Recently, at an address given at the General Women’s Broadcast, part of the LDS General Conference, Carole M. Stephens (1st counselor in the General RS Presidency) spoke about the Atonement available through Jesus Christ–The Master Healer. The talk was beautiful and I thought I’d share a portion of what she said. You may read, listen to, and/or watch her talk in full here.
“[T]he Master Healer can comfort and strengthen us when we experience pain because of the unrighteous actions of others. I have had many conversations with women weighed down under heavy burdens. Their covenant path from the temple has become a difficult journey of healing. They suffer from broken covenants, broken hearts, and lost confidence. Many are victims of adultery and verbal, sexual, and emotional abuse, often as the result of other people’s addictions.
“These experiences, though no fault of their own, have left many feeling guilty and ashamed. Not understanding how to manage the powerful emotions they experience, many try to bury them, pushing them deeper into themselves.
“Hope and healing are not found in the dark abyss of secrecy but in the light and love of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
“If you find yourself in this situation, sisters, healing may be a long process. It will require that you prayerfully seek guidance and appropriate help, including counseling with properly ordained priesthood holders. As you learn to communicate openly, set appropriate boundaries and perhaps seek professional counseling. Maintaining spiritual health throughout the process is vital! Remember your divine identity: you are a beloved daughter of Heavenly Parents. Trust your Father’s eternal plan for you. Continue daily to increase your understanding of the doctrine of Jesus Christ. Exercise faith each day to drink deeply from the Savior’s well of living water. Rely on the endowment of power made available to each of us through ordinances and covenants. And allow the healing power of the Savior and His Atonement into your life.”
This message is beautiful to me. Sister Stephens accurately describes how victims feel, and our attempts to bury our emotions so we don’t have to keep feeling them. But, instead we need to not keep them inside, we need to give them to our Savior. Like she says, healing may be a long process (though we wish we could just be done, right?) and we may need ecclesiastical as well as professional help to overcome. But, one thing never changes: God loves us and we are His children. Trust in Him and His plan for you. Rely on Him and the Atonement of our Savior to get through the healing process. Peace will come, maybe not all at once, but bit by bit. The Atonement is not only for sins, but also to heal the brokenhearted and to give us succor from all our pains and afflictions, including being victims of sexual abuse.