You know that feeling when you discover you have more healing to work through? When will it ever end? Will it ever end?
When I was editing my memoir last weekend, I came across a section where I shared how I felt about my body and how my counselor challenged me to think differently about my body. She encouraged me to see it and treat it as a temple.
That was seven years ago, and I still struggle with my body. I have always struggled with my body.
I spent my life avoiding mirrors, bathing suits, and changing in front of anyone.
Body issues are just one example of what a survivor has to work through.
The other day I listened to a random podcast.
It wasn’t random.
God is gracious in His timing, and as I listened to this podcast, it clicked, and I realized for the first time one of the reasons I struggle with my body. We talked about it before in counseling, but this time it clicked – there was a breakthrough.
I will give you a hint: Dopamine.
Sexual Abuse may not leave visible wounds, but there are layers and layers of physical, mental, and emotional destruction.
Thankfully, God is a God of Breakthrough!
The beginning of BREAKTHROUGH is awareness.
I am aware now, and I know God is going to deliver me. As I read through my memoir last weekend, I realized my story is evidence of God’s faithfulness to bring BREAKTHROUGH over and over again in the devastation and heartache.
I am still a work in progress, but he has healed me in so many ways. I will celebrate every breakthrough.
How has He delivered you, and what breakthrough can you celebrate today?
If you are feeling that knot in your stomach from realizing there is more work ahead, take a moment to celebrate the work you have accomplished and how far you have come!
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.