March 8, 2011

Stained and Ruined

Paul aches for his friends' nearness in Romans 1, "I long to see you ... that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith." Oft times weariness sets in as we battle to see God's purpose in the pain. We need mutual encouragement, hence my invitation to our guestblogger today, Melissa Taylor. She has walked a painful journey, but as Renoir said, The pain passes, but the beauty remains. Her holy redeeming reasons beautify her family, her friends, her blog and her online Bible studies. I so hope you'll sign up for her next one, It's No Secret by Rachel Olsen {Stellar study, stellar author... love this book and Rachel!}

Sign up for Melissa's It's No Secret Bible study today, and you'll be entered to WIN an autographed copy of Rachel's book & the accompanying Conference Call Series {courtesy of Melissa...thanks girl!}. Just leave a comment letting me know you signed up!

And now, without further adieu... here's Melissa!

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
~Isaiah 53:5

Looking back, it seems like I’m viewing the story of another person. I hardly recognize the little girl I became in that dark moment.

I was walking home from the bus stop. The walk took about ten minutes unless I stopped to talk to a friend or neighbor, which I usually did. Mr. Parks, a retired man, was sitting in his driveway waving to all the kids walking by. He was so friendly. On this particular day, he invited me into his garage. He said he had some candy to give me. I walked in that garage an innocent trusting little girl. I walked out scarred for life.

Mr. Parks sexually violated me. I didn’t understand what was going on. I didn’t know what to do. He became someone else; I didn’t recognize the man he changed into once that garage door was closed. He did things to me and made me do things to him that I never imagined existed. I was absolutely terrified. When he was done, he said, “Come back tomorrow.” And I did.

The experience of being sexually abused left me devastated, feeling stained and ruined. In my mind, what I had done was so bad, I couldn’t tell anyone. And because it happened more than once, I felt like it really was my choice; my fault. That’s what he told me. I felt dirty and I was filled with shame. Shame is a joy stealer and my joy was gone.

Over the years I perfected the art of wearing masks. On the outside, I looked great. However, on the inside I felt completely unworthy of any good thing. When I experienced success, I would usually sabotage myself or quit. I apologized for being good at something and downplayed my God-given strengths.

It must break God’s heart when we allow shame to steal our sense of worth. Jesus gave His life to prove how valuable we are. We were created to walk in God’s confidence, not our own.

Our key verse tells us “By his wounds, we are healed.” Jesus became stained and ruined on our behalf. We don’t have to live in fear or condemnation over anything that has taken place in our lives, whether it was our fault or not.

When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I also accepted freedom from my past hauntings. Still, I have to remind myself of this every day. My thoughts must center on Jesus or they can easily slip back to the darkness of that garage. Yes, even 35 years later, I still have flashbacks of what happened to me. That’s when I look up to heaven and say, “By Your wounds I am healed. Thank You, Jesus. I am not stained and ruined. I am clean, pure, and precious. Mr. Parks has no hold on me anymore.”

My final triumph in this horrific ordeal was the most difficult: forgiveness. I claim forgiveness for my sins everyday through Jesus. In doing that, I am faced with the fact that I’m called to forgive. “Mr. Parks, I forgive you. I know you must have been very sick and your heart was stained with sin. I hope and pray you accepted Jesus before you died. What you did to me was the worst thing anyone could do to a little girl. I want to hate you. Instead, I choose to hate what you did, but forgive you.” I can only do this with Jesus at my side. I’m not capable any other way.

No longer do I believe I am stained and ruined. I am clean. I am worthy. Jesus has set me free. “By his wounds, we are healed.” I believe that. I hope you do too! For more on becoming free in Christ, visit here.

Dear Lord, I need You every day of my life. Please remind me that I am worthy and delete the lies that haunt me. Help me live to the fullest for You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

I will give you treasures of darkness, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name. ~Isaiah 45:3

This post is part of our Jumping off the Train {of Negative Thought} series. Sure would love for you to join us for the rest here!


Cynthia P. said...

Thanks for sharing Melissa's devotion for today. I am already signed up for her upcoming online Bible study and am so anxious for it to start. Melissa's words are such a blessing to me in my walk with Jesus.

samantha said...

I just signed up. It will be my first study with Melissa. Can't wait!

Carol Davis said...

