I wrote this over a year ago... Praying that it will encourage someone to let Jesus a little deeper......
I want to say up front that this blog entry is sensitive. Sexual abuse, I think, is often not openly discussed because it's deeply personal and it's deeply painful. I'm sharing some of my story with the prayer that God will use it to continue my healing, and to encourage others that there is hope and healing through Jesus. I do not tread upon the subject lightly. I share from my heart, from my experience, from the deepest parts of me, from the places that only Jesus really knows.
I think Satan uses the Secrecy and hush hush that accompanies such a personal violation as a means to keep us isolated and bound. Satan comes to steal kill and destroy and if we let him he does a good job of it.
God desires healing and wholeness and if we let Him He does an amazing job of it! Bringing the darkness into the light exposes it and the darkness is overcome by the light. Jesus wants to do that with the dark places in each of our lives. Our Father's heart is deeply compassionate and near towards the broken hearted.
Sexual abuse cuts the deepest parts of the soul. pierces deep into the core of who we are as people, it tramples the soul, breaks the heart, mangles the mind, and leaves a cloud of pain behind. I pray that those who have been sexually abused or violated will find hope and healing through Jesus.
Jesus created us, He knows our deepest parts Nothing is hidden from Him. He knows us outwardly and He knows us inwardly. He knows what's been hidden in the dark and what's inside in the dark.
Not a moment Does He turn away from us. He knows, and He fully understands, He bears our burdens, with us. Even when everything inside screams we are alone, we are never alone. Never alone.
I'm sharing my story for many reasons, first because it's a form of healing for me, Second because after I was violated I wanted to read and hear about other people's stories. I wanted so desperately to find someone, anyone who could relate. I needed to know I wasn't alone. It became part of my healing process. Another reason I am writing about it is because I believe satan uses isolation and secrecy to keep people bound in shame and hurt. If he can keep things hidden, we won't find healing. For me writing is one of the ways God works in my own life. I want those who are afraid to share or have not been given the ability to have a voice to know You are not alone, even when everything inside feels alone, you are not alone.... you are *never ever* alone. (Deutoronomy 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.)
When I was 13 I had a best friend. She and I did everything and went everywhere together. Our lives pretty much revolved around our friendship and youth group. We were inseperable. If I wasn't at her house, she was at my house. Her mom had her baby brother when we were in 7th grade and we pretty much "mother'd" that little baby boy. I happen to like babies. I remember meeting him in the hospital the day he was born and his little wrinkled toes and legs were just so precious. :O)
The summer before 8th grade My friend went for a month or so to stay with her dad in a different state. One night I babysat her baby brother so her mom and her mom's boyfriend could go out. Around 12am I started to get worried. I didn't like the dark, and being only 13 that was a late time at night to still be babysitting. Her family was VERY poor too so they lived in a beat down trailer that had mice. I started counting down the minutes for them to return. They returned and the boyfriend said he was taking me home. I lived up a hill heading out of town, when we got closer to my house he sped up, and drove right past my house. By that time I was screaming and sobbing and had no idea where we were going. He drove down around curvy winding roads, for what seemed like a long time, it was so dark outside. He pulled off the road into some gated off parking lot. It was surrounded by trees and bushes. I was somewhat aware of where we must be because of the winding roads, but I was far from home and really disoriented. The more I resisted the more forceful he became. I remember *every*single*detail* and I wasn't sure if I was going to live or not. He was violent and evil and I was scared to death. After he was done with me he drove me home and as we winded around all the bends he pulled out his knife again and reminded me of what he would do to me if I told anyone. He dropped me off at home, I went to my parents bedroom, stuck my head in the door and said "I'm home" and I went and hid my clothes way down in the back of my bottom drawer and I went to bed.
I didn't tell my parents or anyone else except my friend (who told her mom, who then kicked out this boyfriend). I was scared every single time the phone rang that it would be my friend's mom, that she would tell my parents. She told me I should. I waited 3 months to tell anyone. It was summer time and my family spent a lot of time out on the lake boating/skiing/tubing and we were having so much fun. I thought that if I told it would ruin our fun times and ruin my family.
