A few weeks ago, I submitted an application to volunteer at my church. Because I’m an adult, I had to sign off on a background check, supply a few personal references, and answer some questions about my life and capabilities.
One question in particular asked if I’d ever been a victim of any physical or sexual abuse – to which I have to honestly answer, ‘yes.’
For explanation’s sake, I’ll just say this: My first encounter with real sexual abuse was at the age of 12, and there were more than a few situations that I participated in something I would have rather said ‘no’ to than I can count littered throughout my 23 years on this earth. At the age of 18, I had my first real physical confrontation with a boyfriend. Thankfully, all of the situations could have been much worse, and I was spared much pain that most women are not.
They ask the question, not to be nosey, but because they want to ensure that those they trust around impressionable children have sought help and found healing for these traumas. I mean, I’m not offended or anything by it; I spent a lot of time with a prevention specialist in high school, a counselor as an adult, and finally Christ Himself had handled the matter for me. I knew what my answer was and I knew I’d found healing from that situation.
But a few days ago, finally, the youth pastor sat down with me just to chat about it and see kind of where my head and heart were on the matter. The abuse itself is not something I think about a whole lot just because I don’t need to. The events that came later in my life have been what I’ve struggle most to let go of, and whether you can blame my later actions on my abuse as a child is neither here nor there. I don’t really care much anymore.
The morning after my conversation with my pastor, I was just kind of rambling on to God about everything I hadn’t thought of in a while and just how my life before Christ kind of played out. Now, in the back of my mind, I’m thinking too, that lately, I’ve been picking up some of my old paranoid and fearful habits which come from not being able to trust people. It’s the response of a hurt person. I’ve written this before and I’ll write it again, I really credit God fully with always being the why and the how I get through those moments, because nowadays , they’re just moments and not seasons. He just never fails to find a way to remind me who I am, what He’s done for me, and what my purpose is.
Something caused me to question, while I was talking to God the other morning, ‘Am I a victim?’ To which I thought my answer was ‘yes.’ I can make a case for sexual, physical, and emotional abuse spanning over 10 years of my life. I was victimized and, at some points, also a victimizer. And I almost began to re-justify the reasons I was having these negative thoughts as a result of my being a victim of these atrocities when I felt and heard Christ Himself speak right through my own heart –
He said, “Samantha, why are you acting like a victim when I have made you a conqueror?”
He blows me away…
I was acting fearful, even though He says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)
I was acting hurt, even though He promised, “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” (Revelation 21:4)
I was acting insecure and unloved, even though I know God says, “You are precious and honored in my sight, and… I love you” (Isaiah 43:4)
I was acting like the old me, even though He told me, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Corinthians 5:17)
I was acting like a victim when His Word cries out, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” (Romans 8:37)
Oh, how wrong I was…
It was really with that last scriptural realization it was like a veil was torn and I knew that not only does God wipe away our transgressions, but He wipes away the transgressions that have been committed against us that have left us with scars as well. He doesn’t just erase what we’ve done, He also erases what’s been done to us.
I am not a victim anymore. As of the day I accepted Christ, I AM A CONQUEROR in His Name! The enemy will come at me one way with all of that hurt and pain and old baggage but in the presence of my God who’s Holy Spirit dwells within me, God says He will flee seven ways! (Deuteronomy 28:25).
I am not afraid – I am not a victim – and I am certainly not who I used to be.
Hurts and scars that come from abuse are real and they are tough. Every counselor in the world will tell you there’s no magic trick out there to wipe away the pain – but there is. And this time of year is perfect to remember or even ask questions and learn just how it happened and what sacrifice Christ paid for that magic trick to be available to you. If you’ve been hurt like me – one in every two women before the age of, I believe, 21, will know my pain or worse – I pray that you accept Christ into your heart and allow Him to love you and just let God’s truth heal you. It won’t happen over night, but it will work like nothing you’ve ever tried before. His love is lavish and He wants you to know it well. Invite Him in and allow Him to re-mold your heart and redefine your life. Let Him make you new! Be the conqueror He died to make you!