Spiritual Non-Fiction posted May 15, 2018 Chapters:  ...53 54 -55- 56... 


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A chapter in the book Beauty for Ash and Stone

Day 55 - Joy

by MelB




Background
Christian Devotional for Survivors of Sexual Abuse

Day 55
 

~ Joy ~
 
Before I went through counseling, I suffered from fear, anxiety, shame, depression, anger, rage, nightmares, low self-esteem, self-hatred, and suicidal thoughts. I attempted to numb the pain from sexual abuse with alcohol, marijuana, excessive exercise, and many failed relationships. I had no idea how to relate to men, other than flirting, and I tried to earn acceptance with perfectionism and pleasing people. I was convinced I was doomed to live a substandard life and my marriage hung on by a thin line. 
 
These were all effects of childhood sexual abuse perpetrated by Satan to steal my joy, kill my soul, and destroy my life. The enemy wants to wound each child as early as possible, in hopes of setting them up for a life without God or at least make the child think God doesn’t care at all about them. God has a plan and a purpose for each one of us, if we will give up control and trust Him with our life.
 
As I dealt with my childhood wounds, and worked through the painful memories of abuse, I found Satan didn’t have the same hold on me. His horrid lies were being replaced with God’s beautiful truth. Fear, anxiety, and shame were exchanged for calmness, assurance, and honor. Depression, anger and rage were swapped with joy, love, and peace. The nightmares and suicidal thoughts disappeared and I learned to accept myself as someone who could not only be loved by others, but also by God.
 
I stopped seeing God as this distant being with no concern for me, and I realized He was with me through it all.God didn’t desire for me to be abused, but He was with me and helping me through it all. He provided horses to my family, as a way for me to escape the chaos of my childhood. God comforted me through those gentle creatures, and also helped my mom combat her own depression.
 
I asked for forgiveness of my sins, my family’s sins, forgave those who abused me, and a miraculous transformation occurred – I healed! I was left with an overwhelming sense of joy and peace. During this healing journey, God revealed He wanted me to counsel others and use horses to offer love, hope, and encouragement to the hurting and broken. I went back to college for another degree, but this time in counseling. In 2013, I visited a ranch in Bend, Oregon to learn how to start a ministry with horses and founded an equine therapy and counseling organization called Bridle of Hope in 2014.
 
Friend, you don’t have to live a life sentence of “damaged” and “abused.” Joy can be yours again! “You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy” (Psalm 30:11). God loves you, trust Him, and He will give you joy in your heart!


Recognized


I'm grateful for everything I've gone through in my life, the good and the bad. I don't think I would truly know Jesus without having gone through all the pain and misery. I'm definitely a stronger person! I also have more compassion for others. I listen to really ugly stuff, as I counsel women and children who have been abused, but I feel "home." This is where God wants me and this is what I was meant to do. You can't put a price on that kind of reward!
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