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Healing for abuse victims starts here

By: rebecca garvin

I sat in my counselor’s office and stared at her blankly as she asked me to talk about things we had talked about many times before. Usually, I didn’t have a problem talking about them. In fact, I really didn’t feel anything most of the time, so it was fairly easy to discuss what I could remember. It wasn’t my lack of feeling that caused the numbness; it was severe dissociation and an inability to look at the things that caused the pain without crumbling.

I refused to view myself as a victim for a long time. I didn’t want to be one. A lot of people called me brave, but ironically, it was fear that fueled the valiance. Over time and through intensive counseling, I finally came to terms with the things I experienced and the reality that I had been a victim. And boy, oh boy, did it hit me hard. Suddenly, I was engulfed in a world of paralysis, crippled by the thoughts I had pushed away for so long.

Unexpected Pain

They hurt me —  badly. They took things from me that weren’t theirs to take. I didn’t plan to be abused. I didn’t expect to get raped. I never imagined I would get diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and spend years recovering from a long list of things I never dreamed would happen to me.

Do you know what else I didn’t ask for? The grace and love of a Savior who will stop at nothing to rescue what is His. But I got it — I got enough to cover every single inch of damage and more.

“Woe is me” became a comfort zone. It was like my eyes adjusted to a dark room: I couldn’t see anything, but facing the light again became scarier than hiding in the darkness.

Comfortable Victims

Do you have a right to feel like a victim? Absolutely. You also have the right to kick Satan in the teeth and refuse to live in the bondage of ruined relationships, stolen joy, and failure to step into everything God created you to be.

Sometimes being a victim can become a security blanket. Please hear me and know I would never minimize the severity or lasting effects of things that have been done to you. The problem comes when we get comfortable rolling with the punches and waiting for the next one instead of standing up and fighting back against the enemy.

There comes a time when we need to stand up, take hold of the hand that is reaching out and let Him pull us up again. Use the crutches, the wheelchair, or whatever else you need to start moving again. God will provide the resources and tools you need along the way.

Accepting help starts by consciously making the choice to let God help.

Shifting Posture

Allowing Him to help you up can seem like a huge feat, but let me tell you from experience that it’s a mindset and a heart posture. God can handle the heavy lifting. Accepting help starts by consciously making the choice that you will let Him help.

The pain makes sense; the freedom doesn’t. That’s how our God works. He specializes in the impossible and loves showing off through breaking the chains His kids feel stuck in.

If you feel like you can’t get up, here are some questions I had to ask myself. They may challenge you as well:

  • Are you willing to let the healing begin? The Bible tells us that God stands and knocks, waiting for us to answer the door to our hearts (Revelation 3:20).
  • Have you positioned yourself to accept Him? Do you put yourself in positions to receive His love and His Word by going to church, reading your Bible, surrounding yourself with and accepting help from other people who love Him?

Daily Battle

I know it’s hard, but the battle is much harder when we fight it on our own. Don’t cheat yourself by deciding God can’t help you without giving Him the chance to do so. You don’t know a raincoat is waterproof until you wear it in the rain.

The beauty of coming to terms with our brokenness is found in the full realization of our inability to be OK — a recognition of weakness so great we see the magnitude of our need for a Savior. The more we see our brokenness, the more we recognize our need for God, which leads to a dependency that no past, present, or future harm can ever overcome.

Now that God has miraculously freed me from the chains of my past, a lot of people say I am in denial. It doesn’t make sense that I could be where I am today, especially not this soon. That is why I am so determined to share and show what He has done, and I encourage you to dive headfirst into your healing process, so you can do the same.

Begin healing by asking for help. Talk with someone today.

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