Healing From Child Sexual Abuse

Child Sexua Abuse
Every six minutes a child is sexually abused in homes, schools, cars, hotels, sport fields, locker rooms and yes, even churches and Christian homes. No child is immune. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually abused before the age of 18 and only 1 in 10 ever report it. Abuse ranges from inappropriate sexual talk to being exposed early to sexual images, to actual physical violation, and produces extreme emotional, physiological and spiritual damage.

Over 90% of child sexual abuse is committed by someone the child already knows, loves and trust – parents, step-parents, guardians, friends, babysitters, teachers, coaches, pastors, clergy, etc. Child sexual abuse is seldom a one-time occurrence and lasts an average 1-4 years.

Nothing cuts at the heart of a child like the violation of sexual abuse because it robs a child of their innocence, defiles their purity and leaves them feeling dirty and traumatized. The effects will last a lifetime unless healing is sought. Victims may experience fear of relationships, anxiety, hatred and distrust for the opposite sex, and an overwhelming sense of shame and guilt, loss of self-worth, difficulty with sex in marriage, a tendency to promiscuity, and an inability to relate to God. Often, victims of sexual abuse will feel powerless and out of control and may become sexual abusers themselves to gain power and control. People who hurt others were often scared little children who were also abused. It’s heartbreaking.

Despite the pain of past sexual abuse, In Christ, there is healing from the damage it leaves behind. You don’t need to carry the burden alone. You no longer have to carry the secret. God can bring cleansing to defilement that brought damage to your soul and crippled your ability to love and feel loved and know your value and worth in Jesus Christ. God can heal all wounds and give you a life of purpose and identity beyond the pain.

“Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. He who continually goes forth weeping, bearing seed for rejoicing, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
Psalm 126:5-6

The Needs of Children

Needs of Children
All human beings have three basic needs for love, security and acceptance. Out of all of these needs, love is the most essential nutrient a child needs to develop emotionally, mentally, spiritually healthy and whole. The other two needs are the byproduct of experiencing authentic love.

How can a child’s need for love be met? According to Lana Bateman, founder of Philippian Ministries, children from birth to about eight years old can only grasp love in one of two ways.

Touch – a child needs lots of warm, healthy displays of affection. They need to be cuddled, kissed and shown how much they are valued and loved. The importance of human touch should never be overlooked.

Time – a parent needs to show a child that they are willing to invest time to get to know them, communicate with them to draw out feelings, to laugh with them, talk about what they think, fear, what makes them sad, cry, what interests them, etc. The message sent is that they are valuable, precious and worth the investment of time, all the while seeds of love and security are being planted into their little hearts and minds. They will begin to grow secure in the knowledge that they are accepted by the most important people in their lives.

Beyond these two displays of love children, do not comprehend more sophisticated forms of love such as a house to live in, clothes, money, food, and toys. Sadly many parents think that they are meeting the needs of a child if they merely provide their physical needs. Children need so much more in order to grow and thrive.

When the needs for love, security and acceptance are not met, children will learn to redefine love. For example, a child who was showered with material things but little forms of touch and time may redefine love to mean that material possessions are the only things that satisfy. As adults they may go to great lengths to buy, earn, and store up material wealth, causing extreme feelings of failure and disappointment when those things are unattainable. Another child who never received affection from a mother exhausted from working long hours to provide and care for the physical needs of her family may redefine love as having to work hard to prove or earn love. Other children may not get much of anything and are left with a ravenous craving in their heart for love leading them to search for it in various unhealthy ways.

Children are a gift from God and need to be loved and cherished. If your were a child whose need for love was not met in a healthy way, it’s never too late to let your Abba Father nourish you with His perfect and satisfying love. Your past does not have to define you or affect you. Jesus can heal your wounded heart and meet all your unmet needs.

“When my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will take care of me. “ Psalm 27:10

The Roots of Our Pain

the roots of our pain fb

We are all rooted in something. We are like a tree that has been planted and in order to thrive and produce healthy fruit; we must start life out with healthy seeds planted in healthy soil. We need to be watered daily and receive plenty of sunshine. This produces a healthy strong root system that allows for health and growth. Sadly many of us have deep unhealthy roots that are stunting our growth and we are barren, barely hanging on, unable to live the abundant life that Jesus spoke of in John 10:10.

