My name is Angel and I have every right by the world’s standards to be a victim. But because of Jesus, I am victorious.
I grew up believing that being molested by men was normal. It started with a male babysitter when I was 3. He took advantage of me until I started preschool. My parents separated when I was 6 and my dad’s absence brought many men in and out of my life. During my elementary school years I was sexually abused by babysitters, my mom’s boyfriends, uncles, and cousins. It was as if I had a sign on my forehead that said “touch me” and only bad men could see it.
As I grew older I started to feel ashamed and dirty but I didn’t understand why. No one had told me that it wasn’t okay for all of those men to touch me. I believed every girl experienced abuse and shame as I did.
My mom found a great new job when I was 9 and we moved away. For awhile I was free and safe. No one was touching me and I was starting to understand that what had happened to me was wrong all along. Then another man came into my mom’s life. He left me alone for the first year then one day I was home sick and the nightmare began again. I was too scared to tell anyone even though I knew it was wrong. I just dealt with it for awhile but it happened often and each time he pushed me to do all sorts of horrible new things. I did everything I could to stay away from him but it never worked. He always found a way to get me alone. After about a year I finally got the nerve to tell my mom about it. It was the scariest thing I have ever done, but I knew I had to. When I told her I thought she might leave him … but she didn’t. Instead she looked at me and just told me to stay away from him. At age 12 I was free to decide to move in with my dad, so I did.
I attended a church camp when I was 15 and I gave my heart to Jesus. His presence was strong and I was so in love with Him. He immediately started to deal with my past and the abuse. The weight of the memories was so heavy and as the years passed, that weight only increased. A heart heavy with brokenness, pain and shame is a heavy burden to carry.
I found myself at a church service one night when I was 16. The woman speaking that night was full of the Holy Spirit and knew that someone was there and in need of a special healing. She asked to pray for a girl who had been sexually abused. And I sat there too afraid to move, and just listened to her as God gently urged me to stand up and go to the alter. I was so ashamed. I didn’t want everyone to know it was me. Then the woman on stage looked right at me and began to weep. She knew it was me. She called me up and began to hug me and talk to me she said “Honey, I know you have a lot of hurt and pain. God has showed me. He wants you to let it go. Give it to him sweetheart.”
I had no idea how to let it go and so I asked her how. Her response: “forgiveness”.
Those men didn’t deserve forgiveness for what they had done to me. But I needed to let it all go so that I could be free from the shame and guilt and pain I was carrying. God spoke clearly to me, “I’ve forgiven you, Angel. I remember your sins no more and I want to be King of your heart. So you must forgive them and let it go so I can carry it for you.”
I began to pray and pray and pray. I could here Jesus telling me …”let it go it is My burden now.”
I chose to trust him. And I let it go. He took the burden from me that night and when he did it felt like heavy chains were immediately lifted off of my chest. I was finally free. Only God’s grace could have done that for me. Only Jesus.
God wants to be close to you and talk to you but when you carry the burdens others have placed on you close to your heart, you put a wall up between you and the Savior of the world, who wants to carry those burdens for you. The truth is, Jesus is the only one who can carry our burdens. There was no way for me to overcome my past. But I have given my heart to Jesus, and he overcame my past for me, and now, I’m free of it. Every so often it tries to take my heart over once again, but when that happens, all I have to say is one word, “Jesus”. There is power in His name.
Psalms 66:16 “Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. 17 For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. 18 If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. 19 But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. 20 Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me.”
Romans 5:20 “God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. 21 So just as sin ruled over all people and brought them to death, now God’s wonderful grace rules instead, giving us right standing with God and resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
1 John 1:9 “But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
Proverbs 28:13 “People who conceal their sins will not prosper, but if they confess and turn from them, they will receive mercy.”
Psalms 103:12 “He has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.”
Colossians 3:13 “Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.”
Mark 11:25 “But when you are praying, first forgive anyone you are holding a grudge against, so that your Father in heaven will forgive your sins, too.”
Luke 6:37 “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven.”
Note from Aurelia: It takes a very strong and determined woman to write this story and preach the importance of forgiveness and the freedom it provides. I applaud Angel for understanding what forgiveness IS and what it IS NOT. It is letting go… it “IS NOT denial, approval, or the diminishing of the sins committed against us.” ~ Pastor Mark Driscoll
For more understanding about the tough topic of forgiveness. I recommend this article from Mars Hill Church.