Bringing the Truth About Past Abuse to Light
Letter from Jaclyn Vega
I think it's very easy to try and hide the parts we don't like about ourselves from those around us. For fear of being rejected or the fear of being seen for only that "one thing". I myself used to be notorious for hiding and pretending aspects of my life did not exist or never happened.
When I was 17 years old, I was being abused by my boyfriend. Like most relationships we began with a “honeymoon phase” but as the relationship continued things started to quickly change. Overtime, the boy who once showered me with kind words began to say nothing but degrading remarks. He would have these waves of emotions and would suddenly become this completely different person I didn’t recognize anymore. It was around these sudden outbursts that he began to put his hands on me. It was as if he had pulled off a mask to reveal the truth of who he really was all along. I no longer found myself in a position of being loved by my boyfriend but instead I found myself being both physically and emotionally abused. As you can imagine, carrying around such a heavy burden at such a young age left me feeling chewed up and spit out. I had never felt so filthy and so unlovable in my whole life. I remember feeling as if my body was no longer my body but instead, it felt as if I was taking refuge in one that wasn't mine anymore. Even after I ended the relationship, I was left feeling like I was the one to blame for his anger and his issues.
Being too afraid to reveal what had happened to me to anyone in my life due to the fear of being seen as weak, or the one at fault for this misfortune I decided to stay quiet and pretend as if it never happened. I didn't want to be labeled as the "girl who was abused". I just wanted to continue to be seen as me, Jaclyn Vega, the girl who loves her books and her coffee first thing in the morning. The girl who loves her family and friends with all she has in her. The girl who is a Daughter of Christ. So, for the next five years, I would hide this great secret away in the deepest parts of my heart in hopes that no one would ever see this brokenness I carried.
But like all things that are kept secret the truth began to reveal itself as the years went on. I noticed how quickly I began to stray away from the possibility of romantic relationships and my faith in general. I found a great fear in getting too close with anyone including our heavenly Father. I was so ashamed and felt so dirty of what had happened that I began to feel as if I was no longer good enough for anyone especially our Lord. What I had failed to realize was that what had happened to me wasn’t my fault at all and that I was in fact still very much wanted and loved by our heavenly Father. I became so wrapped up in the fear of rejection from those around me and the Lord himself that I began to keep everyone at arm's length. The thought of letting someone else into my life who could potentially see the truth terrified me and led me down a path of depression and overwhelming panic attacks. I would find myself triggered by the smallest of things and would suddenly feel as if I was being sent back into reliving the abuse all over again.
It wasn't until a particular panic attack in the fall of 2018 that I was flooded by memories I had suppressed all these years of the past abuse I had been put through that I realized I was dealing with something far greater than I could ever deal with on my own.
It was through this pain that I came to realize the Lord was the one to reveal the truth to my suffering. It was as if He was shining a flashlight over the darkest part of my heart to reveal the truth that I had so desperately tried to forget. Through prayer, I remember telling the Lord, "Please don't show anyone this brokenness. They will not see me the same way. You were not even to know of this." To which the Lord replied, "My sweet child I have known of this pain ever since you have placed it here and look, I do not see you any differently. I have not abandoned you. I still love you and want to heal you of this great pain. Let me take this out of your hands and give you peace. Let me mend your heart."
This, my sisters, is all the Father wants to do for us. In our times of brokenness, He does not want to discard us but instead, He wants to embrace us and lift us up into the light out of the darkness we may have surrounded ourselves with.
Who I was last fall and who I am now are two completely different people. This is another beautiful thing our Lord has revealed to me, how much and how quickly he can change our hearts in a few short months. With finally facing my brokenness and offering it to the foot of the cross I have found this new sense of peace and overwhelming joy in my life. A joy I was so unsure of ever feeling again these last five years. My journey of recovery is still far from over but with the help of my loved ones and our blessed Father I know I will make it through. Even through the “bad days” I still find myself saying these simple words, “Jesus, I trust in you.”
So let the Lord mend your heart my sisters put this pain in his hands and feel how He washes over you with this great sense of peace and overwhelming love. What has happened to you or to me does not make us any less of who we are, Daughters of Christ. The Lord wants to heal you, let Him. Do not let this consume you by pretending it does not exist or never happened. Go to Him as you are.
So, to my dear sisters who may be hiding in the darkness of their hearts...it is time to come out of hiding. It won't be easy to face the truth but know that you will make it through. Keep faith. That is your greatest strength.
I am praying for you all.
With Great Love,
About the Writer: Jaclyn Vega
Jaclyn Vega was born and raised in the Central Valley of California. She is 23 years old and is currently a full time college student looking to receive her Bachelor's degree in Agricultural Science. Jaclyn is often times found studying but during her off days you will most likely find her spending time with the people she loves most. Besides her family and friends her favorite things in this world are a warm cup of coffee, a graphic novel, and a breezy fall afternoon.