This is a poignant guest post from Lyneta Smith who is an author and speaker. She lives with her husband near Nashville, TN. She loves spending time with her adult daughters and meeting with friends at the local coffee shop. You’ll find more of her story of healing by learning to trust God’s goodness in her new book, Curtain Call: A Memoir. I’m grateful to have her voice here.
Have you heard the story of Tamar? I think it’s among the saddest in the Bible.
She was born royalty as a daughter of King David. As such, she could have married anyone she wanted. But in one terrifying moment, Tamar’s status as a princess deteriorated into disgrace and shame.
Her half-brother Amnon faked an illness and convinced their father to charge Tamar with Amnon’s care. Amnon seized the opportunity to violate her, stealing something precious that she could never get back.
When her brother Absalom found out, he said, “Has Amnon your brother been with you? But now keep silent, my sister, he is your brother; do not take this matter to heart” (2 Samuel 13:20).
In her silence, Tamar remained “desolate” and lived in Absalom’s house (instead of getting married and starting a family). But the ramifications had only begun.
Amnon’s violation sparked what would become a civil war among the sons of David. Absalom killed Amnon out of revenge, and then the family split in a wide chasm that never healed.
The echoes of Tamar’s silence still reverberate today. The #metoo movement revealed countless victims of sexual molestation and assault who were silenced by people responsible to protect them, even church authorities.
Healing begins when we drown out the echoes of silence by allowing people like Tamar to share their story — to be heard, to validate their violated-ness.
I, too, had a secret I thought I could never tell anyone, not even my husband. On the outside, I had it all together, but on the inside, I was desolate, like Tamar.
God gently untied the gag from my mouth and coaxed me to seek healing. First, I told a trusted professional, and then my husband and close family. Eventually, I shared how God redeemed my story and healed me from childhood trauma with a local women’s group.
I was no longer chained, no longer haunted by the echoes of silence that said I’m worthless, impure, and unworthy of love. And even more amazing: there were women in the group who also shared with me — some for the first time — that they too had been violated.
I believe God can use the power of our stories to heal broken spirits and restore us from desolation. And when we speak out, we encourage other silent, desolate, yet beloved ones to find healing as they share their stories.