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Domestic abuse does a number on a person (and that’s putting it mildly). To be so betrayed—again and again—by the person you trust the most, love the most, and had the most faith in, is devastating. Just ask Jesus—He knows what that feels like.

When I emerged from the frozen shock of abuse and began to heal, I felt like I’d spent the last decade sleeping my life away, cut off from the rest of the world, secluded in a void of my own making. I’d been hiding in the clefts of the rock so no one could hurt me any longer (Song of Songs 2:14).

Betrayal trauma does that to a person, especially if the betrayal is a protracted one, spanning years or even decades. Infidelity, domestic abuse, the confusion of being brainwashed into thinking you’re the cause of every problem … All these issues naturally lead to self-doubt, a depletion of the spirit, and a desire to isolate in order to stay safe.

I’ve always found Sacred Scripture to be of immense comfort as I struggled through my pain and healing. No matter where I’m at in life, Scripture has been my foundation. Even those verses that don’t provide help or consolation, but show the struggles of humanity and how God truly understands, are immeasurably reassuring.

Within the pages of the Bible, no matter where I turn, there I find myself.

“I call to God the Most High, to God who has always been my help. My soul lies down among lions. Their teeth are spears and arrows, their tongue a sharpened sword.”

(Psalm 57:2,4)

Yes! Especially during my lowest times I could completely relate to those verses, and find comfort in the relation. Yet as I began to open up to the possibility of finally healing from my wounds, I also knew — and trusted, and truly believed — that “my heart is ready, O God, my heart is ready” for His saving graces (Psalm 57:7).

Even so, there was one verse in the Bible that made me cringe. One verse that I couldn’t bear to read, because it made me feel sick to my stomach. It was a trigger, and a huge one at that.

“Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth.”

(Song of Songs, 1:1)

I struggled with this line from the Song of Songs, finding it extremely unappealing — repulsive, even. Kisses were frightening to me at that point. The very idea caused deep, pervasive anxiety.

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I had given my vulnerability, in trust and love, as a gift to another. That authentically-given gift was received — and then gobbled up and spit back out me, with a judgment that it was unworthy. That I was unworthy.

I was told I didn’t love enough. I didn’t give enough. That I was cold, selfish, confrontational, useless. I was accused of vile things I can’t even repeat. I was called horrific names no one should ever have to hear from another person, let alone someone they love.

And then, the next words out of that same mouth were “I love you, you’re my angel, my soul mate,” followed by kisses.

Woman crying with hand on mouth in room

(Liza Summer / www.pexels.com)

How could kisses ever feel safe to me again, when I’d learned that the mouth could be used as a sharp weapon?

“The mouth of the wicked conceals violence. Insults have broken my heart, so that I am in despair.”

(Prov. 10:6, Ps. 69:20)

When I read the Song of Songs, the anxiety began to seep back in. The panic, the fear. I still couldn’t get past that first line:

Let Him Kiss me with the kisses of His mouth.

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Yet finally—through the grace of God, through my continued prayers for His healing fragrance to envelop me—I realized that I had to release the ramblings of my head and and the shattered pieces of my heart. I had to let myself be vulnerable again—to Him, to the One who will never betray me. I had to let His kiss penetrate my heart, to permeate all the places inside me that were completely broken.

I knew only He could fix the shattered pieces, gluing them back together with His own Precious Blood.

Jesus is the ultimate Physician. He’s the only Physician who gives His own Blood so that I may live.

At that point in my battered life, I needed a complete blood transfusion. And He does that, for all of us. He’s the surgeon who performs the transfusion, but not with random donor blood.

He heals us all with His own precious Blood, poured out. For us.

What a glorious Physician He is!

My heart had been broken beyond human repair. There was nothing anyone could do to fix it. Only He could save me. Only He could repair my shattered heart, a heart that no longer functioned properly.

My Divine Physician, the one who gave His own precious Blood to save me, is also a heart surgeon.

He can restore what’s leaking inside all of us. He can stitch us back up. He can make us complete, and whole. He can restore us to our inmost selves.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

(Ps. 51:10)

If you’re a victim of betrayal trauma or domestic abuse, perhaps you’ve also been in a coma for far too long. Perhaps you’ve been distanced — from yourself, from your loved ones, even from God. But while remaining in a coma, we can’t sign the release forms which will give Jesus permission to be our personal Physician. While still asleep, we can’t give permission for the blood transfusion, or for the heart surgery we so desperately require.

We need to wake up in order to give Him our consent. Talitha cumi. Little girl, arise!

“Little girl, I say to you, arise!”

(Mark 5:41)

This is what God calls us to do.

“Do you want to be healed?” Jesus asked the paralytic (John 5:6). What’s your answer? I know mine:

And the first step is to Let Him.

In order to begin the healing journey — with Christ as our guide — we need to process our pain and brokenness. We need to let Him heal us, because He’s the only one who can.

We need to push past our fears and to begin to accept kisses again — Divine kisses, the ones that don’t hurt.

Healing is a messy process. It takes time, and the resiliency to move through suffering.

This journey is too perilous to be taken alone. A few verses later in the Song of Songs we read, “Draw me in your footsteps, let us run” (1:4). The only way to heal is to allow God to take us by the hand and draw us close, close enough so He can kiss us with His grace and love.

The kisses of His mouth have awakened me from my long, dark slumber. The spell of suffering has been broken, at last.

Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth, for your love is better than in wine.

(Song of Songs, 1:1)

Talitha cumi.

My heart is ready, Lord, my heart is ready.

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