The hashtag began trending on Social Media platforms earlier this week. Normally I’m not one to “jump on the bandwagon” or keep up with all the trends. But I stared at my computer screen and something urged within me. I felt as though this was too important not to pass me by. Unfortunately, the two words resonated within me. Me too.
I will not waste your precious time to go into any details because I am not the one I want you to focus on. There is something of far greater importance than using Instagram to echo the cries of so many. Even as I wrote the words “Me Too,” I knew I could not stop there. There is something I am compelled to share, and I am daft to keep it from anyone. Please, do not let this pass you by.
It happened when I was a teen. I grew up conservative and was taught to save even my first kiss for my wedding day. I was a “good girl.” You may laugh, but I have never owned skinny jeans or a bikini. But did this make a difference in sparing me from the invasive situations? (Yes, more than one.) Heck no. Sometimes life spins completely out of your control.
I know what it’s like to secretly live in shame. I know what it’s like to, for years on end, to buy into the lie that it was my fault. I know what it’s like to completely loose trust in guys, and have the pounding in my chest if a guy even stood too close to me. I know what it’s like to look into the face of my boyfriend (now husband) and relay the entire story – fearing that I would be risking an end of our relationship.
If I could hug each of you who said “Me Too,” I would. But I can’t. But what I can do is more important than any hug.
There is hope. I believe without a shadow of a doubt that there is healing – for all of us. Trust me, for the longest time I did not think this was possible. But it is. Will we ever be the same? No. Our pasts mold us into the person we’ve become, and shape our view on the world and each other. But that was our past. We do not live there anymore.
I know what it’s like to take a step. I know what it’s like to hope again that life could get better. I know what it’s like to take my guard down, and let a worship song leave me weeping with the realization that in God’s eyes, I am flawless. I know what it’s like to have a conversation with a professional counselor that leaves me sobbing like a two year old. I know what it’s like to feel completely broken…broken so that the love of God could flow freer in my life than it ever had before. I know what it’s like to have a dark cloud and a weight lifted. I know what it’s like to be able to look at my naked body again without shame. I know what it’s like to cry out to God and have a deeper relationship with Him than I ever anticipated. Friend, I’m telling you these things because I want them for you.
I am going to be frank and say two things. #1 If you do not know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, I urge you to do so. I do not know how anyone can find true healing from such offenses without Him. #2 Healing does not happen overnight or even over a span of six months. There is not a timeframe on healing, but know that the end goal is worth any length of wait! It takes patience but it also takes active work.
Everyone is different. Every story is unique. But I want to share some tools that helped empower me for the healing process to begin.
- Pray. I cannot stress this point enough. There were so many times during this process I felt as if I was suffocating and Jesus was my only lifeline. Never underestimate the power of prayer.
- Seek professional counseling. This takes courage. I’m not saying that to show you I was brave. I’m saying that because I was terrified to go to counseling, but I was desperate. The emotional and psychological ramifications are serious. I know it’s expensive, but the lessons learned are life changing and life lasting. I recommend finding a Christian professional counselor who deals with sexual issues. Please, not just a pastor or mentor. They have their place, but maybe not here.
- Memorize Scripture. You are currently in bondage from your past, and Satan doesn’t want you to experience full freedom in Christ. I have never felt Spiritual warfare to be more real and present before or since then. Having Scripture to combat Satan’s lies was key to survival for me.
- Tell trusted family and friends. This not only takes courage, but also discernment. You need to be prepared for the variety of responses you will receive. However, finding people who you can be vulnerable with, and who will pray and check up on you is huge. Keep in mind that I used the word “trusted” here and not “all” your family and friends. You will know the person/people you need.
- Journal. You’re going to go through every possible emotion during this process. (I do not have a punching bag at home, but I do have paper and pens.) J
- Have Scripture put up in prevalent places. My bathroom mirror is lined with sticky notes of verses, for example. Again, spiritual warfare is real, and you need to be ready.
- Smile at your naked (yes naked) self in the mirror and tell yourself, “I like the way I look.” Do this repetitively until the day you can genuinely feel that way again.
I pray blessings upon each of you, my friends. You are a child of God, flawless in His eyes. You are precious and deserve to be cherished and loved. My prayer is that God will strengthen you for this process of healing. May you be encouraged daily by the truth that He loves you, He is for you, He comforts you, and He fights for you. Maybe one day “me too” won’t be an echo of pain. Maybe one day “me too” will be an echo of joy because God has made us whole.