Destiny In Bloom

Letting Her Tell Her Story

Letting Her Tell Her Story

posted on November 9th, 2011 / by Marissa Star / 42 Comments

“Inside every women is a little girl. We must have the courage to go back and let her tell her story.” ~ Nancy Houston

They fell slowly, each word suspended in air until the weight of their simple truth radiated through my heart in waves.

I was sitting in a classroom when I first heard those words from Nancy as she taught a class called “She Rises—women rising from the ashes of sexual woundedness”. My chest was turning red, and man was the room getting hot. My eyes were getting glossy as my mind began to recall her … years have gone by but my mind could recall her exactly as she was. I saw her clearly, her clothes, her wispy straight hair, her forlorn looks and the way her demeanor would become insecure when she was nervous. I had grown older, but she had not changed … it was crazy … she had not changed at all.

I had looked back over my past before but something was different this time, the Holy Spirit was resting on my heart saying, “It. Is. Time. It’s time to have this talk … baby, it’s time to hear her story.”

I faced lots of challenges growing up. I also experienced a lot of love and great times, and I am adamant about separating the two. I will not let the dark moments rob me of my happy memories of being loved. Although I’ve had to visit certain memories to deal with pain and confusion in my little heart that I didn’t understand, I also celebrate every fond memory that adds to the mosaic art piece I am today. Nestled in the mortar of my life’s design is both pieces of broken beautifully colored glass and rough edged broken pieces of marble. He has taken all my broken places/pieces and made something beautiful. Now He wanted to add to this progressive artwork some precious stones; precious, because that’s how He sees healing wounds that deal with our sexuality.

We, (men and women) were created in God’s image, we were given our sexuality as a gift. It was never meant to be taboo or something dirty. It was meant to be a life giving expression of intimacy that mirrored how we were created to interact with God. In truth and simplicity, we were created as sexual beings, and we were made to be at peace with our bodies and the beauty of our sexuality.

There is a sad second truth that also exists. We live in fallen world where there is an assignment of the enemy against our sexuality. The enemy desires to pervert something meant to be a life giving expression of intimacy into a secret place of pain, shame and condemnation. It’s clear when you read statistics like these:

I believe we need to become more comfortable about talking about this as Christians in the church. The church should be a healing and safe place where we talk candidly about both healthy sexuality (within marriage; it is God’s design for Christians to have ah-mazing sex lives that are full of knowing, and being known, intimately) and sexual woundedness (that we would shamelessly deal with the sexual wounds of this generation, extending the hope and healing that are in Jesus). The world has no problem being saturated with wrong sexual influence; this generation deserves that we, as bearers of truth, raise our voices louder than the voice of this world. If we all began to give voice to the importance of healthy sexuality … we may just be on the brink of a sexual healing revolution.

Although the enemy lurks in secret dark places where he preys and abuses innocence, we serve a God full of light, love and perfect redemption. I am not just a number hidden in the masses of statistics. I am a daughter of a good heavenly Father. This is my story …

I was fifteen when a boy I had the biggest crush on raped me. He was not a stranger in a mask pulling me from a parking lot into a white passenger van. I knew him, and I liked him. We were in a relationship. It wasn’t completely innocent, but I had said that I did not want to go all the way. One day it came back up. I fought. I lost. It was my first time.

I was probably in my late twenties before I called it what it was. You see, I blamed myself for being somewhere I shouldn’t have been. I wasn’t kidnapped, I didn’t know the statistic that states, “73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger”1; I just knew I had walked through that door on my own volition. I believed for years as I dealt with the aftermath of that night that I had betrayed myself.

The story didn’t change much over the years, because the storyteller remained fifteen—with all the reasoning of a wounded fifteen year old with a secret and lies she believed about the preciousness of her sexuality. Years of confusion, anger, promiscuity and self-destructive behavior followed (like using drugs to self-medicate) which led to other hurtful situations that served to validate the lies that had been believed.

A year later, the boy apologized (with little understanding) because we began to run in the same circles. I forgave him, and because with or without the Lord the power of forgiveness is a universal principle, I was able to walk away with his face no longer attached to the pain of the incident. After accepting Jesus years later, I went on to pray that he would come to know Jesus. It was ok if I never knew; that seemed awkward.

