Invite Jesus to Rewrite Your Story
Thirteen years ago, I never could’ve imagined telling hundreds of people at a conference that I experienced sexual abuse as a child – much less writing an article about it. But then again, 13 years ago, I was just beginning the healing process.
As most of you know, I did eventually go on to write an article called “The Right Time to Tell My Darkest Secret,” which was published at Boundless this week. In the article, I explain the process of learning to talk about the trauma that once seemed like a central part of my identity.
Over time, I went to my good friend Shon, “a few other confidantes, and a couple of counselors and revealed more layers of the story. Although it was cathartic, it was also emotionally disorienting. I had come to identify so closely with my secret that at first, it felt like I was betraying myself to tell it. But I needed to tell my friends — seeing their reactions helped me recognize how wrong it was, and hearing their encouragement helped me believe I could eventually move on.”
Defined by Something Bigger
The confidantes and counselors who helped me the most were the ones who had the faith to believe that “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17). For a long time, that verse just sounded like biblical poetry to me, something that applied to the Apostle Paul. And without the eyes to see the truth for myself, I piggybacked on the faith of my friends until eventually, healing snuck up on me and I began to believe – truly believe – that I didn’t have to be defined as a victim anymore.
Christ had transformed me into a victor over all sin – and not just my sins – other people’s sins against me. It was a historical fact, and even though Jesus and I bore the scars of the abuse, His blood had cleansed and healed the wounds. As a result, I not only came to the place where I could celebrate my freedom, I could even celebrate the fact that Jesus forgave the one who hurt me. Once I started to believe all of that, it didn’t seem so mortifying to tell my story at a conference or write an article about it. I wasn’t defined by what happened decades ago; I was defined by what Jesus did 2,000 years ago.
A New Story
Maybe you hear my story and it seems impossible to imagine being free from the shame of your past (and this includes sins you’ve committed against others). You fear, as one reader commented this week, that it’s simply time to “shut up and move on.”
Listen, I know you want to get free from what you’ve been through, but don’t fake your healing. Pray for and look for a friend, a counselor, a pastor – somebody who really believes that Jesus’ death and resurrection has the power to rewrite your story. And keep bringing your brokenness to those friends and the Holy Spirit until shame loses its power and you grow into your healing. It will take some time and bring up all kinds of fear, neediness, and pain, but the Lord is faithful
“To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.”
If you’d like to read the article Boundless published this week, click here. Below is a video of me at the Pursuit conference publicly sharing my story for the first time.