It took less than two minutes for my innocence to disappear into the hands of someone who I had known and trusted. At 14-years-old, I was forced to grow up and figure out how to continue living my life- pretending that I had not just become a part of the 63,000 youth that are sexually victimized every year. As an innocent teen, I became a part of the hundreds of thousands of woman who live in brokenness every day-questioning their worth and doubting their value.
Growing up in a Christian home, I had been taught that sex was something special reserved for two people in a committed marriage relationship. In youth group, it had been pounded into my head relentlessly that when you give a piece of yourself away outside of a marriage relationship, you are ruining your future bond with your husband and tainting yourself. It was taught time and time again that God forgives people for their sins, but it almost seemed that sex outside of marriage didn’t qualify for the forgiveness God offered– as if it were the sin of all sins for young adults.
In that moment, outside of the movie theatre on a chilly spring evening, laying in the back of the car, naked against my will, this was all I could think about. I was damaged beyond repair, and there was nothing I could do to fix it. It didn’t matter how it had happened, I thought. I had just had sex outside of a marriage relationship, and I was too broken for God to fix. Thus began the months of twisted thinking that clouded my judgment, leading me down the darkest of paths.
After that night, I continued about my life acting as if it had never happened and not telling a soul. But something seemed different. Instead of realizing I was a victim and seeking help, I began to listen to the ever-present, small voice in my head that was causing me to question God’s truth which had been instilled in me from a young age. You asked for it. This is your fault. If you tell anyone, they will just blame you. This is the closest thing to love you’ll ever feel. Lies played on repeatedly throughout my mind daily. Slowly but surely, I began to listen and believe those lies.
As the summer rolled around, my 15th birthday came and went. My relationship with myparents had become strained, the friend group that I chose to surround myself with had changed and the boy that I was seeing was the same one who had taken advantage of me three months earlier.
I found myself lying to my family, my friends and myself frequently, in an effort to justify the way I was living. To most people it may sound absurd. How could I be with someone who had taken my innocence against my will? But to me, it made sense. He told me he loved me. He told me he wanted to marry me. He told me the only way to keep him around was to continue having sex with him. I thought I had figured out the perfect solution: keep him around, marry him and then he would be the only person I had ever been with. Who would want me after something like this had happened to me, anyway? His love was the only love I really deserved. In my young mind, I thought I had found the solution to fix myself without God’s help, so that He wouldn’t see me as broken.
My logic could not have been further from the truth. My sin that I thought was justified, began to catch up to me. I became a rebellious teenager who was bitter towards life and all those who really cared. My parents eventually found out about the unhealthy relationship with the boy and told me I could never see or speak to him again. I moved out of my family’s house and went to stay with my aunt and uncle. It was here, in the cover of night, that I discovered I was pregnant.
I sat on the bathroom floor weeping, questioning how my life had ended up in this spot. How could God let me go through something like this? Why would he let this situation even happen to me to begin with? It was at this point that I had a choice to make. I could run back into my Father’s arms, or I could continue living my life the way I had been- continuing down a path that I knew held nothing but heartache. I chose the later. If I was too broken for God to fix before, how could he even bare to look at me now? I would have to find my own solution; I didn’t want to bother him with my problems.
After a couple of weeks, I moved back in with my family still not disclosing my latest secret. I somehow thought if I didn’t tell anyone, it would just go away. It did. While my parents were away for the weekend, I miscarried. I was so dead on the inside that it just became another secret to tuck away into a corner of my heart that was beginning to become heavy.
It was October now, and I had become a professional actress, hiding my pain from the world and putting on a show everyday at home and at school. I was tired of running, however. I was worn out. I was tired of the never-ending feeling of brokenness that seemed to encompass my soul. I thought there could only be one solution, because at this point, I was pretty sure God didn’t even remember my name. After the football game, while everyone slept, I went to the medicine cabinet. With tears streaming down my face and soaking my shirt, I took everything in sight.
But God was not done with me yet.
I began to feel sick, and I lost consciousness many times before finally waking my parents and rushing to the hospital. Everything from that night is a blur, but it was in that hospital room that everything changed. The voice that had been feeding me lies for the past eight months was suddenly replaced by the comforting whisper that I was once accustomed to. You are loved. You are worthy. Your mistakes and sin do not define you. You have a purpose, and I am not done with you yet. In the midst of my tears, a verse came to my mind.
Exodus 14:14, “The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.”
I looked down at my white hospital gown and thought of the blood of the Lamb that was shed for my transgressions to make me as pure as snow. In that moment, God not only wiped the slate clean, but he promised a new future for me and a love that was of him. That hospital gown not only represented the fresh start that I was given, but it was a promise that one day I will walk down an aisle, in a white gown, to a man who values and cherishes me, leading me to God everyday.
God took my brokenness and made it into something too beautiful for words. What I failed to realize is that he is capable of molding any situation into a testament of his love and faithfulness for his children. No one is ever to lost, to broken, to hopeless or too tainted for his love to cover.
In 2 Corinthians 2:19 he says, “My grace is sufficient for you, and my power is made perfect in weakness.”
At 14-years-old, the unthinkable happened; but at 20-years-old, my story is better than ever and still not over because of his unfailing love. My brokenness was what it took to see just how deep the love of Jesus runs for those who call him ‘Father’.