The following story was narrated to The Weight She Carries by one of our readers who asked us to conceal her identity. This is her story…
I have made many mistakes that I regret. Every time I remember some of the mistakes I made in the past, I feel the urge to want to talk to somebody about it. And maybe somebody who may be passing through a similar stage will choose a different path. I want to talk about it to help someone else.
One of the things that actually encouraged me was the Word of God – going through His promises where He said He would not leave us or depart from us. What drives me is the fact that God loves me. Discovering that I am a part of His plan helped me move forward.
“I hated my dad”
I come from a family of nine children. My mother lost one, so we are now eight. As a teenager, we were living in a one-bedroom apartment and I didn’t find the place comfortable. I had a hatred for my dad. I didn’t like the fact that he would drink, come home very late and wouldn’t pay attention to us, his kids. I would see other children growing up with proper care from their fathers – having clothes to wear and food on the table – and I would wonder: why is my dad not doing all of this? So, I began to hate him.
One day I told myself I was going to leave this man for good. I had to think of where to go. I had grandparents on my mother’s side who lived not too far from us. I asked my grandmother if I could stay with her. I was a teenager then and I knew they would not want me to come to stay with them because they were not on good terms with my father. I knew I needed a good reason for me to go live with them that they would find acceptable. But before even leaving my parents’ place, I was already facing fears. One thing led to another.
The Wrong Kind of Help
I entered a relationship with man who was way older than I was. He would provide some of the things I needed, like a school bag, shoes, basic things that my parents were not providing. He was married.
As a child of God, I knew it was wrong, but I rationalized and asked myself what else I could do. A struggle began inside of me and that was the beginning of a lot of pain. I was about 15 or 16 years old and my parents didn’t know about the relationship. Most people didn’t know about it. I was smart and knew how to keep secrets. That’s a lesson for every parent out there. You should find a way to reach out to your teenagers. Get to know what exactly they are doing. My mother wasn’t inquisitive about my life and my dad couldn’t care less.
At a point in the relationship, the Spirit of God kept telling me that this was wrong and I shouldn’t do this to myself. But I was afraid about how the future would look. How would I survive this stage?
My boyfriend took advantage of my fears and I became sexually active. He pushed for it. When that started, I couldn’t tell anyone about it. I couldn’t tell my mom or my dad. I didn’t trust anyone. I struggled to leave the relationship, but I was held back by the fear of the unknown.
Early exposure to sex led me to lose value for myself. It actually tore me apart. I became very vulnerable and I couldn’t guide myself as I should. I suffered from self-pity. I had several abortions. At some point, I lost count of how many. I got rid of every pregnancy by going to the doctor or taking some concoction.
I wanted to become somebody, and I wanted to go to school and be better than my parents. I was so engrossed with that, so keeping a child was the last thing I wanted to do. I couldn’t afford to take care of a child. Him being married was also a reason why I couldn’t keep those pregnancies.
After each abortion we would break things off for a bit, but he would come back around and talk things to me and before I knew it, I’d be back in his arms. At some point, I told myself I was going to leave the relationship. I already had a lot of scars by that point. I saw myself as valueless. Eventually, I left the relationship after many abominations.
Many years later, I became controlled by sexual urges that kept coming. I couldn’t control them. So, I told myself at that point that I didn’t care anymore. I wanted to go out there and be wild and do whatever. That led to another journey. I didn’t learn from the mistake I made in the first relationship. The only thing I did right was leaving that relationship.
I later fell victim to so many others. When a relationship would begin to drain me, I would leave for another. As time went on, the number of men continued to climb. Any person who would foot my bill and meet my immediate needs, I was ready to go for it. I regret all those relationships and I look back at myself sometimes and think, “Wow, I did all of that?” It never occurred to me that I deserved more.
My life continued in fear. I was afraid of love. For me, love was BS because I’d had several encounters with different guys. Some of them were married and claimed to love their wives and had little daughters. But then they would come to talk to me. I began to question: what is marriage? If there are married men who still look around to take advantage of young girls, what is the point? So, I figured let’s just keep doing this thing because if that’s what the world is doing, then let’s just keep doing it. And since I also had an uncontrollable sexual urge, I went along with what they wanted.