Much like a tree that has been planted by a stream, if you are dependent on that stream to be the water source that nourishes you —what happens if say 15 miles upstream there is a dead animal that is decaying and polluting the water? You may not be able to see the poison in the water but it is going to head downstream and you are going to receive it and take it in. It does not matter if it is a huge dead animal or a drop of poison, no matter how big or small, you are going to get contaminated and affected by it.

It works the same in our root system. The nourishment we receive will drastically affect our growth. Whether pure healthy streams of water – love, grace, security, acceptance, significance, or polluted, toxic water—shame, fear, guilt, neglect, abuse, unmet needs, will dramatically affect who we are at a core level and becomes our belief system. If we are nourished as intended by streams of living water – we are going to believe that we are precious, valued, and loved children of the Living God. If our water source is polluted then by default we will believe lies about ourselves – unworthy, unlovable, defective, unacceptable, etc. We will also believe lies about God…He does not care, He is not there, He doesn’t exist, He doesn’t love me, He’s mad at me, and so on and so on it goes.

What we believe then (our root system) determines the kind of branches we are going to grow. These branches represent our decisions (how we think) and our emotions (how we feel). If we have faulty toxic belief systems, it will result in negative thinking, negative emotions, and negative decisions. These can manifest as shame, fear, anger, guilt, rejection, depression, doubt, hopelessness, etc. These branches then bear fruit which represents our actions, attitudes, and behaviors. Negative emotions manifest in negative behaviors – addictions, eating disorders, codependency, rage, critical spirit, control, abuse, perfectionism, etc. What we believe, affects how we think, feel, and behave.

So if we have a contaminated root system it is going to skew what we value, our emotions, and our decisions, which will ultimately affect the end result, which is our fruit. We are either going to produce living healthy fruit that nourishes and brings forth life, or we are going to produce unhealthy toxic fruit that brings forth death.

We do not have to live bound by unhealthy rooted systems that wreak havoc on our lives and leave deep wounds in our hearts caused by sin, (our own or those imposed by others) that strangle the abundant life our beloved Savior came to give His believers. Our God is bigger and more powerful than anything that has happened to us. He can heal us. God’s word says…. “He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” (John 15:2). He wants to prune us and pour healing into our root system so that we will be healed.

When Rejection Is Deserved

deserved rejection

There are different causes for rejection. Some are beyond our control – abandonment, adoption, infidelity, divorce, favoritism, indifference just to name a few. However, we can experience rejection when we do things outside of God’s word that grieves His heart causing others to back away from us by setting a healthy distance between our wrong behaviors and actions that cause strife, division and defilement in our homes, relationships, work place and even our place of worship and our ministries.

An example would be adultery. This kind of relationship is strictly forbidden by God and ending the relationship is not only the right thing to do but it is what God requires. Refusing to end the relationship will not only cause separation from God but others as well. People desiring to walk righteously with Jesus will never condone sin. They will love you enough to speak truth to you. Perhaps you are engaging in sex outside the holy bounds of marriage, or engaging in “everything but” behavior convincing yourself it’s not sin – God sees it differently. His is a Holy righteous God and cannot condone sin because it separates us from Him and leaves us unprotected and under the grip of Satan, who comes to kill, steal and destroy. You may have even lost friends because of your bad choices and are feeling alone and rejected.

God sees your hurt and feels compassion for you, even if your feelings of rejection and painful circumstance are a result of wrong choices. Learning from your mistakes and allowing God to change your direction and your life is always possible. Our Savior is in the business of rescuing us from the clutches of sin and destruction and can turn our lives around. But we need to acknowledge our sinful behavior that led us to feeling rejected.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Many people have a history of turning to the sin of sexual immorality because they have a ravenous need to be loved and accepted. If this is you, please know that you will continue down a spiral of sin, shame and rejection until you deal with the root causing you to mistake sex for love. Jesus is waiting. He is not only the Balm of Gilead, the ointment that can heal the wounds of your heart, but the only One who can fill it completely with the only love that truly satisfies the craving of the human heart.

