How He’s Healing Me {My Story, Part 3}

How He’s Healing Me {My Story, Part 3}

Trigger warning: This post mentions experiences of childhood sexual abuse. My hearts bleeds with compassion for those who have experienced such trauma, and I wish to add no further injury to those experiences. If you anticipate being triggered by this content, you may want to skip this post.

(Photo Credit)

You’re reading part 3 of my personal story with abuse, which is part of the series

If You Only Knew: Awareness, Healing, Hope.

You can read it part 1 here. You can read part 2 here.

***

I pedaled slowly, wishing away more than shedding those pounds hugging me tight. The stationary bike provided a rare opportunity for solitude, and the printed pages in my hand distracted me from the drudgery of exercising.

It baffled and dumbfounded me…Joyce Meyer’s story. In Beauty for Ashes she relates the horrific abuse her father inflicted on her during her childhood. How she healed, forgave, and cared for her father later in life.

So it must be possible. She actually recovered from this. No more enslavement…she’s thriving.

Joyce Meyer was the first story of healing from childhood sexual abuse that I’d ever heard. I didn’t know it was possible to get any better. Even as I read, awed as I was, I believed I would never get there.

That was two years ago.

And I was wrong.

Carolyn Ruch, from the Rise and Shine Movement, recently tweeted:

#Sexualabuse takes away a child’s voice, their ability 2 trust, their sense of worthiness, their freedom 2 become all they were created 2 be.

It’s true: the first thing abuse stole was my voice. The intensity of this dark reality of abuse physically silenced me. As recently as January, it took herculean effort just to reveal that my God-sized dream is to heal from abuse.

Writing the words and speaking them is scary. The secrecy surrounding it is so strong.

But each baby step restores my voice. Each time I speak of it to a friend, my husband, anyone…I become stronger.

Writing about it for the last six months, both here and in private, has restored my voice.

Two brave, broad-shouldered friends offered to hear my entire story, and I didn’t realize how much I needed to tell it.

Until an irresponsible article ignited a fire in my belly, and God nudged me to show you what you need to know instead of simply bullet-pointing it.

And that combination facilitated healing: God’s love + the love of others.

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

As I have loved you, so you must love one another. –John 13:34

This kind of love is not for sissies!

How did Jesus love? It’s not a syrupy sweet, sappy love. He laid down His life for me. This past Holy week He penetrated my heart with the truth that His wounds redeemed mine. He stood up for me when no one else could, blow by blow. He didn’t die only for my sins. He died for my anguish.

So that I might know, with Him, there is mercy and fullness of redemption. (Psalm 130:7) He triumphed to impart hope and make healing possible.

What does it look like to love one another that way?

It’s my dearest friend listening to my struggle, anger, and confusion and reminding me: It’s okay for it to be messy. Forget about being a “good Christian.” I love you.

It’s my heart-sister in Virginia, lifting me up in prayer, reading every post, between the lines, seeing when I can’t: Jesus is working here. I love you.

It’s the kindred spirit friend I have yet to meet in person, who encourages me: call me. We’ll talk through this. If you need to tell your whole story, I’m ready. I’m proud of you. I love you.

It’s a God-sized Dream Team, Spirit-filled and Spirit-fueled women who refuse to allow the technical glitches of Google+ hangouts prevent them from lifting me up in spontaneous prayer. Who read these hard words and remind me Whose I am and what He’s doing here. Who offered support, encouragement, and unconditional love from day one. Jesus with skin on.

It’s you sacrificing precious time to read my heart here, leaving comments with words like brave and proud, thanking me for sharing, and that’s my story too…Words that urge me: keep writing, these messages are necessary, you’re helping others heal. Words in emails and private messages that break me but convict me I need to blaze this trail.

You remind me what my Daddy is really like, and He’s the one who tells me what my worth is. He offers me a banquet so I don’t have to live out of a dumpster. (Thank you to Christopher West for this imagery and introduction to TOB.) What He offers, what He created me for, is a fullness that that sloughs away the layers of pain and damage from being abused.

