(Continuing in the #TellMyTruth Series)
My story started many years ago. Literally, it started before I was even born and before my mother had even departed from Jamaica to start her life in America. (And spiritually speaking, it started thousands of years before that when Jesus died on the cross for my sins). I say that all because you must know that God has waited a long time for this truth to be discussed and for glory to be given to His name.
Yes, I was raped by a close family member, starting when I was 6yrs old, ending when I was 8yrs old. Yes, the past shaped me and made me into the person I am today. Yes, I am a product of my past. But, NO, I am no longer a prisoner of my past (thank you for that word today, Rev. Henry).
When it all happened, I did not fully comprehend what was going on. My 6yr old naive mind thought that, on some level, this was normal. But then why I was told to keep it a secret? The secrecy was because my rapist knew that he was completely in the wrong but he wanted revenge (that’s for another post) and thought this was the best way to get it. The pain that he inflicted on me, like a stone in the water, caused a ripple effect in every aspect of my life. Let’s talk about some of those areas:
1. I made a lifelong friend/sister…
I met my now best friend when I was 8yrs old while I was playing the flute in the Yorkwood Elementary School band. She was my bully. Everyday, she and another girl picked with me for one reason or the other. Until one day when her father, a local and well-known reverend, told her to stop bullying me and instead show kindness. She apologized to me and we’ve been friends ever since. I have always thought that if my self-esteem had been higher, I would have responded differently to her actions and we might not be friends today. God had a plan and He allowed a wonderful friendship to blossom out of my pain. Look out, many examples of God working heavily behind the scenes are soon to come.
2. I developed a heart of service…
While I rarely admitted it publicly, my home church (St. Paul Community Baptist Church) saved my life. I was baptized at another church when I was 8yrs old but decided to join St. Paul when I was 10yrs old in order to be with my best friend. I never officially joined the church but I joined several ministries during my 16yr time there. The members did not know my story. They did not know anything about me aside from the facade that I allowed everyone to see. However, there were many times along the rode where I considered suicide and thought about giving up. But they never knew that. They saw what I allowed them to see. Meanwhile God was working on me. He continued to speak to my heart and continued to lead me to His place of worship.
St. Paul continued to water and nurture the seed of service that God had planted in me as a child. It was through this congregation where I saw the truest example of servitude, sacrifice, and strength. And today, as I think back on my youth and how they uplifted me, I know that that is the person that I need to be. I share my story and testimony because I know someone needs to hear it so that they can grow.
3. I found God…
It’s hard to fathom but the rape caused me to seek some understanding from a higher source. No one could explain to me why a 6yr old was raped by a family member. That type of stuff was not discussed openly back in the early 90s. I needed to understand why it happened. That’s the type of child that I was- everything needed an explanation…and it had better be a good explanation! As for my rape, the only answer I ever received came from God. He was literally the only person who could tell me why that happened. Want to know what He said? He said that it was all apart of His plan for my life. Again, I was 8, Lord- what does that mean? He took His time revealing His plan for me. He kept me wanting to learn more about Him and yearning to be in His presence. Let’s be honest with ourselves, if we didn’t experience difficulties, would we even turn to God? My rape brought questions and sent me in search of answers. Those answers all came from God.
What was the hardest thing that ever happened to you? How did it impact your relationship with God?
Say this prayer with me:
Dear Holy and Most Wise God,
We thank You for being sovereign even in our situations- for no problem is too great for you to handle. We thank You for turning every test into a testimony and every mess into a message for Your people. Continue to mold us and use us in Your own way. Heal us where we are broken and strengthen us where we are weak. We know that You know the plans for our lives and we thank You for guiding our every step. Have Your way, Lord. It is in Jesus’ name that we humbly pray, Amen.
*Watch my video explanation of being a SURVIVOR*