In 2 Samuel 13, there is a story about rape. Tamar was the beautiful virgin daughter of King David. Her own brother, who was obsessed with her, devised a plan to get her alone. He grabbed her and said, “Come to bed with me, my sister.”
“No, my brother!” she said to him. “Don’t force me! Such a thing should not be done in Israel! Don’t do this wicked thing. What about me? Where could I get rid of my disgrace? And what about you? You would be like one of the wicked fools in Israel. Please speak to the king; he will not keep me from being married to you.” But he refused to listen to her, and since he was stronger than she, he raped her. 2 Samuel 13:12-14
After she was raped by her much stronger brother, “Tamar put ashes on her head and tore the ornate robe she was wearing. She put her hands on her head and went away, weeping aloud as she went.”
Her brother Absalom said to her, “Has that Amnon, your brother, been with you? Be quiet for now, my sister; he is your brother. Don’t take this thing to heart.” And Tamar lived in her brother Absalom’s house, a desolate woman. 2 Samuel 13:20 (emphasis mine)
That’s it. That’s how it ends for Tamar. A desolate woman.
Violated. Used. Abused.
Be Quiet + Don’t take this to heart = a desolate woman.
Let’s not talk about it.
BUT. We have to talk about it!
I know what it is like to be a desolate woman. I was quiet and hid painful secrets. I learned how to build walls around my broken heart to keep it from exploding. I felt forsaken. I felt ruined. I felt isolated and alone in a room full of people for most of my life. I am very familiar with the feeling of immense shame pouring over me like thick warm glue from head to toe.
I sat in pews most of my life singing praises with a shattered and devastated heart, longing to hear someone say, “It was not your fault. There is nothing wrong with you. What happened to you was wrong! We want to talk about it, and if you are ready to talk we are here to listen and learn. As you open up your heart, we want to care for you and help you sort through the lies and replace them with truth. We want this to be a safe place for you to come and share your struggles, your nightmares, and your worst fears. We want you to know that you are not alone. Jesus loves you and we love you too.”
After so many years of silent questions, I almost gave up and just kept singing with my weary heart and a broken smile.
He rescued me.
He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the Lord was my support.
He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
A little over three years ago, Jesus revealed His love for me through a beautiful pink sunset. Since then, He continues to heal and restore my brokenness. The Bible came alive to me and the words gave me hope and confirmed His love for me. He brought new friends into my life who were open and willing to let me spew the heavy. He led me to a Christian Counselor who gently and powerfully pointed me to Him and to truth in a safe room filled with evil flashbacks and memories.
I began to see Him as my King. My deliverer. My ALL.
I began to see myself as His princess. I had never felt or seen myself as a princess and some days it is still a struggle, but HE changed my name, and it has changed everything.
You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
No longer will they call you Deserted,
or name your land Desolate.
But you will be called Hephzibah,(means my delight is in her)
and your land Beulah (means married)
for the Lord will take delight in you,
and your land will be married.
No Longer Desolate
My King Jesus delights in me, and He died so that I may live and have freedom! He did not die for me to live as a desolate woman. I am His. His Princess.
Jesus loves you too – and He does not want you to live as a desolate woman either. Have you been harmed? Abused? Violated? Have you suffered in silence? Have you built walls around your heart to numb the ache?
I am so deeply sorry for your pain. My heart breaks for you. You are not alone. It was not your fault. There is nothing wrong with you. Let His light shine into the dark places of your heart and replace the lies. God loves you. You are His princess, and “you are altogether beautiful, my darling; there is no flaw in you.” (Song of Solomon 4:7)
Jesus mends brokenness. He didn’t create you to be desolate. He calls you delightful, beloved, and beautiful. He wants to set you free. He wants you to have a voice, and a healthy and whole heart. You are His Princess.
Prayer: God, you are the Eternal One. You do not change. You made the heavens and all of the earth. You created me to have an abundant life, not a desolate life. Please take me by the hand and guide me. Show me the way, and keep me safe. God, I trust you. Shine your light into my brokenness, and open my eyes so that I can see the truth. Lead me out of darkness and despair! God, break every chain that holds me captive. Show me the way. God, help me to trust you with all of my heart. I want to follow you. Jesus, set this princess free!
Linking up with: Jennifer Dukes Lee