I began a journey in April of this year that started in 2003. Many of you are familiar with what happened however if not, you can read my story here,
here, here, and here.
Writing has become therapy for me. Especially as I look back at the timeline from April of this year until now. While I have a long way to go, I can see how God is at work not just now but in April and in 2003 as well. One of the biggest surprises for me? The school I believed failed and hurt me the most has been the most impactful in my recovery and healing. And the most protective of me and my family.
During this journey I have learned a few simple things. I hope these are helpful if you are a survivor of abuse or find yourself in a situation with someone that is a victim of abuse.
1- Tell someone. The leaders I reached out to in May of this year, responded quickly and with compassion and love. Without asking any questions, they immediately expressed support if I chose to press charges. If you don’t have someone you trust, please contact me so that I can connect you with the right person. For those in leadership that find themselves alongside a victim of abuse- A wise person said recently- “Report abuse immediately, ask questions later.”
2- Be prepared. There will be spiritual and emotional reactions to trauma. There will be physical reactions as well, something I was not prepared for. I am grateful for my wise pastor that encouraged me to seek medical and psychological treatment and told me physical reactions to trauma in no way indicate the healthiness of my relationship with God. In seeking treatment I have been taught ways to deal with complex trauma and post traumatic stress that do not include medicine, although medication is certainly needed at times. Professionals are needed during abuse, in addition to the church, pastors, family, and friends. My pastor and husband have walked beside me as we handle this together and as a team.
3-Forgiveness has been more therapeutic and healing than speaking out or defending myself- to others or on social media. I have been falsely accused, called names, and stories have been written that do not include facts. The majority of people don’t know my entire story. Remaining silent doesn’t mean I am guilty. I simply chose to take a different road in an effort to silence accusers.
Forgiveness, for me, had to be extended to someone without an apology, and without asking for one. The day I chose to extend forgiveness to the people that wronged me, was my first step in the direction of healing. It gave me a closeness to God that I have never experienced. I also felt an unexplainable sense of joy and peace during a difficult time.
If you have a need, a story, or simply a friend, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org
I may not have all the answers, but I know someone that does. He is the healer of hearts, redeems the past, and can change the future.
“O LORD, how many are my foes!
Many are rising against me;
2 many are saying of my soul,
there is no salvation for him in God. Selah ”
3 But you, O LORD, are a shield about me,
my glory, and the lifter of my head.
4 I cried aloud to the LORD,
and he answered me from his holy hill. Selah
5 I lay down and slept;
I woke again, for the LORD sustained me.
6 I will not be afraid of many thousands of people who have set themselves against me all around.
7 Arise, O LORD!
Save me, O my God! For you strike all my enemies on the cheek;
you break the teeth of the wicked.
8 Salvation belongs to the LORD;
your blessing be on your people! Selah”