The Word of Our Testimony
Before you jump in, I just wanted to give you the backstory into the writing process for this blog post. Firstly, per usual, I got bamboozled by God!
I thought I was just going to write about my struggles with loneliness that was hitting me especially hard on the day that I sat down to write this. It was a rainy day here in Rhode Island, but not just your cute, normal rain shower. No, these were heavy rains–to the point that I got that annoying alert on my phone (twice) about a flood watch.The alert message used very intense language, citing that no one should leave their home as this was a matter of life and death. I thought the message was a bit dramatic, but as I scrolled through social media, people were posting photos and videos about the flooded streets, highways and showing cars that got swallowed up by the water. It was so bad in some cases, that good samaritans had to come in & crack windows open so the drivers could be saved.
…So there went my plans for the day. I was now stuck inside on a dark, rainy, Memorial Day–and to add, all alone, because my son was with his father on Mondays. By this point, I should be a pro at being alone, but something inside me just started to get sad. I guess you could say I was just in my feelings, but instead of staying there and letting the feelings take control, I got up and grabbed my journal so I could use this moment as a creative outlet. I started writing with the intention of finally putting out a post that I had come up with a title for some time back, but had yet to actually write, which was: “Loneliness….a superpower”?
It definitely helped me redirect my energy, but as I began to transfer the words from journal to laptop, I heard God whisper very softly, telling me to share my story. The full story. Like I said, I was bamboozled! Here I thought I was just having one of those days that we all go through every now and again, but God had actually set it up for me to be triggered enough so that the very root of the trigger could be exposed, uprooted, and destroyed. Now it makes sense why literally every believer, preacher, prophet, teacher, or social media influencer over the last week had all been saying the same thing: Do not fear! Joshua 1:9 was in full effect! God had been coaching me, providing me with hints regarding what was getting ready to take place, so that when the time came, I would not cower.
What you are about to read contains some pretty heavy stuff. If you’ve faced something similar or know someone that has, it might trigger you so please proceed with caution. But, as you all read this, I want you to know that this is deeply personal and it is a major part of my testimony. Sharing this is my declaration that I am intentionally, courageously, and strategically killing off every last trace of fear within me. I choose to walk in the fullness of God’s liberty.
Loneliness is an old friend of mine. He would always come to visit me, starting way back when I was a child. Even though I could be surrounded by family, for some reason I was the only one that could see him. I guess you could say that he was my imaginary friend. This invisible, yet very real entity that had attached itself to me to the point where I would start to find ways to intentionally separate myself even though it would exacerbate the very feelings of loneliness.
I didn’t understand why no one in my family seemed to notice him. At first, that caused me to feel hurt, invisible, and rejected…but then those feelings became so commonplace that I willingly handed loneliness a key to my heart and allowed him to take up residence, indefinitely. I became a master at pretending he wasn’t slowly taking over my space with all of the baggage that came with him; masking it with a host of excuses that ranged in extremes from “I do talk, I’m just shy so only with the people I’m comfortable with” to overcompensating by giving into peer pressure and doing things outside my character just so I could be accepted by others. Those moments of so-called acceptance would be brief, and yet I was thankful. You see because in those times it felt like loneliness took a mini vacation, which left me with some room to inhale and exhale without constriction.
He was starting to impact my health to the point where I became spiritually asthmatic. With him, I could get air, but never take a full, deep breath. And since it was a struggle to breathe, like a dope dealer, he supplied me with a special concoction of substances to keep me dependent and addicted to him. He had become so enmeshed into the marrow of my being that I could no longer function without him. I was an addict. Addicted to the pain and the hurt.
I knew it wasn’t good for me, knew that it was only making my feelings of depression and seclusion worse, but I just couldn't shake him. Somewhere along the way, I had unintentionally signed a contract uniting me and this entity for life. I had come under its control and now it was taking over my life–my thought life, my future, my relationships, everything. It had a voracious appetite that could not be satisfied.
Unbeknownst to me, because I had invited loneliness to come in with no clearly defined move out date, he then took it upon himself to invite friends over without asking my permission or approval. Some of his most frequent visitors were self-consciousness and low self-esteem. They became so comfortable that they also moved right in! And now, because I was outnumbered, there was nothing I could do in my power to get rid of them. So, we learned to live together as roommates, battling for control over the inner workings of my mind and heart. They demanded a say so in my actions, thoughts, and decisions; declaring authority on how I ought to see myself when by myself and in relation to others.
There we were, one big toxic family.
It was not until I began to heal that I realized that this was a demonic spirit assigned to me early on with the objective of completely shattering my sense of self-worth so that I could never fully achieve my God-given potential. But an even darker fact is how the demon was able to attach itself. It had to be let in through something or someone. I have never talked about it publicly and only a handful of very trusted loved ones know, but in my pre-pubescent years, I was molested.
I don’t remember exactly how old I was when it first started or exactly how long it lasted. But, I do know it was not a one or two time occurrence. It happened so often that it would cause me to struggle with sexuality and intimacy as an adult. Quite honestly, it is something that I tried very hard to forget. Even in the moments when the abuse was taking place, I tried to go somewhere else in my mind where I could escape. I repressed those memories by finding a pit deep within, where I could bury them–which I thought was effective until I began to struggle with connecting to people and more importantly, to myself, as I grew.
I did not understand it at the time, but when you bury something that is traumatic inside of you, trying to ignore the hurt, pain, shame and confusion that it caused, you end up shutting off certain parts of you. It stunts your growth. And worse still, you start to retreat from others because for one, you have this overwhelming fear that the secret will somehow come to light; two, you recognize that you’re easily triggered so you’d rather create distance so that you can deal with the effects of those triggers in the comfort of your own loneliness; and three because you internalize the abuse and believe that somehow it was your fault, that it happened due to something you did. This is very common for most children who have suffered abuse, unfortunately.
I think I’ve said this in almost every one of my blog posts up to this point, but I don’t mind saying it again: the enemy is very strategic. If there’s one thing my story shows, it is that the enemy tries to build a foundation in your heart & mind as early as possible. For children and young people especially, he becomes aware of the power, gifts, anointing and callings over their lives then starts to work overtime to create systems of doubt, unbelief, shame, unworthiness, etc. He seeks to lay a new foundation so that it corrupts the root system that God designed within you.
The devil is a bastard! He does not fight fair! The reason he targets us when young is because in addition to choking out the roots God designed you with, he wants to weaken your mind. If he can get you to come into agreement with his lies, he starts to prime you to become an agent in his kingdom of darkness. He aims to create as much opposition and troubles as possible so that it forces you to withdraw and yield to him. This is because the enemy wants us to hand over our birthright.
Think about your mind as a garden. God is the gardener who cares for and waters us daily. He sees the parts that need pruning and lovingly plucks them off so that we can grow and flourish. He only wants to see us win. However, when we submit our minds to the enemy due to the circumstances life hurls at us, we essentially kick God out of the garden. We fire the very person who has the knowledge, skills, and expertise to ensure our garden remains healthy, fertile, and fruitful. And replace it with a new gardener who talks a big game, but actually has no clue what he is doing; resulting in what once was flourishing to a garden full of weeds and withered plants.
Being molested was a tactical strategy by the enemy camp that allowed them to claim the territory of my mind. To make the strategy that more successful, the enemy was also very intentional about the timing for which this took place. He didn’t wait until I was old enough to have access to the information, support, and even language to attempt to deal with such an ordeal on my own. Instead, he carefully chose to start injecting unworthiness into the brain, heart, and bloodstream when I was not equipped to fight back. I became an easy target because I was young and vulnerable. I was obedient, quiet, and shy. I didn’t want to get in trouble or get anyone else in trouble for that matter. I already felt like for some reason, I had been dealt a bad hand in life so being molested and having to deal with it alone & in secret was just another indication of how insignificant my life truly was. It was a reminder that no one cared enough to notice me and no one ever would. It was resigning to living in a mental prison where I willingly collaborated and found community with negativity and despair. They became my default. I learned to expect the worst from people and learned to live a life filtered through the lens of my pain. Essentially, I learned to live empty. To push through with absolutely no gas in my tank. To persevere with nothing inside. I was digging while empty.
I’m sure the devil was very pleased with himself. He was probably sitting back and making plans for how he would continue to use my past, my trauma, my rejected-ness to make me fall even deeper into a pit of despair. Who knows where I could’ve ended up? On drugs, in the streets, dead?
The funny thing is, while he was enacting his strategy on mind and heart, God was also using it for His glory. The best way I can explain this is using one of my favorite Marvel heroes, Black Panther. There is a scene in the movie when T’Challa goes into the lab of his genius scientist sister, Shuri. She starts to show him some options for his panther suit for which she has made improvements. The one his eye is drawn to most has this amazing enhancement, where it collects and stores up the kinetic energy from hits taken and then repurposes that very same energy to be used against its opponents & attackers. In the same way this suit was storing up the energy from all those hits it was taking, God was also using my deep wounds, trauma and pain as a sort of incubator. He was storing it all up in a container, preserving it for the right time when it would need to be released. Unbeknownst to me, the hits were actually becoming my power source. When it felt like I was at my lowest, the meter on the energy incubator was actually getting higher and higher.
It's a great reminder of the fact that the enemy can try to bring us down, but God is always in control. The combination of feeling unseen and rejected, being molested, and suffering with what felt like insurmountable loneliness was the perfect recipe for a life destined to be in a continual loop where doom and gloom were in constant reproduction. However, God never lost sight of who He created me to be and was able to take the shattered, broken parts of me and repurpose them to be used as darts against His enemies & opponents.
I’m not saying that being abused as a child was good for me, but rather that I was able to grow into the woman I am today despite it. I broke my allegiance to the addiction of pain and suffering and threw my contract into the all-consuming fire of God’s grace. What did not kill me truly made me stronger and at 30 years old, God broke the seal on my incubator, releasing me to rise and embrace my true identity.
So there it is: my story, my testimony. I hope that in sharing, it helps another person, woman or girl to feel seen & heard; to know that no matter what traumas you’ve faced or what storm you might currently be going through, God is always there in the midst. It may look and feel like you are completely spent, but you have an incubator inside that is storing up the energy from every kick, every hit you have ever taken in life. It’s powering you up and bayy-be when you come out on the other side, you are going to be so unstoppable, so faith-filled, and so powerful beyond measure.
The world is not ready!