Nothing ever came from any of those relationships. Whenever I had a breakup with one, I would just go with the next available person. That’s how I lived my life. The men were meeting my needs. I wasn’t interested in marriage; it was the last thing on my mind. My priority was going to school and becoming somebody. I wanted to do law. After several attempts, I didn’t gain admission into law school. That contributed to my waywardness. It hardened me even more.
Eventually, I got admitted into a polytechnic program where I did a two-year course. I struggled through those years because my parents could not afford to help me. When I finished the course, I went for additional training and tried to find to work. Every place I found, the pay was going to be equivalent to my transportation, so it didn’t make sense. So, I got a housemaid job. I told myself I was going to better this time around.
I busied myself with my chores. I remember when I was working there, the guy I had my first relationship with came back and wanted to see me. He was saying, “How can you be doing housework? What kind of job is that?” I told him I didn’t want to have anything to do with him. I was just living my life and I would be fine. I shut him out. After several attempts, he stopped reaching out.
Then, my boss’ husband called me one day and asked me what I was doing there. “You are so gorgeous. What brought you here?” I told him I just finished my national diploma and I was hoping to further my education and just want to work for a year. I needed a place where I could get us some money before I went back to school. He smiled and told me he understood.
I was making a certain amount of money but I just couldn’t save as much as I should because my family would always call me and ask me if I had any money. They would tell me there was no food at home, so I couldn’t save. My boss’ husband began offering to give me some bonuses. He would call me and just say, “Take this cash.” I would accept the money and say to myself, “I hope this person who is giving me money doesn’t want anything in return.”
The charity giving continued for a while, several months. Then he said he needed me to hang out with him. He invited me to his office and that was another story entirely. I was devalued, loose and uncontrollable. I couldn’t resist him.
After some time, it dawned on me that this wasn’t what I wanted. Things happened. I didn’t leave the house willingly, but I left eventually. What was following me all those years were my fears. ‘If I don’t say yes to this person, who knows, he may be the one to help me.’ Not realizing that our help comes from God. People come into our lives and they give different promises. As a young lady, you should be aware that the only person who can help you and see you through whatever challenges is God. If I had resolved that in my mind, maybe I wouldn’t have fallen victim to some of those bad relationships.
I kept trying man after man, thinking this one will be better than the last. I left the house and I couldn’t go back to school. I asked myself what I was going to do with my life.
I continue to be promiscuous and I knew something inside me was not right. I was about 23 or 24 when I started to sew. I wanted to be in fashion. I also began considering settling down. I considered marriage not for the right reasons. I just assumed it was the next thing to do because what married people were doing, I was already doing it, so it seemed like no big deal. I could do it too.
“God, why would you allow all of this to happen to me?”
If you haven’t settled your ugly past, getting married is the last thing you should do. It’ll make you even more vulnerable. I began to hunt for mature men who were ready to settle down. If a guy would tell me that he liked me, I would ask him what he had to offer. The moment he mentioned marriage, I would become involved with him.
I got into a relationship with somebody and he was always checking on me and it seemed so real to me. I was beginning to fall in love. It went on for a while and I became sexually active with him. Something happened and I began praying about it. Something inside of me felt wrong. I couldn’t see the relationship as something positive. I asked God what plans He had for me. Do You have anything good for me? Can’t You see I’ve been through a lot? I’ve been through so many things, different men and circumstances? What do You say about this relationship?
At that point I was beginning to learn how to speak to and hear from God, but I wasn’t hearing anything from Him. One day somebody sent me a friend request and the person had the same surname as the guy I was seeing. I became interested and accepted the request. I began seeing pictures of my guy and learned that he had was married. I started shaking and I started crying. He had made me so many promises that he was going to see my parents and wanted to settle down with me. God, why would You allow all of this to happen to me? I made a vow to talk to You about everything but look at what You are doing?
