Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. Ephesians 5:2
The lens of Childhood Sexual Abuse affected my life and my vision. It distorted my perceptions and impacted my decisions. It filled me with fear and paranoia. It absolutely covered me from head to toe with shame. When I looked through that lens of brokenness, it affected how I saw God and how I saw myself.
But when I began looking through the truth of God’s Word, I could see. The truth set me free. Looking through the truth of God’s word will set you free.
The truth is I am a dearly loved daughter. Do you long to live as a dearly loved daughter?
It happened two Sunday’s ago. I walked in a little late to Sunday School and sat quietly in the empty chair directly in front of my friend Tope, the teacher. The four of us took turns reading through Proverbs 29. I had read the chapter before church and verse 25 stood out to me every time I read it.
When we finished reading, Tope sat back in her chair and asked us in her rich accent, “What do we see here?” When she looked at me, I read verse 25 out loud again and explained, “This verse really resonates with me.” As we discussed the verse, Tope said, “Yes, our fear of man can make them be like an idol in our life.”
I am not sure if I said it out loud or whispered it, “I am not afraid of him.”
As they moved on to other verses, I stared at the Bible App on my phone, and started reading verse 25 in other translations.
I was thinking, “I am not afraid of him, but I am still so afraid..why am I so afraid?” when I came across verse 25 in The Passion Translation:
My heart started pounding, and I saw mini-movies and screenshots flash in my mind of the ways he convinced me to NEVER TELL about the abuse.
Can you imagine the amount of cruel intimidation it takes to ensure a child keeps a painful secret? As a child, I didn’t really understand all that was happening to me, but I completely understood that if I ever told, the most awful and dreadful things would happen. And, it would be all my fault because I told. I had to keep the secret.
I could faintly hear them discussing another verse in Proverbs, because I was still staring at my phone and the word intimidation.
I thought about what it was like to live and grow up in fear. Bullied. Terrified. As an adult looking back to that small child inside of me, I felt deep anger and incredible sadness at the same time.
Tope circled back to me and said, “Michelle, what are you thinking?”
I shook my head and quietly said, “It is too soon,” because I felt very small and vulnerable. Yet, I also knew I was in a safe place with sisters in Christ, so I continued…
“When you said our fear of man can make them an idol in our life… I am not afraid of him. On the day I confronted him, he walked in like a Goliath but he left small. It’s not that I am afraid of him, but I am so very afraid. Look at this verse in The Passion Translation.”
As I read it, my eyes filled with tears and with a shaky voice I said, “Intimidation is a trap that holds you back. He bullied me constantly to keep me quiet. I never told.”
As I continued to break down and share more, they moved closer to me. Tope stood behind me and prayed over me.
We were going to be late for church.
A part of me felt like I needed to apologize to them, but I also knew I had experienced relief and deliverance once again and I was so thankful. There are layers and layers on this healing journey, and I’ve learned it is always worth it to keep going deeper and experience more healing and freedom.
This spirit of intimidation has wreaked havoc in my life for years. It has held me back and made me feel trapped.
Have you been bullied? Intimidated? Filled with fear? Manipulated into silence?
It’s a trap, designed to hold you back.
I’m praying you are able to see how you were intimidated and bullied.
I’m praying you are able to grieve the deep pain from it.
I’m praying you have a safe place to process how it impacted you.
For many years, I have heard those awful mean voices in my head that tell me I am not enough. Over and over, they declare that I am not good enough, I am not smart enough, and I am not strong enough. Whatever the challenge, they scream “You can’t do this!” And when I fail, I hear the awful taunting of “I told you so. Why do you even try?”
I wish I could tell you those mean voices are gone and that I don’t hear them anymore, but they are still there. However, I don’t hear them as often and they are not as loud as they used to be.
I started talking back to them. I started declaring God’s promises to me and I’d say it right back to them.
“You can’t do it. You will never be able to do it.”
Oh yeah? Well I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.
“You are going to fail. This is going to be a big flop.”
Maybe I will fail. Maybe this will flop, but I am still going to try. Even if it fails, it will be okay. I will keep going. God is with me. He will never leave me nor forsake me.
“Who do you think you are?”
Glad you asked. Me? I am chosen, loved, adored, precious, the apple of His eye and His princess. Etc. Etc. Etc.
“Why bother? You are a nobody and nobody cares.”
HE cares. He leaves the 99 to find the one, and He found me and rescued me. I am His, and He cares deeply for me. He can use me to help others, even if it is just one.
“Don’t do it. You will regret it.”
I am going to do it. I will regret not trying. I may very well regret it, but then again, maybe I won’t. Either way, He is with me.
I am still a work in progress, but I am learning to fight back. The enemy has taken enough ground from me.
If you have mean voices in your head screaming at you, it can be challenging. It used to keep me frozen in fear. What helped me to thaw? I found freedom in Christ and in His promises. The Truth will set you free.
Discover the truth of what He says about you in His Word. Declare it over yourself daily. Memorize these truths, and recite them as needed. Write them down. Write down the lessons you learn from them. Implant them in your mind and your heart. Continue to make them so loud in your life that the mean voices become just a whisper.
I made a bookmark to remind me of His promises, and I will be happy to send you one in the mail. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your address. May His truth saturate your entire being.
What truths help you to shut down the mean voices in your head?
The awful memory pops up and crashes over me like a wave.
The smell knocks me under and water pours in.
I can’t breathe.
Evil wraps around my ankles like seaweed and pulls me to the bottom into the dark abyss.
My arms are raised but I am lifeless.
A strong grasp.
His firm grip pulls me to the shore.
I hold on while
untangles the debris.
breathes fresh life into me.
pours living water over me.
Cleanses me in the brightness.
I watch the waves, unafraid.
Taking slow, deep breaths
Going deep, never alone
I resurface, clean.
In the Sonshine
Sand dancing between my toes
Soaking it all in.