I am broken. I know this. I also know God loves me in my brokenness. Without his never-ending love, I would not be alive right now.
The truth is I should be a drug addict, or a prostitute or I should have killed myself by now. That should have been my reality. There are still some days when I wish I could just give up, throw in the towel. But, I have found my solace in God’s love. Although I question WHY I have had to endure some things I’ve had to endure, I know there is a reason. I am here for a PURPOSE and He will never leave my side.
When I was just a baby, my parents divorced. I never knew what a family unit was like until both of my parents remarried. I was so happy when my mom remarried. I remember I loved my mother, adored her, idolized her. I remember thinking she was just my WORLD. She married her husband when I was around five years old and not long after they had my baby sister. I remember feeling happy and loving my new family unit.
When I was around 8 years old, my life changed forever. My stepfather, who I looked at as my own father, began sexually abusing me. At first I did not remember or know what was going on but I remember one night so vividly that it is burned into my brain. I still to this day can remember his exact words to me, what I was wearing. I guess that is what happens when your world has been rocked.
For the next several months, I kept this “secret” I was ashamed and terrified and could not understand why no one recognized I was not the same little girl. I remember being afraid to play with my biological father whom I lived with at the time. I thought that everyone was going to hurt me.
After quite some time, I finally told a family friend. She was only a few years older than I was. I will never forget the absolute terror I felt one day when my stepfather was coming to pick me up. I have never been so scared and frozen in my entire life. That day, my friend told her mom what had happened to me. She doesn’t know it but she saved my life.
I would love to say that from that day forward my healing began. But that could not be further from the truth. Obviously my mother found out what her husband had done to me. I thought my life would change. I hoped everyone would fight for me, protect me. The exact opposite happened. My mother, who was my world, stayed with this man instead of fighting for me and protecting me. She had more children with this man and moved more than half way across the country with this man.
This hurt so much. This pain and abandonment is still with me until this day. I have such brokenness because of this that when I feel that someone does not fight for me, I am devastated. Just once in my life I want someone to FIGHT FOR ME.
I know that God has fought for me though. I know that because He has rescued me. Without His love and His Grace, I would be nowhere near where I am today. I should be dead on the streets. I should not have made it through this.
As if that was not enough, in my life I continued the pattern of abuse. Unfortunately, I married an emotionally and verbally abusive man. He cheated on me time and time again and made me believe that I was the one to blame. That me being abused was my fault. I stayed in that relationship way longer than I ever should because I had no sense of worth and he made me feel I was nothing without him.
Now that I’m finally out of that relationship, I realize that our dysfunctional marriage was a very co-dependent relationship. Along the way I struggled to keep my faith. I did not pray because how could I pray to a God that allowed these things to happen to me? How could I have faith that everything was going to be OK when God put me in these situations?
Almost two years ago, I was brought to Metro and this church. God used people at Metro to encourage me and He has restored my faith. I now know that I can do ANYTHING. That I am a SURVIVOR AND A FIGHTER. Because of His love, I am not a prostitute or a drug addict, or lying somewhere dead on the street.
I know that my story has power and maybe that is why I was given the battles that I have been given. I have PURPOSE and although I don’t know exactly what that purpose is, I know that I am on the right path. As I pray, God has told me to tell my story. I am BROKEN but I now know that that is OK. With God’s help I am putting myself back together piece by piece, day by day. Without His love, I would be nothing.
Submitted by Jillian Saldana