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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Live To Tell Your Story

This post is very personal to my heart because I believe that it may 1) save someone's life and 2) free someone to not be silent.  If you know someone who has experienced date rape, and may be struggling with the aftermath of sexual abuse, I encourage you to share this with them.

If you don't speak what I tell you to speak, you won't live to tell it.

I had heard people talk about the "voice" of God, but this was my first encounter with God in the most unlikely of places: I had just come to after having been drugged and been date raped and my attacker was trying to convince me to stay overnight and he would take me home in the morning. 

Once again, I heard the instruction. Just tell him, "You're not mad, you just want to be taken home." 

Through a thirty minute ordeal, it was the only sentence I could repeat over and over again. I'm glad that I did. 
There wasn't enough evidence to convict him (the laws concerning sexual intercourse with someone under the influence did not come into play until Nov 1996 and the incident occurred Jan 1996), but throughout the trial, I learned this campus predator indeed had lied about his age, his background, his criminal record. He had charges that would indicate he was very capable of making sure no one ever found out what happened. He was expelled from FSU for lying about his criminal record, but sadly, the Florida courts found him not guilty.I left him with this statement: "If you do not repent for what you did, you will have to answer to God for what you did."

Months after this encounter that I began to seek God for myself. I rededicated my life to God, and began searching the scriptures. I had a Damascus road experience on a Saturday morning, and ran to church. No one had to direct me to go. My heart burned with the freedom I found in God and wanted to share with others. I began a very unorthodox path into evangelizing. I began to tell my testimony of how God saved me. I will never forget the first day I stepped onto the FSU green and began to speak. A fellow student stopped me mid-sentence, her angry words still reverberate through my mind: I was date raped last night! Where was God then?" She shouted.

It was a pivotal moment for me. I opened up and let her know that I too had been date raped only months before, but God had been right there with me, giving me peace and instructions on how to get out of a situation that yes, I had some responsibility for getting into. She was able to immediately relate, she calmed down, and began to hear the Word of God. Many at the time thought I was just being radical, unnecessary, and weird--but I was just happy to be saved, to be free, and I wanted others to know that no matter how bad the situation is, God will be right there in the midst of it. I have no doubt that had I stayed, he would have killed me, and they would still be looking for my body--BUT THANKS BE TO GOD, I LIVED TO TELL IT!

This is one of the reasons that I give God praise for life, and try to take every opportunity I can to share with young women. I didn't have that discernment then. I was 18, a freshman, green to campus life and campus predators, those "lifelong" students that prey on "fresh meat". If I can make a difference by sharing my story, I will continue to.

It would be years later, that God would walk me through that night and reveal to me all the ways He tried to prevent me from suffering that tragedy (circumstances and people). I wasn't in a place to read the signs. Now that I have the Spirit of God dwelling in me, it is so much easier to hear and obey Him.

God doesn't want to see us hurting or abused, but He is not going to violate our choice to hear him, our free will to choose a path of life or a path that leads to death. If you have been date raped and you have been dealing with the aftermath, I encourage you to hold on to God. He's not going to point fingers at you, but lovingly wrap you in His arms and care. One of the most hurtful things that can be said to you is "it's your fault," or "you deserved it." NO ONE deserves to be violated. I speak life to you now: 

YOU belong to God, and whoever violated the sanctity of the life HE created will have to deal with HIM.

Our justice system is far from perfect, but we serve a perfect God who owns the corner on vengeance. I encourage you to seek help from The Counselor, and The Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ. He will restore your soul in a way that nothing on this earth can. Don't let the perpetrator rob you of your joy, healthy relationships, or peace of mind. I am a living witness that God can and will restore you and give you peace that surpasses understanding. Trust God, and Live To Tell YOUR story, so another life can be changed!