But ten years later, after I was married, I received a random phone call. It was this (now) man letting me know that the night before, he had received Christ with his wife. They had stayed up that night confessing all their sins to each other, and she was now sitting next to him while he apologized with full awareness of what had happened that night. There was no sting in my heart toward him; I had forgiven him years before, but this was healing for him.

As hard it may be for some to hear, God loves the perpetrator as much as the victim; He wants to deal with, and heal, both hearts. Most perpetrators are victims of some type of abuse themselves. (Hear me, though—that doesn’t give excuse to what perpetrators do or have done, it is wrong. The truth remains the same.) There is no shame my God cannot lift. No pain He cannot heal. I honor the courage of this man and wife. I’m in awe of the healing power of humility. I have not talked to them since, but I pray only blessings find them.

Although I forgave the person, the Holy Spirit was leading me back to deal with the lies I believed and judgments I made about my sexuality that started and grew from that night.

I had to go back and let the girl I was then tell her story, and give her permission to grow up from that night where darkness had her in a time capsule. It was in that moment the Holy Spirit gave her the gift of light (in light the works of darkness lose their power) and a pen to rewrite the story.

Recently I was in Israel, and my husband bought me a ring with my name in Hebrew on the front and my favorite scripture, Hosea 2:16, on the back.

“But then I will win her back once again.
I will lead her into the desert
and speak tenderly to her there.
I will return her vineyards to her
and transform the Valley of Trouble into a gateway of hope.
She will give herself to me there,
as she did long ago when she was young,
when I freed her from her captivity in Egypt.
When that day comes,” says the Lord,
“you will call me ‘my husband’
instead of ‘my master.’

It’s my favorite scripture because Jesus had come to speak tenderly to me, calling Himself my husband, restoring what intimacy looked like to me. I believe this scripture represents a prophetic call back to intimacy for the people of Israel at the time and a promise to sexually wounded women. He will make the valley of her trouble a gateway of hope!

After we returned from Israel, I left my ring at a spa an hour away, where we had gone to celebrate my husband’s birthday weekend. I called the spa, and they placed my ring in a special envelop with my name on it until I got there. We finally made the trip back; I retrieved my envelope, got back in the car, and heard the Holy Spirit say, “Sometimes you lose things; you must simply go back and get them.”

I lost my voice about sexuality in a room when I was fifteen … I simply had to go back, listen to her story, let light in, and take back my voice on the matter!

From the statistics, I know I am not alone. I believe God wants to heal and restore us in the area of our sexuality so we can walk in intimacy with Him, and enjoy sexual intimacy in the preciousness of marriage. He is a God that can restore all purity.

If your life has been touched by any source of sexual abuse (the spectrum is wide—child abuse/molestation by family or stranger, rape, incest, unwanted sexual advances at any age, and violation of purity by pornography at any age), I want to tell you I am so sorry. What happened to you was not right. You were wronged, and for that I’m so sorry. It was not your fault. One more time, hear the Father speak it over you … It was not your fault.

You may not have a sexual wound, but you have not gone untouched by pain in your life. What story do you need to go back and hear? What have you left that you simply need to go back and get?

Let’s ask for it together!

Holy Spirit,

Would You put your hand on my heart’s greatest need right now in this area? Show me where I stopped growing because of pain. Lord, would you empower me with the strength to go back and hear my young person’s (male or female) story, so I can grow into the wholeness You desire for me to walk in? I know You’ve called me to fullness of life; help me come into agreement with that by giving You access to every part of my heart. Thank You for being good, thank You for going with me into my past! May your emancipation bell resonate unhindered through the entirety of my person—including my sexuality. Let my life be the expression of freedom’s ring for Your glory! In Jesus Name! Amen!!

________________________________________________________________

1 (U.S. Department of Justice. 2005 National Crime Victimization Study. 2005.)

The rose picture posted with this article is a contribution by Amy Pennington Photography.

