March 26, 2009

I’ve been cleaning house and clearing out some clutter. I cleaned out the pantry and threw out some stuff that was stale or expired and probably not that good for us when it was fresh. All this cleaning makes me wonder how many of us are walking around with emotional garbage, that’s expired and bad for us. But like the ignored pudding mixes and stale crackers in my pantry, we’ve hung on to it.

Many times we hang on to emotional hurts because of fear to let them out; we feel shame about them so instead of seeking help, we hide it and hang on to the hurt. It’s even sadder when those hurts were caused by someone else and we had no control over it. Like sexual assault.

How many women have been either molested or raped and are like I was for many years, walking around, wounded and fearful. Afraid of being hurt again, afraid of someone finding out.  I was very sure that if I told anyone about what happened, they would say it was my fault. After all I was with someone my parents trusted and was a friend. I only told my husband after we’d been married many years and I felt safe enough to tell him. He was angry, but not at me. Then it happened to someone close to me. She did not have to tell me what had happened; I recognized the signs in her eyes. I knew her pain and tried to talk to her about it, but she was afraid to tell me. Afraid I would judge her. It took her a long time to finally admit to me what had happened. It was not her fault, but she took the blame and the shame.

As women we do ourselves and other women a great disservice by continuing to carry the shame for something that’s not our fault. Let the men who did it feel the shame. Once we come out into the open and talk about what happened, we take back our power. If we are open about what happened to us, we will begin to heal. Once we’re healed, we will be in a position to help our sisters.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey there were 248,300 sexual assaults in 2007.  That means that every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted. Sexual assault is the most under reported crime against individuals. One study shows that only 16% of all assaults are reported to the police. Another university study reported that 1 in 5 college women said they’d been forced to have sexual intercourse.  It happens to someone every 2 minutes.

Bad things happen to us in this life, but God offers healing and help if we only cry out to Him.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon Me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to [those who are] bound;
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
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.”
(Isa 61:1-3, NJKV)

He wants to heal your broken heart. He wants to free you from the prison of shame. He wants to comfort you from mourning. He will give you beauty in living a joyful life for the ashes of despair. He will take that spirit of heaviness and give you a garment of praise. It will be a beautiful thing and God  will be glorified in you.

Peace and blessings.