“How did God confirm it was time to go public with your story of childhood trauma?”
A couple months ago I saw one of my dreams come to frution as my book The Tapestry of Trauma: Transforming the Tangles of Childhood Sexual Abuse into God’s Masterpiece released. My family, friends and I celebrated as colorful balloons floated in the air. Voices chattered with joy and excitement. My hand tingled as I joyfully signed book after book. Toward the end of the celebration, a friend of mine interviewed me.
We laughed as she exhibited an Oprah-like persona prepared to entertain our captivated audience. Initially, the questions were lighthearted until my Oprah wannabe slowly asked,
“What was your first confirmed sign from God that you were free to speak about your trauma?”
Time froze as I tried to stop my mouth from dropping to my chest. How did I transition from silence to sharing? I pray these essential steps will help you as God brings you from healing to helping others heal from your experience.
1. Pray and ask God for guidance.
“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you” (Psalm 32:8 NIV). Scenes from my healing journey flashed through my mind. I remember the first time I felt a tender prompting from the Holy Spirit to share my story in my small women’s group Bible study. But I resisted. I was not ready to share my pain with anyone yet. Fear of rejection or judgment kept me silent. I needed more healing before safely revisiting my trauma and telling my story. I began to seek God’s guidance about when I could safely share my testimony. Years later, I addressed the topic, “Lord, Heal My Hurt.” The Holy Spirit whispered, “Share your story.” God knew I had healed enough from my trauma to speak about it objectively. “I’m a childhood sexual abuse survivor, “ The words slipped through my trembling lips.” I realized I wanted to teach the women the Lord would heal their hurts because He healed mine. God confirmed His timing as several women told me their trauma stories. They appreciated my transparency which empowered them to speak up too. I took the next step under God’s continued guidance and compassionate eye. I penned The Tapestry of Trauma with a biblical, therapeutic, and personal perspective.
2. Practice sharing your trauma with trusted people.
“Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at his feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched him and how she had been instantly healed” (Luke 8:47 NIV). In The Tapestry of Trauma, I tell the story of the woman with the issue of blood. I named her Eliana. After touching the hem of Jesus’ garment, she was healed and tried to silently slip away. However, Jesus asked, “Who touched me?” Courageously, she publicly revealed her testimony. When you know you have healed enough to tell your story, how much do you share and to whom? Pray and ask God to lead you to one trustworthy person. Eliana told her story to the most trustworthy person ever. Jesus listened and comforted her. He blessed Eliana with peace and confirmed her healing.
3. Ask for support and feedback before you speak or write openly.
The more you practice sharing your trauma with safe people, the more confident you will become. Decide ahead of time how much of your narrative you are comfortable sharing. Ease your way in with small nuggets until you feel secure enough to share more.
4. Identify your motivation to go public.
I want to share my healing lessons with other childhood abuse survivors so they can mend too. Understanding your why equips you to fulfill your assignment from God.
5. Proclaim your story for God’s glory.
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” He replied, “Whether he is a sinner or not, I don’t know. One thing I do know. I was blind but now I see!” (John 9:3,25 NIV).
The story of the healed blind man is another example of public testimony. Jesus and His disciples see a man blind from birth. The disciples wondered if the man or his parents sinned, causing a punishment of blindness. Jesus explains that illness is an opportunity to display God’s glory. Later the healed man endures extensive questioning because Jesus performed the miracle on the Sabbath. The religious leaders wanted to cause trouble for Jesus. Instead, the miracle man continued to proclaim the truth of his healing to anyone who listened. His story continues to proclaim God’s glory even to this day.
Can you imagine Jesus speaking these words to you?
“You did not cause your suffering. Your trauma story will reflect My healing work in you, and through you, God will get the glory.” Hallelujah! Trauma touched your life, but your story will touch others as your message inspires hope.
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