Freedom comes from your journey

There is a huge amount of freedom that comes to you when you walk out your journey and not someone else’s journey.

I am a big believer in sharing your testimony. Testimonies display the goodness of God in a real tangible way; they show us how God has shown up for people, and how God never leaves us in our mess. But if we hear someone’s testimony and believe that their story is the only way God wants our story to unfold, we start to walk out someone else’s story instead of our own. Recently I’ve heard a number of testimonies of survivors reconciling with their abusers as if nothing ever happened and the catch line is always ‘how good is God’s love’! There’s been times I’ve felt condemned for not having a relationship with my perpetrator and there have been times I’ve been told I must have not forgiven them if I’m not healed. The problem with these statements and testimonies is they require all of our stories to be the same, but they are not. My abuse is different to your abuse, my abuser is different to your abuser, and my ability to heal is different to your ability to heal. God made us all different and that’s okay. There is not one cookie cutter way to heal; we can offer up the suggestions of what has helped us to heal, but it might not work for you, and again that’s okay.

At times my life is so incredibly difficult; I am a highly sensitive person, I have chronic pain, and complex PTSD. I don’t like labels and I refuse to live out of them, but sometimes it’s comforting to know why my life can seem so much harder than other people’s lives.  I suffered immeasurable trauma throughout my childhood and there are consequences to that; my body can’t handle too much at once, and I crash more easily than other people. Sometimes I feel like my body is completely out of my control, if something triggers it, I can’t ignore it otherwise I end up with a migraine for days. I constantly have well meaning Christians tell me I just need to do this one thing and it will all go away; if I just forgave better, took my judgement of my father, had more faith, did the right prayer ministry, or whatever it may be I’d be instantly healed! How can you instantly remove 21 years of trauma from someone’s brain?

All things are possible

I say this statement to myself every day. I truly believe all things are possible with God! The missing piece of the puzzle here is we must live in the tension between two truths; God is our healer, and we must go through a process of healing. Can God miraculously heal our circumstances? Absolutely! Don’t stop believing for breakthrough, but until that happens we must be willing to participate in the process of healing. We must acknowledge the pain, we must allow ourselves to feel it, and we must be willing to go back to the root cause of the pain; the abuse. It is a lot harder to walk through the pain than to be miraculously healed of it. It takes great courage to walk through the healing journey. It takes great courage to own your journey, because your journey isn’t going to look like the testimony on Sunday morning, and I bet at some point the person who has a testimony of healing childhood sexual assault has been on some kind of healing journey, they just don’t recognise it as that.

Chuck out the cookie cutter

There is no one way to be healed from childhood trauma. Forgiveness unfortunately doesn’t stop you walking through the pain. Prayer ministry doesn’t stop the need to walk through the pain. Faith doesn’t stop you from walking through the pain. A miracle doesn’t stop you from walking through the pain. Nothing can heal your childhood memories of sexual assault other than facing them. But what God does do is walk with you. As you walk through the valley of the shadow of death; God will be beside you, holding your hand, giving you the courage to face it, and overcome it. Then breakthrough happens; as you let go of the lies and replace them with God’s truth, you become a little bit freer and closer to who God created you to be. Once we find God’s purpose for our pain, the valley doesn’t seem as scary.

I see the need to merge counselling and science with spiritual principles as an answer to this unhelpful mindset in Christian culture. I think we need to marry the two to see breakthrough in our healing journey. Break spiritual bondage through prayer ministry, allow Jesus into our memories, and talk it out with a counsellor. I have found acknowledgement of the pain is not enough without Jesus coming into my journey and showing me His truth, I’ve also found not talking about it or not acknowledging the pain in prayer ministry not enough to bring complete healing. If we combine the two, we can live in the truth of what happened, and break spiritual bondages. Miracles will happen along the journey, which will slowly chip away at the hurt, but complete healing will be a process.

When we hear people’s testimonies; celebrate their journey, celebrate the goodness of God, but don’t compare your journey with theirs. God crafted and created a journey just for you; there is purpose for your pain, a calling hidden in the pain, ask the Lord to show you.

Much Love,

If you’re supporting someone who is walking their healing journey out; please don’t cut them with your cookie cutter, instead listen to them, hear their pain, and love them in the pain, don’t try to take it away. I know it’s hard but we can’t fix people’s pain; they need to walk it out with God for themselves.

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