42 Responses to “Letting Her Tell Her Story”

  1. Oh wow! This was beautifully written! When I was nine or so I was friends with a girl who molested me repeatedly over a span of two to three years. I locked it away in my heart and in my mind and all but forgot about it for ten years. It came up in therapy once and the wall around my heart came down brick by brick. It took me years to heal, around the same amount of years that I stayed silent about it. I had told two people at the time when I was so young, my sister and my best friend. Both kept my promise and didn't tell anyone. In a way I wish they had and yet I'm glad they kept my promise. I suffered for years because of my silence and not getting the help I so desperately needed. I was in therapy at a young age because my parents saw the change in me but never asked me point blank what was going on. I'm sure that if they did though, I would not have told them. I grew up in a household where I felt unloved constantly, and still to this day it remains true for the most part. I was somewhat diagnosed as having ODD- oppositional defiance disorder- and then later bipolar disorder. Which I am learning all these years later is a completely false diagnosis, on both disorders. I finally found a great therapist that helped me to heal and forgive and move on. I haven't thought about the person that changed my life- in a way that I wish never took place- in years. But I hope she realizes what she did and forgives herself. I contacted her years ago with hate and anger and she responded that she had no idea what I was talking about, I learned later that she was basically in denial. Sometimes I see her as this vile person, this big monster lurking in the shadows waiting to prey on unsuspecting persons. Other times I see her as this small, scared little girl, like I was.
    Thank you for this, Marissa. It was much needed.

  2. Marissa, I know from your articles here that your life has not been without its challenges. But, oh, what a fruit of wisdom and righteousness has grown in you as a result! Your writing is so full of grace and mercy and life. Thank you for sharing your story and addressing this difficult topic.

  3. "The world has no problem being saturated with wrong sexual influence; this generation deserves that we, as bearers of truth, raise our voices louder than the voice of this world. If we all began to give voice to the importance of healthy sexuality … we may just be on the brink of a sexual healing revolution."

    As a victim, as an over-comer~ YES!!! Amen!! So, so feel ya! And I'm so, so with ya! Let's do this! So proud to call you friend!! LOVE.

  4. I'm not sure I know a more audacious barnstormer than you, my friend. Thanks for your transparency with us; sometimes the first step to healing is just knowing you're not alone.

    Love you.

  5. Yes & Amen! Love you, Friend.

  6. Oh my gosh, Ris!! Thank you so much for writing this. Indeed it is an issue that's not openly discussed in the church and i'm SO grateful for your transparency and the hope that seeps out of every word that you've written. Bless you, girl!

  7. I had to go back and let the girl I was then tell her story, and give her permission to grow up from that night where darkness had her in a time capsule. It was in that moment the Holy Spirit gave her the gift of light (in light the works of darkness lose their power) and a pen to rewrite the story.

    It truly IS time for the church to be the safe place of healing. God is calling us to rise into what He is bringing about. Great article, Marissa and thank you for sharing your story.

  8. Beautiful, Ris! You are such a precious woman of God – and as Nancy said an "audacious barnstormer." Thank you for being transparent and helping so many other little ones find their voice. Keep on shutting up the devil with your Jesus boldness! Love you, my friend!

  9. You wrote with such tenderness — thank you so much for sharing the Healing power of the Holy Spirit in the dark places…In Him is safety and comfort —

  10. As a fellow victim and OVERCOMER, a hearty AMEN SISTER!

  11. Olivia,

    First of all I honored you would share your story with me. I'm so incredibly sorry that happened, you were wronged and I'm so sorry. You are awesomely brave and courageous and I love how you are letting the Lord bring His light into your life … I'm glad your speaking up! I pray His precious presence over you, honoring you, sweeping you off your feet, convincing you of your preciousness today and everyday!!!!!

    Much love to you!
    ~ Marissa

  12. YOU my friend are a warrior! I'm glad you are on the front lines with me … I know it's messy up here but how sweet it is to see fresh healing and victory wrestled out on the fields of His GRACE.

    Love you so!!!! ~Ris

  13. Marissa,
    What a beautifully written heart cry. It is amazing how even though my hurts/wounds are non sexual, this spoke to that little girl in me that I know has a story to tell too. Thank you so much for sharing this most intimate revelation. I love the part where you talk about the Holy Spirit saying to you, “Sometimes you lose things; you must simply go back and get them.” That touched my heart in a way that I, simply put, don't fully understand right now. That said, God is so good and faithful to complete every good work in me, I know that this is something that I will take to my prayer closet and talk with Him about.

  14. I keep hearing in my head the line from the song "Overcome" that says "We will overcome. By the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony. Everyone overcome." Your "word" is leading forth in many people's overcoming. Love it. Love you.

