"Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and God saved them from their distress."
Prayer can be a grace-filled aid on your healing journey. It helps you to center when you are feeling overwhelmed by memories of abuse or by the stress of everyday triggers. It allows your body to relax so that your physical, emotional, and spiritual wounds may heal. Perhaps most importantly, it is a reminder that you are not on this journey alone. God is with you.
Here is a helpful prayer practice for anytime of day:
If you have just a few moments, bring your attention to your body. Feel your feet on the ground. Notice your breath. In and out. Breathe from your belly. In...and out. Take time to breathe, knowing you don't have to rush. In...and out. Choose a prayer phrase that brings you comfort or affirms your healing such as "The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want." or "God is with me. I feel safe." Say this prayer phrase ten times as you breath. Pray the first line as you breathe in. Pray the second line as you breathe out. When you are done, take notice of any gentle shifts in your body. Do you feel a little more relaxed, focused, or peaceful? Thank God for being with you and close your prayer with an "Amen" or "Blessed be."
"Epiphany insists that even when the Herods of the world try to deceive us, we can defeat them by remembering who we are meant to be - partners in God's promise." -Kathleen Norris
An elder nun that I know often says good-bye to someone by saying, "Stay who you are!" Indeed, her encouragement is much like the reminder of Christian writer, Kathleen Norris, who speaks in this quote about remembering who we are meant to be.
God has made you just as you are. Despite any experience of abuse, there is a deeper core inside you that remains your genuine self: a unique and beloved child of God. In those desperate moments when you feel trauma overwhelm you, remember that it can never touch the core of yourself: your Belovedness.
As we begin a new year, consider making a resolution that when you begin to think fearful thoughts or worry about something, that you will touch your heart and remember your connection to God.
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Along the healing journey, consider talking with a trusted friend, family member, minister, or counselor. You are not alone. In moments of despair, remember to reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800.273.8255 or go to your nearest emergency room.
If you need other support, consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network, or other resources that can be found here.