Michelle Williams of Destiny’s Child had this to say about her moderate battle with depression:
“We’re taught, ‘Just go to church and pray about it. The Lord is going to heal you.’ Well, in the meantime, I believe God-gifted people, physicians, doctors, therapists — that’s your healing. Take advantage of it,” she said. “Go see a professional so that they can assess you. It’s OK if you’re going through something. Depression is not OK, but it is OK to go get help.”
As a child sexual abuse expert and advocate I find it extremely important to emphasize to the church that healing is intrinsic to live a life worth documenting. People who attend church are embattled with different types of acute or chronic illness and while I believe in the ‘Resurrection’ power of Jesus, healing the sick and raising the dead, I understand that we are three-part beings.
In my new book, Sexual Discipleship: The Strategic Plan to Legalize SEX with Children, I will talk about child sexual abuse, how to prevent it, and as importantly how to heal from the abuse. In my memoir, Identity Crisis, Identity Christ Is: A Journey to Love, I talk a lot about the process of healing, grounding faith and overcoming child sexual abuse and adult homelessness. All of these issues culminating decisions during crisis, to choose life and not defeat.
While the spirit of God most certainly heals, it is necessary for us to welcome positive relationships with people whom we trust to support us in soul healing. I live by the analogy that Pastor Tony Brazelton gives, describing us in 1 Thessalonians 5:23.
We are three-part beings: We are a spirit, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Our soul is our thinker, feeler and chooser. Our soul is our mind, our will and our emotions.
I believe, and teach that it is important to see healing in all of its power. The spirit of God can heal all of our brokenness, but I believe that in order to know what to fix (and call it by name) we must know what is broken.
Too often, we want to bypass the process of examining our brokenness but this process heals your mind, will and emotions. Healing strengthens you, and seeking wholeness in your emotions are necessary in order to see deeper spiritually.
You go to church, pray about it, and take action! Depression for people who have experienced child sexual abuse is born out of a lifelessness that exists without your permission. Your development is halted and opened at the same time. Your body, your soul and depending on your beliefs, your spirit can be stop-and-go. This is confusing, and can cause feelings associated with being lost.
And when you are lost, you often feel a sense of deep despair; aloneness.
You can overcome anything! You can beat any kind of spiritual or emotional warfare that would promote self-destruction. In order for churches to see the word manifest in their member’s lives, they are going to have to start having conversations, seminars, guest presenters who believe and can teach the word specific to healing in this area.
You May Also Like: The Bible and Child Sexual Abuse
Child sexual abuse is a $124 Billion epidemic and costs this over the lifetime of the 1 in 4 female and 1 in 6 male victims. 80% of people who engage in narcotics and substance abuse have been sexually abused. Many of those with mental illness have been sexually abused. Many prostitutes (the very population you hear preachers often praying over the pulpit about) have been sexually abused.
In Washington, D.C., 44 women with a serious mental illness (75 percent diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder) who were “episodically homeless” were interviewed regarding physical and sexual assault during the periods of homelessness. Of the 44 women, “30% reported at least one incident of physical assault and 34% reported at least one sexual assault while homeless.” Of the sexual assaults, 57 percent reported that it occurred on the street, and 55 percent reported that the perpetrators were strangers. The authors conclude that “for episodically homeless women with serious mental illness, the lifetime risk for violent victimization is so high that rape and physical battery are normative experiences.” Goodman LA, Dutton MA, Harris M. Episodically homeless women with serious mental illness: prevalence of physical and sexual assault. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 1995;65:468–478.
I believe in getting to the root of the problem, and I believe that child sexual abuse is the root, and where we start with education, prevention, healing and awareness. Like Michelle Williams and many others who battled with depression, you can have hope, and healing.
In fact, I created World Ressurrection Healing Day for this purpose, to promote that healing exists, is possible, and to raise up a people who would be healed in order to heal.
Healed People, Heal People. – Ressurrection Graves