  15. Beautifully written! Your words have touched my heart!

  16. Marissa, thank you for giving so many precious little girls a voice today! Every child deserves the opportunity to tell her story. As you have heard me say many times, if we will be a kind and loving parent to ourselves, our relationships will be based on love and desire instead of need and desperation. You have joined the Father in becoming a loving parent to your little girl and made a safe place for her to heal.
    I am so proud of you! Let the sexual healing revolution begin!!!
    Love you much,
    Nancy

  17. i love you. i love that you went there. you going there not only brings freedom and healing to your life, but opens that door to so many others. im so proud of you. <3 princess

  18. I am deeply touched by the vulnerability that you have so innocently, yet courageously laid out there for all to read. I can remember sitting with you having this conversation on my couch, listening to you speak, knowing that God was stirring something so beautiful in your precious heart.

    This piece can only be described as a beautiful mosaic art piece of your heart!

    The Lord has truly made your valley a gateway of hope for others to find healing and restoration.

    Love. You. Dearly.

  19. Amazing. I am constantly wowed by who you are and where you are willing to go. You're giving a voice to so many. love you.

  20. This touched me so much, thank you. When I was 17 the same thing happened to me and I blamed myself for being in the wrong place and dating a boy I knew could hurt me in more ways than I ever imagined he would. And like you, it took me until very recently to admit that it was rape, that I said no and I fought and struggled to try to find my way out but he was stronger. Years later, before he got married, he apologized, and he admitted to what it really was before I did. But now, being 24, I still struggle with being sexually abused (which is very hard to say.) I become afraid that when I get married I will never be comfortable with that part of marriage, I get scared that I will have someone who will be too aggressive. God is working on me, and I have not found that guy who I know God has planned for me, and I know I need to trust God that he will fill the desires of my heart and whomever this guy may be will love God more than he will one day love me. Thank you so much for posting your story, it's another sparkle of hope that I am not alone and other people have experienced this and went on to live in a Godly marriage.

  21. Ris….SO beautiful to read and see your heart laid bare on something that needs A VOICE so badly!! Thank you for blazing a trail and letting people into your life so they can find courage to find their own voice and ultimate healing thru Him! Love you so much sweet friend…..inspired by you. B

  22. What you share from your heart has such a rigng of freedom for all who hear. Keep writing and helping others heal their wounds and learn to walk in freedom.

  23. Wow, Marissa, so beautifully written. Thank you for your honesty and transparency! When I read what the Holy Spirit said to you: "Sometimes you lose things, you must simply go back and get them"….it spoke to my heart in such a huge, and healing way. So simple, as He always is. Praise God for being big enough to heal your heart and the heart of that young man as well. What redemption….what an AWESOME REDEEMER! The Lord will use this article to bring beautiful freedom and sweet victory to so many! Bless you!

  24. Awesome!

  25. Thank you.

  26. wow, um I guess I thought I'd healed completely from this only to be left crying. I've been healed from almost everything (shame, unforgiveness, lies I'd believed, the fact that I was never defended eventhough my famliy knew about it-he never got in trouble, etc) except, I never went back for her. I never went back for that precious little girl that is stuck between ages 5-11. I never saw her before the events, only the destruction after. It's been so long that I can't even remember her 'before' very well…but I'm starting to. The tom-boy who ran with wreckless abandon in her pink teddy bear swimsuit into the lake, drove anything with wheels as fast as it would go, climbed anything she could climb, questioned everything, caught her own fish, shot her own gun, rode her own horse, and loved the wind in her face. I am reminded as I write this of my youngest son…who is VERY much the same. Full of life, energy, smarts, and humor….fear isn't a word in his vocabulary.
    Thank you for sharing…I'm going to free the captive.

  27. Marissa, thank you for writing this. It's given me the courage to begin to write my own story. Which I am starting to do right now. I'm going to give a real voice to that little girl that I have left behind for far too long. Thank you, and I just wanted to let you know that I used a fake name in the first comment, don't know why, guess I felt more comfortable doing that. But I know that it's like not accepting me for me. My name is Danielle, and I am a survivor. There I said it and I feel much better.

  28. You are! And you my friend are a mighty force to be reckoned with! I love how i can hear you shouting freeeeeddddooommmm!

