The truth is, my identity did not change because of what you did. The truth is I am still pure in God’s eyes and the fact that I am saving myself for my husband, he is going to be the one to receive that gift. That night, we didn’t have sex, I didn’t have a say in it. It was rape. None of it was my fault, I had a right to be out on a walk, I have a right to expect to be safe while out and for my boundaries to be respected. I should be able to go out and not have to worry that I am going to be threatened. I should never feel like I am going to die at the hands of another human being. The truth is this did not make me ugly, unclean, or unlovable. This did not break my spirit or lead me to having a hardened heart. The truth is I am strong, I am me, a daughter of God, I am blameless, I am determined, I am beautiful, I am loved, I am cherished, I am loyal, I am funny, I am accepted, I am courageous, I am a survivor.
See, I want to share a story with you. When I spent time in Africa, I spent time in Rwanda. I got to hear amazing stories of forgiveness. Stories that made my stomach turn, as I heard a woman talk about the man that murdered her father, and I listened to him tell his side of the story. I heard as they talked about how God’s love, grace, and mercy worked in their hearts and they now live by each other and share a cow. They are sharing a livelihood. While I was there I wrote in my journal “My prayer right now is to be able to forgive, to fully forgive. To love and humble my self as Christ did, as Chantal and Jon did. To be able to see a bigger pictures, a picture that goes beyond me when I am wronged. That will be a moment of loving and living as Christ did, it will be a point where I can be like him and in him. God give the opportunity to forgive in the same capacity and to grow closer to you.” I don’t know if you pray, I don’t know if you know the Gospel, but prayer is dangerous in that way. See, I don’t think this was God’s plan. It was Satan’s plan to try to tear me away from Jesus, but you know what this has done? It has drawn me closer to him, it has been a struggle to get to where I am ready to say, I forgive you.
Forgiving you doesn’t mean I am forgetting, it means I am going to let go of the anger, the hatred, the bitterness. I am going to look to something outside of myself, at the bigger picture. I am going to look toward the truth. I am going to trust God that, he sent his only son to die on the cross to bare all the sins of the world, and that includes this. But in this I want to tell you some of what I have learned over the last year and a half.
I have learned that I am a part of an amazing family. There have been been people by my side through this and I was never left to do this on my own. I am part of the family of God, I have even made new relationships or taken relationships to new deeper levels because of this. I had people willing to take my calls at 2 am when I was ready to give up, I had people who would take time off work to be with me, I had people who called to ask how I was, I had people who told me they loved me and spoke the truth over and over again even if I wasn’t listening, I had people fighting harder for me then I was fighting for myself. See, I was never left in the dark. There was a lot of pain, and there still often is that pain and heartache. Let me tell you some of the differences. I was afraid to leave my place, then I got a dog her name is Leah and I could go places with her, now I feel safe to go without her. I couldn’t and didn’t sleep, I would sleep during the day on a couch because I felt safe, like people were keeping guard of me, I was having nightmares and flashbacks every night, now it varies and I can sometimes go a whole week without having a single one. I wouldn’t go out with friends because I was scared of crowds, of loud busy places, now I can go and if I feel anxious I can calm myself down. I was too afraid to go on walks, I got Leah and had to take her, there were times I panicked and had flashbacks, now I can walk and if I do feel anxious I remind myself of the truth and I am able to go. The thought of leaving my pup even for a night was overwhelming and made me feel like I had to be dependent on her, well this summer I went 5 nights without her and not a single problem except for some anxiety, it went so well I am doing it again next month. See, look what I have accomplished in the year and a half. It has been a lot.
I want to apologize to you. I am sorry for holding onto a deep anger, an anger that was a level of hatred. I am sorry that I wished horrible things upon you. I am sorry for not being able to see past myself and at the bigger picture. I don’t know your story, I don’t know your past, and I don’t know the hurts that you have experienced. I am sorry if someone hurt you so bad that this was what you felt you needed to do to deal with it. I am sorry that things of this broken world led you to think this would make things better for you. I know that this world is hard to deal with, and it is so easy for it to become a hopeless, dark place. I also know that there is hope and grace.
I want you to know that I am going to be praying for you. I am praying that God works in you and changes your heart. That you feel him drawing you towards him and know that the forgiveness and peace he offers is real. That it breaks my heart that you are so stuck in the chains and hurt of this world that this was the result. I am praying that you be set free of those things. I know that if you let him, God will change your life and the symptoms that are showing of a broken, hardened heart will be removed as he softens and breaks your heart in a way that leads you to knowing him. I am also thanking God for his faithfulness in this, for the love, grace, compassion and joy I have been gifted with. And I do hope that someday you can experience the freedom of living for God.
This doesn’t mean the struggle is over for me, far from it. But, this is where my heart is right now. And this is where I want it to stay. So in those times that I feel sad, defeated, panicked or anything else that leads me to a place of anger and hatred, this is what I am looking to, because this is what I want. To be able to be set free from my anger and bitterness so I can be closer to God. So I am letting go of this part, I am letting go of what I could not control and I am taking control of what I can. Will I ever forget or think what you did was right? No, but that doesn’t change the fact that you are a child of God. I was lost, I have not always had a personal relationship with Him, but know that he is relentlessly pursing you. And while I don’t understand that, I am giving that piece to him and know that in this moment I am forgiving you through the strength he has given me.