“I see no stain on you my child. – God
Love that erases all sins, mend broken lives and make something tragic into something so beautiful, that’s who You are Lord. :’) ♥ #forevergrateful #lovelikenoother”
That was my Facebook status after watching the testimony of Joy Tan-Chi Mendoza and listening to Kari Jobe’s My Beloved. And oh, how true that statement is in my life. More than it being a Facebook status, it speaks greatly of what God’s love is. Of who God is. I know so not only because I’ve read it in the Bible or because it was taught to me at church by the pastors and my mentors. I know so because I’ve experienced it countless times.
If asked of an instance when I experienced first hand God’s love, I could probably tell you a lot. But today I choose to tell a story not many know. A story I’ve tried to hide for a while. And it’s about time I tell this one.
It all happened year 2012. I was still reeling from the impact of something that happened to me the previous year. I was depressed and lost. I distanced myself from my family, spiritual family and friends. I felt that I was the black sheep of the family. My self-esteem hit rock bottom. I isolated myself yet I yearned for attention from other people. Prior to this period of my life, I already have been rebelling quietly. I have been exploring sexually. And during this time it only got worse. My family, my spiritual family and my friends didn’t have any idea of what I have been doing.
And so I met a guy. We talked and I thought he was okay. I was led to believe we were friends and that he wouldn’t do me any harm. I thought he was different. At that time, I was really longing for attention from others and that’s what he gave me. Then came a time when I needed something really bad and I turned to him for help. He was so kind and willing to help me at first. But then as time passed, he started to ask something from me in exchange of his help. He asked me for pictures of me naked. I didn’t think twice and said yes immediately. I thought, “What difference could it make? I have been doing the same with other guys as well and even did some things worse than that.”
And so I obliged and gave him what he wanted. But he didn’t stop there. He then started to ask me for specific pictures of myself. I started hesitating but still gave him what he wanted. Slowly though, I’ve been regretting sending him those pictures. And as days passed by, I was so full of guilt and remorse because of what I did. I started feeling dirty. So I told him I don’t need his help anymore and that we should stop what we are doing. He said okay. Just like that.
I thought that was the end of it. I was wrong. Days after, he started to ask me again. This time for videos. He want me to send him videos of myself. I said no. But he started using the pictures I sent him as leverage. He blackmailed me and told me he would send those pictures to my family. And who would want that to happen? So again, I obliged. And it became a cycle. I would say no every time but he would always threaten me. If I felt dirty before, I felt even dirtier. I felt so filthy, not worthy of love or any kindness. I felt that I deserved to go to hell. I became so desperate that I started seeking God again and again and again. But I felt so far from Him and thought that He didn’t hear my cries. I thought that was it.
I couldn’t bear it anymore and so I decided to end it all. I took my scalpel from my dissecting kit when I was still taking up Biology and tried to slit my wrists using that. I could have done it easily but a nagging voice in my head stopped me from doing so. Right there and then, I broke down and cried like I’ve never did before. I tried crying out to God once more and at that moment, I felt His embrace wrapped around me. His presence then was so tangible that I couldn’t deny it was Him. I spent that time talking to Him and just asking for His forgiveness over and over again.
After that, I made the decision to tell my parents everything that happened which wasn’t easy at all. I had to do it through a letter. I haven’t fully grasped and accepted that God has already forgiven what I’ve done so I was still ashamed and couldn’t face my parents. I was expecting them to be mad and scold me but their response melted my walls and all. They cried for me like I’ve never seen them do before. They responded with so much love and that completely shattered my heart and broke what remaining reservations I had. The love that they have shown reminded me of God’s love. He still chose to forgave our sins and even replaced us on the cross and died the death that should have been ours.
Of course, some measures have to be taken. I tried to research if there’s any law regarding what I just experienced but I saw slim chances. So all I can do at that time was go and block him from my social media accounts and from my family’s as well. My parents asked me to not use my online accounts for a few months to let the matter lie down. I had to drastically cut off any connections with that guy with the risk of him still spreading indecent pictures and videos of me.
For months, I was so afraid. What if he comes back to haunt me? What if he really had shared those pictures and videos? I would occasionally break down and think of the worst. I’d think I’m not worthy enough of someone’s love but over and over God would remind me that He loves me regardless of what I’ve done before. That I don’t have to be afraid and just be still and know that He is God. All I need to do is accept fully the new start He have given me already and to trust in Him completely. Slowly, healing started and He made me new as if I’ve never gone through all those things.
A lot has changed since then. He started molding me to be the person that I am now and is continually molding me to be the person He has intended me to be. He’s been using me in places and circumstances I never imagined I would be in. He’s now using me in advancing His Kingdom. And it’s all because of His grace. Not by my own works but by His grace and power alone.
I used to think I was alone. But now I know for sure that I’m not. I have Him with me always, whenever and wherever. I have my family, friends and mentors who loves me, who are always more than willing to celebrate with me my achievements, encourage and comfort me, rebuke and correct me (with love) when they saw something that needs to be corrected, guide me along my walk with God and comfort me in the midst of challenges.
Before, I would always ask myself why I did all of those things that led me to trouble. I know there is no justification to what I did wrong. It was wrong. It is only by God’s grace that I was able to start all over again. But I didn’t understand then. But I now know why I had to go through it. It happened so that I can come back to my first love which is Him. It happened so that His greatness can be made evident in my life. It all happened so that I can be an encouragement to those people who have have been violated sexually. It happened so that I can be an encouragement to those undergoing the same struggles that I had. It happened so that I would have a story to tell them and the others. A story of God’s redeeming and unconditional love. A story of God’s amazing grace. A story of how God can turn something so messy and ugly into something so beautiful.
“Come now, let’s settle this.” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them white as wool.
Isaiah 1:16, NLT
You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.
Colossians 2:13-14, NLT