Though I’m writing this in June I’m far enough ahead this will post right about the two year mark for this blog. I never would’ve imagined I could write for two years, but God has faithfully provided what I should continue to share.
Which made me start to think about sharing our stories. Speaking up. I still struggle greatly with sharing my story personally with somebody, but I can direct them here easily. However, when I was going to start this blog I was terrified. I post it on Facebook and it’s out in cyberspace for all the world to see. Did I dare be that vulnerable with what happened to me?
Obviously you know the answer was yes. Yes, I decided to follow God’s call and write about recovery from sexual assault and how God is working in my life. To allow God to speak through me to encourage you. Trust me, if God hadn’t pushed me I would not have done this on my own.
If you grew up in church maybe you remember the missionaries who would come and speak from Africa. The ones who said, “This could be you one day.” The ones who left you praying, “Please God don’t send me to Africa!” For me it became, “Please God don’t ask me to share the hardest thing that has ever happened to me with the entire world!”
You know how that conversation ended. God won. I can smile about it now, but it is still kind of terrifying knowing I’m putting myself out there every week. With almost 90,000 words written there’s a lot of personal information.
Which brings me back to sharing our stories. I recently gave in the fight to get bifocals. I don’t like them. I’ve had them a month and can’t get used to them. However, when they first arrived I really struggled and finally measured each bifocal on each lens. The left side was 2mm higher than the right side and so it was just enough higher that blurry line was right in my line of sight.
I called the eye doctor and told them about it. They didn’t believe me. So I took them in and had them measure it. It was my job to make sure they could see what was going on. They sent them in and had them fixed and now I’ve been adjusting to them in their regular position. However, I had to speak up. Had I not I would be beyond frustrated, agitated all the time, and probably unable to wear my glasses. Because I couldn’t see.
The same is true for us. Speaking up about what happened to us opens not just our eyes to new revelations in our recovery, but it opens the eyes of those around us. People don’t understand what happens to those of us who have been sexually assaulted. How it traumatized our minds, bodies, and spirits. Why we’re so scared to trust. Why we don’t understand love. Why we act the way we do sometimes.
More importantly they will never understand how to help others who have experienced it if we don’t explain how we need help. Share our stories. Be vulnerable. Be bold and speak up. I know it’s hard. I’m speaking to myself more than anybody. I’m getting ready to try a new church and I know what comes with trying it. The questions about what I do…which leads me to this…sharing my story.
However, when do we know when it’s safe to tell our story? Sometimes it’s a leap of faith and we have to trust God to use it how He will. It may not end up the way we imagined, and yes we may get hurt, but we also may be surprised by support we receive once we start educating people.
We’re not always going to get the reaction we hope for when we share. Sometimes no reaction at all. Many times I have no idea what anyone feels or thinks about what I have shared on this blog. I have to trust God is using it the way He wants and for His glory.
So, today, two years after I started this blog I challenge all of us, myself included, to be more vulnerable and speak out educating people about sexual assault and the devastating results. How we need support and what it looks like. I know I’m going to start making a list of what that looks like for me. So I am able to share when it’s time. Maybe you can do the same. What does support look like for you?
I pray God gives you strength as you share your story. Here’s to two years down, and more to come. Bless each and every one of you on this journey.
“Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” (Thessalonians 5:11 NIV)
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