  29. I love the honesty that flows from you Jess! I know He'll show you! Thank you for always opening your heart to God and being being a voice of encouragement! ~Ris

  30. I love that song! Overcomers unite! Love you!

  31. I could go on and on …but I'll l stick with a weighty; I love you deeply.

    Great Love~ Ris

  32. No more blaming … it wasn't your fault! I come in agreement for all your prayers over your future mate … my husband's belief in me and ability to help me grieve my past standing behind while I tell my story has been a precious part of my ability to take this head on. I pray the same kind of man for you sweet girl!

    You have been courageous today and I open your beautiful strength but more importantly the Lord honors you … breaking the silence is half the battle! You my friend are taking back your voice.

    Great Love! ~Ris

  33. I Love the way you talk about her … what's not to love! Go get her! Just take yourself a nice big handful of more healing.

    Great love to you! ~Ris

  34. Marissa, Thank you for opening wide the doors for conversation, so healing mercies can flow. I'm proud of you and blessed by you. What a treasure. Love, Carin Prickett

  35. Marissa, I just love your writing style. You have a gift, and an ability to reach others' hearts. I so agree that it's time the church got loud!!
    I just learned recently that the little girl in me was in control when circumstances or words would trigger memories from my past. I'm still working, with God, at letting her tell her story. At 11, my step cousin's "real" father molested me; at 12, my uncle molested me; then as a 15 yr old, I was indulging in drugs and had a guy rape me at my sister's friend's house, while my sister was there sleeping. All her friends were in the other room laughing. Then, I became promiscuous and at 18, ended up having an abortion. At 24, I accepted Jesus as my Savior, but knew nothing about having a relationship with Him, and was not in a church that taught me anything. I had gotten married at 23, to someone whom I had already been with. Sex over the years became dull and a chore. I had no idea that my previous sexual experiences were the reason why. I began asking God to heal me, and speaking out scriptures that I believed were God's design for sex for our marriage. He healed me physically!! But, I still had the hidden wounds mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I am grateful to say that more and more each day, I am becoming free from the past. I am so grateful for a church home where we are taught how to ask God to reveal lies, reveal the truth, and show us where He was and is during some past experience, so that we can be set free!
    I, too, will add a response about your statement "Sometimes you lose things, you must simply go back and get them"………I believe that is a charge to reclaim what has been stolen, and to know we have the ability to do so.

  36. Marissa! There are so many sweet women that have a story they have been unable to tell. As I read this I began to think about and hurt for all those women who, for whatever reason, can't step into the light of healing and remain wrapped in grave clothes of shame, regrets, pain, and confusion. I know that place ALL TOOO well! Your powerful voice to share your story lights a path for women to see more clearly the road to victory. Seeing a domino effect of healing and restoration!! AMEN and AMEN! I love you!!!!!!

  37. RIS! You are a rockstar…that's it. so loving this piece….it is a resounding cry that should be heard all over the world!! love love…

  38. Absolutely amazing. I heard this story a hundred times and it still moves me to tears…and I know I'm not the only one. I'm so proud of you Love. You are and always will be my favorite.

    Yuri

  39. Thanks for helping me reach the wounded place in my daughter. The abuse was prior to my role as her mom, and my healthy childhood leaves me feeling inadequate. But your words will find her ears, and I'm stirred to be more available when she needs to speak and grieve.

  40. Marissa, you just gave the enemy a holy smack down! the spirit of shame has left the atmosphere. Years ago in the beginning of prayer tools, I gave my testimony on being a 1 out of 5. that night I had a vision of when mt st Helens erupted and I saw every deep rooted tree snapped like a twig from the explosion and lava. then Father said this testimony has the same impact in the spirit against shame. I have not thought of that vision since that class. But when I read this article, that same vision came back forcefully. Well done my faithful servant!

  41. Wow Marissa- You are a great writer! I enjoy how you write and weave thoughts and images together on such a delicate topic. Looking forward to seeing what you write!

  42. Ok, this is not easy.. When I was 6 or 7 years old, my sister made me touch myself and she made me wear bras and make out with a teddy bear that was as big as me. After that, a vicious cycle of pornography and masturbation followed. I didn't know it was wrong until I was 11 years old, and I always blamed myself. I even tried to commit suicide. I really damaged myself emotionally. I am still battling to overcome everything I have been through and to forgive myself and my sister. Please pray so that Jesus would deliver me out of this. Please.