I was recently questioned, “If you could go back to sixteen years old and give yourself a word of advice, what advice would you tell yourself?”
Instead of blurting out what I knew was in my heart and for fear of an unwanted shock factor, instead I rambled on, explaining how rebellious and stubborn I was at sixteen and how instead I should have listened to advice from my parents and those older than I was.
I pondered that question over the next several days and concluded that there was a compelling reason why I was so rebellious and stubborn at the tender, yet naïve, age of sixteen. I had already endured four years of sexual abuse by a close family member, on almost a weekly basis. I was young, confused, afraid, and not sure where I could turn. Who would believe me? How will my family be affected by it? I felt guilty, dirty, and unloved.
If I were able to go back to sixteen years old, I now know that I would fall onto my knees, pleading with myself to find an adult, or anybody I could trust with the secret that was hidden so deep in my being. Confiding in a trusted adult would have saved me from another four years of tormented abuse.
Obviously, we live in a broken world where injustice seems to be rampant in our society.
But, my question for you is has somebody ever deeply hurt you? Maybe you have also been abused, physically, mentally, or sexually many years ago, or perhaps only recently? Perhaps you’ve been mistreated in your workplace and you can’t find within yourself the ability to forgive the person who was responsible for the mistreatment. You are positive that regardless of the regret your abuser may, or may not feel, and despite their sincerest apologies, and pleas for forgiveness, inside, you know that in your own strength, it would be impossible for you to actually forgive.
I know what you may be feeling. I’ve been there and know firsthand that it isn’t easy to forgive such an abuse or mistreatment in your own strength. Being sexually abused by somebody I was inherently taught and supposed to trust altered my view of a God I could truly trust as my Savior and that Jesus loves me unconditionally?
Most of us have heard the poem, Footprints, when a child of God asks, “God, why, during the hardest times of my life and during my most painful experiences are there only one set of footprints, and not two?” God answered, “Because, that’s when I carried you.”
Go back to those years with me as I recollect a tragic, heart-wrenching journey, along with many joyous moments, as I was Becoming Made New.