Please note: The names in this story have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.
The events of this day changed my life. As a teenager I was not happy. The cloths I wore, black, mirrored my inmost feelings of mistrust and depression. God brought new hope and forgiveness to me when I surrendered the past... This is my story!
I was only 7 when I experienced abuse. My sister age 9, and I, age 7, went to play at a church friend’s home while Mom and Dad went to a meeting. My sister and I loved playing together, and I had always enjoyed going new places, but not this place, and never again would I enjoy being left with a babysitter. We were told we could play and have fun, but this did not happen. We were ready for fun, but fun never happened for me.
On this day the babysitter, a 13 year old girl, told my older sister to go downstairs while she took me upstairs to play house. The events of this day changed my life, leaving me a nervous, anxious child. Never again did I want to be left with a babysitter. I did not understand what happened, I was too young. When Mom and Dad had to go out I cried because I knew I would have another babysitter. Later as a teenager I was not happy. The clothing I wore, black, mirrored my inmost feelings of mistrust and depression. During my Junior and Senior year, I experienced panic attacks where I was unable to breath, and at one point ended up in the Hospital ER. At this point I still did not understand why I was having so many problems. The doctors told Mom and Dad that there was nothing wrong with me, and nobody understood my condition, not even me.
Since I grew up in a Nazarene Parsonage, I was encouraged to attend Olivet Nazarene University, so after High School graduation I went to ONU. During my Junior year at ONU I was a part of a small group with several girls and one of the girls in my group shared her experience of being sexually abused as a child. While I was sitting there listening to her story, memories of what happened to me as a child came flooding back. Later there was a speaker who spoke on the subject of abuse, forgiveness, and moving on with your life. I felt the memories and anxiety of my childhood during this meeting and ended up talking with the speaker afterward. After talking a long time, we prayed for God’s help and guidance for my life.
Sharing my memories with the people that were the closest to me, was one of the most difficult, yet necessary things that I have done in my life. I particularly remember the day that I told my boyfriend (now husband) that I needed to talk to him after class. Sitting in a parking lot I shared the events of that day and together we cried and started the healing process together. After this I ended up calling my parents and explaining my memories of what had happened to me. They had no idea of the event and were deeply saddened. Together we cried, prayed, and they too joined in on the long walk of healing and forgiveness.
With the encouragement of my boyfriend, I attended a sexual abuse support group at the College Church on campus. Through the common bond with other sexual abuse victims God continued to bring new hope and forgiveness to me and I surrendered the abuse of the past. The verse that helped me most , “Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, “declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 29:12-14a, has always been my favorite. This verse tells me that God who made the entire universe cares about me, and all I have to do is call out to Him and He listens to my heart's cry. A few years ago I graduated from ONU with a degree in Social Work, married my college sweetheart, and now serve God as a social worker. It is my desire to protect children from abuse and to be an advocate for Christ, my Savior, the Lord of my life. There are still times that I struggle with my memories of the past, but I serve a God that is always there in my time of need.