My dad and I had a really tough time communicating when I was growing up. Up until five years ago, we just didn’t communicate. I felt dismissed by him. He would tell me, “Hide your emotions, and don’t feel it.” It caused me a lot of anxiety and confusion. This anxiety caused me to form agreements with lies about my dad and what he actually thought about me.
I didn’t want to let my parents down because I was their only kid. My idea of protecting them was to never talk about anything in my life. The enemy had me so confused about who was safe and who wasn’t that I didn’t communicate with anyone.
In middle school, I was sexually assaulted by a couple of our neighbors. I didn’t tell anyone and just went on with life. I grew up in church and we would go to conferences and events, and stay in host homes. A boy in my youth group took my undergarments on several occasions while I was a part of youth group, and it created this atmosphere that made me feel sexually assaulted. It made me feel violated and unprotected, like I wasn’t worth anything except what I could give someone, willingly or unwillingly.
Then there was my first love. We were together for four years in high school and into college. He was an aggressive alcoholic, even in high school. He was extremely mentally and emotionally abusive. He would say things to me like, “You’re just really ugly. You’re just really fat.” I was a girl who didn’t have a lot of confidence to begin with. He would grab my arms to try to prevent me from leaving, and I would have bruises all up and down my arms. Again, I never told anyone. So I remember wanting to make him feel better so badly. I wanted to do anything I could to give him peace, even though he was so unkind to me.
I didn’t know who I was, so I ended up giving myself to him sexually. I thought it was the only way to make him feel better, even if it was for just a tiny amount of time. I would just give him myself, because I thought it would stop his chaos. What it really did was create chaos and confusion inside me. It caused me to believe a lie that I didn’t deserve any better. I was so broken and so insecure.
Then he got deployed. He kept saying, “I’m going to marry you. Plan a wedding.”
I was so in love with this boy that I agreed.
I would be sitting with his parents, or my mom and my youth pastor, and they would say, “You need to get out. He’s abusive. You’re worth more.” I was so confused, and had a soul tie to this boy. I couldn’t hear the truth from the people closest to me.
When the Lord finally broke the soul tie, I realized how much I had ignored their words. In 2013, I ended up at an Unmasked Conference. It saved my life. I remember the Lord encountering me in this way that I had never known. The best way that I can describe it is being washed. Water was just washing over me. I remember the Lord speaking over me, “You’re cleansed. You’re restored. You’re wanted, you’re chosen, and you are worth the wait.”
The confusion washed away. My body was restored, and God began to break this tie that I had to my first love. God began to show me who I am. I’m a daughter of the King. I’m confident. I’m wanted. I’m strong. I am kind. I am chosen. I am worthy. I am free. I’m loved.
Then I began the process of forgiveness. It took a long time. I cried so many tears. But this process of forgiveness led me to forgive my dad, my neighbors, that kid at my youth group, my first love, and finally, myself. The work was worth it for the freedom I walk in now. The Lord restored my purity, identity, and sexuality. Jesus doesn’t leave us broken. He always restores.
Today, I get to wait and be pursued by the man that God has for me, the one He’s always had for me. I know my worth. I know that I am worth the wait. I know that we are going to be two whole people walking into a marriage. I get to see the love of God wash away the pain I once carried. I get to share the beauty in my story instead of being afraid and ashamed of it, because the Lord is always good.