i thought of a million different ways to start this post, but the truth is i can't write anything catchy for what i'm going to talk about. my heart is seriously pounding.... it's something i've kept hidden away for a long time [with the exception of telling a handful of people] because i thought if i told people, it would define me as a person... but i was already letting it define me on the inside.... up until about a year + a half ago when i finally let God heal that part of my life...
...i was molested around 4-6 years old. i can't pinpoint the exact time frame because it happened a few times, all by my babysitter's teenage son. unfortunately, it's some of the most vivid childhood memories i have.
i know this is a serious subject to be talking about on the blog, + i can't even really explain why i'm writing about this except that i've been thinking about this for the last couple weeks, thinking that maybe sharing this story would bring hope + freedom to someone carrying a similar shame + baggage.
for so long, i thought things like - i'm damaged. i'm tainted. i'm worthless. i'm ashamed. which is probably why i struggled with eating disorders + looked to relationships to make myself feel better. they were always empty by the way. i was still called chubby + i was still left at the end of a relationship feeling more unattractive + more tainted than before.
even though i was a christian, i struggled. it wasn't until i went through a beth moore study called 'believing God' that i realized what i had been doing for years [we're talking almost 20 years people!] i had never surrendered the shameful thing to God, never trusted Him to make the trade --- He had always asked for my ashes/my broken pieces, + promised beauty in exchange....... i just never offered it to Him. i never let myself believe that He could make beautiful things out of dust. i seriously cry every time i say that. it's miraculous + unbelievable that He pleads for our handfuls of dust because He wants to give us a beauty unfathomable + unimaginable.
when i finally did that - all i did was offer up those ashes with open, willing hands - God responded immediately, like He couldn't wait for me to give it up.
He started blowing my mind with blessings - our dear friend crystal invited us up for a summer in Montana [which quickly turned into 6 months, which turned into a move earlier this year], i started writing again + God gave me so much time to write in MT [God has put a vision in my heart for this book + i'm so excited about it!!], i'm doing what i love [art] for a living, i gained a bunch of amazing new friends, my marriage is awesome + thriving + full of love, + i'm filled with joy. i'm excited. i'm happy. i love this beautiful life that God has given me. it all might sound cheesy but i've never felt so free in my life.
if you've never given your entire heart to Jesus, i beg you to do so; you will be blown away with all that God gives you in return for your complete surrender.
"He will give them beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, + a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." [isaiah 61:3]
....you are beautiful. you are NOT damaged beyond repair.
"you will be a crown of splendor in the Lord's hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God." [isaiah 62:3]
....you are a priceless treasure. you are NOT worthless.
"but because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions - it is by grace you have been saved." [ephesians 2:4-5]
....you are loved more than you could ever imagine!
God can + will redeem anything if you let Him.
i'm praying you'll let Him....
p.s. in case you're wondering, i go to fresh life church. :)