As I sit down to write this morning I am frightened and scared. In moments like these I clearly hear God’s voice saying, “yeah, ummm, we are not done yet.” (not sure why God’s voice sounds like Mr. Lumbergh leaning on the edge of my cubicle this morning)
On Sunday I did my part in a cardboard confessional (google it). I prayed Sunday morning as I was fixing my hair just right, for the words that I would write out in sharpie on top of a piece of cardboard. I prayed for just the right words, the words that would reach someone who needed to see there is hope. I kept getting the response of “all of it”. I had complete confirmation that I was not allowed to just write, “broken”, that someone sitting a pew hurting needed to see more. Can I tell you that I have never been so nervous? Well, I probably have, but really I was way too anxious about this event.
And now, afterwards, I am even more anxious. This is where I am to remember that He has got this, right? Good ‘ole Jeremiah 29:11.
I am thankful, that a sweet girl (who I feel is a part of my family) was the one to walk me through the process of filming my confessional. She was patient in my freakout, my pacing, my “okay, okay let’s do this”. I was given a max of six words - six words to reach that person who needed to see that there is a light on the other side. Six words? How in the world could I encapsulate my story with meaning into six words? You know me, I average about a 1,000 words a post. Very seldomly I am a found to be at a loss for words, especially when it comes to my life.
I started throwing out things (that this girl knew about) and she directed me with things like “someone has that point covered” (not her exact words, but the comfort I took from her words). I wanted to make sure that my “go-to” subjects had shared by someone because again, there will be someone sitting with us on Sunday morning that needs to see the front and back side of our cardboard pieces.
To be completely transparent with you, my thought in that moment was, “Oh crap, really, God? This is what you want me to write?” And the confirmation was back, again. On my third line I was to write a word that very few have heard from me - a word that still brings shame, a word that I have begun to work through, but am not healed from. A word that in our world, brings disgrace. “Well, fine, but you have to help me spell it correctly.” Wouldn’t that be horrible, hundreds of people seeing my confessional and realizing, “yikes, she spelled that wrong.”
I am stalling because I have trouble typing the word, hell, I have trouble writing the word. “I can’t believe I am writing this, it’s so embarrassing, but it’s my story” is what I said as the sharpie squeaked across the surface of the cardboard.
And this is where the devil always attempts to grab me. I am automatically overrun with shame and then I hear, “it was just once, please, there are women who are lost in the sex industry and you are making a big deal about the one time you took paper money for sex?”
Yes, because the scars from that day hurt, still.
During the Spring of 1995, you will remember I was deep into some major drug addictions and I guess you could say I was already involved in the barter system of using sex for drugs. One afternoon the guy I was seeing (station wagon guy) had a brilliant idea to help me and his sister get some money. He knew that the main drug distributor had paid girls for sex in the past and what a great opportunity for us to make a quick $200. It still amazes me the lengths I would go to when I was lost and so wanted to be loved. I will spare you the details that are etched into my mind, that haunt me at crazy unsuspecting times. I will remind you though that I was seventeen and this guy, well let’s say today he is older than my father. It was sickening and is worse now look back on it as an adult.
For those of you who remember the pure anger I shared after sitting through a presentation by Cat French from Elijah Rising this is where that angers stems from. Anger is a sign that I am not healed. The fact that I have no fear of the men who pimp-out and hold in captivity young women like I was 21 years ago, the fact I say things like, “that wouldn’t be a safe ministry for me to be a part of because I would probably end up in jail” shows that there is still healing to be done. Because like M’Lynn in Steele Magnolias, I am screaming “I just want to hit someone till they feel as bad as I do”. That’s not good, people, that’s not good.
I am not sure if my feelings would be as intense if the aftermath of the event played out differently, but I left his high end beach front home thinking that no one would know what happened, that I would have a new cute outfit that I purchased from a store I could have never afforded normally and the world would never know. But that was not the case. First, I did not receive the money, it was passed off to the person who played the pimp in this horrible story. Yep, station wagon guy. And the day after, news of my trist, every horrid little detail was spread around our small town. I was shamed by people I thought I loved and cared for - it was horrible and it marked the beginning of the end. I would say less than a month later, station wagon guy laid out lines of cocaine and said, “do it or get out?” Thank you, Lord. Thank you so much for giving me the strength to walk out that day.
As I sit here still shaken by this event in my life, I keep seeing Romans 5:8…But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
I want to leave you with this song, as I did last April when I shared about this time in my life. (You can read it here: My Story: The Early Years).
You cry yourself to sleep
Cause the hurt is real and the pain cuts deep
All hope seems lost with heartache your closest friend
And everyone else long gone
You've had to face the music on your own
But there is a sweeter song that calls you home, saying
You're not alone for I am here
Let me wipe away your every tear
My love, I've never left your side
I have seen you through the darkest night
And I'm the One who's loved you all your life
All your life
If my story matches pieces of yours, please know that you are not alone. Not only are we sisters in this story, but my dear we are Sisters in Christ. And HIS love will never leave you! I want you to know above everything else, that HE loves you - He ALWAYS HAS, even through what the world sees as the most unloveable sins, He loves us. And so do I.
To learn more about Elijah Rising, please visit their website: http://www.elijahrising.org/
If you need healing from past sexual abuse, here a great resource for you: http://www.grieftograce.org/