Like to tell you a true story. Starts with a small girl who has a love of Jesus and is excited when his name is said. She is happy until two teen-agers sexually abuse her and one has a knife and raises it almost to kill her when his friend says,” She’s not worth it. Let’s go.”
She has no idea how to deal with this and is too scared to tell anyone. Her world has now become a place of fear. A place where she thought she was safe is now a place where people hurt you and want to kill you.
To make matters worse there is more sexually abuse from others, emotional, and physical abuse. This is too much for her to bear and she retreats into an imaginary world. Never telling anyone the horror that is happening. All alone in her own hell. Well- at least she thinks she is.
She is able to keep it hidden until her late teen age years and feelings of rage and hurt can’t be contained. She is self-abusive, has hallucinations, multiple personalities, and many other symptoms. She is put in a mental hospital where she is given shock treatments and is put in seclusion many times.
It’s as if she is going further and further down a dark hole. She is so depressed she tries to kill herself with her father’s heart medication and almost succeeds. She lives in mental health programs and is beginning to see she might be able to be a part of the world again. She has a Doctor who realizes this pain has to come from abuse of some kind and slowly they begin to work through each of the events that happened.
She relives these events each day in a variety of ways. Each day thinking someone will kill or hurt her in some way. In fact part of her illness is thinking a group of people are after her. She has memories of what happened and it’s as if she is still in that moment.
Something within her remembers Jesus. The Jesus she knew as a child. She reflects on what she believes and begins to go to church. One church is wonderful but doesn’t fit for her. But then she finds just the right one. She’s at home!!! But then the old fears start and she tell her Doctor,” I don’t think I will fit in here. I’m different.”
He responds with a smile and says,” I think you will fit in just fine.” She keeps going to church and listens intently to the sermon, music, rituals, etc. She goes to classes to learn more about Jesus and the church.
Then the big day comes! She is baptized! She has never known joy like this! She is God’s beloved child!! She glows with the light of hope and knows she is loved for the first time! She still has symptoms and has much to learn and work through- but spiritually this is a huge turn in the road!
She realizes that she doesn’t want to live in mental health programs all her life and she makes a plan for herself. She starts to go to college and knows she needs work experience so does volunteer work in nursing homes, church, and mental health.
During her time living in mental health programs she noticed how the staff worked with residents and what she thought was helpful and wasn’t helpful. She knew in her heart she could do their job some day. She became involved with advocating for mental health programs and was on committees and spoke the Country Board of Supervisors. She was also appointed to the Mental Health Advisory Board and given the county award as an advocate.
Eventually she was hired in mental health. She first worked as an Activity Assistant in an activity center for older adults and then worked at Cerebral Palsy Association. She also worked as a teacher’s aid in special education. She knew she had to have a full time job to support herself. She wanted to get off SSI. That is a check given each month to people who are disabled.
She still had symptoms but was determined to use the gifts God had given her. She also had to work through feelings she had for Jesus. Yes she loves him- but how could he have let the people abuse her and then have to deal with such painful symptoms for so many years. This didn’t make any sense to her.
After much prayer she realized Jesus was with her during her entire life. Loving her and crying with her. Her relationship with him grew more intimate and she wanted to live just for him. She wanted to show it in a radical way. Since she was a Catholic she decided she would look into being a nun.
To make the story of that experience short – she lived with the Sisters of Mercy for two years. She was accepted as a candidate, but realized this wasn’t the live style for her. She came away with a wonderful respect for the sisters and was glad she tried. But, was confused because she thought Jesus had called her to be a sister.
After much prayer and discernment she developed her own vows which were blessed by the church and had finally found her path. She took her vows with her faith sharing group and family present. What a wonderful day!
She was still working on her symptoms and was making great progress. Now in the present there is wonderful news! She no longer has symptoms! She is an author of three books and published in thirteen periodicals. She is a motivational speaker who tries to provide hope for others!
This is just a brief synopsis of her life. There is much more to tell. The main reason I tell this story is to show there is hope and what Jesus can do. Her motivation to achieve came from God, the compassion she gives- comes from God- The reason she survived almost being killed by others, almost being killed by herself, and severe abuse –was from God!!
There were other instances when she was almost killed. There was much more abuse she endured as a child which I didn’t mention. But can you see how awesome Jesus is!! Can you see what he has done for her?
You may have guessed it. The girl in this story is me. Each day it amazes me what Jesus has done for me. Truely does. May my story in some way help you also see what Jesus has done for you and together we can say “Thank you Jesus!”