I hurt for a long time because of childhood sexual abuse. Now I want to provide a safe place for hurting men to connect with other survivors of sexual abuse. Talk to us. You don't have to use your real name to share your experiences or ask questions.

Gaining Strength

"Every time I overcome something from my painful past, I become stronger and more prepared for the next self-discovery." I put the words in quotes, because I can't remember who wrote this to me or exactly the way he said it, but that was the gist.

That's also a general life principle, isn't it? Each victory, no matter how small, prepares us for the next. For example, in 2007, our house burned down and we lost everything. As I watched it burn, while waiting for the fire department, I knew we wouldn't save anything.

One of the first things that popped into mind was these words, "I've been preparing for this." It wasn't something I'd thought of until that moment, but it was true. I did a quick review of my life and various trials. I also realized that if the fire had happened 20 years earlier, I wouldn't have been able to handle it nearly so well. Instead, I'd probably ask questions such as, "Why me?" "What did I do to deserve this?"

The other thing that came to me that day was a quotation from the book of Job in the Old Testament. Everything, including his children, had been killed or destroyed. His wife urged him to curse God and die. Instead, Job said, "Shall we receive good from God and not also receive trouble?"[1]

Each time I go through a painful experience in my healing, I try to remind myself that I've been preparing for this agony. I also remind myself that such insights and experiences don't come until we can handle them.

Some might want to argue with that last statement, but I stand by it. Some give up or go into depression, but I believe we have those experiences only when we can handle them.

What do you think?


[1] Job 2:20, CEB translation.

1 comment:

Roger Mann said...

You said: "Each time I go through a painful experience in my healing, I try to remind myself that I've been preparing for this agony. I also remind myself that such insights and experiences don't come until we can handle them."

I think this is exactly true. My counselor and friend once told me when I asked whey I waited so long to begin my recovery, you will never begin one hour before or one hour after until your mind is ready to deal with the pain. I think he was right. I could not have accepted any of the reality until my father was dead and gone. Once he was in the ground it all began to unravel and I was ready to face it. It was slow at first which was a mercy but over the last 13 years I have healed one lie, one pain at a time and been given insight as I was able to process them all bit by bit. God is merciful, patient and gentle.