I am sharing my story with you so you know you are not alone in life, if you struggle with abusive parents, abusive relationships, insecurity, anxiety, guilt, shame, feeling worthless, etc. Only through my faith and hope in Jesus Christ I was I able to find healing through the pain.
Can God redeem us? Can he take someone who time and time again searched for a guy to make her feel loved and “good enough”? Someone who continually gave her self physically and sexually in order to feel loved? Someone who thought she was “used up,” “messed up,” and had inappropriate relationships with several guys just to please them? Someone who eventually would have relationships out of caring for another person and couldn’t get away from this sin etched in her? Could God love and forgive a girl like this?
Growing up was difficult. I lived in fear of my dad. I was scared of always doing the wrong thing. I can barely remember much but I can rememeber the emotions. I was screamed at for leaving my bike in the neighbors yard. In trouble for putting my feet on the couch or leaving a light on. I would get in trouble for crying (I am a girl who cries a lot). Why would you get angry at a little girl for crying? I was someone who got upset and cried a lot. So getting in trouble for actions that were inherently “me” made it not “okay” to be me. I was scared at soccer practice, if I was good enough, if the girls liked me. I lived in constant fear and have no memory of being told I was beautiful or smart or just okay. I only remember hugging my dad once growing up.
Writing about the emotional abuse and lack of affection as a child is difficult. ( my mom shows me love in a service type way. I know she loves me because of how much she has done for me. I also felt so much love my my mommom. She always complemented and encouraged me, giving me hugs. Even though she always told me how pretty and talented I was, unfortunately, I never believed her. I wasn’t able to believe any compliments were truth, from any person.
This story’s purpose is not to blame anyone, but an outlet to share my testimony of how God has worked in my life. It is important for anyone to recognize the reason behind their actions and where our emptiness comes from. Although I grew up going to Catholic Church I didn’t know the perfect and true love of my heavenly father, the creator God.
I became a young teenage girl who wanted to feel “good enough” so badly. I was so critical of myself on the inside. So much so that when I was at the bowling alley with friends my freshmen year of high school, an older guy told me how pretty I was. I couldn’t believe it. I was craving to feel self love and didn’t know how to give it to myself that I took ANYTHING. I knew this guy wasn’t right. He was trying to persuade me to do inappropriate things that were wrong. I can barely remember if my actions went farther than making out with him in the car, but from that point on, I was influenced by any guy who came along who gave me attention.
Relations between my parents were not doing well. They never were good. I had never really seen my parents embrace throughout my young years. Maybe they kissed, I can hardly remember. Over the years my dad painfully ripped my mom apart emotionally. For instance, my dad belittled and got angry at my mom when she had backed into the neighbors car. She made a mistake! It was only a mistake! But those mistakes were ones my dad couldn’t handle. We were in fear of being screamed at for making mistakes. I can still faintly remember this evil laugh my dad would have when he would berade her for thinking she was so holy for going to church. My parents relationship was falling apart when my mom told him she wanted a divorce.
For several years our family had an annual memorial day party at the horsetrack. In 2006 my dad had decided not to come during the time of their rocky relationship. When we got home from the party, I walked into my parents room. I saw green on the floor in front of my parents rocking chair. Confused, I called my mom into the room who found my dad laying face up on the ground in the bathroom. I left the house in tears and can still remember the sirens coming. Who would ever think the ambulance and police would ever be called to your house? My dad had committed suicide.
I was relieved that my dad was gone. I felt guilty for that. To this day I am relieved that he is gone but I want to forgive him. I’m not sure if I have yet.
My senior year, once again, I was surprised that a guy would actually like me. I still remember not liking R on our first date because all he talked about was his past relationships. It hurts even writing about him because of what I did with him. I was physically used by him, a physical comfort to his hurts.
I told my grandma that I had an innapropriate physical relationship with him. She told me it was wrong to be doing what I was doing. I left feeling like I was in trouble. I was hurting! I was in pain and craving love! I already knew it was wrong and already felt the guilt. And now felt guilty and shameful even more.
So I went to prom, with my friends, not having him as a date since we weren’t allowed to be dating according to my mom. I went to ocean city afterwards, with a group of friends I had at time. The whole weekend, A was being mean and teasing me all weekend. One night he was actually being nice to me. He persuaded me to do inappropriate things with him. It is painful for me to write this because why was I so weak? Why would I do something with a guy I barely knew?
I came back from prom and told R what I had done. I must have felt guilty to him about it. He told me he wanted what no other guy had. I was scared to say no. I was used to pleasing others. Scared to get in trouble by my dad and for him to get mad at me. When my dad was mad at me that meant I was not okay. It meant there was something wrong with me. That was the devil at work.
I gave all of myself to R, a guy I never want to see again.
It hurts to continue writing about my past. To continue to go back into it. I thought I could never go back after that. I thought I had to give myself now because if I didn’t wasn’t I a hypocrite?
