I never really understood the line, “what you don’t know can’t hurt you”, but I also never gave much thought to it. That is until I realized that what you don’t know can, and often times will, hurt you.
But let me back up and introduce myself.
I have been sustained in marriage by a gracious God for 5 ½ years. In those nearly six years we have been blessed with three beautiful children.
As sometimes is the case, our first year of marriage was filled with its share of difficulties.
We began to work through some of these superficial issues and plodded along, committed to one another, desiring to follow God, but somehow consistently hitting what felt like a virtual brick wall.
Happiness and trust seemed elusive to us.
Between my husband’s on going battle with pornography, my on-going response to his addiction with anger, and raising our children, I felt like things couldn’t get much worse.
My plate was more full than it had ever been, yet I was so depleted. Slowly the dream of a happy home and marriage was diluted down to a watery wish.
Fast forward to 2010, a handful of months prior to celebrating our four year anniversary.
The previous December my husband had completed a brief intensive counseling program called Stonegate Resources. He was beginning to experience the freedom and victory Christ accomplished at the cross.
We were breathing deeper.
We were enjoying our marriage and our then family of four in a new way; expectant and excited for what God had in store.
Sometimes, however, what God has in store, isn’t necessarily pleasant on the front end. And although He will “use all things for good, for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes” as Romans 8:28 says, that does not ensure the road to glory will be without difficulty.
That Spring we returned from visiting a relative. What I had once thought was the worst suddenly seemed like child’s play compared to the living nightmare we found ourselves in.
As our daughter began to share and show what evil deeds had been done to her by this person we trusted, I felt and knew exactly what David meant when He alluded to the valley of the shadow of death in Psalm 23. One night in particular, as I wept alone in our room, I could feel darkness all around me. It was one of many nights I cried out for answers.
Suddenly our very wobbly legs buckled and we were back to square one. The fighting resumed as we separately grieved. He retreated to his corner and I to mine…happiness and oneness again seemed just beyond our grasp.
A friend referred us to a play therapist for our daughter.
As my husband and I met with her for the first time, she looked at me and said, “I think something has happened to you as well.”
Those words shattered glass folks.
For the first time in my life someone saw through the facade. And her seeing me allowed the wall to begin to crumble.
I shared that my mom had always suspected something but that I had no recollection of anything.
The next appointments were set as we left, one for me and one for our daughter.
That night, as we got ready for bed, my mind was muddled. I knew the therapist had struck a cord in me, but I still didn’t have any recollection of events. Just an uncertainty about what was ahead for me.
“God will bring to light what you need to know”, were the words the therapist had left me with.
What was that supposed to mean anyway? I was an “all my ducks are in a row” type gal. I could remember phone numbers from the time I was a little girl.
How on earth could horrific events have happened to me and I be left with nothing more than a blank slate?
Sure there were a handful of choices that gave every indication of abuse, but with no memories I had always seen my choices as unrelated to anything other than a sinful heart being given free reign.
Furthermore, while I appreciated someone finally seeing through me, I had a family in the trenches to attend to.
I didn’t have time to go through this process, nor could I allow myself the time it takes to personally heal. (Victims often struggle with realizing their self-worth in such a way as to prioritize themselves.)
Besides, I had been redeemed by His blood, pulled from the miry clay, several years prior. I was already complete in Christ and set free in Him. Right?
Even today I can see so clearly the image of a bloodied heart, freed from it’s 6 foot concrete slab, that He had removed and said was fertile soil for His Word to be planted in.
What on earth could I possible have missed then?
As I reminded God of all this He showed me a large, black, 1 ton locker attached to the back of my heart. Until that moment I was 100% unaware the locker existed.
“I want in there,” my Savior spoke to my heart.
The door opened; sewage and filth and muck spilled forth.
He then proceeded to walk, waist high into all that had been hidden away, even from my heart.
“I am going to clean this up, make it orderly, and it will be a place of ministry for you.”
I wept…for the first time, one of many, as I began to see that what I didn’t know had the potential to hurt deeply.
Before the eyes of my heart, I watched as my Savior’s snow white garments were soiled and stained with the carnage of suppressed abuse.
Finally, after all these years, I was beginning to accept that even the darkest areas of my heart could be loved. And this acceptance has been the beginning of true healing!