{31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way} :: Lesson 22~We’re Meant to Walk in the Light

I was in the school library with my 6th grade class when the images came flooding back. The informational video about “how babies are made” presented images and content that seemed all too familiar. I ran out of the school library and down the stairs to the school counselor’s office.

That day was the day that everything changed. My naivety about the world was gone. The next 3 years were full of turmoil and hurt. Tears and anger. It culminated in a moment…sitting on my kitchen floor eating pill after pill…trying to swallow down the pain.

After a year of therapy, I came to understand a bit of how our amazing God-created minds work…how we can unintentionally suppress hurtful events…in order to survive. My little 6-year old mind couldn’t comprehend what was happening. So it pretended it never happened. Then the images shown in that library brought all the memories to the surface.

I did the work of recovery. I dug deep, searching for…wanting…healing. Looking back, it seems I only pushed it all down again. Until several years later when I met the true Healer.

My salvation experience was so radical, so life changing. It never occurred to me that there was more work to do with the memory of that 6-year old girl, abused and tattered.

It was just last year that it all came flooding back again. The emotions of it…the pain of it all…was suffocating. I found myself questioning who I was. What I say I’m about. Who and what I live my life for. Could I really claim to be a Christ-follower, covered by the blood of Jesus, when I had never talked to HIM about those dark days? Could I be a good wife…a LOVING wife…still carrying around the damaged body of the past? Could I really speak to others about FREEDOM if I was only ignoring those parts of me that weren’t truly free? Had I been lying all these years…pretending to be someone I’m not? Am I a hypocrite? A white-washed tomb…full of death and decay deep inside?

I had this overwhelming desire to tell it all…to tell all the dark details…”Someone has to know…I need to confess it all”…But to who? Who would want to know these things? These things that I haven’t talked about in over 20 years? Should I tell Brad? Would he ever be able to look at me the same? What if it turns out that I am still that frightened little girl and not this woman that he thinks he’s married to?

I was then reminded of how gentle our God is…how He knows me better than I know myself and that if now was the time to address these issues then He knew I was ready. And that He would walk every step with me.

I talked to a good friend. I told her of how I felt this need to confess it all…to get it all out in the open. She challenged me to pray more about that. Why bring the innocent (namely, Brad) into an issue that is years old? Of course, he would walk through the pain with me (he already was), but did he need to know every detail? Was God asking me to take Brad into the depths of that pain? There are some things that just have to be worked out between us and the Lord…and did I really trust that God would be my Healer? Or was I looking to Brad to provide in a way that only my Creator could?

I will always remember the night that God told me to tell Him everything. It was dark in the room…we were having one of our “choir rehearsals” that seemed to more and more often be turning into nights of worshiping rather than rehearsing. It seemed everyone in the room was in their own space with God. No one was looking at me. I went to one of the dark corners of our rehearsal room and I knelt down with my face in my hands.

And I told Him everything. Everything I could remember. All the different times of those hands inflicting pain. All the emotions that came with the remembering. All the shame. All the doubt of who I am now. All the questions of how that little girl and the now-woman can co-exist.

And HIS response: “I KNOW.”

See…He was there. His relationship with me goes way back, way back before my relationship with Him started. He knew me before I ever even knew He existed. He has known me all along…and He has ALWAYS been there. Even in the dark and disgusting.

Before I formed you in the womb I knew and approved of you, 
and before you were born I separated and set you apart, consecrating you.
~Jeremiah 1:5, AMP
Wow. Does that actually say “approved of you”? He approved of me…before, then, during, after, now…always. In an instant, all of those dark times were brought to light. And I was free. Free from shame and guilt. What happened then was then and I am who I say I am now…a daughter of the highest, biggest God there is. Set apart…set FREE.
There are so many questions that come up with these topics…these hard topics of ‘why do bad things happen to good people’, ‘why does God let these things happen’…And I don’t know all the answers. But here is how I’ve found peace:
We live in a fallen world full of fallen people. We are not God’s puppets. He has given us free will. He wants us to CHOOSE Him and His ways. But when we don’t, He’s doesn’t force us. This means that people will choose to do horrible things and yes, sometimes (okay, always) it affects others. And sometimes those “others” are “us”. This is not heaven and we can’t expect perfection until we get there.
God has a plan to use all of the hurt to help others. I experienced this trauma. I survived it. I not only survived, but I am thriving and living a wonderful life with a wonderful husband and wonderful children. I am living life to the full…excited and happy and free to live. And when 1 out of every 3 girls and 1 out of every 6 boys (source) will deal with this kind of pain, how can I stay silent? How can I pretend it only happens to others? I will not be silent! I will speak out so that YOU know that recovery and healing is possible. So that you can be aware that it happens all around us. So that you can do your part to protect the children around you.
Okay, and here’s the hard one to swallow…
God loves the bad guys. He loves that person JUST as much as He loves me. This doesn’t mean that He approves. He is just as disgusted by these actions as you and I. But His LOVE in unconditional and always there, available to ALL. Does this mean that I spend hours praying for the person who caused me so much pain? To be honest, no I don’t. I have surrendered it to Him. He is a just God and a much better judge than I could ever claim to be. Judging is not my job. Living in freedom and worship and sharing my story of healing is my job. And I’m not going to waste any more time thinking about the dark days of the past…except when it can be used to bring freedom to others.
I am still that little girl. My past is mine. It is His. It did happen. Those memories do exist. And I am stronger because of it. I am a survivor, a conqueror. I claim the freedom that Christ died for all those years ago.
“They defeated him (the enemy and all his schemes)
through the blood of the Lamb
    and the bold word of their witness.”
~Rev. 12:11 MSG, extras added by me

Yes, my bold witness. It’s still really hard to share this, and I’ve never shared it publicly before. But if even one of you reading this will relate and find joy and freedom, it is all worth it. If you are struggling with this, please talk to someone. If you don’t have anyone, click that little envelope over there and send me an email. I would love to be a listening ear and pray for you. He has not called us to walk in darkness, but in light. And not alone, but together. Don’t tell yourself that you don’t deserve this freedom or that it was your fault. Because you do and it wasn’t. Don’t settle for anything less than His absolute best for you!

 

This post is part of the series {31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way}. Did you miss a lesson? Catch up here.

4 thoughts on “{31 Lessons Learned the Hard Way} :: Lesson 22~We’re Meant to Walk in the Light

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience Andrea. Your willingness to “tell” will help others who have experienced this kind of pain. Your testimony about how your faith has brought you through is being that 'light' to the world. You are courageous, and beautiful, and lovable, and you are my friend.

    Like

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