Today's post is part of a community response to Tamara's "What's a Girl Worth" blog post. The response has been more than amazing, so please go and check out the other blog posts. As I am getting ready to get married, I have once again come face-to-face with my past hurts. The things I thought were dead and buried were really just in a coma. I've had to take these hurts back to Jesus and face things again, forgive again, and heal again. Tony has been so amazing throughout all this. I know I say that all the time. But that's because it's true. I haven't wanted to share much details about my past via my blog, not out of shame or because I can't talk about it, but for two reasons: 1) I don't like to victimize myself, 2) I have completely forgiven the people involved and want nothing more than blessings, grace, and love in their lives.
But, sometimes in order to bring healing we have to let the darkness out into the light.
Today I am going to share some of past with you. I pray that this bring healing to myself and to anyone that reads it.
I was a pretty naive kid much of my life. I didn't learn about the birds and the bees until my fifth grade sex ed class. My mom and dad (forced by my mom) talked with me when I got home from school to make sure I didn't have any questions. Not surprisingly I had lots of questions. I guess passing tampons and condoms around the classroom and showing a B level music video left a little too much to the imagination. When I found out the mechanics of it all I promised my mom and dad that I would never EVER do that. I cried thinking about it. I even hand wrote a contract with drawing paper and pen that stated my aforementioned intentions of never engaging in such a seemingly violating act. Why on Earth a woman would ever put something inside her body, made no sense to me. I made my mom and my dad (whilst blushing, yet, I'm sure, relieved) sign my no-sex for life contract.
Oh, how things change.
I was never the cool kid growing up and by the time 7th grade rolled around I had gotten tired of not being noticed. I wanted guys to like me. While all my girlfriends were playing 7 minutes in Heaven and Spin the Bottle, I was at home with my parents reading R.L. Stine books, watching Caroline's Comedy Hour on A&E, and putting wax on my braces.
Being a nerd already, I was really great at learning and observing. I observed that guys liked girls that were cheerleaders, or wore shirts that showed their tummies (hello 1995!), or had long hair, and more importantly....didn't have big glasses (stuck behind a book), baggy clothes, and Hermoine-like hair.
After my recon mission I finally realized what I needed to do. I told my mom that I wanted to go shopping for all new clothes. I wanted to get contacts. I wanted to wear makeup. I wanted to try out for cheerleading. I wanted to get my hair straightened and highlighted. I wanted to be someone that would turn heads.
I had taken note of all the things that guys seemed to like and I became that girl. The nerdy Katie with a heart for saving the world, reading, writing, drawing, making people laugh, and playing in the dirt faded into oblivion, while the newer, blonder Katie took over.
Boy, did my plan work. I made the cheerleading squad. I got into the clique of cool girls. Reapplied my red lipstick in the hall after every class. I even got over my fear of sticking my finger in my eye so I could wear contacts. I had long since stopped eating so that I could be skinny. And, I had a boyfriend on the football team.
One that had roaming hands and a foul mouth.
All the innocence I had slowly started to fade away. In a short time, I had gone from innocent nerd to becoming the cheerleader that let her football player boyfriend crawl under the bus seats and do things to her in the dark.
I was 14.
My boyfriend after that was a super great guy. He actually restored a little of my dignity. He was the first person to bring me to church and youth group. Too bad I was so concerned about being noticed by him that I didn't spend a second listening about the Man that was already pursuing me.
Then he and I made a bad decision. I gave myself away to him at the age of 15. Everyone in the whole school knew about it by Monday morning. I got looks from the older guys. Those looks that asked "Can I be next?" The girls would smile at me and then turn and whisper. Some of the braver ones asked me what it was like. They were all doing the same thing according to rumors. However, I felt horrible about myself. Eventually it ruined our relationship and before I knew it the guy I thought I would marry one day was gone and replaced by someone else.
Things started to look up when, my freshman year, at the age of 16 a guy that had just graduated and was super popular started to call me. I was shy at first. He asked me on a date. I had never been on a date before. That date to the movies ended with us parked at the City Park in the darkness. Expectation hanging in the air thick like molasses. "Come on. Why so shy?" I gave in to the pressure. Our next "date" was in the basement of a friend's house where there was supposed to be a party. I gave myself away again that night on the cold, wet basement floor thinking that I would walk into the light of day with a boyfriend. A beautiful, popular one.
Instead of a boyfriend, I got rejection. I didn't hear from him for weeks. I called. I pursued. I cried. I waited. Finally, a call back. A conversation that ended with "Oh, did you think we were dating? No. We were just having some fun, ya know."
That day turned a corner for me. I had never drank before. I had never gone to parties before. Sure, I had given away my body, but I took solace in the fact that at least I wasn't one of those drunk ridiculous girls.
Until I saw that guys paid attention to the drunk ridiculous girls.
So I started going to parties.
That's where I met him. The guy that I would date off and on for the next ten years of my life. The guy that ripped what little bit of innocence and hope their was left in me and drug me with him into the darkness.
I don't really want to go into detail here, but suffice it to say these were years filled with pain.
I wish he was the only guy that ripped me apart. There were others.
Guys that were supposed to be my friends. Guys that took my innocence. Guys that ripped my clothes from my body. Guys from church that misrepresented Jesus to me. Guys that said lovely things to me and encouraged me to like them only to have them introduce me to their girlfriends. Guys that weren't right for me, but for their own selfish reasons said and did anything they could to obtain and keep me. Guys that reinforced the lie that I am only worth what's between my legs and in my bra. Guys that touched wasn't theirs. Guys that looked at me like a piece of meat and made me feel ashamed. Guys that didn't care who I was, and just wanted me to fit into their mold. Guys that demanded I shrink back. Guys that didn't protect me. Guys that didn't cherish me. Guys that didn't respect me.
I forgive them all. I take back what they stole. I give back whatever darkness they gave me.
You see, Jesus is my protector.
He is that Daddy at the front door with a shot gun that says, "You aren't going to TOUCH my daughter." My Daddy gets really upset when I'm hurt. He and I have done lots and lots of hard work on my precious heart and He defends it to the death.
Over the last 4 years, Jesus has walked with me back through the hurt. He showed me where He was and how He felt as I was being screamed at and called horrible names. For so many years I didn't believe in God because I felt like if He were real then I wouldn't laying on this bed in my room wanting once again to die just to get away from the pain. The God I knew was some far off man with a beard floating somewhere above the clouds....far away from me and my mess. Jesus was some guy that smiled at me all Mona-Lisa-like from stained glass windows. The Holy Spirit was just one of those church words that people said all the time to sound holy.
When I asked Him where the hell He was while I was dying inside.....He showed me. I didn't believe Him at first, but He showed me. I may not understand why some of it had to happen. But, I do understand that God Himself led me out of the wilderness.
Now I know my way, and can lead other people through.
What am I worth?
I am worth a battle. Jesus fought for and continues to fight for my heart. He raised His sword of Truth against all the lies I've believed. He's not like the little boys on the play ground that eventually get tired of chasing me. He never gets tired of rescuing me.
I am priceless. My Man has a place for me...in the kingdom of Earth as well as in Heaven. My purpose for being born is one that no one else can provide. My life matters. All my scars are beautiful battle wounds to a God that has redeemed and restored me.
I am worth the blood, tears, sweat, pain, and LIFE of the God who died so that I wouldn't have to live my life in the darkness.
And now I give up my whole life for Him. For my Jesus. For the man that saved my life. For the man that looks at me like I am pure and white as snow. I almost wish there was such a thing as reincarnation so that I could give my life to Him again and again.
Because....HE is worth it.