This story is part of Safe Church Ministry's SOS series. In this post, an anonymous CRC congregant shares his first blog of his journey of recognizing, remembering, and processing the abuse he endured. Here is a link to the second part.
Why tell my story? I ask myself that question often. It would be much easier to just move on and thank God for giving me my life back. Who wants to hear about someone else’s pain and suffering, especially when it comes to abuse? Some of my story may offend some readers, I don’t apologize, it’s my story, it’s what happened to me. I can’t fit a lifetime into one blog, so I will break it up into parts, beginning with when God reset the trajectory of my life.
Abuse changes the trajectory of your life, it takes your innocence away. It sexualizes you before you are able to understand what God intended sex to be; and the consequences of that can be, and often are, life altering and catastrophic. I am not telling you my story because I need or want your sympathy. I am past that point in my healing journey. I am telling my story because it’s my hope and prayer that another male that reads my story might recognize his story and see that he’s not alone, there is a way out, and he can have the life that God intended him to have; and that it’s not just a life, it’s an abundant life!
Sin affects everything and parenting is not immune to the effects of sin. I firmly believe that when parents fail to instill the 3 basic needs listed below in their children they allow a target to be put on their children by the enemy. That then makes them more susceptible to the destructive work of the enemy through abuse.
These basic needs are:
- That I am unconditionally loved.
- That I have worthiness.
- That I am competent.
So here goes my story…
If a mind is like a room, there was always a corner of the room that I couldn’t see because it was too dark.
Why can’t I get out of bed? Well if I was more of a man, I wouldn’t have a problem getting my lazy butt out of bed. Everyone has struggles, what makes you think you’re so special? Man up! Get going! And so what seemed like just another “normal” day got started.
I knew I had a meeting at the church that night. Little did I know that this meeting would change the trajectory of what my life had been.
At the meeting at my church the pastor said, “A lot of people don’t remember being abused, but if you have a memory that you know is from a long time ago, but it is as fresh as the day you saw it and it doesn’t seem to relate to anything bad or good, then there is a possibility that it may be tied to abuse.”
As soon as I heard this, I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. I had a memory like that! One I’ve had as long as I can remember. A little voice in me started to say, “You need to look into this!”
At the time, I was living in a small house with 6 other people, which doesn’t allow for much privacy. I was worried about what I might find out and how I’d react, so I waited until I was home alone with time to recover from any reaction I might have. Then I began searching online about adult male survivors of sexual abuse. As I started to read some of the stories, it was like someone had taken a page out of my life story. I felt like a plastic bag filled with water that had suddenly been punctured by a pin, emotion gushing out of the small opening. I was so overwhelmed I felt I had to shut this down. I closed down the website and pulled myself together. The battle in my head was on. One voice saying, "You are on to something important," but another saying, "There is nothing there, why are you doing this to yourself? You can’t remember anything of the actual abuse so it didn’t happen!"
This was a very slow process, as sometimes weeks would go by before I felt I was ready to go back and do some more investigating. Each time brought the same results, another pin hole allowing more emotions to come pouring out. Each time I would consciously shut down emotionally because I believed I couldn’t deal with it all at once, it was too much. Yet each time I went through this, I felt the voice saying, “You are on to something!” get a little stronger, and I slowly gained more confidence going forward.
As I read about the lives of abuse victims, I learned that once you are abused, it's almost as if a target is put on you. Trouble seems to follow you around.
That certainly was the case for me. The darkness was so strong that sometimes I couldn’t even get out of bed. Many times I would think the world would be a better place without me and I would think about ending my life. Fortunately there always seemed to be a small quiet voice that would gently say, “That’s not how this story ends, there is a different ending to your story.”
Roughly two years after hearing those words from the pastor, I went to the funeral of a good friend’s dad. He was someone that I really respected, and I spent a lot of time at their house. At the funeral a lot of people spoke of how he was a Christian that lived by example. He didn’t preach or wag his finger, he just lived it. That night I was home alone working on some paperwork that I had spread out over my desk, and I started to look into more stories of men who had been abused.
As I thought about the funeral, I thought, why can’t I be that kind of person? I want to be that kind of person! Suddenly there was a sound like a piece of paper being torn in half; I felt like a scab had been torn off of me, but it wasn’t painful. Then I heard a sound of a rushing wind, and I instinctively put my hands out to cover my papers before I realized I was inside, and there was no wind. Overwhelmed and tired, I went to bed and slept till the morning. In my dreams, my mind was lit up from all the beautiful sunlight shining through. It was like the most magnificent sunrise I had ever seen. I was flooded with a total and complete feeling of just being loved and at peace. It’s very hard to describe that feeling, but if that was a taste of heaven, I can’t wait to go there. Words can’t do justice to the way I felt!
I still didn’t know what to do with what had happened to me. I called Focus on the Family’s help line and they prayed with me and suggested some books to read, one of them being “The Wounded Heart” by Dan Allender. They also encouraged me to see a counselor or therapist. All I knew was that an extraordinary thing had happened to me, and I couldn’t ignore it. For a little while I saw myself as the person God had intended me to be, all the hurt and the pain had been stripped away!