Today Tanya’s back with more of her healing journey. This time, she talks about how this quote from the Gospel of Thomas helped shape her healing: “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
Here’s more from Tanya:
I learned early in my recovery that God can and will use the worst, darkest parts of my life and experiences to help others, if I am willing.
I learned the power of sharing my story quite by accident. I shared my experience with a group of individuals struggling with addiction, who were living in a homeless shelter at the time. I was neither excited nor proud to sit in front of these folks and say that my father was a pedophile and that I’d been sexually abused, but I was willing to do it because God had already shown me and put it in my heart how important it is to help others.
I experienced a soul connection that night with people who carried shame of their own, with similar stories. One at a time, they came to talk with me after the meeting. A few of them said a few words relating to my story and thanking me for saying it out loud. Seeing my strength and healing gave them hope that it was possible for them too.
One woman couldn’t even speak. She stood with me, looking me in the eyes with tears streaming down. God was present in our silence and we communicated so much without words.
A surprising thing happened as I drove home. That old familiar “shame speak,” a banter so cunning that I hadn’t realized it was playing before, started to play: ” How dare you speak those words out loud to a room full of people! To anyone. How dare you break the silence?”
I have spoken on other occasions to larger groups, and am continually astounded by the number of people who come to me afterwards relating to the trauma. Our stories differ but our pain is global and similar. Our self-harm is rampant.
A gift of healing comes with me sharing my story with others who suffer. I couldn’t do this until I was ready. I had done much trauma counseling and had was solid in my recovery before jumping in to this. I think it’s different for everyone and that is ok. Some people may never wish to share their story out loud, let alone to a room full of people. All I can share is my own experience.
Without fail, every time I am willing to open up and share a piece of what almost killed me, I am gifted with a new sense of freedom from the shame that imprisoned me. This is my Hope Springs Eternal.
So, it’s the shame that needs to shut up, not us! I love how Tanya was able to recognize the voice of the enemy and not let it keep her from offering hope to others like her (and me.) How important that connection to God is when we need to hear His voice above the deafening voice of shame.
I’ll end with some more encouragement from Tanya:
God has been the most important relationship in my journey of healing. When I sought Him, I learned how much I am loved, and that my shame didn’t belong to me. He taught me ways to give it away, and to pray for those who had harmed me as a pathway to heal myself. One of my best friends from Occupational Therapy school and her parents have stepped in and loved me as though I was their own. They have guided me and helped me access the services I needed to recover from my childhood trauma. They have been in my life for almost 20 years, and I see God’s hand in connecting me to them.
Tanya, thanks again for stopping by to share your story and the hope of healing. I’m so encouraged by it, and I know others are too. I hope you’ll visit again from time to time.
Do you have questions for Tanya, or want to share something that resonated with you? If you’ve shared your story of healing from childhood trauma, how did it impact your healing journey? Feel free to add to the comments or email Tanya privately at Tanya71stewart@gmail.com.