What is it about our sense of smell that brings memories snapping sharply into focus out of nowhere? I can be in a grocery store, in the mall, walking down a city sidewalk, anywhere at all, and catch the slightest whiff of “Old Spice” aftershave and my whole being gets shaken to the core.

It’s as if I’m standing on the beach, a huge wave comes crashing in, swirls past, taking all the sand out from under my feet, leaving me totally off balance.  My blood runs cold and I shiver from head to toe.  Why?

It’s not that Old Spice has a bad odor, it’s the association between that particular smell and the person who wore it.  Rather, the person in my life who wore Old Spice and my experiences with him.  I’m what they call an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. No graphic stories here, no details, but Psalm 34:18 says, “The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Is that you, too?

Ten years ago, I read these words:  “The person who feels unworthy and guilty for every kindness, more than likely struggles with an undealt-with abusive past.” (Dan Allender, The Wounded Heart, p.168)  It was as if Dan Allender peeled back my skin, read my heart for himself, and then, printed the words in a book!  How could he get away with making money off my story?  Oh, wait, it wasn’t just my story!   I’m not the only one out here!  It was finally time to seriously deal with my past, seek wise counsel, and do whatever I needed to do to heal.  You can also be free of the pain of your past:  the nightmares, the fears, the lies, and the shame.  You can nail all of it to the cross and leave it there.  On the cross, Jesus was “beaten so we could be whole.  He was whipped so we could be healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

We know this is a topic that may be hard for many. If you need someone to talk to, we are here and would love to listen. Please email us or if you’d rather connect with an anonymous mentor through FamilyLife’s eMentoring, they will connect you with someone.

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