Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Once we’re out of our abuse, we feel a bit like we’re crazy. We don’t know what’s real and what’s fake. We’re afraid and often running because the abuser won’t let us go. We suffer from anxiety and PTSD. We are angry. There are mental, physical, and emotional things to that now have to be dealt with.
We hold it in – trying so very hard to fit in, trying so very hard to appear ‘normal’. We hold the feelings and the story inside. I have been out of my abusive relationship for 13 years. During the first 12 of those years I told about three people about my problem. I didn’t speak of it. It wasn’t something to be proud of. I felt shame and guilt.
I don’t know why I felt ashamed of having been a victim. But, I did. I felt guilty for things I did, things I accepted, and things I didn’t do. I felt guilty for returning. I felt guilty for being run over by other people. I felt guilty for accepting way less than I really deserved. I felt guilty for allowing the relationship to continue. I felt responsible for the violent acts committed against me. I felt like I couldn’t talk about my problems to anyone for any reason. The most terrible part about that – it was true.
I felt alone in the world with my victim status and didn’t realize how many other women were out there suffering in silence. I felt shame at the leaving and returning to the relationship – more than once. I felt that my abuse wasn’t as bad as that suffered by other women’s abuse and so I shouldn’t be allowed to talk about it. I was wrong.
If step one is to admit we are powerless, we need to tap into a power greater than ourselves that can help us manage, or guide us in the right direction. A higher power. A God, my God. My God is my higher power. He restores me to sanity. He gives me rest. He heals my soul.
I’m restored to sanity because He loves me unconditionally. I’m restored to sanity because I am accepted as His daughter, a princess, in the Kingdom of heaven. I’m restored to sanity because He says, I don’t have to accept that kind of love – the kind that gives black eyes and bruises. I’m restored to sanity because he says that I should not be ashamed or guilty. I’m restored to sanity because he heals all those broken parts of my soul. I’m restored to sanity because I have been pulled from the pit of hell that existed inside my mind. I’m restored because he leads me to rest beside still waters.
We are human. We are broken. We make mistakes. We break rules. We need help and guidance and healing. God is the great redeemer. He has unlimited grace and mercy for every day of our life. He has healing for every day of our recovery. Some people choose trees, some people choose a group of people, some people choose a mentor to guide them through life. I choose God.
At first, when I leaned into God I felt ashamed, guilty, anxious, and afraid. I had turned away from Him and was turning back. I had no human in my life whom I could trust to give my deepest secrets and feelings to. There was no one I could tell the whole story to. So, I turned to God.
I laid it all out to Him. I told Him the whole terrible truth. I felt ashamed for what I had done and I felt responsible for what had been done to me. Then I read His words in the bible – that He would go with me and before me; that He was the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow; that He was good and merciful; and that He worked all things for His good. That’s when I saw that He was trustworthy. He was always available and He was never tired. He would never leave me. He would not harm me. He would heal me, guard me, and protect me.
When I read how Jesus healed wounds of all sorts of people – including women – I wanted that for myself. It didn’t matter who they were or what they did, he just forgave, healed, directed, and loved. We can all use a little of that kind of love.
When God redeemed a prostitute because she had faith and was brave, I was encouraged. When Jesus didn’t judge the woman harshly who’d been caught in adultery, I knew I could also be redeemed. When I read that Mary was cured of seven demons that had been residing within her, I knew I could be rid of my own internal tormentors.
When I read that Paul was convicted and converted in the same blinding incident I knew that it was possible for me to see as well. When I read about Jesus casting out legions of demons from a man, I knew it was what I wanted. When God refused to take away the demons that haunted Paul and Peter because His power worked in their weakness, I knew that He was with me in my weakness. When I read of Peter’s faith in the middle of the storm so that he could walk on water I knew there was something more amazing that I could understand going on here.
As survivors of abuse, we are haunted by a past that we have left behind. The past latches onto our shoulders and drags us down. It becomes visible in ways we don’t notice. The only way to shake it off is to allow healing and restoration to occur. We need to allow God to heal those wounds. Those wounds from our childhood and our adulthood need to be identified and healed. We can’t do it alone. We can’t do it without the supernatural healing power of God.
It seems like a mountain that we can’t get over, get past, or get through. But, it’s possible. With faith, hope, and love we can get to the other side. Maybe we can even just say to it – get out of the way. Together, we can and will get to the other side.