Childhood Abuse and Spirituality

By Sherri L. Board

It is important for us to grow up. And God feels the same way. 1 Corinthians 13:11 says, “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things” (NLT).

For people such as myself who were beat, molested, and verbally and emotional abused, putting away childish things is very difficult. Let’s face it, being treated like less than human certainly stunts one’s growth. So as an adult, I had a lot of growing up to do—a lot of letting go. 

I had to learn that others are responsible for their own lives and that while I am responsible “to them,” I am not responsible “for them.” I had to learn that the only way I was going to mature was to stop letting other people pilot my soul’s ship and take the helm myself. And, that I, and this was a huge one for me, had to stop giving away my power to other people.

All that said, the area I just couldn’t seem to grow up in was my spirituality. It wasn't until my middle fifties that I finally said to myself, “Sherri, you’ve got to get this figured out.” And so, I revisited my past to see if I could figure out why I felt so disconnected from God.

It was not as if I didn’t have religion in my life. My grandmother, who was my most positive female role model growing up, went to a Catholic church three to four times a week. My mother took my siblings (seven of us) to church every Sunday.

When I was young I felt underserving and detached from both my body and my spirit. If the very people who were supposed to be loving me were abusing me—crushing my spirit—how could I possibly experience God’s everlasting love for me?

So what did I do? I stopped being desperate for other people’s love and started being desperate to love God. I started giving Him my energy and time. He helped me rise above all the lies and pain of my abusive past. My spirit now, for the first time, feels God’s love in all its healing and promise.

I’m not saying that I’m all grown up yet. I’m not. For those of us who were abused as children, well, it may just take longer. But we deserve the time, and God deserves ours.