Category Archives: Abuse

Abuse: Finding Hope One Day at a time. Part 1

You may have clicked on this link almost out of desperation and part of you may be furtively looking around to make sure nobody else sees that you’re looking at this particular subject right now because if they see that you’re reading it, then they might know that you have a painful place in your soul that you have never talked about..

Or maybe this happened to you?

The question was innocent enough…

“Let’s go around the table and share a childhood memory.”

The person who was asking it had no idea what incredibly profound panic that question evoked in one of the ladies sitting at that table. I knew because I had felt that panic once myself as I stood in a bookstore looking at a fantastic book, Mount up on Wounded Wings by a victor who was a trophy to God’s grace despite her past, Beneth Peters Jones.  I knew it would help me, but I was afraid to pick it up off the shelf for fear someone would see me and ask me why I was looking at “that” book and I could not answer them at that point if they did. It was too deep!…. too painful!!.

This dear friend sitting across the table from me processing that question, had just started telling me her story that week. I knew, from the look of terror that instantly filled her eyes, even though outwardly she looked fine, and her demeanor, that had become very stiff and carefully controlled. She had been transported to a dark place by that question and she needed time to think of an answer that would not cause shock in the room. I immediately jumped in with one of my fun childhood stories so that she would have the time it would take for every other person sharing all the way around the table before she had to say anything. Her childhood had been NOT been safe or ideal, unlike every other person sitting there. She had experienced terrible things at the hands of family members who should have been her protectors, but instead was her abusers. How could she say anything to this crowd who just would not understand or have any idea?

We had sat in her house the week before when she talked about certain times of day and certain things people did that caused a problem because they reminded her of the things she had experienced as a child. And she asked me how to look at these things from a Biblical perspective. What did God say about what she had experienced and how could she move forward?

 Building trust

How to did she come to trust me with the story first?

She had heard some of my story, and knew I had worked in a home for girls like her for 7 years.

Trust must be earned! Note that of the 134 verses in God’s Word with the word “trust”, we are never once commanded to trust another person. We are however, commanded and encouraged often to trust God. Many examples show how we need to be very careful who we trust. Look up 2 Kings 18: 20-24 for one example.

We are told repeatedly to trust God.  2 Sam 22:31, Job 13:15; Ps 4:5; Ps 9:10 Is 26:3-4,  are a few of the examples. Take the time to look these up. They will encourage your heart. Even if you have no Bible PLEASE go to Bible Gateway.com and look them up. For the sake of space here we have not fully listed each verse. The value of reading those life giving words of Scripture FAR exceeds anything else you read in this article!

We can learn to trust others to a certain extent who demonstrate the characteristics and approach we will discuss here.

A helpful analogy is to remember that we are dealing with a trauma patient coming in from an accident scene. We must make an initial assessment of the overall damage. Then we have to approach this with taking on the most pressing immediate spiritually and emotionally life-threatening pain and trauma before we can work on long term rehabilitation and reclaim lost ground with healing truth. We Must not try to put a bandaid on a crater of a wound.  So where to start?

Initial assessment:

Listening in silence first. Job 2:12-13,

Pro 18:13  If one answers a matter before he hears, it is folly and shame to him.

Pro 15:28  The heart of the righteous studies to answer,

Pro 20:5  Wisdom in the heart of man is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.

I had sat in careful silence as she talked to me, because this was not something that could be answered glibly. I did not say much and asked her for time to think about it over the coming days. All I could do in that moment was simply listen with the desire to understand.  At home later I prayed and asked God to show me from His word some answers.

Speaking truth that offers biblical comfort and hope!

Pro 15:1-4, 7  A soft answer turns away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger. The tongue of the wise uses knowledge rightly, but the mouth of fools pours out foolishness. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good. A wholesome tongue is a tree of life, but crookedness in it is a break in the spirit. The lips of the righteous send forth knowledge…” NASB

The main thing I learned when helping those girls, in the group home where I worked, who had been abused and neglected, was that the only REAL HOPE that could make a lasting difference was the Word of God. So we make it our highest priority that our counsel is absolutely biblically sound.  The ultimate end is that your heart is drawn into deeper richer relationship with the true lover of your Soul Jesus Christ who suffered immeasurably on the cross so that we might be saved from our sin! He understands our pain!

Heb 4:14-16  Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (NKJV)

No other answers that you can give to this kind of raw agony will heal like the solid Word of God carefully given. We have to be very careful about how we use Bible Bricks. The Bible is foundational and can grow a solid structure of hope and truth in your heart when the bricks are laid where they belong at the right time and in the right way. Major caution and care is needed so that verses are not thrown out to try to fix without understanding or they will hit with the force of a brick and cause damage and confusion as to how God offers comfort and healing rather than help. With this in mind, we approach help this way.