I’ve heard a lot of people say gratitude is the key to happiness. But for those of us who have been through the trenches, or perhaps are still in them, expressing gratitude sounds deeply insensitive and almost incomprehensible. I can recall looking back on the days right after being assaulted. As a form of survival, I was afraid to feel. I would not let anything come into my life that was new or unfamiliar; not even the good moments. As I continued to build what became an emotional dam around me, I silently concealed my pain. I cried almost daily for years. However, I was overfilling what I meant to keep buried, and it needed to be released. I learned the hard way that numbness was not the key to my freedom or my happiness.
So how did I get to the point of release, where I could begin to live again? I exercised moments of gratitude. I learned to thank God for what I did have, for who I was despite the repercussions sexual assault had on my life. I would thank God for keeping me, and sustaining me, even though I still wanted answers and an explanation for allowing this pain to enter my life.
“He robbed me of my youth, I will forever have to pick up the pieces of my life because of this man, and WHERE WERE YOU GOD...in all of this?” I kept asking.
God revealed who He was when I showed Him everything that I was and was not capable of being. I told God, “I’m not capable of forgiving yet, because I’m still hurt” or “I’m not sure how to talk to You now. I think you only want to show up AFTER my pain.”
When I approached God for REAL, I began to see myself worthy of better days. I was depending on a greater force I was still trying to understand in the mess of my life. I was falling apart while God was graciously putting me together all at once. I stopped using the cookie-cutter devotionals I prayed daily, I stopped seeing God only when I was dressed up for hour-long services, and I met Him in the trenches exposing every part of my broken mind and heart. There were a lot of things I needed to let go of before I could let such a light into my life. That meant me laying my anger down along with my tears, and frustration, loneliness, and feelings of unworthiness at His feet.
Crazy thing is, God already had me, and I felt that deeply as I was moved to thank Him for where I was not. I was still standing. For seven years, I felt like I was in a boxing match with the enemy and though battered and bruised, God revealed to me more of who I was for still fighting. The fact that I chose to fight for my happiness, my peace, my fearlessness, my power, and my voice gave way for me to thank Him. Jesus was legit my boxing coach, so when I the enemy hit, He was in my corner reminding me who I WAS. So, I thanked Him, and I keep fighting every single day.
Paul said in 1 Timothy 6:12 (KJV) Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, where unto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.
I wanted to know who this BIG God that I was serving really was...so I stopped focusing on me for a bit and my scars, and started focusing on Jesus. How was it that this same BIG GOD could allow His only begotten son to die a gruesome death He did not deserve? I began to reflect on the life of Jesus, and His selflessness in all of this and how ultimately, He was a sacrificial example of what it means to walk in gratitude. Crazy thing was, Jesus KNEW the pain that He would soon have to face, and bore the cross anyway. Knowing the pain that would soon be in his future didn't stop Jesus from healing people, or showing compassion for the overlooked or undeserving. I suppose that’s what God was trying to teach me through this. In part, God has taught me to praise Him anyway in all my imperfection, in my filth, in my distrust and near hatred for Him in a time of my life I needed Him to be there the most. God’s spirit in me moved me to choose LIFE and not death through the power of the tongue. Giving thanks to God broke the walls I once built up and that became the gateway for healing, forgiveness and my happiness.
Wherever you are in this process, and no matter how deep the wound, God knows pain, and proved that through His son Christ Jesus. Now, understanding why it had to happen to you and me is a personal journey that has no perfect answer. The thing is...it shouldn’t have happened to you. You didn’t deserve to be used, mistreated or taken advantage of—and if those are lies you are hearing that’s nothing by the enemy. God loves you enough to see you through even THIS. It took praises coming forth with tears falling down my face for me to ultimately realize I was never a lone. I am here, I am being sustained and maintained, God is working on my life even as I write this.
Thanking God for keeping you DESPITE of what was meant to kill, steal and destroy you is a miracle. THAT is why I praise, that is why I still keep going, scars and all. I am fearfully and wonderfully made by a King that saw it fit that I make it through this—and you will too! So when all else fails, I urge you to PRAISE through the pain. It confuses every broken spirit into the ushering process of your healing, your love for self, and the beautifully empowered life you still have left to live! You got this, and we will be here every step of the way. <3
DevinMarie for Herstory
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.