“I am saving myself for marriage.”
This was a phrase I used to pride myself on in my teen years.
Everyone knew I was a virgin.
I didn’t try to hide it, not that I would flaunt it, but I wasn’t ashamed and had no desire not to be.
Sadly, that precious gift was stolen when I was seventeen.
I dated the wrong guy and he thought my virginity was his for the taking. So without permission, that’s exactly what he did.
I lost my virginity to rape and after that I thought, “What’s the point of waiting now?”
Who I had been - pure, innocent and free - was stolen and who I was after, well, I didn’t even recognize myself.
Because of losing who I was, I began to party and became promiscuous. I wound up being raped a second time that year - more violent and traumatic than the first time.
Was it my fault? I should have known better than to be around those guys.
Was I worthless? I must be, because I was treated like trash.
What’s the point of being “good” when I’m obviously only good for one thing?
I believed these lies for many years, and I still have to battle for the truth sometimes.
After many years of stuffing the pain down as best I could - using drugs and alcohol to numb the reality of what had happened and trying to forget the shame that engulfed me from the choices I made following two rapes and abuse - I felt I couldn’t live anymore.
I was a mere memory of who I had wanted to be and I contemplated suicide.
I was in such a dark night of the soul. The day I almost took my life, I heard the audible voice of God, He said, “The truth will set you free”.
In that moment the power of death was broken off of me and the Holy Spirit began to lead me on a journey of learning just what the truth is that would set my soul free.
What is the truth?
Well, the unfortunate reality is that rape is not an uncommon occurrence.
Studies show that 1 out of 6 American women between the ages of 12-34 have been a victim of attempted or completed rape.
It is far too common and rarely talked about.
For me, healing has been a journey over the course of many years. And here are some truths I have learned on the journey that I want to share with anyone who has experienced any form of trauma, but especially those suffering from the effects of sexual abuse.
First, no one is too far gone for the Lord to restore.
There is no shame, no secret, no agony too challenging for Him to rescue you from.
His word says in Psalms 116:5, “He was so kind, so gracious to me. Because of His passion toward me, He made everything right and He restored me.”
The second truth I have discovered is, we were not abandoned by Jesus when the trauma/abuse took place.
That was my biggest question, “Where were you Jesus?” One time crying out to Him in prayer He answered, “When your heart was being shattered, beloved I was there, with tears in my eyes picking up the pieces of your broken heart, holding onto them until the joyous day you allowed me to put the pieces back together.”
He will put your heart back together, as it says in Psalms 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds (healing their pain and comforting their sorrow.)”
All He needs is permission to start the process of healing.
That leads to the third truth, healing is a choice.
It takes action to pursue freedom from the pain, but dear one, all it takes is asking Jesus to come in and begin to put your heart back together again.
The fourth truth is how imperative it is to forgive.
For me, forgiving those who harmed me was much simpler than forgiving myself.
Possibly because those people were out of my life, so letting go of what they did was easier. But to look at myself everyday, it brought up such shame and regret for so long.
It has become a more recent discovery of how important it is to forgive myself.
I believe self forgiveness is the most challenging because we think of all the things we would change if we could.
I harbored self hatred as a form of punishment because I blamed myself for so much of the abuse that was done to me.
But I have come to understand that when Jesus cried out on the cross “It is finished,” it was more than just a statement of His life ending in that moment, it was a declaration of saying the enemy doesn’t win.
IT IS FINISHED.
The King has the victory, and if you are a born again believer, you have the victory in Christ to overcome the misery of a past riddled by trauma.
If you haven’t invited Jesus into your heart, all He needs is your “yes” to come and begin to redeem your life.
“Now, if anyone is enfolded into Christ, he has become an entirely new person. All that is related to the old order has vanished. Behold, everything is fresh & new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17.
Be strong, be brave.
The world is waiting to hear your story.
I pray that you find the peace of God that is promised for you: a life made new in His love.
If you need prayer, please reach out to me or The Worthy team.
“But now, this is what the Lord, your Creator says…”do not fear, for I have redeemed you (from captivity); I have called you by name; you are Mine!” Isaiah 43:1.
You belong to a King who holds every single tear you cry and longs to set you completely free.
~ Caitlin Sawyer