I felt guilt for so long. And shame. I should have said no. I really didn't want him to touch me that way, but I never told him no. Even as a little girl, I knew it was naughty. I was ashamed of what was happening.
And I never told anyone. Because it was embarrassing. And I wanted to be a good girl. All my life, I thought that what had happened to me was my fault.
A year ago, last summer, it started to really weigh on me. I wished I could go back. I wanted to go back and say NO. How could I have let that happen to me? Why did I do that?
And then God spoke to my heart.
I remember the moment clearly. It was a sunny day, and I was driving on the highway. As I remembered what happened when I was little, I felt all the embarrassment and shame, and I wondered what people would think if they knew. And right then the God of heaven and earth spoke to my wounded heart.
"You were only a child."
The words sank deep.
"You were only a child. It was not your fault."
I started to cry. I'm crying now as I recall it. God was releasing me. From all the blame.
"You were only a child, Christi."
With His words came my own revelations: You didn't know what you were doing. You didn't know how serious it was. You didn't know how to say NO.
It. Was. Not. Your. Fault.
I kept driving, still crying, suddenly seeing my past with new eyes. I was stunned. It really wasn't my fault! It was something that had been done to me.
Because of the instant sense of freedom God gave me, I was immediately eager to write about it! I wanted other people to know what God had spoken to me. But the timing wasn't right. There were some people who are dearest to me that needed to hear my story from my own lips before I could write it and send it into the world.
It's been a year now. It has taken that long to for me to work through this. Actually, I'm still working through it, but at least I've told the people that should know. We had some very real, hard conversations. Like open-heart-surgery, bare-all conversations. We cried.
And I saw a counselor, who gave me some Bible verses that bring hope to victims of sexual abuse. Genesis 50:20 was my favorite, said by Joseph to his brothers in Egypt who had betrayed him years before. Joseph forgave them, and told them God had brought good out of their evil acts against him. "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives."
Tonight I was lying in bed, and I just felt like it was time to share this story. Because I think it's part of my healing process. And more importantly, for "the saving of many lives." I think there are others who need to hear the same words God spoke to me.
You were only a child.
It was not your fault.
People were bringing little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it." And he took the little children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.
And that just brought tears to my eyes as I typed it.