Though I Walk Through the Valley

Sep 30, 2015 | What do you do when you feel like running away in the face of a choice that you know is going to cause you a lot of pain? I felt torn between my desire to help others and wanting to run because I knew I would have to experience a lot of anguish in the process of helping others like me. Yes, I’m talking about writing true stories of abuse, brokenness, and personal darkness.

Unfortunately, I can’t write from my head. My writing only flows when it’s written from my heart. So, if it is painful material, it really hurts me to write it. I have to walk through the pain and darkness to make it real to readers.

Bloom In the Dark is intense enough that I’ve been told some people can’t read it because it triggers their own pain. I guess that is a compliment, because it means I’m drawing them into the stories effectively. I want to tell them that the hope at the end of each story is worth the pain. That denial never healed anything. Pretending you’re not sick doesn’t make you well. But I understand the desire to just run. From the past, the pain, the emotions, the scars, people……
I did that for most of my life. I ran away–emotionally, physically, mentally, spiritually. What good did that do? It numbed the pain, or at least distracted me from it for a little while. But it robbed me of loving relationships, time with my kids, appreciating the beauty around me. Running away didn’t help me grow, change, get stronger, feel fulfilled. It never got rid of the past or the pain.

I finally quit running away and started asking for help. Getting help is like going to the doctor or dentist. Treatment is very important for long term health, but it is usually uncomfortable or downright painful! I’ve gotten a lot of help over the years. Many times, healing time is proportional to the amount of damage. I had to invest a lot of years, tears, and pain into getting better.

God used some amazing ministries, including Celebrate Recovery, Be In Health, and Crossroads Christian Counseling. These were safe places for me to heal and change. I learned to understand why I was broken. That it wasn’t my fault. That I didn’t deserve the abuse. That hope and healing could be found in a relationship with Father God through His Son, Jesus.

As I healed, I realized that I wanted to help others like me. I wanted to tell them, “You are not alone. It is abuse, and it’s not your fault. You are loved and lovable.” But how could I tell them that? I don’t know who they are because they aren’t advertising their pain. Fear and shame kept my mouth shut, too.

But statistics say that I’m “normal.” By percentages, as an abuse victim, I’m in the majority group. So why did I feel so alone? Because silence keeps us isolated.

Victims are too afraid or ashamed to admit what they’ve been through. Like me. So how could someone have reached me? One of my escapes was reading. They could have given me a book that would share other women’s brokenness and healing. That way I would know I wasn’t alone and that there was hope– without my having to admit anything to anyone!

So back to reliving my own pain or living through other women’s pain. Crazy, right? Yes, but worth it. Cathartic. Rewarding. Meaningful. I am doing for others what I wish had been available for me. I’m sharing true testimonies that are raw and painful, but end with hope and healing.

I’m feeling the pain, but I’m also getting to experience the miracle of healing, my own and others. I’m getting to watch women and girls start their journey to wholeness. I’m getting to meet more women who have already been healed. I’m surrounded by miracles, joy and beauty.

Psalm 23 shares a progression that has been true in my journey of writing painful stories of intense hope:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.

He restores me and leads me before the valley! I don’t need to be afraid because He’s with me. Boundaries keep me safe. I am sustained and restored. Then goodness, mercy and home. God offers restoration and redemption to all of us. Despite the pain, I wouldn’t trade this journey for anything in the world!

If you are encouraged or challenged by any of my blogs, please like, comment, and follow my blog. Bloom In the Dark can be purchased at or in Kindle format at If you have a story of healing that you would like to share, email me at

Thanks for joining me on this journey of healing, Paula

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