I’m a grateful believer in Jesus Christ and I have issues with codependency, shame, fear, people pleasing, and am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse and exploitation.
This part of my blog will be dedicated to chronicling my journey through finally allowing Christ to heal the secrets I have hidden for thirty years. It’s true, what they say…
“You’re only as sick as your secrets.”
My secrets are pretty sick.
I’m on a journey and it’s only the beginning. I don’t know how long this will take nor do I know what my life will look like on the other side. I just know I cannot keep pretending that everything is okay. What happened to me was terrible but according to Romans 8:28, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. I know that everything I have endured will somehow be used to glorify my Savior, Jesus Christ.
I used to tell people I had a great childhood. I’d casually mention that there was this one little thing that happened when I was a kid but it wasn’t a big deal. I was lying. I have hidden the truth for 30+ years. Running from it was easier than facing it. Every time those memories would creep up into my mind, I’d push them down. There was a dark place in my mind and I refused to shine a light into it.
I’ve been attending Celebrate Recovery. I thought it was like AA or NA, I didn’t realize it was helpful to a much broader audience. It helps people with any type of hurt, habit, or hang up and I have plenty of those.
At first I only attended the A to Z group, dealing with subjects like people pleasing, codependency, fear, shame, and other issues not related to addiction or abuse. It wasn’t long before I realized I definitely have issues with people pleasing and codependency. However, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. After two months of attending, I felt a calling to attend the abuse group. I was resistant, but when God speaks and you don’t want to listen, He’ll just get louder.
On the night I attended that group, I was anxious. I didn’t know what to expect. The regular leader of the group was out that week and I didn’t know much about anybody in the room. They all shared something and the more they spoke, the more I could relate. The room was peaceful and comfortable. The lights were low as this was my church’s regular prayer room. I wasn’t required to share but finally, for the first time in my life, I verbally acknowledged in detail what happened to me.
As a child, I suffered sexual abuse and exploitation at the hands of my regular teenage baby-sitter. I mentioned the activities I was directed to take part in. I remember the numerous pictures she took and the “games” she instructed me to play. She was the person that introduced me to hard-core pornography long before I could understand what I was seeing. I remember sometimes men would give her money to watch while she took pictures and some of those men would touch me.
Pornography wasn’t an exception in my house, it was the norm. It didn’t seem strange that I would take pictures much like the pictures in the pornographic magazines I had access to. There was a large collection of magazines and they were usually left out in full view. There were hard-core pornographic movies in my home too. It was one of those movies my babysitter used to “teach” me how to act.
I didn’t know the things I was made to do were wrong. Maybe I should have known. I do recall my babysitter telling me that if I told anybody what we were doing, she would go to jail and I’d never see her again.
After I finished my time to share that night in group, a sudden warmth washed over me. In a room full of strangers, I felt safe and peaceful. I opened up a dark place in my past and allowed light to enter there for the first time. A stronghold of Satan fell that day.
And now the hardest journey of my life begins…
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1