I am so proud of you. You are a brave, courageous woman. Praying that God blesses you in amazing ways for sharing this tender part of your journey. Honored to call you and Sam...friends. You both make my life so rich.

Tracy Laurie said...

Thank you so much for this Melissa! This hit me so hard as I too was sexually abused as a child, it was my stepfather at the time, and it happened on repeated occasions. I felt as though I was to blame for so many years because I continued to go to the spot that it would take place, for many years I suppressed the memories - blotting out his face completely, however I could not blot out the nightmares. I chose to forgive him many many years ago, however as you stated on your blog,it is something that will never be forgotten. Praise God for the healing power of His grace!

Eileen said...

Melissa, your testimony brought me to tears. Thank you for your courage to share your testimony with us! I know God will use it to minister to others out there who think they have to hide. Christ offers us freedom from those things in our past that threaten to consume or destroy us. Thank you!

Melissa Taylor said...

Thank you for your sweet comments. This part of my life is painful, but when I receive love and encouragement in return it blesses me immensely. And thank you Samantha to reaching out to so many to bring freedom and healing to our hearts. Even when it doesn't seem possible, God is capable. I am grateful that the Lord can use my story to help.

pinkdaisyjane said...

"It must break God’s heart when we allow shame to steal our sense of worth. Jesus gave His life to prove how valuable we are."

Thank you, Melissa for sharing your story. God is just so big.


Jenni said...

Thanks, Melissa for sharing your story. {Hugs} I'm already signed up for the "It's No Secret" study; can hardly wait!

pinkdaisyjane said...

Signed up for the Bible study and will be calling after work to sign up for the conference calls.

Anonymous said...

Your story really touched my heart and I cried as I read it. I felt as though I was reading my own words. I too had a sexual abuse experience as I young girl. For years, my shame and guilt kept me silent about what happened and I lived in a world of depression. I hate that this happened to any of us, but I am thankful for the freedom that Christ gives us to share and reach other people with our testimony. Thank you again... you shed new light and insight for me today.


Carissa D. Huffman said...

I had experiences similar to this, and they lead me to do some really stupid things. Thank you, Melissa for reminding me about how great His love is for me!

I did just sign up today, and Lord, You know, I could use the book and conference calls provided for me--money is really tight right now. No matter what, You will make a way.

Thank you, Sam, for another beautiful blog to check out!

Carissa in eastern Iowa

Anonymous said...

It is great to know I am not alone in this, I was abused when I was 7 by my step dad and my mom knew and did nothing. I felt so alone, I like Melisa was good at creating masks so no know knew but inside I was dying. Still working through alot of my pain and issues. But it is good to be able to get it out.

Rachel Olsen said...

I'm so honored to know Melissa!

Kandi said...

Thank you so much for sharing your story Melissa. Although I have never been sexually abused I was abused physically and emotionally as a child which lead to poor self esteem, poor self image and I have made some really bad choices because of it, I was slowly dying on the inside. It has been through the love of Christ that I now have freedom from the past. Blessings to both Melissa and Sam.

Fields of gold said...

Ya'll, thank you so much for sharing your stories and encouragement. This is such a heart breaking thing to have walked through. I'm so sorry for your pain and hurt. I pray Jesus ministers to your heart tenderly and sweetly as you continue healing. Listen for His voice... He will redeem what's been stolen and give back what's been lost. He's such a faithful God!

Love, Sam

Michelle said...

Melissa, thank you for sharing your story and how God's amazing grace can heal all of our hurts and give us true freedom in Christ. You are such a blessing.
I just signed up for the online study. I am really looking forward to it!

Mel said...

I'm so thankful to see other sisters in Christ claiming this over sexual abuse too! We can be healed, God says so! I too have been healed from this awful crime and it took time and prayer but it's possible. I wrote an ebook called "How I Forgave My Molester" this year because I want women to know, they too CAN heal from this! Thank you for sharing your story. It's so important!

Please feel free to stop by: Trailing After God

Fields of gold said...

Michelle, so excited for you to be doing the Bible study with Melissa. She's full of life and love!!

Fields of gold said...

Mel, thank you for sharing your ebook and blog with us. I'm going to pop over to them soon. Forgiveness is a powerful force of freedom and healing... love that you share these truths with many!!

Blessings to you friend!