We all have stories. My favorite stories, the ones that yank at my heart and inspire me, are stories of redemption and reconciliation. Maybe that’s why I like the Bible so much. Come to think of it, I have that backwards — the reason that I like redemption stories so much is because of the Bible, and because of how I’ve experienced its truths in my own life. As I wrote a while back:
But I have to believe in the grand theme of Scripture: that the very One I rebelled against is a God of reconciliation and redemption. I believe it brings Him glory when He accomplishes those things in our lives. It is what Satan rages against in a battle he can never win. God snatches us out of the pit, washes us clean, tends our wounds, clothes us, and adopts us as sons and daughters. Those of us who are prone to wander He welcomes back home with celebration. He doesn’t just redeem us — He demonstrates His redemption power over and over again in our lives, giving us beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness… He takes the most horrible, vile and ugly things that Satan used for evil in our lives, and He unbelievably, amazingly does the impossible by somehow using those things for good. It’s what He does. It’s Who He is.
Redemption stories are powerful, but they aren’t pretty. In fact, the most powerful ones are messy, very messy. It’s something I didn’t understand the first time I set out to read the Bible from cover to cover, at the tender age of 10. With the exception of Joseph, the Old Testament “Heroes of the Faith” were a deep disappointment when I encountered their unsanitized stories. I couldn’t comprehend why some of the Psalms were in the Bible. I was aghast that a prostitute was not only an ancestor of Jesus, but was mentioned by name in His genealogy! The Bible is quite a shocking book.
That’s because redemption is shocking, and grace is scandalous. Redemption stories are meaningless unless we tell what has been redeemed and what we have been redeemed from. Otherwise, why would we need a Redeemer? And, if we have no wounds, why would we need a Healer?
I don’t think any of us can escape being wounded in some way or another. But some of us have wounds that go deeper than others…wounds that leave us shattered and broken. Some of those wounds are inflicted by others while some are self-inflicted, often in response to what others have done to us. We live in a fallen world, surrounded by evil. Some of us have experienced that evil in traumatic ways.
If this blog is to contain my redemption story, there are things I can’t leave out. Otherwise, my story will make no sense.
By the grace of God, I am a survivor.
Many of us have survived things: disease, heartache, poverty, divorce, loss of a loved one, death of our ambitions and dreams…but none of those things inspired me to get the shirt that not too many people have ever seen me wear.
I am a sexual trauma survivor. There are different forms of sexual trauma, and varying degrees of severity. All of it, I believe, is violating, and damaging to the soul in a way that is unique from nonsexual trauma.
Although I have been planning this blog post for months, right now the words are failing me. Actually, that’s not exactly true. I am shrinking back in fear from writing a particular word, from having my name forever linked with it on the Internet for all to see. The world is not always kind to those of us who go public with such a disclosure. Actually, that last sentence ranks up there with some of the greatest understatements I’ve ever made.
So I’m second-guessing myself. Why on earth would I write about this, admit such a thing publicly? After all, eventually readers will find their way to this blog, or follow links I’ve posted to it…why shouldn’t I stick to posting nice, uplifting, safe, G-rated stuff like inspirational quotes, feel-good Bible verses, and pictures of kitties?
Because that’s not my redemption story.
For those of you who wonder why on earth I’m posting any of this, here are two important reasons:
- It’s my way of shouting from the rooftop one of the most powerful truths that I know, and that’s that God can redeem anything!
- If telling my redemption story will help or encourage even just one other survivor, that will more than make up for anyone whose knickers get all in a twist over what I’m about to write.
Significant parts of what I will write in this blog will not make sense without knowing the following about me:
At 23 years of age, I was raped by two of my neighbors. It was evil, so evil that it almost destroyed me. By the grace of God, I have not only survived, but continue to experience His healing and redemption in deeper and sweeter ways.
So this is it. I am coming out publicly as a rape survivor. It feels scary in a way…but also good. Very good. I am finally free to write the things that truly matter to me.
Note: Don’t worry or be scared off. This will not turn into a “rape blog”, nor will every post be heavy or serious. There is far more to my life than that.Anyone who enjoyed my previous blog (Random Musings) can expect to find much here that will be familiar.