Flying With a Broken Wing
by Walinda Alleman
I’m excited to open wide the blog’s doors to fellow COMPEL Training and critique group member Walinda Alleman. She’s a gem who hails from another continent, but lives right at home now in the United States. When I think of Walinda, “sweet” comes to mind. She’s sweet, kind, and understanding, which I think you’ll see from her words below.
I’ve often wondered what my life would be like if I had never been molested as a child. Or if I had been embraced, after the fact, comforted and reassured that it wasn’t my fault? I wonder if my life would be any different if I hadn’t been left with questions, confusion, fear and loneliness. Would I have ever tried to commit suicide if my innocence had not been taken in such a violent manner?
My mother shared that sometime after the event a family friend wondered aloud as to what had happened to that “bubbly girl”, referring to the change they observed in me. I would never use the word “bubbly” to describe me. Reserved, cautious, guarded, anxious, insecure — maybe, but not bubbly.
I also wonder what I would be like if I had never been raped, ridiculed, bullied and rejected as a teen? What if I had been believed and accepted instead of being locked up in a mental institution in response to the hysterical tears of anguish that I shed?
As a result of being violated, I find intimacy to be threatening.
I find relationships difficult.
I fear being wounded.
Conflict is something I am not comfortable navigating.
Maintaining eye contact is painful.
Being known is scary.
If someone were to look into my eyes or if they were to get to know me I wonder if they would see where I had been, what had been done to me and the filth that stained me?
I often think to myself that life shouldn’t be this hard. I shouldn’t have to work so hard at relationships. Relationships are hard enough as a result of the fall, right? I feel as though I come into them with an added handicap. As if the weight of my own sin isn’t enough, add to that the burden of carrying illegitimate shame and guilt (i.e. shame and guilt that belongs to the perpetrator of violence and not the victim). My relational style is affected by my sin and illegitimate shame and guilt that is a result of someone else’s sin against me.
Over the years I have come to accept what happened to me and have received counseling and been in support groups to help me process the trauma. But there are days when I feel a sense of defeat when I see myself reacting from a place of wounding. There are days when I can’t see past my brokenness and I feel discouraged.
On one such day a friend of mine sent me a picture of a butterfly with a broken wing. She said she saw it and thought of me. The subject of the email she sent with the picture was, “Flying With a Broken Wing”. I loved it. That butterfly was God’s message of affirmation to me. I am broken in so many ways and yet I’m still flying. I have purpose just like that butterfly did. In that moment I was able to see the many ways in which God was using me and my brokenness to witness and minister to the many people He has placed in my life and on my path.
The enemy wants us to believe that we are useless in our brokenness.
But God’s word says that His grace is sufficient for us, and His power is made perfect in our weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).
The enemy intends to harm us but God uses our experiences for good (Genesis 50:20).
The enemy seeks to destroy us (John 10:10) but God works all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).
So fly high dear friend, you have purpose. God is reframing your story with the Gospel and He is using you in other people’s lives!
~ Connect with Walinda
Walinda P. Alleman is originally from Malawi, Africa and currently lives in North Carolina with her husband, 2 boys and their dog. She owns a social media management business called Simply Social and blogs regularly on her blog, Glorious Weakness. Walinda is passionate about using her writing to highlight glimpses of God’s grace, the beauty in the ashes, the dignity within depravity and God’s glory in weakness. You can learn more more by visiting her blog at www.gloriousweakness.org