I was in the middle of sixth grade when my family moved from a south Dallas suburb, away from everything I’d known, to an affluent town northwest of Dallas. All the kids in my new class already had their group of friends. I did not fit in with these rich, snobby kids. I felt an intense sense of being less-than. With both my parents being at work a lot, it was an extremely difficult period where I experienced lots of rejection.

Because of this rejection, I began to seek love, attention and acceptance in all the wrong places.

I started hanging out with the older kids and drinking. I finally felt like I fit in through all the attention I was receiving from older guys. That is until I started receiving unwanted attention.

At 16 years old, I was raped by my best friend’s ex-boyfriend in his attempt to hurt her. He succeeded in his endeavor: she was hurt and she took her pain out on me by spreading vicious gossip throughout the school. I was an innocent victim caught in the crossfire of their hate. I had been betrayed and raped by someone I trusted as well as abandoned, further hurt and shamed by a friend I loved.

Because of this traumatic event, I experienced shame and condemnation like never before. How could I have let this happen? How could I have been so stupid? What was wrong with me? 

I lost my voice.

I didn’t fight the horrible things people said about me because I so desperately just wanted to move on and pretend it never happened. I withdrew from friends and family, started drinking daily and acting out. I hated myself and everyone else.

At 17, I met a guy who I thought was the “love of my life,” a charismatic, intelligent and fun guy; and above all else, he loved me. I got pregnant right away. But it wasn’t long before I realized he had lower self-esteem than I did. Our joint insecurities led to an extremely toxic relationship.

But when you have such poor self-worth, you feel as if you do not deserve any better.

I survived three and a half years of severe, relentless physical and emotional abuse. I was convinced I could change him and unwilling to give up the idea of a perfect family for my son. About a year after the birth of our son, we started doing hard drugs to cope with the deep pain we faced.

I eventually escaped the abusive relationship, but encountered new problems on my own. I was using drugs to numb the pain of the lies I’d been fed for so long and to deal with the abuse I’d suffered. I had finally found an effective method to cope with the pain and low self-worth. Drugs were my escape for the next 10 years of my life.

I can see now that the real reason for my low self-worth was that I was alienated from God.

I had been living for so long as if I were floating alone in a remote sea without meaning, not caring about anything, especially myself. So the first step in my search for significance was to turn to God, grab His outstretched hand and come out of the darkness to find hope and realize my life is significant. I knew this in my head, but how could I really experience that truth in my heart?

I knew my next step was putting into practice Romans 12:1-2, which says, “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

I had to break my strongholds and set new ways of thinking about myself. This breakthrough finally came when I asked God into my heart and became reconciled to Him. There was a tangible shift in my perspective.

My perception was finally in line with God’s.

My thinking had changed, which led to a shift in my behavior.

Through this surrender to God’s truth my mind has become progressively renewed. And as my mind is renewed, so is my lifestyle; strongholds are broken; I am transformed. My self-worth is no longer contingent on others’ opinions of me or my performance. I am no longer in bondage. I will not be afraid. I have a VOICE! I can’t change my past, but I will not give it power over me. The abuse I suffered as a 16-year-old was not my fault. I will not continue to let this pain hold me down, suffocate me or keep me from the freedom I deserve and that God so desperately wants me to experience.

God loves me so much that He sent Jesus to die for me.

Jesus took on all my sins so I could be reconciled to God. I am completely forgiven for any wrongs I have committed and I can forgive others for the wrongs done to me. I am fully pleasing to and totally accepted by God. I am complete in Christ. This is God’s Truth, this is my truth and this is the basis for my self-worth. I now have a new self-awareness and strive to resemble Jesus in all I do. I will never again be conformed to any negative worldly thinking when God has released so much provision. I can see myself through His eyes and experience ongoing transformation.

-A Grace House Testimony

Join us Thursday, May 25th at the Phoenix Ballroom for A Night with Grace House – Let Hope Arise. Throughout the evening, you will have a chance to enjoy dinner while hearing more testimonies of the healing power of Jesus. The event is from 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. and individual tickets are $40. Table prices vary. Learn more and purchase a ticket at gracehousewaco.com