I was raised to go to church, serve in the church, and to know Jesus. I knew He died for my sins on the cross and in June 1995 I said a prayer with my mom to receive Jesus. As I said the prayer, I was excited because now, I would get to have communion and be like everyone else in church. For years after that served on every ministry you can think of building my resume for Jesus. Every ministry I served in from Vacation Bible School to the choir and later on interpreting for the deaf was my way to impress Jesus. I wanted more than anything to be the best Christian I could be in my church.
My high school years were spent building the perfect transcript and the “good girl” image that I adored. I built this image by always wanting to be friends with everyone, but I never wanted them to see my real personality in fear of being disapproved of. I was so grateful for high school boyfriend because we dated for all four years of high school and that meant I didn’t have to worry about being dateless for any major events.The seeking approval and insecurity that was held deep inside would forge into my college years with a vengeance.
When I entered my freshman year of college the only thing on my mind was experiencing every moment that college was going to offer me. I could not wait to get into my classes and show my book smarts to my professors. I remember going to a few “Frat Parties” because I wanted to be talked about the next day. I thought so many people would be so stunned that me, the “good girl” showed up to that party, that the next day they would be talking about me. I was wrong, and didn’t enjoy the party scene at all. In college, I felt more free than I ever felt before that time. I had no boyfriend for the first time in four years and it felt great for a while, then it felt lonely.
When I began dating my college boyfriend my freshman year it was great, nothing out of the ordinary. I felt great because once again I had a date to all the football game and parties and a study partner. It was about a month after we began dating that he invited me to his dorm room to watch a movie and that was when my life took a turn that I never saw coming. I entered the dark room with no hesitation and sat down to watch the movie, it was then we began to make out, which turned into rape in an instant. Time seemed to stop after that. I couldn’t move, tears just started falling as he brought me home and acted like nothing happened. When he treated it that way I began to believe it was nothing. I continued to date him because of the overwhelming shame that I felt. The good girl that I visioned myself as shattered. I stayed through abuse, physically and emotionally due to my need to fix things or get things fixed. I thought to myself often “I can make things better.” I prayed for God to change my boyfriend many times throughout the 9 month period in which we dated. Every time I would pray to God to help me out or for forgiveness for loving the sex that I had first encountered with him, I never fully felt forgiven, so I would pray more and more in hopes of forgiveness. When the relationship finally ended, the shame and insecurity persevered.
A few months after my college boyfriend and I broke up is when I met Daniel Hall. When I met him I was nervous because I knew I had feelings for him, but could I trust him? I thought that to myself often. Daniel pursued me in love, like I had never felt before. The first week we dated I felt so comfortable with him that I let my guard down and told him about my rape, and at that moment I felt like damaged goods. Daniel shared his story with me of healing from porn addiction and I was amazed and in awe of the man that chose to be with me. Our relationship was rocky at first due to my mistrust of his physical actions, my body always reacted like it was threat instead of a gesture of love. I fell in love fast with Daniel and he with me because after only a month dating he asked me to marry to him and we were married on March 10, 2007.
Our marriage was amazing for a few years as we served in church feeling like we were really helping the church and praising Jesus at the same time. In 2008 we had our son Harris and life felt great. But in the beginning of 2009 we were both feeling empty and like we were just going through the motions of church, it was then that Daniel felt like he should apply for a creative director position at Quest Community Church. I didn’t want to go out of comfort zone, but I knew I couldn’t live like I was anymore.
When my husband Daniel applied to a job a Quest I was ready for a new perspective from a new Church. When we arrived to Vision Weekend (Aug 1) 2009 the rape was beginning to steal parts of my marriage away. I was so tired of dealing with it. During the song “Reign in Us” I said to the Lord “Take this shame from me, I can not handle this burden any longer, take the memories every part of this rape, I need you Jesus” at that very moment I felt like a boulder had been lifted off my shoulders. Profound changes happened in life after that moment. I began to communicate better with my husband and with the amazing community I had encountered. I shared my heart whenever I got the chance. I was enjoying serving on the phototeam and watching people go from death to life was amazing! Then after a while, I began to feel so dark and empty and watching people give their life to Christ, would leave me feeling sad. I kept my questioning of my own salvation and other feelings deep inside.
As two years passed I began to once again question my salvation. During “Christianity isn’t” “Hostage” and especially “The Road” I began to doubt whether I would go to heaven or not. I felt embarrassed by these feelings. I avoided talking about them for a long time. I was not hearing from God and I was angry at everyone important in my life. I as angry most of all at my husband, who on February 2010 gave his life to Christ. I saw an immediate radical-change in him. When he gave his life to Christ, he became focused on the cross and his love for me had somehow changed. As I watched Jesus work in his heart, the more empty I felt. I hid my emptiness in serving and acting like I had it all together. In January of 2011 I was asked to join the Web Team and I immediately accepted because I felt like I could really make a difference on that team, unlike the phototeam where I had begun to like I was not good enough. I was ready for a change!
In May of 2011 I attended Breathe: Women’s Retreat at Quest Community Church for the first time. For the first time I left my husband and children to hear from God. I arrived knowing God was going to do something big in my life, but I had no idea what was coming for me.
On Friday May 6, 2011 I was given the word Wanted and I prayed to receive that word before it was given to me. During my quiet time I argued with God for the first time in my entire life because instead of saying that I was treasured,adopted,precious, or trusted, God laid on my heart to say “Do you want me?” I was furious with God for saying that. I asked Him for another answer and He replied “Unclutch your hands” and “I want that one” and “Are you gonna settle for a healing?” I did not let anyone in my group know what God had said to me due to embarrassment and anger. During the Gospel Clarification that night I was taking photos and as Helen spoke the words of the prayer I got butterflies and felt anxious. I had never felt that way during a prayer before. I ran to talk to Sharon about my quiet time and the feelings that rushed over me. During this processing time, we got to talk about my profound healing, and the lack of forgiveness I and shame that I had just consumed my life. I got to look at my life and see clearly the insecurities, shame, guilt, lust that were present long before the rape. When I saw that I was sinner before the rape, I got to look at the moment I had a claimed was the moment I gave my life to Christ see it was just a healing moment, not the moment of surrender. It was still meaningful, but I didn’t have who I wanted!
On May 6,2011 With every Woman who had been on this journey with me and will be from now on sat with me under the cross as I gave my life (all my life, every gross part to Christ) I wanted the Healer not the healing. I wanted to shine from within, not from clutching onto others; light. I was a beloved, pure, treasured, adopted daughter in Christ at last. After giving my life to Christ, my problems still exist but Jesus is in them with me. I feel settled and free in Him. I know who I am! I am His and that is all need forever. I get to live life proclaiming this amazing truth don’t settle for a healing, Run for the healer, He will catch you every time.
After giving my life to Christ I have got to let Jesus work in the middle of wounds and Heal them with His wounds. His redemption fuels my heart to share my rescue with girls and women across the United States and world. Jesus called a broken person like me to share His hope as the Kentucky Director for BELOVED. Getting to be His messenger (Romans 10:14-15) is amazing! Grateful to Jesus for His strength in my weakness and the community He gave me to be able to share struggles and joy with.