I was raised going to church, so I knew who God was. In 2007, I went through a devastating tribulation of being sexually abused by the pastor at the church I was attending at the time. This pastor was very friendly to me, and looking back, more so than to anyone else and more than I realized at the time. He had a niece that I was friends with and she was spending the night at his house. She asked if I wanted to spend the night as well, and I did. I’m not going to go into intricate details of what happened that night to me.
Fast forward to church that morning, I felt uncomfortable around him. I began to feel guilty, scared and unworthy. My mom had “The Birds and the Bees” talk with me, so I felt like I couldn’t talk to her because I didn’t want to hurt her. Shame kept me silent from being sexually abused because I thought that was what I deserved. At 12 years old, I began carrying a secret. When someone’s innocence is taken from them at a very young age, something breaks on the inside of them. I began to feel like it was my fault. That was only the beginning. I was too ashamed of what happened to ask for help, and I couldn’t trust anyone except for myself.
When I was 13, I remember my mom asked me if we could talk, and so we did. She told me she noticed a drastic change in how I acted. She noticed me going from this smiling, laughing, sweet, and outgoing girl to this girl who hardly smiled, hardly laughed, ill-natured, and was shy. She then said, “Did someone hurt you? You can tell me. I’m here for you.” Big tears flowing from both sides of my cheeks, I looked up with fear in my eyes, I whimpered softly “yes”. Fast forward, we quit going to that church, and I quit going to church all together for a while. I quit praying, and I quit believing that God truly loved me.
In middle school and high school, I began drinking alcohol to void the pain for a little while, and it continued to spiral out of hand. It got to the point where I wouldn’t just drink at parties, but I would drink myself to sleep to avoid late night thoughts of my sexual abuse. I pushed away anyone that tried to get close to me because I didn’t feel I was someone worth loving.
After years of drinking and hurting people, shame came back. Shame is like a poison that just sits inside of you, and just rots every part of your soul. The sexual abuse compounded my thoughts constantly to the point I didn’t want to live anymore. I remember one night it got so bad that I was in a car, and had a gun on my lap, with the thought of suicide on my mind. After years of feeling like I wasn’t worth anything, I knew there was only one way to quit feeling unworthy.
I drove around with the gun in my lap with every intention to take my life. I was trying to find a place where no one would hear or see me end my life. I was parked in a parking lot away from where I lived trying to decide where I could go. A police officer was parked in the parking lot behind a building to catch speeders, and he noticed I had been sitting there for a while. I did not even know he was anywhere around. I had my eyes closed and my head laid back on the seat thinking of where to go, when all of a sudden I heard the police officer say, “Ma’am, are you alright?” I said, “Yes, I’m going to go home.” He told me to get out of the car, and put my hands on the car. He searched my car, and found the gun. He asked me to follow him and we sat down and he talked with me. He used to be a youth pastor. He asked me, “Were you trying to end your life?” I said, “Yes. How did you know?” He said, there was a point in his life when he drove around trying to find a place to end his life also. I didn’t know then, that God had placed that police officer in my path but I do now. The police officer said he wasn’t even suppose to be looking for speeders in that particular area. He said, “God sent me here because He knew you needed me.” We talked for two hours. I went home that night, and there was something inside of me that I knew I needed my God more than anything.
I remember going home that night and saying, “Lord, I don’t know what to do or say to you. Will you show me what to do?”
The next day, I was driving behind a tractor-trailer and it had a 106.9 radio station sticker on the back and inspirational sayings on the truck as well, and the one that stood out the most to me was, “There’s purpose in your pain.” I turned on 106.9 and on the station right as I turned it on was a pastor talking about “There is purpose in your pain.” I knew it couldn’t be a coincidence. That next morning, I laid down my pain, hurt, desires, and sins all at the feet of Jesus. I dusted off my bible that I hadn’t opened in years. Any time I had the urge to drink, I prayed and read my bible. I now live my life for the One who gave me life. Thank you Jesus.
“Now to Him who is able to [carry out His purpose and] do super abundantly more than all that we dare ask or think [infinitely beyond our greatest prayers, hopes, or dreams], according to His power that is at work within us.” – Ephesians 3:20
I live in the fullness of His joy.
I am a new creation in Christ.
I am restored and redeemed.
I have forgiven my abuser.
I love to love people.
I am loved.