In my journey of healing from the after storms of childhood sexual abuse, I decided to take part in a support group within the last month. It's new to me and something I have been wanting to do for awhile but have been hesitant. I find it amazingly helpful being around survivors who are opened and willing to share. I can understand a little bit of how God uses our pain for good, just from being part of this group and hearing stories of survival and healing.
It's taken me years (ummm...let me be precise, about a decade long) to join a support group for survivors because of my feelings of shame and fears of being labeled a 'victim' or someone pitying me. Part of my healing process is to encounter these fears as lies and to face them, so I joined a support group.
What I have come to understand is that no matter who our abusers were or the level of our abuse, we hurt in similar ways but we heal in different ways since each of our stories are unique. What has helped me remain committed to my support group (even though there are times, I am hesitant to go) is to learn to not have expectations. To just focus on each meeting. To be opened and honest about my experiences. To work on changing me (in areas of my weaknesses) and not others. To be there for someone if they need me to listen or to pray for them. And to be kind. In essence, our experiences, our pain, who we were and are, and who God created us to be are unique, for we are all connected because we are loved by the same gracious and loving God.
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"The LORD your God will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing."