I was first abused at the age of 9. That was just the beginning of my 3-year long nightmare. Over a decade later, the consequences of my past still haunt me. Today, I struggle with making my best attempt at living a normal life. My counselor tells me that it’s possible, but I don’t always believe him. I often keep that darker part of my story hidden. Being known as a survivor, or victim, or whatever fancy word that people use to classify these things as doesn’t really suite me. In fact, all but three of my closest friends are still unaware of my story.
Because of this guilt and self-imposed secrecy, I have spent most of my life feeling alone. The truth is that I have trouble trusting anyone. I can barely hold together stable friendships, much less romantic relationships – and that compounds my solitude even more. Living two lives at once is not easy – although it still seems easier than being real. It’s easier – and more comfortable – to pretend that you were never abused. A smiling and sarcastic personality is usually more desirable than a text at 2 am admitting that depression or PTSD has struck once again – and that I need someone to talk to. It is one thing to suffer, but it is something else entirely to suffer alone.
It is in this loneliness, though, that God brings me comfort through his word. Exodus 2:25 says, “And God looked upon the children of Israel; and God had respect unto them.” Through my study, I have learned that the last phrase of that verse is “Wayeda Elohim” in Hebrew. It could be read literally as, “and God knew.” To some, that may seem fairly un-inspirational. To me, however, it has meant the world. Every day, when I get back to my dorm and take of the mask – when it is just me, my past, and my demons I am glad to remember that God knows.
So in those moments of anxiety, depression, and guilt – when I am staring at the ceiling and asking “why” for the millionth time. In those moments when I really should tell someone how much I am hurting but cannot find the words to speak – in those moments, I remember that my God knows. I like to tell people that I have “seen my fair share of life” – because I have. But my God has seen all of it too, and he knows. For me his intimate knowledge and care for my situation is enough.