My personal testimony begins quite plain. I was a little girl who was raised by two extremely loving parents in a safe home and every Sunday morning I found myself in a small, white, Baptist church. I learned a lot in that tiny church. I read stories about Jesus Christ and a terrible death He was put to for me to gain perfect eternal life. As a little girl I loved Jesus- how could I not? My parents loved Jesus, my brothers loved coming to church, and every night I found myself in bed praying. Each prayer I prayed as a little girl I would send up to God with a kiss.
I never struggled with health issues growing up. I never broke any bones. I never had a food allergy. I almost never got sick. However, one day, when I was in junior high I woke up on the bathroom floor of my house. Paramedics surrounded me and asked me questions such as “Who is the president of the United States?” Got that one right. And “What is today’s date?” But I got that one wrong. Blood had filled my mouth and bruises were covering my face. What happened to me? I wanted to ask my mother but she was nowhere to be found and soon I was ushered outside on a stretcher.
The doctors ran tests and had nothing to tell my parents beside the fact I had just had a seizure. But why? They sent me to a neurologist. The neurologist eventually informed my family that I had Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy. I was branded. I had a disease. I was sick. And the worst part was enough to be fatal: I was out of control.
Life had taken a crazy turn. My mother had to spoon feed me breakfast for a while. My father held me through one of the seizures I had. I felt weak. I hated the sudden lack of control I could feel. But then I remembered the white, tiny church and all the lessons it taught. Of course I was not in control. God was.
I began to convince myself that life out of control was do-able. I could manage. I began taking heavy medication. I began praising God out of my sickness instead of hating Him. I had talked about epilepsy openly to friends at school and people at the church my family had begun attending. I saw light in my dark situation. I thought I had made it out of the big “uh oh!” that was designed to be my testimony. My oh-so perfect life before now had some street cred to make me applicable to others and my testimony relevant to other struggling believers. Or so I thought…
One of the people I had explained my testimony and disease to was captain of the soccer team at my school. He was funny, charming, and quite handsome. He seemed to take a special attraction to a girl who was as plain as me. He liked me even though I had braces on my teeth, my face was broken out, I was epileptic and awkward, and a Jesus freak. Wow! I remember thinking I landed a total winner.
Although he and I never labeled ourselves as boyfriend and girlfriend, the summer I was sixteen we were practically inseperable. We spent copious amounts of time together. We kissed and went on dates. As our kisses became more passionate and each date progressively became more romantic I decided to whip out the line my dad taught me. “I don’t want to do anything below the belt.” But even when I dropped what I thought may have been the last words to him, he simply nodded and kissed me. I was smitten.
One night my friends and I had decided to all walk the beach at night. Of course, he decided to tag along. But to my unfortune I wore moccassins that had fur inside which trapped in all the sand and slowed me down. My friends were increasing in distance from me and it was so dark I could hardly see them in front anymore. I sat down in the sand to clear my shoes and he followed willingly. The two of us sat close as I scraped sand out. Suddenly, I remember him leaning over and kissing me. I remember thinking this is fine, because we had kissed plenty before. But kissing was not enough and fairly quickly after kissing he had his palm against my shoulder blade and was pushing me down unto the sand. My brain realized all too well what was happening, or rather what was about to. I had wore a big sweatshirt and bikini bottoms that day. The last vivid thing I can recall was him pushing my bathing suit aside and my mind began preparing myself.
I remember when I stood up I was limping. I remember walking away worried I was trailing blood. I could still feel the sand. Like a wounded animal, I limped to the parking lot and called my friends. My mind was racing and my body felt like it wasn’t mine anymore.
My semi-perfect and plain life was not the same. My testimony that seemed so complete before had appeared to be only the beginning of a greater story God was writing. And while most women face anger after rape, all I could muster was grief. I never told anyone for two years. I still loved God but I could not fathom why He let it happen. I was convinced though that God allowed it to happen but it did not mean that His heart was not breaking as it happened and He watched from the heavens.
It did not take long before I allowed the Holy Spirit to fill me and let healing take its course. Nothing was ever “semi perfect” again. But that’s okay! I learned that God allows terrible things to happen to people, sometimes even losing complete control of life, but He never leaves you to see through it alone. God was with me the entire way and furthermore, He knew where I would take the results of my rape.
Today I stand an activist against human trafficking with a group called Freedom 4/24. I am a senior about to receive my Bachelor’s degree for Psychology in Counseling and Human Development. I am going to grad school for Mental Health Counseling and I will be licensed within two years. I will specialize with women of domestic abuse and rape victims. I may be a rape victim but I am more importantly a child of Christ. God gave me two options that night: get angry and give the middle finger to the world OR love people even when they rob you and help the others in the world who have been robbed the same. I chose the latter.
Jesus Christ is my Savior and motivator. I have been set free.
This testimony is given by my friend and sister in Christ, Meagan Collins.