I am beginning a new online study over on Melissa Taylor's blog. As I've shared before, I found Melissa through the Proverbs 31 devotions in my inbox when I was drawn to one in particular she wrote entitled Stained and Ruined. When I read the short devotional describing how she was sexually abused by a neighbor as an innocent child, I was amazed that I felt incredibly similar feelings about my acquaintance rape at the age of nineteen. Shame. Guilt. The sense that I was damaged and unworthy. Reading her devotion that day opened a door for me to examine my beliefs about myself and how they differed form God's opinion of me, and I have been on that journey now for almost two years, trying to let go of some of those unfounded feelings I've been carrying around in my soul for so long now.
So, that's what the new study is all about. In this online community that Melissa Taylor has orchestrated, we will read through Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner by Wendy Blight. Just this morning, I read through the first chapter which describes her attack and the emotions surrounding it in the days that followed. The courage she has shown in telling her story is amazing, and perhaps that is the whole point of her book. We don't like to talk about the darkness... no one really does. We always answer "fine" when asked how we're doing or feeling. We smile and laugh at jokes when inside we're so weary inside we feel like we could sleep for days. We shy away from the conversations that will expose our weaknesses and flaws. We like the light, but it tends to be of the fluorescent nature ~ bright, man-made, and perfectly positioned to reveal only what we want to show and not that dark corner of our mind where Satan hides and whispers his little lies to our hearts.
I've been guilty of this myself. There are people all around me that have no idea what I went through at the age of nineteen. It's not something I like to discuss for so many reasons. I don't ever want to be labeled a victim of any kind, and the circumstances around my experience are embarrassing. No one wants to open them self up for embarrassment on purpose, do they? Of course not. So, for years, I allowed the fear of embarrassment, of persecution and judgement of others to back my soul into hiding in that dark corner, afraid of what people would think or say about me, the decisions I made on that night so very long ago, the decisions I made in the days, weeks and months afterward.
As I mature, I realize that God has an amazing plan for me, and that in time it will all be revealed. I just have to be patient, seek God, let Him work on my heart, and allow it all to unfold. I know that there is a community of women who live with the same covered up story as mine in their hearts, and that it effects them deeper than they care to admit. Maybe that's the meaning to my story... maybe one day, I can write about the night that changed my life forever openly, share the whole story, and perhaps help someone suffering silently in guilt as I did for so many years. Only God knows how this story ends.
I look forward to seeing what God has in store for me during this study, to experiencing freedom in a way I've never known and turning on the light in that dark corner of my soul. What about you? Do you have a dark corner? I think we all have a dark corner of our own. Join me in the study... it's never too late!