He Heals Our Hidden Wounds

Uncategorized May 29, 2019

Written by: Christine Caine

 Almost 25 years ago, I opened my front door to find my husband Nick standing there with the most beautiful roses—the perfect prelude to a date. We weren’t yet married and had just begun talking more about the future. As we took off and headed out to our favorite restaurant, I soon realized that we were driving in the wrong direction.


“Nick? Are we lost?”


“Relax,” he said. “I’ve got a surprise.”


Immediately I was overcome with anxiety. Mentally, I understood that Nick wanted to do something special. But emotionally, I couldn’t shake the familiar dread and suffocating fear that surprises always triggered. Nick grew frustrated by my demeanor, but I felt helpless to control it.
After a few minutes of tense silence, Nick slowed the car and turned to face me.

“Christine, anytime I try to do something spontaneous, or anytime it seems as if things are slipping out of your direct control, you freak out. If I try to talk to you about it, you put up walls and shut me out. It’s clear that you don’t trust me.”


He was right. I loved him. I did. But I didn’t trust him completely. It had nothing to do with him. I just didn’t trust anyone completely. I couldn’t. And I definitely didn’t want to explain to him why surprises always upended me.

My heart pounded. I knew I had to bring it all out of the darkness and into the light. I had to move forward—undaunted—trusting God more than anyone, including Nick. Still, I dreaded the conversation I’d spent most of my life avoiding.

“I do love you. I want to trust you…it’s just not easy.” And then, slowly, I told him how I had been abused for many years as a girl, by several different men. When I said the word abused, I started to shake. All the hidden things came pouring out: places, incidents, memories I hadn’t even realized I’d forgotten and buried so deeply. Telling the man I loved what other men had done to me was the hardest thing I had ever done.

I felt deeply shamed by the abuse, and it was evident that I still felt so much guilt—though undeserved like it is for any victim. I had put a small bandage over a gaping wound. I had said I loved God with my whole heart, only my heart wasn’t whole. I had vowed to never let anyone ever again hurt, betray, use, or abuse me, but I hadn’t realized that, by locking myself behind these walls I thought would protect me, I was also locking out love.

“Oh Nick, I want to give you the key to the innermost recesses of my heart, but I don’t know where I last put it. And if by holding you at arm’s length and failing to trust you, I can influence you to leave, then I’ve proven that I’m really not worth staying with. But if you stay, I’m forced to ask myself, Is there actually something in me that makes me worth your time and sacrifice?”

Nick pulled me close, holding me for the longest time.

Though I fiercely craved close relationships, I desperately feared them. I felt as though I were trapped in a relational no-man’s land with no hope of escape.

Perhaps you’ve felt this way before, too. Whatever your story, we know: Abusers try to take our souls. The damage goes deep and the memories can inflict just as much harm again and again.

For many of us, we remember the exact moment of the hurt—how the earth seemed to stop spinning, how our world came to a halt. We can’t forget the sights, smells, what we wore, who else was there. These things freeze in our memories, and a part of us freezes with them, forever stuck in a place, unable to move on.

When Nick confronted me, though I was no longer being abused, I wasn’t free. I couldn’t forgive the men who hurt me, nor myself for being abused. Worse, I realized that I hadn’t forgiven God. Where was he, after all, when I was a helpless child and those men laid hands on me? Why didn’t he stop them?

Did I really think that? How could I compel others to love God with their whole hearts when I kept a part of my own from him? How could I move, undaunted, into an unknown future with a God I did not trust?

Although I was shocked by my thoughts, God was not. Since he knows everything, he knew that if I were to be truly free, I needed to deal with my wounds. He was able to heal me, but I had to choose his healing. If I were to be made whole, first I had to admit that I wasn’t. I had to accept that I needed help. I needed to reach up to God and out to others, including counselors, as part of the healing exercise. Only then could I purely love others.

The process of breaking free and walking in wholeness starts within. My healing process took the touch of God’s hand, as well as hard work over time.

Even when Naaman, a valiant Old Testament army commander who was stricken by leprosy, sought a cure, he was told to dip seven times in the muddy Jordan River to be healed.1 He couldn’t go to a prettier river with cleaner waters and just dip once. He had to get in the Jordan and bathe there again and again—seven times. A clear picture of how healing is such a messy process, and a choice we make.

If we trust God with our broken and wounded hearts, then he will bring healing, restoration and wholeness. He will make all things new. What someone else might leave for broken, he will always see as beautiful. He will always see us beyond where we are, and as who he created us to be.

 

Adapted from the newly revised book, Undaunted, Daring To Do What God Has Called You To Do, by Christine Caine available at bookstores now.

Need a safe place to relate to others about this topic? Join one of Dr. Henry Cloud's Boundaries Peer Groups. 

Boundaries in Marriage
Boundaries with Codependency
Boundaries in Dating
 
Boundaries with Parents
Boundaries with Adult Children
Boundaries After Divorce
Boundaries with Narcissists
Boundaries with Kids and Teens
Boundaries in Church

 

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