Yolanda Adams – Still I Rise
Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I, of all people would be writing a blog. Most of my life I suffered from feelings of inadequacy and self-esteem so low that it was practically nonexistent. However, most people who knew me would not have believed it. I walked with such an air of confidence as if I had it all together. I knew how to fake it and having grown up in church, I certainly knew how to” play church”. After all I learned the art of camouflage from the best; church mothers. Many of whom could pray heaven down, shout their shoes off and be “slain in the Spirit”. In public they lived in victory while at home they lived in a private hell. So yes, I appeared to be well put together but I lived in fear that I would be found out, that someone would look beneath my well- orchestrated exterior and see the broken, frightened and traumatized little girl yearning for love and acceptance. So let me tell you a little bit about how that once sweet and innocent little girl came to be the damaged and jaded woman. Warning: it’s a long, Lifetime movie kind of story.
When I was around 4 years old my mother began a relationship with a man she would eventually marry. At some point this man, my step-father began molesting me. I say at some point because I don’t remember exactly when it began but it went on until I was around 12 or 13. This same man was very verbally and physically abusive to my mother and would beat her bloody and senseless nearly every weekend. My siblings and I always feared that he would one day beat her to death. But praise Jesus she died a peaceful death at 92 years of age. To God be the Glory!!!
At the age of 16 a friend asked me to go out with her and her boyfriend and one of his friends. And I was raped, by both boys. My friend did try to stop them, but of course they didn’t listen to her. At 21 years old, while walking to the subway in Manhattan after work one night I was abducted by two men, driven across the bridge to New Jersey and raped again.
After so much physical and emotional trauma it’s a wonder I wasn’t sitting in a corner somewhere in a catatonic state drooling on myself. But I pushed it all down into the inner recesses of my being and tried to pretend none of it ever happened….. but it did happen. And all trauma has an aftermath which leaves its stinking residue every place the walking wounded like myself dares to trod. I was angry and rebellious, sexually promiscuous, had couple of abortions and hated myself to point that even looking at myself in the mirror was difficult because I detested the reflection that stared back at me. So in the climate of such self-loathing what should one do? Well, what this “bag of pain” did was get married and immediately start a family.
Can someone say dysfunction? I had no idea how to be a wife, mother, let alone how to be a woman because in many ways my development had been arrested and I was still that little girl. Even becoming born again didn’t fix the emotional and psychological damage. You see back then I had no awareness of damaged emotions and no one, including preachers, talked about them or God’s desire and willingness to heal people from these emotions. There was just a lot of dos and don’ts. And I must have “backslid” every other year because I did all the don’ts and didn’t do the dos. Trying to live up to the impossible standard of perfection as portrayed by the church only added to my pain because now on top of everything else I saw myself as a complete failure and someone with whom God must be perpetually angry and disgusted. I lived in that torment for years, decades actually.
It wasn’t until I discovered how truly loved I am by God and that He cares as much about healing us mentally, emotionally and relationally as He does about healing us spiritually, that my healing process began. I had to reveal my REAL self to Him, an emotional show and tell where I exposed and gave my wounds over to Him. I even had to admit the fear and fakery, completely surrender and allow Him to heal me from the inside out which is the way real healing is supposed to take place anyway. Not those external temporary fixes and cover ups I had been attempting for so long. No matter how much perfume you spray on poop, it’s still poop and it still stinks.
Am I now all that God wants me to be? By no means. I am still very much a work in progress and there are days when certain triggers will try to take me back there. But I am a surrendered and open and willing vessel who knows that by the authority in the name of Jesus and the power of His shed blood I AM AN OVERCOMER!!! And He who has begun a good work in me will complete it until the day of Christ Jesus. God has used, is using and will continue to use everything the enemy tried to destroy me for my good and His Glory!!!