The Day I Found My Voice

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I huddled by the heater in the corner of the church prayer room, trying desperately to get some warmth into my shivering body.  I knew, though, that the trembling was not only because of the cold, but that it was largely due to fear.

Soon I was to meet a friend, and I was planning to tell her the thing I had held inside me for years, that I had never spoken aloud.

I wanted to do it.  I had been carrying this burden for too long and I was tired.  I was sick of hiding.  I hated the feeling that it created a barrier in all my relationships that prevented true connection.  I was tired of worrying about what people would think, of feeling that my true self was unacceptable, of listening to the voice that taunted me: “If they only knew…”

I longed to open up, but the fear of rejection was strong, and I wasn’t sure how to move past it.

“God, help me,” I prayed.

I knew he was asking me to speak about this.  Over the last few years I had drawn close to him as I had wrestled with this situation and he had shown me his love in tangible ways time and time again.  He had taught me to listen to his voice, whispered truth to the broken places in my heart, and gradually worn down my resistance.   I finally felt secure enough in his love that I was willing to take the risk, believing I had something solid to hold onto even if the consequences were bad.

I knew I had to speak out… only, I couldn’t.

I had tried the day before.  I had met my friend specifically for that purpose but, when the moment arrived, the words refused to come.  It was as if they were stuck inside me and no amount of effort could coax them out.  My friend’s response had been great- she had spoken words of love and encouragement and insisted we try again- and I wanted to tell her, but I wasn’t sure how.

Then a board on the opposite wall of the prayer room caught my eye.  It was filled with questions.

They were questions Jesus had asked people, but as I read them it was if he was speaking them directly to me.

“What do you want me to do for you?” (Mark 10:51 NIV)

“I want you to help me do this!  I want you to give me courage, and make the words come out!  And please, help her respond well.”

“Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6 NIV)

“Yes!  With all my heart!   I want to be free of this; I want to be healed…  but I know that means I have to say it and I really don’t know if I can.”

“Why are you so afraid?” (Matthew 8:26 NIV)

“Because I don’t know how people will react.  Because I’ve carried this for so long I don’t know what will happen if I let it out.  Because once I do, there’s no way back.  I’m trying to trust you- I’m just not sure I can do it.”

“Do you believe that I am able to do this?” (Matthew 9:28 NIV)

I paused, and I thought back over the last few years- of the many times I had seen God at work, of the situations where I had witnessed his power, of the countless ways he had displayed his love and faithfulness.

“Yes, I do.  I’m still afraid but I do believe.  I believe you can do this.”

It was time.

I turned off the heater and went downstairs: the next step on the path to freedom.


Despite my fears, speaking out was one of the best decisions I have made.  If you or someone you love has experienced childhood sexual abuse, I encourage you to check out the book “Journey to Heal” by Crystal Sutherland and the online study which is coming up soon.  Click on the picture below for further details or read my review here.

Journey Study - 2

Embracing Every Day      Holly Barrett     purposefulfaith.com           “God-Sized

 

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47 thoughts on “The Day I Found My Voice

  1. I cannot begin to tell you how much I needed to read this…the part of the questions Jesus asked people is what resonated with me most. Wow, I just never thought of the pointed, specific questions Jesus asked people…I have read them many times, but to have them all listed together like this was just profound for me in my current struggles. I have had Him ask me more than once lately, “What do you want?” And, I have been telling Him. Just laying it all out before Him and trusting Him to help me. Thank you for sharing this…God can take a situation and use it in so many different ways. He is a faithful God to every one of us, individually.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Cheryl. I’m so glad it was helpful. Jesus asked some amazing questions that really get to the heart of things. I love how God cares about our individual situations and gives us just what we need at the right time. Praying for you today!

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  2. Yes, I agree! It was so incredibly difficult to share at first, but getting those words out into the light led me to the path of freedom as well. I love the questions on the prayer wall and the powerful way you describe that encounter with the Lord. What a beautiful illustration of faith! Thank you for using your voice to share His love with others. And yes – Journey to Heal by Crystal Sutherland is a wonderful resource!

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  3. Thanks for having the courage to keep sharing about this! I’m so glad you found your voice and have so boldly offered to speak up as the Lord asks on this topic. You know how precious this book is to me!! I shared your post on Twitter and pray the Lord might draw someone into healing through what you share here!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Bethany! I still really don’t find it easy, but if it will encourage someone to speak out or point them to Journey to Heal it is worth it. That is my prayer too. Thank you for sharing the post!

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  4. Dear Lesley … you are strong and courageous and I admire you for reaching out to your friend and to those of us online who love to visit with you.

    “Do you want to get well?” (John 5:6 NIV) is a favorite verse of mine, one I share with clients. We long to say yes, don’t we …

    Healing blessings to you this day.

    Grace, grace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Linda! Any courage or strength I find is all from God!
      “Do you want to get well?” is a great question. The answer seems obvious, but to say yes means we have to be willing to do what it takes, which is often scary! Blessings to you!

