Category Archives: Friendship

Dear Sexual Abuse Survivor: How Has The Duggar Molestation Case Impacted Your Heart?

Love letter

My beloved friend and sexual abuse survivor,

The last few weeks our news and social media sources have flooded-over with facts, theories, objective and biased opinions about the Duggar molestation case.

The intent of this letter intends to gingerly remind you: that you are loved, valuable, and remembered.

As I’ve been processing the Duggar report, I keep scratching my head, wondering why the media hunts for material to protect or expose Josh Duggar. Or to demonstrate how his changed life is a reason to dismiss his actions as a youth. Or to spend energy addressing his 3-month counseling period.

Why couldn’t they spend their time and energy on something a bit more productive, like educating the public on how to properly report sexual abuse? Or explaining the lasting effects of sexual abuse upon the victim, the victim’s family, and community? Or defining sexual abuse, which is far broader than molestation and rape.

I pray to God that Josh Duggar has, indeed, repented of his sins and walks in newness of life as a believer in Christ. I hope that he has been made new, loves his wife, and no longer takes advantage others’ sexuality.

After all, before placing our trust and faith in the work of Christ on the cross, each of us walked in the stench of our own spiritual death.

It is the gift of God that allows every one of us to have any kind of spiritual life. None of us have lived such a life as to boast and call ourselves better than another.

Left to our natural state, each of us crave to satisfy the desires of our flesh; that is, without Christ, we lust after sin. All of us.

So, dear survivor, I don’t intend to drag Josh through the mill. I am without authority to do that. And, to be honest, it benefits you not.

One of the stirrings of my heart has been for you.

Every time another case comes to light, memories dust themselves off and remind you of your own story.

Within the Duggar conversation, authority figures and counselors diminish the offense to “adolescent exploration,” or mere “touching,” which probably required you to clench your teeth to withhold the annoyed anger those words taunt.

Or at work during lunch, people may freely discuss their thoughts and opinions, saying things like, “Well, I don’t know why the media even brought this up! I mean, it happened so long ago! Let it go, people! Move on with your life!” Did you choose to take another bite of your sandwich to keep yourself from shouting, “It’s not as simple as that!”

See, that’s where my mind has gone.

I’ve been thinking of you at work, at the grocery checkout, at the bank, at church, and at your screen, scrolling through your favorite social media website.

I’ve been thinking about your heart.

I’ve been thinking about what emotional triggers this has stirred up within you.

And I’ve been praying for you.

It’s not easy being a survivor. It’s not easy listening to men and women–who oftentimes have good intentions–say the most thoughtless and ignorant comments; especially when so many around them have suffered like the Duggar girls, like you.

So my heart aches for you as you’ve had to combat through intense emotions while others fling venom or trite “forgivisms.”

They don’t mean to belittle you. They are ignorant; meaning, they just don’t know. They are uninformed.

Please try to see them in their lack of knowledge, like one might regard kindergarteners, attempting to give their opinion on American politics. They just don’t know what they are talking about.

You are loved.

As a survivor, I questioned that reality. I remember asking, “Am I really loved?” Because I hold fast to what the Bible says as true, I cannot sidestep the truth that God loves me. Nor can you. God loves us.

“God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us–even when we were dead in our transgressions–He made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus,” (Ephesians 2:4-7)

What does this have to do with the Duggar story?

Everything.

The pain, shame, anger, depression, and bent toward isolation and silence will never change, heal, or resolve itself without, first, saturating our hearts with the love of God.

You are of great value.

Whether it be the conversations the Duggar disturbance has roused or the clinging remnants of your past abuse, let it be known. You are valuable.

I hope you didn’t sneer and say, “yeah, right.”

In case you did, let me encourage you. Your value isn’t dependent upon your abuse. It’s not related to other people’s opinions or acceptance or rejection of you. Nope.

If you are in Christ, the word says that you are God’s workmanship. That means you are God’s “work of art,” which is not a common thing. The word also says that this work of art is not just some stationary object like a trophy portrait, but rather a functional work of art, purposed and created in Christ for good works.

Those good works indicate an activity that mirrors the Father’s business. Following after the God of all gods’ family business places each of us in a position of worth and value.

Lastly, you are remembered.

Others may have forgotten you in your healing journey: family, friends, classmates, co-workers, church body.

Jehovah-Rapha, the God who heals, has not, nor ever will forget you. Remember in His great love He sent His one and only Son to give up His rights and die on the cross for you and your sins, so that you may have full rights to the rich inheritance of the throne, if you are in Christ.

Remember in His great love (expressed through His grace toward you) through the gift of faith in His Son, you participate in the work He predestined for you, even while you were still dead in your sins. 

How could He forget you after that?

See, I’ve been thinking of you and praying for you.

With the Duggar incident fresh in the media and the conversations continuing in your face, the father of all lies–the one in whom no truth resides–intends to distract you, to blind you, to handicap you from the truth by taking advantage of your pain.

See, I write you this love letter because my heart is burdened for your peace to be secured in Him. For your joy to be made full in Him. For your heart to thump with gladness as you begin to see the progress of your healing in Him.

I write you this love letter because you are loved, worthy, and remembered by a God who has kind intentions toward you.

With much love,

Krista Nuñez

What’s your next step?

Pray and ask God to reveal those areas in which the father of lies has blurred your vision of God’s love for you. Memorize Ephesians 2:8-10 and meditate on the fact that you are His workmanship, His work of art.

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Ephesians 2:8-10

Join me on the healing journey.

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Find Comfort By Opening Up

Honeycomb

Friendship” by Wrote (CC BY 2.0) Alterations to original image have been made.

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:

Give it a name.

Tell God all about it.

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.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 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.

Subscribe to She Dares to Voice and have the next leg of the journey delivered right to your inbox.