“Darkness creeps into my life,
and robs my passion to live.
It swallows me whole and takes my breath
no kindness will it give.
I’m falling deep beneath the sea
and drowning in my despair
can someone take this away from me
Does anybody care?”
That was the beginning of a poem I wrote in college. I truly felt like darkness was my closest companion. Darkness wouldn’t leave me alone. No matter how hard I tried to be good, I wasn’t. I went to Bible Study, and then I went to clubs. I couldn’t get numb enough. The ache was always there.
Childhood Sexual Abuse causes extreme isolation. I couldn’t get too close to anyone because I didn’t want them to know. It was too risky. So, I kept all of the secrets to myself.
I had to wear a mask and pretend all is well.
But behind the mask, I was writhing in pain. My head hurt, my stomach hurt, and the voices were screaming…
The darkness is so very dark.
The shame would crash over me at unexpected times. Maybe it was a comment someone made. I would read more into their comment and replay it over and over in my mind. Do they know? Can they tell what kind of girl I really am?
How do you hide from the darkness?
How do you run from the darkness?
How can you escape the darkness when it is your constant companion?
Shame’s raw aroma lingers far longer than the abuse.
The darkness says you are bad.
The darkness says you are guilty.
The darkness says you deserve it.
The darkness says God made you that way.
The darkness says there is no hope for you.
All of the secrets and memories fester in the darkness. The wounds ooze behind closed doors and eyelids.
And then there was light.
Finally, in counseling I was able to use words to describe the darkness. As I continued to step into the light, the darkness started to lose its power over me. The light brought me Truth, community, and love. I was no longer alone in the dark.
The Truth says you are wonderfully made.
The Truth says there is no condemnation.
The Truth says you are worthy.
The Truth says God made you in His image.
The Truth says there is hope.
There is hope, and His name is Jesus. When I gave Him access to my story and the darkness – His light and Truth healed me.
I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16