How do we begin the process of healing from past sexual abuse? How do we deal with the pain, the hurt, and the emotional brokenness that has taken a hold of our lives? How are we able to move on?
Dan Allender says in his book, The Wounded Heart, “The journey involves bringing our wounded heart before God, a heart that is so full of rage, overwhelmed with doubt, bloodies but unbroken, rebellious, stained, and lonely.” Do these emotions resonate with you? Deep down, do you feel this way?
The effects of sexual abuse are powerful. They can easily take a heart and make it into a place of isolation. Is there a place for that wounded heart? Is there anyone that can take all the mess inside and be able to handle it, to understand it, to restore it?
Allender continues, “It does not seem possible that anyone can handle, let alone embrace, our wounded and sinful heart.”
The burden is heavy for the victims of sexual abuse. There is so much that is unseen in the corners of the heart. Our hope, however, is found in the hands of the Healer, our Comforter, God. He is the one that can handle it. Nothing is unseen to Him, He knows our hearts, even the secret corners where our pain, anger, and denial hide. But, deep down we might ask, “Does God really care, or is He going to destroy us?”
Allender says, “The path (to healing) involves the risk of putting into words the condition of our inner being and placing those words before God for His response. The Lord has promised that He will not put out the smoldering flax, or break the broken reed (see Isaiah 42:3).”
Are you angry towards God? Tell Him. Did you feel abandoned? Express that to Him. Are you dealing with trust issues? Let it out! He knows your heart, He knows how you are feeling, He can take it, and He can restore your heart if you allow Him to do so. It is God who offers true healing. It is Him who restores our hearts. Yet often times we judge Him based on our perceptions or even based on how other people respond to us. We base His character on the character of people we trust, the same people that have let us down.
Allender suggests that sometimes in our hurt and despair, we turn away from God, the One who can really meet us where we are and bring healing. “But promises have been made before by a supposedly trustworthy person, and we swore that betrayal was the last we would allow our soul to experience.” Does this sound familiar to you? Is this a thought you have wrestled with? Were you misunderstood? Were you told to, “pray harder” to “forgive and forget, “ or to “move on”? Yet, inside you still wrestled with your heart’s deep wounds and felt as if you were never really understood.
Allender continues, “The obstacle to life is the conviction that God will damage us or destroy us. The problem is that the pain does involve His hurting us, but only in order to heal us.”
The pain of sexual abuse runs deep, and we must look at that pain in order to heal. Sometimes, the thought of going through more pain seems unbearable. But, if we allow Him to meet us at that place, His healing will be worth the pain.
We are encouraged that God will do in us a marvelous work.
“Christ is building his kingdom with the broken things of earth. People desire only the strong, successful, victorious, and unbroken things in life to build their kingdoms, but God is the God of the unsuccessful – the God of those who have failed. Heaven is being filled with earth’s broken lives, and there is no “bruised reed” (Isa. 42:3) that Christ cannot take and restore to a glorious place of blessing and beauty. He can take a life crushed by pain or sorrow and make it a harp whose music will be total praise. He can lift earth’s saddest failure up to heaven’s glory.” J.R. Miller
Friend, if you are a victim of sexual abuse and you are struggling with a wounded heart, be assured that regardless of your brokenness, God has great plans for you. It will be an honor to help you navigate this journey, and together seek healing to your broken heart. As a Christian Counselor I consider it an honor to come alongside you and find the restoration that you have been longing for.
Images cc: freedigitalphotos.com -“Empty Room With Broken Wooden Floor” by twobee
“Train Tunnel” by Sura Nualpradid
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