Rewriting Your Emotional Script
By Constance Fink
This wasn’t supposed to be my story, she cried as she lay on the hotel bed. Lord Jesus, please. If there’s any other message, I will give it! How could You use something so messy…so…ugly?
Becky was preparing to give a brief testimony to 1,500 women about God’s redemptive love. However, she was a mess and her testimony wasn’t simple or brief.
Her story included childhood sexual abuse.
In her book, Rewriting Your Emotional Script, Becky expresses, “All I’d ever wanted to be was a Bible teacher. While I had many of the signs of one who had been sexually abused, the memories didn’t surface until well into my adult life. Trust me I didn’t go looking for them. Through a series of divinely orchestrated traumatic events, breast cancer and subsequent surgeries, God allowed the memories to surface. While I can’t change my story, I did rewrite the script that directs my life.” Becky introduces us to her story in this interview.
JBU: How did you come to grips with your childhood sexual abuse?
BECKY: I had no memory of the abuse until I went through breast cancer. As I was coming out of the anesthesia after a double mastectomy I began to have phantom memories of childhood sexual abuse. I entered counseling and honestly, those were some pretty tough years. The person who abused me was in ministry, so my concept of God was warped. I had to rewrite the lies I’d grown up believing and replace them with God’s truth.
JBU: How did God use this for good in your life?
BECKY: I had to separate God from my abuser in order to relearn how to trust God. Rather than focus on what my abuser taught me about God’s character, I meditated on what the Bible said and the Holy Spirit gradually changed me.
JBU: What is the greatest need of abused women?
BECKY: Their greatest need is to rebuild their trust in God. Because their trust has been betrayed by the horror of sexual abuse (generally by a male they trusted) it becomes very difficult to rebuild their trust in God. But they can get to the point that when people or circumstances hurt, disappoint or threaten them, they can move beyond hurt and fear and respond in ways that lead to joy and life.
JBU: What is the message of your first book, Finding Calm in Life’s Chaos?
BECKY: Life’s storms test the strength of our spiritual levees. I wrote that book during a time in my life when everything was falling apart. Many times during this period, I cried, “God, show me who you really are because you are not behaving like the God I used to serve!” The gist of the book is: courage, confidence, and calmness ultimately come from steadfast trust in God’s character. The book correlates the “I Am” statements of Jesus with emotional needs in life.
JBU: What thoughts and emotions did you experience the day of your cancer diagnosis?
BECKY: I felt fearful and overwhelmed. Our oldest daughter was a month away from graduating from high school; we had already invited 100 guests to her graduation party! I also worried about what my body would look like after the surgery. During that time I lived in Psalm 46.
JBU: As pastor’s wife and mother, what did you do to keep your marriage and family strong during this time?
BECKY: Steve and I clung together because we were both scared to death. We were honest with our kids (ages 18, 16, 13, 10), but at the same time tried to reassure them that though we didn’t understand, God was in control. We were fearful our kids would walk away from God. We prayed, loved, and let the kids voice their doubts, fears and anger. Today, each of our kids is walking with God.
JBU: How are you now? Any recurrence?
BECKY: The doctors thought I had ovarian cancer at one point with an orange-size tumor on an ovary, but I had a hysterectomy and it was benign. I will be ten years cancer-free June 13, 2010!
JBU: In addition to abuse and cancer, would you tell us about your eating disorder issues?
BECKY: For years I modeled an eating disorder for my daughters without realizing I had a problem . . . until our 16-year old crashed from an eating disorder. Out of that was birthed the message “Dispelling the Myths of the Mirror” which I share on college campuses. The statistics are staggering for eating disorders. I teach women the truth of what God says about their body – that their body is the sanctuary of the living God and, as such, it is priceless and precious.
• Favorite Scripture: Psalm 34
• Favorite Book: Abba’s Child by Brennan Manning and 31 Days of Praise by Ruth Myers
• A fun thing she likes to do with her husband: Watching the Denver Nuggets play basketball
• Website: www.beckyharling.com
• Email: Becky is available for speaking engagements. Contact her at: email@example.com
Looking for community this summer? Gather some of your girlfriends, and join Becky Harling, Anita Lustrea, and Melinda Schmidt for an on the air ten week Bible study using Rewriting Your Emotional Script. This ten-week study of the beatitudes will set you free from the emotional baggage of your past!
The study begins June 23 on Midday Connection. Listen live at noon Central time or log on and listen over the internet: www.middayconnection.org. You You can also participate on the Midday blog with listeners from all over the world!
Becky Harling's Books:
Finding Calm in Life’s Chaos:
Rewriting Your Emotional Script: