When I read this next piece in the Broken series, my heart was both broken and filled with hope. Women (and men) should never have to endure the abuses that this account entails, but I pray that all who do experience it will have the ability to find the grace and healing that the author of this piece did. The author asked to remain anonymous, but please keep her and all women in past in present damaging relationships in your prayers.
If I could take you back a full decade into the year 2001, I would show you the state of my heart and open my soul to you. I would take you by the hand, through the halls of my high school lined with maroon lockers and into the old classrooms that still had chalkboards. I would take you to our impressive stadium and the football field where I spent so much time doing homework while watching the team practice. I would guide you around my small town of 2000 people, pointing to the shimmering river that paralleled it. Then I would show you my old house, the one up on the hill, and I would lead you into my old bedroom. In that room I spent many nights awake, often staring at my corded purple phone unsure if I wanted it to ring or not. In most respects, I was an average teenager. I had been bullied a fair share and learned to fight back with gossip and hatred. I easily forgave my friends no matter their wrongs for that was a survival mechanism I picked up. You join in or get run over.
At age 13 I was asked out by a boy. My heart skipped a beat as I tried to refrain from smiling too big, I said yes. It was an innocent enough relationship- we held hands, he kissed me a couple times, and the novelty of it was over after 3 weeks. Once I knew what it felt like to be wanted it wasn't long before I moved on to the next relationship which started a trend that I never broke. The next few years I dated a lot and always put my heart into each one thinking that This-Was-The-One. I was the only Catholic in my school, and one of a handful of Christians- not that it meant anything to be called Christian there.
In 2001, I was 15 and dated Brad, my first long term boyfriend. He immediately put on the pressure to have sex. I wasn't willing to go that far, but thought nothing to teasing him in every other way. After several months, he was bored of me, and interested in a willing girl. I was devastated, and in a dire attempt to keep him with me, I gave him all that I had left to offer. He not only left me, but cruelly sent me emails of love and then hate. He wrote up a letter that disgustingly advertised me and lengths I had gone to keep him. He then printed dozens of copies and passed them around to our entire school. My phone rang off the hook for weeks for 'dates'. I was mortified. My email inbox was full of porn from the guys at school. The stalls of the bathroom had my name and horrendous sexual acts that I had never done inscribed on them. I thought of dropping out, and then of suicide. I wanted to end the pain of betrayal and utter rejection. I considered filing harassment charges, but I wouldn't dare repeat the words that had been said to me. Rumors about a pregnancy circulated for awhile. I fell away into the background of the most evil I have ever known. I pretended to be invisible. Brad, being the gentleman that he was, pulled me outside of gym class one day and hit me in the stomach with a baseball bat, as if to say, not only I was unwanted but so was this rumored child.
I ran away.
I prayed small, silent prayers, with no hope attached to them.
That summer brought a great sense of relief to my exhaustion. I had been single for a few months and met a guy from another town. He was a few years older and did not know this history of mine. The month of June changed my life. God can turn the worst sins into the most beautiful peace imaginable. He can take away pain and replace it with love. And, finally, the time came where I had no choice but to give myself over to Christ. My life, as I had lived it had to come to an end. This older guy took me out once on a perfectly nice date. He was fun to be around. He had a job and his own car. I thought things were turning around for me. And then on our second date he took me for a drive. We went ten miles out of town onto a gravel road. I felt no sense of fear with him. As we drove, I looked through his glove box and found a box of condoms. I mentioned something about waiting awhile. He laughed.
Any adult idiot can guess what happened next, but I still wanted to believe in knights in shining armor that come in and save the maiden in distress. And so, with a great pride and astounding love, I will tell you what happened next. Christ came into my life and saved me from the evil that surrounded me. Yes,... I got raped, but that part didn't actually matter. Only Christ mattered. I found Him amidst the violence of my adolescence.
I cried out to God in the following weeks that I wanted to serve Him. I had been broken so badly, I never thought the pieces of my soul would heal. I allowed Him to take me away from my pain and He did. But it only happened when I was ready to completely surrendered it to Him.
In time, I became closer to Christ through prayer and trusting Him. I know that I will never be perfect. I still sin, but I always seek Him. My life has been blessed beyond measure and I thank God for that. My husband is wonderful to me, and I have no worries of betrayal or fear of love. Christ was the hero I was searching for, and He will never abandon me.
I am in the midst of Love all the days of my life.