Okay, I know that there are probably really horrible things that might have happened to you. I understand that some trauma is so deep, that it seems like it will be there forever. And yes, I recognize there are a lot of details I don’t know about your story… But I’m standing by what I said, no matter what has happened: you are not a victim. (At this point you may not like what I’ve said, but I do challenge you to keep reading.)
Here is a brief backstory:
When I was 9 years old I lived in a one room, unfinished basement with my dad. It was dirty, cold, dingy, and I hated it. Although my father began molesting me years before we came to this underground hell, it was here – in this place – that I underwent the most severe sexual trauma of my life.
On top of the sexual abuse, I was told that I was dumb and ugly, and that I would never amount to anything. Couple all of that with the emotional stress caused by physical violence, and it is not too hard to see why I had lost all hope. Afterall, the people that were meant to protect me had failed me, and it was in that basement, unprotected and with all hope gone that I saw myself as a victim . It would be through this lens of victimization that I would see everything and make my choices from for a very long time.
There is a section of scripture I come back to often because I find so much of myself in it: In Philippians 3:4, Paul tells how he once had confidence in who he was in the world because he was “qualified.” Just like Paul is able to trace back his right to make his claim from the time of being a newborn, so can I. I was around the same age that Paul was when he was circumcised, when my maternal grandmother tried to kill me – Victim. Just as he has assurance of his Jewish status by having his lineage traced to the tribe of Benjamin, I can look at my family genealogy and rightfully make my sorrowful case of poverty, addiction, and abuse – Victim. Just as Paul can attest that he was a “Hebrew of Hebrews,” I can just as easily say that I was “white trash” (as the kids at school were so quick to remind me.) – Victim. Welfare – Victim. Peed on – Victim. Beat up – Victim. Do you get what I am saying here? When it comes to the topic of being victimized, I truly understand, and know what I’m talking about.
In verse 7 however, after affirming his authority on the subject, Paul rejects who he WAS and replaces it with who he IS in CHRIST. Boom. Game changer.
For me that exact exchange happened a few years ago, when I was finally ready for Jesus to lead me back into the memories of that basement. What I realized there through the wisdom, love, and safety of God’s Holy Spirit was not only that I was stuck, but that I was in fact dead. Dead in my earthly father’s sin. Dead in my emotions. Dead in my victimhood. As I got to look into the pages of my story from God’s perspective, the pieces of my broken life began to fall into place, as I encountered the resurrection power of Jesus.
Immediately after this encounter with God, He reminded me of the story in John 11 of Lazarus. You most likely know the story, but to summarize: There was a man, who Jesus loved, named Lazarus. This man was sick and was going to die. When people told Jesus about it, he stayed where he was for 2 more days. Once Lazarus was in fact dead, Jesus then got up and insists that Lazarus is asleep and that He will go and wake him up. Anybody else ever read that story and wondered “What the heck, Jesus?” As I pondered this story in my heart, alongside my own incredible experience where Jesus woke the girl in the basement, I could understand.
My earthly father had free will, and in his broken path of iniquity and sin he chose to hurt me because of his brokenness. Because the trauma I endured, was more than I could bear, Jesus, in His kindness, allowed me to temporarily die on the inside. But He wasn’t going to let that be the end of the story. As my spirit awoke to the Truth of Jesus, who is Love, I knew that when I placed my story into His hands, I would never be the same again. My story was for me, but it’s also for Y O U, so “that you may choose life instead of death and believe.” (John 11:14)
And so here we are, nearing the end of what I need to tell you.
Sometimes we can take pride in our self-pity, but Jesus has more for you, for me, for us. Those “things” that happened to us, the words “people” said about us, the circumstances of our trauma -, all these things were real. They happened and left their mark. And sometimes those hurts, disappointments, bruises, and broken places cause us to self protect, to isolate, to rage, or to kill off who we were supposed to be, but this doesn’t have to be your story.
There is a man who walked this earth, as God, who came to be the ultimate sacrifice, to stand in our place, so that we could be free. The dictionary has two definitions for the word victim. The first is “one that is injured, destroyed, or sacrificed” and the second is “a living being sacrificed to God.”. Both apply to Jesus. He stood in my place, in your place, to receive into Himself the full penalty of all sin and all death, so that we could live, fully alive. And here is what He says of Himself: “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” (John 11:25-26 NIV)
Do you believe this?
All around us, there are wounded people, unable to fully live because they chose to die inside, in those places full of trauma.
Places beaten down by pain that was too much to bear.
Broken places that leave them feeling “qualified” to be unforgiving, bitter, angry, or numb.
Places that help them to justify the things they do..
But what if instead of counting our injustices as a right to stay dead, we counted them as reason to live? What if it is exactly “that place” in your story that Jesus wants to show you how to become like him in death so that you can attain resurrection power? (Philippians 3:10-11) In faith, would you be willing to lay down those dead places, to walk in the light?
Alive in Christ,
You can watch this video testimony about how I met Jesus in my Freedom Session…
If you’d like to learn more about how you can experience freedom from trauma and abuse please click below to begin Rewriting Your Story.