I have wanted to tell this part of my story for a long time! I have wanted to share of God's grace, His faithfulness, mercy, love, forgiveness, patience, and redemption. I have wanted to help others by telling my story; I have wanted to share the truth and unearth pieces of this story that haven't been shared freely.
There have been times when I haven't wanted to share this part of my story, I haven't been able to understand, comprehend, or describe anything well enough to share it much less help others. I have struggled with my story for a long time, but for the last couple of years I have wanted to share my story, praise the Lord, and help others. Unfortunately, I have never been able to truly share my story in all it's entirety. BUT, by God's grace, I am now!! He has answered my prayers with a long awaited "YES!" And I could not be more grateful!
I would, however, like to give a disclaimer before getting started. This story could be a trigger for some. This is NOT going to be a light hearted, easy read! This is a heart breaking story and it is very painful for people to hear. I want everyone to know this story but not at the cost of your own healing. So, please, proceed with caution.
My family went over to my uncle's townhouse for a game/movie night and it was my turn to spend the night afterward. I was so excited!
I loved him so much. He was the cool uncle, the one who was really involved and fun and very loving. I remember smiling a lot in my memories with him. He made me smile. Then it all changed.
I remember sitting on his counter watching him cut me some mozzarella cheese, legs hung over the edge, having the time of my life. I had no idea what was about to happen.
I don't remember anything after that until I was in bed. I couldn't sleep. I went downstairs, and he said he would be up in a bit and sent me on my way. I went back upstairs and I don't remember how long it was until I heard him coming up the stairs but that is when I start remembering everything so clearly it hurts. As I heard him coming up I got nervous because I still wasn't asleep and I didn't want to get in trouble.
I pretended to be asleep.
Then it happened.
At six years old God allowed me the gift of brokenness.
I was sexually assaulted.
My heart was broken.
In five minutes, my whole life was changed. Everything I thought to be true about this man was a lie. He broke me.
I was labeled a broken girl that night.
I don't remember anything else until early the next morning. Sitting on his lap and looking right into his eyes, I asked him what he had done the night before, knowing full well exactly what he did, and he lied.
I didn't know what it was called but I didn't need to know what it was called to know it was wrong. I didn't know how it was wrong but I knew it was. I didn't know anything, really. I just knew something was different. I was six years old but my little brain knew something was not right. I don't remember everything that went through my head but I know I was in pain.
My Mom told me much later that when he dropped me off that morning, I went right into the house and was apparently acting strange, so he lied to my Mom and jabbered about how I didn't sleep well.
That night when we were trying to get ready for church my Mom and I were in her room sitting on the bed. I remember sitting in her lap sobbing trying to get through telling her. My Mom knew not to push me to tell them what happened so, she left it up to me to tell them when I was ready, and God allowed my heart the gift of letting it out. I was able, by God's grace, to tell her that night what had happened.
At six years old I didn't quite understand everything. So, I tossed between hating him and loving him, I didn't know what to do and that was so hard. I remember being in his lap one Sunday morning at church and not moving after my Mom told me to come sit with her because I wanted to be with him, and then I remember writing on a piece of paper that I hated him, then ripping it out, crumbling it up and throwing it, crying as I did.
I had PTSD and didn't sleep almost at all, and when I did I woke up with nightmares. I ended up in my parents bed every night for a long time after it happened. Mom told me of many times when she sat in the floor rocking me back and forth while I screamed. PTSD was something that I struggled with day and night.
He has given me a beautiful redemption story. He used my brokenness to draw me to Himself. He allowed me His grace and forgiveness, He saved me. God allowed me to become one of His children. He adopted me into His kingdom. He gave me Jesus, His Son. He allowed me to take part in the beautiful gifts that Christ's death and resurrection give in a whole new way. He saved a wretch like me!!!! He turned brokenness into beauty.
