I am a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault. That’s a bold and vulnerable statement isn’t it? I’m putting myself on blast with the rawness of this subject matter and insight into my private life. But my life is a story written by the Hand of a most Holy God. Who am I to pick and choose what is shared when He is interested in using every last shred of my life to further His kingom?
Silence is the most powerful weapon an abuser uses to keep him or herself in power and action. It is silence that allows for the darkness to reign and isolation to prevail. Victims are rendered voiceless through fear and intimidation because once a voice speaks truth light comes streaming forth. Once light enters; darkness is crushed. Darkness cannot remain in control when light is ushered in.
Darkness cannot remain in control when light is ushered in.
Where is God when voices are squashed and controlled through fear, intimidation and physical strength? Jeremiah 17:3 says this, “Cursed is the strong one who depends on mere humans, who thinks he can make it on muscle alone and sets God aside as dead weight.” (The MSG) A person that uses others to promote themselves with fear, intimidation and physical force is headed for destruction and misfortune. Jeremiah goes onto say, “But blessed is the man who trusts me, God, the woman who sticks with God. They’re like trees replanted in Eden, putting down roots near the rivers…” (17:7 The MSG). This is where God is found in these situations. He is in the trusting. He is in the moments and the gaps. He is in the replanting and putting down of roots. It takes trust to use a voice during a private hell. Just one word uttered and God is there. The Maker of the stars is right there with His beloved.
“God thunders wondrously with his voice; he does great things that we cannot comprehend.” (Job 37:5 ESV)
I am part of a group of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors who use our voices to tell our stories in our community. To bring light into the darkness. Our group is appropriately called Voices. We are connected to our local shelter for men, women and children who are fleeing a domestic violence situation. I wrote this welcoming letter to those entering the shelter and are struggling with a myriad of emotions and voices.
You have journeyed through tremendous storms, and your travels have brought to a refuge. Breathe in your surroundings deeply. You are safe. Rest your hurting soul, weary traveler. You have broken your silence. You have walked out of the darkness of shame and hiding. You have moved your lips, opened your mouth and used your voice to break your silence. Take heart! Your voice has saved you. Your voice will continue to save you. Keep talking, and share your story with others in this safe haven. Keep talking because they need to hear it as badly as you need to share it. Keep talking because the darkness will lose its power, and the light in your broken places will shine. Keep talking because you have nothing to hide and everything to gain.
The more you talk the more you will find your new voice. Your words will become those of love for you because that is the best place to begin; with you. Rest your busted heart weary one and defeat the lies you have listened to with solid truths.
You are able, capable and strong.
You are wanted, cared about and worthy.
You have value and dignity.
You have dreams, and they matter.
You are courageous, lovely and simply beautiful.
You are everything good, free and alive.
Nothing is figured out for your future, and that is terrifying. Be brave anyway, fearless traveler. Be courageous in the next leg of your journey and the choices you make. Life will fall into place in the most unexpected ways. One step at a time is all you need to take. Remember to breathe deep and real love in and out of your soul. You will be ok. You are ok.
With much love and admiration,