Shame & Forgiveness

There have been so many times I would have someone pop up on my “People You May Know” where my heart would just drop. If I saw anyone from middle school or high school I would be in full on panic mode…especially at church. Seeing people who “used” to know me would send me into a full internal spiral. Just the thought that these people even had a glimpse of my old life would completely discredit everything I have been through. There would be no glory in this moment because I was a big phony. I was fake. “Look at what the Lord has done for me!”…But has he really? Because here I am so ensnared in shame that I can not even look these people in the eyes, let alone tell them my full story. How can I show the way God has changed my life right in this moment when I still won’t acknowledge the really dark areas of my life?

I am still that girl some days. Still scared of “being figured out.” Still scared you will still see the old me and not who I am today, but I am even more afraid that you will not know my story and see that there is more out there. There is freedom and truth and a real love that never dies.
My teenage years were jacked up. A lot of situations were my fault, but a lot of the situations I was placed in were not… and I am allowed to say they were not.

The older I have gotten the more I have taken a look at my past and the situations I have walked through. I have had to sit many hours in prayer and in therapy with so many questions. Why was I not protected more? Why did I let things happen? And why can I not forgive myself for what has happened to me?

It is a weird time in our world to be a woman. Your sexuality is either celebrated or shamed. You’re either to be empowered or told to sit down. When you sit with it for so long you blame yourself and the longer you sit with what has happened to you the longer you twist the story.

Well, it was my fault. I could have done more to stop the situation.

I was a slut so did I really have the right to say no? I didn’t seem to tell anyone else no.

Other people have worse stories, mine really is not that bad.

Rape is always that bad. There is never a question that can justify being raped. You always have the right to say “No.” You always have the right to say, “I am not comfortable.” And you are always more than you think you are. I over analyze, over think, and always try to see where I could have also been a problem. In the case of rape there is no rationalization. It is wrong. It is never okay no matter who it is happening to. I have concealed this for a very long time because I always thought I could have done more and I never thought I was worth more. We can always justify a situation if we work hard enough but that keeps others trapped. If you are walking through the confusion right now, the way I am. I want you to know that you are not what you have been through. You are worth way more than you know. You are much more than the thoughts in your mind and what people have said. You are beautiful, loved, and you can get through this. I have had to write entire journals to the people that have hurt me to get the full extent of my anger and unforgiveness out. I still have my days where memories flashback, and those are the days I need more grace and truth. I have burrowed myself in truth for months at a time to let God’s word wash over my thoughts more than the thoughts I have said about myself.

I have had to face my anger and confusion, with journals and journals of feelings sprawled out. I have had to work on forgiving myself, accept that the situation happened, and choose to forgive them. The same way the Lord has remade me from the inside out, I pray the Lord does the same work in them. I pray that justice is served but that blessings flow because no matter what they have taken from me, they are still living surrounded in darkness and no one deserves to stay there. Forgiveness is not forgetting but it does give us the opportunity to live again.

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