The purest way to describe my recovery from sexual abuse and betrayal has been coming back inside of my own body – becoming one with the little girl who was stolen from, degraded, humiliated and chastised. She has been weighed down for far too long by the sins of her father. The 22 year old bride has been held captive for far too long by the stench of her husband’s shame. She was forced into marital prostitution after being betrayed by her spouse. She never stood a chance. She didn’t know any better. She didn’t know that there could be another way – a healthier way. She carried the sins of her Father with her and married them to an insecure man who used her as a depository of shame and misery. She had no name. She was desolate and without beauty – she was barren, a wasteland, a scorned woman. Her mere existence was a nuisance to the men of power and authority in her life. Her dignity and feminine power slowly eroded from years of being trained to stay quiet, be small and non-existent.
How does she come back from this? How does she leave the STENCH of these men behind? How does she turn around and tell them to GO TO HELL? How does she move forward as NEW into NEW relationship with herself and others? How does she strip herself of the humiliation, degradation and shame? IT IS NOT HERS. IT NEVER WAS.
She enters into the wilderness. She needs a rescuer, a power that is greater than her. She needs a hero, a savior, a tender and compassionate advocate, a gentle soother, a healer, a lover, and a strength that is steadfast and like no other. She needs to be nurtured and cherished and treasured. She needs to be seen, understood, validated, heard, blessed, forgiven, accepted, washed, renewed, rejoiced over, defended, cleansed, and restored. There is only one who can help restore the relationship with herself. Only one who can help her crawl her way back inside her own body and then slowly stretched to fit the skin of a new creation. She needs to be loved back inside herself into a woman whose been redeemed. She needs the blood washed from her body – in order to be re-clothed with grace.
She cannot do this without first trusting the One. There needs to be trust. If she does not trust the One – He cannot get in. He cannot speak to her. He cannot love her, cherish, nurture, nourish, receive, delight, calm, comfort, lift, soothe, and reassure her. He cannot embody her. As she trusts the One – she begins to open herself up. Opening to release the wounds, she opens her burial clothes and allows the wounds to be exposed to the air – the stench of the woundedness is foul – they fester and bleed. There are sores covering her body which have been there for years. They’ve become infected. At times, these wounds have re-opened because she took the dagger and cut the same spot over and over to survive and feel alive. It’s all she knows, it’s safer to stay wounded.
Healing is a risk.
It takes vulnerability and trust in order for her to disrobe in front of the One. She must trust the One to look carefully at each wound and scar. She must expose herself, naked before him to be honest. This takes courage and hope. Hope that when the One sees this damage on her delicate frame – the damage will somehow be bound up and cured. But what if it’s not? This takes trust. He speaks tenderly to her, gently and calmly. Telling her and convincing her how precious, beautiful and beloved she is. He tells her of the ways he ransomed and rescued her with His own blood, sweat and tears. He tells her the stories of how He’s cared for her for all time – how out of all the billions of stars in the sky He wanted her. He saw her and He has been pursuing her heart all along. He tells her of the ways he wants to care for her and protect her for all the days of her life. She stands, before him, completely naked and exposed as the wounds bleed out – she hangs listlessly, unsure if what the One is saying is completely true. Yet, she stands, fully revealed. Her heart is opening, her curiosity propels her to listen more and wonder about the great love the One is speaking into her body. Could it be true? What if it is? What if it’s not? She cannot move – she hears the One. He begins to touch each wound – one by one – attending to each gaping hole, brushing over each in such a tender way that she has no choice but to let the pain come from her gut. The floodgates open and she lets years of bottled – up grief pour from her lips. She weeps – she wails – she allows the tears to pour down her body – washing over the remnants of shame, ache and pain. As the tears come – the One is there He comforts, calms, and reassures her that He is there – He holds her as she weeps. The One tells her – this is meant to be – this is destiny – “you were made for so much greater” He whispers to her heart.
Within the wilderness there is a time of isolation, a time of quiet reflection a time of grappling with the wounds that were slayed into her skin. Wounds that cut so deep they hit bone. In this quiet reflection she assesses the damage and surrenders to the One that will lead her to the healing balm with which to cover these wounds. She’s getting to this point, the point to which she can surrender to the One. When she’s at her MOST vulnerable, her most tender – He begins to wash the blood from her body – preparing her. Preparing her for the truest form of her identity. He earns her trust with each act of kindness. It is during the isolation the One parents the abandoned girl – He feeds her, holds her, clothes her. She learns the sounds of the One.
“When I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your naked body. I gave you my solemn oath and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine. I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord.” -Ezekiel 16:8 – 14
If anything He is persistent and consistent, to prove His track record over time. When the girl is faced with questions like “Where were you?” “Why did you cause this?” “Why did you allow this?” “Why did you let me do this?” The One replies; “[Daughter], when you go thru deep waters I will be with you. When you walk thru the fire I will be with you and the flames will not consume you.” …. “Honey, I know my world is fallen – people tried to be happy without me, some of my children chose to walk away from me. I cannot force them to love me – that would be abusive, and I am not abusive. So they chose and I had to let them go. When they didn’t deal with their pain, my love, they transmitted it onto you. You did not deserve this – you were so small and precious you deserved to be loved, nourished and protected. Baby girl, it’s not IF a person will transmit their pain upon you – it is WHEN. It’s not IF something scary or painful happens like the loss of a parent, a pet, a husband, a friend, ect. It is WHEN. I cannot CAUSE evil, my love, but I WILL BE WITH YOU THRU IT ALL. Collect my goodness, keep track of it – so you will see how much and how long I’ve held you.”
The wounds upon the girl’s body have lost their blue and purple bruising, the flesh has stopped bleeding, the skin becomes pink with health; only scars remain. Scars covered in gold leaf, rubies and turquoise gems. Reminders that when these scars are touched – they can reopen. When the girl forgets the One is holding her – she can often re-open these wounds – tearing away the gems and gold. Others may even cut away each turquoise, yet the girl knows where to run to be mended.
These beautiful markings demonstrate the tender touch of the One who brought her back into herself. When the girl embodied the woman. She uses her markings as an instrument for intimacy with self and others. The pain has been integrated.
Journey on Sister, you will find her and the One to help you put her back together.
You are not alone.