“Just let it go.” We’ve all heard those words at one point or another. Perhaps a parent, a coach, a teacher, friend or family member has spoken them out of an attempt to encourage us to move on and move past a painful circumstance.
But there are certain painful circumstances where “just letting go” is not that simple. This is especially true where it concerns healing from past sexual abuse.
Perhaps you can relate.
The truth is, healing from the wounds of childhood sexual abuse takes time, a long time, in fact. There are no quick fixes or simple solutions. It is a complex process for most of us.
This certainly has been true for me.
In the course of my own journey of healing I’ve come to realize that sexual abuse leaves a soul wound that only God can heal, and healing is a journey that requires God’s help.
Perhaps you were sexually abused as a child. As much as you have tried to ignore the painful memories of your past, they continue to haunt you still today. Maybe you’ve tried to face them, and work through the emotions involved, but you haven’t found any lasting relief.
If you are like me, you’ve probably tried different ways to cope with the pain. Perhaps you’ve turned to vices like alcohol, drugs, food, sex, cutting or other behaviors that result in self-abuse. In doing so you’ve only added to your pain by making choices that have led to addictions, broken relationships or both.
I imagine you’ve discovered that while coping mechanisms may offer a brief source of comfort, but they don’t provide any lasting relief. Much like a Band-Aid, they only temporarily mask the true source of your pain.
The truth is, we can only avoid dealing with the pain of past sexual abuse for so long. Eventually our unhealed wounds cause serious problems for us in the present. Until they are dealt with properly they will continue to hurt—eventually festering and becoming worse.
Perhaps you’ve tried face your story of abuse on your own, or even sought counseling. Maybe you’ve reached out to friends and family, but because they don’t understand your struggles they can’t seem to offer any helpful solutions. Perhaps through your own efforts to heal, words have been spoken over you that have only left you feeling worse.
You need to know that you are not alone, and there is hope.
I have been where you are now. I know the road well. While there were different paths I took trying to heal from my own story of abuse, only one led me to freedom: my relationship with Jesus Christ. Dear friend, I am convinced that complete healing only happens when we place our hope in Christ.
Your wounds of past sexual abuse still hurt, because they have not been properly dealt with through the love of God and the truth of His Word. The good news is, with God’s help and a personal commitment to the process, you can heal. It will take time, and there is work involved on your part, but it can happen.
I am living proof.
Though the years God has restored me in ways I didn’t think possible. He has guided my steps and helped me to find my way in overcoming layers upon layers of guilt and shame, bringing me to the place of freedom I enjoy today. What He has done for me, I know He can do for you.
My story doesn’t end in abuse and brokenness, and neither does yours.
I have no doubt that if you entrust your journey to Him, He will ultimately heal your brokenness and lead you into a brand new life. Yes, you will experience setbacks now and then. The path to freedom will seem rough and wild at times, but I can assure you that God is for you and He will be with you each step of the way.
Are you tired of trying to cope with the pain of your past?
Isn’t it time to face it and take the necessary steps to finally heal?
Crystal M. Sutherland is a speaker, ministry leader, mentor for survivors of childhood sexual abuse and author of Journey to Heal: Seven Essential Steps of Recovery from Childhood Sexual Abuse. Sutherland holds a MA in Theological Studies from Liberty University and has more than 18 years of ministry experience, including women’s, youth, worship and Bible teaching. She is also a biblical counselor at her church. Her work can also be found on her blog and in contributions to lifelettercafe.com. Keep up with Crystal M. Sutherland online at www.crystalsutherland.org, Facebook (Crystal.Sutherland) or Twitter (@cryssutherland).