“For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.”
Psalm 107:9

Our Need for Love

love in all the wrong places
Every human being has an inward need and craving for love. As children our parents were meant to model and fill our need for love often failing because many can only pour out what was poured into them, either healthy love or unhealthy love. If our need for love is not met, we will go through life trying to get our need met through people, places and things apart from God. We will go seeking after the wrong bread and start to feed off that which never satisfies our hunger for love.

Psalm 27 says, “A satisfied man craves the honeycomb, but to a hungry man even the bitter thing seems sweet.” What does this mean in modern language? Bad love is better than no love at all. It’s easy to judge those who stay in abusive or dysfunctional relationships, or the young woman who cruises bars giving her body away freely. How about women, young and old, who dress provocatively and cheapen themselves because they do not know their value and worth? The sad reality is that they are looking for love and acceptance, but like the song says, they are looking for love in all the wrong places. This cheap imitation of love is better than no love at all. Chances are they have never had their need for love met, so they try to get it anyway they know how.

So we keep running to people, places and things hoping they will fill our deepest need for love, but we are left continually unsatisfied. It is not wrong to desire to be loved, God created us for love, but it is desperately wrong for us to think that we can get our deepest need for love in anything other than the love of Christ.

Psalm 107:9 declares, “God satisfies the longing soul. He fills the hungry soul with goodness.” In other words, He will not take away our craving for love; instead He satisfies it the right way. Oswald Chambers wrote, “No love of the natural heart is safe unless the human heart has been satisfied by God first.”

Some of us know these truths in our heads but not in our hearts. If you are having a difficult time letting this truth resonate deeply into your heart and soul, it may be that there are some wounded areas that need to be healed so that you can experience the fullness of His radical love for you.

Requirement for Healing

Made Well

Jesus asked one question to the lame man at the pool of Bethesda in John 5:2 “Do you want to be made well?” This is the pivotal question for every person seeking healing for emotional wounds. The simple truth is that not everyone wants to be made well. They may start off eager with the best intentions, feeling emotionally that they cannot go on another day, but at the end of the day, do not want to be made well, and those who do not want to get well are not going to get well.

Why would I not want to walk in the freedom from the bondage that Christ set me free from? F-E-A-R! Fear of the unknown, fear of rejection, fear of what may be uprooted and exposed, fear of pain, fear that we may have to give up (someone or something); Or we may not be desperate enough yet.

Perhaps we have grown comfortable in our dysfunction and are comfortable in a victim role. We may not have reached a breaking point yet where we face losing someone we love, such as a spouse, or a relationship, maybe even a job, our freedom, and in our minds – we tell ourselves as bad as our current situation is – “it’s not as bad as so and so’s”, or at least we know how to respond, or how to continue to do life and even serve in ministry. However, we are putting on the painted smile while living in a prison in our own mind. But make no mistake…It is never God’s fault. If we do not want to embark on the journey and “be made well” – we won’t get well. Healing is a choice.

If you are in a place where you are desperate enough to get help and want to be made well then I pray that nothing will hinder you from getting the healing that you need and will encounter the Healer in a deep and intimate way.

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3

Emotionally Crippled

emotionally crippled 2We are told in scripture to let go of the past and reach forward to what’s ahead. Sadly, many of God’s children cannot let go or forget the past because they have been wounded and crippled emotionally in one way or another, and the past is affecting their present life. So instead of running the Christian race they limp along the way often overcome with guilt and shame for not “getting it” like other Christians seemingly do.

Our Churches are filled with two types of emotional crippled Christians, The first have open wounds in their hearts that they medicate through negative behaviors such as addiction, immorality, anger etc. They live in denial not realizing their destructive and hurtful behaviors have a root cause.

The second group of wounded believers are also in denial but through sheer will power they have chosen to bury and rise above their past often pouring themselves into ministry, volunteer work, charities, and other busy activities out of a personal need to be needed and valued rather than a healthy heart to serve. By staying busy they don’t have to face themselves and the wounds inside, or learn to receive from others.

These two groups have one important thing in common – they have never accepted the Grace of God. Whatever they do, even spiritually, it never seems to be enough. It’s as if they have to earn God’s acceptance, and yet never feel they are good enough to fully receive it. The first group is overcome with sinful behaviors; while the second group is so busy “being good” they don’t even consider the possibility that they may have festering wounds inside that need healing.

