"Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering."
You have the opportunity to shape a renewed life. Abuse often robs you of your ability to trust yourself, others, and sometimes even God. And without trust, it is hard to love. But now you have the choice to regain what was lost. You can take small actions in your life to rebuild trust. As you rebuild trust in yourself and others, you can begin to love yourself and the world around you.
It is not an easy road, but the good news is that God is with you on the journey. God will help supply the peace and strength you need. You will start realizing that you are beloved by God and you can share that love with others.I
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IDEAS FOR YOUR HEALING JOURNEY
1. Seek safety.
Safety is the most important part of your healing journey. If you are not safe or do not feel safe, it is very hard to begin healing. There are different types of safety: physical safety, emotional safety, spiritual safety, etc. Think about the different aspects of safety and ask yourself if you feel safe. For example, do you feel safe at home? If not, think about how you can get yourself to a safe place such as a domestic shelter, a police station, or a friend's house. Even if you are physically safe, you may still feel emotionally unsafe from the pattern of fear you experienced during the abuse. Do you have a counselor or friends with whom you can talk? Would an extra lock on your door help you feel safer? Consider some ways that you can help yourself feel emotionally secure. You may also want to think about spiritual safety. Do you have a spiritual or religious community that supports you? Are there religious practices that may help or hinder your healing? Consider the ways that you can draw upon safe, spiritual support for your journey.
2. Create a healing altar.
Catholics have a long tradition of creating altars at home. It becomes a daily reminder of God's presence in your life, a place where you feel safe to pray, and a way to focus your thoughts on something. You can create a simple altar by setting aside a windowsill in your bedroom, carving out a space on a bookshelf, or using a small table. You can place sacred objects in the space such as a rosary, holy statue, or perhaps a rock or leaves from God's creation. If you have a particular intention for your healing journey, consider writing it on a piece of paper and placing it on your altar. As you pass your altar during your day, remember that God is with you on the journey.
3. Make prayer part of your daily practice.
Daily prayer can be a life-giving practice as you heal. It can help you feel inner peace, reconnect with your own goodness, and feel the loving companionship of God. If you need a suggestion for how to begin, visit the prayer page.
4. Bring friends along for the journey.
The healing journey isn't meant to be traveled alone. Invite some friends along for the journey. If you have a close friend with whom you feel safe, consider talking with her or him about what you have experienced. Connect with a counselor or pastoral counselor who can help guide you on the path. And don't forget to share your journey with God, the best listener of all!
5. Help others.
Once you have begun to heal, you can be a gift to others. If someone confides in you about an abusive experience, you can be there to believe their story and help them get the resources they need for their own healing.
Not everyone feels ready to talk with someone they know. If you belong to a faith community, you may ask if you can place some help cards in the bathroom of your church or spiritual center so that someone, in privacy, can access the resources they need to get out of an abusive relationship.
Your healing is not for you alone--your healing helps others heal, too!