This is one of my favorite pictures, taken late in the fall on the Russell Scenic Parkway in the mountains of north Georgia. Like me, it is beautiful but damaged, living, surviving, creating, and renewing of life.
Like the insect torn petals, my soul was torn at the age of 17 when as a senior in high school, I was sexually abused by the new youth pastor of my church. Thirty-four years later I still bear the scars of this abuse.
Pastoral sexual abuse references and websites can now be found on the web and in a few books; but when I was desperately looking for others to identify with, others to tell me that my life could improve, others who had already cut through the ice of the Arctic waters for me to follow, there was little if any support. When I believed I was the only one, no one talked of such issues. As I broke the ice to barge forward in my healing, so I choose now to break the ice of silence and share my journey in the hope that others will benefit.
I am a learner. I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist or someone with all the answers, but I do know Someone who has the answers, Someone who has been faithful to lead me through the jagged ice and warm my soul along the way. I also know several faithful professionals who sat with me on the freezing ice bergs or encouraged me to keep my head above the chilling water for one more moment. Both have believed in me when I could not believe in myself - or them.
What I share in later posts will be my journey - past and present. It isn't and can't be someone else's journey but I hope others will find comfort in knowing they are not alone.
My own healing has taken 20 years and is not finished yet. The damage began at 17 and ended when I learned to stop blaming myself and believing that self despite could keep me safe from what raged inside. What others did TO me was defiling and very wrong, but the deepest damage I did to my own soul as self hatred grew inside of me. The deepest healing came as I learned to break free of the words of shame and substitute the words of truth.
So if you would care to join me, whether in the role of a fellow survivor, an encourager, or just someone curious; you are welcome to come along.
Blessings out there to the blogging world - I can't wait to meet you.