Note: This post is part of the Idea Camp’s exploration of sexual abuse.
It happened so long ago. Nearly forty years now. The picture at the top of this post is me, aged five. The year the boys came and took me away. Stole a year of my life. In ravines. Under trees. In a sheet-canopied bunk bed. With their friends in increasing number.
By grace, I faked sleep so they couldn’t take me.
By grace, we moved away from those boys.
By grace, though others would try to attack through the years, God gave me legs to run away. Far away, palms sweating, heart beating, mind remembering.
I’ve walked through years of healing. Folks prayed. A lot. Friends listened. Counselors unpacked the abuse. Books helped. My husband supported. And yet, the struggle remains. Less so, but it’s still there haunting.
I wrote a post, a very personal post, about how the marriage bed can be a place of healing for victims of sexual abuse. It’s blessed folks. I’m thankful. But there’s still a hint of that feeling of dirtiness that lingers. A place in the shadows where I beg God to show me beauty in the dark places. He has, oh He has. In thin places where the membrane between heaven and earth is sheer. I recounted His nearness in my memoir, Thin Places, where I bled on the page for the sake of others, so they would no longer feel alone.
I am not fully healed. I still fear. Sometimes I sleep. Or move away. Or run. But I’m closer to Jesus in the aftermath. He, who hung naked, fully exposed and humiliated on that cross. He who was victimized by others, yet also by my own sin. He who knew neglect, betrayal, fear. In a way, we share a deeper bond because I endured sexual abuse. He is a friend to the broken. He understands my pain. He walked through it on earth, and He continues to walk through it today. With me. With you. With millions of other victims.
I am not fully whole, but I am wholly loved by a holy God. I rest there today.
Want to see my story in three dimensions? Watch the video trailer to Thin Places here: