Guest Contributor Jessica Condrey
“When was the first time you felt sexually offended,” my husband asked.
Wait…..what? I thought to myself.
That simple little question rocked my world. Could this be the key and the root to all of my struggles? I just finished confessing my deepest darkest secret to him; bared the ugliness that I was hiding for years, and this is the question he asks me.
The question surprised me, but what was even more surprising was how fast the memory flooded my mind in response.
I was a little girl, maybe 4 or 5 years old. I got into the minivan with my dad, and his keys were in the cup holder. I grabbed them to look at the key chain. And there it was – some Playboy model baring it all. Confusion.
“How does this make my mom feel? Is this ok? Why is this ok?”
Years of insecurity, envy, and lust – all a result from this experience that lasted less than a minute. How could that be? And here I am now, faced with the memory and having to actually do something with it. I can’t just store it away again to let it haunt me.
I wanted to own up to my mistakes, the things that I chose for myself. I did what I did and had the free will to choose otherwise. But all this time, I failed to acknowledge that our past experiences have power over us.
These experiences, good or bad, sort of guide our steps and influence our decisions. In this moment, I saw the importance of looking back on our stories.
It is so important to share your story…….with yourself.
Sure, we all want to be heard. We all want to impact someone with our heart-wrenching story of betrayal, heartbreak, loss…. But have you ever stopped to think that we can impact ourselves with our own story?
What can God teach me with what I’ve experienced?
I want to take the power away from the secret and how that piece of my story has controlled me for so many years. I want the power to rest in redemption, change, and hope. I don’t want to be ashamed of my story anymore. I want to look at it square in the face and deal with it.
Yes, I have been offended. Yes, I have been wronged. Yes, I have wronged others. And it’s okay. I can move on. I don’t have to live in that anymore. I don’t have to keep the memories buried to haunt me and control me anymore.
There is a strength that comes when we stop hiding behind our veils, our excuses, and our past – the strength to change – a confidence to become who God wants us to be and the ability to move forward in freedom.
Some of my stories are ugly.
God can make ugly things beautiful again.