Monday, February 2, 2015

Book Recommendation: Deep Waters

I'm reading the book Deep Waters: A Journal of Healing from Sexual Abuse, by Jasmine May.  Jasmine May is the pen name of a close friend of mine from college days, and that is why I only learned a few weeks ago that she had written this book.  Her story of healing from horrific abuse is well-written and inspiring. May does not go into unnecessary graphic description, but still it is difficult to digest the depth of evil and abuse that she suffered as a small child.  Nevertheless this is a deeply hopeful, faith-filled book.  Not the kind of "faith" that glosses over reality and shoves away difficulty with platitudes, but the kind that contends with the worst experiences imaginable, and perseveres to a hard-fought, hard-won victory and peace in the end.

I remember talking with May right after her memories had surfaced.  At the time, she and her husband opted for a very intense healing process, with Jasmine taking two weeks out of every month to fly to a different location and receive healing prayer.  They wanted to return to their work in Asia as soon as possible; nevertheless this process with it's unusual family schedule lasted a few years.  She and her husband wondered at the time if the same healing prayer would be a good thing for me, but I felt led on a different path.  I had a newborn at the time, and did not think it was wise to be absent from her life for a few weeks at a time.  And I felt distinctly led by the Spirit that this intense process was not the right one for me.  I had no trouble getting intense enough on my own, I needed to learn to relax.  So my path has been a much slower and more gradual one.  All that to say, a Spirit-led process of healing from sexual abuse may look very different for different people.

May describes the process of "healing prayer" carefully and well in the book.  When it is done carefully and sensitively, it can be a powerfully good thing.  Attempted by people not trained or knowledgeable about trauma and abuse, it can be harmful.  I have experienced a little bit of both.

At the time her memories began to surface, May and her husband were involved in religious work in an Asian culture.  Out of her own intense suffering, May and her husband have now started an aftercare home for girls rescued from the sex trade in that same culture.