I didn’t grow up to know God. In fact, I grew up with one parent who was a very loud Atheist. I didn’t go to church on Sundays, unless it was with a family friend. I didn’t learn the basic bible stories as a child. I cannot recite bible verses from memory. I didn’t participate in AWANA or Sunday school. I grew up learning the basic principles of being a good person like tell the truth or don’t hit your friends. I did not grow up learning about sexual immorality or how seeing domestic violence within my home would shape the way I view men for a lifetime.
Through EMDR and CBT I have been able to work through most of the “old” trauma and the “new” trauma. The old trauma being that when I was 4, I was held down and had items shoved into places that I’d rather not name. I have worked through the trauma of being forced to take nude pictures of myself when I was 12 and having years of sexual experiences with him. I have spoken about choosing partners that seem really great at first, only to find out that they manipulate, cheat, abuse and leave me. I have worked through the chronic abandonment I feel from every man that enters my life.
Sometimes sexual trauma forces women into not wanting to be touched. Sometimes sexual trauma makes women want to be touched by everyone. The latter, defined as hypersexualized behavior, is a response that is often overlooked and shamed.
“She is a slut” said the kids in middle and high school.
“What a whore” said family members, teachers and other kids.
For majority of my life I was in a space where I didn’t believe that God existed because of the pain I experienced. Why would God put me through this constant battle between myself? Why can’t I feel joy like other people?
How could there be a God if I was hopelessly depressed, everybody left me and I was constantly bullied for the ways my trauma presented?
Through therapy I learned techniques to reduce anxiety, build confidence and create a life worth living. All great things, right? The problem is that I went to therapy to try to fill the void in my life that I had previously filled with relationships and sex. The void remained even after completing therapy. What I have come to learn is that even through the best therapy, staying busy with a full life and taking medication to suppress depression, the void remains. The void can only be filled with Christ. I can only become whole through my relationship with God.
“O LORD, your unfailing love fills the earth; teach me your decrees.”
Though men without character have failed me, even the best men will likely fail me as well. People are not perfect, but God is. Before I had a relationship with God, my bucket was only full unless a man was telling me that I was safe with him, that we had a future and that sex meant love. I was giving my whole self away to men that didn’t deserve it and not giving any of myself to God. I now understand that God was walking with me even when it didn’t feel like it.
Naturally, I have a resilient spirit. I try to find the positive even in the crappiest of moments. I see can see through my dark days and know that light will come but during the darkness, my darkness is deep. I have found that the majority of my own healing has been created by helping others. I have realized that pulling myself out of darkness is sometimes extending a hand to someone else that is struggling with the similar problem. I have understanding that I am almost never going to be alone with my heartbreak and the next best step is not to isolate.
In October 2018, I started writing about my own struggles with mental health. I focused on sharing my stories of trauma and my experience with attending therapy and starting psychotropic medications. The underlying theme and mood of my blog was anger, resentment and pain. Sure, I had some hope sprinkled in occasionally. Yes, I shared many tips for healing but I had anger about my experience. I struggled to see the meaning behind the depth of my pain. I wrote about feeling hopeful about therapy and medication being the “cure”. I believe that the beginning of using my spiritual gift of writing began with writing about mental health but my true contribution will be with sharing God’s word with my following.
“It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”A.W. Tozer
I can fully see that God broke me so that I can help others. God showed me what true darkness looks like through the lens of depression, anxiety, PTSD and panic disorder. God showed me what men can do to you when their intentions are only for evil. God showed me that tricky people exist in order to pull you away from God’s truth. If you’re listening God, I think you made your point and I am due for some good! (haha!)
The lessons I have learned from pain are worth the comfort I feel with God now. The pain was worth going through for the unconditional love that I can testify to now. Sometimes the only reason you are experiencing pain is so that you can help someone else. Maybe it isn’t in your nature to reach out or share your experience but I can tell you, it is worth it. True connection rests in genuine vulnerability.
He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.2 Corinthians 1:4
Have a wonderful Thursday!
Have you been comforted by someone who had gone through the same thing as you but you had no idea until you shared your truth?
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