Consentual

A warning before you continue reading: this post will NOT contain information of any graphic nature. But it will be more mature and possibly more difficult to read than most of my other posts.

Today I am sharing about God’s healing in my life, as it relates to surviving sexual abuse. *

John Reilly's "Healing of a Lunatic Boy"

Sexual abuse refers to a vast array of incidents. I purposefully use that term as opposed to another, more specific one. This is for two reasons: because it most accurately describes the chasm of past hurts that occurred, and because I believe it protects us from unnecessary wondering and wandering.  To be blunt, I’d prefer never to put an idea of worry or of plan in anyone’s head.

Starting at age 4 (the earliest I can recall, and the earliest I can reason I was around this person) I was subjected to hurtful touches from a close relative. It was many years before I knew WHY it was wrong, but I instantly knew that it was. I didn’t like it, but this person was an authority, and I am a very obedient child. It didn’t occur to me to protest to anyone but him.

By God’s grace, my mom heard something in my childhood voice, a few years later, that suggested something amiss. She asked me a bit more about what happened and I was removed from the situation.

But, when I was 10, a very close relative suggested that it was my fault the abuse had occurred. I did not know the Lord, and one of my greatest earthly authorities had just told me that, by my very nature, I deserved what had happened to me.

This followed me through high school, where I never learned to say, “no.”

This followed me though college, where the frequent, unwelcomed comments and advances reinforced what I’d “known” for years. I was not precious. I was not valuable or loveable to men. I was an object, meant to be used.

Though I knew God loved me, though I knew he held high standards for my purity, I could not escape that perhaps I was just too broken, too used.

It’s only within the last  few years that this has changed. It’s been a hard transition. I’ve had to sit down and cry over things I’d formerly glossed over, assuming they were just “how things were,” for “girls like me.”

Katrina Matson's "Five Flowers" Lilies remind me of beauty, healing, and my worth in the Lord's eyes.

My life was “ruined,” in the sense of any intimate behavior. I had no hopes for the beauty of what God created within consentual, holy, married sexuality. Which manifested in a swinging pendulum of sinful thoughts and behavior. I hope you can understand that when a woman behaves like she and her purity have no worth, it may well be because she believes she and her purity have no worth.

In August of 2009, I started attending Recovery at The Austin Stone. And in this, I was able to write out the lies I’d been believing for so many years. I was able to cry over hurts committed against me and the actions I was culpable for partly as a result of this.

I was healed of so many hurts. I could mourn the cycle of abuse AND REJOICE that because of God’s goodness and perfection and favor and love, it didn’t continue with me.

I can now say that I believe in my worth because it’s been instilled by God. I am still walking out what it means to be pure and relinquish control to God, not submit to the control of undeserving man.

I have been healed in so many ways!!

Ido not distrust every man. I am no longer afraid of men (HALLELUJAH- this is SUCH A BIG DEAL for me). I do not spend my nights afraid of being touched, I do not mistrust the love of those around me (although God HAS caused me to be wiser in who I am around, and when).

"Calla Lily" by Matson

I was greatly hurt for many years by those very close to me, and by extension, by many of those who were just around me. But my life WAS NOT RUINED. You can not ruin the plans of the King! He can heal ANYTHING.

Tomorrow, I’ll close with more of what you can do to be healed and aid in the healing of others, as well as steps that could be helpful in keeping these hurts from happening to your loved ones.

*I would advise anyone who wants to know more about how to heal from or help those who are suffering from abuse to use CAUTION when doing internet searches, and much more strongly suggest going to trusted, recommended print texts as resources.

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