i believe 100% that i am being prompted to write this. i don't know why. i don't know for who. maybe it's just for me. but i decided a very long time ago that if at all possible, i would use this experience to help other people. so, if this helps, then that's wonderful.
as a child (approximately from the age of 6 to the age of 8) i was sexually molested by a close family member. i will not go into detail as that is not my purpose in writing about this. all you need is the background, really: my parents did not become aware of the abuse until i was 13, after an unsuccessful suicide attempt. it was battled in court for almost 6 years, due to a loophole in state law.
i spent my teen years (and even into college) in and out of therapy,battling major issues with depression, my self-esteem, guilt and flashbacks from the abuse. i became aware that my experiences are not uncommon. i was extremely upset by this. i had been through hell, i could not stand to think that so many others would experience what i have. as i went through counseling and saw the HUGE difference it made in every aspect of my life, i decided that i would do everything i could to help others with my experiences. this is not something i talk about a lot. this is not something i will discuss with just anyone. i have found that i have been prompted to share my experiences with some very different people, some i know well and some i do not.
at 18, my senior year of high school, i began seeing a new counselor.she was with lds social services. i had never seen a counselor from ldsss before. my counselor told me of this new program, a class specifically for women who had been through some form of abuse. the class did not concentrate on the abuse itself, but on learning to heal through Christ. so that is how i found myself attending an eight week class with 9 other women. the name of the class is called SOLE:Survivors of Life Experiences.
walking into class the first week, i was extremely apprehensive. i was by far the youngest woman in the class. i have no idea what type of abuse those amazing women had been through--i believe some had dealt with spousal abuse, some parental neglect, others physical, emotional,and sexual abuse. but really, it didn't matter. we were there to support and love each other, to pray for each other, to help each other overcome the struggles we dealt with daily as a direct result of the horror we had each been through.
in the front page of the manual we received was this quote:
"The gospel of Jesus Christ is not insurance against pain. It is a source in the event of pain, and when that pain comes (and it will come, because we came here to earth to have pain among other things),when it comes, rejoice that you have the resource to deal with your pain."
how true this is! life happens. terrible, horrible, unspeakable things happen as a result of the choices of others, and even as a result of living here on earth. but i know that Christ is there to help me heal from my pain, the same as he is for every other person.
over the next few weeks we discussed who we were as children of God.we talked about who He is, how we can find peace in faith and obedience to Him. we discussed forgiveness, repentance, humility, and the application of the atonement in our lives. through the scriptures,talks and stories from apostles and prophets, and each other, we learned how we can endure to the end--with the help of our Savior.
one night stood out to me the very most. each lesson was accompanied by some sort of interactive object lesson. this particular night our counselors set up an obstacle course. they blindfolded us, put us in a dark room, and one by one handed us the end of a rope. this rope was tied to desks, chairs, wound around stacks of books, portable blackboards. the rope went under desks, led us in circles, and at times was tied in so many knots it was difficult to tell where it led.my counselor gave me a little push and i was on my own. completely.slowly and methodically i felt my way forward with my feet. at first i tried using one hand on the rope. this did not work well at all! after a few steps i ended up using both hands. one inch at a time i scooted forward, feeling my way in the darkness. i crawled under desks. i stepped over chairs. once i even had to get on my tummy and scoot under a row of desks--all to keep from losing grip on the rope. after what seemed like forever in darkness, i felt a hand on my shoulder. i was pulled into a tight embrace. my counselor held me for a moment,and in my ear she whispered: "well done, thou good and faithful servant. welcome home." (see Matthew 25:21)
i felt the tears roll down my face. this was it. i knew, the entire time, she was there, watching me. she was helping me and i didn't even know it. the whole time i was wandering in the dark, she had been right by my side, just waiting for me to get to the end, to welcome me home.
and so it is with my Savior. i cannot see him. sometimes i don't even know he is there. and yet, he is right by my side, helping me, cheering for me, crying with me. he loves me. he knows the pain i have gone through, the pain i continue to go through. the nightmares. the flashbacks. the neuroses, the struggles, the temptations, the hurt and anger i have been through. he knows that i still struggle, on an almost daily basis. and he is there weeping for me, and bolstering me up. he believes in me.
"Be patient in afflictions, for thou shalt have many; but endure them, for, lo, I am with thee, even unto the end of thy days" (D&C 24:8). i hope this has helped whomever it is meant for. i am more than willing to talk to anyone who needs someone to listen. someone who has been through something similar--or even not. i will be more than happy to give suggestions of scriptures, talks, quotes, and poems that have helped me get through the worst.
but most importantly: do not forget that you are loved. you are not alone. you can get through this, whatever it may be. be strong. rely on the Lord, he is there for you.
i look forward to the day that i will hear in my ear,
"Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."