To my dear fellow abuse survivors,

I just left yet another grueling and painful therapy session. Although I’m tired and worn out from all the effort I’m investing into my journey of healing, I do see an undeniable slow and steady sense of freedom from my past. Freedom from the shackles that my abuser placed me in.

Driving home, trying to process the session, I had a thought which I’d like to share with you.

I’m sure you’ve all heard the story that happened a few thousand years ago when Moses chanced upon a bush which was miraculously aflame without being burned—a phenomenon which hadn’t occurred since the creation of the world. Moses stopped to watch, and G‑d called out to him to remove his shoes out of respect; the area around the bush was too holy area.

My dear friends, you and I were hurt by someone as damaging as a raging fire. His flames fully engulfed you. He consumed you. He attempted to burn you alive. He defiled your mind, body and soul. He acted like an out-of-control fire that had tremendous damaging powers.

Yet here you are. Still around. Still alive. You’re functioning and acting like everyone else. You were burned alive, yet you weren’t destroyed. You were shamed and defiled, yet you’re carrying on. You were controlled and stripped of your voice and power, yet you’ve regained your voice.

I call out to you, dear friends. You are a live replica of that burning bush. You are holy. So holy, that if I were near you I would need to take off my shoes.

I call out to the ones that feel burned. That feel defiled and dirtied, full of shame and disgust.

Someone can hurt and burn you, but that does not mean you are burned. You can be shamed by a horrible pedophile, but that doesn’t need to translate into you becoming a shameful person. You can be forced to do the most horrible acts, but that doesn’t make you a horrible human being.

You can emulate the bush. Not only will you free yourself from the shame that he placed upon you, you can be like that burning bush and not feel consumed by him. His actions, so painful and so horrible, don’t need to shape your identity in any way. They don’t need to cause your body to feel shamed and defiled.

You were born innocent and pure, and although you may not be innocent anymore, you are still pure. Even more than the pureness that you still carry, I believe that you are now considered holy. You’ve endured the horrors which have the power to consume, but you can still allow yourself to not feel consumed. If that’s not holiness, I don’t know what is.

Please, hold your head up high and be proud of your strength and endurance. Be proud that you survived. Be proud that you are holy. You did the impossible. You were burned alive, yet you are still alive.