Why in the world does aging as a woman promote hair growth in all the wrong places? This is one of those questions that I will immediately ask Jesus about upon arrival. Yes. Along with many spiritual things, I will inquire about this important unsolved mystery. How can the hair on my head be thinning, but I have become a complete “Chia pet” on my eyebrows, lip, and chin? I know this is not a big issue, but with me, this process of removal requires something that actually causes me more pain than the ripping of the wax on that little strip of paper. It requires an abundance of light. For the esthetician to see the field of hair I need to have removed, she needs to shine a big light. I have always been sensitive to lights. When I became involved in relationship with Jesus, I began to learn that this "little quirk” was more than physical. It was symbolic of where I came from. Darkness was a safety net for me. Things can be covered, and secrets remain hidden and forgotten in the dark. That’s how I liked it; that was comfortable for a girl with a past like mine. I came from a background of abuse, raised in an unchurched home. My childhood was filled with isolation and fear and being sexually abused by my grandfather. My father was locked in a prison of depression and grief due to losing his three sons, and my mother just did the best she could. I was alone and filled with pain from losing all the significant men in my life. Looking back, I know that coming from that type of abuse stirred the desire in me to be sexual. I was trying to gain the love I was lacking. I began to look for love and acceptance in many relationships. When these relationships would end, I would count that as a failure. No matter how many times I gave my body away to feel love, I became emptier. The belief that I wasn’t worthy to be loved by my father, nor worthy to be loved by anyone else, spiraled me into unhealthy relationships filled with abuse. I remember it like it was yesterday. I lifted my head from the freshly sprinkled lawn that caused me to have mud on my face. The pain of being shoved out of the car and strangled that night, nearly to my death, was so shocking that I put my head right back down. I rested for a moment because truly, I was in shock. How had my life become so sordid? This would be the beginning of the end of my two-year relationship debacle with the man I had dubbed as my next husband. Something changed inside of me that night lying there in the wee hours of the morning with my head on the wet soil. I definitely did not know Jesus and couldn't grasp the thought that a higher power could actually love this failure of a woman. For the first time, I had a thought that I had never had or at least never remember having so vividly. Pulling myself inside to my 500 square-foot apartment, I sat on the floor and held my knees. I cried out to a God I wasn't really sure was real. I was desperate. I cried out, “If You're real, please take this pain from me!” As soon as the words were out of my mouth, an image came to mind. I began to see a picture of a woman who I really wished I could be—like a vision or dream inside my head even though I was fully awake. I saw a woman who was older, but I was keenly aware that she had a good life, children, and a home. I knew inside my very core that I desired to be this woman. But I had a big problem. I thought the picture inside my head could never happen for me, and if it could, I had no idea how to get from where I was to the picture I saw that night in my head. I’ve been in circumstances where I have overheard other women say, “How could a woman allow herself to be hit? There’s just no way I would allow that.” We need to remember that long before the first punch is ever thrown, the enemy has been raining down blows—lies—in her mind and heart. He has consistently broken down her barriers until that kind of treatment is not only what she expects, it’s what she thinks she deserves. Most battered women don’t become battered in a vacuum. They don’t stumble into it. I tried for many years to forget, pretend, and deny that the abuse which had been inflicted upon me propelled me into making many bad choices. You may not have been physically abused, but I assure you there is a war on all of us. Our adversary, Satan, is waiting for us to wake up every day so that he can abuse us with thoughts he places in our minds. Children naturally play at fantasy and make-believe, but often when they are traumatized, they will “escape” from their circumstances, if only in their minds. Our minds are amazing things and can instinctively shut things out so that we don’t completely shut down. Every time the “act” took place, I escaped in my mind, sort of like in Narnia where the children opened the wardrobe and went to another land. From that practice, I was able to shut things out of my mind for the majority of my life, but eventually, I had to come to grips with the fact that I couldn’t deliver myself from the bondage and shame. Today, I am the woman I had a vision of twenty years ago in that small apartment in the throes of what seemed like a nightmare. I am humbled and thankful Jesus did not relent. People often ask me, “How did you get healed from the pain of these trials and abuse?” We are never finished. Healing is a journey, but one key factor catapulted me into greater wholeness: I shined the Light on the places that were hurting, and healing began. How? I started with the first step.
- The best place to begin a healing journey is to accept the truth of our pasts and be open to share about the places that we’ve never been healed. A lot of you may have hidden the truth in the same darkness I once felt comfortable in. When I would “color” the story about where I came from with shades of untruth, I was denying that my past was real.
- Next, we need to allow the pain we’ve covered for so long to come out. It can be with a friend, a counselor, or alone with God. When we pull back the veil that covers our pain, and the healing light of Jesus comes in, things begin to change. Real healing for me began when I no longer wanted the truth about the life I had come from to remain in darkness because of shame, guilt, or fear.
- Then, ask Jesus to replace the lie or memory that has been dark and hurting with His truth and light. Ask Him how He sees you and what He says about the situation/pain that you’ve kept hidden. Most of all, listen to His response.