Today’s post is a testimony from our amazing friend, Online Bible Studies Leader, and professional counselor, Stephanie Clayton. May her story bring you the encouragement you need to trust God and leave the fear behind.
As a survivor, as one healing, I had certain expectations. I expected to heal quickly. I expected my therapist to save me. I expected everyone to “get” what was going on with me. I expected God to bring me back to joy. I knew it wouldn’t be immediate in my head, but my heart expected it now. I had countless, un-admitted, un-acknowledged expectations of the bystanders.
Who are the bystanders you might ask? They are the people who are a part of our lives while the abuse, assault, or pain occurred. Often they are completely oblivious to what is going on. The question is asked over and over again, “How could someone not have known? Couldn’t they see what I was going through?” Our pain is so obvious to us that we think it should be written across our face like a scarlet letter and the bystanders should notice it. Why do we have these expectations? How could they really know?
Many of us developed a very convincing mask. The mask told everyone that we were just fine. The mask told us we were okay. We could carry this burden alone, on our own. We were survivors. And in that moment, survivor meant doing things on our own. A part of us desperately wanted someone to help, but we were too “strong” to ask for it. Too scared to let anyone see the turmoil. No, it was ours to bear…and bear alone.
At the time, I did not see the pride that was motivating my actions. I was strongly bent towards doing life on my own. I wasn’t going to let anyone else share in what I had endured. I had endured it, it was my piece of hell to survive, not theirs. And I was angry. I was much too angry, hurt, and prideful to reach out.
Years were spent ensuring that my pride was validated. Years were spent proving to myself that he hadn’t hurt me. That no one needed to know what happened. That I would achieve regardless, and I would do it on my own. It was only when the valleys in the road got so deep that I could no longer pull myself out (10 plus years of ever deepening valleys) that I RELUCTANTLY went for help. God forced me to a place where I had no choice. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus. Thank you Jesus that you force deliverance out of us. That was the only way my heart was going to move. It was time for me to learn to trust God.
I had to let God be God. To let the Savior do the saving. I had to make the decision to trust God and not do it all on my own. I needed to realize and accept that no amount of achievement on my part was going to change the past. The only thing that could “change” my past, redeem the awful circumstances, and make it something beautiful, was Jesus.
At the end of Chapter 6 I love the verse that Micca shares…
The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” John 11:44
It was time for me to remove the mask. It was time to stop living as the walking dead. It was time to let the past be the past, walk forward with Christ, and trust Him to turn my pain into purpose. It was time to stop looking for a bystander to blame…or a human to heal me…and start looking to Jesus. It was time to walk with Him and leave the grave and go. I chose to trust Jesus.
If YOU are a survivor (and if you are here then you are!)…please don’t be too afraid to ask for help. It’s your time, and yes, you, are worth God’s time and healing. You are worth getting help. You weren’t meant to bear this alone. It’s time to make some beauty from ashes. Your life is a praiseworthy testimony of His amazing grace and power. It is time for the redemption songs begin! Leave the grave sweet sister and walk forward. Learn to trust Jesus. I’m so glad I did.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (The Message):
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Can you relate to living like the walking dead? Are you ready to take that leap of faith and begin to trust God with it all? Share your thoughts with us today.
***To read more from Stephanie Clayton, click here.