Perhaps I know you. Maybe you sit next to me in church or your cubicle is down the hall from me at work.  Perhaps you’re my neighbor, my boss, or my best friend. Or maybe, just maybe, you’re the sister that I’ve not had the wonderful privilege to meet quite yet – but I want you to know, you’re still my sister. So read on:

Dear Sister,

I’m so sorry for the pain that you’ve experienced as you’ve walked through this horrible abuse. You don’t deserve this pain, and it’s not your fault that it happened to you.  But you see, the world we live in is filled with people who live by standards that aren’t good, and they certainly aren’t godly. I hope you don’t ever believe that all others, and especially your heavenly father, have those same standards, because that’s just not true. There are many good and kind people in the world. People who want you to get back on your feet again. People who will help you find your way. People who will cheer you on and people who will love you regardless of what others may have told you. But what’s even better than all of those good and kind people is that we have a very good and loving God who just wants you to feel his love, faithfulness, security, peace and yes, joy. If I’m right, those are the things you’ve longed for in your relationship with the one who chose to abuse you, but the opposite happened.

But the time has come. The time where you can stand up and feel loved. No more cowering in the closet, afraid he’ll find you to beat you or rape you. No more shaking uncontrollably because he’s knocked you to the floor again or screamed in your face for hours, telling you how horrible, lazy, and worthless you are. No more keeping you as a hostage, unable to contact your own family or friends just to tell them you love them or miss them, or do something as innocent as ask for crazy Aunt Martha’s chili recipe. No more of any of that. Because you, my dear sister, are worth far more than you can fathom. In fact, you are a pearl of great price.

So perhaps you wonder what it is that can help you to not only survive but thrive during or after the abuse.

Let me tell you, Sis:

Lean in. Lean in to the Lord like you’ve never leaned into anyone before. How? Get up out of bed a half hour earlier each day, grab a cup of coffee (or tea or water) and sit quietly as you listen for his voice. He’ll talk to you. You just need to find that quiet time to hear him in the midst of the chaos that you’ve experienced. Read his word. Turn on some really cool praise music (Bridging the Gap has a LOT of artists they could recommend) and just “peace out.”

Contact a women’s shelter and ask them for their current training and mentoring programs and get involved!  You can learn a new skill. Go back to school – the world is your oyster!

Contact your local church and find out what kind of programs they have. Some offer training, business clothing, and household goods to help you get back on your feet again. Some churches even offer amazing groups for recovery from abuse. Don’t be shy – call around!

Get counseling. There are many professional Christian counselors who deal with the effects of domestic violence. Choose a counselor who has been specifically trained in this area. Trust me on this. You may think you’re good in this area, but you’re probably not. A good counselors is like a secret keeper with whom you can vent, cry, and get advice on how to regain your life and make it stronger.

Find something that makes you feel happy – and do it daily. For some of us, it’s a craft, reading, taking pictures of flowers, going for a jog, or just laughing at something funny. Find something you enjoy, and you will eventually get that big beautiful smile back.

Forgive. Yes, my sweet little sis – you’re going to have to forgive your abuser at some point. But I want you to know that forgiveness isn’t allowing the same behavior to happen over and over again. In fact, you may need to get away from the abuse not only to heal, but to protect yourself and your children. So don’t let anyone convince you that you need to stay in a situation if you feel unsafe or if you or the kiddos are being hurt. Sis, forgiveness, in one of its truest forms, involves letting go of the hurt and letting God take your hurt from that point on.  It’s a process, and you will have to do it if you want to thrive, but I know you can do this.

So Sister, hang on girl – you’re destined for a lot of smiles, laughing til your belly aches, peace as you sleep, a closet that you can hide your secret treasures in – instead of yourself, and a life that is vibrantly ready for you to live out your calling each and every day.

Love you bunches,

Julie

This is the third article in our domestic abuse series. You can find the other articles, Behind Closed Doors and Hitting the Escape Button, here.

Julie Anderson

Author Julie Anderson

Julie is a mom, wife and wannabe thrill-seeker. She enjoys horseback riding, hopping on her husband’s motorcycle, laughing ‘til her face hurts, and writing, but her passion is to help restore the lives of women affected by domestic violence or their spouse’s sexual addiction. You can find her cooking, giggling, and sharing how to get through some of life’s craziness at www.therestoredwoman.com.

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