When I was 9, I was molested by my uncle. I was silenced; told not to lie. “Kids will be kids,” they said.
When I was 11, I finally stood up to my uncle. I shouted at him to “F*** off!” at a family reunion. I was silenced. “How can a girl be so rude? He is just being affectionate,” they said.
When I was 12, I was brought to church, and saved by grace through faith. There I declared victory over sin and salvation – only by the blood of Christ.
When I was 13, I was molested by an instructor. I was silenced. “Stop making up stories. Just cover up. These things won’t happen to you if you do,” they said.
When I was 14, I had to hide the scars on my body, caused by self-mutilation. “Attention seeker. Everyone has problems. Get over yourself,” they said.
When I was 15, I was molested by a stranger on the train. “You’re beautiful,” he said.
When I was 16, I overdosed on antidepressants and sleeping pills. Jesus broke the silence: “You are loved more than you can ever imagine. You are mine.”
When I was 17, I stopped eating. I was shoved into the wall at school. Silenced again. “Go to Thailand and get a sex change you tranny! Disgusting,” they said.
When I was 18, I was sexually assaulted by a close friend. Again, silenced. “You should be honoured that I’d be physically intimate. I’m taking the sacrifice here. No guy would ever want to touch you,” he said.
When I was 19, I was distraught after my best friend was paralysed neck-down and suicidal after a road accident. I passed out after trying to escape reality through binge drinking and smoking. I skipped school to be my friend’s caretaker.
When I was 20, I had these words written on my legs during a camp: Shemale. Tranny. I was silenced. “Stop being so sensitive, they are just having fun,” they said.
I have attempted suicide more times than I care to remember. I kept a record – I added a little tick in my journal each time I tried.
I have depression and severe anxiety. I have been hospitalised from collapsing under the combination of binge eating and bulimia.
I have been thrown out of my house for declaring Christ is Lord. I have had one Bible thrown away and others burned.
I still bear these scars, by God’s grace. I know my struggles are not in vain for I have a loving and sovereign God.
My experiences have made me realise that the only unfair thing that has ever happened was Jesus’ dying on that cross for me. How great the Father’s love for us. How vast beyond all measure.
To all my brothers and sisters out there who have been hurt, disappointed or abused by someone close to you, this is my prayer to you this Easter: That you will learn to forgive.
Forgive those who’ve hurt you. Forgive those who’ve made you feel the way you feel. Forgive them for they know not what they do.
That was Jesus’ prayer at the cross.
I didn’t know how Jesus could utter those words, after being tortured, spat on, mocked and ridiculed, betrayed and left accursed, hanging on that tree.
Every day as I pray, I’m beginning to understand why and how He forgives.
Know that you did not deserve any of those horrible things that happened to you.
Know that His heart aches even more deeply for your injustice and pain and fears than you do. Know that He is grieving with you as you grieve.
It is not for us to get even. We never retaliate eye for an eye. When we are attacked, our sinful flesh is provoked to desire for the other party to suffer more than us. But we are not the ultimate judge of our situation, God is.
Conquering this doesn’t mean for the other party to receive his or her comeuppance. That’s up to God. We need to conquer ourselves first – our weak, sinful flesh.
Forgiveness does not mean that you’ve faltered, or that you’re weak. It will give you greater joy than revenge ever could.
As broken and reluctant as I am in believing this right now while writing this to you, I plead with you to let go of your desires and let God be your desire.
This may feel like endless, excruciating pain at first, but as you allow Jesus to love you, you will come alive again. Give it time.
You may feel emotionally incapacitated for a few days, a few weeks, or even a few years, because some of us have been numbing ourselves to the pain we don’t want to feel. It may feel like ripping apart an old scab, but sometimes the blood flows for greater glory. As it did when the Cross was covered in crimson the day He was put to death for our sins.
He died and rose again – and so will we in Him.