I grew up that night. That was painful. I didn't have a 'normal' childhood. I didn't think or feel like a 'normal' little girl. But God used what seemed like the worst thing that could ever happen to me for His best in my life. God was giving me a gift that night. It didn't feel like a gift that night and it didn't feel like a gift for a long time after it happened, but, today, I know with every part of who I am that it was a gift. It was a gift from God, who I can now call my Father.
I still hurt. I hurt more on some days than others. Some days I don't even think about it. It took almost ten years but I am here. I have arrived at this place where I never thought I would. I can now smile when talking or thinking about this. I don't always, but I can. God has given me so many blessings through this. He has used this to shape me and make me who He has always intended me to be. I can now face my past with joy and use it to further God's kingdom and bring glory to His mighty name.
This will always be hard and it will never fully go away, but I have Jesus and He will forever, without a doubt, be there. Even when it hurts, He will comfort and continue redeeming and continue making me the person He wants me to be. He will continue to give me strength to honor and glorify Him. He will continue to unfold His already written, perfect, beautiful plan for me and this life He has given me.
The last year has been hard! His sentence for other crimes was over in 2015, and he was set to be brought back here to be prosecuted for what happened all those years ago. At that time my PTSD came back, by God's grace it was not as severe, but, it was hard learning to live with PTSD again. God taught me so much last year and it was such a gift, it was very difficult and painful, but so beautiful!!
I remember being at work the day he came back in October. He was supposed to be here October 26, but for whatever reason, they didn't bring him until the 27th. I had thought that he would come sometime later in the month, not the next day! I don't remember suspecting that at all. The day he got back, a friend texted me, not knowing my parents were going to wait until I got off work to tell me. Complete accident, they thought I already knew and were trying to be an encouragement, and I appreciate it more than they know. I then texted Mom to see if their facts were right and she sent me one of the hardest texts I have ever read in my life. She confirmed that he was, in fact, here, where it all started.
I remember getting in the car and crying. It was hard news and I felt, once again, broken. But, it was a beautiful kind of broken, the kind that I will forever cherish and love and yearn for.
The following days and weeks were very hard! Knowing that he was in the same town, not even five minutes from where I live, was a very hard reality to face and even harder to live with. It was somewhat silly because he was locked away and there was no way that he would get out, but it was a feeling that was so hard to cope with.
A court date was set for March 9, and I chose not to go because I thought it would be to hard to see his face again. My Mom, my big brother (he was so brave and I will forever admire him for making that decision!), and one of our best family friends went.
We decided that we were going to aim for a plea agreement. There was a lot of waiting with not much news. Court was set for April 6, although we weren't sure what would happen since an agreement still hadn't been reached. This time it was harder to make a decision. I had wondered what it would have been like if I had gone to court the last time, I wondered how I would feel. We weren't expecting it all to be over the next morning and really it did not even seem possible but, I felt like God was telling me I needed to go, despite the expected outcome. I didn't want this all to be over and me to spend the rest of my life wondering "what if?" I wanted to go to give God glory when I came out of it. I think I wanted to prove to myself that I could. I know some part of me was looking forward to was seeing his face when he realized who I was, and I wanted him to know that I was there for a fight and I wasn't backing down.
There was something in me, a sort of numbness, and I truly believe that was a gift from God. He allowed me not to feel the night before so I could sleep. The next morning I started to feel a little bit nervous and afraid, but I was genuinely okay. As I was getting ready that morning I remember going around the house singing "You make me brave...", a beautiful song and a beautiful reminder from the Lord. When we got there I started to get more nervous. We got settled in the courtroom and I would get really nervous and then I wouldn't think about it for a few minutes; this went on the whole time and I was grateful to get a break from the butterflies in my stomach. We kept getting closer to our scheduled time and as we did I got more scared. We went to our prosecutor's office and discussed a plea deal and we came to an agreement. Mom and Dad told me that I had the somewhat final say; they were reserving their right to veto if needed, but they wanted me to be at peace. I had a bare-minimum years served in my head when I got there that day, and we ended up in the same year, six months under what I had originally wanted. I felt this huge peace. God gave us all a peace that day, and He helped us say "yes."
