To The Ones Who Abused Me

I can hardly put it into words, the depth of this pain. Everything within me shudders at the thought of even being here in this moment; walking into this darkness, approaching the past. The truth is that you haunt me. You invade my thoughts, uninvited. I carry the shame of a thousand sins I didn’t commit. I’m suffocating beneath the weight of all that your words, and your hands, have done.

You left me there, in the dark. Naked and alone. Too afraid to move, I couldn’t escape the reality that I was in too deep. I blamed myself. I went numb. Any sense of who I truly was had been stripped away. Overwhelmed by fear, in that moment I knew that if I didn’t find a way to leave you…you would kill me.

These memories imprison me. This fear of approaching the subject of you, and all the ways you hurt me, has kept me from experiencing the freedom to fully live. Instead, I’ve been slowly dying. A silent screaming, nightmare having, sobbing in the shower kind of emotional death. I wondered for the longest time if this was all I’d ever feel. This despair.

Years have passed since my escape and, though I may be just an afterthought to you now, I’m left struggling to pick up the pieces. I’m shattered. The very fabric of my being torn apart at the hands of your rage. I have a life now that is beyond anything I’d ever dreamed was possible. A family who brings joy to my aching soul. Yet, I can’t seem to shake this feeling that I don’t deserve it. The tapes that you recorded for me replay in my mind, assuring me that I’m damaged goods. That, one day, it will all fall apart. That nothing good can possibly come from someone like me.

All that is within me longs for justice. For peace. A peace that God’s been holding out to me. It’s within my reach. Yet, I’ve been avoiding the call to be obedient. The call to bless those who curse me. To pray for those who abuse me (Luke 6:28). I’ve been choosing to allow this fear to reign in me. In a place that He’s already called His own. Though there’s no way to erase what you’ve done to me, there is one way to rebuild myself. To create new life where you’d once created chaos. There is healing; mending in the midst of this brokenness that can only come if I do the one thing that feels hardest right now…

Forgiveness.

So, I’m making the choice…I forgive you. I’m walking away. Holding on to all of this anger, this fear, and this despair is only destroying what’s left of me. I’m leaving what you’ve done in the hands of God, in exchange for freedom; in exchange for hope. Forgiving you doesn’t make what you’ve done okay, but it makes me available to live my life. To truly experience His grace and mercy. Forgiving you gives me the freedom to love and be loved again. Your sins are no longer my sins. Your shame is no longer my shame. You have no power over me.

I’m letting go of you and I’m grabbing on to joy. When those moments of pain and fear come back to haunt me, one moment at a time, I will surrender them to The One who will hold you accountable. One moment at a time, I will have my life back. I pray that you somehow overcome whatever hurt has caused you to abuse the ones you love. I pray that His light would shine into the darkness of your life. I pray that, one day, you’ll choose forgiveness too.

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