Someone recommended to me to read the autobiography of Helen Roseveare as an encouragement to me. I am blown away by this woman's story and perseverance. She was a medical missionary to the Belgian Congo (DRC today) in the 1960's and was kidnapped by rebel soldiers, beaten and brutally raped. She escaped and returned to the Congo a year later to serve the people who had persecuted her. What an incredible testimony this woman has. Her story has inspired me in unimaginable ways. As I read her story I found several similarities to my own story. It was if she was speaking right to my own heart. In her book, she says she felt like God spoke to her and said this " Can you thank me for trusting you with this experience, even if I never tell you why?" This question is powerful and I feel as if God has asked me the same question. He has trusted me with this experience of being a victim of assault and rape, and now how am I going to respond? Am I being a good steward of it?
I recently completed my biblical counseling sessions. At the beginning of my sessions, I had the notion or idea that my healing would be 100% complete by the end of the sessions. I thought I would "be over" the suffering and move on with my life. It was as if I thought there was a time limit to my pain and the time expired when counseling ceased. This was not true. In fact the pain is as real as ever. I lay awake at night with memories haunting me. Every day I am triggered with a flashback of a painful experience. I cry out to Jesus and ask Him when this will be over?! When will a day pass without moments of fear and anxiety?
I have recently realized that I am asking all the wrong questions. I already know the pain is for a purpose and that God is teaching me and leading me closer to His heart through all of this. So why not stop asking "when" and start asking "how"? How Lord can I turn my fear into a deep trust in your Sovereignty? How Lord do I use this pain for your glory? How Lord can I encourage others in their faith? When I begin to ask "how" the answers flow and healing comes. I have discovered that the more I share my testimony with others and someone is encouraged or uplifted in their faith, the more strength I receive to keep on going.
Jesus is our perfect example of how to submit to suffering. He laid down His life for us while we were yet sinners. After Jesus' resurrection, He appears to Thomas who is doubting the validity of the testimony of others. What does Jesus do? He shows Thomas his wounds where the nails and sword had pierced him. He showed him the scars of his suffering and pain so that Thomas' faith would be increased. This is our example. We are all trusted with painful experiences in our lives. Many times it is more comfortable to hide them and bury them instead of exposing them to the world. However God gets the glory far more when we are vulnerable and show the scars of the past. We can see the victory and healing that God brings along side of the current painful situations that He is still redeeming. The Hebrew word for testimony comes from a root word that means "to repeat or to do again". When we share our testimony with others we are declaring that God is faithful and can do the same miraculous things in the lives of others.
I started this blog as a way to "show my scars". My desire is be a willing vessel and be used however God sees fit. 2 Corinthians 1: 3-4 says Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. Even though there are still "hard days', the comfort I have received from Jesus is indescribable. I would be lost with Him. My heart breaks the millions of women around the world who experience abuse daily without any relationship with the Great Healer and Restorer. May God use my testimony to bring about his healing and restoration in someone else's life.