I Was Molested: The Story I Didn’t Tell For 12 Years.
Editor’s Note: Today, Jessica Hurst shares her story. So often we breeze over what we actually do and think and feel that bring comfort to the pain of our past, and I love how Jessica lays out exactly what she did and believed that healed her. She tweets at @jhurst21. – Lauren
12 years. 12 years that my voice fell silent to pain, embarrassment, and anger. I was angry. Angry that I was molested. I couldn’t come to terms with it, didn’t want to accept it, and acted like it never happened to me. In my mind, if I didn’t think about it or talk about it, it didn’t happen.
I was ten. I wanted to have a “normal” childhood, but even up until the abuse happened, my childhood was far from normal.
By age ten, I had gone through things no child should ever have to endure. Abandonment, physical and emotional abuse, trust issues, self-loathing — so that by time I was molested, I completely shut down.
All I wanted to hear was, “it’s going to be ok, I’m here for you, it wasn’t your fault,” but I had no one, and still wasn’t telling a soul. I was scared and embarrassed about it. I didn’t want to talk about it, so I conjured up a smile and rarely let it leave my face. I was always a
joyful person, so if I’m always smiling and happy, no one will suspect a thing right?
People close to me started noticing something was different about my behavior though. I had problems with authority, and had the attitude of, “it’s my way or the highway.” When people brought it up, I tried to blame it on my parents not really being around. Slightly true, but not the real reason for my anger. I was angry at God.
I went through phases where I was so angry at God that I couldn’t bear opening my Bible. I didn’t understand why this it had to happen to me.
In my mind, he should have stopped it. In my mind, God was done with me, so I was done with him. I still attended church regularly, but I was just going through the motions. There was one thing that I couldn’t pretend didn’t grab every muscle of my heart: worship. I’ve always loved singing, and lyrics have always spoken to me, so of course in church, worship was my favorite.
Song after song resonated with my broken heart, and I could tell God was tugging me back into His arms, ready to welcome me back to His heart. The song “How He Loves” got me every time. I just heard this little whisper, “Oh how I love you, Jessica.” I knew right when I heard the line “I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,” that it was time to let go. Time for healing to enter my life. But I couldn’t. I wasn’t ready and felt I had no one to lean on to help me through.
As the years went on, big changes happened in my life that helped me see how faithful God is and His grace in my life. I also realized God was preparing me, reviving those things in my life I thought were dead the day I was abused. I started building community, sharing little pieces of my story, strengthening my relationship with God, and ultimately believing I was strong enough for the story God gave me.
One day I was so overwhelmed with everything and was texting my mentor. She asked me what was making me so anxious, and I simply told her “things from my past keep coming up.” Never in my life had so many TV shows, messages from church, or books I was reading addressed sexual abuse as it seemed they had been in the past months leading to that conversation with her.
I got away from the topic with her by saying that it wasn’t a conversation you have over text. The next time I saw her in person, I couldn’t avoid telling her. I stalled and stalled, and finally uttered out the words I’d never spoken aloud: “When I was ten, I was molested, and haven’t told anyone.”
From there, I started feeling free. I started seeing a counselor, and slowly started telling a few close friends.
Four months later, in Uganda on a missions trip, I started by telling my team my WHOLE story (not the one I used to tell that left out parts) and then asked them to support me, and just be there for me. They constantly encouraged me even when I thought I couldn’t go on.
Not once, until I was in Uganda, did it occur to me to let God into the pain because He felt it as well. I realized on my trip that God was with me during everything. Psalm 147:3 became sort of my go-to verse. “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Here I thought I was going for a mission trip to help and love on those in need, when I was the one most in need. I needed love. I needed help. I needed to be healed and put back together. The trip was more than I could have ever expected. It was the turning point.
I was able to declare truth over myself. I went on a rooftop in Uganda, my team circled around me, stood on a chair, and boldly declared truth. “It wasn’t my fault. I am not defined by my abuse. There is power in my story. I am strong enough.” and so on.
Not only did I declare these things, I believed them, and I could feel the weight leaving. I realized my voice held so much power. I experienced something that day I had been waiting so long for: FREEDOM.
I was able to finally put my burden at the feet of Jesus and rid myself of it. I am free and will continue living in that freedom.
My voice is no longer silenced by fear or shame. Instead, my story is being told because I know there’s a purpose behind it.
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