I lost it immediately and said that God was no longer on my side. I was not going to talk to God about anything anymore. I was not going to involve Him in my affairs. I would just do things the way that I had been doing them. That led me to more pain.
I hadn’t healed from my past. I should have read between the lines. There were things that stuck out in the relationship that should have made me know that it was wrong, but I chose not to see it. I was vulnerable and lost faith in God. I saw God as somebody who probably does not care. That was a big mistake for me. That was the biggest mistake I ever made in my life.
Now I was wondering who would accept me. Who would marry a woman like me? I wanted true love and I was searching for it. I wanted someone who would take me for who I am.
I started drinking. I would see people drink and I thought alcohol would help me. So whenever I began to get worried, I would go buy one or two bottles and drink. It would help me to sleep. I was yearning for help, I thought I could help myself. I wasn’t sure if anyone could undo any of the things I had done. If anyone should hear about the things I had done, would they not criticize me? So rather than talking about it to someone, I took solace in drinking.
It got to the point where it became consistent. I would drink every day. I was hoping it would help me forget my pain. It didn’t. I would drink at night but remember everything again the next morning.
So, I began to think of what I could take that would be stronger than alcohol. “Maybe let me try smoking?” I thought.
Every time I would be near someone who was smoking, I would find the smell of cigarette smoke appealing because I was already considering it. Prior to that, I could not stand the smell.
“Are you serious?”
I got into another relationship with someone who seemed promising. He consoled me and told me I shouldn’t drink anymore. The first few months were fine, but somewhere along the line I discovered that he was no different. I think my mistake was telling him things about me. He suddenly changed, then one day he called me and said he needed to talk to me. He said he didn’t think the relationship could go any further. He could not offer me the things I need in life and he couldn’t offer me the kind of love I deserve.
“What do you mean?” I asked. “You mean after all those promises and words? Are you serious?”
This time I was shattered. I lost it. He came into my life and helped me change a lot of things, so I was broken when he left. My brothers came to my aid, wondering what was wrong with me. I was depressed and I wanted to die.
At this point I was considering suicide. I told myself I was going to kill him and then kill myself. My behaviour was erratic. Someone called my parents and told them something was wrong with me and that I had been screaming and scratching everywhere. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I became very sick.
After going through all of that, I knew it was time for me to heal. So, I started studying the Word of God and I started crying every day, pleading for God to either take my life or heal me.
The wound was deep. I had so many cuts in my heart and I wondered what kind of therapist could help me heal all of these wounds. I knew God was the only one who could help me through this.
My healing journey was very difficult. I needed to get rid of a whole lot. The one thing that kept comforting me was the Holy Spirit. I could feel as though somebody was talking to me from the inside of me. I don’t know if anybody else has ever had such a feeling, but I started to hear a voice from deep inside of me.
I’m still in my twenties and I don’t have everything I would like to have, but something I do have is a peace on the inside of me. It just springs from inside.
Having the assurance that my salvation is sure and the fact that I have a Father who can do better than my earthly father has helped me. When I began to understand that from reading the Bible, it brought so much comfort to me. God showed me that I am valuable and worthy of His love.
God gave me instructions on how to heal each cut in my heart. The one thing that really helped me was forgiveness. I needed to forgive myself. I needed to forgive my dad. That was one of the first things that I had to do.
After forgiving, I needed to let go of my fears. I needed to stop worrying. I read a lot of books about worrying. At some point when I started feeling sick, I read books on healing.
I knew I had been valuable and thought, “Lord, maybe I have one STD or another.” I was so scared. But what helped me was countering my fear with what the Word of God says.
My story shows you the damage that fear can cause. We need to face our fears no matter how frightening they seem. We have to ask ourselves: why exactly am I doing this? And then you checking with the Word of God and ask yourself: what does God say about this thing that I’m facing?
The thing about the Bible is that for every fear, there is a promise. God has a solution for every fear. Turning to God was the beginning of my healing.