Dear Survivor: You Are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made


Dear Fellow Survivor,

I’ve already shared with you that one of the most long-lasting effects of the abuse I experienced is a profoundly distorted view of my body (something called body dysmorphia). The specific details of the abuse seared onto my mind images of myself and beliefs about myself that plague me to this day. For decades, it was impossible for me to see my body as it actually was. Even today, I often struggle with that. It’s hard for me to put into words just how much pain this terribly skewed view of my body has caused me.

I know that many of you can relate. Childhood sexual abuse has countless ways of destroying the relationship that we have with the physical bodies God has given us.

Perhaps you are like a friend of mine who once told me, “There’s me, and then there’s my body. I and my body are separate because that dissociation is how I survived what happened to me.”

Or maybe you are like another survivor I know. This person is a woman, but she no longer wants to be a woman. In her mind, being female means being abused. And if that’s what being a woman means, she wants no part of it.

If you, like me, struggle to see your physical body as a wonderfully created blessing from God, I encourage you to listen to these words of King David that I cling to every single day: “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well” (Psalm 139:14).

The physical bodies that God has given us are indeed wonderfully created blessings from him. Those physical bodies were horribly abused. But that doesn’t change the fact that God has fearfully and wonderfully made each and every one of our physical bodies. Our physical bodies are important to God—so important that the Son of God himself took on a human body so that he could redeem us body and soul. And God has promised us that we will live with him forever, not as souls without bodies, but as body and soul together. Our resurrected bodies will be perfect with no trace of abuse and no shame to spoil our view of them.

I carry in my pocket a wooden coin with Psalm 139:14 engraved on it. Whenever my body dysmorphia asserts itself, I reach into my pocket and am reminded of God’s truth: I, yes, I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Is this often a truth I know but struggle to believe? Yes. But that’s okay. God’s truth doesn’t depend on the strength of my faith for it to be true. And I’ve found that the longer I cling to this truth, the easier it becomes for me to believe it.

My dear fellow survivor, regardless of how you feel right now about the physical body God has given you, I pray that you will cling to God’s Word. Let that Word bring you healing. You, yes, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God’s works are wonderful. You can know that full well.

In Christ,
Your Brother Survivor

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This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Dear Fellow Survivor