My name is Veronica. Both of my parents worked and sent me to a Christian private school from Kindergarten through my Sophomore year in high school. Because of their work schedule, they readily accepted help from others to get me home after school and after practice for sports. Unfortunately, they trusted the wrong person. This is my story.
Warning: this may trigger other sexual abuse victims.
The man they trusted to take me home sexually abused me. He was a "nice" guy. He had a family, a wife and kids. He has 4 daughters, 3 of whom were younger than me. Safe - right?!
I began having Grand Mal seizures from the stress. This abuse lasted for years. For a few years I lived two lives. I lived one life as a typical teenager. I went to dances, I had boyfriends, I hung out with my friends, I played sports, I studied hard in school.
In my other life, I was a woman. I knew a familiarity about sex, and lust, and pain that no one should have to endure as a child. I was confused and alone, and filled with shame and guilt and hopelessness.
I left that school, but that man and our secret didn't leave me. Even in a new environment I was unable to relinquish myself from this abuse, this duality of lives. My life began to spin out of control. I began using drugs, drinking heavily, and became promiscuous. I hated myself. More seizures. I wanted to be numb. I wanted the confusion, pain and hopelessness to stop.
I found power to disassociate with my life. I decided I would not look back. I decided that if I could just pretend long enough, like this was not a part of my life, then somehow, I would be fine. So I shoved it deep. I entered into "normalcy" the best way I could. I had a job, I went to college, I got a new and steady boyfriend, he proposed, I said yes.
Then the man and I ran into each other at an event and my friend saw my face as I saw the face of my abuser. Somehow she knew, in an instant that something within me was coming undone. More seizures. My friend suspected I had been abused so she was brave and said something to a pastor. They confronted this man, and he admitted to the abuse. I pressed charges. I was given a chance to try to find closure, and asked him, "Why?"
His response? "If God wanted me to stop, He could have stopped me."
My abuser was sentenced to jail even though the statute of limitations had run out on most of his crimes against me. So, you see, after the pain and trauma of sexual victimization, I did see worldly "justice", but in that moment, some small dark thing began to brew. IF God is real, how can He be good and allow things like this to happen? Why didn't God stop this from happening?
I got married. I almost divorced my husband 2 years in. We had problems because I hadn't dealt with all of my pain and shame and confusion from my past. My hurts became my husband's hurts. I began going to therapy. I began sharing my story. I found Jesus. I found a love that truly washed me clean. I found a God who saw me through my pain and through the lens of His son. He made me whole. No more seizures. I began to heal. We began to heal. I found security and healing and hope. I felt the shame and guilt shrink back until I couldn't find them anymore. I found passion and joy in intimacy. I then began seeking God to reveal himself to me as a father. He met me. He spoke to me and allowed me really see how much He grieves, as any good father does, over the injustices that I walked through.
Five years after my healing began, I thought I was done. I thought I was whole. I had experienced acknowledgment, pain, grief, sorrow, anger, forgiveness, love, redemption, and hope.
In February 2015, while sharing my story with a small group of friends, God revealed to me that some part of me still doubted his love for me. I was still holding on to the lie of my abuser that because God did not miraculously intervene, He was not all good. And in that moment, He recalled to me all that He has redeemed in my life.
It does not make sense on paper that I believe in God at all, much less adore Him or walk in relationship with Him. It does not make sense that I have a healthy marriage and sex life, because statistically my hurt and dysfunction should have been bigger than my mind's ability to heal. It does not make sense that I am comfortable in my own skin, because the weight and shame of abuse so often eats away at self worth and self esteem. It does not make sense that I would be comfortable in churches, a place where a good chunk of my abuse took place.
If God is real, then He is the source of my redemption and hope and restoration. If God is real then He is big enough to take all of my pain and my anger and sorrow and doubt - and He is big enough and good enough to love me wholly in spite of it all. He is good enough to bestow good gifts unto me simply because I am His. I do not deserve any of this goodness, but because God is good, He exchanged the lies for His Truth, and because of that I am set free.
My story of freedom did not come with my abuse, it did not come with conviction and sentencing of a criminal, it did not come with a rocky marriage that became safe, it did not come with therapy, it did not come with "being good enough". My freedom comes from the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ.
"Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and THE TRUTH , and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." John 14:6
"and you will know THE TRUTH and THE TRUTH shall set you free." John 8 :32
While this is my story, it is also His story. So, I share my story, as a free woman, because, "Free people free people."
"We love because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19