This post isn’t for everyone. I’m an extremely open person and there may be some things which not everyone will want to read here about my past etc. But if you are struggling with letting go of the past – the people you have slept with, things you have done, and things that have happened to you that have left you broken – This post is for you.
I want to expose my nakedness in this post in the hope that it will encourage anyone who may be feeling broken.
Let me tell you a story about how my ‘love life’ started out (if you can even call it that). When I was 15 years old I had a ‘boyfriend’ I had been seeing for a few weeks. We used to talk on the phone, message and hang out with ‘the group’ – not a good group to hang around with I might add.
One day (and it was the first time), we hung out at one of his friend houses. We were on the bed and began messing around, but the thought of sleeping with him or losing my virginity never ever crossed my mind. He forced himself on me and that was the end of my virginity. It was the worst experience ever, but what made it worse is that I never really truly realised how bad what happened was. I didn’t know that if a boyfriend forced himself on you it was still rape. At times I would say to him straight up “I don’t want to” – to which he would reply “do you want me to bang you in your face”.
I continued to see him and this sounds so crazy now when I look back, but I honestly didn’t know better; I didn’t know what love should be like, I didn’t have that example. Now to make matters worse things just went from bad to worse. The next time I saw him what did he do – he robbed my phone.
I’m not even joking and it’s really not funny because it really happened, but now I do laugh about it when I think of all God saved me from. We were literally walking down the road to the corner shop when he asked if he could use my phone and all of a sudden he started running. I didn’t even realise what had happened, it literally took me about five minutes to realise this guy had stolen my phone.
Was that enough for him – no he then went around telling everyone and anyone that would listen that I was a ‘hoe’ despite the fact that he was the only person I’d ever slept with. I would walk to the corner shop sometimes and have some random boy disrespect me and shout ‘there’s that hoe’.
Did I leave him – no. Over the years I went back to him so many times until he made me homeless (no joke at all) and I ended up living in a hostel. That was the point at which I knew I would never ever go back to him again.
Why did I go back so many times then? In my mind I always wanted to stay with the guy I lost my virginity with – not even because of righteousness, but just the romantic notion of only having been with one person. But that isn’t how things have turned out.
The whole experience left me broken and from that point I never really expected much from guys, and I just stopped caring. Stopped caring whether the people I slept with loved me or not, stopped caring about how many people I slept with and started smoking weed.
That was all before my 16th birthday.
Then came true salvation.
We had a sort of revival at my church, a period when a lot of youths gave their lives to God. I had small experiences of God before this but had never truly given my life to him (read my story for more on this).
This was one of the happiest periods of my life to date. I was so in love with God, and didn’t care about all that had happened; that was all behind me now and I had this new life in Christ, a life of power, love and new found hope. A life where my past was all behind me, hopefully buried forever.
I began to hope for a better life, a future with a husband and children. But as time went on and I started looking at other people who had not been through what I went through, I started to feel desperately inadequate. I was surrounded by virgins and here I was with a list of people I slept with that hit double figures and I was only 19. I began to look at my past with bitterness and look at these people with envy.
People who looked like they had their whole lives sorted, who grew up in loving homes, people who had made what looked like all the right decisions and eventually I left the church and went back into the world.
Now what I’m about to say you won’t understand unless you’ve experienced it first-hand. When you feel so ashamed sometimes it’s better to just continue in your dark life than try to come out of it. Sometimes it’s seems better to go back to those people and those labels because it feels safer there – where people aren’t judging you.
That’s a barefaced lie.
The shame of the past haunted me for years. I felt rejected, like I wasn’t good enough, I felt unclean and unworthy. What decent guy was going to settle down with me? I didn’t deserve good things, the husband, children and house. In addition to thinking I didn’t deserve good things, I believed good things just didn’t happen to me. So I went back to dating gang members & drug dealers, people who I felt couldn’t judge me.
So what changed?
I stopped looking at people and started looking at God. I began to accept over time all the things that had happened in my life, but it wasn’t easy. It was a process that happened over many years, a very slow and very painful one. Many tears were shed and so much blame was dished out. I was angry with my dad, hated my mum – I felt they’d failed me. I wrote a post on this topic which you can see here.
There was so much anger and bitterness in me that when I look back I actually don’t know how I carried such a weight.
I was even angry with God. If He is sovereign why did he allow these things to happen? Why couldn’t I have been born into one of those settled homes where the girls are taught to value themselves?
There were so many things I had to work through with God, it was slow and painful and the process is not even finished. There are still issues I am dealing with right now, but each and every day I see slow but certain change in my life and my wounds are being bound up and God is healing my broken heart.
I reached a place of acceptance and I began to be real with myself about who I was. Yes there are people who haven’t been through these things and I cannot change the things that have happened. But what did change is the way I began to see them.
