You’re reading a God–Sized Dreams post. Each Tuesday, a team of God-sized dreamers writes on the progress of their dreams, spurred by the wisdom in Holley Gerth’s new book, You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream: Opening the Door to All God Has for You. For all my posts in this series, please click here. This week’s assignment: share an update with us about your dream. Let us know where you are with it–the happy and the hard. Tell us how we can pray for you and your dream too.
Trigger warning: childhood sexual abuse
Recently, I read an article by a popular, well-intentioned blogger who was trying to bring awareness to the issue of childhood sexual abuse.
I reacted very badly. Anger and anxiety ignited in me immediately, making it difficult to appreciate the better points in the article. I spun out for about half an hour, thinking things like:
Why is she suddenly writing about this?
Where are her facts from?
Why does she think she has enough authority to address this issue?
Did she even pause to think of the weight of responsibility in her word choice?
Clearly, this revealed a few important things.
- Our words are powerful. We carry a heavy burden of responsibility in their use. I’m reminding myself here, too. Am I ushering in life or condemnation with my words? Are they covered with grace, speaking truth in love–or are they full of me?
- There is much that people don’t know about childhood sexual abuse. Often, the sting I feel from others results from words and actions that reveal they simply do not know. This issue may not have personally impacted their lives, so they have no firsthand experience with it or how to talk about it.
- I still have some healing to do. I’m still confronting those panicky moments triggered by things like reading someone’s careless words. Or hearing their flippant remarks aloud. Or worrying whether I will be strong enough to protect my own children. Or realizing I still view much of life through the lens of my perceived worth. These things linger, but I’m not staying stuck in them as long. I recognize it immediately when my reactions start. And I know they don’t get to win.
So, there’s that.
But, there’s also this:
From the start, I made my dream journey harder than God had planned. I attempted to force myself to face issues that I assumed He’d want me to face by reading an intense book. Only one chapter in, the pressure, anxiety, and confusion set in. Anger and fight flared in me.
Because God had a different plan. One in which He ministered to the core of my brokenness–my self-worth. It’s easy to throw around phrases about God’s love and identity in Christ. It’s another to experience them.
Once I released my own idea of healing, God quickly flooded me with a growing understanding of His love and how to receive it.
I was wrecked in a whole new, beautiful way.
He sent me words like beloved to meditate on, study, and explore.
He provided support people in the least likely places to be His hands and feet–and, in some cases, to speak the exact words my heart needed in order to heal.
And then Holy Week.
I think deliverance in the word used for what happened then.
I physically experienced a burden lift when Jesus opened my heart to receive the power of His wounds redeeming mine. I wept with the understanding that He stood up for me, took my blows, and won the victory for me.
And now, this:
Unless we attack the root issue by allowing the Father to infuse us with His radical grace, we will either continue to struggle or give up because the pain is too much. …the key to being healed…lies not in “doing” things but “coming to know” the Father’s love. That’s the secret.
–Steve Pokorny in Freedom: Twelve Lives Transformed by the Theology of the Body, page 44
With a title like Freedom, I couldn’t not read this book. As I do, I cannot stop nodding: yes, yes, yes! This.
The theology of the body is a thing of beauty, a series of teachings by Pope John Paul II. Its riches can be mined for a lifetime, but its bottom line is that the body is a visible thing which reveals invisible truths. Being made in God’s image, our bodies reveal God. With them, we give and receive love as God loves.
I’m diving into these books, with their truths washing me clean from the hurts and misconceptions of my past.
And this one too:
It’s coming to this for me: the Eucharist. It’s the beloved, the receiving, the height of self-gift. It’s our bodies, our giving, imaging Christ and the Church…and how all of these are related. This is how I can be His completely, receive His love and rest secure in it…as it heals me from the inside out.
So, there’s that.
Would you pray for me? That I would let the control of this freedom journey be God’s? That I would remain open to receiving what He has for me, believing it to be good? That He would continue to supply the support people and courage I need to continue healing?
Also, as this dream series winds down, I’m thinking about doing a short series on what I wish people knew about childhood sexual abuse: protecting your kids, what to say and not say, healing for adult survivors…What do you think? And would you pray for that endeavor?
Are you still dreaming? What has God been doing in your life?
How can I pray for you?
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