They say healing from childhood sexual abuse comes in layers.
A new layer has peeled back for me. My word for 2018 is JOY, and what keeps rolling around in my mind is “fullness of joy.”
In your presence is fullness of Joy.
How do you truly experience the fullness of joy when you have spent much of your life avoiding, ignoring and hiding emotions?
I stuffed the pain away deep inside so that I would no longer feel it.
I glossed over it, excused it, and tried to find the silver lining in the trash heap.
It was hard for me to cry sometimes when I should, and other times the tears rolled off my cheeks when I tried to lock them in.
Smiling was like a habit. It was normal to pretend like everything was fine.
I slowly constructed walls a mile high to protect heart from any intrusion.
When the ache started to rumble, I would use food or anything I could to stuff the pain deep inside so I would no longer feel.
A way of numbing.
A way of coping.
A way of hiding.
A way of surviving.
And then, I met Jesus in my pain.
As each wall crumbled, He helped me to peel back the layers.
Layers and layers of memories poured out like a fire hydrant.
I thought when I sat in my counselors office and cried every Thursday for three years, I had let it all out.
And then, there was “fullness of joy” and a whole new layer has peeled back.
Those three words, “fullness of joy”… made me think of three other words – “fullness of pain.”
A memory still pops up out of nowhere.
Something seemingly simple can trigger me.
That will likely never stop.
In this fullness of joy season with Jesus… I am sitting with Him and “feeling” the fullness of that pain.
Stuffing is no longer an option.
Donuts are not the solution.
I cry and I don’t have to explain it away, even when it is awkward.
In it all, I sense His presence.
It’s as if He is whispering to the little girl inside of me,
“I’m here and it is okay to cry.
It is okay to grieve all that was lost.
I want you to let it out, safely in my arms.
I am showing you how to feel with me.
Feel it for what it truly was, and let it go.
Emotions are a gift from me.
We will untangle yours, together.
You don’t have to hide anymore.
You don’t have to stuff anymore.
No barriers, no walls.
You are safe.
This fullness of pain is emptying out the deep recesses in your heart.
I will not leave you empty… I am replenishing you with the fullness of joy.
Joy in my presence. Joy with me.”
If I am not able to truly feel the fullness of the pain, how will I ever truly feel the fullness of His joy?
The pain may never completely go away, but there will always be HOPE.
Hope doesn’t require a carb overload.
Hope is not denial or minimizing the reality of the horrific experiences and the aftermath.
Hope is not pretending it wasn’t that bad, and maybe the good outweighed the awful.
Hope is not isolation.
Hope is not forgetting about it and moving on.
Hope is when the light shines in the darkest places.
Those places can be incredibly painful, but there is always hope. Hope is when His light shines in the darkness. His hope brings the light, and with the light comes the fullness of joy.
Hear me, Eternal Lord—please help me,
Eternal One—be merciful!
You did it: You turned my deepest pains into joyful dancing;
You stripped off my dark clothing
and covered me with joyful light.
You have restored my honor. My heart is ready to explode, erupt in new songs!
It’s impossible to keep quiet!
Eternal One, my God, my Life-Giver, I will thank You forever.