In light of all of the "Me Too" posts that I have seen on social media recently, I would like to address the subject. First, I have to say how sad I am that so many of my friends have experienced some form of sexual assault or harassment in their lives. I have great hope that one day we will live in a world where healthy mindsets, healthy relationships and healthy families are so powerful that things like abuse, prejudice and neglect are not the most prevalent things. To get there requires immense effort on our part to love, believe and educate our children and the world around us.
I was surprised at how emotional I felt about it.
When I posted "Me Too" on my Facebook page, I was surprised at how emotional I felt about it. I have been fairly transparent about the fact that I was sexually abused as a child, but just the simple act of acknowledging it again, and adding my voice to a host of others, caused me to really struggle. I am learning that healing from abuse is a long walk. One person responded to my post with the simple phrase, "I see you." This one phrase was so surprisingly powerful to me. It validated the way I was feeling and gave me a sense of grounding and security. It was as if she reached out a hand and held mine, just being there, being supportive and understanding. So, to all of the ladies out there, I see you. I see you when you are afraid and alone. I see you when you meet your abuser in public and your whole body responds to the trauma. I see you in your anger, and I see you when the shame comes and speaks lies to you. I see you, and I know. I reach out my hand and I hold yours.
It's not easy to share a story that makes you want to throw up
I have also seen posts with the question, "Why won't you name your abuser?" I have even read some comments that suggested that refusing to name someone who has abused you empowers them to keep doing it and makes you responsible for the other victims. I can tell you from personal experience that having your body violated isn't something that you can easily talk about. It's not easy to share a story that makes you want to throw up. It's not easy to share about something that trickles into every area of your life, affecting your marriage, your parenting, your work relationships and your ability to just function normally. You don't just "get over it." So to all of my friends with stories that they cannot share. I see you too, and it's OK. You are not required to speak until you are good and ready. You are not responsible for the actions of another person. No one but you can designate the time and place for you to tell your story, and that is just fine. No one has the right to push you.
I promise you that there is hope and there is help
This is a sacred space, a very real and raw pain. I promise you that there is hope and there is help. Just allowing Jesus to be there with you can be hard. Letting Him sit with you in your pain and access that place is the first step. It is hard, emotional and painful. Sometimes it steals your breath and makes you feel like your chest is being crushed. But He will breathe for you. He will take you on a journey of healing that is beautiful. He will restore hope, peace, beauty and wonder where it has been lost. You are strong, and you are enough. And on the days that you feel like you cannot continue, remember that I see you, Heaven sees you, and the rest of the world is full of women that see you and understand. You are a beloved daughter, and you will win!
Hayley Kahler is a proud mother to three boys and wife to Clint Kahler. She loves Jesus, coffee and chocolate. Hayley has led worship with her husband for 20-plus years.
This article originally appeared at nextgenworship.com.
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