness inside of me. This is a practical illustration of John 3: 19-21, which says when we come to light, our deeds are exposed.
And so I confessed what was revealed in the light. As I confessed, Jesus gathered the fragments of my heart. As He gathered, He healed. And the more He healed, the more I felt compelled to pray, Jesus, will you forgive me for attempting to guard and heal my wounds in my own strength? And of course, He did.
If you've been deeply wounded and now face the challenge of "taking every thought captive" (Corinthians 10: 5) this post is for you. To have negative thoughts and beliefs about what you've experienced does not make you "bad." It makes you human. But as Christians, we must return to Him with our whole hearts. The good, the bad, and the ugly. In the absence of humble confession, we refuse our own repair and run the risk of giving birth to sinful re-actions. I have a friend who insists that his body never takes him places his mind hasn't gone first.
If you're bound to destructive thoughts and feelings you can take them captive and make them obedient to Christ. First with honest confession. Every day. Every time ugly arises, bow at the feet of Beauty. Second, invite Christ into the center of your pain and confusion, then search the Scriptures for timely passages that will nurture your spirit. (Additonally, if you need counseling or therapy--get it, but don't stop talking to God.)
We cannot overcome what we deny. So fess up. Jesus knows what you're thinkin' anyway. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
What thoughts do you have that need to be taken captive and made obedient to Christ?
Published on Tuesday, July 31, 2012 @ 1:00 PM CDT