Meet Crystal. She is beautiful, kind and knows what it means to overcome. Her story will leave you inspired and full of hope, knowing that God indeed redeems broken pasts.
It’s a part of my story I rarely share. Not because I want to forget it, but because I don’t want to be defined by it.
Years of childhood abuse left wounds which refused to stop oozing well into my adult years, and any attempts to stitch them up, bandage them and even hide them were nothing more than a temporary fix. The unearthing still came.
Especially the kind we have no control over.
The kind dealt by those who should have loved us and protected us.
The rubble left behind is almost impossible to climb out of alone, and I remember thinking I would never overcome all the heaping of hurt.
Marriage and motherhood triggered memories that had been tucked away in long forgotten places of the soul. When they finally emerged, ravaging my dreams night after night, I felt like I was drowning in the pain.
Every morning’s first breath felt like a last breath riddled with lies of my identity and worth.
The truth of what really occurred was more than I could bear.
But in the midst of this hard truth, God was very present, whispering a soft truth my wounded heart desperately needed to hear.
And it’s the same truth He whispers to each of us.
Regardless of how devastating the wounds, we can’t give ourselves permission to stay in the rubble. There is a way out.
God never intends for us to remain in the wreckage of hurt. It’s His plan to heal us from all of our wounds, even those inflicted from abuse. We are created to be overcomers, not succumb(ers), and overcoming often means journeying through the memories, the pain and the questions with the One who overcame all.
How do we overcome the pain from abuse?
I won’t pretend to have all the answers my friend. But I do know the journey God took me on included trusting, yielding and some key elements which brought both healing and freedom.
Trust the unearthing to the Lover of your soul.
One of the most devastating results of abuse is that it strips us of our identity and the ability to trust. It also distorts our perception of God. My childhood development was stunted in the area of trust because the abuse began from my earliest memory.
It took some personal God encounters with the help of professionals to begin to trust that He was and is good. That He saw everything and that He loved and accepted ME. When we know God truly adores us and grieves over what was done to us, we can trust the unearthing. We can trust there will be healing on the other side.
Confront and silence the lies with truth.
There is no way to overcome the hurt of abuse without overcoming the lies firmly rooted in our soul as a result. No amount of brave or perfect or in control will overpower what the enemy intends to lay waste. Confronting lies is the first step in silencing them. Silencing lies with scriptural truth is a necessary step to experiencing chain-breaking freedom. Every lie planted can be uprooted and replaced with God’s truth.
Empower healing by releasing the hurt.
Although we are not responsible for the hurt done against us, we are responsible for making the choice to release it. Otherwise we risk passing this hurt on to all those we hold dear. And we become the one doing the hurting. Any hope of a future depends on releasing.
What does releasing look like? It’s opening our hearts to acknowledge the hurt. It’s realizing how the hurt has affected our thoughts, our emotions and our behavior. And it’s developing a willingness to entrust it all to a God who is big enough to carry our hurt. Once we become firmly established in who God is and how the truth of scripture speaks over us and through our hurt, we can then trust God to govern our deepest pain.
Embrace the process of forgiving.
The adage “forgive and forget” is a terribly insensitive expectation for anyone who has endured abuse and it does not acknowledge the depth of pain inflicted to a soul. We are humanly incapable of forgetting. And for many of us, forgiving is also difficult. Forgiving is made more difficult when well-meaning individuals lead us to believe it’s a choice made once and for all.
I remember struggling with the kind of forgiving spoken of in Matthew 18:22. How could I forgive an abuser 70 x 7 times without it continuing to relegate me as the victim? Doesn’t this give the abuser consent to abuse over and over again?
It wasn’t until I learned that the formula of forgiving doesn’t refer to number of abuses. It refers to the continual and ongoing process of forgiving… sometimes daily, sometimes hourly that it takes to reach healing. Because forgiveness is not a one-time choice. Deep hurt often takes a continual choice of forgiving. And this is the 70 x 7 process of releasing, of forgiving that honors the heart of the one yielding to the journey of overcoming hurt.
Claim a new beginning over your future.
We do not have to buy into the lie that that cycles cannot be broken. God promises us a hope and a future. He promises that He only has good in store for us. That he will work all things out for good. And that He will be faithful to complete this work in us. Believing and claiming these promises is a necessary choice to overcoming hurt.
And in this claiming, we can count on God to use our story. Not to define us…
But to overcome the hurt and refine us.
About the Author
An educator and team builder, Crystal is an advocate of intentionally living outside of comfort zones as a means to unlocking hidden potential and experiencing God’s wild and uncontainable love. Mother to a professor, a worship pastor and a budding forensic scientist, her greatest joy has been having a front row seat to God crafting a legacy of hope from a humble prayer offered up in the midst of a broken and painful past. She’s a lover of fresh markets, lattes and all things French. You can connect with Crystal through her: Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest