My name is simple. Mirna. pronounced MEER-NUH. I wish I could say my life has been simple. From the outside looking in, my life growing up was probably seen as complete, fun, loving, and safe. It was all but one. I grew up with two rambunctious brothers, who adored me even though they would never admit it in our childhood years. My mother was the gem of this earth. Her beauty was noticed by all and her kindness exceeds all Proverbs 31 woman standards. My father, was seen as a provider, a hard worker, he put his family first, he let his faith in God show, he loved as he saw fit. He was a great father to those who knew him, and he hid his secrets well. So well, that I was unknowingly hiding his secrets for him.
From as little as I can remember, my father sexually abused me. I can't quite put an age when he stopped, but the years of what he did, haunted my adolescent years in ways I didn't understand for a long time. You see, when abusers target children, they have to gain their trust. They convince the child that they are so loved, they make promises that will never get filled, and they brainwash the child into thinking that what they are doing to them is ok, but its our little secret. I remember thinking, that everyone went through this. I thought that this was a completely normal thing that happened between all daddies and their daughters. I love my dad and I knew he loved me. I was daddy's little girl for so long and I was proud to call him mine. My eyes would finally be open that something was not quite right, when my uncle (dad's brother) would start to try touching me in the same manner my dad did; coincidentally it was also around the same time that my dad just disappeared. I am still not sure if my uncle would try to start molesting me since my dad was now out of the picture, but I made it clear to mom that I did not want to go back with him if I was going to be alone.
I was 12 when my mom announced her and my dad would be getting a divorce. At this time, I had not seen him for what felt like a couple of years. I was broken. I was shocked. No matter the circumstances, a child does not want their parents going through a divorce. I knew he had left, but to this day I am still not aware of the reasons for him leaving so abruptly. I am not sure I want to know, honestly. I remember this day like it was just yesterday. I was in early middle school. In the most vulnerable years of a school aged child's up bringing. I remember crying for hours and hours during the school day and that my teachers and friends would do their best to console me. I remember being angry at my mom. I remember being confused and then suddenly feeling empty. Who else was going to love me like my dad did? Who else was going to protect me like he promised?
Over the next couple of years, I was to learn what exactly my dad had done to me while I was too little to realize the horrible wrong. Through the words of other students (not teachers or adults) on the school bus, in class, at lunch, I was educated about the human body, and safe and bad touches; I froze. My world felt like it had turned upside down. I wanted to throw up, I wanted to run away. I wanted to shrink so that no one would know what a disgusting dad I had that raised me to believe he loved me. I never told anyone what he had done until church camp one summer. It was during a student service that week that I felt like I finally needed to tell someone. I cannot recall what the service had been about but I knew my mom needed to know and I had to have the courage to speak up. I asked my best friend to walk with me to speak to our youth pastor at the time. Their reaction was enough to know that what I had been through was not ok and it was not a normal childhood. We all cried together for what felt like hours. This was the first time I had opened my mouth about what had been done to me and for the first time I felt like I was safe to let all my emotions flow. I am still not sure if I was crying tears of pain, sorrow, relief, exhaustion, strength; it just felt good to cry about this big secret that I had held onto for so long.
It was that night that I told my youth pastor that my mom had no idea and I wanted her to know. She needed to know. He called her once we arrived back home from camp and we met in his office. I didn't know if she would be angry with me, or be ashamed, but she had to know. I cannot remember how the conversation went, but based on her facial expression and her immediate embrace towards me, she had no idea all of this had went on in her own home without her knowledge. My mom was a stay at home mom for a while, but my dad still found ways to get me alone with him to do what he did. For a while she started working the night shift at a restaurant and I remember him encouraging her to stay as long as she needed. I never once felt like I needed to give her any indication not to go to work, or that I was in distress. I thought my dad was keeping me safe.
