To every one of you who have survived various forms of exploitation and abuse and are now coming forth in various ways…
I can’t begin to tell you how thankful I am that you have taken the bold and courageous step of sharing your story and exposing the truths and realities of your experience, the fabrics and textures around you, the content and condition of your heart.
One person recently told me they realize it may be difficult for me to read, referring to the horrendous things they had to endure. My heart cries out that it’s not fair they had to go through these things and not me. If someone went through it, then I will go through it with them too. It’s not fair that someone gets their childhood ripped away from them, or their intimacy exploited, or their sense of sanity and stability ruptured. And those who have not had this happen just sit by? No. I have sat by, in ignorance, far too long. Thank God He awakened myself from my selfish, insulated little kingdom and drew me out of that self-made incarceration into real living, where real people and real pain and suffering exist. Not to diminish anything I’ve gone through. Brokenness and abuse are to be tenderly cared for, no matter the extremities of their manifestation.
But I have said this before and I’ll say it again: for those of us that have been fortunate to have relatively more comfortable, safe, peaceful lives, who have never been intruded upon and violated by inordinate circumstances and wicked people, it’s our responsibility to take the hurts, the pains, the tears, the brokenness of these dear ones, and consciously bind them around our heart, and carry them with us daily in intercession and compassion…until the day there are no more that need rescued, that need healed, that need a loving Redeemer to come to them and take them in His arms, and hold them so close and dear, and tend to the beautiful garden of their heart the way they should have been cared for all their lives.
Your journaling is so important on many levels. You write with exceptional quality and implausible eloquence. Despite the tears, torment and agony that it took to scribe your expressions, you have a pen that flows with a grace and beauty so unparalleled, that it must be of the divine. It is through that pen, that avenue, that channel, where an introductory glimpse of the fullness of the beauty that actually resides within you can come forth…that beauty which defines you, who you truly are, the real, full you.
Your writing is therapeutic for you. It’s comforting to know that you are experiencing a liberation, a revolution of sorts, an opening within, wherein you are simultaneously connecting to the world outside and your world within, building a bridge between two impossibilities. This is a very important part of your reintegration and renormalization.
Intrapersonally, you are decomparmentalizing in a safe way. You are finding a safe way to encounter your experiences, your condition, to see it, touch it and interact with it. As frightening as it has been to even come to terms with it, and you may still be in that process, you are overcoming the fear and intimidation of not only seeing and addressing the unspeakable horrors and people involved, but also the fact that you endured it yourself. [And you are recognizing that these things are not who you are, they do not define you or your dignity and worth, right?!]
Don’t be afraid of the anxiety of this time of safe revisit, neither of the panic that arises in flashback and nightmare. You don’t have to run from these things, but rather stay for a moment, sit there within it, look around, observe and touch the fabrics and textures, and ground yourself in a way that begins to wash the tormenting emotions from those memories and attach those of comfort, rest and even grace.
Allow me to use the shallowness of human language to express appreciation for you sharing and expressing that which lies within, as well as that which has been without. As you share the novel of your life, you allow me and other readers to come alongside the main character—the person, and every one this role represents—and just sit down alongside, right there, in the middle of her (or his) experience and aftermath. Simply sitting, silently observing, soaking in, embracing the moment, the realities, the truths, the fabrics, the textures, the content and condition of the heart.
Yes, the hero in me wants to be superman and just snatch her out of every chapter, every subplot, every turn of the page, and demolish all the evildoers in the process. But there is a pivotal process that comes with being restrained from this by the bounds of a mere writing: I am forced to sit and live inside the moment in as much as is possible, until her moment changes.
Before I take the opportunities afforded me to work and serve in this effort on multiple fronts, and to offer genuine comfort, support and healing, I must somehow share in the fellowship of this character’s, er rather person’s, sufferings. Perhaps then I will be able to reach with a truly compassionate hand. Perhaps then that hand will be saturated with healing oil. Perhaps then the touch upon that dear one’s heart will be an interface with a divine restoration no earthly effort could ever produce.
Thank you all of you who have allowed me to be a colleague or friend, and for the rest of you I don’t know personally but have the privilege of otherwise connecting with. Thank you to all you who have your voice and those who are in the process of developing it. You have a brother in me whether you like it or not, sort of like blood relations, where you don’t get to pick and choose. 🙂 This means you have someone watching over you in prayer, in heart, caring about what you’re going through, caring about the tears you cry, the fears you relive, the injustices that are yet righted, and the healing and dignity that is due you.
You are being used by God in so many ways untold, within and through me for one, as well as in the lives of hundreds of thousands of other readers and listeners. I will ever labor to be as true to you all as I possibly can when I speak, teach, train and otherwise advocate on your behalf.
Now I’m going to challenge you, as your caring brother, allow your heart to come to places of receiving love and grace, from yourself, from God. [You desperately need this, but we all share this same desperation–those of us who haven’t been traumatized are so easily fooled by the comforts of life, but we are all desperate for love and grace.] You will have to ask God repeatedly to help you to receive this because everything you’ve been through has trained you in the lie to believe you are worthless and the most undeserving person in the world. But that’s okay. It’s part of the journey, the process.
Every time you ask, you are planting seed and watering the soil of your heart. You are investing in your healing, in your future. And you really will find those pockets of mercy, those streams of refreshing, those reservoirs of comfort and soothing. Don’t carry it all by yourself. You were never meant to walk alone. You will need His fellowship not only because, well, we just all need Him, but because there will be far too many times where no one will be there to hold you, and even when there is someone there, sometime, if not many times, it won’t be enough. There are some things that even no person can do, can satisfy, longings, yearnings, brokeness and cries of the heart and soul that only the Divine can sufficiently quell.
And as best as you can, be patient with yourself. Continue to develop that smile and sense of humor, and remember there are about 8 billion other people in the world, wherein about 7 billion or more of them feel likewise that they are the worst and most unworthy or unlovely person in the whole wide world too.
Bless you, may you feel the expression of God’s adoration and affection, and may you see the abounding dignity and worth of you as you gaze into your mirror. May you be touched and moved beyond the capacity of your feet to secret gardens of mercy and grace, with rivers of life and restoration to greet you every new morning.
…you survived, which proves you shall be an overcomer…
NOTE: here is what I consider an important follow-up to this post for those who have read this post in its original form, as well as new readers who see this as is now: