I found this correspondence in a message folder on Facebook I forgot about. Imagine my joy when I read these amazing words. What a story! What beauty! She gave me permission to share her story (without sharing her name) with you. Consider this: she has just recently let her story out. My encouragement to you: be brave & share your story too.
I just read your book Not Marked, in one sitting all day today. I was home from work sick with the flu, and I spent the day, captivated, and enthralled. I had to reach out and thank you, for this book. It is the best book I have ever read in my life, and it ministered to my soul on the deepest level that I have ever experienced.
I am a 33-year-old married mother of two. And I am a survivor. I was raped for 3 years, by my best friend’s stepfather, from the age of 7-10. My father died of cancer in the middle of that when I was 9 years old. I developed anorexia and bulimia at just 8 years old and was diagnosed at age 12.
I began cutting at 13. I spent my teen years in and out of eating disorder treatment and began to recover at 17, only to be date raped at 18, and hit the worst patch of my life. At the age of 20, I was five feet one inch tall, 55 pounds, and had a heart attack from the eating disorder and almost died.
I gave my life to Christ and I was hell bent on getting well, but there was no way in hell that I was telling my story nor dealing with any of the trauma. I managed to somehow recover from the eating disorder, tho I wasn’t really well inside.
I met my husband we got married we had two kids, the second one has multiple special needs. He has Down syndrome, autism, and juvenile diabetes, so life was filled with challenges, but manageable.
Then this past September, something happened that caused my world to come completely unraveled. I play piano and sing and write music and I was going to play a gig and after the gig, l was sexually assaulted.
I laid in a hospital bed, with positive test results for things that could fortunately be treated and removed but my mind was undone. In that moment I relived not only that night, but the night when I was 18, and the 3 years when I was 7-10.
The next morning I woke up, and it’s like I was back in time; like the 13 years I had been recovered from my eating disorder; never existed. My arms, had words like WORTHLESS and FAT FAILURE carved into them, once again. I took laxatives and I purged and I starved myself and desperately tried to regain control of my body in the only way I knew how.
I dropped from a healthy 108 pounds, to 75 pounds, in just two short months. My husband was scared and horrified. My children who both need me, only had half of me because the other half was numb and empty and sad and dead inside.
I woke up every morning, begging God, to kill me; to give me cancer or to let me get hit by a car just anything to take me out. I was done, at the end of my rope. But the beauty is that when we reach the end of our rope, we have only reached the beginning of God’s. And unlike ours, His doesn’t end.
I cried out to Him and I told Him that I needed someone to love me. My mother knew the abuse went on and she chose not to save me. My father died and no one ever rescued me. I chose a counselor who was through our insurance but I didn’t really choose her; God did. It turns out she is a strong believer. For the first few months, we skirted around the issues and I did outpatient eating disorder support groups etc. but for the very first time, just two weeks ago, I shared with her in depth, my story.
Since I write music I decided to write out the graphic details of my story in the form of a sort of poem. And I read it to her, it was about 20 minutes long. And by the end of that 20 minutes, something amazing began to take place. First it was as if this huge weight was being lifted. Not all of it just in part but it was very powerful. And I couldn’t look up at her, I couldn’t make eye contact. And as I put the paper down, as I finished reading the gruesome details of what had taken place, for me; I didn’t have to look up; I could hear her; she was weeping.
I was in a fetal position on the couch in her office, and through sobs, she asked if she could hug me; if that would be ok.
I nodded, and all of a sudden, there she was, weeping beside me. She reached her arms around me and held me and I just sobbed in her arms. Two weeks ago, was not only the first time I felt safe enough with someone, to share my story; it was the first time, that any nurturing force, ever held me. My mother never did. This woman held me and cried with me and prayed with me and told me how brave and how strong I am and how she can’t believe the things I’ve achieved without any counsel or help in my life.
And being able to be open with her, has enabled me to allow a few close friends from church, into my world. I serve on worship team and I lead worship at a local homeless shelter for addicts who are getting back up on their feet. On the outside, I look like a growing Christian woman. But on the inside I’ve been slowly dying for years. And what happened in September, nearly took me out… But God is faithful and He will restore the years that the locusts have taken. I believe that and I will hold onto hope.
What is the alternative? What other choice is there? To lay down and give up? To die? I am just beginning the hardest parts of my journey in healing. I am scared but I won’t walk away from this and hide anymore.
I don’t want to survive; I want to thrive… I’m ready to heal…
I have friends who are faithful prayer warriors who love me unconditionally. I have a husband who tries to be supportive and two beautiful children. I have a wonderful church family. But most of all, I have an amazing God, who refuses to render His artwork, as incomplete.
When I read your horrifying story, I bawled like a baby. I am so sorry, and I understand what you endured. THANK YOU, for being brave enough, courageous enough, strong enough, to write this book. It has changed everything for me. I went from feeling safe enough to share with one person; to feeling brave enough, to continue on this road, until I am mended, and healed, and revitalized from the inside out.
I love you dear sister in Christ. And I just had to reach out and tell you, that your story, and your wisdom, had forever changed the life, of this marked soul…