Set Free and Healed From Sexual Abuse
I got saved when I was four years old, but I had encountered the Holy Spirit before that. I remember where I was sitting, the outfit that I had on, and the mint Christmas candies sitting next to me on an end table when I prayed for Jesus to come into my heart and be Lord of my life. Then I starting having crazy detailed, prophetic dreams; open visions; going into heaven; talking with angels; holding the hand of Jesus—the usual things that four-year-olds experience!
Then sexual abuse happened. I was eight years old. And it lasted until I was twelve.
About one third of the people reading this immediately relate with the destructive feelings I began to experience. It shouldn’t be normal for a 4- or 5-year-old to walk into a room and immediately think two things: “Where’s an exit?” and, “What can I use to protect myself if I can’t find one?” But, having no idea that there was another way of life, these were my thought processes from a very early age. I processed every single thought through a filter of fear.
Fear knew my name. I was familiar and quite comfortable with the predictability of the bondage of fear. I knew the exact nights I would have PTSD so intensely that I would sit outside through the night to keep myself awake so that I could keep an eye on every part of my surroundings.
Then, nearly six years ago, a very broken 17-year-old Jessica was standing in the back of a discipleship school room during worship and began to be completely transformed. By God’s grace and relationships with people that He had placed in my life, fear began to be broken off my life. I began to transform, grow, and love people. I was being mended, commissioned, “set up” to be “sent out”, revived to be a revival. I was being loved by God—a love so powerful that it broke fear in my life.
Then, in 2012 at a youth camp, the Holy Spirit showed me my entire testimony from start to finish. I had totally forgotten about the abuse in my life. That might sound crazy, but ask anyone that has lived through abuse. Your brain disassociates with trauma and kicks into survival mode so that you can function in day-to-day life. I finally felt enough courage to question the God of the universe. “God, why? I’ve known you since I was four years old. Why did this happen? I didn’t choose this. I loved you. Why did You let this happen?”
When I asked those questions, it was as if my whole life of walking with Jesus had completely lost its place in my memory. I felt abandoned. Betrayed, even. But something inside of me was entirely relieved that I had just yelled at God. Like I just crossed the finish line of a marathon I didn’t sign up for and finally got to collapse in exhaustion, grab my water bottle, and rest. I was finally honest. God can’t fix what I fake.
Like a rush of wind, statistics started flooding my mind about people who walk through abuse:
You may find them in strip clubs. Not just attending, but dancing.
You may find them homeless, strung out on drugs, unable to maintain any form of healthy relationship.
You may find them addicted to alcohol or drugs.
You may find them afraid of commitment.
You may find them cutting themselves, because they’ve never been in control of what happens to their bodies until now.
You may find them filled with rage.
You may find them on chemo, so plagued by an inward sickness that it turns into cancer.
You may find them emptied of self-worth.
You may find them still in those abusive situations, justifying the abuser or even being the abuser.
You may find them stuck in a victim mindset for their whole lives.
You may find them with eating disorders.
You may find them on medication for depression.
You may find them addicted to pornography.
You may find them in mental hospitals, believing the bipolar diagnoses.
You may find them as workaholics, because their worth is not in who they are, but in something they can provide for other people.
You may find them in prison.
You may find them addicted to sex.
You may find them to be co-dependent.
You may find them dressed in the least attractive way possible so they don’t draw attention.
You may find them having anxiety attacks in the night.
You may find them struggling with homosexuality, because the opposite sex terrifies them.
You may find them struggling with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).
I asked God where He was when my abuse happened. He answered loud and clear: He’s had his hand on me since day one, since before I was born. Every fearful thought He walked me through. He held my hand. He whispered louder than the shouts of fear. He set me apart. He equipped me with intolerance for halfway freedom. He bent my ear to heaven because there’s a world waiting for my relationship with Jesus to overflow so violently onto them that they feel Love walk in the door when I walk in.
How can I understand my call to live fully alive if I don’t understand that I should be living out those statistics? By the grace of God, I now have the platform to reach one-third of the entire world that has shared the same prison cell I was in because God never left me through traumatic seasons.
Something that has been on my heart in such a fresh way lately is the amount of times God’s name is used in the Bible: ‘I AM.’ Rather than showing off how big He is, He most commonly reminds us who He is by calling himself ‘I AM with you.’ The biggest thing He’s ever done for me is become really small for me so He could walk next to me through everything. I’ll take that.