Stained and Ruined
"But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:5 (NIV)
Looking back, it seems like I'm viewing the story of another person. I hardly recognize the little girl I became in that dark moment.
I was walking home from the bus stop. The walk took about ten minutes unless I stopped to talk to a friend or neighbor, which I usually did. Mr. Parks, a retired man, was sitting in his driveway waving to all the kids walking by. He was so friendly. On this particular day, he invited me into his garage. He said he had some candy to give me.
I walked in that garage an innocent trusting little girl. I walked out scarred for life.
Mr. Parks sexually violated me. I didn't understand what was going on. I didn't know what to do. He became someone else; I didn't recognize the man he changed into once that garage door was closed. He did things to me and made me do things to him that I never imagined existed. I was absolutely terrified. When he was done, he said, "Come back tomorrow." And for some reason, I did.
The experience of being sexually abused left me devastated. I felt stained and ruined.
In my mind, what I had done was so bad, I couldn't tell anyone. And because it happened more than once, I felt like it really was my choice; my fault. That's what he told me. I felt dirty and filled with shame.
Shame is a joy stealer. My joy was completely gone.
Over the years I perfected the art of pretending everything was okay. I was good at wearing masks.
On the outside, I looked great. However, on the inside I felt completely unworthy of any good thing. When I experienced success, I would usually sabotage myself or quit. I apologized for being good at something and downplayed my God-given strengths.
It must break God's heart when we allow shame to steal our sense of worth.
Jesus gave His life to prove how very valuable we are. Our key verse tells us, "By his wounds, we are healed." Jesus became stained and ruined on our behalf. And because of His promise, we don't have to live in fear or condemnation over anything that has taken place in our lives, whether it was our fault or not.
When I accepted Christ as my Savior, I also accepted freedom from my past hauntings. Still, I have to remind myself of this every day. My thoughts must center on Jesus or they can easily slip back to the darkness of that garage. Yes, even 38 years later, I still have flashbacks of what happened to me.
That's when I look up to heaven and say, "By Your wounds I am healed. Thank You, Jesus. I am not stained and ruined. I am clean, pure, and precious. Mr. Parks has no hold on me anymore."
My final triumph in this horrific ordeal was the most difficult: forgiveness.
I claim forgiveness for my sins everyday through Jesus. In doing that, I'm faced with the fact that I'm called to forgive. "Mr. Parks, I forgive you. I know you must have been very sick and your heart was stained with sin. I hope and pray you accepted Jesus before you died. What you did to me was the worst thing anyone could do to a little girl. I want to hate you. Instead, I choose to hate what you did but forgive you."
I can only do this with Jesus at my side. I'm not capable any other way.
No longer do I believe I am stained and ruined. I am clean. I am worthy. Jesus has set me free. "By his wounds we are healed." I believe that. I hope you do too!
Dear Lord, I need You every day of my life. Please remind me that I am worthy and delete the lies that haunt me. Help me live to the fullest for You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
If you are suffering due to your past, seek Christian counseling in your area.
Spend at least a few minutes each day reading God's Word, His love letter to you. Begin each day by saying, "Lord, because of You, I am healed and valuable."
Is there something in my past keeping me from living the life God intended?
Do I believe Jesus has washed me clean?
Have I shared what Christ has done for me with anyone lately?
Deuteronomy 14:2, "For you are a people holy to the LORD your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the LORD has chosen you to be his treasured possession." (NIV)
Isaiah 43:18-19, "Forget what happened long ago! Don't think about the past. I am creating something new. There it is! Do you see it? I have put roads in deserts, in thirsty lands." (CEV)
Isaiah 45:3, "I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the LORD, the God of Israel, who summons you by name." (NIV)