I sit here scared to write this post…truly no idea what words will end up on this page when I’m finished…this one little piece of my heart is so hurt and so damaged. I’d rather not dig out all of the gravel that I’ve used to fill up this hole because I know it is going to hurt like hell. This hole has been in my heart for 26 years. God has already started the process of digging out the gravel and bringing this nasty, ugly, hateful piece of my heart to the surface. He has been exposing it. This is not something I’ve wanted to revisit. I haven’t wanted to feel this pain again…truthfully, I’ve been feeling the pain for 26 years and it has wreaked so much havoc on my life. I’m beyond tired of being a victim to it.
I’ve often thought about my testimony and how in the world I would speak about it if asked because there is just so much to it…so many nuances. I’ve had so many twists and turns in my life, and God has so beautifully taken me on a drive down that winding road called my life letting me visit those things that crushed my soul in the safety of His arms while He took charge of my heart – making it new – replacing wounds with flesh. It’s strange how I sit here today realizing that this one particular ‘relationship’ has been at the root of so much pain in my life. I always thought my father’s death when I was 8 shaped my life – I thought most of my scars were born at that time. I’m sure a lot of scars were born on that sad day in April – in fact I know that they were, and honestly, maybe those scars set the stage for this one – the dreaded one of which I keep referring.
This person stripped me of my innocence. He stripped me of hope. He stripped me of worth. He made me dirty. He made me feel so ashamed. I’ve been carrying all of this around for 26 years never even realizing the depths of this and the branches that grew from it. I loved him – I honestly don’t know how that was ever possible – but I did. It was an unhealthy love, and it was clearly never returned. My heart sought after him for a good year, maybe it was even two years – so hard to remember now – he would pop in and out of my life as it served his needs…and I always welcomed him with open arms…and I was always deeply saddened when he went away again never knowing when or if he would be back. Every time I saw his car or saw him, my heart would skip a beat. I don’t understand how I got so sucked in…so charmed by him and his lies.
There was one night in particular that he had told me that he really needed to talk to me. He came over and told me how much he missed me and that he wanted to be in a relationship again. He was drunk, but he hadn’t been drunk earlier in the evening when he so desperately needed to talk to me. I wanted to believe him. I needed to believe him. He kept trying to have sex with me, but I just couldn’t do it. I was too exhausted by him. My heart was weak and weary. He was on top of me drunk and heavy – he kept persisting – kept telling me how much he wanted to make love to me. I told him no over and over and over, but he never gave up. He wore me down until I gave in – powerless – no fight left. I didn’t open up to him longingly. In my soul I knew I couldn’t trust him. I wish I would have had the power to fight him off that night and rid him from my life, but I didn’t. Honestly, I don’t remember when he left. What I do remember is waking up and going to the bathroom the next morning and feeling sick. Something was different. I felt different. I still loved him but it wasn’t with a hopeful heart. It was with a heavy heart, a violated heart, a heart that had been torn in half, a heart that was so damaged that it is still in desperate need of repair this very second as I write this.
The string of events that happened over the next 2 months compounded the nastiness of that night. The same day I found out he was engaged to someone else (and had been all along) is the day I found out I was carrying his child. There I was – in the situation I swore would never happen to me…after all, I was better than that. I was a good girl. I felt crippled…I felt afflicted. I just wanted the nightmare to be over. I had no one to confide in – no one to talk to. For the first and really, the only time in my life, I seriously contemplated suicide…not just contemplated it, but was in the moment when I was about a millimeter from moving forward with it. The only thing that stopped me was the thought of breaking my mother’s heart – she had already been through too much in her life. I also knew this pregnancy would disappoint her – I was so ashamed of myself – so depressed – so distraught. I decided to do the only thing I thought would fix it. I ended my pregnancy. I gave a fake name. I knew I was a bad girl and needed to be punished, so I wouldn’t let the doctor give me anything for pain…I laid there and felt every last bit of the pain from that procedure – physically and emotionally. The procedure took my baby away – the procedure allowed me to keep my secret – but that procedure never took away my pain. That pain is still very much alive today. I’ve lived all these years with the shame of what I did. I’ve lived all of these years with guilt – not just because my baby was gone but because I couldn’t claim her. I’ve publicly claimed my babies that I miscarried after I was married – saying that they are waiting for me in heaven…but I’ve never been able to claim this baby because she was kept secret – buried and hidden. I’ve been angry for a long time – angry at him because it was his fault that I couldn’t claim my baby. I realize that I get very angry at anyone that slights me and makes me feel helpless and defenseless and invisible.
What I’ve been realizing over the past couple of weeks is that I still feel so ashamed and so dirty. I imagine myself alone with God, and I can’t even look at Him right now. I’m not worthy to look at Him or be with Him. That’s not normal. God has always been my safe place…the place where I’m always delighted in and beautiful and adored. This revelation is what led me to the point of dredging all of this up – I know God wants to heal my heart. I’m so thankful for that.
I’ve been keeping this piece of my heart hidden without realizing it. I’ve given everything to God, but He has had to dig through so many layers of my heart and slowly bring me to this point…this point where I could finally handle this deep pain that altered everything about me (or so it felt). God has been with me all along even through the years that I deemed myself unworthy to feel His presence. He loved me all along – all of me – my hurts, my wounds, my imperfections…He saw my heart not my sins. He saw my brokenness, and He caught my many tears and wept. He has been in the dark recesses of my heart – clearing a path for the light. I’m finally understanding that these were my circumstances, and yes, they were awful. No, I didn’t make the best choices…but these circumstances never defined me. My identity has never been tied to what I did or didn’t do. That is very freeing.
Psalm 23: The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
He prepares a feast for me in the presence of my enemies…my enemies are shame, guilt, worthlessness, sadness, anxiety, death, fatigue, emptiness. These enemies have haunted me since that dreadful time in my life, but it’s time to say goodbye to them…time to remove the shackles that I’ve been dragging around. May I have the faith and love of Paul and Silas moving forward, and may I always grab ahold of my Love for my Savior in remembrance of all that He has brought me through…famine and feast…and know who I am.
Today I tell you that I am the daughter of a King. I am the mom of three children: Paxton Ann, Geneva Grace and Jack Charles. My babies are the lucky ones – they are being raised with God and the angels and will never know anything except for Love. One day I will be with them all, but for now and always, I will hold them in my heart and love them with all that I am.
The truth is what sets us free, and as scary as it is to hit publish on this post, I know it’s what I need to do. It is my sincere prayer that other ladies with similar struggles will be led here and will find healing in these words…most importantly, I pray that they will find themselves in the arms of a Savior that loves and adores them, and that they will know no shame as they gaze into His loving eyes.