Social media feeds across the country recently blew up with countless #metoo postings. While many came from A-list celebrities, did you notice how many seemed to be posted by friends, colleagues and family members?
I've thought a lot about how to respond. Or whether I should even join the conversation. Like too many others my life has been ravaged by sexual abuse, but it’s not something I enjoy talking about. I’m not an activist by nature. In the past I’d managed to avoid the issue for decades, knowing that, once I acknowledged it, I’d have to deal with the shattering impact it’d had on my life. Back in those days it was hard enough to just get through the day. As a pastor’s wife, raising two young children, I didn’t have time for a crisis. Besides, nothing would change the fact that it had happened — so why reopen old wounds, right?
Funny thing about crises. If you keep ignoring their knock on your door they will eventually break the door down. The day my door caved in I fell to my knees sobbing beside my bed. When I turned to my Bible it literally opened to 2 Kings 20:5. God spoke directly to me: “Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David, ‘I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; behold, I will heal you.’” I came undone. And for the first time I was able to whisper, “Me too, Lord.”
It was a hard-won victory. Not a fist-pumping celebration. Rather, a brokenhearted recognition I’d survived unspeakable things. After being in denial for so long, just being able to say #metoo was incredibly healing. I felt empowered and no longer bound by the power of the Secret.
If you are that person today please know I celebrate your victory with you! You’ve taken an important step. Acknowledging the trauma you endured and celebrating the fact that you’re still here to declare #metoo is a vital part of your story. But I want you to know that your journey toward healing will continue as long as you live. Don’t be overwhelmed by the thought. It’s a wonderful thing even though it is not without pain.
The courage to take a stand with #metoo can be an important turning point from victim to victor. As I've followed the #metoo threads and read so many of your stories, an old hymn keeps weaving its way through my mind. I've tried to silence it, afraid I will be thought of as insensitive or, heaven forbid, politically incorrect. But I can’t be quiet. I have to respond. The song keeps playing, and I feel compelled to share it in the hope that you might hear it too.
"I once was lost, but now I'm found;
"Was blind, but now I see."
And herein lies my hope. You see, I once was so badly wounded I felt certain I would die under the weight of my pain. But now I wake up every morning and am so grateful to be alive. I watch the sunrise on my way to work and I feel the power of the promise that the Son of Righteousness will rise with healing in His wings.
With the sharp edges of my broken heart I once hurt the people I loved the most. But now I'm no longer afraid of loving, and I’m learning how to receive love.
I once saw myself as a victim, deserving of the rejection and abuse life so readily dished out, but now I can look in the mirror and see who I really am: a miracle of God's kindness and grace.
But now! Oh, the power of those two simple words! Where #metoo gave me permission to acknowledge my brokenness, #butnow empowers me to walk in joy!
No one says it better than Job. In the final chapter of the book, after his friends had no more cold comfort to share, after his wife had told him to curse God and die, after Job himself had quit railing against God, in the silence Job finally gets it. “I had heard rumors about You,” he whispers, “but now my eyes have seen You” (Job 42:5).
Like Job we have to come to the end of ourselves. In the brokenhearted, openhearted mess of our barely audible “me too’s,” we acknowledge more than just our pain. We recognize the goodness, faithfulness and tenderness of the One who witnessed it all and who wept with us.
I recognize our experiences are all different. My journey is not yours. We cannot rush the stages of grief, anger or recovery. But please allow me to speak this powerful truth into your life: There is a brave new world beyond #metoo. There is so much more to God than mere rumors. I pray that someday, maybe even today, you will not only acknowledge the critical step of #metoo but learn the joyful journey of #butnow. May that be the moment the song soars within you: I once was lost, #butnow I’m found, was blind, #butnow I see!
EDITOR'S NOTE: As space allows, the Gleaner provides the You Said It section for Northwest Adventist members to share their personal testimonies or inspirational thoughts. The views expressed are those of the writer and may not fully reflect those of the North Pacific Union Conference or its leadership. We welcome submissions of 500–900 words for You Said It.