My teen years were tough. I always felt like I was missing something. My dad was not around anymore and even though he had hurt me more than he had built me up, I still longed for someone to love me in the ways he had convinced me he did. I sought out affection, comfort, and safety in temporary places. I wanted the attention of males and if they gave it to me I felt safe and loved, even if they never told me they loved me. I had made a promise to remain pure until marriage and after what I had been through, I just knew I would never break this commitment. Until I began dating a boy in high school. He was everything I wanted in a boyfriend. The cool guy, "hot" by teen girl standards, he was wanted by other girls and he was athletic. He had a party guy reputation and I was the good church girl. We were night and day. But it felt like a perfect match. I would change him, show him God, and calm his party life down. When he began telling me he loved me, and convinced me through his actions, and his words, I was the one who changed. I was putty in his hands. He showed me affection, he told me I was beautiful, he took me out on dates, he told me If I loved him like he loved me, I would lose my virginity to him. I said no many times, and reminded him of my commitment, and promise to myself and God. He respected that, which made me love the idea of sleeping with him even more. He knew this would happen, I did lose my virginity to him at the age of 15. We were going to get married one day. We even named our children, we knew we would go to college together, where we would raise our family. It was all planned out, until a couple months later, he wanted to take a break. I didn't want to seem clingy, so I agreed. We still talked everyday, until one day I heard from someone else at his school that he started dating someone else.
I was heart broken. He promised me we would get back together, even after dating someone else, and I believed him. I had never opened my heart for anyone to hurt me, after my dad left, until this guy. I trusted him. He gained my trust, but when he was done with me, he moved on. I felt like a piece of trash crumpled up and thrown away. I rarely cried over him, I just decided to move on as well. I would remake my commitment to remain pure once again, until the next bad boy would show interest in me. Again, I knew I could change him. He would stop partying, he would stop drinking, he would go to church with, and I would show him God. After several months of dating, I was pregnant. 16 and pregnant. There wasn't a TV show to glorify this lifestyle like there is now. I wasn't even entirely sure how one became pregnant exactly, except that some form of sex made babies. I didn't know human anatomy and the functions of each organ. I just knew somehow I was pregnant. He was going to stick with me, we were going to get married, he was going to be a part of her life. I was a junior in high school, in honors classes, on the honor roll, in Fellowship of Christian Athletes, I went to church every Sunday morning and evening and on Wednesday nights. I was not supposed to get pregnant. Not at 16, not by a bad boy, not at this time.
I moved schools half way through that school year to graduate early. I lost so many friends, not because they didn't want to be my friends, but because in high school, one lives in the mind set 'out of sight, out of mind'. I was forgotten, my friends stopped talking to me as much, I felt alone and the father of my child stopped talking to me. I cried the first day at my new school. It was an alternative learning environment for students who had been expelled from their zoned schools for one reason or another; or it was known as the school for pregnant teens. I did not fit in. I never got in trouble or even thought about cursing at a teacher, like these other students, I just wanted to get my diploma and get out.
Once I had my beautiful baby girl, I graduated high school, I was enrolled in college; life felt like it had taken a turn for the path I was supposed to be on. I never once stopped going to church. My youth pastor and his wife were such an encouragement in my life. I was in college, I had a job, my mom was helping me raise my baby, everything felt perfect. Until I started to long for love and affection once again. I began to party on Saturdays, but I never missed a Sunday morning service. From the outside, I was a great mother, an honor roll college student, a hard worker, always had a smile on my face; but deep down I was unfulfilled, depressed, lonely. I wanted a boyfriend and someone to help my raise my baby. I sought out attention from all the wrong places and was pregnant again at 18. I was on birth control this time and I was invincible. Nothing made any sense. Why me again?
For the next several years, I raised my daughters with the help of my mom, all while seeking fulfillment elsewhere. I attended church so no one would ever think I had fallen off the righteous path over and over again. At my job, I was mean. I was bitter and angry and everyone knew it. I was feared and I was ok with it. I would not let my walls down again. I would protect my heart, and my mind and if there was any leaving, it was me. Once my daughters got a little older, they started to realize I would not come home some nights. My mom was always there to greet them and love them while I was making my drive home from a night of partying. She finally sat me down, giving me two choices. One; continue to party and live like all others my age, drinking, sleeping around, not coming home BUT she told me I would not drag my girls down with me. She would fight me to take them and raise them on her own. Two; get my act together and be the mom my babies so desperately needed and deserved. I chose to start living like the mom my children thought I was. They loved me despite my imperfectness, they loved me even though I didn't always make the best choices for myself. They made me want to be better for them, for myself. I wanted to start living the Christ centered life that I had faked for so long.