He offers me communion with Him, and He created me unique and unrepeatable–in His image. He’s brought me to a study of the theology of the body, and it’s no coincidence: these truths explain how communion with God, the sacredness of the human body, sexuality, and my worth are all related.

If I am made in His image, and I am unique and unrepeatable, then I reflect part of Him that no one else can. That is my worth. God stamped this right into my body, which He made as good.  This once-violated body is good and reveals truths about God!  This is the dignity and worth with which others should see me and I should see them.

And when my husband and I see each other this way, we mirror Christ and His Church–the Bridegroom and his beloved bride. The least inaccurate way we can understand the union God intends with us is this rightly ordered, rightly recognized dignity and union between husband and wife. Talk about redeemed sexuality! (Of course, communion with God is absent the sexual dimension.)

Which brought me to an unexpected level of healing. If God created me for union with Him, and sexuality as God created it is a way I can begin to understand something of that communion, then the enemy would do anything to destroy it all. Enter abuse.

He will attack marriages, and he will attack sexuality. Our hearts will yearn to be filled by God, but Satan will twist and distort those desires for fulfillment in the most horrific ways… like pornography and pedophilia.

My abuser was broken and didn’t realize that what he really wanted was Jesus. In his brokenness, he chose the perversions the enemy offered.

It doesn’t absolve him of responsibility, but it helps me understand.

***

Healing is also messy work, wrought with fiery emotions that feel decidedly unchristian. I’m learning that’s okay. Growing in the security of God’s love enables me to loosen my grip on finding my worth elsewhere. Situations involving rejection, lack of support, and feeling forgotten still trigger me, but they sting less now.

Healing is not a one-time deal. It comes in seasons, and the important thing is that it comes–as I am ready to receive it. God forces nothing upon me, including healing. He treats me gently.

***

In the coming weeks, I will expand on these topics of awareness, hope, and healing with messages for parents and abuse survivors. I welcome any questions you have or issues you’d like to see me address. If you prefer to email, please feel free to do so: mandy.mianecki {at} gmail.com (minus the brackets–those are to prevent spam)

Thank you, truly, for reading these hard words, and for your encouragement.

Note: This is my best recollection of my history. It is an imperfect telling which seeks to illuminate both the reality of abuse and God’s business of healing and redemption. It is not an endorsement for how any given person handled the situation. Any suggestions for properly handling of abusive situations contained in it are strictly my own opinion.

***

Recommended Resources:

Christopher West-Theology of the Body

TOB and the Eucharist, Part 1

TOB and the Eucharist, Part 2

Healing Power of Christ, Part 1

Healing Power of Christ, Part 2

No More Silence: An interview with Boz Tchividjian of G.R.A.C.E

 

Comments

  1. Dearest friend,

    The honesty you have conveyed here is heroic. I hope and pray that each time you write and press ‘publish’ you feel the chains drop from your being and the elixir of all these amazing people leaving comments spread upon you. You deserve freedom more then anyone I know. God has placed such an incredible gift inside of you with your ability to speak His truth so that others can FEEL it. It is no wonder that the ‘silence’ is the aftermath of something so heinous. Your insight with the ‘Theology of the Body’ and sexuality as understanding our union was amazing. I can’t imagine the GOOD we are losing to the enemy, like we almost lost you(due to the silence it creates).You are beyond brave – the only way out of these terrible traps is to bring them into the brightest light and you have done it!!! The support here from comments should also be commended. So many, so gifted with beautiful heart-felt words- this is how we keep the scoreboard weighted on the ‘good’. I thank all of you for your posts because it has inspired and encouraged me to see how so many prayerful, intelligent and loving people can come together to support someone as beautiful as Mandy. Love you much, dear one.

