After years of living with his evil uncle Lavan (Lavan means "white"), Yaakov still manages to hang on to truth, goodness, kindness, and his faith. Lavan is a trickster, passing himself off as clean and "white." He treats Yaakov as shameful and wrong, when Lavan is actually dishonest and abusive to his nephew. It is so hard to hang on to truth in the face of denial. Especially when a family member is abusive. How did Yaakov do it for so long, I wonder? His courage gives me strength.
We can't change an abuser, and we are not meant to. Yaakov could not change Lavan, even with all the years he lived with him, and all the power of truth, faith, and goodness. When we are dealing with an abuser we have to face the reality that if they are not open to change, we can not change them, and eventually we must part ways. We must leave and not look back. It is hard, and painful to leave. We have roots. We wish things could be different. It causes rifts in the family. But it is part of truth's mission. You can not change an abuser!
As my book is about to be published I resonate deeply with the sentence in the Torah Where Yaakov is about to enter Eisav's territory and confront Eisav head on. Yaakov is humbled by all of the kindness and truth God has shown him, in helping him cross the river (of life) safely. Then Yaakov begs, "Please, save me from my brother!" I am humbled by the kindness and truth that God has shown me. I am amazed and so grateful to be in a place I never imagined existed. A place of love and safety. A place of empowerment. But now I am going out on a limb, by publishing my story, and I am about to confront my brother, eleven siblings actually, and perhaps their wives, husbands, and children too, who already resent me and feel I am stealing something from them by my very existence. It feels dangerous, scary, and painful.
I have prayed for years that I do God's will and nothing else. I have asked God to prevent me from publishing my book if it is not His will, and if it will not ultimately bring goodness and healing to this world. My goal is to bring light, hope, and healing to a broken and hurting world. A world that is suffering. There are so many children and adults who have been through similar experiences to mine and who desperately need healing. There are so many survivors who need to know that they have a voice and they are not alone. They need to hear my story so that they know that healing is possible!
I run a peer led support group for women survivors of severe trauma. Connection with others who have been through abuse is so important! Fellow survivors, you are not alone! You have a voice that is important and deserves to be heard. Your suffering has meaning and purpose, even if you can't comprehend what it is right now. The world cannot exist without you...And the proof is that you are alive! Each breath that you take has value and meaning. God does not create anyone extra. All of who you are, with all of your humanity, limitations, strengths, and faults, is vital to this moment in time.
Never give up hope!
Never give up hope!