Healing

Part 6 of 7

Like grieving, the healing process takes time, but God is patient with us in that process. He is faithful to bring healing during that time when we turn to Him.

In my experience, there are three main steps to healing:
1. Acceptance and validation
2. Forgiveness and letting go
3. Moving On

The first step is accepting the painful reality of what happened. I personally spent quite a bit of time in denial, wishing that it weren’t true. To be validated in any way during this time is very helpful for healing.

People who have experienced abuse need permission to talk about what happened to them and the right to the full range of their emotions during the healing process. Within christian circles, there is an uneasiness in talking about this unpleasant topic. Victims are often shamed into keeping their stories silent.

The next step is forgiveness. I forgive because I must. I do not want to be linked with the person who abused us through anger and bitterness. I will extend the mercy God has shown me to those who hurt me.

It took longer for me to understand that I needed to relinquish my demand for justice. Seeing my demand for justice as a function of law rather than grace helped me to let go of my desire for vindication.

I will trust God to deal with each person’s heart, knowing that I want His mercy when He searches my heart. I will not expect Him to judge someone more harshly than what I would want for myself.

The final step is moving forward. I hear concern from some christians that people who have been abused want to stay stuck in their woundedness. I have trouble imagining why anyone would want to do that. It seems to me that most victims of abuse are doing their best to recover.

As we make peace with our wounds and scars, Christ’s life can be revealed in the healing we’ve experienced. When we dare to reveal our wounds, other victims can hear that there is hope beyond their sorrow.

In the end, I’m okay. Shaken, but we survived.
Washed up? No, just washed ashore somewhere other than where we expected to be.

Advertisements

10 thoughts on “Healing

  1. Again, this resonates very deeply with me. You said:

    “People who have experienced abuse need permission to talk about what happened to them and the right to the full range of their emotions during the healing process.”

    This is so true and essential. When South Africa was addressing the injustices of apartheid they instituted the Truth & Reconciliation Commission. The “Truth” aspect was essential. It wasn’t enough to address injustice as an abstraction, but people were given a forum to express the full reality of their brokenness. It has powerfully impacted the nation in its continuing process of healing. We can ask for nothing less for all of lifes wounded.

    This series ranks among the most important and authentic I have read online. Thank you for it.

    Peace,
    Jamie

  2. I agree with Jamie. This is vulnerable but vital sharing. Truly speaks to my own fresh wounds. I am going to send my own friends and readers here.

  3. Grace,

    You have definitely chosen an appropriate online name for yourself. This series is so balanced, gracious, vulnerable, and so vitally needed.

    You are also a gifted writer.

  4. Grace,
    This is authentic authoritative teaching. May God give you ‘gracious’ opportunities to share and extend purpose to peoples pain.
    I went through this process myself several years ago now. Yet the journey still continues.

  5. You’re so right about the moving on! In the first months of our grief I went through all the classic stages that are associated with losing a loved-on. Even after the pain began to subside, I was still scarred and would occasionally relapse into the grief. It wasn’t until we moved-on and began ministering in a healthy environment that I was able to leave the past in the past. But let it be said…Don’t move to fast! There definately needs to be sufficient time for healing!

  6. Grace, I love your commitment to forgiveness and healing.

    People hurt people. Some people get hurt and stop trusting, stop loving…we need encouragement from one another that forgiveness and healing is possible when we are devastated by betrayal.

    I heard a preacher one time explain that he would not let his heart stop trusting in the goodness of people. Yes, he admitted, he’ll likely get hurt again. But, he pointed out, God can heal him again. He would not allow himself to live in a place of mistrust or cynicism. He’d rather get banged up and healed up than become iced over.

    I’m glad you are not getting iced over Grace.

    Your warm words, I’m sure, are thawing hearts throughout cyberspace. Keep writing.

  7. Jamie, Tammi Jo, and Robbie, thank you for your continually supportive comments. They have meant a lot to me.

    Thanks casey. Blessings to you in your journey.

    Angela, very wise words about not moving too fast. We have many “I’m glad we didn’t…” comments now about things we considered doing in the months immediately following our abuse.

    Thanks for your kind words Pam. I’m still “in process” on the forgiveness and trust issues.

  8. What I have struggled with is, what constitutes “moving on.” I spoke of the culture of exclusivity, but I stay on the fringe because of my trepidation of “getting involved.” Does my gun shyness mean I have not moved on?

  9. David, my opinion is that moving on is a journey and not a destination. The first’s steps of the journey being letting go of the past and choosing to not be completely identified by it.

    I’m not sure that I would say that “getting involved” is the line you have to cross to say that you have moved on.

    Does that make sense? I know I haven’t “arrived” in the moving-on journey, but I know that I have begun taking steps in that direction.

    Learning to trust ourselves and others after being betrayed takes time.

  10. “People who have experienced abuse need permission to talk about what happened to them and the right to the full range of their emotions during the healing process. Within christian circles, there is an uneasiness in talking about this unpleasant topic. Victims are often shamed into keeping their stories silent.”

    This is SOOOOOO true. I guess that’s where a lot of my feelings of anger come from. Too many people telling me to shut-up, to stuff it all inside and plaster a smile on my face. I’m so DONE with plastic churchianity. Venting is part of the process of healing. I think blogging is an excellent and the most considerate way to discuss your abuse. I mean, most of the people who read your blog are complete strangers. I’m SO glad I found you in cyberspace. God bless you- again and again!!!!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s