He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
This week I am going to share a story with you. It is a story of scars long since healed. It is a story of falling and redemption. It is a story of a God full of grace, love and teaching. It is part of my story, but it does not define me.
I was, like many teenagers, a young woman full of hopes and dreams. I had big plans and visions about how my life would be. I was a good Christian girl. I got good grades, I participated in and succeeded at several sports and activities. I was not considered one of the popular crowd, but I also did not want for friends. I have a loving and supportive family. I was living the American dream. There was just one problem: I struggled mightily with self-worth. I equated the attention from boys with love and acceptance. I had many around me reminding me of all the amazing blessings I had, but sometimes all I could see was that I was not the beauty men wanted.
Then, it happened. A popular boy that many girls at my school would have done anything to get a date with called me. Tall, skinny, plain old me. I could drive, so I asked my parents if I could go out for a while with this boy to a restaurant and my parents said yes. I picked him up and he just wanted to drive around. So, we did. We talked, listened to music and I thought this was amazing! Then, he suggested we pull into a dark parking lot behind a church to just hang out and talk. I was nervous, but no major red flags went up. One thing led to another and we started “making out”. Things started escalating quickly and I expressed my discomfort with where it was going. He assured me everything was fine. However, things went beyond where I ever wanted to go and we had sex that night. As a confused, insecure young woman, I did not know how to deal with the situation.
At first, I told no one about the situation, and since we did not talk much after that, I assumed he would not either. I was ashamed, horrified. The guilt ate at me. I had made a purity pledge not too long before this happened, and I had fully intended to keep that pledge. Then, the situation got more complicated. I had become locker room conversation and it ended up hurting some people I cared for. I went into complete defense mode and buried the hurt deep and blamed everyone but myself to try to deflect the pain I felt.
Without going into details, this led to many years of bad choices and devaluing of myself in light of this situation. I started equating love with sex in a very harmful way. I felt lost and had difficulty finding my identity.
This leads to our focus verse for the Online Bible Study of Stressed-Less Living by Tracie Miles. Psalm 147:3 says: “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” This was me. I was brokenhearted over bad decisions and lost purity. I hurt deep inside because of the shame I brought on myself and my family. Over a period of years, though, God continued to put people and things in my life to shine truth into this situation.
This was not an overnight transformation. It took patience and love from the man I now call my husband. It took me seeing the effects of premarital sex on my other friends and how such beautiful women could see only ugliness. It took me returning to God’s Word in a more meaningful way to see that my value in His eyes was far beyond what the world saw. Finally, I saw that God had already forgiven me and that I was the only thing that stood between me and redemption.
Over time I felt the healing of my broken heart. All that was left of the wounds were scars. God had lovingly allowed me to learn from this situation. I stopped blaming the young man and realized how I can help other young woman avoid this situation. I realized that forgiving this young man did not excuse his action, only released me from the hurt that God had already taken on. I began to see how a shift was needed on how women view themselves. Our views on beauty, worth and true love within the confines of a relationship need to change. I realized why purity was important, not just a rule. I also learned how freeing forgiveness is and how important it is to love others, whatever their situation.
Do you suffer from a broken heart or some unseen wound? Have you lived with the pain, guilt and shame for too long? I pray that you will take those hurts to the ultimate healer and allow him to bind your wounds. While I cannot promise a life free from hurt, I can promise a peace that only God can provide. My life is living evidence. While I was a victim of date rape, I am not impure. Praise God for that!