Is There Hope After Sexual Abuse?

During our four minutes of quality time between packing lunches and making sure our youngest daughter had school appropriate shoes, my husband told me I reprimanded one of our kids in my sleep. We laughed about how much my dreams have changed over the past two years.

For decades, my dreams were rarely pleasant as I relived childhood and early adult traumas over and over again each night. As I ponder the significance of this holiest of weeks in the Christian faith, I can’t help but consider the gifts I’ve received from Christ’s sacrifice for me. One of the greatest of these gifts is the healing I’ve received from the torment of my sexual abuse.

At the age of 44, I’d never truly felt a sense of belonging. Oh I tried to find one. I looked in all the wrong places and a few of the right ones. I’d have a short season, here and there, where I felt connected to others or even to God, but that season would pass and I’d feel adrift…alone…alone surrounded by others who seemed to connect with someone in this world.

I’d struggled in almost total isolation with the fallout of childhood sexual abuse.

I felt tarnished.

Unworthy.

Disbelieving.

Unclean.

I believed Christ had died on the cross for my sins.

I believed my salvation was secure.

It was the daily life that concerned me.

I had no idea how to give my pain and trauma to the Lord.

It felt too dirty for His goodness. Too unspeakable for His holiness.

But the Lord showed me otherwise, as He often does when we are adrift.  God allowed me to fall into my own miry pit, to reach the bottom of myself, then He reached down and lifted me up. Click To Tweet

Don’t get me wrong.

I wasn’t hurting and broken one moment then completely restored the next.

Not that He couldn’t do that if He wanted.

He could.

He’s the God of the universe.

That’s just not how He did it in my life.

I believe He wanted me to find my people, the other broken women who, like me, wandered around like the Israelites in the wilderness.

He wanted me to feel a sense of belonging.

He led me to a Christ-based recovery program at our new church that specialized in healing from sexual abuse and assault.

He gently nudged me to take the steps of healing.

He replaced my fears with his confidence.

He replaced my loneliness with His people. Click To Tweet

Through His strength, I began to open up about my abuse. With these women of God, I shared my sin struggles of anger and self-protection I’d developed as ways to protect myself from further hurts.

As the weeks passed and I grew to know these beautiful women, I hurt for their hurts.  I seethed at the perpetrators who caused my new sisters such heartbreak. Through this process, I slowly began to see that my own experiences were not so different from theirs.

It was okay to mourn the childhood I’d lost at the hands of my abusers. Click To Tweet

It was okay to begin the healing process that the Lord had for me.

It was okay to find a place, a place where I belonged.

Two years later, I now co-lead a group of women through the same process that brought healing to my life. In this space, with these ladies, through our God, I’ve finally found a sense of belonging.

I am no longer lonely.

I am loved.

 

 

If sexual abuse or assault is part of your story then know that you are NOT ALONE! Please reach out to me or someone you trust. Healing is there for you too! Please don’t believe there is no hope, my sister! I would LOVE to talk to you in more detail.

 

 

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6 Comments

  • Jenny Knudsen March 29, 2018 at 7:45 pm Reply

    I am so encouraged to hear how your dreams have changed. It’s so strange how much sexual abuse permiates our very existence if we don’t get help. I am so excited to see where God is going to take you and how he will use your story.

    • AlyndaLong March 29, 2018 at 8:28 pm Reply

      Thank you so much, Jenny!It is really amazing how long I spent saying it didn’t affect me at all when it actually affected almost every aspect of my life! Blessings to you, my dear!! You are such an encouragement to me!

  • Deborah April 5, 2018 at 1:11 pm Reply

    Love you so much! You are so brave and inspiring!

    • AlyndaLong April 5, 2018 at 1:56 pm Reply

      Awww, I love you too! Thank you for being so supportive and encouraging!

  • Francie April 6, 2018 at 9:14 pm Reply

    I love how you describe that God led you to your own people; other women who could identify with your pain and brokenness. Women who could stand with you and say “you are not alone”. For every woman who stands with you,there are more in the shadows just waiting to see the hope that the Lord brings. Shine strong!

    • AlyndaLong April 7, 2018 at 4:19 am Reply

      Oh Francie, thank you so much for your sweet words of encouragement!

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