Preslaysa’s story reminds us that God can minister to us through others who listen to Him.
I held the sharp blade, shaking. All my doubts and all my fears erupted as I carved a blood thin line on the inside of my wrist. “Help me Lord,” I whispered. “Why can’t I stop cutting?”
I struggled with self injury for many years, carefully hiding this secret from my friends, my family, and my church. However, I was too ashamed to seek help.
I feared judgment.What in the world was a twenty-seven-year-old woman doing slashing her arms? To outsiders, such behavior wouldn’t make sense, especially since I was a Christian. After all, wasn’t I supposed to be happy, especially since I was on my way to heaven? But I didn’t feel happy. Instead, I lived with an incessant, razor thin, accusing voice in my head which asked: “What’s wrong with you?” So for years, I hid my suffering underneath praise songs and sermons.
Like many self injurers, I went out of my way to look good to others. I was a straight ‘A’ student, polite and quiet. I believed my good image would deflect my physical scars. So I faded into the background and melted into the walls, silently suppressing my inner pain. My physical scars eventually faded away. But the scars of my heart remained.
I kept my secret hidden until I was an adult. In my mid- twenties, I attended a women’s retreat where God revealed my secret truth. I was a complete stranger to everyone at the retreat. I didn’t attend their church and I didn’t know any of the women. During an afternoon session, one of the leaders prayed for me. While praying, she gazed straight into my soul and said: “The Lord wants to know why you cut yourself when He was already wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5).
I cried….God shined His light on my thin place.
After that retreat, I started the gradual process of healing. First, I had regular sessions with a Christian counselor. Then, I started reading the Bible more, searching for scriptures to memorize and ponder during my day. This enabled me to renew my mind and begin to understand my value in God’s eyes. Finally, I told some mature Christians whom I trusted about my struggle. They prayed regularly for my complete recovery which finally occurred in my late twenties.
In Genesis 16, there’s a story of a woman named Hagar, Sarah’s servant. She ran away from Sarah because Sarah beat her. While on the run, an angel of the Lord appeared to Hagar and asked: “Where are you coming from and where are you going?”(Genesis 16:8) Hagar was so amazed she said: “You are the God who sees.”
God saw the bruised secrets in my soul. As His child, He wouldn’t let me live my life hiding them. I came from a thin place, a place where self inflicted cuts temporarily eased decades of soul hurts. But, finally, I stepped into His shining place, His large place and was healed.