I won’t experience the fullness of redemption until I die or Jesus comes back (HOW COOL WOULD THAT BE), but I am being renewed day by day. Sometimes I get tired of crying, which only makes me cry more, but God has been so faithful to supply every need.* After posting the first part of my testimony, I was shocked by the amount of people who had similar stories. I felt burdened for days because I seriously, actually hate that sexual abuse is so common, especially within the church. There is a comfort in knowing I’m not alone, though. Most people who contacted me hadn’t shared the truth yet, but felt empowered to do so after reading my story. I couldn’t help but cry after each message, bewildered that God would use me to bring about freedom in another person’s life. I’m honored.
A lot of people have asked what I personally need prayer for, so here’s where I am:
1. My life still feels a little fragile and chaotic. I’ve found that I can only process things for three or four days at a time before going crazy. I’ve taken up watercolor painting and cupcake making, though, which helps my brain from spontaneously combusting. I’m tired (and look tired) almost always, because it turns out your body is physically affected by the sudden surfacing of a decade’s worth of emotions. This is part of the process but it can get exhausting, so I’d love prayer for joy and energy.
2. In the past months of book-reading and life-processing, I’ve realized how much resentment and distrust I have towards my family and consequently the church. I’ve joined a congregation that I love and immediately connected with, but there is still part of me that anticipates being harmed and rejected by the leadership. I am confident that God has placed me underneath healthy leaders that will nurture and support me, but I’d love prayer for a healed, trusting heart towards the church. I’ve found myself trying to impress them and earn their approval, but God has been faithful to let me trip and stumble through it all. I think I ugly-cried in front of the teaching pastor within a month. Andone of the first weeks I led worship, I accidently slept through the entire morning service. Walking in for the next three gatherings, I expected everyone to roll their eyes and shove a microphone in my face. Instead, the worship pastor gave me a fist pump and said, “I’m happy you’re alive.” YOU CAN’T BE SERIOUS.
3. As of this moment, I thinkI’ve forgiven the boy who abused me. But it’s a daily choice and steady struggle, so I’d love prayer for a forgiving, humble heart towards my abuser. I’ve written this before, but I’ll say it again: my offenses against God are infinitely greater than my abuser’s offenses against me. Because Jesus radically forgave me, I am compelled to extend that same forgiveness to others.
4. Digging deeper, it seems that I’m more damaged by the spiritual abuse that allowed forunresolved sexual abuse rather than the sexual abuse by itself. It’s all pretty dreadful, but I’ve found it most difficult to walk in forgiveness in this area. That being said, I most need prayer for a forgiving, humble heart towards my extended family. I think I’ve cognitively forgiven them, meaning I knowit’s the right thing to do…but this reality hasn’t seeped into my heart yet. Some days I pray that God would bless them. Other days I pray for a meteor attack. This kind of bitterness only harms me, though. I continually go back to the truth that nobody has mistreated me more than I have mistreated God. While I have been wronged, I am ultimately a wrongdoer. Clearly I’m still working through things and can’t say I have the attitude of a saint yet… but I’m getting there, one day at a time.
Honestly, I’ll take all the prayers I can get. I’m not picky even a little bit. Really though, thank you for caring and reading and reaching out to me over the past few weeks. I literally jump around my room at every message because I know God is doing something here, way beyond my story or circle of friends or blog posts. He is on the move, I’m certain of it.
In many ways, I feel as if I’m finishing the introduction chapter of my life. History has been accounted for and the stage has been set. There is a wonderful adventure ahead and I know good days are coming.
The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater. –Tolkien, Lord of the Rings
*When I say I cry all the time, I’m not even remotely kidding. I teared up during a Publix commercial the other day and realized it was a problem.