It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord works. Three days ago I had no idea which path I should take regarding this article and then last night—bam. “God things” are good things but they are also humble and hard things. My first article for TSB was part of the Not Alone series which described my military related sexual assault my sophomore year of college. Almost two years have passed, and I am in awe of how God has mended my physical and emotional scars, but I am in no way ‘healed’. I thought I was, but it took the guidance and tough love of my sweet fiancé for me to realize that my love for others has a direct affect on my love for myself.
There were many people involved in my sexual assault case. Those who I considered trusted friends either turned on me or ignored me completely. I was blindsided and naïve. Most of those people have since graduated, but there are still a few whom I interact with on a daily basis. I hated it. I hated them. I hated myself for hating them. The anger bubbles out of my heart as I see them just living their lives; their great grades and honors cords and boyfriends and girlfriends. Happiness—happiness they certainly didn’t deserve after ruining my life. Although I usually ignore them, the bitterness ate away at every good part of me. I became ugly and toxic. And the cycle continued.
Yesterday I found out one of the girls who was involved began dating a guy who’s in my wedding. I almost went full blown crazy. At that point, my fiancé pulled me aside and asked me who I was. Before I could answer he continued by saying I was doing myself a great disservice by holding on to the hurt that was not directly caused by these people. My attacker deserves the blame and these people simply reacted in the only way they knew how, even if it was wrong. He reminded me that no, I would probably never get an apology from any of them, but it is my duty to forgive them—
because as a child of God, I sacrifice my holiness and my freedom every second I don’t.
We prayed together and I truly gave up my pain-filled heart to the Lord. And today, I’m going to do the same thing and keep doing so until I feel that wound heal. Through my fiancé, my heavenly Father reminded me that in order to love others, you need to love yourself. I am going to be a wife and the Lord could not allow me to go into marriage filled with this much bitterness. Sometimes I think we become addicted to the ache. The feeling that makes you clench your fists and purse your lips becomes habit. Habits like that create hard, cold hearts. You can’t love yourself or others with that sort of heart. You don’t need to change your appearance to make you lovelier.
Change your heart—that is enough.
PC: @_meganholloway via #belovedlife