Momentum (Christ – centred, Spirit – empowered, Mission – focused)
My daughter, Emily, wants to tell her incredible story, and I want to help her share her story. My family’s desire is that those who sit in our churches and carry deep pain will read Emily’s story and will know that God heals and restores. We also hope that those who serve in leadership and have messy issues behind closed doors will not be afraid to seek safe places and come out of the shadows without fear of shame or loss.
Keeping my story to myself has kept me in the shackles of my past. I am a new person in Christ, and there is no reason why I should stay in the darkness any longer. My internal and external scars have been healed; I am a testimony of God’s amazing provision and patience.
I was stripped of my innocence at just six years of age; my child-like faith was shattered by the selfishness of a man who claimed to be a Christian. I didn’t trust my family because I was hurt under their guidance. At thirteen, my pain would not go away, and I felt different from the other students at school. God had not protected me, so I vowed to only trust myself and was determined to run from the pain inside.
I was trapped by my abuse, by fractured memories that haunted me. Dreams threatened my sleep at night. I could see reminders of the abuse all around me; I couldn’t escape. Feeling ashamed and dirty, I began cutting myself for release. I could hardly get out of bed some days because of a crippling combination of anxiety and depression. At this time, the only use my Bible had was to hold my array of knives.
Life felt out of control, and God was the furthest thing from my mind. I began to try other destructive behaviours, such as different eating disorders and taking prescription medication to numb myself. When my family saw the scars on my arm, they were rightfully very alarmed. They couldn’t come to a rational reason of why I would do this, and I was closed and unwilling to give them a reason; I kept the pain to myself. My parents sent me to counsellors, psychologists, and psychiatrists.
When my disorders became serious, I was sent to a program in St. Louis called SAFE, in a facility where the locks were on the inside; we discussed our emotions and the reasons behind our self-mutilating habits. Although the program taught me many skills, it was God who began to break through my walls. Memories of the abuse began to flood my dreams, and the root cause became apparent to the workers and my parents. But the devil still had a hold of me.
I continued counselling when I finished the program, but nothing seemed to help. My destructive behaviours intensified as I addressed the abuse. The lies the devil had told me consumed me. God desperately tried to get a hold of me through music and people, but I pushed Him away, unable to break from the lies that were planted in my impressionable mind during the abuse. My parents were desperate to help me, but I felt worthless, dirty, and beyond help. I carved words that could have only come from the devil into my arms every day.
At this time, God was preparing my dad to take on the role of president of The Christian and Missionary Alliance. I felt abandoned all over again when he got the position. I thought that God only cared about them, not me. I felt vulnerable and six years old all over again. I believed all of the devil’s lies and considered ending it all. I decided that it was time to end my life a few weeks before my parents were set to move, but God was not willing to let me go without a fight. I could feel his presence around me trying to get a hold of me, but I still took the knife out of my Bible. Before slitting my wrists, I promised God that I would turn my life around and give myself to him if I didn’t succeed. I clearly did not succeed.
Shortly after the blood started running down my arm, my dad found me sitting by a pool of blood. The anguish on his face will forever haunt me. The ambulance came shortly after and took me to the hospital. The gravity of the situation didn’t hit me until I put on the hideous green pyjamas that are assigned to patients in the psych ward. God met me in that small room with only white walls to stare at. I could feel him fighting for me, unwilling to let me go. I could hear his voice saying, “I bled for you, I died so that you no longer have to carry your shame; my body is scarred so that you can be whole.”
When I gave up, he never gave up on me. I still had much healing to do, but God kept showing up throughout my journey. My biggest struggle was wondering where God was in my abuse. Why didn’t he show up? The answer came to me as a picture during prayer. He showed me where he was in the room; he was weeping for me, begging this man to stop. He tried to protect me, but the man could no longer hear his voice over his desire. God was there through my darkest hours, loving me and watching over me. The devil attempted to destroy me, but we have an amazing God who can turn what was meant for evil into beauty. Through his love, I am no longer shackled or defined by my past. He paid the price for the sin in my life, whether it was a sin committed to me or a sin that I committed. He shed his blood so that I no longer have to shed mine. I have been remade through him!
Thank you to those who prayed for Emily and our family. The journey is not over, but a great victory has been won! May Emily’s story bring you hope. God’s grace is sufficient for every loss, every shame, and every scar. You too can be remade!
Dr. Simpson, “You were saved from sin by actually choosing Jesus as your Saviour; you were consecrated by definitely giving yourself and taking Him for everything.”
Dr. Simpson, “How differently we would think, speak and judge concerning our fellow Christians if we lived more under the shadow of the cross.”
Please find the original version in C&MA website