Back in court, the amazing judge called his name. I had been previously warned that they were going to say his name and state his crimes and I knew that might be hard but God got me through it! That is a miracle!!!! Hearing his name is so hard, even after all these years, it still hurts so bad. People have been good, for the most part, about not saying his name when we are talking about it and I have really appreciated that and been very thankful, especially this last year. When the deputy brought him out he looked around the room and saw me. I looked him right in the eyes and then he did a double take when he realized who I was. That was something I had wanted and maybe even needed. I needed him to see me and realize that I am not the little girl he remembers. ALL BECAUSE OF GOD!!!! I was able to smile and walk out of that courtroom without a single tear dropping BECAUSE OF GOD!! I got a little teary eyed once and according to my mother I did not flinch otherwise BECAUSE OF GOD!! I walked through the rest of that Wednesday without crying but maybe once BECAUSE OF GOD!! This was ALL GOD!!!!!! He did ALL of this!! Everything I have written, everything I will ever write is ALL BECAUSE OF GOD'S GRACE AND MERCY AND LOVE!!!! His redemption story will forever be written on my heart.
God can repair brokenness and He is doing that in me right now. I will not be completely healed and set free until I come Home to be with Him in Heaven, but He is healing me. He is making me new.
To Those Who Need Healing,
You are broken. You are hurting. You may not see a way out. Your heart is shattered and you feel like no one understands. People push you away, or, maybe you're the one pushing people away. You have no idea how to escape this pain and you're lost. You don't understand any of this. You don't know what way is the 'right' way to grieve. You don't know if you will ever be free. You are crying yourself to sleep every night, waking up screaming, drenched in your own sweat, tears running down your face, wanting someone to hold you but being afraid. You are wondering "why me?"
You are not alone. I understand most, if not all of this. I lived this. I know exactly what this feels like.
I want you to know that there is way out. It's Jesus.
There is freedom. His name is Jesus.
There is someone who understands better than I or anyone else ever could. It's Jesus Christ. He took every once of our pain and heartbreak upon Himself when He died on the cross.
There is someone who can hold you and give you comfort, His name is JESUS CHRIST.
I will not say that I know what you're going through because I don't, not entirely. But I do know that we all have a lot of the same struggles when attempting to move forward and deal with this brokenness. I know that in a way, we are the same. We are both broken and I have had those feelings of betrayal and I have felt abandoned. BUT JESUS! Jesus saved me and has seen me through this pain. The only thing that will ever fully save you from this pain and heartache is Jesus.
You might have a lot of support, you may have none. Either way, I would love to help you in any way that I can. Please, please, please if you have any questions, if you want to talk, if you want someone that can listen and say 'me too', I am here. I would love to be that for you. I would love to be an encouragement to you! You can contact me via e-mail or you can follow Beautiful Scars Blog on FaceBook and send me a direct message there. :)
To My Readers,
Thank you. Thank you for reading this story and thank you for following this journey along side me. I will forever be grateful! You are a blessing!
I don't know if you love Jesus Christ or not, but I do know that no matter who you are or what you've been through, God is there, and if you cry out to Him with all of your heart wanting with every ounce of who you are to be saved from your sins and to be His child, He will save you.
If you have questions or comments, I would absolutely love to here from you! Please feel free to comment below, send an e-mail or follow Beautiful Scars Blog on FaceBook and comment or PM me there.
Thank you so much!
To Those Who Have Supported Me and Walked This Journey With Me,
You have no idea how much I love each one of you! You have no idea how much help you have been to me. You have no idea how much your love, support, kind words of encouragement, hugs, and listening ears have changed my life. God used you all in a mighty way!! I might not have told you thank you personally but please know that I am very thankful!! You each are such a blessing and you have all been a huge part of my healing and being able to move forward.