Exactly two weeks ago, I was hiding in my office paralyzed with fear. Because exactly 2 weeks ago I lost control of my environment. If there is one thing a sexual abuse (or any abuse) survivor fears, it’s the loss of control. It doesn’t really matter what causes it or what control they have lost. It matters only that they have none.
In my case, we had some pretty bad water damage in our home and had to demolish my kitchen, laundry room and our main bathroom. This means I can’t keep anything clean. There is wood and drywall and tools everywhere. Mud, dust, dirt and grime is on every surface and there is absolutely nothing I can do about it. Hands are not getting washed the way they normally do and there is nothing I can do about it. We had to hire someone to come in and do the stuff we can’t do. Someone has to come into my home every day. Someone that doesn’t understand…that couldn’t possibly understand. And there is nothing I can do about it. There is nothing I can do about any of it. I have no control over it.
I have shared part of this journey on my personal facebook page in an effort to be open. Sometimes, ya gotta rip open your own gut so that someone else can see inside. Because sometimes someone else needs to know that when their gut gets ripped open, they too will survive. So now I am sharing with you in case you need to see too. We will survive.
As I write this, my mind is buzzing and I can’t get it to shut off. I still have no kitchen, no bathroom and no laundry room. I can see progress and that does help on a good day. But today is not a good day. Today is a bad day. The kind of day that feels like maybe I won’t make it. Like maybe the buzzing in my brain will take over and I will indeed die from it. So today, I tell you. We will survive.
When I was a very young child I couldn’t control anything. If I was told to it was naptime, then by golly it was naptime. When I was forced to bear the lips and hands and weight of a grown man, I had no control over it. I could not control where I was. I could not control who was in the room. I could not control what happened to me. And several years later, when I woke up to hands on me that never should have been on me, I had no control. I couldn’t scream. I couldn’t fight back. I couldn’t stop it. And as a teenager, I began to make decisions that I never would have made if that stuff hadn’t happened. I had lost control over my own emotions. I had lost control over everything. I rode a wave of destruction without any surf board or life jacket. And there were many boys and men out there to take advantage of that. Hence my tendency to not trust men, believe that they need to wash their hands more than women, and my general dislike of them.
But God…….But God placed His mighty hand on me. And what could have been another life lost to drugs or self harm or suicide or prostitution or more abuse, became a life dedicated to serve the One that died for me. I survived.
But healing is a process and it doesn’t come cheap. It’s long and it hurts and I’m scared. I know nothing else but the wound. I’ve lived most of my life with a wound that’s had band aid after band aid layered on it. So many band aids that need to be pulled off. It’s hard to remember what the original wound even looked like. I know that so much of it has been healed already, even if I don’t always feel it. Yet there is still so much more to be healed. I now realize that using cheap band aids to cover up a wound doesn’t necessarily help the healing process. What my wound really needs is air. It needs to be exposed. So these past 2 weeks (and the next week or so) God and I have been pulling off band aids. I’m not exaggerating when I say I feel like I’m dying. I literally feel like I could die. But I know I will survive.
Every time we pull off another band aid my head buzzes with bees and my stomach turns and my whole world spins. Because what if it’s the one thing that is holding me together? What if the next band aid is the thing that keeps my insides from spilling out? What if it’s the only thing between me and infection? What if inside I’m already full of infection? What if there is too much rot inside? What if I can’t get it clean enough? What if I can’t scrub it away? What if it can’t be fixed? And the most honest question…the question that is at the heart of it all…what if the blood of Jesus isn’t enough?
I can only imagine your shock as you read that question. But I ask it anyway. All the time. What if I’m so broken, Jesus…that you can’t fix me? And the question that sheds light on why I need order….not chaos. The question that explains why hands need to be washed and things need to be cleaned and then cleaned again. What if His blood can’t make me clean? Every day I ask. Every single day. Sometimes several times a day. What if I am always dirty? What if I am always broken? And every day…every time, without delay, without anger, but with compassion and understanding and unending love… He always answers. The same answer every time, “I am enough”.
And because He is enough, even when I don’t feel it, I will survive. He was enough before. He is enough now. He will be enough tomorrow ….and I will survive.