Watching women share heart-to-heart still marvels my heart even though I am fully woman.
Many complex relational matters can be discussed within nanoseconds of sharing a pasta recipe or swapping a great babysitter’s name and number. Some women can do this within five minutes of meeting someone new.
Men, apparently, don’t operate quite like that.
The last two posts, I’ve tried to answer this question: What is the process to getting started in the healing journey after a rough, sexually charged or abusive childhood? They are linked here:
Again, I am not a counselor.
Still, I see great wisdom in sharing the burdens of our heart in order to experience how God meant for us to experience intimacy within community. Although, sometimes, it takes time to practice patterning the richness of fellowship God intended us to experience relationally.
God never meant you to go it alone.
Processing the memories of childhood sexual abuse and labeling it as such can be quite exhausting.
Debilitating, even, if carrying the burden alone.
All the more reason that, as believers in Christ Jesus, we desperately need to open our hearts toward one another.
Finding someone to open to can take a little more thought and energy than simply finding a reliable babysitter. As important as that is, asking for a referral to share one’s heart with on a Facebook update just doesn’t seem to fit.
How to find someone safe with whom to share your healing journey.
Let me start by stating the obvious, not all women are safe. Not all Christian women are safe. In fact, some women may have been safe six months ago, but currently, are no longer safe because their life terrain took a turn for the bumpy.
Instead of growling and thinking poorly of these women, recognize that you and I fit into that group, too. There are times when–for certain women–I may not be the right one for them to open their hearts and share their burdens. It’s true of you, too.
I almost feel silly writing those last two paragraphs, but I’ve got to be honest with you. When I first sold my life out for the Lord, I naively believed all Christian women were safe with whom I could share my heart and childhood experience. They weren’t, and I got through it.
Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to ask God for direction.
*Start in prayer.
Maybe there is someone already in your life that God has introduced you. Maybe she’s the one. Not sure? Ask Him. He’s the one who orchestrates the most exciting relational connections.
But if you ask, you also have to listen. Does the same name keep coming to mind, the same person keep crossing your path? Could this be the person Jesus is revealing to you? Not sure? Double-check and ask Him again. He loves you and wants to guide you.
And He may be quiet. In this situation, you may consider asking the leadership of your church. God may be waiting to talk to you through them.
*Ask the leadership in your church to direct you.
Ask the pastors, counselors, elders, or lay persons. While you’re asking, you don’t have to divulge the details of what you need to talk about, and don’t feel pressured into something you’re not willing to share.
Someone you want to share with needs to be someone of the same sex. It’s critical that you share with someone within your own gender, and it’s critical that they have a secure faith in the Lord.
Not only do they need to be mature in their faith, but also they need to be able to actively listen to your heart, not to solve your problems. Spending time in prayer and focusing on the truths of Scripture will fail not, and it will draw both of your hearts closer to the Lord.
*Seek a professional counselor when you get stuck.
Situations arise in our life when we are just stuck. The words won’t come. The feelings seem drowned in the thick of the horror-of-it-all, and that dreadful numbness lingers and permeates every area of life.
The average best friend or lay person isn’t always equipped with the skills to draw out the heart of the issue.
That’s why we have counselors. They’re trained and skilled in thinking and talking and processing and evaluating the trauma in and around our life.
Again, not all counselors are a good fit for us or our insurance companies, but it’s worth the pursuit. If you find yourself stuck, get help. Ask around. You might discover more people around you have been and are currently talking to a counselor than you originally knew.
Find comfort in the reality that you are not alone.
Ultimately, we serve the God of all comfort.
Yes, suffering and affliction will come our way. Yes, at times, it is vile, perverse, and hard to speak about.
But our God, the Father of all mercies and all comfort, reaches out to us for a beautiful purpose: to comfort others.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Cor.1.3-4)
Recognize that through keeping your burden and your sorrow limited to you and God alone, it denies you the privilege and joy and honor and beauty to comfort another survivor on the healing journey.
What’s your next step?
Each of us has a story. If we let the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ tenderly guide us through the healing process, not only do we connect with the Lord in an incredible fashion, but also we comfort others along the way. Reach out to someone this week. Share your story. Allow God to comfort you and use you to comfort others.
Join me on the healing journey.
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