What if what you said you’d never do ended up opening the doors to healing, light, truth, and freedom?
I was headed to my very first counseling session in an absolute panic because I didn’t even want to answer the pre-counseling questions to explain why I was seeking counseling in the first place. I did not want to talk. I walked into her room and sat at the far end of the couch, with my hands fidgeting in my lap and my head down. I was so afraid, I was numb. I am not sure if I was visibly shaking, but I was shaking all over inside.
I told her I needed to be sure it was safe and that everything would be kept confidential. I let her know that I needed to heal as quickly as possible, and I would never want anyone else to know. I never planned to tell my husband or anyone else for that matter that I had been sexually abused as a child.
In the book of 2 Kings 5, there is a man named Naaman who was desperate to be healed from leprosy. Elisha sent him this message in verse 10, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”
You would think Naaman ran as fast as he could to those waters and scrubbed away.
Nope. This was not the way he expected to heal. Instead of dipping in those refreshing waters, he submerged in a pit of anger and rage.
His own servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!”
So he went.
And he dipped seven times, and in verse 14 it says “his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.”
God has healed me tremendously and much of that has come from sharing my story.
I never expected to tell anyone that I had been sexually abused, especially my husband. My counselor never pushed me, but she encouraged me to share the truth and let the light in. Eventually, I shared with him. I expected him to be disgusted and upset and while it was incredibly hard and complicated, he was supportive and loving. Our marriage has improved immensely and we have grown closer and stronger.
Later, I felt led to share with someone else and was terrified of their response. God went before me, and right after I shared with her, she told me she had just been certified in Darkness to Light training. She understood the horror of what I had been through and the courage it took to share with her. She was affirming, encouraging and extremely responsive.
I kept sharing. When God opened the door and I felt prompted to open my mouth, I shared. In the beginning it was probably all in “code” and too much information, but each time I shared I grew stronger.
There were only a few times that I left the conversation thinking, “I have no idea why I just shared that with her, but I am trusting you God to use it.”
God kept opening doors in amazing ways, and I kept timidly tiptoeing through them. I started to hear, “Me too” and look into eyes that shared that same pain.
I knew I was not alone. I knew there were others like me and what I was sharing was important. I knew God was making me stronger for a reason.
I never intended to go to a writer’s conference and at my first conference I could barely muster a response when someone asked, “So, what do you write about?” I’ve been to 4 now, and I have literally cried my eyeballs out at two of them, simply because I felt some form of rejection and shame. It’s not always easy to share, and talking about sexual abuse is certainly not popular. But, it is so necessary.
My wounds from childhood sexual abuse needed the light and truth of Jesus Christ to be healed. Like Naaman in verse 11, I just wanted someone to “wave their hand over me and cure me.” But, as it turns out, I need to be dipped many times in the truth of God’s Word. I needed to discover and believe the truth of what it says about Jesus, and what it says about me. Each time I opened the door to that dark closet full of shame and lies to share my story, it allowed His light to shine bright into those dark places.
When you keep that door shut tight, it keeps the darkness of lies and shame locked inside. Open that door, and let the light in. Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes. Pray for God to give you opportunities to share and to give you courage to use your words.
It’s messy. It’s hard. It’s ugly.
It’s also freedom. It’s fresh air. It’s joy unspeakable.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your truth. Thank you that truth sets us free. Help us Lord to speak the truth and share our stories in a way that shines light in the darkness. Give us courage and open doors Lord to bring healing to the lies and shame that we have hidden for so long. There is power in your name, and we look completely to you to heal what the enemy has stolen. Break our chains Lord and set us free!