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One of my closest friends is a gifted therapist. Kathy often says, “To truly heal from shame as an adult, we have to go back and give our child self what she needed but never received: nurturing, empathy, the truth in love. Our inner little girl needs to know she is God’s beloved.”
For me, ministering to the little girl inside meant facing her again, and that can be a painful process. You can read my entire story of overcoming the shame of sexual assault in Overcomer. But I will say this for now: When I finally faced my “inner little girl” there were a lot of tears. I cried for my stolen dignity, innocence, and self-esteem. I cried for how long it took me to tell anyone. I cried because I never stopped it from happening. I cried for all the losses.
But then I was crying because there had also been a gain.
I speak with so many women who know they’ve been set free from shame in Jesus, but they are unable to say goodbye to that last tiny piece of the Shame Identity, because they can’t forgive themselves. I was finally able to forgive myself for clenching so tightly to my past for so many years. God helped me open my hands.
If you’ve ever lived in a snowy part of the country you know that, even in the midst of a record-breaking ugly winter, anytime a fresh layer of snow falls, the once-muddy slush, now newly cleaned, will sparkle with sunlight. One of my favorite parts of winter is seeing this snow-dazzle phenomenon at night. There’s not much more beautiful than moonlit snow shimmering like the stars above it. Once, my five year-old son, clad in his warm footie pajamas, actually shook me awake in the middle of the night. “Mom!” he gasped excitedly, “You have to get up and look outside! There are diamonds in the snow!”
Letting go of shame from the past is like waking up to discover that something new has arrived in the darkness. What may feel like it will never be more than a stained and messy piece of your story can be covered in something new — the belief that God can make all things, even the darkest and ugliest places in you, sparkle with beauty.
Consider: What does it mean to you, personally, to minister to “the little girl inside”? What words or actions would she find encouraging?
Prayer: Dear Jesus, I am so thankful that you have seen me in my darkest moments and yet you love me still. Help me to overcome so that I can experience a life of fullness and freedom in you. Amen.
(Sections taken from Overcomer by Aubrey Sampson. Copyright © 2015. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com. All rights reserved.)