I love Sheila Gregoire’s marriage blog and a while back I read this post, where she shares of her harrowing experience in the hands of strange men. During a missions trip.
Reading Sheila’s post stirred deep emotions because I have gone through a similar experience.
Our experiences are not exactly the same, but the effects were similar.
And the reason I am sharing this today is because I did not fully understand my reactions (especially towards men) thereafter. Reading Sheila’s post stirred thoughts I had long forgotten.
So I thought I’d write my thoughts to encourage you if you have ever gone through such a situation and thereafter wondered about your reactions.
Also if you are married and are struggling because something happened to you, I encourage you not just to read this post but also check out Sheila’s post as well.
I understand that you may have gone through more horrific pains and situations.
I am just sharing my experience in the hope that it will encourage you to face your fears, bring some sort of perspective to some of your emotions, and encourage you to find hope in God.
A few years ago, on two separate occasions, I was mugged by a group of men.
I remember going through the same cycle both times I was attacked.
– I felt alone and vulnerable
The first time I was mugged, I had just alighted from a public service vehicle.
I had barely taken five steps from the vehicle and the next thing I knew my feet were dangling in the air via a painful choke-hold.
I could not scream – or breath – only claw at the hand on my throat.
The whole thing happened in plain view of others – evening traffic, rush hour and all.
But no one came to my rescue. People watched, the public service vehicle pulled away.
People did nothing.
When bad things happen to us and no one comes to our rescue it’s easy to jump from “people don’t care” to “God doesn’t care”
But the Bible says
Even if my father and mother abandon me, the LORD will hold me close.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, Nor will the flame burn you. “For I am the LORD your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I had to intentionally remind myself that God did not abandon me.
In fact He would reveal His presence in a small detail* (see below)
– I felt violated and humiliated
In one of those incidents and as one of them held me forcefully, the others ran their hands all over my body, in specific ways, maybe looking for money.
Days after, I struggled to shake and wash away the feeling of being violated.
After they were done stealing, the man holding me threw me into a pool of dirty water.
(*This is where the Lord manifested His presence; I did not fall into the water. No other way to explain it other than the angel of the Lord held me up)
Later I would battle with humiliation and that horrible feeling of being discarded like trash.
When people do bad things to us and as we process the pain and hurt, it’s easy to start processing life from the bad guy point of view.
If they made you feel bad, you begin to think you are a bad person.
If someone hit you, you start to think you deserved it.
If someone said untrue things about you, you begin looking around your life, trying to see why they said such things and if they are true.
At some point I was thinking “If I wasn’t thrashing so hard, maybe he wouldn’t have squeezed my neck so hard and I wouldn’t be in this pain”
Yet when you think about it, who wouldn’t kick around when their throat has been squeezed shut?
Only the word of God and the sweet intimacy of the Spirit can transform our minds and hearts from brokenness to wholeness. (click to tweet that)
You cannot wish or “will” your way to better thoughts or a better self.
You can’t just “snap out of it”.
The Bible says the enemy walks around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
I have seen lions, I have heard them roar; they are scary!
The enemy is real and scary and powerful and he looks for the hurt and broken and vulnerable.
Your hurt is a doorway through which he wants to plant seeds of devastation. (Click to tweet that)
Your warfare is not against flesh and blood.
2 Corinthians 10: 3-5
“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.
The bad thoughts, the depression and confusion will not be healed by merely trying to be a better person or coming up with brighter human strategies.
You need to know what God says about you. That’s your victory.
Find Scriptures that talk about your identity and power and victory in Christ and stand on those.
Example if you feel or think “No one has stood up for me my entire life, I am not worth fighting for.”
You must hear God saying
“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.
for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you..”
1 John 4:9
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.
– I was angry and suspicious of men
I found myself scanning faces in crowds. Nairobi is a crowded city, so I was constantly on edge. Any young man with casual jeans and trendy T shirt was immediate suspect.
And I was mad.
Just plain angry that someone would steal from me and hurt me.
I came to understand that some pains you just have to grieve them out.
But how we (I) wish for a less complicated path, less emotions!
Sometimes we even deny our feelings and stuff our thoughts and pretend we are not hurting or questioning.
I believe that God would rather we we mourn and grieve in Him instead of going off by ourselves and pretending things don’t exist.
We are not less of a child of God because we hurt or grieve or get angry.
Rather because we are children of God we can go through grief and pain but with hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
Hope that God is there, that He heals, that He restores.
Your husband is not to blame
I don’t know what you are going through. My experience might be so small (and it is miniscule) compared to your devastation and pain.
From the little I went through, I know my hurt began to scream lies about men immediately.
That they are bad people, they take advantage of the weak, they are not to be trusted, they are violent, that I need to protect myself from them.
These were not intentional thoughts most of the time, just feelings that would assail me.
I did overcome by the grace of God.
But maybe you haven’t, maybe you are still struggling and your marriage is suffering as a result.
I don’t have answers, I don’t know why horrible things happen.
But I do want to point you to the One who has the answers, the One who loves you and longs to heal you and restore you.
Proverbs 18: 10 says
The name of the LORD is a strong tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.…
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
“Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
And today I hope you run to God and find help and healing.
Do you mind if I say a prayer for you?
Lord, I pray for my sister today. I don’t know her specific situation, I don’t know what she’s going through. But Lord, You know. I pray she knows how much you love her and care for her. I pray for a divine turn around as she allows you into her pain and as she believes your Word. Lord, help her read your Word, give her relevant verses, help her to believe You and not her past or her pain. I ask for your presence and divine healing. I speak the blood of Jesus over her and over her marriage. We thank you God for you have already overcome on her behalf. In Jesus name we pray and believe, amen.
Make you sure to read Sheila’s post here.