I was sexually molested when I was very young, 4-5y. Though I didn’t understand what was happening to me, I knew it was wrong. This was my first experience with shame. It came in and cloaked me in a very dark robe. I knew talking about it wasn’t good. It only happened once, that I remembered but that one time was enough. So after I grew up, I understood what had almost happened, and what had happened.
Then I had another similar experience when I was 15y. Where I got almost raped. And the shame that I had tried to forget came back in full force and refused to leave. In all that trying to make sense of it, and be healed I turned to all the wrong sources: food, things, people. Even started watching pornography on the internet. At least I wasn’t being used, other people were and it made me feel not like a victim. I enjoyed it.
It also caused me to hide. Live in hiding is not easy at first, but once you have gotten the hang of it, you can’t even imagine doing anything else. It becomes natural, it is ingrained in you subconscious. You lie even when you don’t mean to by telling half truths. You start hiding things that are not bad, they are good and should be celebrated, but you are used to live in hiding. So you hide.
Even though I didn’t ask to be molested, I still carried guilt. And with guilt comes shame. I was mad at my young self for being so naive, and following that older distant cousin into his room. And then following that other older distant cousin into his room. The second time it happened, I was born again. So I felt betrayed by the LORD that He didn’t prevent all this. In my mind, once I became born again, everything was supposed to be perfect. So that night, I closed the door of my heart to the LORD. And I didn’t open it to Him again until recently. And during the in-between, I was going to church and doing church activities.
See, when trauma happens, and you don’t know how to process it, and you don’t process it rightly, you open doors to the demonic. And strongholds come into your mind, and they are usually in your subconscious. They don’t go away by reasoning or behavior modification, or yelling at yourself, or punishing yourself. They are only broken by the power of the Word of God and faith. And the LORD supplies both.
It took me being in the ministry where I am at right now for the wounds of the heart to start being revealed. And boy, it was ugly! It still is ugly. It took someone with a servant’s heart to want to go through the process with me by constantly sharing the truths in God’s Word which is the real truth. It was painful and for the longest, I ran and hid refusing to confront the pain, the hurt, and the brokenness.
But the LORD is His goodness, and mercy didn’t leave me alone. Even when I asked Him to. He was committed to me. And walked with me through it all. Little by little He started removing the layers and helped me to look past my own wants/needs. So now I know I can confront the darkness because of Jesus. See I had the wrong view of Who Jesus was. Yes, He came to make all things new, and proclaim the Kingdome of Heaven. But also Jesus dealt with real issues that everyone deals with because He is human: Son of God, Son of Man. And Jesus addressed the darkness, confronted it, and triumphed over it. In EVERY situation. And He gave me that gift when He ultimately died on the cross. So now I know Jesus is not afraid of the dark. He is not afraid of the dark places of my heart. I don’t need to hide from Him because He will not be overwhelmed by it. He can handle it.
See, we live in a fallen world. This is the earth, after Genesis 3, millenniums after. And there is darkness in every human’s heart. The LORD says the heart is wicked above all else (Jeremiah 17) and JESUS said it is what comes out of a man that defiles him, what comes out of the heart. But now I know that with Jesus in me, I have nothing to fear. I just need to stay close to Him and walk with Him everywhere. Let Him in my deepest shames and ask for grace.
If you have been a victim of abuse, the first thing to do is to forgive yourself. And to be honest, it is impossible if you don’t have Jesus. True forgiveness only comes from Him. Also important are to forgive God and the perpetrator. It doesn’t happen suddenly, it takes time and the LORD gives you grace. I am not talking about acting like nothing happened. I am talking about the type of forgiveness Jesus gave to those who crucified Him on the Cross: it includes you and me. Then second find as you are led by His Spirit, someone trustworthy you can talk to and start on the path of recovery. But you have to risk your heart and open yourself to trust again.
You have to risk your heart and open yourself to trust again. But first, you also have to understand only Jesus is worthy of the whole of your heart. And only Him can heal your wounds and fill your deepest longings. You cannot put anyone else in His place. “Love the LORD with all your heart” is the first of two commandments that sum up the Law. The other one is a direct result of the first one: “then you shall love your neighbor the same way you are receiving Love, the same way He is loving you.”
May this post bless you. May you be encouraged and know that truly the LORD turns everything around for our good. Truly, I can attest to that.
I also want to share this song, that resonates with me in this season.
With love, Judith.