My healing journey started in 2004/5 after I heard a sermon on Psalm 103: 1-5 “who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.” The speaker went on to speak about how the eagle is renewed. How it sheds its beak, talons, and feathers and that after several days it emerges as a new bird, reborn almost (I later read that this analogy is not scientific, but it gets the message across). From that sermon, I came out encouraged and started to plead my case before God. I had two requests
1. Lord, please restore my hymen,
2. Lord, please erase my memory of ever being abused,
My desire for healing was not just physical but I longed for a new existence where my past had been erased. The way the speaker delivered the message made me believe that I can become a new creation with a new identity and no ugly past.
I never did forget, nor did I get a new hymen, but God KEPT me and gave me the grace to finish my studies and live with this thorn in my flesh. He took away the guilt and shame that I felt and over time as I continue to share my testimony God continued to remove the burden of my childhood sexual abuse experience from my shoulders.
Back then I thought healing was about undoing what had happened. I thought it was some spiritual hypnosis where I would come out not even remembering what had happened. I later learned that the complete erasing of my trials would also mean erasing who I am. Overcoming the challenges I went through or even learning through those trials has resulted in the person that I am today. Not to say that God needed to hurt me to mold me into becoming who I am right now, but everything that had happened, together with God’s grace resulted in the person I am today and I love who I am and who I am becoming.
I love the image that pops up when you search for the Graves to Garden song by Elevation worship. It is a picture of flowers growing inside a skeleton. For me, the skeleton represents death and the flowers a new life. The pain and suffering we go through in life can result in death, even if the death is not literal, but it can be the death of our dreams, hopes, joy, etc. However, God’s grace on us, allows the flowers to grow even in the death situation. The flowers being newfound hope, faith, joy, dreams creativity, etc. One cannot appreciate beauty without something “not beautiful” to compare with.
I have learned over the years that healing is a continuous process. We need to constantly check in with ourselves and surrender our hurts before God to be healed. My childhood experience is not the only thing I have had to heal from. I’ve had to heal from unmet expectations in my career, friendships that fizzled out and left me heartbroken, the unexpected challenges of motherhood, etc. Sometimes the process of healing takes longer with me asking questions and praying to God for his hand to hold me. Sometimes it’s within a short space of time with me laughing at myself and saying “Zandi, your children don’t hate you.”
We might not know why we go through some experiences in life but the bible has forewarned us in John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Sometimes we delay our healing by going over and over the things that hurt us, but through God’s grace we can go to him to exchange our pain for something better as stated in Isaiah 61:3 “and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.”
When we are well, we display his splendor.
Zandile Mabeleng is the founder of Be Intentional NPC. She aims to reach as many people as she possibly can with child abuse prevention messages. She has a long bucket list and hopes to live in several countries for 5 years at a time. Wealth is her portion.