It was my worst flashback. It felt like I was being crushed and my ribs were going to pop in half. I couldn’t breathe and everything was orange. I talked to my counselor about it and she said it was a “hot memory” and that we would work through it. Flashbacks are intensely real, and at times I just felt them and saw hints of color as if my eyes were completely closed.
The body remembers what the mind desperately tries to forget.
Later that evening when I was talking to my husband, he said the word “pure” innocently, but it wiped me out.
I was triggered and completely shut down.
He said, “Why do you do this? What is wrong? You are completely different now. I didn’t mean anything bad by that! You are taking it wrong. I meant it in a ….”
My whole demeanor changed and I laid there in the darkness and wanting to scream, “It’s not fair!”
I thought about some of my experiences and it made me so sad. I couldn’t remember a time when I felt pure. I always felt like it was my fault. I did something to make them lose control. I thought God made me this way. I almost felt bad for them because I made them have their urges. I felt responsible.
I certainly did not feel pure. It made me cringe to hear about purity rings in youth groups. In church, I heard many sermons about sexual sin. I completely understood that I was a sinner and had already crossed too many lines.
So, was I pure? No.
Did I have a purity ring? Never.
I had shame poured on so thick it felt like a permanent green stain all over me. This shame was from my own sexual sin along with all of the sexual sins that were committed against me. While I had prayed and asked for forgiveness for my sins, I was just starting to deal with the sexual sins that were committed against me.
I longed to be clean, and with just a mustard seed of hope, I started to believe it was possible.
Hope changes everything. I shared with my counselor that I struggled to believe I was ever pure. However, if I was at some point and it was taken away then it made sense why I reacted and acted the way I did. It had a lot less to do with being born that way, being responsible, and a lot more to do with wanting to be loved.
God didn’t create me to be stained with shame. He made me to be clean, and He longed to free me from the bondage of shame. I wanted to be free, and with each step towards Him, He gently washed me: heart, mind and body.