As promised, here is Part II of my testimony. To read Part I, click here.
The first started when I was in 3rd grade. Like I said earlier I was raised in a Christian home and my parents are both some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. So when I was in 3rd grade they decided to have these two foster boys come and live with us. They lived with us for about 6 months and it was tumultuous for all of us during that time. What no one (but me) knew was the older boy was sexually abusing me during that entire time. I never told a soul.
And then when I got into high school, I heard the testimony of another girl who that had happened to. All the sudden I felt like I had to tell someone. So I told a friend. Who told me I had to tell my parents. And my greatest fear came true when I told them — they were devastated. I was so scared people would look at me differently. And for weeks my mom couldn’t look at me without weeping (and understandably so. I just didn’t understand it then.) So I totally withdrew from everyone and everything and wouldn’t talk about it. I wouldn’t go to counseling. But I became a shell of a person. I was an emotional basket case – at school I would put on this happy face and be the social butterfly and the class clown – but then I would come home and have these fits of rage, or breakdown sobbing, and I wasn’t suicidal but I would pray that God would give me cancer or something just to take me off this earth. The lows were low that year but my family were the only ones who ever saw it. Finally I got to the place where I felt totally dead inside. I felt so hallow and my life was pretty worthless. Soon after that I heard a story of some college kids who had died in a car accident and God just got a hold of me through that. I realized I had no right to be on this earth and be living the way I was. If God had me here, it was for a purpose. He also gave me eyes to see that Christ had suffered innocently too. He had been beaten and mocked and shamed, too. But he was totally innocent. He understood my pain. And within a week God started turning my life around and setting me on a different course.
I remember laughing from the pit of my stomach again. I talked with my youth pastor about it. I shared my testimony at church with my youth group. Then at our summer camp of 300 people. Then my pastor and I started traveling around and speaking to youth groups together — I would share my testimony and he would preach. I started going to counseling. And decided that I wanted to become a counselor one day to help other girls the way my counselor helped me.
I share that to give some of you hope. I am writing this today as someone who at one point did not think I would ever smile again. I felt like my life would always be a heap of ashes, totally broken, a captive to my own pain and memories. But I’m not that person anymore. I can hardly remember the pain. And I wouldn’t take it back if I could. I am who I am because of that pain. I know God the way I do because of that pain. And I am doing what I’m doing today because of that pain. You might not be able to even fathom it now, but some of you will tell the same story of freedom one day whether your pain is that you were abused or molested, or that you are enslaved to pornography or homosexuality, or that your family has been totally shattered. God is so great that He can turn you into an oak of righteousness no matter WHERE you’ve come from or WHO you’ve been.
I saw God use me in powerful ways during that season, but at some point I started to get really really scared. I was very aware of God’s power, but I was afraid of what it would cost me. Even though I had tasted of the goodness of being so close to Him, I took a very intentional step back from God. No one else would have known it, because I was still one of the leaders in my youth group, and one of the leaders of the Christian club on campus, and involved in bible studies, and discipling younger girls and being discipled. I went off to a Christian college and majored in Bible. I kept doing all the right things. But I didn’t let myself get too close to God. Not close enough for Him to do whatever He wanted with me.
There’s still more to come….tune in next time for Part III.