How Building a Personal Relationship with God Unlocks Hope and Joy for Abuse Survivors

Gina Rolkowski continues her blog series for women healing from abuse and childhood trauma that focuses on post-traumatic growth. She focuses on the last pillar "spiritual growth. by sharing the importance of building a relationship with God. The image for the blog is women wearing a light orange sweater and straw hat with a ribbon holding her arms out and up to her side expressing hope as she looks up to a bright blue sky.

Seems too easy to believe, huh?  Building a personal relationship with God holds the key to serenity, hope and joy? How is that so?

Well…let’s take a look and see…

God’s Word tells us that, “Perfect Love drives out all fear.” -1 John 4:8

Now before I tell you more about why this is true from my own experience, let me offer you a friendly warning.  LOL!  

The topic of building a relationship with God lights a fire in my heart and soul which will most likely come across as I write!  I urge you to hang in there with me and just maybe by the time you have read through the post, your heart and soul will start to warm up and you will feel hopeful and loved like I do! 

That being said, let’s continue our review of the 5 Pillars of Post-Traumatic Gro and take a look at the final pillar, Spiritual Growth.  Oh and in case you haven’t read the first tow blogs in this series you can check them out here and here.  

Ok, let dive in to that last pillar!

The Last Pillar Of Post-Traumatic Growth: Building a Personal Relationship with God

Get a load of this…according to the Post-Traumatic growth Inventory, the last pillar of post-traumatic growth is “spiritual growth.”  No biggie there however, they define that as, “Better understanding of spiritual matters.”  

What the heck does that mean?!  How does that tell you anything about healing from trauma and abuse in regard to this pillar?  Plus, if I remember correctly from grade school, you are not supposed to define a word by using the word in the definition of said word. 

 This vague explanation (if you can call it that) is exactly why I struggled when it came to my journey to healing from abuse and trauma in therapy early on and why I believe and have seen many abuse survivors miss out on hope and joy because they have no idea what this means or how to put it in action. 

To include this as a pillar and offer no direction really weakens the pillar as such.  Told ya this topic lights a fire within me!  

Allow me to provide more details about why this is the case and more importantly, why building a relationship with God truly encompasses what this final pillar really means and how I know that from personal experience.

Building a Personal Relationship with God Doesn’t Mean Understanding God: It’s a Good Thing Not To Understand God

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  –Proverbs 3:5-6

Firstly, if we  all need to understand something before we can reap its benefits, then I’d venture to say that we are all in a tough spot.  

Think about it, do you “understand” love?  Do you “understand” hope or freedom? Or what about upsetting concepts like fear and shame? I’d bet that you simply experience them in spite of not being able to comprehend the details of them?

Imagine for a moment that unless you could understand love then you would not be able to experience it.  That’s insane!  Life changing experiences cannot be equated or described like a math problem with steps that must be understood in order to experience in life.  Make sense?

Think about this, too…do you go out on a date and share a book about yourself or ask the potential suitor to explain himself so you can understand him and then have fun or make a connection?  

Building a Personal Relationship with God Helps Abuse Survivors Heal 

Spiritual growth is the same way.  In my personal experience, having a relationship with God and nurturing that relationship without “understanding,” created not only the foundation of my healing journey but also offered me everything I longed for like freedom from fear, shame, emotional and physical anxiety, as well as safety, hope, unconditional love and joy.

All of those breakthroughs happened because I opened myself up to knowing God on an intimate level.  

Yes, I felt angry at Him.  Yes, I felt frustrated with Him at times but I also did not attempt to understand Him which allowed me to open myself up to receive His unconditional love;  the “perfect love that drives out all fear” that I desperately needed to unlock the shackles of shame.  

The very shackles preventing me from experiencing the hope and joy I desired and deserved.

No Program or Practice Offers this Key to Healing from Shame and Abuse

Before I turned back to God, I tried many other ways to find the relief I longed for such as  mindfulness, supplements, self regulation strategies, going for a walk, striving professionally, etc. etc.   However, each time I tried to find peace outside of God, I was left still struggling to really experience the breakthroughs I longed for.  

“Self help”  just didn’t cut it.  I felt alone and ashamed to even be a self.  

Oftentimes you hear sayings like, “Look inside yourself, you can’t get your needs met from others,” blah blah blah but has anyone ever told you what to do if you cannot or do not even want to relate to yourself?  

They never told me either.

Here’s why building a relationship with God takes care of all of that AND at the same time will help move you from suffering and shame to freedom, hope and joy.

Before I share that, let me say that I understand that the very thing that will help you find the freedom, hope and peace you long for as an abuse survivor is unfortunately also the very same thing that most likely scares you or that you have protected yourself from.  

That being said, do you have any guesses?…

Connecting with God Provides the Unconditional Love that Heals the Pain from Abuse

It’s connection. 

Connection creates the space for love. However, connection also scares the heck out of abuse survivors. Right?!

See the dilemma here?  

The people that you trusted to care for you and love you that you needed a safe connection with also deeply wounded you and did not provide unconditional love.  This lack of unconditional love caused you to believe that you are unworthy and unlovable  which unconsciously led you to put up your walls and defenses around connection and love.  

These defenses while protective also prevent you from experiencing any future connections even if they are positive healthy ones.

That’s where God comes in!  God provides a safe unconditional loving connection always!

Nothing Can Separate Us From God’s Unconditional Love

God tells us in His word that nothing can separate us from the love He has for us.

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.  Romans 8: 38

Believe it or not, God is not a concept to be understood or a religion to practice.  He is your loving Father who wants an unconditional loving relationship with you that will override the trauma and abuse.  

How to Start Building a Personal Relationship with God

The cool thing about connecting with God is that it doesn’t  have to be formal or even peaceful.  God can handle whatever you have to share with Him.  Tell Him how awful you feel, how tired you are of this journey or how angry or scared you are!  He can take it and that counts as connection!

Connecting with God can be simply sharing how you feel with Him quietly in a journal or in your heart screaming at Him or crying your eyes out with Him or maybe even asking Him a question.

God will never turn away from you.  He will always unconditionally love you.

The more time you spend relating to God, the more you actually open up to Him and that’s where the real healing begins without even trying! 

 You see, the more you open up even just to share something with Him or get curious about Him, the more your posture towards Him will open up allowing you to feel safe enough to intentionally receive His unconditional love-The very love necessary to heal the shame causing you fear, anxiety and self-hatred.  

Healing From Abuse Is Not About Understanding God’s Love but About Receiving It

Keep in mind and this goes back to the definition of “spiritual growth as a pillar of post-traumatic growth, God can certainly love us but if we do not connect with Him somehow, we hinder ourselves from receiving the love He has that will absolutely transform shame and suffering into hope and joy. 

Which is why “understanding” Him just is not possible nor will that shift your trauma to triumph. In fact, trying to do so might actually hinder and delay your post-traumatic growth. 

When it comes to this final pillar of post-traumatic growth, I encourage you to connect with God rather than trying to “understand” Him so that you can start receiving His unconditional love which will transform your trauma so you can finally experience  the freedom, hope and joy you long for so badly and He has for you.

Want some help in connecting with God so you can heal from abuse? 

Click here to schedule a discovery call

From my heart to yours,


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