I heard a sermon at Passion today about Breaking the Chains of our Past. Louie Giglio was speaking, he said in order to move forward we must face and embrace our past. You don’t have to accept it or like it, but you do have to face it and embrace it as part of your story. That hit me harder than a ton of bricks. Periods of my life came flooding into my mind reminding me that I have pushed them to the side, letting them define me and not let me move forward.
Here’s the straight-up, held-inside, overwhelmed-by, eaten-up-by, afraid-of, absolute truth. I was sexually assaulted some years ago by someone that I thought was a friend. It’s been a long road since of healing, hurting, reliving, forgiving and releasing and it’s not yet over. But I believe in the power and I believe that something happens in the spiritual atmosphere when you put things out in the open, rather than hide them and allow the devil to use them to eat at you. I know that’s what happens, because it’s been happening to me for years. It took me over a year before I told a single soul what happened to me. It took over four years for me talk through + even begin to release it.
Yes, this is 100% real. Yes, this is something that I’ve dealt with over the last years. Yes, this is something that I’ve had to work through, think through, walk through, and most definitely trust through. It’s hard to look back and ask Jesus where He was then, in those moments, in those days. It’s hard to look back and process through what I was feeling. It’s hard to let my mind think back to those times of such struggle, but when you allow Jesus into your struggle, into your mistake, into your fear, He does redeem. He does show up. And He does hear you.
Here’s the thing about sexual assault, though. It doesn’t end in that moment, or that situation. It takes a deeper root into your brain. My assault didn’t end in sexual assault, it began there. It took root and led me to losing all of my memory up to that point. It took root and led me to a pornography addiction that lasted over three years. It took root and told my heart that I was worthless, forgotten, abandoned, alone, useless, fearful, nothing.
There was a little girl inside me that was screaming out for help, but couldn’t be heard. I had stuffed her so deep down, not even her loudest cry could be heard. She was hurting, she was alone, and she was afraid. She tried to keep going, moving, walking, but at some point, she just couldn’t anymore. Her screams became a whisper and then silence. She just stopped crying out, it wasn’t doing any good anyway.
It’s taken me the last six years to walk through this, talk through this, remember and release details all over again.
I tell you all this because I need you to understand what I needed all those years and maybe, you’ll be able to help someone else.
One : I needed someone to listen.
Someone that wouldn’t judge. Someone that didn’t hold their mouth open in disbelief and give me punishments for something I couldn’t control. I couldn’t control it. You could take away all my devices, but that doesn’t change what’s deeply rooted. You’re only trimming the top of the tree, not going into the roots and finding what was actually making the tree grow.
Two : I needed someone to lead me back to Jesus.
I was scared to tell anyone, as are most that are addicted. Because oftentimes when they tell someone, the person gives them a box they should stay in to protect theirselves. The person they tell never helps them find a way to the root of the addiction. Yes, I was addicted to porn, but after four long years, I’m free. I’ve opened myself up to people that graciously listened and found the source of the problem and then helped me to seek God in it.
It took me until a moment of full surrender, reckless abandonment and becoming open in front of those dearest to me that I realized why. I had put a banner over myself that hid that little girl that was used, abused, and hurt and I buried her deep down in my heart. She was screaming for help, but she couldn’t be heard. I didn’t want to hear her. I didn’t know how to hear her. I was blocking off what happened to me and telling myself I was changed, different, and worthless. But in turn, that subconsciously blocked off every good and bad thing that had happened prior to that in my life.
Three : I needed someone who chose love over protection.
I know you’re scared, but please. Please don’t show that. Love her, find her someone to work through it with her. Lead her to God. Keep reminding her of her worth, not watching her like she’s an alien. She’ll see it and it’ll hurt. And she wont realize it does until four years later. So please. Just be gracious. Be loving rather than over-protective. She’ll be okay, but you have to choose to love on her extra now. Remind her that her worth is in God, not tell her that she’s wrong because of this. She’s still an amazing little girl although this is attacking her. Just love her.
I know this is a lot to take in, but I need you to hear me out.
This is real. This hurts hearts, relationships, families, everyone. This is so important.
So if you see someone hurting, don’t attempt to trim the top of their tree of heart, commit to diving deep with them and finding the root of the problem.
Heal the roots, not the branches.
I promise you He’ll give you everything you need to dive deep and help her through this, but you just have to commit to her, commit to Jesus’ work in her, and most of all, commit to loving her through and through.
This isn’t her fault and she really can’t control it. She’ll be so grateful that you took the chance and walked with her through the mess and misery.
As much as this was so hard to write, I know someone needs to hear it.
I love you guys.
If you want to learn more about what truly goes on when someone is addicted to pornography, Fight the New Drug is a great source. This site is simply for educating and helping to stand up against the new drug : porn. There are informational videos that help you to see the process in her brain. There’s always something deeper.