The following article was shared by an anonymous female United Church of God member.
I decided to write down my experience on paper to encourage others who have gone through past trauma, that God’s love shines through the damages that humanity commits against humanity. My story will be different than many others, it might be less traumatic than many; however, I believe the premise holds true. God’s way of life is healing; God’s Church is to be a place of healing. The more I grow spiritually, the more I realize how desperate the entire world is for God’s complete healing—mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually—and in every way!
Growing Up With Abuse
I have realized for a long time that I did not remember much of my childhood. I also knew that my dad left when I was a preteen. I knew that I had sexual immorality issues during my early teen and young adult years. In my mind it was just normal. Not that I would seek out sexual encounters, but that if I wanted to date someone, I felt like certain sexual activity showed that they cared for me. I also did not stay in a relationship very long. Whenever someone wanted our relationship to become more serious, I would end up calling it off because I could not trust the person.
I wanted a relationship but could not work through trusting that someone was trustworthy enough to be in a relationship with. I eventually realized something was off with me concerning relationships and trust. I did not realize until much later in life that it was because my father had molested me at a young age. I had blocked it from my memory for many years. Although I didn’t remember the abuse until I was in my 50s, the impact to me was immediate. Over time I realized my idea of love was not healthy and I had severe trust issues from a very young age.
I wasn’t raised in a Church of God, but my mother tried to keep us in a Baptist church where we lived. I didn’t hear about God’s Church and come into a Church of God until I was in my late 20s. I know that the biggest blessing of my life was when God was merciful enough to call me into His wonderful way of life!
God’s way of life is healing! God heals us through many avenues—through His Word and learning to live by it, and through His people. The process of my healing started with trusting that God’s way is the right and good way. When my emotions, or mind, were telling me something opposite of what God said was the right way, and then I chose to follow what He said was right, He started healing me in whatever the area was that I was faced with at the time.
A Journey of Healing
Two very obvious issues I had when I first came into the Church concerned sexual immorality and respect for authority. But I soon learned very deeply that sex outside of marriage is wrong, for many reasons. It is a sin, and sin separates us from God. Respect for authority is very important and helps build trust and faith in God.
It wasn’t until many years after coming into God’s Church, and growing spiritually, that I came to understand the commitment God requires in marriage and why. Once I was at the point where I turned over any choice of a mate to God (in my mid-40s), even if that meant being alone, God blessed me beyond measure with a wonderful godly man for a husband. I knew God said marriage was good and it wasn’t until I married this man and started growing in this marriage relationship that I came to understand a big reason why.
God has been healing my relationship and trust issues within my marriage. I was never going to leave the marriage; it is a covenant with God. I was going to stay and work through any emotional issues. God used this to help me start to overcome them. I had many strong sensitivities, all around protecting myself and not allowing anyone to take advantage of me. My extreme reactions at the time seemed so logical to me, but I had come to the point that God was helping me see that when I was having an extreme reaction to something, it was probably not logical. It was probably stemming from my past and needed to be addressed. So, I learned to pray and ask God to help me during those times, and he is faithful to do just that when we ask.
God was helping me in stages. Several years after marriage, I believe God knew I was in a place where He could start healing me from the sexual abuse that I had blocked out of my mind. I knew that in a marriage relationship, sexual activity is a wonderful gift from God. I realized I was having emotional reactions to certain sexual touching or if my husband came to bed with alcohol on his breath. Both would make me very uncomfortable, remind me of my father and make me want to leave. I didn’t understand why I was feeling this way until I started to have flashbacks to my childhood and of my father. Things that I had blocked out of my mind for my entire life up to this point. My father sexualized and molested me at a very young age, which explained a lot of my relationship and trust issues.
Now I see that God had protected me by taking my father out of our house when I was a preteen. He was not allowed by the authorities to even come into the state where we lived because of an unrelated issue. In fact, he had a warrant for his arrest due to many DWI’s. I believe God also blessed me with not being able to remember the abuse until I was at a spiritual place and in a healthy marriage relationship where I could handle it properly.
Once I started having these flashbacks and was praying that God would help heal my mind and emotions, I started seeing a professional counselor, which I believe is very critically needed for anyone who has been sexually abused. God can heal us in many ways and through many people. Good counselors can really help someone work through trauma.
One huge realization that I have come to about all this is that human beings do horrible things to others, which scar us and damage us in how we respond in relationships with others. Our relationship with God and our relationships with others are the most important things in this life. Anything that blocks either of those is hindering us from living the life God wants us to live.
It is Satan’s world right now and many of us have gone through horrible things. If everyone were following God’s way of life, we would never have encountered those awful things. However, then we would not have appreciated as much how good God’s way of life is and how much we need His laws and His love. God’s way of life is healing to everyone. We all have our human experiences and sensitivities, good and bad. Thankfully, God has established His awesome plan of healing for all humanity!
Called to Be an Example
Those called and chosen in this lifetime are to be an example of God’s way of life, not just how good His way of life is, but how healing His way of life is! There is nothing He cannot heal in us! Our relationships can be healing if they are rooted in Him. They include marriage, children and our relationships with our brothers and sisters in Christ. The Church is to be a place of healing because we are all trying to live God’s way of life and be pleasing to Him.
We are all trying to develop His character, His love. If we do this, God can use our example to help heal others. In God’s Church, the lady or man who had a wrong example of a father sees many examples of healthy fathers in God’s Church and how they interact and love their children and wives in a healthy way. People who had mothers who were abusive or jealous or neglectful can see what a good example a mother can be. There we are safe to give godly love and receive godly love from our brothers and sisters in Christ without anyone expecting anything in return. The others are there for us no matter our past. They are there with godly love.
And even when we are a little hurt or offended by our brothers and sisters in Christ, if we follow God’s instructions we will grow in His character, and what is more healing than that! What an awesome God we have that, no matter what trauma we have gone through, no matter who has hurt us, God can heal us through His way of life. How much love He bestows on us—a perfect, healthy, healing love!