regret

I Lived Through It But How Can I Live With It?

hillie-chan-261330-unsplash.jpg

Recently I have spent a lot of time thinking about my answer to that question. And here’s why --

I am 35 years old and have lived the majority of my life as a surviving victim of sexual abuse. I was 11 years old when I was molested by someone close to me and I have lived with it every day since. I won’t ever be able to escape the memories. The fear, the shame, the embarrassment and the lack of understanding will always be a part of who I am. And I am finally okay with that because I know God is working in my life!

I have struggled throughout the years with being depressed, anxious and angry, but more than all of that, I have struggled with being okay. As a teenager and young adult, I really didn’t know how to deal with feeling happy or content, so I created chaos in my life because that was more comfortable to me. I pushed away anyone who tried to help me and clung to those who used me. I had a distinct pattern of toxic, unhealthy relationships.

If you’re reading this, maybe you can relate in some capacity. Whether it’s abuse you’ve suffered (like me), a loss of someone you love, or some other type of hurt that has consumed you for far too long, you understand what I mean when I say you can’t really make sense out of it. How do you accept it and move on when there are reminders everywhere?

I have lived the last two decades of my life regretting what happened to me, how it changed my family and how it changed me. I was 16 years old the first time I forgave. I say the first time because I have to forgive often. Not only do I have to forgive him, but I also have to forgive myself. Forgiveness has been the beginning of moving on and releasing the regret. It’s not easy when you relive it all the time and think about how you should have done things differently. “What ifs” are difficult to live with!

God has given me the chance to start over...more than once! He has put people in my life who love me to the best of their ability. He has loved me and been the security I craved and sought after for most of my life. He has given me the ability to love others the way He loves me. He has has given me salvation through Jesus.

I don’t shy away from telling my story. It’s the best tool I have to share how God has worked in my life. I don’t credit myself with anything other than being willing to let God heal me. It’s ongoing, I’m not done yet, but I’m closer now than I ever have been before!

-Amy

 

Reframing Regret

annie-spratt-37949-unsplash.jpg



Regret.

Six small letters that can hold the weight of the world. I don’t have many regrets in my life that I haven’t been able to redeem in one way or another, but as I was sitting in church last Sunday listening to Zak preach about Father’s Day and being able to make peace with regret - specifically surrounding fathers and dads... I was brought back to the last time I saw my dad awake and alive.

I was a freshman in college, attending K State and I had come home for the weekend. I was visiting my boyfriend and my family and (sadly) at 18, the boyfriend took precedent. He was my high school sweetheart and very much a part of the family, so of course he was with me when I visited my parents. I’ll never forget when we arrived at my my dad’s house, it was blazing hot outside - September in Kansas, but inside the house it was quiet, dark and cool. My dad was in bed, not feeling well and my boyfriend had things to do, so I was in a hurry. I only had a couple of days in town and I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible. I went into my dad’s room to chat for a few minutes. (I’m a daddy’s girl and even if a few minutes was all I that I got this time, it was a enough for me.) A few words, a kiss on the cheek and hug goodbye - that’s how I left.

Regret.

I regret not staying longer.
I regret not saying a prayer.
I regret not knowing that it was the last hug. The last kiss. The last “I love you.”

Had I known, I would have stayed. I wouldn’t have had plans. No plans were more important than the time I’ll never get back.

After listening to Zak preach on Sunday, I have started the process of forgiving myself for being selfish with my time. My dad knew I loved him. He knew he was my hero. He knew he was my best friend. I don’t regret our memories together, only that there aren’t more of them. When my dad left this world and went to Heaven, he went with a full heart, knowing he was loved. He wasn’t regretting our last time together. He loved me and he knew that I knew it!

Reframing the reality of our last memory together has been a catalyst for healing. It was full of love, of him for me and me for him. There is nothing to regret about that!

-Brooke