Hello, Everyone! I’m so honored to be writing a post as part of this series. (Thank you so much for inviting me, Mandy!) I hope that all of you will be encouraged and helped by something you read as we share our journeys to healing with you.
As I started trying to think on where to begin in telling my story, I realized that so much of my past is related to things that have happened over the past few years, and are even still intertwined with things in my life today. So much so that I feel I really need to include pieces of all of it for my story to seem clear. I also didn’t want this to end up being way too long, so I have attempted to tell the whole story while at the same time not including too many details!
I was raised in a loving, conservative home by a preacher/pastor/evangelist dad and a full-time stay-at-home mom. I never attended public school and was sheltered and protected from so much of the world’s evils. One thing my parents failed to protect me from, at the age of about 6 or 7, was a member of my own family. My paternal grandpa was insistent that my brother and I spend a week at his house that summer. While my mom wasn’t completely comfortable with the idea, she thought that submitting to my dad’s authority in the decision was what she was supposed to do. So we went for a visit that ultimately changed the rest of my life, although none of us knew it at the time. I won’t go into everything that took place that week…. Suffice it to say, his motives for being alone with me were entirely perverted and I was forced to endure things that no child should, and more than once while staying there. The day before we were supposed to go home, I finally snapped and tried to stand up to him and make him stop. Then I called my parents to come get me. What followed then was in all actuality even worse than what I had already experienced – as my dad chose to not believe, and totally ignore, what had happened. My mom once again bowed to his wishes in the matter and chose to do the same, although deep down she never really felt that way.
Needless to say, I was very confused as to why nothing was done about something I thought was so wrong (even though at the time I didn’t even realize it was sexual, just something I didn’t enjoy). I was also confused by having to spend the rest of my life at home going around that same person, and being made to feel like what had happened was normal. All of this was just the beginning of what would eventually cause some major problems for myself as well as those around me.
Fast forward through years of burying all the feelings that were never allowed to be expressed and dealt with, and years of making everyone think things were fine and I had it all together. Little did I know there were already signs of what this burden was doing to me through my health, not to mention emotionally and mentally. I just never made the connection to what had happened so long before. When I graduated from school, I became determined to find someone to marry, naively thinking that leaving home and trying something new would help fill the voids and make things better in some way. Although I truly fell in love with, and sincerely wanted to marry, the man who is now my husband, my haste in wanting to get away caused me to blindly put myself in a situation that ended up just adding to my hurt, and ultimately causing it to manifest so greatly that it became overwhelming.
I didn’t even realize for years that the things I was experiencing had names. Looking back it amazes me that I felt so guilty and struggled with why I couldn’t just “get over it” when I was going through so much depression and even Post Traumatic Stress symptoms. I had trained myself for so long to just act like everything was fine – that to actually get to the point that I couldn’t pretend anymore was just more than I could handle or understand. In addition to that, I felt as though I had no one who truly supported me and wanted to help me work through it all, and that caused me to become so hopeless of anything ever really getting better. All of this also led to a confusing relationship with God and periods of doubt, anger, bitterness, and resentment towards not just the people in my life, but also towards Him… which of course only made things worse.
I honestly have to say that at times I would have told you in no uncertain terms that I felt that God wasn’t there for me when all these bad things were happening. Not only that, but also that I couldn’t feel the grace I’d heard so many others testify of, while trying to deal with the after-effects of all that I had experienced. However, I’m so thankful that even though I was once that low and discouraged and felt helpless to change anything and ever find joy and peace again, ….the story doesn’t end there. Looking back now I can truly see that He was there, even when I didn’t feel Him. On those darkest days of depression and pain, I never thought I would be sitting here today writing about how faithful God is and how He can truly take something that seems impossible and turn it around into something good. But I am.
I still don’t understand everything. I may not ever figure out the reason why all the hurt had to take place, other than the fact that people are just sinful and make wrong choices. I still have bad days when I struggle against falling back into feelings of despair. But I can honestly say that He never gives up on me, and when I just throw myself on His mercy and seek His help, He always answers. Now I’m learning how to keep on changing and growing into the person He wants me to be. I am trying to do all I can to keep traveling this road of healing so that I can be not only a better wife and mother, but a help to others who may be struggling as well. My prayer today is for you to start on this road with me. The best way I can tell you to do that is to realize that God’s love for you truly is unfailing and unchanging… even though whatever you are going through might cause you to question it….. Then start asking Him to help you, and sit back to watch what He can do.
I’ll finish up by sharing with you this verse that has meant so much to me recently and by saying that I am so amazed and grateful at the things God is doing in my life. “Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us….” Ephesians 2:20.
Thank you so much, Tyra, for sharing your story of hurt and your journey to healing! I am always amazed to see how God uses our brokenness for His Glory!