Today post is by our guest Alynda Long.
Living with shame and guilt over past sexual abuses cast my life in a dark pallor.
My relationships, romantic and otherwise, strained under its weight. I vacillated between sharing too much of myself–my history–with veritable strangers or distrusting and turning away from those who wanted to know the real me. Feeling like I lived in a fragile state of waiting for the walls to fall down around me, I struggled with a secret addiction to my migraine pain medications and reoccurring night terrors from PTSD.
In layman’s terms: I was a mess.
On the brink of suicide, I reached out for the Lord and He pulled me into His loving arms. I can’t say I completely trusted Him on that afternoon in January 2016, but being in my miry pit exhausted me and knew I had no other alternatives.
Living over forty years hiding from God and others, I’d carried shame and guilt for actions committed against me as a child and teenager. The target of many sexual abuses from the age of five through early adulthood, I thought the common denominator was me. Therefore, the abuse had to be MY fault. Broken and damaged beyond repair, I deserved the violations, didn’t I?
No, of course not.
Nobody deserves to be sexually abused.
Not a defenseless five-year-old girl nor a surly fourteen-year-old nor a newly married twenty-year-old who did not understand how love looked.
The Lord brought me to a sexual abuse recovery program called Shelter from the Storm. Over thirty-some weeks, I slowly peeled back the layers of my abuse. I learned about Biblical boundaries, forgiveness, and how to understand my own feelings and thoughts. I learned how to distinguish between guilt and shame and how to lay my unfounded shame at the foot of the cross. I learned to acknowledge the anger I had toward God for my abuse. I discovered He never wanted that pain to be part of my story, but He would redeem my past if I trusted Him with it. Mostly, I learned my true identity: a restored daughter of the one true King: Jesus Christ.
Healing from sexual abuse has not been an easy path, but it has been a beautiful one.
Over the past three years, I’ve grown to trust God with my daily life and not just my eternal one. He’s given me courage and strength to share His story of redemption in my life with veritable strangers. He’s allowed me to take part in the healing journeys of other women who had their own stories of sexual abuse. He’s given me a ministry from the worst experiences of my life and a joy I’d not known could exist this side of heaven.
If sexual abuse is part of your story, know there is healing for you too.
The God of the universe loves you and wants to restore the brokenness in your life. There is nothing He cannot redeem. You are His precious child and He wants good for your life.
Please reach out to me, so I can share resources with you.
If someone you love has been sexually abused, there is hope for their story too. Love them well and know God has you in their life for a purpose. Don’t shy away from the hard conversations. They likely need a comforting shoulder and safe place to process more than they need you to have all the answers. Acknowledge their pain and hurt. Love them through it and it will be a blessing to both of you. Lean into the Holy Spirit and He will guide the steps.
In Isaiah 61:3, His word tells us, “To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.”
I’ll be praying for you as your ashes are transformed into a crown of beauty, my friend.
Is sexual abuse part of your story or the story of someone you love? Do you have questions on how to love them well during their healing journey? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below.
Alynda Long is a writer, blogger, editor, and redeemed survivor of sexual abuse. A lay leader in a recovery ministry, she loves helping other women walk through their own journey of recovery through Christ. She writes at her website, alyndalong.com. She’s the founder and editor of Faith Beyond Fear, a site dedicated to sharing believers’ experiences of reaching beyond fear into their faith in Christ. She also contributes to A Wife Like Me. Her testimony will be published in Stories of Roaring Faith: Volume 3 in October 2018. She thrives on Jesus, coffee, books, chocolate, and friendships! You may reach out to her via her social media and email accounts below:
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