1 Corinthians 10 vs 13 (NET)
No trial has overtaken you that is not faced by others. And God is faithful: He will not let you be tried beyond what you are able to bear, but with the trial will also provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it.
Most translations of this scripture read ‘temptation’ in place of trial, but I want to make a point. Sometimes it’s so easy to think your life is the hardest or the most messed up. But what this word says is that others face trials and temptations in the world. What it takes to break me is not necessarily what it would take to break you. Something which seems like a massive deal to me might not affect you, but when we go through troubles we are equally traumatised.
For instance when I look at the world today, the things happening to Christians in places like Syria, I can’t even begin to imagine enduring what they go through. What I have been through was awful, but in all of that the Lord kept me. Where would I be now if not for Him? I don’t even want to think about it.
It’s so easy to look at someone else who looks like they have it all together and compare yourself to them. Do you really know their story; do you know what they have been through or what happens behind closed doors? Nobody has a perfect life – it doesn’t exist anywhere, just get that straight.
The world full of sin is a harsh place and terrible things can and do happen. But truth is found in the word of God; those things which were intended for our destruction will in fact be used for our good.
Numbers 23 vs 18-23 (NKJV)
19 “God is not a man, that He should lie,
Nor a son of man, that He should repent.
Has He said, and will He not do?
Or has He spoken, and will He not make it good?
20 Behold, I have received a command to bless;
He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it.
21 “He has not observed iniquity in Jacob,
Nor has He seen wickedness in Israel.
The Lord his God is with him,
And the shout of a King is among them.
22 God brings them out of Egypt;
He has strength like a wild ox.
23 “For there is no sorcery against Jacob,
Nor any divination against Israel.
It now must be said of Jacob
And of Israel, ‘Oh, what God has done!’
Here is the story of a sorcerer called Balaam, who tried to pronounce a curse on Gods people but could not. Most of us know the scripture ‘God is not a man that He should lie’ – but let’s look at the rest, there is something I want you to see here.
Do you understand that God wants to bless you? The scripture here says God brought them out of Egypt, just like He brought you and I out of the world, and He wanted to bless and increase them. This is exactly what Go wants to do with us.
When this word was given, the Israelites were crossing the desert near Jordan. Look what God says about them – ‘There is no iniquity found in them’. When I read this my mind is blown. This was at the very same time when Moses was calling them stiff necked and yet according to God there was no iniquity to be found in them at all. God has chosen YOU, and He has not done it in vain, but with a purpose to show His glory in you. He wants to use all of you, your story, pain, hurts, and rejections, and turn them around for your good and to His glory.
Here was this sorcerer cursing them relentlessly, and yet every curse turned out for their good. In fact it would have been better for him not to say anything at all, because all the curses were actually helping them. Imagine his frustration.
Ecclesiastes 3 vs 11 (NIV)
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
That which was set for your destruction, will work out for your good. God has made all things beautiful in their own time. You are good enough, you are worthy and more importantly you are one of Gods elect. God wants to take all the heart aches and disappointments and turn them around for your good. What lies ahead is better than anything you have experienced and beyond all that you can even imagine.
Haggai 2 vs 9 (NIV)
The glory of this present house will be greater than the glory of the former house,’ says the LORD Almighty. ‘And in this place I will grant peace,’ declares the LORD Almighty.”
God wants to do a great work in your life, one that gives others hope. It’s not always easy to perceive it, but truly what God has planned is far greater than anything we can even imagine. What He is building now in your life is greater than what stood there before.
1 Cor 2 vs 9 (NIV)
However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him–
Always remember this, and put your trust and hope in the Lord.
Revelation 12 vs 11
They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.
It’s important to remember why we are here; we are God’s witnesses. It took such a long time and God has done such a work in me to be where I am today and I’m still a working progress. I no longer care what people think of me and I no longer regret my past. It may sound strange, but if I could change it I wouldn’t even change a thing!
My life and my story is mine, it’s my testimony by which I have overcome. Sometimes when I’m out and about, God can send a young broken teen my way, and guess what; all those experiences I have had enable me to minister effectively.
I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, I will declare it with pride and not shame until the day I die. Do you know how many things he has rescued me from, how many times He has answered my cries.
All the things I have been through have actually equipped me for the places I am now going to. God can use what was intended for my utter destruction to bless someone.
It’s not that all those things didn’t hurt, because they really did, but if by my hurt I can minister effectively to just one person then it was worth it. This life is temporal and a shadow of things to come.
There was a time I felt ashamed to even look myself in the mirror, I wanted to wash the past off myself with bleach – that’s literally how dirty I felt. Now I choose to see all my wounds and hurts as battle scars – and I will be victorious and overcome in Jesus’ name. I don’t want anyone to ever go through what I went through, and if I can encourage or empower just one person that is enough.
Begin to see yourself the way Christ sees you – you are of value to the kingdom, and God wants to use your testimony to help others.
God Bless x