It has been fifteen years since I wrote and delivered that letter. I wrote a copy of the letter in my journal at the time. I reread it for the first time in preparation to share my story. As I reread the letter, every single promise and resolution I made has come to fruition. As I read through my journal of written prayers where I poured out my heart to God in desperate pleas for Him to heal all my brokenness and pain, he answered every single prayer I wrote. Not only has He healed all my brokenness and pain, He has exceeded what I asked Him to do. He healed me of issues from the rape that I did not ask to be healed from. I do not harbor any anger, fear, or bitterness toward my rapist. Nor do I have negative thoughts about myself because of the rape. I am overwhelmed by God’s relentless love for me!
My story of healing is a miracle from God. He gave me the gift of forgiveness and compassion through this experience. Forgiveness has led to freedom and compassion for others has led to kindness. When I encounter someone who is acting unkind, I intentionally go out of my way to show them kindness, because I know their unkindness is an outward manifestation of a deep inner ache. Life is difficult and everyone could benefit from kindness.
I am now married with three small children. I met my husband and best friend in the College of Architecture at my University. He was in my graduating class. We were married a week after graduation. My husband and I enjoy world travel and experiencing other cultures through their cuisine and by staying “off the beaten path.” I practiced architecture for seven years before welcoming our first child. During that time, I received my architectural license as well as my LEED Accredited Professional Certification. The day my first child was born was the day I quit my job to take on my favorite job thus far: mother. I am avidly involved in Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS). What a blessing to live life in community! I teach Sunday School. I would rather do something fun with my kids than clean. I am a stay-at-home mom who finds every excuse to get out of the house so as not to spend the day cooped up inside. I feel abundantly blessed. My life is so much more blessed and richer than I ever could have envisioned it!
I rarely think about the rape now. I still cry when I tell someone about it. I have had some restless and tearful nights as I have revisited this chapter of my life. However, I consider it worth it if sharing my story encourages one other person. If you have been a victim of rape, seek help. Don’t face this alone. God put us in a world with billions of people so we can live our lives together in community, encouraging one another. Go to your pastor. Find a Christian counselor, preferably one who specializes in sexual abuse and/or trauma. While all the support I received gave me the strength to press on and process the emotions I felt because of my rape, it wasn’t until I went to God with it that I experienced healing. Take it to God. He can and He will answer your prayers. I am living proof of that!
As I reflect on how God has given me hope when I was hopeless, an overwhelming sense of awe and wonder at the depth of God’s love for me, and a deep sense of kindness for everyone I encounter, I am grateful for the dark times I have faced in my life. For in the darkness, I found God’s presence. I found that God’s light permeated every facet of my life and being. I found the most profound deepening of my faith and trust in God. I found a deep appreciation for both the darkness and the light. In the darkness, I see the light because I see God’s goodness and faithfulness toward me:
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it (John 1:5 NIV).”