Character-forming wounds happen early in life. Their imprint filters into our behavior. I’ve lived this truth. After years of childhood sexual abuse, I mentally disconnected.
I swallowed the agonizing pain of my past and discounted the repressed anger and hypersensitivity welling up inside of me. I pressed forward. Independent and fascinated with this new power to shape my own life, I mastered the art of pretense and perfectionism.
A workaholic, I drowned myself in details. I pushed beyond all limits and became a classic overachiever. Rewarded with recognition, accolades, and promotion, I ignored the trauma of earlier years.
My career excelled. Life was good.
That is, except for my lack of authentic intimacy—I spent my first forty years in failed relationships. I lost count of the heartbreaks. A healthy, intimate relationship requires trust and my father had stolen that years ago.
Ashamed, I cloaked my private multi-layered pain, keeping people at a safe distance. No one could penetrate the protective walls I constructed to keep people from knowing “the real me.”
The lies I harbored manifested in my life decisions. I made countless poor choices stemming from wounded self-esteem.
Then, I met Jesus.
For the first time, I felt a glimmer of hope. Finally—someone who loved me unconditionally. Someone who accepted me in spite of my past. I recognized myself in many of the women Jesus befriended. There are women like me. Women who understand what I’ve been through. With these newfound emotional connections, I embraced this uncontaminated Jesus-relationship.
Why did I so readily connect with the women of the Bible who encountered Jesus? I finally felt known. These women had been abused or suffered great loss. Divorced women. Tainted women. Battle-scarred women. I longed to be understood—and these women had been there.
Shadowed by Jesus, I learned the importance of community. As the stories of hurting women unfolded through the pages of the Bible, I found myself.
Excerpt from Write Where It Hurts: Writing as a Healing Tool.
Jo Ann Fore is an author, speaker, and writing coach. She is passionate about making a difference in the lives of other women. Most noted for her authentic vulnerability, Jo Ann captivates her audience with faith-filled messages caramelized with a powerful promise of hope. Visit Jo Ann at www.JoAnnFore.com and www.facebook.com/WriteWhereItHurts.