Throughout her high school years, my youngest daughter volunteered at a shelter for abused women and their children. Through her work there I was exposed to how prevalent and devastating domestic abuse is in America.
Abuse takes many forms…but it is always devastating. In the United States alone, three to four million women are battered each year by their husbands or partners. While three million reports of child abuse are made every year just in the United States…experts estimate that the actual number of incidents of abuse and neglect is three times greater than reported. Many children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. While these are US figures, the these problems exist around the world and in most places, at much higher rates.
Abuse, whether physical or verbal, erodes confidence and self-esteem. We begin believing what we are told about ourselves; we think that anyone treated so violently and abusively must deserve it. These beliefs are often accepted early in life and become part of the initial lenses through which all information is seen and processed. Even if abuse occurs when we are older, the intensity of the experience makes it a formidable opponent to positive self-image.
Abuse communicates “you are worthless”…”you are an object to be used by me whenever I want”…”dignity, respect, and honor are not for you”…”I am always more important than you”. These distortions and interpretations form part of the foundation we build the rest of our life on.
Today, ask “How do I see myself? Is my self-image based on other people’s words and actions toward me? Or is it based on the truth of God’s Word? God knew you before you were even born. He created you…and His works are wonderful. Let Jesus help us take our eyes off ourselves and begin the process of putting our eyes on Him; He is able to heal our eyes, to see ourselves clearly as He sees us.
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Dear Father God, thank You for this reminder that You formed me and made me…and that Your works are wonderful. I must admit, though, sometimes I don’t feel as though I’m wonderful at all. In fact, sometimes I feel as though I don’t deserve anything good. Help me to really grasp what Jesus did for me. I pray this and all prayers in the name of Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear.
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