In his booklet Recovering from Child Abuse: Healing and Hope for Victims David Powlison identified Psalms 55, 56, and 57 as particularly good Psalms for helping victims of abuse put their experience into words. The Psalms were meant by God to help us put our experiences into words, but for many people (especially those who were “silenced” after their abuse) this can be difficult.
The example below is an attempt to rewrite Psalm 55 to put the experience of sexual abuse at the hands of a family member or trusted friend into words. It is advised to read Psalm 55 in your Bible first. Then read this post. Afterwards you might try to rewrite it to allow God to give words to your experience.
Here is this exercise in a printable PDF format: Psalm 55 Personalized for Sexual Abuse
1. Oh God please hear me. Don’t pretend that this is not happening. I need you!
2. Be silent no longer. Say something. Let me know you are there. I am overwhelmed as I cry and convulse over what happened to me. I can’t eat, sleep, or think.
3. My abuser made such awful noises. He took pleasure in my pain and degradation. He over-powered me. There was nothing I could do. He must hate me to keep doing this. What have I done?! What could cause such hatred and disregard?!
4. My soul quakes. Heart-break feels romantic compared to this. This is worse than death.
5. Panic attacks and the fear of panic attacks assail me. My body tremors in rebellion against me. I can’t control my movements. Fear divides my heart, soul, mind, body, and will to attack them separately.
6. Like Jenny in Forest Gump, I want to be a bird and fly away. I want to escape to a place of rest.
7. That place of rest would have to be far away, but there is one, right? I would travel however far, by whatever means, if only You promise there is somewhere I can go.
8. If you would just tell me the direction I would leave now. I would drive all night. I want peace more than sleep. Without peace sleep is useless. Sleep is just part of the storm with its nightmares and waking up realizing I’ve got to fake it through another day.
9. Take justice! Do to them what they have done to my soul. Don’t let them multiply my shame by talking of this deed. Don’t let them mock me or worse talk like nothing happened.
10. I can’t believe I live in a world/country where this is “common.” It’s always being reported on the news or another documentary. Every time I hear it I am reminded. The pain echoes; worse it flashes back.
11. There is a whole industry of sexual degradation in our culture – porn. Its bigger than the NFL. They write and glorify stories like mine. There is an audience who pays for it, even with children.
12. But I can’t blame culture or an “industry” for my pain. It is no stranger who dined on my soul. It was not an enemy who was getting even. If it were, then I could be more protected. I could appeal to family and friends for help… and they might believe me.
13. But I knew him! I trusted him! My trust was used against me. My trust was the Trojan horse that let him in. How was I supposed to know?
14. We had so many good talks before that. We went to church together. We prayed together. He taught me Bible lessons. How much of that was a lie? What does it mean to have your soul betrayed by a friend and a “friend of God”?
15. May the death they have sparked in me explode in their own life and them live to experience it. Oh, that they would know the full degree of pain it was possible for them to create. Let their heart vomit its content into their own soul.
16. But I call to you God. No one is capable of handling what is before me except You. It takes omnipotence to overpower my pain, omnipresence to get your arms around it, and omniscience to fathom it. Only You can help me.
17. My pain is before me all day and at night when I am not sleeping. I don’t know what else to do but cry to You. So You hear from me a lot. Everything in my life reminds me of my pain and my pain reminds me of my need for you constantly.
18. You are the one who keeps soldiers safe in the midst of battles. I am in the fight of my life and won’t make it without You. My abusers, pain, memories, and fears out number me greatly.
19. God I trust the lies and deception do not outlive You. You hear, see, and know the truth. This sin was as arrogant against You as it was ravaging to me. He will not stand or smirk in Your presence.
20. My father/uncle/friend attacked me and violated the trust of our friendship and, with it, my willingness to allow anyone to get close again.
21. I replay his words over and over again, but cannot figure out what I should have heard. The terror of his intentions was hidden from so many. Were all of his compliments intentional instruments of death or were some of them sincere?
22. This was not my fault. God calls me righteous as His child. He asks me to cry to Him. He is not ashamed of me. God is angered by anyone who would shun or condemn me for what happened to me.
23. But God is more angered by my rapist. Sexual predators will answer for their sin. Yet in His fury against them God is still safe for me. I will come near, leave my shame, look in Your eyes, and have my trust restored.
This resource is an excerpt from the “Hope & Restoration After Sexual Abuse” seminar.
If this post was beneficial for you, then considering reading other blogs from my “Favorite Posts on Sexual Abuse” post which address other facets of this subject.