The Process Of Pain

For so long I was in denial about my pain. From my earliest memory to the age of sixteen I was sexually abused. I do not remember a day where I did not experience abuse – sexual, physical, domestic, verbal and emotional. The patterns continued even after the age of sixteen. It seemed that violation would follow me for years after. I remember feeling so numb and plundered, thinking if this is life, I want out.
I don’t know when I started suppressing my pain, or even if it was a conscious choice. All I know is that I had suppressed pain so much that I actually had disassociated from my capacity to feel it at all. I went into adulthood believing that I remained relatively unscathed by my past. 
At age twenty-six I suffered a nervous breakdown and was diagnosed with PTSD. Pain finally exploded inside me like a nuclear bomb and I couldn’t keep it together no matter how hard I tried. It was an excruciating and confusing season with torrents of intense and overwhelming emotions, yet in it, I was met by the nearness of God in a way that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

He taught me that walking out of pain is a process. Allowing yourself space to navigate and feel fully the deep pain caused from the trauma of sexual abuse is vital in the healing process. Culture and the people around you may not understand or validate your process, but you can be assured that God, your Father does.
I love that in the kindness of God He does not belittle our pain, nor does He compare our suffering to another. He draws close to the brokenhearted and He saves those who are crushed in spirit. For some people God is the last place they want to go when they are hurting like hell. I understand. Maybe you are angry, and rightly so, a terrible injustice has been done to you. But you need to know that Gods heart was among the first to break.
Wherever you are in your journey, walking out of pain and into hope, know that He sees you and validates your pain. It is okay to feel all that you feel, no emotion is off limits. He can handle your questions, your honesty, your expression, not only can He handle it, He invites it. As you let pain out, watch His unfailing love rush in. He does not distance Himself from your shattered heart. He does not judge you or rush you. He will patiently walk with you every step. He will mourn with you if you let Him. 

He will hold you together, while you unravel safely within His arms. Your pain is valid. You know, often the shame of feeling how we feel is way more destructive than if we had of just allowed ourselves to feel fully until it dissipated. I want to encourage you to engage in whatever stage of the process you are in, wholeheartedly. Feel deeply, feel fully, let it all out. He can handle the mess, the weight and the intensity of your story, even if others cannot.

He will not abandon you when the going gets tough, He will not relax His hold on you for a moment. He will be with you through every dark night of your soul, no matter how many there are or how long they last. He will be present, in every moment, until morning light comes and pierces the darkness with blinding beams of hope – this is my story.

Yet so often the thought of more pain can be overwhelming, and seemingly unfair to someone who has been abused – so we do not process through it. Rather than processing our pain and finding healing, we stay stuck in our pain, reinforcing the lie that we have been damaged beyond repair, so we settle for pain management instead.

I want to say today that I believe with all my being that every fragmented soul can be restored. So don’t be afraid of your emotions, nor ashamed of your emotions, they are a strength to you!

Janette Butcher

Janette has a desire to see survivors of sexual assault heal through the love of God. Being a survivor herself and having experience the pain associated with recovery; she has a wealth of wisdom on this subject. Janette works as a chaplain and is passionate about supporting people through their journey.

Connect with Janette on Instagram.

@janette_butcher

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