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Allowing Others to Take Care of Us: The Power Community Plays in Healing from Shame, Rape and Abuse

By Sethlina Amakye

Brave Women Series - Sethlina's Story


People use the word "healing" to refer to physical healing from surgery, cancer, and other ailments. It’s not a wrong assessment, but there was a time in my life I felt forgotten about in that narrative.


I remember sitting in church feeling unwell but unable to share that ailment with others. I would watch testimonies in church, ashamed to share that my need for healing wasn’t the same as theirs. I wasn’t in a near-death car accident; I hadn’t been told I only had three months to live (although I felt like it in more ways than one). My testimony was silenced because I couldn’t explain that I was internally on my “deathbed” but couldn’t be cured by modern medicine.


 

"My testimony was silenced because I couldn’t explain that I was internally on my “deathbed” but couldn’t be cured by modern medicine."

 

Some diseases are not seen as sicknesses and are therefore held in secrecy and shame. It is unseen to the naked eye and watered down to being “fast” or “backsliding” or a matter of “purity.” Meanwhile, it devastates lives and wreaks havoc on their host. By now, you may be wondering what diseases I'm referring to. My condition was created from Heartbreak. Shame (from an abortion, promiscuity, perversion, rape, abuse). Low-Self-esteem. Loneliness. Unbelief. And more. The layers of this affected me so deeply I didn’t even know where to start when asked, “What’s wrong?”


It’s the kind of infection that allowed me to lead the praise team and still not have any connection to whom I worshipped. I enthusiastically led Bible study but didn’t believe what I was teaching. All the while, I was experiencing debilitating anxiety and depression. It’s a silent killer that, at least in the early 2000s, people didn’t know what to do with or know how to probe for the answer beyond the surface. Therapy wasn’t a thing. It was prayer or nothing. It was purity culture or nothing. It was WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) or nothing. There was no in-between.


The church was positioned as a “hospital for the sick,” but nobody ever said, “Welcome to church! How is your heart?” or “Good morning! Do you feel safe?” or even “We are so glad you’re here! On a scale of 1-10, 1 being the saddest, how sad are you?”


Instead, by saying you are dealing with these things, it’s often matched with a measure of shame for you and your entire family, even more so if your parent is a deacon, elder, pastor, or highly regarded community member. What happens when the virus cannot be physically diagnosed? It’s a spiritual sickness tearing us up, like rampant and ongoing promiscuity that has nothing to do with “sex” and everything with the desire to feel something. Anything.


 

"What happens when the virus cannot be physically diagnosed? It’s a spiritual sickness tearing us up, like rampant and ongoing promiscuity that has nothing to do with “sex” and everything with the desire to feel something. Anything."

 

Here is my story. I was raped at 16 by a grown man I met on BlackPlanet.com (think Myspace for people of color). The problem is, I didn't know it was rape at the time because I willingly drove to his apartment to see him. I agreed to meet him, therefore, it must have been my fault.


I spent the next few years highly promiscuous, out of several abusive relationships, drunk, and suicidal. In the meantime, I was still attending church (often hungover, sliding in the back pew right after announcements and sliding out right before the closing hymn). I prayed nobody would stop me, but simultaneously wished secretly that somebody would ask if I was okay AND ask again even after I said I was okay. I needed somebody to see the emptiness in my eyes and call it out. I needed somebody to take my hand and lead me to the altar for deliverance because I was too scared to go by myself. The bottom line is that I was unwell. I was not myself. And nobody knew it… or cared to know… or in hindsight, even if they knew, would they know what to do with the information? What would have been the next steps?


 

"I prayed nobody would stop me, but simultaneously wished secretly that somebody would ask if I was okay AND ask again even after I said I was okay. I needed somebody to see the emptiness in my eyes and call it out."

 

After moving to Texas from Ohio, I had a conversion and healing experience. I recall desiring deeply to be in a faith community and around believers who would sense that something was wrong. God gave that to me in a group of unsuspecting women who took me under their wings, and I let them.


Sometimes bravery comes in allowing others to take care of you. To allow yourself to be in the community even when you feel sick. They did not know all the details but knew enough to be the hands and feet of Christ to an ailing young woman who just needed to know that God still loved her.


 

"Sometimes bravery comes in allowing others to take care of you. To allow yourself to be in the community even when you feel sick. They did not know all the details but knew enough to be the hands and feet of Christ to an ailing young woman who just needed to know that God still loved her."

 

They showed me with action what the Gospel was in REAL life. In REAL time. Yes, I was healed by His stripes. But I also recovered through church people who made it their mission to keep me in the community. I was brave enough to recognize there is a God who listens to prayers AND sends people via community and therapy.


 

"Yes, I was healed by His stripes. But I also recovered through church people who made it their mission to keep me in the community. I was brave enough to recognize there is a God who listens to prayers AND sends people via community and therapy."

 

Are you sick and infected the same way I was? Do you believe you are just as worthy of being healed as a cancer or stroke patient? I want you to know that I am proof of hope for you. He is a healer for any syndrome, even if others don't see it as a disorder. Healing comes in ALL forms. A cut on the inside is just as much in need of the Great Surgeon as a cut on the outside.


 

"Healing comes in ALL forms. A cut on the inside is just as much in need of the Great Surgeon as a cut on the outside."

 

You are worthy of healing and worthy of being a part of the body of Christ amid your healing process. I pray God sends you women who are brave and bold enough to listen to the Holy Spirit and that He gives you the courage to let them.


 

"You are worthy of healing and worthy of being a part of the body of Christ amid your healing process."

 

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."

(Psalms 147:3)

 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


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About Sethlina


Sethlina Amakye is a Kingdom-focused, multi-passionate maker, designer, word nerd, and all-around creative. She is an interior designer, writer, and the owner of a faith-based online store for the modern Christian woman seeking inspiration for her lifestyle, heart, and soul. After finding herself in and out of multiple abusive relationships, she decided not to let tragedy define her future. Sethlina decided that vulnerability and transparency would be the only way forward.


She uses her redemption story to speak to and mentor women worldwide. You can follow her on her journey at her website sethlinaamakye.com or on Instagram.


1 Comment


I have been following Sethy for several years on Insta. She's an incredible woman. So glad you found her and allowed her to share a bit of herself with readers. ♥

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