So I have to start this by telling you, I am terrified to write this.
At the moment, I am truly blindly listening to God’s will. I feel like He is strongly telling me, now is the time to put that valley to good use. Now is when you see the purpose of your pain come to light.
I had to read scripture to get myself to do this and as I write this my stomach is turning.
Deuteronomy 31: 8
“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord is the one who goes before you. He will be with you, he will neither fail you not forsake you.”
So here goes nothing…I am a victim of sexual abuse. I was molested for what we believe to be 3 years of my life, between the ages of 4 and 7.
This is not the first time I have told my story, but it is the first time I have told it to strangers.
I held this pain quietly for 19 years and no one was the wiser.
The abuse temporarily stopped because my father found a new church to be the Senior Pastor of and we moved halfway across the country.
I was free, until I confided in someone in our new home and shared what had been happening for the first time. Unfortunately, they took advantage of that confidence and continued the abuse. It was until I didn’t come home one day after school, I was banned from visiting that person’s house again, and then abuse was finished.
I never shared with anyone again until I was 15 and was ridiculed by the people I told for sharing that I had been abused by other girls.
Silence and shame followed me for another 4 years, until I was finally accepted for all of me by my then boyfriend, and now husband. You marry the good ones.
That same year I sought counseling and decided it was time to ask questions of my family. Up until this point, I believed they knew and were ashamed of me, which is why we had to find a new church.
When I spoke with my family, they were shocked to hear this had happened to me and were just as saddened by my truth as I was. What a weight off of my shoulders! They did love me; they didn’t move because of the shame I caused them. I had been listening to a lie in my head for years, not the truth.
While I was living this truth I had no idea the protection God provided me. I had my moments of shame and guilt, prayers for acceptance and forgiveness. But most of the time, I was a happy go lucky kid who never remembered this had happened.
I look back and think, how the heck did that happen? How did I make it through that with only a few scars on my heart?
God’s grace is all I can attribute it to. God knew my path, He knew my future, and He knew my heart. He was the only one who knew my truth for those 12 years. He protected me and accepted me.
I remember sitting in a car at age 10 on a family trip and offering to stay in the car while everyone else went inside. I took this time to pray. I do not remember why I was overcome with guilt and what emotions rose in my heart, but I do think it was related to the abuse. I remember sobbing in that back seat and praying for God to forgive me. I remember thinking that the only way I could move on was to forgive my abusers, so I did and I asked for God’s healing.
Can you believe that after that prayer, I blacked a lot of this out of my memory? It wasn’t until I was surrounded by people going through similar experiences that I would really recall it all.
I told those girls at 15 because I suddenly remembered my truth when they were sharing stories. I remembered again at 19 when neighbors were having similar issues and TV shows were broaching the topic. Even then, I really couldn’t recall all of it, until I sought counseling.
2 Corinthians 12:9
“Each time he said, “My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ may work through me.”
Just because I have lived through this, doesn’t make me an expert.
But I will say this.
- If you let Him hold you, God will always take care of you.
- Keep your kids in the church. I was raised and brought up surrounded by tons of people who loved and cared for me as a child of God. Their innocent prayers for me kept me safe.
- Let your children see and hear you pray. I look back and can’t believe the prayers I was having at age 10! I cannot believe that I had such a heart for God at that age that I was crying out to Him to save me.
- Let your children know you love them. Even though my parents had no idea of what was happening, they showed me so much love that even with shame I knew they still cared.
- If you are a victim of abuse, get help. You need an unbiased person to talk to who is a safe place. Seek counseling so that you can take healthy lessons away from your pain.
- If you have young children with the same situation, they need to know that it was not their fault. They need to know there is no shame. And they need to know my story.
What is my story?
I am healed. I went on to move to the other side of the country to go to college. I graduated and got a full time position in a major corporation. I excelled and within 4 years became a part of management.
I married the man of my dreams and am soon to be a mother of 2. I love my God and it is profoundly overwhelming to know that He loves me so much more!
I am a victim of abuse, but it does not hold me in shackles anymore! My story gives me the power and reminder that God is so much greater than my struggles!