I have already introduced myself, but I am compelled to write a bit more of who I am. My story may be beneficial to some who are struggling on the board, and particularly this week.
Trigger warning: There is a simplistic description of a legally defined rape in the third paragraph after this.
I was sent to a Christian elementary school by parents who were no longer practicing, but who wanted their children to grow in the faith. So my family did not model what I saw at school. My faith existed, but was not strong. I sought out Christian friends when I attended public school from 7-12, but my friends were still too young in their faith to model the discernment I needed.
When I was 17, I was invited to a youth group and subsequently a church choir by a fellow student who was a leader in both groups. Unfortunately, I was unable to see what I know now. He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Under the guise of the legal and societal concepts of consent, plus a perversion of Biblical interpretation, we were soon involved in all kinds of acts that further study of the Bible tells me were absolutely wrong.
What he did to me emotionally, spiritually and physically, what I consented to, were slowly eating at my soul over the years we were together. I escaped the day after I finally removed my consent, but he ignored me and took what he wanted, anyway.
I had finally come to realize that I was worth more, that we are all worth more in God’s eyes. Unfortunately for me, I will suffer from major depressive disorder my whole life as a result of those years. The mind cannot be separated from the soul, and I was damaged. I share this because part of my own mission is to help others grow strong in mental illness, as I have done through God’s grace.
I also came to realize – and this is repeated in the Bible many times – that the enemy will come from within. From within our churches, from within ministries such as this board. That man and I led our church choir the morning after that final incident.
For those of you who struggle, as I did, with the differences between what is both legal and acceptable in the world, and what God is calling you to be, consider this:
Pulling away from what the world tells us to be is the crux of being a Christ-follower. We have been justified through his sacrifice. However, we still have the process of sanctification, that journey in which we not only throw off the ways of the world, but also encourage others to do so.
Our lives are not about conforming to the world, but about becoming more Christlike. (Romans 12). We are certainly living in the world, and as humans we are still wretchedly of the world. But John 17 tells us to try our hardest not to be of the world. We do this through prayer, through Scripture study, and by (Matthew 5) encouraging each other to make spiritual growth. This is what sanctification means.
I will always encourage anyone to make spiritual growth, and I do so without judgement because of my own past. I’ve seen and heard things as an advocate for victims that would cause even the most worldly among us to become physically ill. I am not easily shocked or offended. But I will always engage in the good fight to ensure that others who are seeking a better way of life, both in this and the next, are given that opportunity.
In short, we are called again and again by Scripture to guard against and to stand strong against the wolves in sheep’s clothing. We are to do so to protect the spiritually young, as I once was. And I will do this every time.
God’s blessings upon you. Thank you for reading.
Thank you for sharing! I know that there is always a vulnerability that comes in being open. One thing I absolutely believe, is even the broken and abused (physically, mentally, emotionally) can find healing and wholeness in Christ. It is often a (slow) process but possible and worth fighting for. We have to believe God is who He says He is and that He can do what He says He can do.
Thank you for your openness and vulnerability about this. Your contributions to this board are very much appreciated and certainly help people.
This sentence really catches me and is a reminder to always be on the lookout:
“That man and I led our church choir the morning after that final incident.”
You never know what is going on behind closed doors. I am so sorry this happened to you but am glad you’ve worked through it as much as you have.