I want to start off by sharing that my stomach is in knots as I begin share this part of my life with those that choose to read on. For those that subscribe to my blog, you know that I will be sharing my deepest thoughts, raw emotions and details of my life from a season when I was abused. I’m not too sure why I feel so nervous to share, perhaps it’s because I have no control of who will read my story, but I feel compelled to share, and to allow the Holy Spirit to bring this post across the paths of those who need it most.
Most of my childhood I don’t remember. There are some good memories that I have, but they are few. I did have a good childhood and my sisters remember more good times than I do. The parts that I do remember most are the memories that have caused me the most pain, shame and made me wish that I could start life all over again, and undo any wrong I had done. I always thought that I was broken; that there was something wrong with me. That there was something wrong inside of me (my mind or my heart). What I didn’t know at the time was that I was being sexually abused. One of the safety or coping mechanisms that children who have been abused experience, is memory loss. Your mind erases the trauma that you’ve experienced, because it’s too much to bear for such a little person.
So, I would forgot what was done to me, but it left me wondering what was wrong with me? Why did I know about certain things that every other 7 or 8 year old didn’t know? Why did I behave in certain ways that were shameful? In my little girl mind, I truly believed that I was broken. I believed that there was something terribly wrong with who I was, but I felt that I couldn’t talk to anyone about it. At a tender young age, I found myself living in a state of confusion. As I grew older, I did come to realize that something must have happened to me, but I just couldn’t remember what and with who. I became a hot mess of emotions. I lived a secret life of pain, anger, shame and guilt. It was around the age of 12 or 13 years old that because of what I was feeling and because of what I was seeing happen around me, I decided that God could not be real. This didn’t help my confusion of what I was feeling, in fact it made my secret world even worse. I had a secret love affair with alcohol that no one but me knew about.
I’ll never forget a few years and a rape later (which I’ll talk about next week), my parents made me go to a church youth camp. The name of the speaker was Stephen Carpenter. He was sharing how Jesus is always calling us out of our brokenness, pain and dead lives into something new, bright and full of meaning. He used the history story of Lazarus and how just like Jesus called Lazarus’ name and he came to back to life, that Jesus is calling our name and calling us into a relationship with Him; calling us into a new life full of purpose, meaning and healing. I remember so clearly, that crisp fall evening, I went for a walk and began to talk to God (more like demanding), “God if you’re real,I need to know. If you’re real, prove it to me!” That night I went to bed without a drink and I was fine. I remember so clearly, waking up the next morning, and my first thought, not being, “what will I have to drink?” I went through the whole weekend without even a sip of alcohol and I knew then, right away, GOD IS REAL. On my own, not having a drink for 2 days was an impossible feat. I can recall the Sunday evening when I got home, praying in my room and asking God to first forgive me for keeping Him out of my life; for rejecting His love for me. I then asked God to be a part of my life again. Things began to rapidly change and I began to hear the still small voice of God speak to me again. There is nothing like it.
You may be sitting there asking yourself, “ what does this post have anything to do with me learning to let go of my pain and learn to forgive those that have hurt me?” Well, the answer is quite simple. Without a real, living relationship with Jesus, it is impossible to begin to face such tragedy and hurt without first coming to understand that His love for you is so deep and that me, I am a sinner, I am broken and I am in need of forgiveness first, before I can learn to forgive those that have hurt me.
Step one to truly overcoming your pain, is to invite Jesus into your life. Here is a simple prayer that you can read out loud, that will do just that:
Dear Jesus, I know that there are many things in my life that I have done wrong. I ask you to forgive me for anything that I’ve done that has hurt you, others or myself. I thank you for forgiving me. I ask that you would come into my life and live with me. Please give me a brand new start. I believe you died for me, and my freedom. I choose today, to live for you, in Jesus name, Amen. (if you prayed this prayer for the first time, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to connect with you)
Step two, ask God to show you how much He loves you. He will show this through songs you listen to, through nature, through His word, through anything. You just need eyes to see it and an open heart to receive it.
Here is a song that I would listen to over and over again while I was going through my journey of healing and forgiveness. I hope it speaks to your heart.
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Be Brave. Have Courage.