I wish I could say from that moment on things were easy, and everything fell into place how I imagined it would, but I was a single mom for 8 years and I wanted so bad to be married. My oldest daughter has not seen her father since she was 8 months old. My youngest daughter's father does what he can for her, but nothing to go above and beyond the call of fatherhood. He loves her no doubt. I had years where my oldest daughter would question if her daddy loved her, why he was not around, where did he live, why did he leave her? I would give the most age appropriate answer I could. Of course he loves you, he is not around because he is not ready to be a daddy, I am not sure where he lives since I have not talked to him for so long, he left because he had some growing up to do and men who act like little boys are not ready to raise little girls. We prayed for him many nights. My heart broke for her longing for the love of a father. I saw myself in her. I am beyond grateful she never experienced the abuse I did, but her heart still wanted to be loved and she longed for the attention of a male. I would tell her over and over that her Heavenly Father is always there, but my true wake up call came when I tried to explain this to her without fully believing it myself. How could I make her believe God, her Father loved her, and was going to protect her, and he was going to keep his promises to her, and he was going to deliver her earthly father at the most perfect timing if I myself didn't believe it?
I had to get my heart and mind right with God, before I would ever be ready to get married and have the discernment for the right man to enter my daughters' lives. Dating with two children was not easy. Dating with two children and trying not to be sexually active was not easy. Dating, period, was not easy. Having two children and dating had an immediate stigma. Unholy, promiscuous, easy, weak, frightening, challenging, strong, etc. After a couple failed relationship attempts that both were going down the path of engagements, I knew they were not what God had planned for us. One was lazy, stopped working, expected me to pay for everything. The other was arrogant, prideful, previously physically abusive (not to me). Far from perfect, just like me. My girl's got close to both of them at different stages, and God just kept showing me the warning signs, that not matter how badly I wanted to be married, they were still not the one.
On March 27, 2014, I was finally at the point of surrender. I had an amazing job that allowed me to provide everything for my little family. I had health insurance, we could afford to live without help from the amazing government programs that are in place to be a stepping stone for struggling parents like myself. We had everything we needed and then some. I was a college graduate. I was using my degree. My girls were thriving and both tested for being Intellectually Gifted. They trusted God because they saw their mom trusting God. On this day, late in March, I fell on my knees in tears, and proclamation, not anger, that I was going to surrender my plans to God's plans. I was going to enjoy my babies while it was just us. I was going to stop looking for my husband in all possible locations. I was going to live like Christ. Asking for forgiveness where I needed to and to give grace when it isn't deserved. I was going to be the best example of a Godly woman that my children needed. I was waving my white flag high for the Lord to see and two days later, March 29, 2014. Proverbs 27:4 became a reality for me. "Take delight in the the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart'. My husband would enter our lives in the most beautifully broken way possible.
We have been married since January 10, 2015 and our days since then is whole separate blog itself, but God has reminded me over and over again to never lose hope. Never stop having faith. And that we do not need to be right for him to work miracles in our lives. He meets us in our brokenness, he meets us in our hurting, he meets us in the moments when we are making the biggest mistakes of our lives, he meets us to hold us and love us and forgive us when we are ready to surrender to him. If he waits to meet us when we are right with him, grace, mercy and forgiveness would have no meaning. I had to find my identity in Christ, before he would allow me to find my identity in being a wife that I so badly wanted. Only God can make me feel whole and only he can fulfill me in ways that my amazing husband and children cannot. If you are looking for love in places that are not God centered, you will only come out angry, hurt, bitter, self seeking, disappointed. God promises to fulfill your every need and desire. We must trust his timing and we must be ready to suffer. The bible does not promise happiness nor does it promise an easy life, but God does promise to always be there and to hold you when you too tired from trying to work it out all out on your own.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. —Matthew 11:28-30
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