Finding God In... SEXUAL ASSAULT

I have spend the past few months of my life building emotional barricades. To protect myself, to avoid, and to ensure that no one could fully reach me. Yet beyond those walls a whirlwind of confusion, betrayal, and hopelessness consumed me. The pain of acknowledging my sexual assault gripped me and stripped away pieces of myself that I desperately clung to- yet somehow I still felt them slip between my fingers. The greater the storm weathered behind my walls of self protection, the greater I felt that I was incapable of being loved. I was repulsed by men, myself, and the idea of shining light on my dark and ugly situation; so I did my best to bury it. With the burying of my hurt though, I started to drown myself too. I spent many days covering the gifts that God equipped me with, determined to never allow someone to hurt me again. Instead of radiating joy, compassion, and gentleness- I hid myself in layers of sadness, shame, and anger. It wasn’t until I hit an unexpected low of raging anger through a panic attack that I chose to pray into my pain of being sexually assaulted by someone I considered to be a good friend. As God unveiled those jagged blankets of protection I casted upon myself, He took my hand and began leading me into my freedom. At first, I only slowly inched forward. I extenuated the situation in my mind in attempt to relieve some of the intense emotions I experienced. It took weeks to turn my resistance around into acceptance. And once I hit that milestone- again it took excessive tears, long therapy sessions, fits of rage, and even throwing things to allow acceptance to meet the beginning of healing. It was ugly. Some days I felt angry for the injustice, some days I simply felt sad for myself, and others were spent feeling frustrated at being 'stuck' in a season of healing. My emotions took deep root in pain and felt too heavy to bring before anyone. But in my brokenness is where God spoke softly to me and held me together. He gently took apart my defense mechanism so that His love could flow freely.

It is through each shattered piece of my heart that God shed His light. He taught me to become acquainted with each step of the healing process. To stop and look around, to sit in the stinging pain when I felt it, to cry out to Him in it. On the days where I felt stuck and helpless, He sent people to sit in the mess and cry with me. On the days where I felt intense anger, He sent a dear friend to pray peace over me as I launched big rocks over a cliff in between my tears. On the days where I felt so frustrated with what felt like a lack of progress, He scattered little gifts of joy to sustain me. Currently, He is showing me how much He absolutely delights in me. And through this whole process, He has directed me to passages throughout scripture that tell beautiful stories of redemption and healing.

Sometimes I wish for this hurt to be gone. I wish I didn’t second guess people who try to love me through it. I wish little things wouldn’t set me off. I wish this wouldn’t scar my heart, and instead it would quickly disappear. But, this will be used for good. This pain that I have become so familiar with will one day allow me to walk with someone who has too, been broken. This suffering will not return void and the enemy can no longer dangle fear over my head. I know that God is piecing this story together to bring glory to His Kingdom. He has promised me His peace. Finding Him in this mess has been an long journey leading to many new places that are uncomfortable and sometimes scary. But never has He left my side and never has He given up on me. This is a journey that is leading me closer to Him. And I believe in the glorious freedom He has for me despite all of the lies that tried to chain me back.

~Lizzie