The See-Saw

When you’re abused as a child, your biggest fear is that if you tell, you won’t be believed. When I was abused, the fear mixed with shame inside of me, making me feel worthless and insignificant. Like I wasn’t worth loving. Wasn’t worth protecting.

I lived my life on a see-saw. Back and forth between hiding from the world to avoid rejection and performing for the world to prove my worth.

At eighteen, I was date-raped. This sealed in me the belief that I was worthless—not worth loving or protecting. I had deserved it. And so I returned home and hid in my little world, only coming out every so often to go to work or school or church, where I would put on a performance so that the world wouldn’t see how worthless I was.

I’ve had years of practice at living on the see-saw.

I’ve built a cloistered little life for myself. A sanctuary in the country, where I can hide. For the last few years, I would really only leave home alone to go to work and church. And then, as my church began to grow (which is a good thing) it got too scary to face so many new people. And it got too hard to perform. And so I attended church less and less, until finally, I was just staying home and listening to my church service online. Alone with Jesus and my dog.

For some months now, I’ve been going to counseling. And in January, I trusted my counselor enough to go to the beach with her and a group of ladies for the weekend. It was a see-saw weekend. There were so many moments of laughter and joy, but every time I’d let go and start enjoying myself, I would hear the little voice in my head telling me that I’m not worthy. And so, I’d shut my heart off and start to hide again.

I love how God comes to us when we’re the weakest. And as I was sitting on the couch of the little cottage at the beach, hearing the voice in my head tell me that I wasn’t worthy to be there, one of the ladies asked if I’d pray for her friend. I looked at her and saw in her face the same hurts that I’ve felt a thousand times and there was no way I could refuse. And sitting in the middle of the living room floor, I put my hands on this lady and prayed for her and wept with her.

It was a small victory that day. And I’d like to say that miraculously, I’ve been healed and fixed and that I’m all better. But it hasn’t worked that way. It’s slow and I don’t really know where I am on the road to healing.

Last week at counseling, my counselor gently informed me that it’s time to face going to church again…

On Friday night, I accepted an invitation to help lead twenty women in a prayer group that was started by a group of the ladies I’d prayed with at the beach. I was terrified, but when I opened my mouth in front of those women, the prayer poured out of me loud and strong. Like it was coming out of the mouth of an overcomer.

It gave me hope that one day, I will be. Until then, I guess I’ll keep taking baby steps. And hanging on to the see-saw.

And here, I’d like to say thank you to the friends that have dragged me out of my house periodically over the last four years. They’ve gotten me to go as far as Texas, the Pacific Northwest, and even overseas on missions trips. It’s funny how when I’m with people that I trust and doing work for a God I trust, I find so much more strength than I usually have. So, thanks to my friends and thanks most of all to the Great Big God that never gives up on me.

About Sarah Salter

Comments

  1. A beautiful post written by a beautiful friend. I have felt these same feelings for years. Unfortunately, there are too many of us who know the see-saw personally. Much love to you this week as you face the discomfort of engaging. I am glad you have fought that to get to know us. Praying for you lots!

  2. Sarah Salter says:

    Thanks, Cheryl! And it’s been totally worth the fight to get to know you! :-)

  3. Sarah,

    Thanks for sharing your story; I know it was difficult. I was also an abuse victm. You’re right, the road to healing is long (and painful) with many bumps along the way. The cool thing is that when we are ready, God can use us to help others who have been hurt. :)

    Again, I admire your courage. God will bless you as you continue to take these steps on the road. Praying for ya, sis!!

  4. We’re all on a journey of healing, Sarah. Some days we go farther than others. Continue on with perseverance and faith. God’s grace and mercy will carry you through. And the love of friends will encourage you along the way.

  5. Sarah Salter says:

    Tammy, I’ve shared parts of my story here a number of times. And I was under the impression that it would get easier each time, but it hasn’t! Not at all! In fact, writing this last night is the first time I’ve ever cried all the way through writing a blog post. I almost didn’t publish it. But I figured that was just another way of hiding…

    Ginny, thanks for your encouragement. You’re one of those rare people that really “gets” me. I treasure that in you. :)

  6. That’s the amazing thing in God. We are overcomers and overcoming. We are adopted and eagerly awaiting our adoption. We are free and moving toward freedom. It’s all about seeing from His perspective and embracing His truth! Thanks Sarah. What a testimony of God’s grace and love. May you continue to be used mightily of God!

  7. Sarah Salter says:

    Jason, this is what my old pastor’s wife refers to as “The Process.” It’s a killer and a healer all at once. Thanks for your encouragement! :)

  8. Sarah, I read all your posts, each and every one. This one I read not once, not twice, but three times. I can identify with this post. I too hide from the world. I used to be someone that would jump out there and see what there was to see. I don’t do that anymore, I stay in my own bubble with my own space. I’ve been hurt in different ways, I’ve lost some courage. Over the past 6 months I’ve pulled away from a lot of people, a lot of things. I’ve decided everything I go through God has a reason for, I sometimes get frustrated and ask why. I don’t know the answer, but I do know there’s a reason. I try not to give up and follow his guidence. Picking myself up is still hard somedays, but that’s okay.

  9. Praying for you, Sarah.

    Anytime you need to talk, just holler. :)

  10. I love you, sweet Sarah. You are precious. God is doing a mighty work in you, girl!

  11. Hi Sarah,
    For starters, I read all your blog posts and feel the Spirit of God in everything you write. Thank you for sharing your story. I was so very moved .. you touched me to the depth of my soul. I can not but imagine how God is going to use you to touch many lives ..just like you do every time you do a post on your blog. Believe it or not, you are bringing freedom to many lives chica! Some times you see the tangible results through a message or comment, and sometimes you do not. You are precious and treasured Sarah!
    Love and hugs,
    Ann

  12. Sarah, thank you for trusting us with such transparency. You are part of a precious group of sisters (and some brothers) who have come out into the light of the truth that we are clean and beloved! I hope you follow the Traveling Scarf blog. I recently finished a 6-day series of posts on my own blog about the incest I experienced. I ended with something it took me sixty years to believe:

    ” As Jerry (my husband) says, we are each the sum total of all we have done, left undone, had done to us–and we needed all of it to be who we are meant to be. I would not be the person of compassion and fiery indignation for the justice of little ones if I had not been through all I went through. I don’t regret a bit of it. I am victim and overcomer, simple lover of cuddling and complex amateur psychologist/philosopher/theologian, seeker of truth and inconsistent hypocrite. I am fearfully and wonderfully made, work-in-progress, wounded healer, God’s forgiven child.
    ” So are you.
    “And it is all, all so worth it, every single minute detail so marvelously designed and orchestrated, the end planned before the beginning for our very best good and His eternal glory, even now before He pulls aside the veil and shows us how that can be.”

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