I want to share the joy and change in my heart, that someone else may have hope. The holiday season can be one of a lot of joy, busyness, and fun. But, it can also be a difficult one and a very isolating time, especially when it seems that people around you are in such different place. I personally do not look forward to this time of year with great excitement. December 28, 2012 is the day I was raped and the change in weather to the cold and darkness, and the holidays just seem to be a constant reminder of that time. While I am not excited about the holidays I am excited that this year is going to be different. That is because I am different and I want to use this season to press into the truth, into my identity in Christ and make a difference through the one thing I do have. That is my testimony. In the coming weeks I am going to be sharing different parts of my journey and celebrations of the transformation from victim to conqueror.
Silence and isolation are the biggest lies, that in hindsight, I have faced. It was the silence, isolation and facade that I put up that everything was okay with everyone but a few close people that gave that event such a stronghold. That was when I thought no one understood, that I was alone, that no one wanted to hear my story. It took a lot of patience from the people around me filling me up with truth, listening with such care when I did share pieces of my story. And it took time for me to trust that I could share my full story. This is me continuing to find a voice, to be bold and learning to say there is no shame in what happened. If you told me a year ago that I would be sharing what happened, that I would have confidence and be a new person, I wouldn’t have believed it. Now that I am seeing what power I do have in my story I am learning to share and be confident. I don’t want anyone I know to go through this or anything similar alone. And I want to also encourage any of you that it does get better. And if you are reading that and don’t believe me, it’s okay, I didn’t believe those that told me that either.
As for those of you supporting loved ones the biggest thing I can say is be patient. It’s okay if someone isn’t excited about the holidays, maybe it is something that triggers their minds with moments of their lives they would rather not think about. Don’t try to force someone to be happy, simply be with them. Don’t not invite them places, just respect if the answer is no, or love them if they go and they aren’t their normally bubbly happy selves. Sometimes it gets tiring wearing a mask and trying to meet what the world expects. And while you may not be putting those expectations on that person, realize there can be a lot of guilt or struggle that “I’m the only one not having fun and I just need to suck it up so I don’t ruin it for everyone else” at least there was for me. So this holiday season be mindful of where the people around you are at and show them the true meaning of the holidays: love, grace, joy and peace.