You've done it. You put the hashtag on your social media pages, you've even been so bold as to talk about "it" with closer friends and family who never knew, never suspected that you were one of the ones who had been sexually abused.
Maybe it was just once when you were a child, or maybe it went on for years. Maybe it was just last week in your workplace and you're still avoiding eye contact with your abuser... and everyone else who seems to know something is going on. Maybe you dread going home every day because it's your spouse or your parent or your guardian or neighbor who just wont leave you alone, and you feel trapped.
#MeToo spread like an epidemic, and it's because millions, if not billions, are desperately seeking help. What most people fail to realize, including the victims, is that there is a lot of help needed long after the abuser is caught and put away. More is needed than a handful of counseling sessions and the bad guy behind bars.
I can imagine there are thousands of women, in my region alone, who have put the hashtag out there and, for a moment, felt a burst of freedom and joy at getting everything out in the light. The truth was finally spoken! And now...
You still wake up every day with that heaviness on your chest. You still flinch when you see him or walk by that place where "it" happened. You still get sick when you have to walk to your car alone after dark, or when you see his car in the driveway as you come home from work. You've spoken it, and you even got a dozen emogi's from scrollers expressing their sorrow, admiration or love for you for being so bold to do speak truth.
And yet, the weight of what happened still sits on your chest like a freight train.
Isn't this supposed to go away? We wonder. Somewhere along the line we were spoon fed the lie that a pain-free life is not only possible, but attainable. Everything around us and in us, however, struggles with this concept. For good reason - it's a lie.
Scripture promises us we will have troubles in this world (John 16:33). We are told over and over again to not be surprised when it happens (James 1:12; 1 Peter 1:6-7). Yet we live in a generation and a culture that expects a pain-free (or at the very least, fairly painless) existence.
I don't know when or how this lie ever slithered its way into our hearts and minds, but a pain-free life just isn't possible. To live is to experience pain, and the degree of pain we're willing to let ourselves experience drastically impacts the amount of comfort and love we allow in as well. You can't be comforted if you refuse to admit the pain exists.
For those of us waving the #MeToo flag hoping for healing, expressing the truth is one giant leap in the right direction. It's not the only step, but it is easily the most important. Once you hold out the pain for someone to see, the next step is a willingness to let it go.
"But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13b-14).
This doesn't mean you diminish or ignore the pain. It means you hand it over to the Healer. It means you stop waiting for the pain of what happened to just go away and you let Jesus, the divine and the man, be your peace (Ephesians 2:14). You step into relationship, opening your hands to drop the pain at His feet and you grab hold of his nail-scarred hands while He holds you up.
Like a father teaching his newborn how to walk.
Don't let your first step toward healing be your last. You've been so bold as to say #MeToo. Now be even bolder. The Good Shepherd calls His sheep to His side (John 10:27), calling them out of the bondage of pain and sorrow and into freedom (Galatians 5:1), from being lost to being saved (Luke 19:10).
He gives peace in a way that makes it unnecessary to be afraid - ever (John 14:27). He is calling you into the wilderness to be loved more intimately, more deeply than ever before (Psalm 78:52-53).
This is a call to which you can say, "Me, too!" And it will change your life for the better. This goes far beyond a hashtag. This "Me too" will alter your forever. Don't wait. Take the second step.