This story is part of Safe Church Ministry's SOS series. In this post, an anonymous CRC congregant shares his first blog of his journey of recognizing, remembering, and processing the abuse he endured. Here is a link to part one, and here is a link to the second part.
Many emotions stirred within me as I approached and experienced Good Friday and Easter Sunday. I try to comprehend how God loved me so much that while I was still a sinner He would lay down his life for me. It was my sins that nailed him to the cross! What did I do to deserve that great love? As an abuse survivor that question is really powerful. I have questioned my worth for the most part of my life.
As I told you in part one of my story, the movement of the Holy Spirit in me was a powerful experience. The overwhelming experience of feeling truly loved for the first time in my life had a profound effect on me and it continues to impact my life. I’ve read a number of recommended books and most talked about getting counseling or seeing a therapist as part of a healing journey. It took me four years till I was in a place to be receptive to that, and it took meeting numerous counselors and therapists till I finally found the one that I was comfortable with.
One of the books that was recommended to me was The Wounded Heart – by Dan Allender. When I read that book, especially Chapter 12: Repentance, I was completely shocked that as an abuse survivor I had to repent. What an outrageous thing to say! I had to read that chapter a number of times, thinking surely I must have read it wrong. Dan must mean the perpetrator needs to repent, but no, I had read it correctly, I needed to repent. Repent from what, you might ask? The stats on abuse perpetrators is that they are not some random stranger. Most of the time they are the person that you should be able to trust. So being abused by someone you should be able to trust teaches you that you can’t trust anyone, sometimes not even yourself. It has also been a long and slow process to fully come-to-terms with trusting God. God has been very patient with me, teaching me that when I don’t trust in Him fully there are consequences. Does that sound familiar? Perhaps it is reminiscent of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, listening to the words of the serpent, wondering: Can we trust God? Is what the serpent saying true? Well we all know how that turned out. To this day when I feel like I can only trust myself. I have to stop and ask myself, where am I now? Where did I come from? How did I get here? The answer always is that God brought me to where I am now, and yes, He can be trusted.
I am so thankful that I was able to connect with an amazing therapist. I didn’t realize that I had some mental health issues that were the result of the abuse I had suffered. The most significant was disassociation. I have been seeing the same therapist now for 6 years. I’m not going to say it has been an easy road. It has been a very hard, emotional grueling, journey. At times I didn’t want to go forward. I’m thankful for the kindness and care that my therapist has shown me as we’ve journeyed together. Now, being on the other side looking back, it was all so worth it. I feel like the person that God intended me to be. As I progressed along my healing journey I often looked at myself and saw someone with many emotional scars and hurt. I wondered, what good could come of this? My therapist recommended taking The Story Workshop through The Allender centre and that was another life changing experience. That experience helped show me that what I had suffered God would use as tools to help others who had suffered. Who could understand someone better than someone who has experienced the same kind of suffering? God turning what the enemy intended for evil to good!
If you are someone who has been suffering in silence, let me encourage you, no I plead with you, to reach out to begin your journey to healing! It will be hard, but you will never regret doing it! The enemy wants you to stay where you are, but God wants to show you the plans He has for you!