Tag Archives: Living as an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse

Unlock Your Freedom: Jesus Is the Key

Bullies Unlock your Freedom

“Mom, when you were growing up, did you ever have bullies?” asked my first-grader.

“You know, sweetie, I did.”

“What did they make fun of you for?”

“Well, the lunches I packed and the clothes I wore. Some of my friends always bought the school lunch, and they made fun of me because I was always bringing leftovers. My clothes weren’t new and trendy like theirs.”

“Oh. What did you do?”

“Over time, we weren’t friends anymore. I liked my clothes; they were comfortable. My family at the time couldn’t afford for me to buy lunches everyday. Plus, I liked eating leftovers. Waiting in line at school took too long.”

“Mom, can I play outside now?”


Isn’t that the way it is? When we’re younger, our peers pick out the silliest things to nitpick and browbeat another in order to make themselves fell superior, dominant, in control, secure, powerful.

Take another look at the image above. Childhood bullying looks a lot like the broken tricycle padlocked to a post.

So can childhood sexual abuse.

Symbolically, some of you may see the tricycle representing your innocence, your joy, your ability to have fun and be free to explore the wide and wild adventure that childhood brings.

Some of you may not see a tricycle, but rather your dreams and pursuits locked up not only by your actual perpetrator, but also by co-perpetrators and naysayers.

A co-perpetrator are people in your life who failed to assist you during the sexual abuse or during the recovery. Their actions may have been an active participation in the abuse, but not necessarily the actual abuser.

Or a co-perpetrator can be understood as those, who through inactivity, unsuccessfully stood up to stop the abuse or neglected to help you in getting help following the healing process.

Even within current relationships, unfortunately, people will play a similar role.

As you become more vocal with others about your healing journey, oppositional relationships will emerge, acting as a road block to your growth. Why?

Again, I am not a professional. I’m simply an average gal who’s forging ahead, one step at a time, in her healing journey.

It seems to me that, co-perpetrator or not, talking about our healing journey stirs the pot in others’ lives.

Whether we like it or not, we’re not the only ones carrying around extensive traumatic burdens; they’re simply packaged differently than ours.

Regardless of the trauma and woundedness, the detractors come. Usually couching judgment or criticism as advice.

“What you need to do is forgive and forget.”

As if it were that simple. Forgiveness is a must. Jesus commands us to forgive; after all, how can we, who’ve been forgiven, fail to forgive another? Forgetting, on the other hand, isn’t exactly possible. Remembering no more, is. There’s a difference.

“You should never tell your husband what happened to you, because that image will be, forever, stuck in his head.”

That’s a bully.

Bullies want to shut you up and will use whatever strength or influence they have to frighten you. Including the misuse of scripture or Christian sayings, like forgive and forget.

Know that there is a vested interest for them in you keeping silent. Your silence allows them to live in denial of their need to heal, to face the truth.

I’ve said this before, but speaking out makes others uncomfortable. And for good reason.

Sexual abuse is a challenging subject to broach. Yet, it seems to me through my own personal experience that the uncomfortable stirrings within the hearer have less to do with the topic, but rather the inward, untreated sorrows tucked in the dark corners of the soul.

Jesus says, “And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free” (Jn. 8.32).

He’s talking of Himself here. Only Jesus can set us free. It’s true; He’s the truth.

All the same, healing requires work, speaking up, and remaining silent no longer.

Your speaking out may look quite different than mine. Just because you begin a healing journey, it doesn’t mean that you start a blog and tell the entire wired-world.

Maybe it means contacting your caring pastor at church or a counselor who specializes in working with abuse survivors or your spouse.

Our ultimate enemy is the Father of Lies. His primary goal is to manipulate those who believe in Jesus and pull them away from The Truth.

Our enemy will use whatever means at his disposal to shut you up so that he can laugh at you while you fester in pain, because he knows that once you start speaking up and seeking The Truth, you will find healing and he will be unable to have influence over you anymore.

Satan is the Bully of all bullies.

Look back at the picture, again. See the chain and how it’s fastened together by the bully’s padlock?

Jesus is the key.

He reproduces innocence; He brings joy; He generates the kind of childlike fun and freedom to live and sing and dance and explore the wide and wild adventure that healing brings.

 

What’s your next step?

How are you being bullied in your healing journey? What areas of this healing journey are you still hanging onto out of fear, shame, or pain? Consider The Truth to set you free. Ask the Lord how He’d like you to speak out and then do it. He will be with you with each breath you take.

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.

 

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Jesus Speaks A Foreign Language To This World. He Speaks Life.

Beloved, Come Forth

A part of me died.

When I look back over earlier years, I realize how disengaged I was. How fearful, how disoriented, and how numb I felt about life. About liveliness.

Part of me died when I became a victim of incest.

