I’ve been having this post rolling around in my head for weeks, especially last week. I don’t know entirely how to write it, or where to begin, or where it’ll eventually end. But, I need to start writing it out, and I need to start getting this out of my system. As you know, I’ve been getting counseling. I started this to seek help in finding healing for all of the ickiness that had happened to us/me at our first church. However, it’s not all the Lord had intended for me to talk about. The abuse that happened to us in MI is not the only thing the Lord wanted me to address and get out of my closet. It’s time. It’s time for me to get these things out and it’s time for me to deal with them once and for all, and it’s time for me to find total and complete healing. In all reality what happened in MI is only the tip of the ice burg.
I want to say right now that I am NOT writing about this to pat myself on the back, or to seek sympathy, or to be seen as heroic. Trust me, I do NOT feel heroic, and I don’t want sympathy. I am doing this simply, and only, to get it out in the open. Why? Because when things are in the open, especially things like this, they can no longer hold you captive. They can no longer have control over you and Satan can no longer hold it over your head. This will not be the only blog I write. I will not make any promises as to how often I’ll write about this, but I have to get it out. As you read these blogs over the next weeks/months/years (?) don’t feel you need to leave comments. Just pray for me to forge ahead and find the healing that God has for me.
I was sexually abused as a child. WHAT??? “I thought you grew up on the mission field! I thought your parents were missionaries. I thought everyone you were around were Christians.” Well, folks, sin reigns even amongst missionaries, even amongst Christians, and Satan is strong and powerful and well, sin still happens. I was abused by a kid who was a good 5-6 years older than me. We went to the same boarding school (I do not want to see/hear any opinions on the good or evils of boarding schools. That is not what this is about–I mention it only because it’s where I was and where it happened). Our families lived on the same mission station. As far as I know no one knew it was happening. To be honest I don’t even know how long it happened, how many times it happened, or how many other girls he was abusing. I just know it did happen, and no matter how long it went on (at least 1/2 of my 5th grade year) it changed my life forever.
I lived the next 11 years thinking I had done something wrong. I felt horrible shame, guilt and most of all anger. I was an angry child. I remember my mom asking me all the time why was I so angry? My answer? I had no idea! The more I was asked the more frustrated I became, and probably the more angry. During my junior year of college I started to gain weight (no matter how much I exercised or did/didn’t eat), and I started experiencing sleep issues. I had no idea what was going on with me. I had tons of tests run on me and nothing was conclusive to say “this” was the issue. However, God was at work. God was starting to make me see and realize exactly what had happened to me. As I went into my senior year the sleeping and everything else only got worse. I felt myself getting angrier and angrier. I knew something had to change. My biggest fear? Talking about it. By the end of my senior year I knew what had happened to me, I knew I had nothing to feel ashamed or guilty about, and yet I was scared to death to tell my parents, all at the same time knowing I needed to tell them. A few days after graduation I was overcome with the need to tell them, and so I did. It was not a good time for any of us. It was horrible and dreadful and yet for me, so relieving. It was out, it was in the open and the healing had started. It became abundantly clear to all of us what my health issues where about, why I wasn’t sleeping, why I would be overcome with fear for no reason. So much became crystal clear for me and my parents and the healing began. We quickly found a counselor for me to go to and I did. What I have since learned since attending counseling now is that though the previous counselor was fine and did a good job, I was not ready to fully divulge and get into what had happened to me and so the healing was haulted.
Let’s jump ahead another decade. I’m now 33 years old. I’m married, I have a child with another one on the way and it has become clear to my husband and I that I still need help. You know, it’s hard to admit that you’re not as mentally healthy as you can/should/need to be. I’m a very independent person and to admit that I need help is so hard for me. But, because I love my husband and children I had to get back into counseling. We used our abuse in MI as the reason, but I really believe we both knew the real reason I needed to talk to someone. God has led me to a wonderful woman. She is gifted in counseling, gifted at listening and gifted at asking questions without making me feel threatened.
For several sessions I have been talking a lot about our time in MI. I have dropped comments here and there in regards to my abuse as a child. Finally, 2 weeks ago I knew I had to just jump in and get it out and start the true healing. And so I did. It was THE hardest thing I have EVER done–I truly believe it was. I spoke in detail about what had happened, the more I talked the more the memories came, the more I cried, the more anxious I felt and finally the more relieved I felt. It was horrible and liberating all at the same time. Things that I have had fears about or weird tendencies towards are making sense, or at least I was able to see why/where they were coming from. My counselor was so good at helping me see that what happened to me was horrifying and in no way normal. And, she said something very powerful to me. “We have to empty the closet and then figure out what to put back into it.” I told this to my husband who immediately thought of the demon possessed man in Scripture who Jesus healed. However, Jesus said the “house” was swept clean and left empty so the demon returned with 7 of his “friends” and the man was left worse off then before. The point being that you have to fill up the negative with something positive (Christ) so as not to be worse off with something else. (See Matthew 12:43-45 for the full story) And so, that’s what we’re working on now–filling the closet back up with positive things. Learning how to react without anger, learning to not be afraid of “silly” things. Learning to trust the Lord and learning to trust others.
Can I say last week was pretty much hell for me? I had panic attacks daily, throughout the day, many a day. All I wanted to do was curl up on the couch and do nothing. I know I was short and curt with Cora and David. I know I was not a good mom or wife. I did no housework, I don’t think I made any suppers and just did what bare things needed to be done. I cried a lot, I panicked a lot (mostly in the shower every morning), and I had to force myself to leave the house. Incidentally, I had 3 appointments last week, God knows what we need, huh? I was exhausted, but not just physically, or from pregnancy. I was exhausted emotionally. I had finally emptied a part of me that had been there for 22 years–22 YEARS!!!!!!!!!!! But, God sustains. God heals. God comforts.
This journey is not done. This journey is only beginning. The healing is in full swing. I know it has to be worse before it will get better. In a lot of ways I think I’m over the worse of it. Doesn’t mean there won’t be flair ups or hiccups along the way, but the hardest part is over. I have stopped Satan in his tracks, I have given over this part of my life, said it aloud and now, I can just move on.
Again, I write this more for my benefit. I write this because I need to get this out and can’t keep it in any longer. Secrets can be so devastating and this one has been so to me for too long. It’s time to move on. It’s time to find that healing and it’s time to receive the healing that God has for me. Thank you for reading through this. Thank you for just praying for me.