How Prayer Healed My Story

Margaret —  August 1, 2014 — 36 Comments

Let me introduce you to my friend, Mary. Mary DeMuth is the author of over a dozen books including Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing After Sexual Abuse. She has spoken around the country and the world about living an uncaged, freedom-infused life. She lives in the Dallas, Texas area with her family and three dysfunctional pets. Follow Mary on Twitter and Facebook.

Over the last several weeks, I've invited friends to share their words in this space as we explore the mysteries of prayer during the Summer Bible Study.

How Prayer Healed My Story

by Mary DeMuth

The first time I told my sexual abuse story (ten years post trauma), I was unbelieved. I had to re-tell the story several times, convincing the person that, yes, I had been molested. The exercise felt humiliating and excruciating. And I doubted that I’d ever tell it again. I remember hiding inside myself, questioning why I’d been so vulnerable.

I still felt caged by my story, and I lamented that I’d never be free.

It took me another year or so to muster up the confidence to share the story, but I finally did so, trembling. The words halted, and I’m sure my confidant sensed my hesitancy.

I’m so glad I dared to let my story out because the second person I told made a different choice: she believed me. And she prayed. Instead of skulking to my quiet place and wondering why I shared my pain, I felt a smidgen of freedom. In a way, my broken wings healed, and I unfolded them for the first time, dreaming of the time I would joyfully fly free from the cage.

I learned this important truth: an untold story never heals.

Fifteen years after the abuse, I shared my story with a group of friends in college who prayed-prayed-prayed for my healing. They wanted to see me uncaged from that painful past. I’m grateful that God began answering that lifelong prayer. Slivers of freedom seeped into my heart, and I began to explore the world beyond the cage, taking tentative leaps into the air.

Much to my surprise, I began to fly.

But then I bottled up the story. I mistakenly believed that the healing work was completed in college and I could go on my “Mary” way. I stopped asking people to pray for my healing and freedom. I got married, had children, parented my kids, and slowly withdrew from life.

As my girls each reached five years old, the age I’d been when the abuse started, my world fell apart. No longer able to handle the hurt, I realized I needed to ask for prayer again, even though I tried to convince myself that I’d already been healed.

I wish I could say it was easy to share, but this time it was harder because it felt like failure. Hadn’t I already been healed? Why re-hash and unearth that awful stuff? And yet, I knew that for the sake of my family and my mental health, I had to risk letting my story out again.

I learned that healing isn’t always complete, that we need to leak our stories throughout our lifetime, inviting others into the circle of prayer for our healing. And as I shared yet again, I started re-engaging with my life, and freedom came as close friends dared to pray for me.

I would not be uncaged today without the fervent prayers of others. I have been weak, small, hurt, worn down, and deeply discouraged, only to ask for prayer and experience the great reversal from grief to joy, from bewilderment to peace, from wrestling with my demons to nestling into Jesus, from caged and frightened to soaring.

My hope for you?

That you’ll tell your story straight, nothing held back, to a trust-loving friend. I hope that the friends who hear you tell it, halting as it may be, will believe you, dignify you by listening and asking great questions, and that they’ll end your conversation with prayer.

Mind if I pray for you?

Jesus, we all have hard stories we sometimes bury deep. Would You be so very kind to show us one amazing person to let our story out to who would dare to pray for us to be set free? Hear our prayers for peace and freedom and an uncaged life. We don’t want to be held captive by the past anymore. Grant us wings, and give us the power to fly toward joy.


Prayer Healed My Story**This week, were giving away 5 copies of Not Marked by Mary DeMuth.

In Not Marked: Finding Hope and Healing after Sexual Abuse, Mary illuminates the way to go from shame-filled to joy-filled, from traumatized to finding enduring peace. This isn’t theory. Mary has lived it. She’s traveled this path and offers a uniquely qualified, insider’s view of the healing process.

Then Mary goes deeper—because often you’re not the only one who has suffered. Her husband Patrick comes alongside her and offers insights into how spouses can love a sexual abuse victim toward wholeness, and how this will bring your relationship a whole new level of strength.

To win, leave a comment on the original blog post at MargaretFeinberg.com  The five winners will be selected and announced on Friday.

Congratulations to the winners: Linda, Denetta, Andrea Livingston, Amy, Crystie Rhynet

How can we be praying for you this week?

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36 responses to How Prayer Healed My Story

  1. Andrea Livingston August 1, 2014 at 7:45 am

    It is refreshing and gives amazing hope to hear someone tell my story, the story of abuse that began for me at the age of three. I too told part of my story when my marriage began falling apart after I had children. I too thought I was healed. When my grandaughter turned three the fears resurfaced and I again felt the ‘mark’, the stain of my past. Through the ministry of Celebrate Recovery and many step-sisters who were accountable to and with me in prayer and the truth of who I am in Jesus Christ I finally received healing at the age of 53. I am thankful for women who know that a hidden story does not heal, and help teach women to trust again. My ministry now is with other hurting women. I look forward to the insights of this book. May God bless those who read it.

