By Joyce Ruddell
Have you ever been sexually
violated in some way or do you know of someone who has been? If your answer is yes, you’re not alone. Sadly, sexual abuse is very prevalent in today’s society, bringing painful consequences like anxiety, addictions, suicidal thoughts and many more. Degrees of violation vary, and every story is different, but in every experience, the recipients—men and women alike—suffer deep anguish and need God’s healing.
I was first molested at age four by a close family member. This began a long and painful battle with self-doubt and insecurity. As a child, I thought God was just like most people—aware of my pain but not caring. To me, He was a cold figure who watched me suffer from afar. This was my view of God—until He showed me just how much He does care.
Most of my life, I struggled with depression. Even at age four, I sensed there was something wrong; I wasn’t happy-go-lucky like other kids. I often felt a gray cloud hanging over me…sadness, anger. I knew I needed help but didn’t know where to find it. As an adult, the depression intensified as I began to process more of the traumas that I’d endured as a child. I was so scared that I would always be too broken to mend. I felt hopeless, helpless, and resigned to a life of misery.
One year, I attended a Christian conference and heard the story of a man named Victor Marx. He had been molested as a child, too, then locked in a cooler and left for dead. Victor described the extreme anguish he suffered as an adult, how it affected his marriage and family—the flashbacks, fears, outbursts. The trauma he had experienced was so deep that most therapies didn’t seem to help.
Then, Victor Marx described how he finally found relief from something called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). It brought me such hope to hear of his healing. If there was hope for him, there was hope for me. I searched, but sadly, there was no one in Hawaii trained in EMDR. I was so disappointed but held onto the hope that someday, I might be able to get free, too.
Several years later, I asked for counselor recommendations from Michele (yup! : our very own beloved Director of Explicit Movement!); she gave me a list of 3 women. Yet, I hemmed, hawed, and kept putting it off. I was “too busy” with work.
A year and a half later, unbidden, Michele texted me another name, and I was reminded to take action to get support. Of the 4 names now, I wasn’t sure whom I should pick. Only God would know best which person He wanted to help me find healing, so I asked Him. One name kept coming to mind—Jalee Palompo, Michele’s most recent recommendation. I was unsure but decided to try.
On meeting Jalee, I knew immediately we were a good match. She was an empathic listener, very expressive and kind. Moreover, it was apparent through her insightful responses and encouraging character that she truly loved God, knew His heart, and was led by His Word and wisdom. God showed me that it was His plan for us to work together.
Rainbows had always been a recurring theme in my life—giving me glimpses of hope since I was small. God had been reaching out to me, helping me along my whole life even before I knew Him. After the very first visit with my new counselor, God showed me a rainbow on my drive home. Time and again, He confirmed for me in these “little” ways that I had heard Him clearly.
Yet, God’s plans were even more perfectly orchestrated than I could ever imagine. Three months into our weekly visits, Jalee told me she was getting trained in a new therapy and asked if I would be interested in trying “EMDR.” WAS I?!? I had only spent the last several years wishing for it!
I was floored, amazed, and awed. That day, I left our session excited, exuberant, and out-of-this world happy. As I drove home, I was filled with a great sense of joy, and I praised God as I worshipped to the song “Overwhelmed.” Though I had to stay calm to drive safely, inside, I was jumping up and down shouting and dancing “God loves me! He wants to heal me! God wants to heal me!!
Having believed for so long that I was unimportant, unheard, unseen, and not valuable, my heart soared as I realized just how much God did see me and care for me. Not only that, He wanted to bring me healing. There was no doubt about it!
I was not forgotten and left to die a slow death on the inside. God saw me, heard my cries for help and responded. There was hope for my life, and God was bringing it—had been actively bringing healing all this time. He was able to get me past my fearful hesitation and—in His great love and power—even graciously work through my procrastination—timing blessed Michele’s last counselor recommendation just perfectly as Jalee was becoming trained in EMDR! God knew EXACTLY when I was finally going to seek a counselor and timed everything just right.
If God can bring wholeness and freedom to the most tortured souls like myself or Victor Marx, then He can also heal you. Papa-God wants deeply to heal and free you from the pain you thought you would always feel. He wants to restore you to the life and wholeness that He always meant for you to have before the devil came along. His will is for you to receive healing. Take hold of it!
All God asks is that we partner with Him, let Him in to make our hearts whole again. The key to healing is that we actively pursue God and let Him love us. He is our greatest Comforter who brings restoration in many ways, liberating us from layer after layer of hurt and shame. Whether the pain you deal with comes from sexual violation or other origins, He cares deeply and desires to heal your hurts.
Join us in the month of July as we look at many ways God brings us healing.