STRENGTH TO SOAR
Over the last few months, Restore One has been running the “Summer of Strength” campaign, focusing on the strength of boys emerging from sexual abuse and exploitation. We have looked at the themes, “Strength to Name” and “Strength to Heal”. As we wrap up the summer, we turn to the topic, “Strength to Soar”. In the context of healing from sexual abuse and exploitation, what does it mean to “soar”?
I went to the dictionary and found several definitions:
To fly aloft or about; to sail or hover in the air often at a great height – “to glide”
To rise or increase dramatically (as in position, value or price) – as in, “stocks soared”
To ascend to a higher or more exalted level – “makes my spirits soar”
As I think about my own healing journey over the last 15 years, I can apply all of these definitions to boys recovering from sexual abuse and exploitation. As a result of the restoration and healing in my life, there have been times when I soar or glide effortlessly in situations which used to make me uncomfortable or scared; times when I have been able to see and appreciate my dramatically increasing sense of self-worth, and not all of my faults and failures – to see my personal stock soar; and yes, at times, I’ve even experienced climbing a spiritual mountain, after intense prayer, realizing that God was with me each and every time I was abused – not causing it to happen but letting me know that He was with me through the ordeal and assuring me that I didn’t do anything wrong, I didn’t deserve it, and He loves me ferociously. This healing has certainly enabled me to reach a higher or more exalted level – to literally allow my spirits to soar. My Presidency of this incredible organization has provided me with numerous examples of God’s transformative and healing powers, and has allowed me to soar in ways I never imagined.
But here’s the tricky thing about soaring on the healing journey: it’s not an always and ever-increasing straight-line trajectory. There are times, still, when I need to furiously flap my wings in a headwind, to keep from losing altitude…or to dig my hands and feet into the smallest cracks available to keep from sliding down the side of the mountain…or to pray against doubting God’s promises previously heard and believed. And yet, droop, slide, doubt or fall, I do! But by applying the practices learned, I attempt to soar again, and often do. One of my favorite books on the lifetime effects of childhood sexual abuse on boys, “Not Quite Healed” by Cecil Murphey and Gary Roe, drives home the point that it can take a long, long time for a man to come to terms with childhood sexual abuse and to learn different responses to life’s situations that often baffle him. In their book they explore such topics as, “Why was I victimized?”; “It’s safer to live behind my mask”; “Why do I have to talk about it?”; “I don’t feel like a real man”; “I’m wounded body and soul”; and “When I’m healed, who will I be?” They bolster this truth I have experienced in my own life: through naming what happened to me by talking to others about it, by seeking professional guidance and therapy to achieve healing, and with a lot of love and grace from family, friends and God, it is possible to soar…
And getting boys to soar is what Restore One is all about. Through the Model of Hope developed by our own staff, we will engage the boy who has been sexually exploited. The Model is designed to meet the psychological, physical and sociological needs of sex trafficked and sexually exploited boys. At the Anchor House, every boy is treated as a unique individual by using holistic approaches and proven clinical methods that nurture healing and restoration. We provide education and offer opportunities for the boys to develop spiritually. All done in an effort to teach the boys how to soar!
Please see the graphic below for more information on the Restore One Model of Hope.
In God’s love and grace, I am,
HELP MAKE ABOLITION POSSIBLE
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