“You are dirty”
“You are unlovable”
“You are tainted”
Almost a decade ago, I was in an extremely abusive relationship. Verbally. Physically. Mentally. Emotionally. And yes, (as I anticipate typing the next word, every muscle in my body tenses) sexually. I went to school with bruises, lying to my friends, teachers and parents about where they came from. We played this game of feeling butterflies, to pain, to apologies, to promises and all over again. The cycle continued on for three years.
I remember times when I would say no, just to end up surrendering my lifeless body because I didn’t want him to get angry. I remember when he slapped me and took my car keys, so I wasn’t able to leave, and I remember sitting in my high school parking lot, in the passenger seat, as he hit me multiple times on the arm, leaving dark bruises.
These memories, really nightmares, began to flood back into my thoughts after getting married and receiving true intimacy as God had designed it. All the years of my body being used as an object, had caught up to me. I was devastated. I would cry in Corey’s arms most nights for the next six months, not understanding why he would want to be with someone like me. I desperately wanted freedom. I wanted to love my husband with no guilt attached. I wanted to see myself as God saw me. My heart continued to rip open as I went to sleep each night with puffy red eyes.
Over the last month, I’ve been reading and pondering over forgiveness. A word I thought I understood and an action I was sure I had already embraced with my past.
Forgiveness is not free, ya know?
It was paid with a heavy price and heavy heart. Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane, cried out to His Father to spare Him, to not make Him drink of the cup. This cup contained the emptiness of being without God and for the first time, Jesus was going to be truly alone. He was going to die alone. As Jesus sweat drops of blood, He knew what had to be done. God has been so gracious to save me from myself. God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay for my very sinful being. For each and every piece of me. And He wanted to. Jesus loved me enough to take my place.
I have ever increasing victory moments where I don’t see myself as this tainted human, unworthy of love and unable to love back. I still feel the wounds of the shackles that were placed so tightly on my wrists 10 years ago…but the more I see my sin, the more I see the price Jesus paid for them. I pray that my wounds will become scars, for everyone to see who healed them. Just like His wounds told a story of redemption, so will mine.
“You are forgiven”
“You are lovable”
“You are spotless”