    • Love you so much, friend! Thank you for such generous and heartfelt words. They’ve given me some good things to think about, especially your thoughts on silence and speaking out. Your support is invaluable. I’m humbled that my words have blessed you–you are such a blessing to me.
      Mandy recently posted..How He’s Healing Me {My Story, Part 3}My Profile

  2. laura p says:

    You are amazing. Continue to use your voice. Make it bigger and stronger. You are loved by a lot of people.

  3. Your voice has been restored. These words you write are a testimony how God truly does make all things work together for God for those who love him and have been called according to his purpose. You are loved. You are called. You have a voice.
    Kristin Taylor recently posted..We are here.My Profile

  4. This- “Healing is not a one-time deal. It comes in seasons, and the important thing is that it comes–as I am ready to receive it. God forces nothing upon me, including healing. He treats me gently.” Is so true. Thank you friend for brave. You have encouraged me in the midst of another season of healing, and your story helps me to be brave again, as we walk through healing with God’s gentle, amazing love and Grace!
    Katharine Barrett recently posted..It’s About Rain…My Profile

  5. I am so proud of you, Mandy! Such courage to write your story and told with eloquence and grace. I am in awe of how God can heal us. He takes His time and walks us slowly through the yuck. Thank you for your words! They are an encouragement!

    Christy @ A Heartening Life
    http://www.ahearteninglife.com
    Christy recently posted..Imagine (a five minute friday)My Profile

  6. Oh, sweet sister! I just had the opportunity to read through your story and I just have to say that this is one of the most beautiful testimonies to God’s grace that I have ever read. Thank you for opening yourself up to sharing your hurts as I have no doubt that God will use your words to the many others who are experiencing the same hurt. May God continue to be close as you seek healing.
    I love you, sweet, sweet friend! And you are absolutely right- you are NOT repeatable. What a gift you are!!
    Becky Daye recently posted..When It is Hard to Let Go…My Profile

  7. tereseb says:

    Theology of the body has healed me of looking at my body as separate from myself and as sex as something ‘dirty’ . Now I see how God embraces our bodies and our sexualiy. God is not a puritan. What a revelation. God is sexy !;

  8. I’m in tears here, girl. I could feel your heart and your convictions in every sentence. You are setting the captives FREE! You bless, friend!
    Alecia recently posted..These Dry BonesMy Profile

  9. I am so glad you have come to the place in your healing journey that you have regained your voice, and are using it to speak out the truth. The truth of your story, and the truth of God’s healing and hope. That is beautiful.

    Writing and sharing my story has been a huge part of my healing. I am so proud of you for reaching out for that freedom…and for sharing your story.
    Tracie recently posted..A Letter To The Girl Who Is Hurting And ConfusedMy Profile

    • Support like yours is so important to me, Tracie. Thank you! Words like the ones you’ve left here help to point me back to why I’m doing this and why it is necessary. I’m so glad to hear that you’ve been able to write and share your story. That is brave, amazing work!
      Mandy recently posted..How He’s Healing Me {My Story, Part 3}My Profile

  10. Love you, and am so proud of you, and I think you did an exceptional job. Wait, scratch that. You are DOING and exceptional job.
    Stacey recently posted..My stupid thoughtlessness, but I’m learning.My Profile

  11. I love this, “Healing is also messy work, wrought with fiery emotions that feel decidedly unchristian.” It is true. And God is so okay with that. Healing will come – ask and it shall be given unto you, seek and you shall find…
    Gindi recently posted..Learning to Lead: Part 1, Authentically YouMy Profile

  12. You are beautiful and I am so blessed to call you friend!

  13. Dearest Mandy,
    I’ve known snippets of your story since we ‘met’ in the God-sized dream team but today I read the whole thing and am so thankful for your brave telling and the steps you’ve taken to go after healing! Thanks for sharing all of this…and I’m going to read the rest of the series, too, but now I need to go to bed. Much love and hugs dear one!
    Lani recently posted..The Beginning of GraceMy Profile

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