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    Healing From Abuse

    A Project Inspired reader recently asked how to forgive someone who has abused her. I knew immediately that I had a “divine appointment” with this reader.

    I like to define “divine appointments” as an appointment that God purposely constructs so someone is in the right place at the right time to reach into the life of another. Today I’m keeping this “divine appointment” with all of you who need help healing from abuse.

    My testimony: I was raped in college, on two separate occasions, by two different men. For many years I lived with fear and feelings of low self worth. I struggled with maintaining healthy relationships and often allowed people to mistreat me. My voice had been stolen and I couldn’t remember my value. And, like many of you, I couldn’t forgive those people for hurting me.

    However, as my relationship with God grew, I realized that to FULLY heal, I had to give God all of my pain. I also realized that to give God ALL of that burden, I had to release the bitterness I was feeling toward those men. When I was able to do that, a miraculous thing happened: I finally was able to forgive them.

    You see, forgiveness is NOT for them. Forgiveness is for YOU. The more that you hold on to the hurt, the more power it has over you.

    So, for all of you girls who need to know how to forgive, I’ll first share with you how to heal. Forgiveness and healing go hand in hand. The more you heal, the more you will be able to forgive; and the more you forgive, the quicker your healing process.

    Here is what helped me heal from my abuse–I hope it helps you, too:

    1. Recognize that God is your ultimate healer:  God can and WILL heal any part of you that is broken: mind, body, and spirit. It’s vitally important to BELIEVE that God wants you to be spiritually and emotionally healthy.

    2. It’s okay to talk about it: Give yourself permission to speak. Join a support group, see a therapist, tell your story to a supportive friend. Do anything, just talk. Remember to focus on the fact that you made it through the assault because you’re a SURVIVOR!

    3. Allow yourself to forgive: In order to FULLY heal, you have to forgive the person who hurt you. This may be the most difficult thing you have to do, but it’s important to your healing process. Remember, forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for YOU.

    NOTE: Forgiveness does NOT mean allowing the person to get away with what he/she did! It IS okay and VERY IMPORTANT to hold that person accountable for hurting you. If someone has hurt you in the past or is hurting you now, PLEASE get help immediately!

    4. Engage in positive self talk: I began the process of learning to love myself again by changing the way that I spoke about myself. I began to speak only positive things and constantly reminded myself that God loves me. This is very important. Soon you’ll begin to internalize those positive words and you’ll heal quicker.

    5. Help other girls: Reach out to others. There’s nothing more rewarding than using your experience to help others with their healing.

    I’ll post soon on specific ways to forgive, especially when forgiveness seems the hardest.

    Aysha Ives
    Aysha Ives loves God with her whole heart and has a desire to help hurting people. With a Masters Degree in Psychology, she combines her education and experience with her love for God to help people live whole and fulfilled lives. Aysha is an Author, Mental Health Provider, Youth Church Teacher, and the mother of one gifted little boy whom she absolutely adores. Aysha is honored to be able to share her love of God with Project Inspired readers. Aysha is also the author of God Cares About Your Stuff: How To Believe For Tomorrow When Things Look Utterly, Completely, And Totally Impossible Today, released February 2013- Available at Amazon.

    20 COMMENTS

    1. I have never experience abuse, but I have serveral friends that have. I think the best way for them to begin the healing process is to reconize that it is in no way your fault and in order to begin forgiveness for that person, start by praying for them.

    2. My mom would like this, she was in an abusive relationship with my father, but now she feels nothing–she hasn’t forgotten, but she remembers–because she prayed to God to help her forgive him. She tells us all the time that forgiveness is important. To sum it up, she says “If God can forgive, then who are we to not forgive?”.

    3. great article!! 🙂 I was abused (not sexually but still) by a boy a while back. Evertime I saw him he’d kick me and punch me in the face, for everyone to see. The only person to help me was an older girl who stepped in when he punched me and knocked me over. I told a few of the teachers but they wouldnt do anything. For a long time I was scared of boys (I even avoided my little brother). Even when very nice guys at church gave me a hug or something Id sort ofjust shove them away. But I gave up my struggles to God and I’ve forgived that boy. Im so happy that Ive moved past my struggles 🙂 Now the majority of my friends are boys lol I love them so much.

    4. Wow! I heard about Nicole’s story and this website on the 700 Club as I was doing homework. It sparked my interest, so I decided to look it up. The instant I logged onto the home page, God lead my eyes straight to this story. I struggled with a similar situation years ago, and it has always been the darkest part of my past. Knowing that I’m not alone really helped my mind set. And the guide lines have helped me realize why I haven’t been able to move on or forgive for so many years.
      It is truly amazing the way God works in our lives, and how He knows what is in our hearts even when we are too scared to say a word.

    5. I haven’t been abused physically but I have been abused emotionally alot, so this kind of helped. Back when it first started happening it was so bad, I got really depressed and was kind of suicidal for a while. I’m doing a lot better now, but I think I needed to read this.

    6. DO NOT BLAME YOURSELF. If there is one thing I could ever get across to you is don’t blame yourself. And never, ever think that your worthless. Because there is someone who died for you.

    7. I’ve been emotionally abused by a girl who is in my youth group. She has been at it for 4 years, but I’ve been open with my parents and my youth leader about it and the situation is being carefully watched. I’ve really had to give this all to God, because without him, I would crumple under the hurt. A verse that has really helped me is Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Because of that verse, I know that I don’t have to carry this alone and that is the greatest assurance I’ve ever received.

    8. i was sexually abused as a child and when i got to college i thought it was a new start, a clean slate. but i was sexually assaulted by 2 different guys on campus on different occasions. i know God is using me and i know all of this is apart of his BIGGER plan but it doesnt make it hurt any less…

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