This month is launch month for Journey to Heal. I’m so thankful to be at this point in the process, because the book will soon be available both online and in bookstores everywhere, where hurting women can purchase a copy for themselves and hopefully start their own journey to heal from past sexual abuse.
To kick off my book launch month, I will be hosting two women on the blog this week who have written helpful resources for victims and survivors of sexual abuse and assault. Today, I want to introduce you to my friend Paula Mosher Wallace. She is an author, speaker, blogger and certified life coach who has survived childhood sexual abuse and has written to tell about it through her book, Bloom in the Dark. God has redeemed her life and through her story the lives of many others. And today just happens to be her birthday! Happy Birthday, Paula!
Here is Paula’s story…
Have you ever seen a woman who seems to have it all? She’s beautiful, successful, confident. She has the ideal husband and amazing children and lives in the inviting house on the right side of town? Have you ever thought it wasn’t fair? That if you hadn’t had all the abuse, pain, loss or disadvantages, you could have been her? Are you pretending to be her?
You see, we know that we all have the potential for growth and beauty, we just think we need a greenhouse or the perfect climate, soil and surroundings to thrive and bloom. We think that others are either faking it (like I was), or they’ve had an unfair advantage in life. For years, I thought that considering my brokenness, my life was the best it could ever be. At least other people thought my life was the “happily ever after.”
Other women didn’t see me as a toddler who felt abandoned because I was separated from my family for six months. They didn’t see me as a devastated little girl who wished I could un-live being brutally raped at five. They didn’t see me growing up so poor that I knew a lot about work, but nothing about play. They didn’t see me gaining 72 pounds in six months because of a food addiction. They didn’t watch my spirit shatter as spiritual leaders ganged up on me with false accusations. They didn’t see the welt on my leg from the belt wielded in anger by my soulmate. They didn’t see me cry on the way home from a successful business event because I’d been told I was a failure.
They didn’t know I survived five minutes at a time when I was so overwhelmed with caring for my boys. They didn’t know I blamed myself for the baby I lost. They didn’t see the shame and guilt that kept me isolated and lonely.
They didn’t have a clue that my life was a sham.
When I was thirty-four, my façade crumbled. As I tumbled into a deadly darkness. I begged God for help.
In desperation, I decided to be real with God, myself and others. Denial and coping mechanisms hadn’t stopped the emotional cancer growing inside me. With undiagnosed disease and no interventions, my life had reached critical condition. I had to face my devastating diagnosis and start the difficult healing journey.
Over the last nine years of my healing journey, I’ve lost the successful image I thought mattered. I’ve lost my marriage, my home, my credit, my investments, my career, and my reputation. What I’ve gained: my health, unshakable faith, and the hearts of my three sons. I’ve felt the arms of my heavenly father carrying me down the beach as described in “Footprints.” I’ve danced in the rain, made lemonade from lemons, seen the rainbow after the storm, and basked in the peace that passes understanding.
I feel more innocent, beautiful, and cherished than I ever thought possible. I’ve learned to forgive myself and others. I’ve learned to admit my brokenness and pain to share hope with others. I’m no longer ashamed to have been a victim. As an Ex-Victim, I can demonstrate how a seed that has been abandoned, bruised, crushed, and despised can be buried alive, grow up in a hazardous environment, but with God’s intervention still bloom, even in the dark.
– Paula Mosher Wallace