Alive Again Ministries
Saturday, December 15, 2018
Helping broken people who truly want to change their lives

Catherine's Story


     I was raped when I was nine years old by someone I trusted to care for me. I didn’t feel like there was anyone I could tell so I pretended it didn’t happen, hoped it would just go away and prayed that it would never happen again. Even though it didn’t happen again the destruction and devastation that began that day continued within me for many years.

     At nine years old I hadn’t had my first boyfriend, first crush or first kiss. I hadn’t even had the first thought or desire for those things. But I had been raped. I was just beginning to learn to navigate socially in school and in the neighborhood. I was beginning to seek out and develop my own friendships when I learned that trust was something I could not risk in any relationship.

     At an age when I should have been growing in maturity, not only physically but mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as well, I became stunted. Although I continued to grow and develop physically, mentally my mind had to be trained to shut down all memory of that incident. I could not allow myself to think about what happened to me. I had to create another truth and repeat it often enough to convince myself. I could not allow myself to admit to the pain and anger that I felt inside. I learned to ignore my own emotions and make up new ones.

     I believed there was a God. I believed everything I’d always known about Jesus. I believed He just didn’t know about me. That somehow I’d escaped his notice. Otherwise, if he did know me then he’d allowed a horrible thing to happen to me and then how could he be the God I believed him to be?

     By the time I reached junior high I’d already been used in one way or another by most of the boys there. Along the way I discovered a certain power or control that I could have over any of those boys because I had something they wanted. As long as I had that power over them then I’d never be helpless, hurt or over powered by them or anyone else again.

     I continued on this path for many years doing the only thing I felt I was good at, the only thing I really believed I was meant for – to be used. Along the way I caught a glimpse of Jesus in other people – a teacher, a youth leader, a friend or coworker. I got as close to them as I could allow myself, just enough to be warmed by the life and light in them, but I’d eventually have to back away if they got too close, I couldn’t afford to trust.

     I eventually took a chance and started going to church. I just wanted to be closer to where Jesus was,in those people. But I didn’t know how to be any different myself so I just stayed on the outer fringe doing what I’d always done, using and being used. I turned to church and the people there when my own life got too dark and too cold. During that time I also got pregnant and had an abortion. No one ever knew. I already had a well practiced plan of deceit and denial in place to deal with this. I also had a deep dark hole within my mind and my heart to hide this new pain.

     Not long after the abortion I realized that the little glimpses of light and the brief warmth I was able to feel on the fringes at church were no longer enough to satisfy the increasing desire for something more, something true. It was time to make myself over. I got more involved in church, I got married and started a family of my own. On the outside I appeared in every way to have it together. I appeared to have a close, real relationship with Christ, a great marriage, not juggling but really balancing all of the responsibility of a new life, new marriage, and young family. I helped, I volunteered, I went to Bible study, I even taught a class once in a while. I prayed, I prayed, prayed, but I never got the answer to the one question that I’d refused to ask as a child and now couldn’t quit asking “What is wrong with me?”

     There had to be something wrong with me that would make someone brutalize me as a young vulnerable and helpless child. There had to be something wrong with me that made God not want to help me. There must be something wrong with me if I could finally have all I ever really wanted and still be so empty, to still wish to die as I had since I was nine years old. I believed Jesus was everything I’d always been told he was. I believed He could do all that I’d seen him do for everyone I knew. But I didn’t believe he’d ever be any of that for me so obviously something was wrong with me.

     I could no longer keep a lid on all of the pain and anger. I could no longer ignore the truth that my mind was refusing to deny or the emotions my heart had learned to ignore. Over the years it all began to seep out. I was trying desperately to keep others from seeing that damaged, worthless, messed up little girl hiding inside of me. God had overlooked her and I just wanted everyone else too as well. I felt I had to keep all of those emotions that were stirring within me, hidden or my secret would be found out. I was able to keep people from getting too close by covering over my pain with anger. It destroyed so many relationships and nearly destroyed my marriage and my relationships with my children.

     At the point when all of this within me was about to explode God led me to a Bible study for post abortive women. In that study I found forgiveness and healing for all of the pain of the abortion I’d had so long ago. I also found something I never dreamed I’d find. I saw a closer glimpse of Jesus than I’d ever seen. I felt his compassion, I felt his mercy and I felt his love for the first time up close, for me. He saw me. He knew me. I hadn’t escaped his notice. He really did love me.

     More than anything else in my life this scared me, terrified me. If he knew me, if I’d never been out of his sight all those years, then he not only knew what had happened to me, he also knew all the things I’d done in response to that, to myself and to others. I couldn’t bear to face what I knew was the real root of all of my pain much less face Jesus with all of that. So I did what I’d learned since I was nine years old; I buried, I denied and I pretended that I’d finally found the answer and all was well with my heart.

     The biggest problem with that was that I’d already gotten that up close glimpse, I’d tasted and seen that the LORD is good! The old ways of dealing with my pain were no longer enough to cover over my pain, they no longer satisfied the deepest desire of my heart – to be truly loved and cared for. Later that year, after almost thirty years, I finally told the secret I’d held all those years and I began the journey that God had intended for me all along, a journey to full healing, a journey to real love, a journey to Jesus on A Journey to Grace!

     He knew that nine year old little girl and he saw all of her pain, he felt it, he suffered right along with her. He did not leave her, he did not miss her or overlook her. He saw all of her attempts to cover over the wounds that had been inflicted on her. He felt such sorrow every time she tried to cover those wounds with someone or something other than him. He knew the hurt of that little girl’s heart and he wanted to hold and heal that heart in this woman.

     A Journey to Grace is so much more than a Bible study. It is the tool that God used to open up my heart, to show his tenderness, his love, his truth and his grace. It is the key that God used to unlock the prison of pain and despair and hopelessness and set me free.

     When once I couldn’t hear the music of his voice, his love or his presence, now he has made me to dance and in the midst of it all…..
He knows me!