June before my senior year of high school I entered a relationship with a very poisonous, mean, manipulative, abusive guy. That was when my life took a turn for the worst. This guy and I had dated previously but I was younger and very reserved and naive. Now at eighteen years old and the desire to feel like an adult, he took full advantage. He tore me from my family, which we are still trying to heal from. He took advantage of my innocence and took my body as his own. He took something from me that I can never get back. This continued for almost a year. I allowed him to treat me the way he did and disrespect myself and my family. Finally, I got to the fork in the road, my choices were to take the destructive path that would eventually ruin my life or take the path of healing and moving forward. That is where I believe the Lord saved me. Something that had not clicked in me in a year clicked, and I decided it was time to heal and fight for myself.
Those wounds are still very raw with it only being a few years ago. I hid my brokenness and hurting for a long time. It wasn't until my sophomore year of college that I reached out for help. Finally, after suffering in silence I reached out to a therapist and told my story and my truth. That was one of the most freeing yet painful experience I have ever had. I shared the emotional abuse and mental abuse, and the sexual abuse I had experienced in my relationship with him. Once I was able to finally open up about that relationship I was also able to finally share something I had kept hidden for almost fourteen years. When I was young, I had a distant family member who took advantage of me. It is sad and I still work through that, but it is part of my story. Each day I become more and more proud of my story and myself. Not for the hurt I have endured but rather the fight I put up through that pain. Some days are harder than others and I wonder why God put me through that. Why did He allow my family member to take advantage of me like that and why did He allow this guy to abuse me the way he did.
My fight still grows weary and my trust with people is unsteady, and I occasionally question why the Lord allowed such bad things to happen to me. Since I have opened up about my past I have learned a lot about myself. Late last year I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and put on medication to help balance some of that out. Being a Christian the thought of being on this type of medication brought on some feelings of shame. Here I am a year later I have finally come to the realization there is no shame in needing help from therapists and medicine. While I still sometimes feel shame for the things I have been through, there is somebody who constantly reminds me there is no shame in our stories. They helped me to realize what happened to me was not my fault. They helped me to seek strength in the Lord and not strength from myself, to know I am loved by Him and cared for by others.
While I am still not fully healed from everything I have gone through I am slowly looking for the positives in what happened to me. All of the experiences have been very painful but very humbling. I was a very prideful person before these events in my life and these experiences have pushed me to humble myself not only before the people around me but before the Lord. These situations are in a way forcing me to rely solely on Him because without Him I would not be standing here today. The most important thing I have learned that comes out of these situations is having the ability to someday help people going through the same things I went through. To show them the light and love of the Lord. I am thankful for these experiences for the reason of being able to better understand where people are coming from later in life in my line of work. Through these experiences I have decided to pursue counseling because I see what my counselor did for me and I want to be able to do that for somebody else someday. I know to get there, though I have to continually rely on Him and find my strength in Him because he rescued me from those situations. There is no shame in our stories, there is only truth and healing that comes from the stepping up and stepping out and sharing our stories.
This story was prepared, written and submitted solely by Bailey in her personal capacity. The content and opinions expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect the views of 7 Billion Ones, Randy Bacon Photography and/or any members or associates of these organizations.