God and Sexual Assault Uncategorized

God is In the Fire with Us

Feelings of abandonment

A couple weeks ago, I talked about feeling abandoned by God. That is a common feeling for survivors not only about God, but about anyone in their life. Not only did I feel abandoned by God, but by my co-workers, friends, and my church family.

I felt like no one was recognizing what I was going through. However, I am aware that it was more of a “feeling” on my part, and not reality. Many of them didn’t know how to help me, and of course they weren’t trained to.

It has taken me years to realize that I was not abandoned, but the reality is that it is a common feeling for many survivors of trauma. It is hard to take in anything as truth when you feel alone in what you are going through, and add depression and anxiety, and it’s hard to take in as well.

That may be why after years of working through issues that have arisen from my trauma, as well as beginning to process the events themselves, that I am finally recognizing that I am not alone. It has helped me to get back out into life starting with serving at church, and then expanding from there.

To give you a feel for how long it has taken, I felt alone and then I isolated for years. (Close to a decade.) I didn’t feel like being around anyone that was feeling good and I didn’t want to discuss my circumstances. I felt ashamed, plus I just wanted to stay home where it was safe and I didn’t experience severe anxiety.

I attempted to go to church for a little while in 2016-2017, but in 2018 it was too much. The worship music raised my anxiety and the messages made me mad because I couldn’t see past where I was at the moment.

I did start to volunteer at our church food pantry every other Monday for 2 hours in 2017. That was my limit and I was in and out. I tried not to talk much or I knew I wouldn’t be able to handle being there.

As I worked in therapy on necessary emotions, feelings, and traumas, and worked off my medications, in the fall of 2019, I increased my time volunteering. I went on Monday one week, and Wednesday another.

Granted, I started doing this for me, but I received the blessing from those I worked with and those we served too. Just before COVID hit I tried a church service again but then ended up leaving with high anxiety when the sermon started. Not long after that, my hours increased to 6 hours twice a week at the pantry, as we lost most of our older volunteers.

Now in 2021, I am looking ahead to starting part time and then eventually full time work again. Something I NEVER thought was possible. However, God has used many circumstances to increase my stamina and ability to be around others again. Both of which have made it easier to deal with my trauma in sessions.

As I look back, I can see God was with me. I can see how He has guided me and I am so incredibly grateful. There were days, and years even, that I thought my life was over and there would never be anything different for me.

The feeling of being alone and walking through this journey to get better is something so many in the Bible have experienced. Whether it was actually in a fire or a feeling of being in the “fire.”  

Recognizing “you are alone” as a lie is the first step to moving forward and accepting those who are here to walk with you. That starts with God. He is the One that will definitely not leave you. As Isaiah writes in the verses below, remember that these words still apply to us today.

But now, this is what the Lord says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.

When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”

Isaiah 43:1-3

© 2021 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.

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