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  5. I love how God spoke those questions on the wall to your own heart, Lesley. Taking that “next step on the path to freedom” can be so difficult. Thank you for sharing your heart so openly and honestly. It encourages others to take that next step, too. The journey can be long and every next step feel so out of reach, but God is faithful. Love and hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Trudy. I know you understand, and while I think that was the hardest step I’ve ever taken, I don’t think any step is easy. It’s so important to keep our focus on God’s faithfulness and to encourage one another too. Love to you!

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  6. The questions on the board…If we would go back to these questions, every time we feel fearful, insecure, or unworthy, we would make more progress with our healing and grow our faith. It’s so easy to get caught-up in fear. You know, it’s like the fear has become a “security blanket” that we carry around. It’s just the opposite of how the Lord wants us to live, but we do it anyway. I’ve come to realize that we keep a lot of hurts inside and although we know the Lord knows about our hurts, we try to hide them from Him, too…in that, we do not talk to Lord about our hurts. We think we should be healed, if we have faith. We should be stronger, better…. But, how can He heal us, if we don’t ask for healing and truly lay the burden upon His altar? As I become more and more faithful in His ability to heal me, I realize that all I need to do is ask~ Day by day, I am growing my faith and depending on Him. May you continue to find courage and lean upon His love. Cynthia

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true- sometimes we have been caught up in fear for so long that it’s like we forget there is another way to live. We may not like it but it becomes familiar.
      I agree also that sometimes we can try to hide our hurts from God even though he knows anyway, but for real healing we have to be honest with him and hand them over to him, and it is an on-going process.
      Thanks for visiting today, Cynthia, and sharing your thoughts.

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  7. Thank God for brave souls like you, who do the hard things even in fear. I have a friend who recently spoke out on some long-held secrets so I saw how difficult and scary it is. Blessings to you, Lesley, for sharing this piece of your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Lisa, and thank you for being there for your friend. It is so important to find people who are willing to listen and safe to share with. I’m sure you are a huge blessing to her.

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  8. I’ll never forget the first time I told…over 30 years later. It was to my therapist and it just bubbled out of my soul. Quite different from when I told a friend for the first time. I was SO scared of what she would think if me. I almost didn’t say it, except I knew I had to. It’s almost like I didn’t make the decision to tell…I honestly think it was all God’s idea, and I was along for the ride, no matter how scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jami! I’m glad you were able to find your voice too. I agree it’s quite different telling a friend from telling a counsellor or therapist. As well as being scared of what my friend would think, I was worried that I’d upset her or that she’d find it too much to handle.
      So glad I did though. And no matter how scary or out of control it feels it is reassuring when we sense God is leading us and he is with us.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow! Thank you for sharing a glimpse of you today. I feel the courage it took for you to step out and share something so personal. I could also sense the freedom that resulted when you took that step. I pray that you story is a call for others to step out bravely to share their own.

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  10. I love the way the Lord spoke all three of these questions to you, how He lovingly led you along to ask and trust, to think it through, and then how He gave you the courage to take that step of faith. He loves you so much, and you are so valuable to Him, so precious.
    May He continue to bless you with grace and peace as you walk with Him.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Lesley, it takes so much brave to share what you did. I haven’t walked that road, and I’m so sorry you have. I’m glad God has worked healing in your heart and your life. I’m guessing the healing is still in process.

    Those questions on the board bring us face to face with Jesus, don’t they? Do we trust Him, or not? I’m challenged to ask those in my own life also. Thank you for sharing a piece of your journey.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Jeanne. Yes, definitely still an on-going process. They are challenging questions and I suppose that’s what it comes down to in the end. Do we really trust God enough to step out in faith?

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Elizabeth. I’m glad the post was helpful to you. It was not an easy one to share so to know that it has helped someone means a lot to me. Praying for you that you will find the courage to share and the right person to share with and that in bringing it into the light you will find new freedom.

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  12. Lesley, your story of God’s love in healing you is beautiful! May you experience His peace and joy as you continue to find your voice… the voice that He created. Blessings and love from a sister who knows what hard work you are doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lesley,

    I just came across a tweet that Michelle shared with me that led me here to your post. Wow! I love how God works, and I love that he has used Journey to Heal to help you along the way. He is so good, and he cares so deeply about the every piece and part of our stories. I am so thankful you found your voice, and that you have shared your story and your journey with other women. There is no doubt it has taken incredible courage and trust to get to this point in the process of healing. I’m humbled that my book has been a help to you and so thankful you have shared it along with my study with your friends.

    Walking alongside,

    Crystal Sutherland

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Crystal! I’m very grateful for Journey to Heal and the study, and for all you do to encourage people on this journey. I’m very glad to share about it and hope that others who would benefit from it get to hear about it. Will be praying for you as you begin your new online study and for all those taking part.

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