Writer Jann Cobb relates a story about seeing a man who had victimized her in years past. On that day, God sustained her: "I acknowledged that the man no longer held any power over me. God began a new work inside of me, and I am forever grateful."
Years had gone by since those first memories had flooded my mind. My life now had a rhythm, an order that was humming along. Kevin and I were married with 2 beautiful daughters and were involved in an exciting ministry to high school students. Life was great!
There had been moments of thinking about the past, but I felt that God and I were working on it. Moreover, Kevin and I had spent many hours wading through the feelings of shame and fear that accompanied intimacy within our marriage. All because of one man’s actions early in my life.
Still, I felt hopeful that most of it was behind me. I was desperately trying to live our Philippians 3:13-14: ”Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”
For the most part, I was okay.
Then one day, something rocked my perfectly-scripted life. An invitation came in the mail. Picking up the envelope, I noticed the name in the corner and I began to shake. It was a wedding invitation for the sister of the man who had, many years ago, stripped me of any sense of security and trust. A thousand questions bombarded my soul:
- Would he be there?
- Could I face him?
- He doesn’t even know that I remember; do I confront him?
- Should I even go?
Falling to my knees, I prayed, “Lord, show me what to do. I am afraid, but I will follow you.”
Instantly, I knew that I needed to attend the wedding. I was to remain quiet if I saw the man who had victimized me, but I was to go--and the Lord would do the rest.
Weeks later, the day arrived for the wedding. I was petrified. As questions pummeled my mind, I fought them off with the knowledge that the Lord had me in his hand, he went before me, and he would shelter me. Kevin and I walked into the wedding, passed the man, and sat down. I thought the whole church would hear my body shaking. Then the Lord gave me an invitation that calmed my anxious thoughts.
The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still. Exodus 14:14
” Thank you Lord," I whispered.
On our way out of the ceremony, the one who had hurt me looked at me. In years past, I might have run and hidden, but on this day, filled with the strength of the Lord, I returned the look. In the depth of my being, I acknowledged that the man no longer held any power over me. I will be forever grateful, because the Lord began a new work inside of me."
My journey of freedom and reconciliation was not over, but the healing had most definitely begun.