Pray. Heal. Love.
"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."
"Shout for joy, O daughter Zion!
Sing joyfully, O Israel!
Be glad and exult with all your heart,
O daughter Jerusalem!...
The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst,
you have no further misfortune to fear."
-Zephaniah 3:14, 15b
"Shout for joy." It may seem impossible to shout for joy or to sing joyfully. When trauma rests on you, it can be hard to persist day by day. I appreciate this passage, however, because it offers the promise that one might eventually be able to see the good, to be joyful. It reminds us that God is in our midst and we need not fear. Yes, we will fear. Yes, we will face challenges. But the more we can place our trust in God and have confidence again in ourselves and in others, there is more chance for seeing glimmers of good and feeling joy. This month, as you go about your day, try to find one thing for which you feel joy or see the good in your surroundings: perhaps the sunlight, a flower, a child, a star.
* * *
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.