None of us escape problems in life. I know I haven’t. I’ve had hardships throughout my life, up to and including now. And while I’d much rather focus on the absence of trouble and the things that make me happy, I write about troubled times, because I know that it’s in and through the dark times in my life that I have been made able to trust God. I have learned to trust in His goodness, even in the bad times. I know He’s allowed my struggles and difficulties to mold and make me into the person He wants me to be, and He’s done it according to His plans; His way. He has an eternal perspective and long-term plans in mind when He allows both the good and the bad circumstances in any of our lives.
“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” Vivian Green
I’m not sure how old that quote is, or if that’s even the correct author, but I believe it’s still true today. For my purposes I would simply update it, and shorten it to, “Dancing with the Scars.” While scaring is a natural part of the healing process, dancing is good for the soul, regardless of what scars one may have. Life is a gift.
As I mentioned in my first blog, I was sexually abused when I was young, sometime between the ages of 6 – 8. To those who have not gone through this sort of thing, I understand where you might think, “Get over with it already!” But to those who have, I say, “You’re not alone. It is traumatic. It does affect how you think and feel about yourself and how you relate to people. It affects how you relate to God.”
I never told anyone about the abuse when it was happening; I was afraid; I was a child. Then my mind blocked the memories of it until I was an adult. I have forgiven my abusers, and I will go into more about that later. I choose not to go into any details of my sexual abuse but I will share about another traumatic experience that happened when I was around 11 years old:
While babysitting a toddler and a baby, I was held at knife point over a bloody bowl of dead rabbit that was being cut up. I was forcibly held and made to watch for what seemed like eternity; I was basically scared out of my mind. I also was afraid to tell anyone about it at the time. That experience alone was bad enough but it was made even more tragic when I learned that this same person had murdered a woman and cut-up her body and hid her remains under the floor boards of the very same kitchen where he had traumatized me in. Within a few months of what he did to me, he was caught and convicted of murder and put in prison, where he later died. I was told that he was also suspected of murdering two other women in a similar way, but additional charges weren’t brought against him because they had enough evidence to convict him of the one murder. In retrospect I believe without a doubt and with all of my heart, that God placed His hand of protection over me on that day and protected my life; and this was prior to me coming into faith and trust in Jesus. I believe He had plans for me and my life, even before I was born. His sovereignty and his providence are almost too large for me to even begin to comprehend.
“And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”
Bible verses like these help me know that our hardships have a purpose; they develop our endurance, strengthen our character, they give us hope, and they shape our perspective toward God.
In Genesis 50:20, Joseph told his brothers,
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…”
“And we know that in all things
God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.”
God uses the troubles, sorrows, heartache and trauma in our lives to shape us and ultimately to make us more like Him. While we may not understand why He allows some things in our lives, we are to trust Him, nonetheless.
As I mentioned earlier, I have long ago forgiven my abusers, all of them – and it’s simply because I asked God to help me forgive them and because God’s word tells me to forgive:
“Be kind and compassionate to one another,
forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
Regardless of what sins were committed against me, there came a time in my own life where I realized that I too was guilty of sin. It was at that point, that my life began to change; and when I came to understand that:
We’re all born with a sin nature.
We’re all hopeless without Christ.
We’re all sinners in need of a Savior.
Jesus took the penalty that we deserve and offers us a new and eternal life in Him, when we come to Him in repentance and faith.
I also believe it’s wrong to see yourself as a victim. While it’s true you may have been a victim, I’m saying it wrong to see yourself in that way. See yourself in the light of God’s word:
“For all have sinned
and fall short of the glory of God,
being justified freely by His grace
through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus”
“All” includes the most vile person you have ever known – all the way to the sweetest person you have ever known.
“None is righteous, no, not one.”
And when you receive God’s free gift of salvation through faith and trust in Christ alone, God sees you and receives you, clothed in the righteousness of Christ. That offer includes you and me, and it includes my abusers.
“For God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him
should not perish but have everlasting life.”
So dance, because:
“Dancing is good for the soul, regardless of what scars one may have. Life is a gift.”