God and Sexual Assault

Grief and Losses

Taking time to grieve.

I know the topics of grief and loss are not popular. They are another incredibly hard and painful, but necessary part of recovery. It’s the kind of pain that feels like your actual heart is breaking into.

I was recently given an email from a friend that described writing out your grief and loss history. A way to help you grieve all that has been lost. As I started to do this, I found that I could only write about one loss a day without getting really down and overwhelmed. I shared with my therapist what I had been doing and his question was, “Are you writing what you are feeling as you write? What your body is feeling? “

“Huh, well no. That would be really hard.” Insert uncomfortable laugh from me.

I wasn’t sure I dare look at him for I knew what was coming. I already knew that to truly grieve I needed to get in touch with my emotions and my body. I also knew I didn’t want to play victim anymore. I don’t want to dwell on what was done to me (been stuck there before) but how to heal from it.

I am a survivor and if you’re reading this so are you. What was done to us was horrific, but if we stay right there and don’t move forward we don’t have the chance to become the person God longs for us to be in Christ. I don’t know about you, but I want that freedom from being a victim to be who God wants me to be in this life.

Our power as survivors is in doing the work to get better. That is surviving. It entails a lot. Reliving what happened to process the events, grieving the losses then and now, pain, and tears. Lots of tears.

In getting back to my grief history I wrote down a simple list to begin with. I listed all the losses. More keep coming up so it’s an ongoing list, but you get the general idea. I started with very simple losses and got bigger. List ALL losses. Here are just a few of mine:

My cat Andre died in 2008 right before my life fell apart.

My grandpa, and only safe man in my life died in Sept. 2008.

My family told me I was no longer welcome at holidays in 2009. (Not that I wanted to, but still…)

I lost a niece to death and a nephew to the fact my family won’t talk to me. Never saw either of them.

I lost my job teaching elementary school in March 2010.

The loss of a worry free childhood that was safe.

Innocence lost.

My future family and children and grandchildren

I won’t list anymore for now. I think you get the idea. Hopefully, my list sparks yours to come alive. Start your list and keep it running until you think you are complete. Then, write about each one. How did you feel then? How do you feel now? What is your body feeling as you write? (Fair warning this is very draining work so give yourself time.)

One thing that stayed with me from my session today was my therapist said, “When you do the hard work of grieving you’re doing the hard work you feel someone else owes you.” That was another, “Huh” moment for me. Forgiveness CAN be a part of the grieving process. I do know that first hand as I feel closer to it than before, but not there yet. Not sure when I will be either.

My next post will deal a little with the forgiveness aspect, but as we close today, let’s come before God and ask Him to join us in this process. He wants our healing and He wants to do it with us. He knows our grief better than we do.

Father God,

This step in the healing process is another hard one. My heart literally feels like it’s breaking in two. Please walk with me as I work through all the things in my life I have to grieve. Guide me through each one until it is complete. I want healing in my life, Lord, please bring it to me through this recovery process. I want to be the person you always wanted me to be. Thank you for loving me.

In Jesus Name,


© 2020 Susan M. Clabaugh





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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