Christian Singles & Dating

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Why You Don't Need to be Ashamed of Sexual Abuse

Why You Don't Need to be Ashamed of Sexual Abuse

A Risk I Had to Take

Nick and I had been dating for a year, and it was clear that he was getting more serious. The emotional intimacy growing between us was something I’d never experienced with anyone before. In that time, I’d come so far in understanding God’s love for me, and yet this closeness with Nick was churning to the surface all the turmoil of the sexual abuse I’d suffered—abuse I had long kept secret, hidden away.

The battle inside me was real. I was sitting at the relational gate of shame and debating my fate—to stay or move, just like the lepers. I was trying to decide whether to tell Nick everything—or not. My pain was great, and all I could do was sit there, which is exactly what the enemy wanted.

The enemy always wants us to believe that we need to stop hurting before we can move. What a lie! We must move forward even if it is painful. The freedom on the other side is what we need and want. Yes, I was still feeling a great deal of emotional pain because of the abuse—but I also knew without a doubt that the Holy Spirit was prompting me: The time had come. Hurting or not, I had to move forward. This was a choice I had to make in my journey toward freedom. I had to have the courage to tell Nick the truth. He knew I had been abused, but I had never risked saying more than a single sentence. I had never gone into any detail. I knew to be free I had to tell him the full extent of the truth. Like the lepers, I had to take a risk to gain more freedom.

What I didn’t know is that God was looking out for my future marriage. God knew I would take all my baggage into my marriage—and it would have affected our intimacy, our trust, our communication, everything. I might not have realized it, but I would have made Nick pay for what others had done to me. My shame and all its damage wasn’t his fault, but we would have both lived with the fruit of it. By choosing freedom, by getting it out into the light, I was removing the enemy’s power to keep me bound.

The weight of the shame was so real. Whenever I was with Nick, there it was, dragging me down, shackling me with feelings of being soiled, stained, and defective, unfit to be loved by this good man. Shame’s lies!

For months, I’d spent half the time wanting to share everything with Nick about my past and the other half positive that I wanted to never mention it. My thoughts swung back and forth . . .

All the hurt I’d hidden—yet still felt—for years welled up inside. I’d thought I had dealt with it, resolved it, put it to rest. But now those old wounds threatened to reopen at any moment.

So one night I told him . . . everything . . . how I had been abused for many years as a girl, by several different men. When I said the word abused, I started to shake. Telling the man I loved what other men had done to me was the hardest thing I had ever done.

As I spoke, I couldn’t look at Nick. But I poured out what I’d kept secret for years, things that had become unspeakable to me. And once I’d breached the dam, there was no holding anything back—it came out in a flood. The things others had done to me when I was younger, and the things I had willfully chosen to do when I was older. If I’m going to lose you over this, Nick, I thought, then you may as well know it all. I held nothing back. Absolutely nothing.

Finally, I stopped. Nick had not once interrupted. I had not once looked up, and now I felt completely exposed, vulnerable, spent. And yet, though I know it sounds cliché, I also felt a great weight lifted off me. I felt a freedom I hadn’t experienced before.

What I didn’t understand then was that the great weight I felt lifted from my shoulders was the weight of shame that had fled now that the light of truth had been shined into all of the dark corners where it had been hiding. The freedom I suddenly felt was the freedom from shame’s slavery that God had been calling me to for some time.
Nick reached out and pulled me to him and held me for the longest time. At last he said, “I’m just so sorry that this happened to you, Chris. I’m just so sorry.” And he was. His words, actions, and expressions of the next few weeks confirmed it.

He hadn’t pulled away. He hadn’t rejected me. He had pulled me even closer!

Through Nick’s love for me, God was showing me just a glimpse of the divine and infinite love he himself had for me.

I had risked being vulnerable and survived it! And it was oh so worth it! God had prepared my path. He had chosen Nick as the right road for me—the safe path to take these painful steps toward healing.

[Editor's Note: Content taken from Unashamed by Christine Caine. Copyright 2016 by Christine Caine. Used by permission of Zondervan.]

Christine Caine is an Australian-born, Greek-blooded lover of Jesus, activist, author, and international speaker. Her primary passion is to make Jesus' last command her first priority by giving her all to see the lost saved and to build the local church-globally. Christine also has a passion for justice, and together with her husband, founded the anti-human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign. In 2015, they also founded Propel Women, an organization designed to honor the calling of every woman, empower her to lead, equip her for success, and develop her sense of God-given purpose. Powered by hot, extra-dry, skinny cappuccinos, Christine is a lover of words who speaks too fast, talks too much, and also writes everything down. Some of her other books include Undaunted, and Unstoppable. Christine and her family make their home in Southern California, USA. 

Publication date: May 10, 2016