Faith-Building: My Journey Begins

1431297_98265943_woods_freeimagesI loved to read.  I still do.  My parents encouraged this, but I knew they didn’t realize what I read.  In my younger years, Mom checked over my book orders from the Weekly Reader book offers I got in school.  Sometimes she vetoed a book due to its subject matter, but when I reached my mid-teens, she didn’t follow up on what I was reading as much.  I know she trusted me to make good decisions, and I knew some of the books I read were not appropriate.  How was she to know the young adult section of the book store offered stories with explicit sex, drugs, alcohol, and violence?

Relationships in these books were dysfunctional, but I didn’t know that.  I saw cool kids accepting nerdy kids if they participated in the wrong behaviors.  I thought, since I wasn’t one of the cool kids, that it must be that way.

Is it any surprise, then, that when faced with my first relationship dilemma I chose poorly?

I dated very little.  A date here, a date there.  Never a second date.  I had a steady “visiting” relationship with a college sophomore during my senior year of high school, but he never kissed me or asked me out on an official date. We unofficially dated, I guess, but that was it.  Looking back, he chose the higher road and didn’t take advantage of my naiveté.  Too bad, the next guy  to show any interest didn’t have the same manners.

At seventeen, I met him.  I thought he was cute and good-looking, and he was interested in me.  I didn’t understand his quick attachment, but that’s how it happened in the books.  Couples met and fell in love within a few pages.  I swooned over the idea that someone finally saw me as beautiful and desirable.

He pushed early for something more, for sex.  I refused, stressing I wanted to wait for marriage.  He kept pushing.  In my innocence, no one prepared me for the flood of feelings welling up in me.  No one told me how hard it was to say no.  I knew to say no, but it got harder and harder to refuse him.

Then came the day I gave in.  We made plans.  He tried to make it special, but what I imagined and what he created didn’t match up.  We were alone, far from others, in the woods, a long trek from the car.  I changed my mind…and he didn’t care.  I threatened to scream, and he told me hunters would respond and see me naked.  I couldn’t find the car, I didn’t have the keys.

Years later, I told a counselor he forced me, and the counselor’s response stunned me.  He asked why I didn’t use the words date rape.  I blinked in surprise at the thought.  That term surfaced in our culture later, so it never occurred to me to use it.

I was date-raped.

So what?  I knew of other girls who, while dating a guy, ended up in the same situation.  It happened in the books I read all of the time.  The couples stayed together.  I didn’t leave him.  He took what I held for my future husband.  I was damaged goods.

Today, I look back at that scared girl and know how confused and wrong she was.  Unprepared for the realities of the world, sheltered by her parents, she didn’t know what to do.  In some way, she blamed herself.  In other ways, she wanted out.  It took a few years before she realized that when she said no, he should have stopped.

This begins my journey–a rough and difficult road.  A road that altered my life’s trajectory in ways I couldn’t fathom.  It’s part of who I became instead of who I wanted to be.

It’s not what God chose for me, but he did find ways to use this experience to help others, later.  For that, I’m thankful.

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.  Romans 8:28

Don’t misunderstand this verse.  No matter what happens, what bad choices we, or someone else, makes God can find a way to use it for good.  Over this series, you will follow my journey along this trajectory, and I hope you will see a greater good at work.  Yes, I went through horrible, dark times in the process, but, ultimately, good came of it.  That’s what I want others to see.  If you’ve experienced a violation like this, it doesn’t have to define you.  You can walk away and turn toward good and help others.

If I can help any of you, please comment below.  All comments must be approved before they appear on this site.  If you want to talk to me but don’t want your comment visible, please say so in the comment.

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14 thoughts on “Faith-Building: My Journey Begins

  1. So many girls/women are abused this way! I find it incredible that, with so many women bringing up children, so many of those children rape women. Something is very wrong in our system and culture.

    I don’t know who you might have turned out to be if your life hadn’t been altered by this and other negative experiences, But I know the person you’ve become, and you’ve done well, girl. Very well.

  2. Barb, this post is profound, revealing, educational, liberating, empowering and redemptive. You’ve caused us to cry for that 17-year-old girl, and to begin long conversations with our young ones, not yet 17. And finally, you’ve caused us to shout in celebration for the woman who bloomed out of that 17-year-old girl by God’s intervention.

    Expect God to use this to break many, many chains.

  3. Thank you for your transparency, Barbara. Yes, we never know who we might have become had certain things not happened to us, but what promise He gives us…That REGARDLESS of what happens, HE can use it for His glory and our good. Thank you, Lord!

    Bless you as you make yourself real in order to help us face the real choices we have in life.

  4. Dear Barbara, Just last night I heard the Lord say regarding the past, “I’m not there anymore. I was with you then, I had plans for you then, but now I’m over here.Don’t try to understand, don’t live with regret and don’t remain in the graveyard. Surrender, completely, follow Me, walk into your destiny and expect a harvest…a huge harvest. For even then, back then, this was My plan for you.” Oh, Barbara that is you and it makes me tremble!
    Barbara, you have done well, you have allowed the devil’s plot to boomerang and your release from bondage will only be the release of others. Real, relevant and relational…powerful. ” Well done! Enter into the joy of the Lord.”
    I love you and admire your boldness and can’t wait for the rest of His story!
    Margie Houmes

  5. I really needed to read this today Vonda…was abused as a child…thank you for sharing…lisa

    • Lisa, I’m glad Vonda shared this with you. Please share it with others who will benefit. And remember, you are not defined by the things done to you. You are defined by the one who gives you grace and salvation.

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