Healing Life's Hurts Part I
"When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, 'Do you want to get well?'"1
When I first met Jennifer at a seminar I was leading, she was very withdrawn and her face, apart from sad eyes, was expressionless. She said little all day but her body language spoke volumes. It didn't take a great deal of insight to realize that Jennifer was in painódeep pain.
I was quite busy and didn't give any more thought to Jennifer until a few weeks later when she turned up a thousand miles away at a more intensive week-long counseling workshop. Here her story unfolded.
Jennifer was at breaking point. She had a young son and was about to give him up for adoption. She told us she was so afraid to be touched she couldn't stand her own child hugging her. It was no surprise to learn that Jennifer was a rape victimórepeated rape. In fact, her son was a child of rape. This terrible abuse started when she was very young and left her paralyzed with fear.
Like a lion in the forest preys on wounded animals, perpetrating men saw Jennifer as easy prey and had been violating her for much of her 40 years. She came to our counseling week as a last hope. Since nothing else had worked, she determined that if she didn't find help here, she was going to take her life.
Fortunately, Jennifer found a place where she felt safe to share her story and express the incredibly painful emotions that had been bottled up inside since she was repeatedly raped as a small child and as an adolescent. Time and again she had been used and shamed. She felt ugly, dirty, unlovable, and despised.
To be healed Jennifer needed to share not only what had happened to her (where she had been sinned against) but also all of the hurt, shame, anger (rage), and terror she felt. Although her painful emotions were justified by the horrible mistreatment she had suffered, Jennifer had turned these emotions against herself and they were all but destroying her.
To be continued . . .
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to be available to people who are hurting, and give me a listening ear, an understanding heart, and an accepting spirit so those needing to share their struggles will feel safe to do so with me. And please use me to be a 'wounded healer.' Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. John 5:6 (NIV).