“My family considered it normal for male relatives to sexually molest or abuse female relatives.” It is a familiar statement I’ve heard from many women. They are stories of broken pieces that seem as though they can never make anything beautiful again.
It is a story I can and cannot relate to. I grew up in a wonderful Christian family. Still, as an 11-year-old I was sexually molested by a trusted family friend at the one place in the world I considered safe—my grandmother’s house. There were many reasons why I didn’t tell anyone about the incident.
As a child, I felt I had no voice and anyone and everyone would believe this grown man over me. On one hand,I thought it was somehow my fault. I was just entering puberty and my body was changing.
I had been told throughout my life that things like wearing shorts or sleeveless tops was ungodly for a woman and thus, a girl. It was summer and the one place and time we were allowed to wear shorts was on my grandparents farm during the sultry Missouri summers.It happened while I was staying the weekend with them one July.
I buried the incident inside of me, a secret too big for an 11-year-old to carry, yet too shameful to reveal. I felt surely I was the only one this had ever happened to. Sex, in general, was not a subject we talked about in our house. My husband was the first one I ever revealed this truth to.
It Happens To Others
Understanding that more than one in six women have been the victim of sexual molestation, assault or rape was eye-opening to me. What happened to me, as a very sheltered child was horrible, but I realize it was nothing compared to many who tell of repeatedly being used by male relatives and friends. Many times those assaults were accompanied or the result of the perpetrator being drunk or high.
This is an unforgivable offense. As a matter of fact, as a child, it never occurred to me to forgive my offender. For years whenever a situation would remind me of being back in that bedroom in my Grandma’s two-story house, I would see Fred as a huge monster looming over me.
I could feel the same fear I felt as an 11-year-old girl. It was all-consuming, self-protecting and paralyzing fright wrapped up into one event I never wanted to relive again, but did at the drop of a hat.
Forgiveness Equal Freedom
It was at a Joyce Meyer event where I heard her story of forgiving her father for repeatedly raping her that I was able to forgive Fred. Shakily, I stood and repeated the words she said.
“I choose to forgive Fred for molesting me, for scaring me, for setting up fear in me. I release him to You, God. I will not live under this shame any more. Thank You, Jesus, for washing me clean.”
When I did that, I immediately saw Fred as a shriveled up little old man. I said out loud, “I’ve been afraid of this all along?” The fear of him immediately vanished.
It wasn’t until later in my weight loss journey that I was able to understand that in part, Fred was like a father figure in our family. When he molested me I could no longer trust father authorities who had any hint of misconduct.
This was the reason I couldn’t fully trust in or rely on God. Understanding this giant disconnect, I was able to renounce the lie that God does not see me as a person of value, that He only sees me as a person He can use and therefore I can only trust myself and not Him.
Then, I asked Him His truth. His presence engulfed me. He reminded me that I am His beloved daughter. He reassured me that will protect me and always be with me through any of life’s difficulties. He added that He will use the broken pieces of my life to make something beautiful. This helped me understand God is my protector. I do not have to self-protect by allowing pounds and pounds to stay on my body.
Forgiveness Set Me Free
Forgiveness set me free. I could have chosen to stay in a prison of fear and shame for the rest of my life. Instead I chose to use the key Jesus had already given me. I chose to forgive. Even though Fred was dead by that time, I still had allowed him to hold me captive.
In my life there were many who helped me forgive. Joyce was one, but so were a myriad of coaches who helped me understand and connect the dots as to why I couldn’t totally trust God.
They had insight into what I couldn’t see. I longed to do that for others. Through the years, God has blessed me with the training, experience and discernment to do just that. When I hear the stories, God gives me insight through His anointing and I know the next question to ask.
God Uses Our Brokenness
One big issue I had to overcome was losing over 250 pounds. My issue may not be your issue, but all of our issues stem from brokenness of some kind. Each of these broken areas have led to a spiritual disconnect, but God loves to repair those broken lines.
When God gives insight into those areas of brokenness and how they have held us back, His freedom begins to take hold in exciting ways. In the words of one of my coaching clients, “Each VIP Freedom session with Teresa is like Christmas morning because God always reveals another gift He has for me.”
I love that. I love that God takes our brokenness and turns it into something beautiful to help us go forward. It is just like Christmas to me too, because I get to witness lives being put back together again.
Doors for VIP Freedom Coaching, which is the only way I do one-on-one coaching, are open until Friday, Feb. 16 only. Then, they will close. I’m not sure when I will do another full session. This may be the last time until September.
I can only take limited numbers. Go here to learn more and to join: https://TeresaShieldsParker.com/VIP-Freedom-Coaching.
Bring all your broken pieces and watch God do something amazing. I will see you in the group.