On the first day of school we met all our teachers. I knew that day that my English teacher was someone I could confide in. She was this beautiful woman that was strong, so sweet and tender, and she said the words that I so needed to hear. She stood in front of class and told us that if any of us ever had a problem, if we ever had something terrible that we needed some on to tell that would accept them and help them, that she would. I felt sick that day, a nervous sick, that I might someday be able to tell my secret. Within a month into the year my English teacher gave us an assignment to write a paper that was to be about 3 wishes. Being my sweet tender little self (I really did have a heart for people) I wrote about how 1-I wished that everyone in the world would be saved, 2-That there would never be anymore world war. and 3-That "that" would have never happened to me. I didn't even know then that what had happened was raped. I just knew he forced me to have sex. As I wrote about that 3rd wish my writing got so bad that it was hard to read, and I remember being so sick and nervous. The wait until she read and graded our papers was hard. I kept asking her if she had read them. That paper later was used as evidence when my parents took him to court. Finally one day I handed her a folded up piece of papter that said "I need to talk to you sometime". She called me into the hall that day and it went from there, I told her everything, and she called my mom in and told her, and we went home and my mom told my dad... and we went to court, he went to jail.... and the process went on.
It's been 12+ years since I've needed to work through anything relating to that. I spent my high school and college years dealing with and working through what had happened, and also had worked through forgiving that man. I felt like God had completely healed me from it. And He had, as much as I could have as a young adult, and needed at the time. And that brings me to the last couple months...
I saw this man in town 2 months ago, we both looked each other in the eyes and really stared at each other. I couldn't believe I was seeing him and especially not so close, and with my children in tow. He looked exactly the same, except his hair was grey. His eyes were the same. And It stirred me in a way I hadn't expected.
The night I was raped, satan took what wasn't his to take. He took a piece of my heart, and he left me broken and exposed. He lied to me and told me I was dirty, and that I should cover up, hide, be ashamed. Satan 's purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy. Surely sexual abuse and rape are among his greatest attempts at bringing that about. I believe with my whole heart though that this, even this, God covered on the cross. Even this, the deepest violation of the soul, was cleansed by the blood that flowed free from the body of Christ, His blood poured out for us, his body exposed and broken, so that our brokeness can find His life.
Over the years that followed, I've found healing and hope that could have only come from Jesus. Time helps, but time doesn't truly heal, only Jesus's work in us can over time heal. I've found Jesus to be comfort to me when I need it, strength to me when I've been too weak to go on, light when all I could see was dark, peace when I'm afraid, patience when I try to walk alone. I truly don't think I could have walked through the valley of the shadow of death without God there to hold my hand, to tell me I could go on, and show me the way.
I'm 34 years old now, and after 12 years of not needing to deal with or address anything relating to the rape I am at the place where God is showing me He want's to do a deeper work. I don't like that, my response initually (and still kinda) is that it's been 20 years since I was raped. Really, after all these years, is it necessary to bring it up again? My counselor, my friend who's a counselor, my husband, they all agree that God does the healing that we can handle and need and in His timing. After 12 years of having babies, post-partem depression, bipolar diagnosis, after all that time God wants me to get free and heal just a little deeper. Ok Lord, I don't wanna but I will because I trust You. (remind me God that I said that when I try to change my mind about that one)
Jesus created us, He knows our deepest parts. Nothing is hidden from Him. He knows us outwardly and He knows us inwardly. He knows what's been hidden in the dark., and what is seen openly. He knows the memories, the shame, the brokeness. Not a moment does He turn His eyes away. He knows exactly what happened that night, and exactly what it felt like. He too cried every tear, spoke every plea, felt every touch. He experienced it on the cross, and He experienced it with me. And as my Creator, My Father, the One that loves me most, how it must have hurt Him.
