[guestpost]As you know, this blog is all about “Making Peace With An Imperfect Life.” Today I’m featuring a guest post by my friend, Mary DeMuth, who knows a little something about making peace with a story she would have never chosen. Mary is an author and speaker who loves to help people live uncaged, unmarked lives. She’s the author of sixteen books, including six novels and her critically acclaimed memoir, Thin Places. After church planting in Southern France, Mary, her husband Patrick, and their three young adult kids now live in the burbs of Dallas. Connect with Mary at www.MaryDeMuth.com and find her newest book, Not Marked, at www.NotMarked.com. Not Marked—which Mary wrote along with her husband, Patrick—is for those who have been exploited, but it’s also for those who want to help loved ones who can’t seem to get beyond their painful memories of sexual abuse.[/guestpost]
I’m humbled and grateful to be here today. A huge thank you to Michele for allowing me to share my heart. A little background. I’ve shared my sexual abuse story in the last few years, but I haven’t always been so open. Initially I kept it silent for a decade, then over-shared, then went silent another decade. The healing journey hasn’t been easy, but it has been good.
About a year ago, I sensed God wanted me to be bold in sharing about sexual abuse. I wrote “The Sexy Wife I Cannot Be” on Deeper Story, which went crazy (so many comments), followed by “I’m Sick of Hearing About Your Smoking Hot Wife” on Christianity Today. The overwhelming response to those two posts prompted me to write Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse.
The book proved too risky for publishers, so I decided to crowdfund it, which turned out to be an amazing success. I cannot believe that now I can hold Not Marked in my hands, and also offer it to you. What’s unique about it:
- It’s written from the perspective of a survivor.
- It doesn’t offer cliche answers.
- It’s honest.
- And my husband shared his unique journey of how to walk a loved one through their sexual abuse.
The following is an excerpt from Not Marked.
I wrote Not Marked because I dared to believe sexual abuse victims can find healing.
While I don’t think healing is easy or quick, I am grateful it is possible. No matter where you find yourself, whether you’ve suffered sexual abuse or not, all of us have issues and traumas we’d like to heal from. And as we process them, here are four truths we all must embrace as we pursue genuine, lasting healing.
Truth One: It is possible to be set free. You can experience the New in the Now. It’s available, though the road toward health is often long and arduous. Every new territory gained is an opportunity to rejoice in what Jesus has done and an avenue to beckon others who hurt to join the journey. Each snippet of healing helps you become salve to those who are earlier in their healing path. The most satisfying times of my life, full of energized, effervescent joy, have been when I’ve had the privilege of coming alongside another and be a part of their healing story.
With Jesus, there is an irresistible future. It beckons. It allures. It hearkens. The past is gone, cradled by Jesus. Today is full of possibilities, and the future is clean and sparkling with potential. Oh to live that kind of freedom-infused, anticipatory life!
Truth Two: We are healed to become healers. Paul reminds us of this: “ All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5 NLT). We are made whole so we can usher in wholeness. We are set free so we can be agents of freedom on this enslaved earth. We are touched by Jesus so we can be His hands and feet and heart and life to others needing His touch. It’s a great, sweet privilege, and the hidden gem of being healed from trauma.
Truth Three: There is no passive healing. We can’t just lackadaisically want healing and hope it comes. Jesus touches us, yes, but He also asks us to do something. To pursue healing. To go to the pool and wash. To so want to be healed that you chase after it. “My eyes are ever toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net” (Psalm 25:15 ESV). Note that the Psalmist makes a concerted effort to fix his eyes on God.
My friend Twilla who battles a terrible cancer is instructive. She has pursued physical healing tenaciously, exploring every option. And she’s lived several years longer than she would have had she just given up and let the cancer overtake her. Of course this analogy breaks down because eventually she will die (and so will I, and you, and them). But the correlation remains: if you want healing, you have to pursue it.
Truth Four: Often you have to make difficult choices to completely separate from perpetrators so you can heal. Otherwise they open up a gaping wound that never heals, constantly re-injuring a raw sore. And even once you heal, there’s no guarantee that you’ll ever experience a safe relationship with an enemy. Even from a distance, they may haunt. But they don’t need to have power over you anymore. You are a new person. You are a child of God. You are amazing, whole and restored in His sight.
I pray these four truths help you move toward healing and wholeness!
Which of these four truths do you most need to remember today?