In April of 2011, I became a believer in Jesus and took responsibility for my bad behaviors against myself, others, and God. Yet, a lot of negative emotions like jealousy, envy, and hatred, crept up, and were projected onto close friends and family during conversations, dates, Packer games, and family functions. Like the roots of a sturdy oak, I was all twisted beneath the surface.
For about 25 years, I allowed negative emotions to simmer beneath the surface. Pretending to be happy was surprisingly easy. Yet, close friends and relatives could see through the facade. In 2011, when the Holy Spirit entered my heart along with all the turmoil of emotions, the two were like oil and water. Thus, my negative emotions boiled over into all areas of my life, and I could no longer pretend like everything was okay. As a baby Christian, all I knew was to read the Bible, and then the Holy Spirit gently brought repressed memories to my awareness on two separate occasions.
When a memory is repressed, it is due to the severity of trauma that takes place. The first memory the Holy Spirit brought to my awareness was when I was alone, and as I recalled the events of that day, I remember saying, “Oh my gosh, I was molested.” On a different occasion, a similar event happened as I recalled my freshman year of college. I went to a dance with some friends who ended up abandoning me. I left with a friendly guy, who turned out not to be so friendly when we were alone. When he let me leave, I was angry, terrified, and hurt.
…I am forced to restore what I did not steal.Psalm 69:3
Talking with therapists and friends allowed me to unveil the painful wounds. The weight of suffering is heavy to carry around for so long, and sexual assault can take a long time to unpack.
Sexual assault can stem from so many origins, including family, church, and addictions. The Apostle Paul gives may deem these origins as examples of the flesh:
The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, and envy; drunkenness, orgies and the like…Galatians 5:19-21
Then, he goes on to say what the Spirit brings: joy, peace, patience, goodness, faith, kindness and love. Who wouldn’t want that? Yet, I had always tried to obtain joy, love, and peace with the acts of the flesh. When I gave up my way of life, I had freedom. Now, I am on a journey of restoration, redemption, and reconciliation.