“Hold Us Together”–The Healing Journey

I heard this song for the first time this evening and I’ve fallen in love with it. It’s called “Hold Us Together” by Matt Maher and it’s awesome! 

It kind of reminds me of the journey of healing, “It’s the first day of the rest of your life because even in the dark you can see the light.” The journey of healing is feeling the dark, it’s about facing your deepest darkest scars and letting them heal. It’s about the fight to better.

The healing journey is not easy. The first step, like in Alcoholics Anonymous, you have to admit that you need the help/healing. You have to admit that someone used your body against your will, that someone violated you. That’s difficult. None of us like to remember what happened but the journey to healing is all about letting it out.

I was once asked by a well meaning friend, “Do you have to talk about it?” She was well meaning but her words hurt me. The truth of the matter is exactly what I told her, “Yes! I do!” Your abuser tells you over and over that you can’t tell anyone so when you start telling people you tell anyone and everyone that listens to you until you find the one person in your life who asks this stupid question, “Do you have to talk about it” and you shut up and learn that not everyone is safe. You learn to share with people that are safe.

In your healing journey you have to find safe people, people to share your story with. When I went though my healing journey I had some awesome people around me that allowed me to talk about it. Who let me open the sore and let it into the light, so that it could begin to heal. They let me be open and vulnerable and even weak and they lifted me up. They showed me the light. They allowed me to be what I needed to be so that I could get the healing that I needed.

I also had 5 years of awesome therapists who each taught me something different about myself. I wasn’t a therapist hopper but instead was having therapy done at a school for therapists and they kept graduating on me :). Not that there’s anything wrong with therapist hopping, you have to find the right one for you, the one you can trust with your story.

My healing journey included the following:

1) Love. Love pouring into me from God, from family and some really awesome friends who helped me through an extremely difficult time.

2) God. The Spirit moved heaven and earth to get me to the place I am today and I’m glad for all the hard work  we did together and one day I hope to share it with as many people that will listen.

3) Writing. I wrote my story so many times from so many different angles, looking at it from different places in my journey allowed me to see the whole picture and to place the blame on the right people: my abusers.

4) Music. Music is a huge part of my journey. I’m not a musician or a singer by any standards but I love music. I love to sing and dance and stand with my arms open wide and worship my Maker.

No matter what your healing journey looks like, no matter how ugly it may seem, it is worth it. It is worth the work to see and be in the light, “Cause even in the dark you can see the light, it’s gonna be alright.”

Healing is worth it, trust me!

Cross Making: Contemplative Prayer Practice

This past weekend I went to a Cross Making event. One of my friends was holding it at our church. She read from a Cross Making book and from Scripture. She guided us through a practice of taking broken pieces in front of us and turning it into a cross.

I used sticks I found in my yard and shinny sequins to make my cross. She asked us to turn to a time when we found healing and remember that moment and then to think about what it means to co-create with God. We each made different crosses depending on how the Holy Spirit led us.

When she asked us to think about a time when we found healing I immediately thought of standing on a mountain at a Sexuality retreat. We were given some alone time and I sat facing the sun and trying to drop a weight that had been weighing me down for years. It’s a similar weight that lots of abused men and women carry. I had been thinking for years that in some way I had caused the abuse to happen to me. I was thinking that it was my fault that these people I trusted abused me but that weight was not mine to carry.

God convinced me that it was not my fault and that I needed to yell it out. So me, a quiet person, screamed over and over again that I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING WRONG AND IT WASN’T MY FAULT!!! And I was free from the weight I had no need to carry.

That day, standing in the sunshine, on a mountain, weeping and realizing a lie and beginning to own a truth I gained freedom. I heard someone come up behind me but when I turned no one was there but I felt God holding me while I was weeping.

On that mountain I began to feel and believe the beauty that I was and since receiving that freedom I have allowed the light of that truth to shine within me and I reflect God with every person I meet and tell my story to.

I made my cross this weekend and it reflected all of this. A reminder of that freedom.

God can give all of us that freedom we just have to be willing to go there and trust that God will give us what we seek and need.

If you need help on that journey please do not hesitate to let me know, if I can’t help you myself I can direct you to someone who can help you. cross

My Drive to Help Others

My name is Tammy Waggoner, I am a 32 year old survivor of sexual abuse with a strong faith in a loving God who wishes all abused, neglected, and broken children to be healed as only he can heal them.

I have first hand knowledge of this kind of healing. I have been healed in the woods on a healthy sexuality retreat, I have been healed in spiritual healing groups, and I have been healed in discernment groups, times alone with God, and groups in the church as well as therapy. God heals us when he sees fit and uses any means to do that. In these times of healing I learned important things about myself and about God. For instance, on a mountain during a retreat I learned that my abuse was not my fault and that I did nothing wrong. For years I had felt that I had in some way caused my own abuse to happen, but in those woods alone with God I realized that I didn’t do anything wrong and the abuse was not my fault. God led me to that moment, coaxed me through it and then proceeded to stand beside me as the truth of those words washed me clean. In the hours after that moment, I realized that every abused child and adult needs to have a moment like that, they need to have the opportunity to set themselves free from blame and culpability.

It was in a spiritual healing group that I learned that God did not neglect me in my abuse. I was thoroughly angry with God for leaving me alone in my abuse and had mentioned this during a group time. I was led through a prayer where I had asked God to show me where he was while I was being abused. I closed my eyes and was immediately back in my childhood room. I could see myself being abused on the bottom bunk of the bunk beds. I then looked around the room and vividly saw Jesus weeping in the corner. He was weeping for and with me, and in that moment I knew that God did not neglect me in my moments of abuse but instead was with me and was just as upset by what was happening as I was.

In my discernment groups God began to show me what other people see. As an abuse survivor for a long time I only saw what my abusers showed me to be: worthless, ugly, damaged, etc. In my discernment group God showed me through others that I am beautiful, have much worth and am not a damaged being that has been ripped apart and cannot be sown back together, I am instead a broken person who God can put back together and make anew. I have worth and I have worth to give.

It was through these times of healing that my calling began to be cemented. I was put on this earth with a purpose and that purpose is to help other girls,* get through what I have gotten through with the help of God and his helpers. Through my internships I began to see the different ways in which God can work and I began to see that many women out there need to discover the healing that I have discovered in their own unique way. Once healing is brought about new life can begin and once new life can begin a woman who has been healed can begin to see for herself just how awesome she is.

*Some question my narrowed focus: why just women? Why just girls? The truth is quite simple: I am a woman. I only know my plight as a woman. I do know that men are abused, I know that they need help as well and I have led groups that have been co-ed. That said, I speak from a woman’s perspective to women. If I were to partner up with a man who was willing to talk from a man’s perspective and to help healing from his perspective I would be willing to work with both men and women. However, without that partnership I feel it is impossible for me to help both men and women, for there is an element I am missing: I am not a man.