This Fleeting Life

One afternoon a while ago, I was walking outdoors, enjoying all the lilacs, realizing their blooms were almost spent. Such fragrant beauty- so brief. All the springtime flowers give us their beauty so briefly, ushering in the warm days of summer. I was overcome with a sense of sadness because of the brevity and constant change all around us. I was reminded of the words of the Psalmist, “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it and it is gone.” Psalm 103:15,16 And what will we do with this one fleeting life we’ve been given?

When we’ve suffered childhood sexual abuse the consequences can be crippling. It leaves a wound in our soul, robbing us of our innocence and security. Many times the abuse goes unmentioned for years, or when we did speak up, our words were met with anger, disbelief, or they were minimized. Sometimes the repressed feelings are vented in destructive ways which seem completely unrelated to the abuse.

Often during early adulthood, perhaps after marriage or when we become a parent, the troubling experiences begin to interrupt our thoughts. They seem to come uninvited. Sometimes it feels as though the abuse occurred yesterday rather than years ago. The feelings of fear, anger, shame and helplessness can be overwhelming. It’s at this point that we have a decision to make, we can either stuff the feelings down once more and try to limp along through life or we can give way to bitterness and anger. Another option is to stop along the wayside of life, and give this wound the time and respect it deserves in order to be properly ministered to so that it can heal.

So much hangs in the balance here! Our ability to be the best parent we can possibly be, the spouse we long to be, the ability to develop meaningful and lasting friendships. A wise woman once told me that maybe sexual abuse is like having a little monster living under your living room rug. You’re afraid of it, so afraid and you try to pretend it’s not there but it’s too lumpy and wiggly. Sometimes it sticks out its fingers or a leg, then you panic, and quickly rearrange the rug, the furniture, and try to make it disappear. You’re afraid a visitor may notice it and ask questions. Doesn’t the distraction and worry get wearisome? What if instead, she asked, I hold your hand and we just pull the rug off? All at once, just yank it right off. It might be shocking and ugly at first but the shock will wear off. At least the thing would be out in the open and we’d know exactly what we’re dealing with. The first step to healing; acceptance.

The truth is, no matter how much we want to ignore, forget, deny, and minimize, the abuse DID happen. It happened! And no matter how awful, how terrible, how unjust, how wicked, we survived! We are alive today and where there is life, there is hope. Remember God’s mercies are new every morning? He is a God of all comfort and grace and goodness! He is able to restore, heal, bind up and make whole! He knows every detail of our lives anyway and He has a remedy and a balm.

The psalmist also says that we live our lives as a tale that is told. (Psalm 90:9). Whether we’ve suffered sexual abuse or not, isn’t every life a story of redemption? Like the flower of the field, the locust of sexual abuse can damage and disfigure the beauty of our life, but God is able to restore to us the ears that the locusts have eaten. (Joel 2:25) And wouldn’t God be able to completely restore? Doesn’t He say He will make all things beautiful in His time? ALL things! Even our broken, hurting, secret wounds.

Take a deep breath, let today be the day true healing begins. Or if you’re already on the journey, don’t give up. There’s a bumper sticker out there that says, “If you’re going through hell, don’t stop.” Keep going, work through it. It’s so worth it! A season of hard work and intensity, followed by a lifetime of freedom. Ask God for the wisdom and courage to do what it takes to get there.

A messenger of hope.

“He hath made all things beautiful in His time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Read more

Beauty for Ashes

There was a time when my heart felt broken within me. A time when I felt sick with sadness every single day. A dark weight burdened my mind and spirit. A burden that would only cause others grief if I were to share it. So it stayed there, eating away at me. Days turned to weeks, weeks to months, and months to years.

Where was the the joy I should have been feeling as a newly wed woman, as a mother experiencing those first few years with precious little ones? Where was my faith, my joy in the Lord? Everything felt dull in comparison to the grief inside me.

How do you mourn the loss of innocence? How do you grieve and lay to rest your brokenness? How do you make sense of senselessness and apply a balm to wounds that are years old? When your whole being feels overwhelmed with loss, how do you get up each morning, put on a smile, and go on living? What do you do when you are so weary from sadness that your physical body longs for rest? How do you pray when it seems as though your prayers evaporate into the air long before they ever reach a caring God?

Can you imagine that one sitting with you in church could be hurting like this? Once I was.

But, of course, God did hear those prayers and our God is always good. His word promises that He will comfort all those that mourn in Zion and that He is close to those that are of a broken heart.

One day, quite unexpectedly, a lifeline was thrown to me. It was announced that there was a support group meeting for those who had suffered sexual abuse. I was very nervous to attend that first meeting. Who would be there? What would they think of me? My family? And most importantly, could I trust them?

What I found was a small group of women, some hurting like me and hardly able to talk without crying, others older and calm and further along on the journey. All there to pray for, love, and support one another. So, it wasn’t just me. It wasn’t just my family having to deal with such ugly things. I was no longer alone. And here began my journey of healing.

Years have passed, so many things have changed. I have buried and mourned my brokenness. I have laid aside the weight that beset me. The warm, beautiful light of healing and forgiveness has shined into the deepest recesses of my soul and spirit. God has given me some wonderful exchanges, beauty for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, and garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

My family has grown. Love no longer hurts. Loving my husband and children is easy and light. I am no longer the hurting young woman I once was. There’s soundness and strength in every fiber. I have been healed.

I met with a Christian counselor back then and I like the way she described being healed. She said it would be like having all the abuse and pain that came with it written in a book. I wouldn’t have to always be carrying it around with me, I could put it away on a shelf and take it down to look at when I chose to.

Months go by without me even thinking about it and when I do, it’s not scary or upsetting. It will always be sad and unjust and, oh, how I look forward to the day when Christ calls me home and “this robe of flesh I’ll drop, and rise to seize the everlasting prize!” to be in heaven with God, never to remember what is ugly or wrong!

I have been reminded lately, in numerous ways, that there are undoubtedly others now where I once was. I have been praying for the hurting ones.

Dear one who is hurting, call out to God. He surely will hear you. Ask Him to place people in your life to walk through this time alongside you. Remember, this too shall pass. Our God is the great physician and the God of comfort and grace. No matter how dark the darkness, God’s light is many times more powerful. He truly is able to “restore to you the years that the locusts have eaten” and “repair the breach” in your soul and spirit.

– a daughter of Judah and a messenger of hope

“Zion heard, and was glad; and the daughters of Judah rejoiced because of thy judgments, O Lord.” (Psalm 97:8)

Blog Image – © 2016 Kayla McCormick

Read more