It is only when unresolved areas within are dealt with that the past can truly be put behind and we are able to run the race with endurance and assurance of God’s calling and purpose for our life.

“Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.”
Hebrews 12:1-2

Rejection

Rejection
Nothing wounds a heart more than rejection. The dictionary defines rejection as “an act of throwing away or discarding someone or something,” which implies a lack of value in the person or thing being thrown away. Being rejected then can make us feel valueless and worthless.

Since every human being has three fundamental needs ….to be loved, valued and accepted, rejection results in wounding in the heart so painful that people cannot deal with it so they suppress it in their mind, stuff the pain away inside, pretend it’s not there and live in denial of their pain, but later it surfaces in various negative behaviors causing deeper pain, problems and conflict much like a layering affect.

Rejection can be rooted in our family of origin, peers, those in authority (teachers, pastors, etc.), resulting from verbal abuse, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, troubles in the home, adoption, divorce, abandonment, infidelity, and peer rejection.

Sadly rejection can breed more rejection if the roots are not dealt with. People with rejection issues often feel victimized and place themselves in situations where they are always the victim, whether real or imagined and it sets a pattern that becomes a way of life, Others turn to exhausting ways to feel accepted – people pleasing, perfectionism, workaholic, etc. Others refuse to deal with it all together and check out through, drugs, alcohol, anger, immorality, and other negative behaviors. Unless the root is dealt with, the truth is accepted and replaced –the by-product or rejection will always be rejection.

Despite the past rejection our God can heal you. He can walk into the darkness of rejection and shed His marvelous light on the path of your healing journey. The one who created you and numbers the hairs on your head will never reject you. He wants to heal those painful roots of rejection so that you can live in His acceptance.

“I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do: I will not forsake them. “
(Isaiah 42:16)

True Intimacy & Sex

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Being intimate involves the mixing of our life with another, a mingling of souls, a sharing of hearts. This is something that we all long for because that is how God made us. We were designed to connect. It requires openness, honesty and transparency – the ability to share our true selves and have security knowing that we are loved and accepted just the way we are despite our imperfections. This is true intimacy.

 
Sex can be the most intimate and beautiful expression of love within the boundaries of marriage but we are lying to ourselves when we think that sex is proof of love. How many men do you know that demand sex as proof of love and how many women give in to sex in hopes of getting love?
Real intimacy does not come by merely coming together in sex. Many couples go to bed at night sharing their bodies but feel lonely because they don’t share their hearts. You see sex is not the source of love, it’s merely an expression of it . And no matter how hard you try, if real emotional and spiritual intimacy does not take place before sex, it probably won’t after.

 
True intimacy begins with your relationship with God first. This relationship is the foundation for all healthy relationships. When you let the living God be the source of intimacy and love in your life, you won’t fall for the pitfalls of relationships devoid of emotional and spiritual intimacy that leave your heart longing and unsatisfied.

 

“For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, And the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” Psalm 107:9

Signs of Unhealthy Bounaries

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Healthy boundaries are essential in establishing healthy relationships. Unhealthy boundaries lead to unhealthy relationships and broken boundaries lead to broken relationships. People with unhealthy boundaries….

Allow wrongful behavior that hurts them, the person acting out and the entire family.

Sacrifice their personal values, plans or goals to please others.

Allow others to define who they are and make decisions for them.

Expect others to fulfill all their needs.

Feel guilty when they say “No!”

Hesitate to share their opinions or assert themselves if they are being treated unfairly.

Frequently feel used, taken advantage of, unappreciated, threatened, victimized or mistreated by others.

Offer unsolicited advice, or feel pressured to follow some else’s advice.

Take responsibility for other people’s feelings.

Let others tell them how to think, feel, or act.

Tell others how to think, feel, or act.

If you struggle with unhealthy boundaries, you can also struggle with being afraid to disapprove of others, receiving criticism from others, or losing the love of others.

By choosing to allow God to heal you, fill you with His love and identity, and allow Him to be the source of the only love that will satisfy your every need — you will gain a newfound freedom knowing your value and worth, and begin seeing yourself through the filter of His love and not through the filter of the unhealthy people around you. Then you can stop being a victim and walk in victory, stop blaming others and start taking ownership and responsibility of your own life as a precious child of the living God.