Growing Through the Gravel
Several years ago, I was playing in my backyard when I came across a small, purple pansy. It was all alone, in the middle of this large gravel space. I still remember bending down and wondering how this little flower had somehow survived to grow in it’s harsh environment. I wanted to rise above my circumstances and I still do.
But right now, I feel like I’m stuck in the gravel with no sun. There doesn’t seem to be an easy way out.
Sexual abuse tears at your very soul. It rips at your heart and pulls. Some days, I feel totally fine. God has brought me a very long way from the scared twelve year old I used to be. But other days, I feel detached and far way. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to feel anything because the pain hurts far too much. I feel powerless. This is just one stage when dealing with abuse and it’s very normal. Healing from any kind of abuse is a process and it’s important to remember that healing takes time.
Letting people in and talking about your past isn’t something easily done. It requires a lot of trust and courage. Many times, the abuser is a friend or even a family member, causing the victim to lack trust. So when they come forward, the best response for a parent or counselor is to be loving and kind. I was absolutely terrified when I told my mom. My whole body shook and I could barely stand. I had only just turned twelve. But that day I was finally free. God gave me the bravery to come forward and He will provide that to anyone who simply asks.
Being able to freely talk about abuse can take a long time. For most of my teenage life, it was this dirty secret that I couldn’t share. With God’s help and love, I was finally able to openly talk with a close friend. I’m consistently going to counseling and reading through Wounded Heart, which I highly recommend for victims or their parents. It delves deep into the effects of abuse and has been very helpful for my personal journey. The book does have some very triggering passages so I have been reading it slowly and with lots of discussion with my counselor and mentor. Reading a book will not “fix” your hurt but it can assist in processing what happened.
Sexual abuse isn’t something to be ashamed of. You are not dirty because of it. You are not damaged goods. You are not broken. You are not unlovable. I still have to repeat these phrases to myself. I won’t be completely healed from this tomorrow, next week, or even next year. It’s a lifelong process. I have been frustrated with feeling that I’m not getting anywhere, but if I take a step back I can see how far God has brought me.
I don’t always understand why God allowed that to happen, but I do know that God brought me out of it and He will continue to heal me. Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse that I’ve clung to my whole life. It reads “’For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.’” I wouldn’t be the person I am today if I had not been sexually abused. God has made me stronger and He has given me a passion to care for others deeply. I am working on being that purple pansy, to rise above this gravel and grow into a beautiful flower. I can only pray that I continue leaning on Jesus every step of the way.