I love a good secret – the wondrous kind that bursts to be told. But there is another kind of secret – an evil kind. The kind that digs deep into a child’s soul and poisons it. The kind that is too shaming to tell. The “don’t tell your mother” kind. It’s the kind of secret Satan uses to taunt and produce insecurities.
These evil, poisonous kinds of secrets have a way of festering until one day, when you least expect it, an emotional explosion occurs. There is no good time to talk about incest or sexual abuse. It’s a horribly painful topic. But the ugly facts are that it’s happening in homes all across America. Chances are it’s happening in your neighborhood right now. And, tragically, it happened to me.
Initially, it seemed easy to dismiss. He was a member outside my immediate family. He begged my forgiveness and I gave it. We then agreed never to talk about it. He was genuinely repentant and never reoffended. (After years of counseling abused women, I’ve learned that this is extremely rare. Typically, the cycle of repentance and abuse continues for many years.)
But stuffing my feelings down didn’t make them disappear. Denial is only a temporary emotional Band-Aid. Eventually I had to face the demons of my past.
I wish I could say that once the incest stopped, life returned to normal, but nothing was ever the same. I’d lost my sense of security and battled deep-seeded feelings of shame and self-worth. I also began to question my Christianity. After all, a family member betrayed me. What other beliefs was I naively holding on to? Even my personality changed. I became withdrawn, angry and rebellious. I hated high school and failed most of my classes due to truancy. I didn’t take drugs or drink excessively, yet there are entire blocks of time in my freshman year that I simply can’t remember. This is indicative of Post traumatic Stress Disorder.
Throughout my teen years and into adulthood, I continually dealt with sexual assault and harassment. I had no idea I was projecting a victim mentality.
In my late thirties, I was plagued with asthma and a variety of associated ailments. I was losing my voice and that terrified me. I went through a plethora of doctors, praying one of them would heal me. It never occurred to me to ask the ultimate physician for healing. Then one Saturday night during worship, I brokenly cried out to God and begged him to heal me.
He spoke to my spirit, “Today you have touched the hem of my gown. I will heal you in mind, body and spirit.”
“Within the year.”
My physical healing happened very quickly. My voice came back and I am no longer an asthmatic. Then the Lord led me to Alabaster Vessels. As I healed from the abuse of my past, I began to counsel others. Finally, I searched the scriptures and exercised my gift of prophecy. Just as God promised, He healed me mind, body and spirit.
I’m humbled and honored by the women who contact me to share their painful stories of incest and abuse. It’s my prayer that God will use my story to inspire others to begin the healing process.
Perhaps you have a similar story. Allow Him to heal your mind, body and spirit. Healing from childhood abuse is not an easy journey. But you are older, wiser and stronger, and Jesus will be with you all the way. I started my journey just before I turned forty and I will be forty-six this month. It’s never too late to reclaim your life. Shame and guilt held me in bondage. I wasn’t living my life to the fullest. Now I am free from the chains of my past.
As a rape and incest survivor, I am passionate about empowering women to become all God made them to be. Because it is only through Jesus Christ that we can truly be Bold & Free.