Where the healing begins

by Kalie Lowrie on August 26, 2014 in News

This story is 2 of a 3-part series addressing the effects of sexual abuse and the power of healing through Jesus Christ.

Sexual abuse is a sensitive subject and many times hearing about the pain and struggles loved ones have experienced through this type of abuse can be extremely difficult. Many people can be prone to want to gloss over the hard details and look for the silver lining or try and tie a little bow on the story and move on. However, for those suffering from sexual abuse, this is far from what they actually need.

There is power in the spoken word. For sexual abuse survivors like Tricia Martin*, sharing with her counselor about past hurts and experiences brought about freedom. Those stories were no longer kept in secret. As she talked about what happened to her, she was able to break the bondage of fear, pain, and insecurity that Satan had used to tie her down.

“Satan takes things in your life and piles them up to destroy, but God has a plan for your life – for good and not for evil. Go out and use your healing to be a blessing to others," Tricia shared.

While the sexual abuse she experienced impacted her well into adulthood, Tricia decided it would not dictate how she would continue to live in the future.

“Satan was out to destroy, but God will use me however He chooses because He is God. He has a bigger plan," she said.

As Tricia began meeting with a Christian counselor, she had to recount many of her experiences, but she was able to find healing for her past wounds.

The ultimate source for Tricia's healing came from the Word of God. She read it constantly during her time in counseling. When she needed help, hope, encouragement or a place to draw strength, she found it in the scriptures.

After several years of counseling, Tricia now has a new outlook on life. One of her greatest joys comes through encouraging others who have been through similar situations. Through empathy and understanding, Tricia is able to connect with other women and point them to Jesus Christ.

“I wanted help and God gave me that help," she said. “Now I point others to the help that comes through counseling and healing from your past."

She also wants to encourage other women that they are not alone in their struggles. Many people have been victims of sexual abuse, and while it has a significant impact, it does not have to define who you are, she said.

“I felt like I had no value in who I was. God had to show me who I was in Him. God has a good plan for us – the hell we have lived does not have to continue," she said.

As it says in Isaiah 61:3:

[He has sent me] to provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

Tricia knows the Lord has provided her with beauty for her ashes. She finds great delight in the Lord and loves to share her testimony of God's faithfulness with others as an encouragement to seek help.

If you have had experiences in your life which have left you broken and hurting, seeking help from a Christian counselor is a great place to turn. Katie Swafford, Texas Baptists director of counseling services, helps connect individuals with licensed counselors who can help.

“Through counseling, I learned to love who I am," Tricia said. “God will bring people into your life to help you, but you have to do the work. You have to walk the journey of the past to bring healing to the past and ultimately find hope again."

Tricia Martin wrote the following poem in the middle of her time in counseling as she sought help and healing from traumatic sexual abuse experiences earlier in her life.

The One in the Mirror
I passed by a mirror today
and much to my surprise
the person in the mirror
was missing both her eyes.

I tried to walk away
but something drew me back
so I stood there staring
at nothing staring back.

The longer I stood there staring
the more confused I grew,
until I finally realized
the one in the mirror I knew.

By now my tears were flowing,
I seemed to have no control,
for then I finally realized,
this person had no soul.

For more information about sexual abuse or resources on how to seek help, visit www.texasbaptists.org/counseling or call Swafford at 1-800-388-2005.

*Name has been changed

Click here to read Part 1 of the series on sexual abuse.

Texas Baptists is a movement of God’s people to share Christ and show love by strengthening churches and ministers, engaging culture and connecting the nations to Jesus.

The ministry of the convention is made possible by giving through the Texas Baptists Cooperative Program, Mary Hill Davis Offering® for Texas Missions, Texas Baptists Worldwide and Texas Baptist Missions Foundation. Thank you for your faithful and generous support.

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