A Review of Netflix’s “The Procession, ” and 5 Things That Helped me Overcome Trauma

First of all, let me say, I know talking about sexual abuse can be triggering for some people so if that’s the case for you, I just wanted to give you a heads up. Second, when it comes to trauma, we all who have been through it have a story. It’s our own. You can’t compare and say “Mine’s worse,” or “Yours is worse.” It’s trauma. It’s traumatic. Much like grief. You may have lost someone one way, but all anyone knows is how they lost the person they love. So as you are reading this, try not to compare trauma. At least, I’ve found that is part of what helps me to overcome it.

So, last week I posted a blog called, “The Church Sex Abuse Story that Makes ‘The Keepers’ Surprisingly Good.”

In it, I talked about what I learned from watching the documentary, “The Keepers.” But after watching “The Procession”, it felt like there was a part 2 because this one is about Catholic altar boys who were sexually abused by priests.

Anyway, as I’m watching this I realize how similar the stories of these guys were to the women abused by the priest in “The Keepers.

I am one who believes that God wants to heal our deepest hurts, not let them stifle us like the devil wants. Since the Lord saved me and I’ve walked with Jesus, I have certainly lived by this scripture,

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds,” from Psalm 147:3.

I almost become mama bear watching these docuseries because I just see the enemy working so hard to keep people from seeing God for who He actually is. He is so evil!

That’s why I love that these people had the courage to share their stories. I am sure there are many more who are afraid to do the same (and if that’s you, and you DO want to share, I’d be happy to host you on this blog if you want to do that) because I believe in the power of your story and how God can turn it around.

There’s something else interesting about “The Procession.” As I started to watch it they had something written on the screen about “drama” therapy and I thought, “Wow they misspelled that. Shouldn’t it say, ‘Trauma Therapy?'” Well I started to figure out it was no misspelling. It’s a type of trauma therapy where you act out some part of your story to take the power away. I’m not all that familiar with it, but I thought it worked really well for these men because they did it in a group so they could support each other as they walked through the difference facets of their story. It was really beautiful actually, and such a good way to get the secret out of their hearts I thought.

What I also saw in these shows is the common life history. The majority had some sort of trauma and the predators almost have like a radar of knowing these people are weaker because they’ve been through something traumatic. It’s awful. Maybe they were neglected as a child. A parent wasn’t present, or there was abuse. It could be anything. One woman in “The Keepers,” talked about how it was almost like the priest looked into her home life of abuse. A gentleman in “The Procession” talked about not having a father figure.

Let me tell you. Now that I’ve walked through my early childhood trauma and found that only God could fill that hole in my soul, I see these predators as people who are more than likely possessed by the devil. They horrifically took it upon themselves to satisfy themselves by filling someone else’s emptiness with themselves. Pretty sick stuff. So sick that it needs to be said – THIS IS NOT GOD.

When I listen to the stories about these people, I just envision the enemy, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” That’s from 1 Peter 5:8 NIV

Each of these predators is like a roaring lion. You know what the Bible says to do about that lion in verse 9? “Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” Mind you, you don’t resist Him in your own power – but in your faith, on God’s power. Yet, that’s exactly what the enemy is trying to keep these people from getting.

If you keep reading, there is a promise in verse 10. “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

Strong. Firm. Steadfast.

That’s what the enemy wants to keep people from knowing. Maybe that’s why I’m here, so I can speak against him. He is a liar. “You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NIV

The crazy part is that it doesn’t stop with the abuse. It continues with the resistance from leadership.

One of the men in this said, “Being treated like an enemy of the church instead of having them try to help you was a complete shock.” Again, it’s very similar to the feeling I got from the women victims in “The Keepers.”

This is evil. It’s evil that holds these people hostage to their past, their secrets, a shame they don’t need to carry for years and years. It makes them hate God because the church that represents them is coming against them. It’s evil and before you go saying it’s just the Catholic church…

#1. Even though I’m no longer Catholic, I know there are wonderful people who still lead in the Catholic church and practice the faith. #2. We all know this happens in many different religions and churches and I believe it’s just one of the enemy’s schemes to make people resent the church and block them from having a relationship with Him.

When I finished watching this one, I was so happy for these guys having the courage to walk through that pain they’d been carrying for so long.

One more thought, it made me think of every person who has been sexual abused or assaulted in some way and not thought it was a big deal or has been too ashamed to share it. Sadly, many people take this to be a reason to hate men. Let me tell you, I’ve been in the culture of politics in DC, I’ve seen and been present shall we say to some very sick men. I’ve also been assaulted more than twice (we’ll just say that) and as I was writing this I was telling a friend how much it makes sense that these people would hold onto it for so long. I know for me, I thought people would think it was my fault (even as the victim). It was shame that made me cover my mouth and not speak. Not anymore.

You want to know that helped me? And I’m not saying it would necessarily help you.

#1. Faced my demons of addiction and stopping drinking and eating over my resentment of what happened.

#2. Surrendered my life to Jesus.

#3. Addressed that root trauma in treatment, in 12 step rooms and in therapy.

#4. Went through each event with my sponsor in recovery to see my side of the street and get it out of my heart! (which you do when you take the 12 steps).

#5. Brought it to God in the process and as my relationship with Him got deeper, I felt Him healing me more and more because I found out one thing – He is our healer. Our helper. Our comforter. There is no one that can do what He can do.

Today I know that no matter what has happened to me, no matter how ugly it is -God is not ashamed of me. I’m so grateful Jesus saved me from all the things and people the enemy was using to stifle my connection to Him. One last Scripture I want to leave you with here from Ephesians 2:1-10 NIV,

 “As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins,in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh[a] and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved,through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

God wants to do good things in this world through you. There are people out there just like you who need to hear your story and that doesn’t necessarily mean shout it from the rooftops. But it may mean if someone realizes they’ve been through something like this, sharing your story and how God helped you overcome it. I can tell you sharing it the other day with my friend, knowing God was covering me, I had no shame or fear at all – because God.

So, if you identify with the sexual abuse or assault or the priests abusing or being abused as a teenage girl and you haven’t addressed it, I believe you are reading this because God wants to heal you. He wants to release you from this pain and hurt so you can live your fullest life in Christ. You can cry out to Him right now and pray this prayer out loud or to yourself, “Father God, I admit that I am a sinner. Please forgive me for my sins. I believe you died for my sins and rose from the dead for me. I want to make you Lord of my life. I surrender my life to you and believe you are my Savior. I love you Lord.” Amen

God bless you!

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