Made in His Image has received thousands of emails, since its launch, from women in various stages of their journey’s towards awareness and recovery from eating disorders and or abuse. There is one particular subject that I would like to address today, that echos many emails I have read. Many women write to me thinking that the abuse they have unjustly received is their fault, because they couldn’t do anything to stop it.
THIS IS NOT TRUE.
In the past, I have lost many a night’s sleep trying to wrap my mind around this subject. Could I have done something to make it stop? Why did this happen to me? Was it my fault? Should I have fought back harder? Was it because I’m not strong enough? Maybe I need to be tougher? Maybe it was because I was bad?
Asking yourself those questions is only natural, and there is nothing wrong with thinking those thoughts. But, knowledge is power and I want to share some of the counsel I have received over the years.
1. Abuse, whether that be verbal, physical and or sexual is NOT your fault.
2. What YOU can do is own your recovery. You can show yourself and others that you are stronger than what happened to you, and that with God all things are possible.
3. You will not completely heal until you take charge of your recovery process. And this means setting up boundaries, taking control of the people and or places that have power over you. This is something that only YOU can change.
4. You are not bad or worthless. You are created in the image and likeness of God and precious in His eyes. Although you may not feel precious, you must fight hard to ask Him to show you your worth and dignity.
5. While what happened to you was evil, that doesn’t mean God doesn’t love you. God gives His children free will, and the person or persons who abused you were in complete violation of his or her free will. Because God has given free will, He could not physically stop your abuser from hurting you, because that would have been going against His very nature as God. He does not force His children to make the correct choices in regards to our free will. While God desires nothing more than your protection and safety, He can not force people to follow Him. Therefore, because of our fallen nature, evil is prevalent in the world.
6. Contrary to what negative stereotypes may tell you, you are exhibiting tremendous courage and strength in seeking professional help. It might not feel as if you are, but you are. Your vulnerability, bravery, determination and perseverance will shine through the darkness, it simply takes time. Allow me to put it into perspective for you, I was a NCAA Division 1 athlete in college, and completing two years of trauma therapy took more endurance than being a Division 1 athlete. You are stronger than you think you are, always hope!
7. Focus on the positive, which is the control and power YOU hold by going to therapy and making daily strides at your recovery. Made in His Image wants to empower you to turn from victim to survivor.
8. TAKE CONTROL TODAY! TAKE YOUR LIFE BACK! SET UP BOUNDARIES. PRACTICE SAYING NO. THIS IS YOUR LIFE – OWN IT!
Such is the rule of our warfare. We advance by yielding; we rise by falling; we conquer by suffering; we persuade by silence; we become rich by bountifulness; we inherit the earth by meekness; we gain comfort through mourning; we earn glory by penitence and prayer. Heaven and earth shall sooner fall than this rule be reversed; it is the law of Christ’s kingdom, and nothing can reverse it but sin. – John Henry Newman