Refer to STEP 4: I choose to believe what God says about Himself: that He is good and can be trusted. I recognize that God is not the abuser; rather, people who misuse their authority are the abusers.
Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections, but instantly set about remedying them—every day, begin the task anew.
—Saint Francis de Sales, Bishop of Geneva
When a person’s abuse has been recent, it’s difficult to hear that God has a purpose for allowing it. He does; but it seems particularly cold and unfeeling to hear it expressed. Perhaps it’s better to say that He might want to use this experience in a person’s life a little further down the road than what that person might be able to understand, when the pain is still acute.
As one woman expressed it, “I’m not sure I could have believed or recognized there was a purpose in my abuse when it first occurred. I’m afraid I would have been mad at God for letting it happen because of some big plan He had for my life.”
A response such as this one is typical. After being abused, the most important thing for a person to do is take care of himself or herself emotionally. This is especially true when the abuse has been recent. The importance of self-care is essential in the healing process. Often, the hurt and pain are so severe that just making it through the day is all a person can do. If that’s all you can do, you need to be gentle with yourself and let it be enough. It’s okay, especially when you’re fragile and vulnerable.
In my own case, I spent nearly a year unable to do much more than take it one day at a time. It’s essential to take care of yourself. In fact, it’s your most important responsibility; some days, it’s your only responsibility.
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake. (Psalm 23:1-3)