The world no longer sang songs of life, liberty, freedom, or prosperity. Instead, it echoed the hollow drones of sorrow. I just couldn’t shake the sadness inside of me, though on the outside I smiled and laughed.

Maybe you understand that dreadful chorus that belts out the nothingness of life having purpose after you were sexually assaulted.

Some people call it a coping mechanism to withdraw or to retreat internally, refusing to allow oneself to feel anything for fear that the pain, the torture, the agony would return.

Anesthetizing all feeling yields a kind of living death.

Just recently, I heard the story of Lazarus–not for the first time–but rather in a differing light.

Jesus loved Mary, Martha, and their brother Lazarus.

When Lazarus became sick, Mary and Martha sent for Jesus. They knew deep in their heart that their Jesus could prevent their brother’s death.

Having waited two days after receiving the word about Lazarus, Jesus and the disciples finally made way toward the family.

When Jesus arrived, Lazarus’ sisters both cried out separately to the Lord, “if you had been here, he wouldn’t have died!” In their hearts, they believed Jesus had the power to save Lazarus from death.

They weren’t wrong. Jesus could have prevented Lazarus’ death.

Upon seeing Martha, Mary, and the crowd of Jews weeping over Lazarus’ death, the text tells us that Jesus was troubled in spirit and wept.

The Jews who had been mourning with Mary and Martha cautioned Jesus as He asked for the stone to be removed, saying, “there’s a stench! He’s been dead four days!”

Four days. Four days Lazarus had been dead.

Jesus raised His eyes to His Father in heaven and thanked Him for always hearing His voice. This exclamation was not for His benefit, but rather for those standing about Him, so that they might believe that Jesus was sent from the Father.

With a loud voice, Jesus cried out, “Lazarus, come forth!”

The word reads: “The man who had died came forth, bound hand and foot with wrappings, and his face was wrapped around with a cloth. Jesus said to them, ‘Unbind him, and let him go.'”

Lazarus died twice.

He died once and was resurrected by Jesus in front of his sisters and many Jews. Then Lazarus died again; this time to await a second resurrection when His Lord returns at the end of time to take all believers to the kingdom of heaven.

So catch this.

I can identify with Lazarus’ death and the emptiness of life he experienced in the tomb. I felt this deep within me; although, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was amiss inside of me. The abuse, the pain, the night terrors suffocated me. How is one to live like that?

I can identify with Mary and Martha. Lord! If you had been there, you could have stopped the abuse. You could have prevented this gruesome violation of your Law, this pain that won’t go away, these haunting images that just won’t go away. Where were you, Lord?

Lazarus’ story doesn’t end in the tomb, does it?

Jesus did show up. Jesus did listen–with His heart–to the sorrow expressed through Mary and Martha’s questions. Jesus wept.

It hurt His heart, too.

Brother, sister in Christ. Don’t you know that Jesus weeps at the death of your innocence?

Again, the story doesn’t end in tears.

Jesus doesn’t just stand around dripping tears and hugging the mourners. No, no. Jesus prays, and He speaks life.

“Lazarus, come forth!”

Jesus speaks life into each one of us who have put our hope and trust in Him for the forgiveness of our sins.

This resurrection wasn’t pretty. Linens used for the dead clung and tangled about him. Lazarus must’ve stumbled about as he came forward, unable to see clearly because the cloth on his face.

Listen closely, dear one.

The Lord is calling you to come forth. He desires you to have a full, abundant life. He says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (Jn. 10:10).

I understand why Jesus delayed in going to Lazarus, because He desired to demonstrate God’s power in Him and to prove that He was and is the Messiah.

Understanding why God delayed in rescuing me from the abuse creates challenges within me. Can I trust Him? Why would He allow this to happen? Will He let it happen again? How in the world could the death of my innocence bring you glory?

These are troublesome questions.

Having said that, Jesus’ question to Martha puts those questions in their proper place. Before Jesus resurrected Lazarus, Jesus asked Martha, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?”

Do you believe this?

Do you believe that Jesus is the I AM, the God above all other gods?

Do you believe that Jesus is the resurrection? That He’s the life? That everyone who believes in Him will live–even if he dies? That everyone who believes in Jesus will never die?

Do ya?

See, this is the hardest question to answer. Not the other ones that toy with our head and our healing.

It’s the simple question, Do I believe God for who He says He is?

Will you stay within the darkness, bound by fear and festered with pain?

Or are you willing, when He calls your name, to step forward from the tomb–with all your stink, with all your bandages, and with all your pain–and walk toward Him?

Jesus speaks a foreign language to this world.

He speaks life.

 

What’s your next step?

What part of this post spoke out to you the most? What feelings did it stir up within you? Find a quiet spot where you won’t be interrupted or distracted and ask God to mirror your life. Ask Him to show you how you might live your life with abundance–outside of the tomb.

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.