By Elora Ramirez: I sat in the booth across from my parents, one hand stuffed under my thigh and another grabbing the knee of my husband for strength. I could hear my dad's baritone through the tears.

"Eventually, Elora, you'll need to seek restoration. I'm not saying you'll need to see this person ever again, but a letter...something. You'll need to find reconciliation for complete healing."

My heart bristled and I squeezed my husband's leg. I breathed in quick and whispered a quick and fragmented sentence, "I have...I have nightmares about it. About her just showing up."

I really started crying then, the pain of abuse pulsing bright red and fresh as if it happened yesterday and not over twenty years ago. No. There'd be no restoration soon.

This was a few months ago.

I'm 29 years old and had just found the courage to tell my parents of my childhood abuse. Even now I get shaky thinking about it. And as much healing as has taken place over the past year, there's still so much left wounded -- so many residual scars left festering.

On days like today, when the separation between myself and my abuser is more of a thread than a brick wall, I feel like a little girl hiding from an inevitable punishment -- the proverbial other shoe dropping and crushing what's left.

I cling to 3 truths that have helped in healing:

  1. Love does not equal manipulation
  2. I can trust my husband
  3. Offering grace to myself is essential to healing...

Sometimes though, to be perfectly honest, forgiveness and grace and second chances are the last thing on my mind.  And I'm learning to be okay with that ... even in the mess of unforgiveness and woundedness.

I've learned that forgiveness is a process, and there's no set manual or timeline.

But I don’t want to sit in the muck of resentment forever. I don’t need to harbor bitterness or hatred for these wounds I carry. So while I may not be ready to hang my hat on the past completely, I can still move forward -- slowly.

I've learned to find God's love in the middle of my fear. And while I wait out the process of healing, He holds my hand.  My heart is being molded into one of grace, and love, and belonging.  And at long last I'm beginning to see that I'm worth it.