  2. Was so excited to see that Mary wrote another book! :) Can’t wait to read it.
    You an be praying for me as I go through medical tests and doctor after doctor. Pray someone will find answers and a cure!

  3. Thank you Margaret for giving Mary another space to share God’s great healing and redeeming work. Thank you Mary for your courage and honesty about your journey. I am so awed and thankful that the Lord not only desires to heal each of our wounds, but then desires to use us to help set others free as He destroys the works of the evil one. What was meant to destroy us becomes a powerful weapon against the enemy. Praise God for His great work in all of our lives! Thank you Jesus for taking our shame and replacing it with Your joy and peace as only You can! To Him be the glory!

  4. A timely reminder…speak it so it heals. And to share it with the kind of people that would pray for and with you after instead of tell you to let it go. I know for me, it is important to become accustomed to this before I become a wife and mother so that I live “not marked”.

  5. I loved hearing this, as I deal with people on a daily basis who have dealt wih sexual abuse and I want to be there and listen as they speak. Thank you for sharing this!

  6. We overcome the enemy by the blood of the Lamb, and the word of our testimony!!

  7. Told my story to someone last night. Helps with the healing to release the secret! Also, I’ve forgiven my abuser. As it turns out, he was abused as well. Forgiveness has certainly been a huge part of my freedom!

  8. So timely, as I have a group of friends that meet weekly to pray. We meet today and the Holy Spirit spoke to me earlier this week about something I must speak to them today. I have been nervous about saying out loud the issue at hand. God is fabulous and so are you. Thank you!!!

    I am 42 and was abused and neglected the majority of my childhood. God is the only one capable of getting into all of the nooks and crannies of our beings and clearing everything out and bringing healing, peace and joy instead. Each of you who have suffered at the hand of another be encouraged that God is able and desiring to heal every bit of you.

  9. Thank you Mary for sharing. This story sounds so familiar. I too thought that I was already healed only to find out many years later that I’m still not through with this. I want to find a way out that gives my Lord Jesus glory and praise. Glad to hear how it worked for another.
    Asking prayer for the ability to trust Him more,
    Karen

  10. By the way,
    Margaret, I shared your utube post with my husband. Started an interesting faith conversation and wanted to let you know you’re having an impact. I am praying about sharing this with a group sometime. Thank you.
    Karen

  11. Thanks so much for sharing this. My struggle has been different, but I can relate to the idea of thinking you’ve healed and then finding that you need to periodically revisit that time in your life again to find renewed or further healing. Several years back I went through an unexpected and unwanted divorce that really brought me to rock bottom. Though I feel I’ve healed I find myself often going back and revisiting that time in my life out of necessity. It’s now a part of my story that I cannot ignore.

  12. Thank you for sharing your story. My childhood includes molestation by an uncle at the age of 5/6. I was physically, verbally and emotionally abused from 10-16 by my mother’s boyfriend. I was also raped at 21 by a stranger after keeping myself pure.
    I had a hard time believing God loved me until I had a vision of Jesus hurting with me, crying with me and inviting me to rest in His arms. I have offered my story back to The Lord to use to glorify Him.

  13. Thank you for sharing, Mary! I love this point you made “healing isn’t always complete, that we need to leak our stories throughout our lifetime” So very true! I’m amazed at how much we can still learn and grow and heal each time we choose to share again. AND, others are helped in the process. What a beautiful cycle.

  14. This was the single most important email I opened in a long time. I have hid this story, so similar, for a long time. I just, today, scheduled a therapy appointment after 4 years of being afraid to. 20 years past this happening to me. I am finally starting to come to terms with how much this is affecting my life. Although I never want to be glad this has happened to someone else, it is nice to know someone else has seen the other end of the trapping tunnel. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Thank you so much for sharing!!

  16. Mary,
    Thank you for this. I have just recently felt the heart-tug by God to begin sharing my own story. I began a blog: http://www.embraceyourbeautifulbody.com

    I think my blog is going to be a way to “voice” myself in bits and pieces. I’d love it if you could come over and read a bit. It doesn’t have many followers, yet. I’m being “careful” as to who I ask. But the readers here at this blog, I trust them enough. This community seems good. If they read Margaret Feinberg’s blog, then I think they’d “get” me.
    Anyways, thank you for this blog post. I’m so glad you have found freedom (and continue to work out the pain). I “get” that in a lot of ways.
    ~Amy :-)

  17. Thank you for this post. I have found over the years that prayer has helped more than counseling. It’s taking so long and I keep falling into anxiety and even paranoia because of not understanding the process. I’m told to trust God and He will reveal truth to me. At this point God is the only one I trust.

  18. Crystie Rhynet August 2, 2014 at 4:31 am

    I need this healing in my life…

  19. I need this healing in my life…

  20. Mary,

    Thanks for the courage and bravery in telling your story so that others too can find that sought after healing & for showing us that we’re never alone in our sharing.

    Donna B

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