God and Sexual Assault

Defining Ourselves

Who we are in Jesus.

When I began remembering all that happened to me growing up I had an incredibly hard time. I was having flashbacks and nightmares and my anxiety and depression were out of control. Yet, I was attempting to work full time as a teacher. I defined myself with my career. It was who I was and without it I was nothing. (So I thought.)

So, in March of 2010 when my short term disability was up, I had no choice but to go on long term disability, which meant I had to be fired from my job. I had to go up to my school and pack up everything in my classroom and bring it home. Turn in my key and badge. I will never forget that day or the feeling.

Who was I? What would I do? When would it all get better? Plus, many more questions and feelings. I felt like a complete failure. Not being able to hold down my job. Throughout the next several years I attempted to try to work various jobs thinking that if I wasn’t working I was nothing. However, it is difficult to work with PTSD. That’s why I was on disability.

Finally, around 2016 I stopped attempting to work odd jobs and stopped filling my time with things to make me forget what was going on. I had to come face to face with reality. Working through my trauma was the only way to get better. However, I was on so many medications that was my first step. To get off of them.

So, here I am four years later, and I am off all but 2 small dose depression meds and though my body hurts more, I have a clear mind and I’m processing through trauma in my therapy appointments.

I realized this week that I have experienced what so many right now are facing. So many have lost jobs due to the Stay at Home orders that I imagine many are feeling lost and don’t know how to define themselves.

Well, this is what I discovered. (Granted, it took me a good 9-10 years to come to this conclusion.) The only thing that defines me is who I am in Christ. Without knowing Jesus I am nothing. Because He died for me and my sins I am clean in God’s eyes. He is my strength, my friend, the One I can count on. No matter what I do in this life nothing will take the place of who I am in Jesus.

The same is true for you. You are defined by who you are in Christ if you know Him, and if you don’t you can. Just come to Him and ask for forgiveness. Spill your heart out to Him. He is faithful and just to listen and make you a new creation.

Think about how you define yourself. You are a sexual assault survivor, a trauma survivor, a daughter or son, maybe father or mother, but none of them define you like Jesus. Hold onto Him today and in the days to come and I pray you continue to experience healing in recovery.

© 2020 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.


Susan is an author and speaker who loves to share her journey of God's redemption and encourage others as they look to God. As a former elemetary teacher with a passion for teaching, Susan also owns her own tutoring and consulting business where she empowers students and parents in reading. Susan lives in Lee's Summit, Missouri, with her adorable and grumpy Persian cat, Mia.

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