Years went by before I thought about what happened the night my virginity was stolen. I journaled the details as they played back in my mind through a letter I wrote to my mother as part of my healing process.
I had planned on waiting until marriage to give myself to my husband. I heard in youth group the best way to start a marriage is to be sexually pure. But everything changed after my parent’s divorce.
As I wrote the letter to my mother almost twenty years after Josh raped me, I remembered a conversation just days before my boyfriend had broken up with me. My mother had suggested I go on the pill. She knew I was dating an older guy and she feared I would become pregnant. She explained that older guys would expect me to have sex with them.
Years later anger poured out of me as I scribbled the memories on the page of my journal. I realized my mother had given me permission to have sex. She had told me guys expected it. Her words caused me to question the idea of the sanctity of marriage. Instead of telling me to save and value myself she told me to give myself away.
I realized that when Josh pushed his way into me I never fought him, I never yelled, I never ran-away, but I succumbed. I never told anyone. I thought it was my fault. I never should have gone to my girlfriend’s house to visit her brother when no one else was home. But was I asking for sex? I had told Josh “no”, but he never listened. He took what was mine. He raped me, but I never called it rape. Could it be that I thought he expected sex and I should give in to him, because of what my mother told me?
From that point on, at sixteen, I vowed that no one would dump me at my doorstep again like Josh had done. Next time I would be good enough, not to be rejected. When my ex-boyfriend returned to me I won him over sexually. I secured my place in his life by moving into his apartment before my senior year of high school.
Although I knew he cheated on me, he smoked, he drank, and he had no ambition for his life I feared that I would never find someone else to love me. Finally, after two and a half years my mother’s loving words gave me confidence and courage to leave that unhealthy relationship behind. She said, “Kirsten, you’re a special young lady and you deserve so much better than Ed. I love you and I want you to move back home.”
My mother’s words changed the direction of my life. She spoke truth to me in love when I was heading down the wrong road with the wrong man.
Josh’s choice led me down a path to win a man over by being sexual. Josh is only partially to blame, as are my father’s comments toward women, his infidelity, abandonment and betrayal of our family. Today I also blame the music, movies, and media that encourage women to be sexual and promiscuous. But ultimately the choice was mine.
I chose to turn from God and go down the wide road that led to my destruction.
God was calling me to forgive Josh as I wrote the memories on the page of my journal. I decided to believe that my friend’s brother didn’t fully understand the impact of his selfish choice to take my innocence. I looked to Jesus as my example. If Jesus could say, after being brutally beat and nailed to a cross, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do,” (Luke 23:34) then I could forgive Josh.
When I started praying for God to bless Josh, I knew I truly forgave him. I wanted Josh to know God’s healing. Jesus died for Josh and for me. God showed us grace, the free gift of salvation, with Jesus death on a cross. He took the punishment of our sin. I must show Josh and others the same undeserved grace that I receive from a forgiving God. When I do, I am set free to love.
We are confused, wounded and broken children looking for love. I can now see the pain and woundedness of those who hurt me. We try to fill the God void in our lives with the temporary self-gratification of sex, material possessions, wealth, and power. I learned that only Jesus can satisfy our hearts desire for what we most long for: to be loved. He will heal our brokenness and help us to forgive those who hurt us when we ask.
I have experienced freedom from the bondage of bitterness to help others who are struggling with past pain that is causing conflict in their lives. Through my book and classes many are living the abundant life that Christ promised. I help people recognize the lies and deception of the enemy that keeps people from experiencing all that God has for them and replacing those lies with the truth of God’s Word. Jesus said, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10).
Are you ready for an abundant life? Healing can happen for you.
God’s Word to Live By:
I will bring health and healing; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. I will cleanse them from all the sin they have committed against me and will forgive all their sins of rebellion against me. (Jeremiah 33:6,8)
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. (Micah 7:18)
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)
And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins. (Mark 11:25)
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34)
All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (Acts 10:43)
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. (Colossians 3:13)
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)
I write to you, dear children, because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. (1 John 2:12)