I was talking to my friend the other day and she asked me a simple question: Esther, what’s your story?
I answered vaguely, as always, but I’ve been thinking about it since that day. I do have a story that I never shared with anyone, just bits and pieces I usually make jokes about, but no one knows my full story. Not my friends, not my family, no one.
It’s extremely difficult for me to talk about certain things because I suffer from this “strong girl syndrome” (you’ll understand why). Weakness terrifies me, but as I grow up, I’m finding that my strength IS in my weakness, because that’s where God met me and showed out. My testimony IS my worship.
I overcame a lot of things, and I think it’s time I become comfortable with my truth, so, here’s my story:
When I tell people I got saved at 16, they automatically assume I had a perfect life. Lies. This walking with Christ thing is no joke. It’s a marathon. It’s a triathlon, with hills, valleys and everything in between (and I’m just getting started. Whew).
I was a lost, confused, broken little girl. I was great on paper but if you dug deep, I had so many heart issues. We think that sex, drugs and alcohol are the only things that can ruin lives but try bitterness, unforgiveness, rejection, low self-esteem. I was fighting so many silent wars that resulted in me being mean, rude, closed off, and because hurt people hurt people, I wasn’t the most pleasant to be around. All this beautiful personality of mine was hidden behind this fake strong, aggressive persona.
I just remember being so angry for years. It wasn’t a ‘teenage crisis’, it was real rage, anger. I was always fighting and snapping at people. I felt alone, rejected, misunderstood, not loved, not pretty, not worthy, a whole lot of negative things.
I was a happy and bubbly child but I went through a few things that really scarred me. I moved around A LOT and being naturally reserved, it was difficult. I dealt with a very serious spirit of rejection. Now, this is probably the most vulnerable thing I will ever share, but I think it’s time I stop letting it control me. I was molested at a very young age and it took something away from me. I finally told my mom and my old pastor, when I was 19 (he said it’s because I had a seduction spirit by the way. Anyway). Years later, at 14, I escaped rape. As if that wasn’t enough, grown men started making passes at me from the time I was 13, sometimes offering money or gifts in exchange of having me. Just to tell you how bad it was, this guy used to come pick up his siblings when I was in high school and he chased me for months. He was 25, I was 15. I never accepted any of these offers but I felt so much shame. I felt dirty, like something had to be wrong with me and I started hating men.
Imagine the impact on a young girl’s self-worth…
My teenage years were probably the hardest years of my life. I hated it. Between teachers telling me that I wasn’t smart enough, girls picking on me, calling me fat and ugly, my confidence was crushed. I was lonely, insecure and angry. I was bullied so bad, I was that girl who cried and ate in the bathroom alone at lunch break (once, they pulled my pants down in the middle of the hall guys. Yeah…). As a result, I started acting out. I got tired of crying everyday and decided I had to be tough, that’s when I developed this “tough girl” shell and it worked. I started fighting in school and being ‘sassy’, that’s when I all of a sudden became popular. I had this whole ‘don’t mess with me’ thing going on. I was everybody’s favorite black friend. Around that time, I would go days without eating and make myself throw up after my meals because I wanted to be skinny and “beautiful” (That’s why today, I always tell my friends to let me chop in peace, I’m catching up lol).
I stopped trying in school because I didn’t believe I was good enough (but I still got good grades, we thank God). I was a professional at ditching class. When people were applying for universities, I was making jokes about how I’ll go to Atlanta, become a party girl, maybe an escort or a stripper, until I meet a rich guy and marry him, because that’s all I was good for, or so I thought (shout out to my mom for yelling at me and bullying me into applying for school lol)
Obviously, I became very defensive, I didn’t trust anyone, my self-esteem was very low, my self-worth as well. I kept to myself. I wanted to be invisible. I thought nobody loved me. I didn’t know who I was, I was just hiding behind a shell, never allowing myself to be my true self, who God created me to be. I didn’t even know who that was. To be honest, I didn’t love myself. I thought something was wrong with me and it took me a very long time to get out of that.
By the grace of God, around that same time, my mom came across what became my church for the next 9 years of my life. When I started being forced to go to church (lol), love met me there. There was something about the presence of God. I remember hearing the words “Jesus loves you” and breaking down in tears, it’s like this big weight had been lifted off my shoulders and I never wanted to go back to carrying that weight. Love met me and love kept me, ’til this day.
I always felt like my story wasn’t as dramatic as some other testimonies but nonetheless, it’s my story. See how the enemy manipulated me for years, how he began stealing my joy and fighting my destiny from a young age, in the hope that I wouldn’t become all that God has created me to be? But we know that he’s a liar and a loser. Tuh.
Nobody’s perfect, we all went through our fair share of trouble but the GRACE of God kept us, lifted us, helped us, and it’s a daily thing. I’ve been working on peeling off those layers and getting out my shell for years. God has helped me so much (at the end of the series, I will share some things I learned on my journey so far).
Anyway, after giving my life to Christ, I moved back to Canada, away from my parents, and embarked on a journey of discovery, pain, deliverance and even some entanglements chileee (kinda)… Lol.
I always pray that God would make me a living testimony, a silent preacher, so I hope that reading my story and seeing the woman I am becoming, will be enough to remind you of God’s grace, mercy and faithfulness. My God is in the business of restoration !
Stay tuned for next week’s post !
Love you guys !