I never understood why I was sexually abused. Does anyone? My struggle was accepting God the father after what happened to me. I was angry with God and pushed Him away. I had grown up in church and accepted Christ as my savior at the age of 8, rebelled at 15, and at age 42 I was still fighting Him.
In January 2014, at the suggestion of my counselor, I went to a group meeting for women survivors of sexual abuse at a local Baptist Church. I came into the group angry and full of resentment. My anger was obvious and I had a wall between myself and group. I do not believe I shed one tear that semester. By the end, however, I had uncovered so many memories and details I was overwhelmed and very depressed. My counselor suggested I take a weekend to myself at a local convent to regroup and try to relax.
Armed with my Bible and 2 books on recovery that were recommended, I checked in on a Friday night. The next morning, I sat in their garden and started reading. After about 40 minutes I was directed to a passage in the Bible that changed my heart. In 2 Samuel 13, Amnon, son of David, raped his half-sister Tamar. Neither King David nor her brother Absalom did anything to comfort her and there were no immediate consequences for Amnon. The scene described sickened me, but I caught one glimmer of hope in verse 20, So Tamar remained and was desolate in her brother Absalom’s house. As soon as I read the verse I sat back in my chair, stunned. The moment I read the verse I realized God really did understand what I was going through. He knew the damage sexual violation causes, especially the shame and bitterness that develops when it is swept under the rug, with no consequences for the violator. My hardened depression melted into tears.
For the first time in my life hope started to replace depression. I started to see that the light at the end of the tunnel was no longer a train headed my direction. Instead, it was a light full of promise and comfort. My heart for God started to open. His word was reaching in and changing my life.
A year later—embattled by the ongoing process of trust and letting go—an amazing thing happened. During a recent road trip, I listened to a Bible study session I missed during the summer. About halfway through I realized the pastor was headed toward the passage in 2 Samuel where the rape against Tamar occurred. I almost changed the podcast, as I was unsure of my reaction (the prior weeks had been especially tough). Ultimately, I decided to keep listening.
When the pastor started to describe the scene that described Tamar’s pain I started to cry again. In all my years of going to church, I have never heard anyone talk about this passage from the pulpit or otherwise. The compassion in the pastor’s voice when speaking of Tamar and the contempt he showed towards Amnon was genuine. He did not sugarcoat the damage and never indicated it was not a big deal. He understood. The emotion in the pastor’s words made its way through the podcast, through the speakers in my car, and into my heart. I felt dizzy with gratitude. I was grateful I continued to listen to the podcast, relieved that the pastor did not skip the passage, and inspired into belief once again that God let me know He understood. I was sobbing by the end of the podcast.
God’s timing is flawless.
In my struggles over the past few months, I had completely forgotten about 2 Samuel. My hope had diminished and depression started to take over again. I needed the reminder and God provided. A life changing verse from a year ago was brought back to the surface of my heart and it revived my focus. In the days to come there will be hard times, but the reminder of God’s compassion is there. It takes repetition of the truth to learn that who God is and what happened to me are not cut from the same cloth. So I am diligent to remember and thus have written the reference in my journal and strategically placed index cards in my home to keep my focus on the Ultimate Healer—the One who understands my pain better than anyone and can provide strength when I have none.
The Last Battle Blog aims to provide meaningful tools and information about the issue of sexual violation. We offer a way to express yourself, as you engage in your own personal awareness and share your strengths with others. Our goal is to cover a variety of topics, stories, ideas, and to create a blog that is beneficial and honoring to those who read it. Last Battle’s contributing authors help make this happen.