Our sexuality is one of God's most precious gift. It is a deeply intimate and private part of who we are. God has designed us that way. When someone is sexually abused or raped a part of who we are is taken, stolen from and trampled on. Our sexuality is the most vulnerable part of who we are, that's part of why it is God's design to be saved and enjoyed in marriage only. For me I felt exposed, and I felt the need to hide, to cover up, both physically but more so in my heart and mind. I didn't feel safe anymore. It felt like the ugly dirty hands that had marked my body, had also marked my soul. I didn't realize until lately how much those feelings have carried over under the surface even now. I'm walking some of it through again and I'm asking God to show me His perspective, what He sees, what is His truth.
When I was younger I often wished people who knew what had happened would ask me more what was going on inside my head; the flip side of that was, when they did I froze. My mind was paralyzed by this secret world of pain that was "hiding out" behind the silence. I wanted people to ask, I wanted people to keep pursuing me, but when they did I was scared to death and I didn't know how to open up, I was afraid my dirt and shame would show. There was a nightmare going on inside my mind that I couldn't turn off. I wanted people to ask me what happened, what memories I couldn't let go of, what my mind was seeing and thinking. It often seemed like people didn't want me to really talk about it, like it would be more hurtful to me, like it would bring up memories. It really was the opposite. As much as I pushed people away, acted like I didn't want anyone to know or talk to me or ask about it, on the inside I was screaming for others to not leave me and to be close to me.
I had youth counselors (from youth group) that did ask and didn't stop loving and pursuing even though it often meant they had to sit in silence with me for what seemed like hours. Even though we didn't speak I remember, I remember them there, I remember the silence but more than that I remember I didn't feel alone. Those minutes that often added to hours, they were healing. I remember those times, and the times I was able to just talk. It didn't have to make sense, I don't remember what I said or what they said, I just remember them, with me, not alone.
The times I was able to talk about it, pray about it, write about it, those were pivital points in my healing.
There were many many many youth group retreats that I spent off somewhere alone with Jesus and my mind. I remember just hashing out in my mind... why me? What is going on? I can't stand this, I can't stand what I feel, I can't feel you Jesus, I need you God. I can't handle what's going on, where I am at? Who am I? What is going on? Where are you God? I can't handle/stand this God.
Those youth retreats that I went on and felt so alone and hurting, He also met me in a deep way. God used those trips, the counselors, the speakers, the ministry times, He did big chunks of healing on many of those trips and I am forever grateful and thankful. I don't know that I would be alive today had I not had that kind of love, support and prayers.
One of the gifts Jesus gave me over those years was His presence. I felt Him so strong at times I felt like I could reach out and touch Him. It felt like I could reach out and touch Him. There were times that I felt so deeply hurt, but so deeply surrounded by God.
I couldn't sleep well. Night time was my hardest time. The dark felt really dark, the night was when I thought the most, when the memories were the clearest and my fears the strongest. Often when I slept I had nightmares so for a good part of my high school years I wished the night away and longed for morning. These were the times I poured my heart out to God in my journals, I read my bible and hung on every word, and He bore my burdens with me.
There were times where I pleaded with God to please please come IN PERSON and hug me, that I HAD to have Him physically there with me. I had this picture of Jesus Smiling on my wall. My friend's jokingly laughed about how corny it was, but it was the face that I prayed to and pleaded with so often. I remember one night where I didn't want to go on, it was the only specific time I remember contemplating and wanting to die. I pleaded with Jesus to SHOW me something, anything, that He was still with me, that He loved me, that I could do this. That evening a youth counselor (who also had been sexually abused) called me and told me God had given her a song to write for me, about me. She sang it and played her guitar on the phone. She has NO idea that God used her in that way. It was something about sunshine coming in the rain or something "sunshine." The part that impacted me most was that God spoke to me, He answered my prayer.
