If you’ve read Crystal’s book Dirty Girls Come Clean you are familiar with the SCARS process. SCARS is a recovery process that Crystal created which stands for Surrender Confession Accountability Responsbility Sharing.
This blog series is about Confession, which in my story was the most powerful part of the SCARS recovery process. Over the next 2 months we’ll be sharing the stories of some amazing & courageous women who are boldy coming forward to break the chains of silence. These women are taking a step of faith in sharing their hearts & their journeys so please respect them in this vulnerable moment and lovingly shower them with encouragement. DGM is so thankful for women such as these who are willing to put themselves out there in order to help others get free.
Our prayer is that these vulnerable confessions touch something in you, that you may find yourself in one of our stories, and that you feel an overwhelming need to surrender to God and allow Him to break these chains. You are loved. You are worth the fight. You can be made whole. We are praying for you. We are here to help. – Lauren
Lauren’s Story: Beauty in Breakdown
Where my story actually began is still a mystery to me. I don’t have a clear memory of the first time I was exposed to pornography or masturbation, but it was probably around the age of 8 or 9. Even at that young age I was unhealthy intrigued by romanticism, fantasy, sexual images, etc. I was a highly imaginative child so these images stuck with me and I replayed them in my head when I couldn’t access them in books or movies.
Growing up we went to church every Sunday & I was highly involved in activities there. I gave my life to Christ at the age of 14, but it wasn’t until much, MUCH later that I truly began to grasp the desperatness of my situation and why I needed salvation. During my pre-teen & teen years I don’t have many memories of masturbation or obsession with sex. The majority of my sin lied in the inability to take captive of my thoughts. Daily I fantasized about romantic situations and put men, marriage, & romance on a pedestal.
At the age of 17, independent to the core, I went off to college out of state. Not 3 months into my college experience my innocence was ripped from me. On Halloween night while walking back to my dorm, I was pulled into the bushes and raped. Fearing the reaction from my peers, my parents, & even myself, I returned to my dorm, threw my clothes in the trash, and went to bed, all without shedding a tear or saying a word.
The next few months were a blur. Not wanting to sacrifice my independence I remained at school and turned to alcohol to numb the pain. Denial was my best friend, that is until acceptance of what had happened and depression took it’s place. My denial lasted until my mom confronted me about a change in my behavior and I finally wrote her a letter explaining what had happened. After much deliberation with my parents I decided to return home for the Spring semester to process my assault in counseling.
I returned to school in the fall, stubbornly determined not to let my rapist get the best of me. In hindsight, I should have never returned. I was not ready emotionally or spiritually and I was probably further away from healing then when I left school in December. The 3 years that followed were the gateway into a life that I never meant to lead, a life that sent me into a dark hole and that would take me years to climb my way out of.
My decision to take control manifested itself in a few ways. Having resigned myself to the fact that I was no longer a virgin (which was a serious deception by the king of deception himself, satan) I decided that all future sexual encounters would be on my terms and would result in pleasure, not pain. Hence, lots and lots of sex with completely random men. I was not yet 21, but being in a sorority I had access to a lot of parties, which equals lots of drunk men… men that I could sleep with and then leave behind. When men weren’t available or when I was tired of dealing with them, I returned to my old friend, masturbation. It was also during this time that I remember first intentionally seeking out pornography.
At certain points in my journey, I did have romantic relationships, but they were short-lived and based mainly on sex. There was no intimacy, no honesty, and no trust, especially on my part. While I did tell 2 of my college boyfriends about my assault, I never let them know how it truly made me feel or told them about the resulting sin. This sin had seeped into my life so far, that once a near straight-A student, I was now flunking almost every class. I sat by and watched my best friends graduate, while I wallowed in my self-pity and sank deeper into my life of iniquity.
My sin did not come without guilt. I felt guilty about my actions and knew that they were wrong, but I could find no way out. I prayed to be released, but then hours after praying I would find myself coping with my loneliness and depression in unhealthy ways.
After leaving college, without a degree, I returned home determined to get things back in order. I started attending church, was living at home with my parents, and trying to live a Godly life. There is a period of about 2 years where I had little to no sexual temptation. Having kept my sexual sin a secret, no one suspected and I had little opportunity to act out. I grew closer to God and once again became really involved with my church.
Because I never dealt with the root of my sexual sin, it was only a matter of time before satan took advantage and thrust me back into that life. My mid-20s were the roughest years to date. I floundered trying to figure out where I belonged and what I wanted to do with my life. Once again I turned my back on God and fell deeper into a life of depravity. I sank deeper into an addiction to sex, porn, and masturbation. I did things I never thought were possible for a Christian woman to do. My sin knew no bounds.
However, during this time my conviction was stronger than ever. God was working. He was fighting for me and I could sense it. God led me to the book Inside of Me by Shellie R. Warren and I finally realized that I was not alone. I did what I thought I had to, but still it wasn’t enough. I prayed to be released from the stronghold of this sin. I pledged to stop sinning sexually. I put filters on my computer only to remove them a few months later. I needed more stimulation (visually & physically) in order to get the desired result. It was a constant battle in my heart and mind, one that finally got the better of me.
The moment came when I no longer had any sense of control. I had hit rock bottom so many times only to find that I could fall even deeper into the chasm of my sin. My true rock bottom was not like most. Instead of being a moment of complete shame it was a moment of awakening and of redemption. God interjected and made me realize that I was worth so much more. He opened my mind and heart to the fact that deep down I was longing for something deeper than physical connection. He reminded me that I was created for so much more than that. He spoke to me and told me that He had something exponentially more beautiful planned, better than anything I could ever imagine on my own. He wrapped His infinitely strong arms around me and comforted me in a way only He can. My rock bottom truly showed me the mercy and grace of Christ Jesus. It was a gentle urging from God to embrace who He created me to be and to finally give up control.
I realize now that even more difficult than the struggle itself was the silence. When I finally came out and said who I truly was and accepted my brokeness, satan’s stronghold on me weakened. Brokenness is nothing to be ashamed of. It is who we are. Every time I tell my story or every time God brings further realization into my heart and mind I am comforted by the fact that I grow stronger in Christ. There is no secret too buried, no past too dark, no confusion too deep, no sin too ugly that is above the enduring and ever-present grace of God. Nothing can separate us from our Father’s love. There is no struggle He cannot cease. If you receive nothing else from my story, I pray that you receive this.
I’d like to end with an excerpt from Jenny’s story in Crystal’s book… she sums this up better than I ever could!
“Dear sister reading my story, know there is hope for you. You are not alone; the silence has kept you prisoner for far too long. Fear and shame do not have to keep you bound any longer. There is so much grace and hope for you if you are willing to take God’s hand and let Him begin to lead you down the road to recovery. I can promise you it’s messy and hard, and it will not happen overnight, but joy and peace will come along the way and it will be more than you could ever imagine.”