I had something entirely different to post today, but then I began seeing the #metoo floating around on Facebook. I began reading the stories my friend’s poured out from their hearts using the #metoo hashtag, and just like that what started as another #metoo Facebook post quickly turned into this next blog.
I’ve been transparent with much of my story. If you’ve heard it, you might be thinking, “what’s left?” This part remained in a dark, tucked away spot out of the light and when we allow dark corners to remain in our hearts and our past, we give sin and satan power over it. We allow shame to live. But today I am thrusting it into the light of the day, heart wide open, because the light connects us, frees us, makes the broken, whole. It unites us and like the warm sun shines down like sunbeams on our faces, it heals us too.
The funny thing is, while I hesitated to share, it wasn’t out of emotional fear. Sex, sexual abuse, and harassment aren’t things we regularly discuss. (At least I don’t). And, while I’ve shared all of this with Alan, most of my family will also be reading this and they don’t know these details. Do I really want to let the public world in to the abuse of my story? The answer is yes. Because Jesus is Jesus and he makes us brave, he makes us whole, he makes us shine, because he shines through us, and if these words that follow give one bit of comfort to one other woman who may read this, then YES it’s worth sharing.
There really isn’t a “first time” it happened. I grew up believing that my worth was tied to my beauty. And I never felt beautiful. I believe I was the first to abuse my own body trading it in for drugs when I didn’t have money. I had no respect for myself and cared not if other’s respected me either… or at least that’s the story I convinced myself of. My teen years didn’t involve sports or dances or youth group events. I wore black, cut my own hair, smoked crystal meth out of lightbulbs and snorted anything I could get my hands on. Large parts of my teen years still remain dark for me- as in- I can’t remember them. I like to believe Jesus has long since protected my mind from the memories of those years.
When I was 18, I went out to a nightclub with some girlfriends and there was a couple with us I had just met. The woman followed me to the bathroom and as I opened the stall, there she was, and she pushed a pill into my mouth. I was too drunk to protest. Nearly six months later, the events of the rest of that night began to return to me like a horrible nightmare. Flashbacks to events I had no idea took place, like little bits and pieces of a horror movie that I fell in and out of sleep while watching. I believe I was taken to their house and later returned to the nightclub. I woke up at someone else’s house in the morning. I still do not remember all the details and I praise Jesus for this.
Shortly before my 24th birthday, I went out for a different friend’s birthday and after too much sangria I found myself at a nightclub with several people I had worked with at a restaurant in Vegas. One thing led to another and I found myself going home with one of the waiter’s. I quickly regretted it as I found myself in a situation where it was just the two of us. I said no. It didn’t matter to him. I came home after daylight, after shoving his drunk passed out body off of me. I called in sick to work for a week. I told no one. I worked at the church at the time. I suppressed the memory and one year later, I moved to the DR and it wasn’t until I had been there for a year that my memory began to recall the events of both occurrences.
At times on the mission field, Christian men have said things to me that would make one’s hair stand on end. Things that are degrading and sinful. I almost began to accept these occurrences throughout my life as normal. Most of my life, I had been used to men doing and saying whatever they pleased- taking advantage of me with not only their bodies, but their words too, but this is simply unacceptable. I believed a narrative Satan wanted me to believe. I was unlovable. I was unworthy. I was trash… and trash was discardable. But this is not what the Lord says about women. He esteems us. He loves us. He respects us. In his eyes we are trustworthy, honorable, kind, worthy, equal, his beloved. No matter what anyone has led you to believe, know our Heavenly Father and our Savior Jesus esteem and love us beyond measure. No earthly man can replace the worth we receive from the King.
I share these stories to stand with women who have been victimized and continue to live in silence. There is no shame for us in this. We can hold our heads high and know that our Redeemer is for us, sees us, and covers us in the shadow of his wings. He restores our souls and repairs that which others have attempted to destroy. We no longer live as victims but overcomers. Stand in the light with me. It’s so much more beautiful than the darkness and the shame that your past tries to keep you in.