My junior year of college I met D. I thought it was different because, finally, a nice Catholic guy who I would redeem myself with. Wow! I thought Id even wait til marriage. He also didn’t hold any of my past against me! We went to church together and met in our theology class at Scranton. He grew up in Catholic school and we talked about religion and Pauline letters, our class. However I soon found myself again falling into the same sin.
I felt so guilty. We were supposed to be good Catholic college students. I knew D really cared about me and that he was a good guy. He didn’t force me to do anything but we couldn’t resist the temptations and put ourselves in those situations where we were alone. His parents didn’t care and we spent long weekends at his house. My friends (who weren’t a good influence on me either) wondered where we were.
The relationship started going downhill when I started criticizing him for his skinny arms and I started losing excitement.
I really cant remember many details but during the summer after I graduated we talked about getting married. He bought a ring and we had an awkward proposal. We laughed about it but being engaged didn’t feel right. At the time it was because I thought there was more I needed to accomplish in my life but in hindsight, I had so much more growing to do and God had so much more in store for me.
Even writing about D hurts in a different way. The memories bring about a sadness because I spent so many years, even though we officially weren’t “dating” after college, pulling him along as my “friend.” Sometime Id be into him, sometimes not. It was an emotional roller coaster because I couldn’t commit to him entirely. He was a good guy and it was so confusing. Why wasn’t I into him anymore? Why couldn’t I commit to this person who was my best friend?
I spent so many years talking to him on the phone and relying on him instead of God for comfort when something bad happened. He was like a security blanket. Although it was comfortable, it left no room to grow on my own.
I continued to look for and search for a boyfriend who I actually liked. I continued to make many mistakes with guys. People I would never see again.
Flash forward to 2015. I am exhausted to writing about every single one of those relationships.
They are past and gone. Thats what God says as well. I think, although, I tried forgetting about the past without going through the deepest layers and letting God work through the pains.
I still struggle with pleasing others. I still struggle with loving myself. I still struggle with fear of someone being mad at me.
This time around Im relying on God rather than a human for comfort. I just recently learned that and struggle with that.
I’ve come to find out that I want to know what the bible says. That God’s word is the only truth. That the devil has been attacking me with so much self-defeating and critical thoughts over the years.
“Caroline you are not good enough . Caroline you aren’t pretty. Caroline you have to please others because if not then they’ll get mad at you and then that means you’re doing something wrong. And if you’re doing something wrong that means you are bad and worthless. And its not okay to be Caroline. And that means Caroline is bad”
These thoughts arent mine. They’re from the enemy and they are lies.
“He has always hated the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.”John 8:44 NLT
Im still scared to make someone mad at me. I still need to fight. I have so much learning to do. I want to learn Gods word and fight with that sword.
If I disappoint someone it doesn’t mean im a failure. If I dont please someone I am okay. It doesn’t mean Im bad. I am good.
“Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good!”
Genesis 1:31 NLT
God made me good he made me in his image. “So God created human beings in his own image.” Genesis 1:27 I am created to be a mirror reflection of Gods love to others.
I am not those actions from my past. The girl who comitted those sins, her actions, do not make her who she is. Her identity is as a child of God.
I dont have to do anything to receive salvation, to be forgiven. I just have to ask for forgiveness and believe. Because of God’s grace he sent his Son to die on the cross for me. I dont deserve Gods mercy. But he loves us anyway because of grace ( his undeserving favor).
Even though Im scared to continue to be in another relationship, God sent me Justin set fire to a life lived for God.
This time WAS NOT easy at all. My anxiety and depression became the most extreme it ever was. I resorted to self injurious behavior because I felt so overwhelmed with self-critical, painful, and racing thoughts throughout my relationship with Justin. My mind would race so fast with negative shameful hurtful thoughts it was unbearable.
I met Justin at Resonate, a young adult worship night at Calvary chapel in Delran. He knew of and remembered my friend Amanda and came up to us and started talking to us. I mentioned about my dissatisfaction not feeling like i belonged to a community..and he invited me to 11th hour, a Christian community he is a part of.
At the time I was saying to myself, okay sure whatever. He had mentioned something about “biblical something or other” and my thought was… “biblical?” What? I wasn’t even interested in Jesus at the time because I was hanging out with someone who faith and living for Jesus was not a priority. At the time, to me faith meant being a Catholic and understanding more of the Catholic tradition. I always knew faith was always something I wanted as a priority in my life.
Its difficult because I am still learning to truly believe and have hope for the future.
Justin is my best friend and has been for a few months. Our relationship is growing and we are growing together. Building a life together. It’s still very difficult being in a relationship. There is sorrow but there is so much joy having a life with someone special and being part of a church community that I became a part of after meeting Justin .
I still struggle with a lot of anxiety and worries. I still make mistakes. But I’ve challenged myself to walk through the jealousy and insecurity that comes up in our relationship. I am on the road toward healing. Things aren’t perfect but I am on a journey of knowing and believing in the good that our loving God has for me. I am a daughter of the King. I am a beautiful sister friend and girlfriend. I make mistakes but in God’s eyes I am trying my best. And I know you are too.
I am a daughter of the King
I am precious.
I am a new creation.
I am redeemed.