Joy Clair not only has funny pun stamps full of sass they also carry a line of for Bible Journaling. I was immediately drawn to the Unashamed set.
Recently I discovered the one thing I prided myself on that did not happen to me in my adolescent years was rape or molestation. I had a pretty bad childhood full of divorces, abuse and moving from one low income apartment to the next. Every weekend I was in church between my parents’ homes. I thought He was this big jerk in the sky spewing wrath down on humans. The best way to avoid eternal damnation was to steer clear of sex (That was what every youth leader in the churches I attended said at least). So I did.
Out of the Mouth of Babes
My youngest asked me recently how old I was when I had my first kiss. I did not want to tell him. I said I was “to young” because I was only 12. He then asked me how old the boy was. I told him 18. The next question was “did he go to jail?” He did not, but I do know that he was brought up on charges years later of molesting his younger brother. I felt gross having to recall it. I feel yucky for typing I about it right now.
Of course he wanted to know how old I was when I had my next kiss. I did not want to answer that one either. I was 13 and he was 27 — a youth leader. The thing is I did not really want to make out with either of these men, but since my body seemed to like it and we were technically not having sex it was okay. 30 years later I realize it was not okay. I should have been able to say no and be respected AND they should have never ever looked at me like that since I was just a child.
A Mother’s Rejection
My Mom found out about the 27 year old. It was in 1988 and no one called the police. He no longer worked with the youth, but he still attended church. My Mom blamed me. She told me what an embarrassment I was to her and how young ladies don’t do that with boys. I was ashamed.
Now it is hitting me like a ton of bricks. As a mother myself with my youngest only one year older than I was when it happened I am mad at my Mom. There is no way I could ever blame my child for that and I would come unleashed on the person who ever did that to my kid. What was wrong with me? Why didn’t I have anyone protecting me? Was I a mistake? Again, I felt ashamed.
The Struggle is Real
I know those thoughts are dark. What I just stated is disgusting and it makes me feel gross. I am still struggling with feeling shame and angry at the men. I also still blame myself for it. Maybe I should have worn over sized clothes and no make up. Maybe it would not have happened. These are the things that victims of sexual abuse go through. Our thoughts are not right, but when does feelings ever really line up with facts?
Finding Reassurance Through the Bible
I then pulled out the Unashamed stamp set from Joy Clair and the rush of emotions and tears hit me like a ton of bricks. I got my Bible and started searching for scripture to help me through this. Psalms 103:3-4 “He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases. He redeems your life from the Pit; He crowns you with faithful love and compassion.” I created this:
Forgiveness is an Action — Not A Feeling
After I got done with my Bible journal I made a card for my Mom. Though I will probably never hear an apology from her regarding this it is important that I work on forgiving her for me. This will be a process and I don’t feel very forgiving at the moment, but I need to do it.
I have not built up the courage to mail it to her yet. Emotionally I can not handle it going sore. I am terrified of what it will do to me if she responds in anger and lashes out at me. Every time I have tried to talk to her about anything that hurts me she gets ugly with me. I am not strong enough to deal with her anger at me regarding this.
Finally I created an ATC to document this time in my life and acknowledge the anger I do have.
This blog post was hard to compose. I really wanted to wrap something up in a pretty bow and present it to you, but that would not be authentic. Hopefully by having the courage to talk about the struggle I am going through 30 years after it will allow healing for someone else and/or awareness. You are not alone. We are in this together. Art can help heal! God uses art to speak to me. I no longer think he is a big jerk in the sky. Instead he is full of compassion and can handle all these emotions I have. I unashamed!