We celebrate the stories of spiritual development and restoration, such as Vic’s incredible story in this week’s blog. These stories can be powerful, but please note that they can also contain content that may be potentially sensitive.
I grew up in a Christian home, with amazing parents. I was raised in the church, but not everything in my childhood was good. On multiple occasions, I experienced abuse at the hands of childhood “friends”, leaving me feeling unclean and like I was a bad kid, and that I could never tell anyone. As I grew up, I believed the lie that I had to keep all of these secrets hidden so I didn’t hurt anyone. I remember thinking if I just filed them away, sooner or later the hurt would go away too, and it did—but then other problems started to develop.
“…but then other problems started to develop”
A couple of years ago, we moved to Keller and started coming to Milestone Church. My job had me traveling a lot, and I was sometimes alone for weeks at a time. I was playing a game on my phone one day and was invited to a chat app where you can get in touch with other players, and that was where I met another woman. It was never more than a friendly thing, but she was having issues with life and her fiancé, and I was able to give her advice and help her through some rough times. The positive feelings I was experiencing from helping someone, and the overwhelming amount of affirmation I was receiving from her was how the enemy trapped me. I listened to the lies that this wasn’t a big deal, it’s just a friendship, it won’t hurt your wife as long as she doesn’t know—and she never needed to know. One month, 80 hours of calls, and thousands of texts later, my wife found out I was having an emotional affair with another woman.
We were still new to Milestone, but I agreed to talk to my Small Group Leader about it. He seemed like a prime example of living God’s way, someone who had it all together. He quietly listened to me as I told him what I had done, then simply said to me with love, “Brother, that happened to me too”. I couldn’t believe it. You could almost hear the walls start to crack as I started to realize I wasn’t alone in this.
“I wasn’t alone in this”
I agreed to come to Restore, but wasn’t sure what to expect. In Restore, they explained to us that we’re all broken. We may not all share the same pains or have walked same paths, but we’re all far from perfect, and we all share the same enemy. Part of the Restore process had us write a letter of forgiveness to all of the people who had wronged us. In my letter, I wrote the names of those who had abused me as a child, and in doing so found so much healing in the process.
Last spring I joined a Freedom Group, which was incredible! God began to reveal more and more areas in my life that I needed to surrender to Him. At Freedom Weekend, I had the opportunity to truly forgive the people who had hurt me. God had forgiven me for so much that I had done, and I wanted them to experience His forgiveness too—I was even surprised to feel compassion for them. I can truly say the pain I had is gone. The shame I had is gone.
“I can truly say the pain I had is gone. The shame I had is gone.”
I am not worthless, because that’s not who He says I am.
I am not stained, because that’s not who He says I am.
I am not unwanted, because that’s not who He says I am.
I am not a mistake, because I was created for a purpose!
I have forgiven, because I have been forgiven.
I love, because I have always been loved.