I realized something this week though as I've processed a bit some of the things that are still lingering. I feel like one of the things that the rape took from me was my friendships, and my experiences with my friends especially in youth group and on youth retreats. While a lot of my friends were off living life and having fun, I was in this world of trauma and hurt that I couldn't deal with that I also couldn't stop or turn off. I feel that loss, of youth retreats and fun experiences, of friendships that were hindered and not deepened because of what happened to me.
As one who has walked through the trauma and pain and into healing, I can say confidently that I believe the verse in the bible that talks about God bringing good out of all situations. I had a close youth counselor (from church youth group) that would often say "Becky, I know you can't see it now, but God will bring good out of this." That was completely inconceivable to me and actually often frustrated me. (romans 8:28, And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.) I cannot believe though how incredibly true that scripture has become in my life in every area of my life.
I pray that God strengthens Your love for Him and challenges you to reach out and grab hold of hope, and to not allow fear to hold you back. If we let Him, God will come along side of us and walk this stuff out. It doesn't mean it won't be painful, it doesn't mean it won't hurt so bad that we will wonder if we can hold on, it doesn't even mean we won't get more beat up and hurt in the process, but it does mean He'll be there and walk it with us. I'd rather have Him by my side than walk it alone.
"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,for you are with me;your rod and your staff,they comfort me".
Our Father's heart is deeply compassionate and near to the broken-hearted. It doesn't matter if we are christians or not, whether we think we deserve it or not, it's not based on how good or bad we are, what we've done or not done, it's His love, it's unconditional, it's for everyone of us, not one of God's children are exempt. He just wants us, and if we give our sins and our heart to Him, He in return forgives us and gives us eternal life with Him, He's ours now, and He's ours in heaven, and we're His now, and we're His in heaven. And that's good stuff.
The Lord your God is with you,
He is mighty to Save.
He will take great delight in you,
and quiet you with His love,
He rejoices over you with singing.
A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory.
Psalms 27 NIV:
1 The LORD is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour[a] me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
4 One thing I ask from the LORD,
this only do I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the LORD
all the days of my life,
to gaze on the beauty of the LORD
and to seek him in his temple.
5 For in the day of trouble
he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
and set me high upon a rock.
7 Hear my voice when I call, LORD;
be merciful to me and answer me.
8 My heart says of you, “Seek his face!”
Your face, LORD, I will seek.
9 Do not hide your face from me,
do not turn your servant away in anger;
you have been my helper.
Do not reject me or forsake me,
God my Savior.
10 Though my father and mother forsake me,
the LORD will receive me.
11 Teach me your way, LORD;
lead me in a straight path
13 I remain confident of this:
I will see the goodness of the LORD
in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the LORD;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the LORD.
1 But now, this is what the LORD says—
he who created you, Jacob,
he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
2 When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze.
3 For I am the LORD your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
Cush[a] and Seba in your stead.
4 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
nations in exchange for your life.
5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
11 I, even I, am the LORD,
and apart from me there is no savior.
12 I have revealed and saved and proclaimed—
I, and not some foreign god among you.
You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “that I am God.
18 “Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
19 See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and renew a right spirit in me.
1 Praise the LORD, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the LORD, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Those who sow with tears
will reap with songs of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping,
carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
carrying sheaves with them.
24 When you lie down, you will not be afraid;
when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.
25 Have no fear of sudden terror,
nor of trouble from the wicked when it comes,
26 for the LORD will be at your side
and will keep your foot from being caught.
For you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.
22 Through the LORD’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[i] have been called according to his purpose.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?
37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[k] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
For I the Lord your God, will take hold of your right hand, and say to you, Do not fear, I will help you.
1 You have searched me, LORD,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, LORD, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.
23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
24 See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
God will restore the years that the locust have eaten.
God can Restore and give back all the things satan has stolen. You can trust Him, He is worthy of our trust and we are worthy of His love. He made it that way when He died on the cross for us to save us from our sins and set us free from our past. He gave His Son so that we could have life.