Fifteen years ago today, my life was violated and turned upside down when I was sexually molested by a family member.
Someone I trusted with my life. Had full confidence in.
It was crushing, life-altering, and destructive. I didn't know what to do, where to go, or who to turn to.
Thankfully, my closest family members and friends surrounded me. My church was a place of refuge where I fled to and hid in fear, shame, and uncertainty in the hour right afterward. A distant relative and close friend was there when I called, let me come to her and sob, showered me with love and prayer and concern, and called my mom for me....
As the days and weeks went by, a lot of my life changed. Challenges arose, things weren't handled in the way I'd thought they would be, there was mistrust building in the family, and by a series of unfortunate events, I became a bit of an outcast.
My relationship with my dad fell further apart. I was crushed. Dismayed. Went to counseling. Thought no one would ever love me or marry me. Thought I'd done something to mess it all up. Satan had convinced me it was my fault, and seeds of doubt and guilt grew. More about that another time.
Looking back, I'm so incredibly thankful it was just that one time. As I've heard more and more stories of others I know in recent years who have had sexual abuse stories of their own, I've learned just how lucky/blessed I am that it wasn't worse.
Don't get me wrong, it was definitely horrifying and awful. It changed my life forever. But I refuse to let it weigh me down anymore. It's not what my life is about. In recent years, I've reconnected and rebuilt relationships with each of those family members.
Most especially, I'm closer to my dad than I've ever been before. I don't know if we'd have this closeness outside of the hardships we faced in the past 15 years. I'm so incredibly glad that my dad is so near and dear to me now!
I've truly been changed by the goodness and grace of God. His hand has been so clear in all of this. I can say without a doubt that I've grown and changed a million times over since that terrible day. Despite the hardships, God has used it to radically shake me and change my life, all the while growing my faith and teaching me lifelong lessons about Himself, hope, love, grace, and what family really means.
Today, I'm just so thankful that God has brought me to the other side, and to a deeper relationship with Him and with those I love so dearly! More so than I could have ever imagined on my own.
I've hidden the truth in the shadows out of respect for my dear family - but no longer. The individual who did this died last September. The events surrounding his death were some of the hardest weeks of my entire life.
No joke, September 2011 will go down in my history books as an incredibly challenging time in my life. Mainly because God was working in me. Digging out seeds of some remaining bitterness, darkness that was in the background of my heart, and anger that needed to be released.
God really used that time to free me of a lot of issues. I am personally, intimately loved, known, and cherished by my Creator. That means more to me now than I could have ever fathomed 15 years ago. I was innocent and naive on that day.
A huge thank you goes out to Tim for his years of giving me comfort and patience when I so badly needed to not be touched in certain ways or places. The ways he's loved me through all of this is beyond my capacity to understand.
What nearly tore me to pieces has brought me together with people I never would have thought. Stories I've heard and voices crying out, wondering why this had to happen to them. The pain and fear and shame and guilt is just so gut-wrenching. I'm so thankful to be free of all those things 15 years later - no shame, fear, guilt, or anything associated with it now.
I am free. It took almost 15 years to certain degrees to get there, but I'm there now - by the grace of God.
You can get there too. If you've been molested, raped, abused, destroyed, or manipulated in offensive ways - just pray that He will continue to shape and mold you into who He wants you to be. He wants to see you grow and He wants to use this hardship in your life to show the world how great He is. I know that can be a hard concept when we're going through something really tough, but I know He has a plan. He loves you soooo much and wants to bless your life.
Would you take a moment to thank Him for what He has given to you, and ask for continued blessings, and that He would show you what this is meant for specifically in your life?
Please know that if you are coming here for the first time as a sexual abuse victim -
You are not alone.
You are not to blame.
You did nothing wrong.
You need the love of Jesus Christ.
You need to let God change your heart and life.
You need to let Him change you so that you can begin to learn what it means to really forgive.
You can learn to let go and let God... but don't expect it to happen overnight.
You need to allow time for healing and change.
Let God break you so that He might fix you.
And remember - It's okay, you are still a beautiful, wonderful person! Connect with others around you that went through this, talk with your family and friends, let others help you, and by all means, feel free to email me at rochellelearning (at) gmail (dot) com. I would love to hear from you and to help you get through this!!! Let's talk!
Thanks for listening friends - more to come. For now, just know that I am truly okay, and that right alongside the Fibromyalgia, I have so much more to offer this world than just the bad things that have happened to me or the illness that's a part of me.
What I've learned from each bad thing is continually changing and growing me into who He wants me to be. And that is a very good thing. To me, it's worth it all. Jesus Christ gave up His life on the cross that I might live.
And truly living is what I will do. The good, the bad, and the ugly. To God be the glory!!