Hello everyone! Another week, another story, another moment to breathe and say...." I've made it.." at least through to today; and you should be darn proud of yourself because it's the daily things that compound overtime to make the grander things life worth-while after all.
Cristal and I are so grateful for you and you taking the time to stop by and decompress with us a little before the weekend! Since we left off, we've been talking a lot this month on GROWTH; and it's a topic and encompasses a lot of topics a month really isn't long enough to complete so we might touch back on this again.
But anywho; here is the close to tour first series of the year, we pray it blesses you; & opens your heart to a different perspective. 💗-D&C
Claiming your growth is a daily act that is met with its own challenges. This month, we have unpacked from our own personal lives how growth of ANY kind, demands sacrifice.
" I would like to share how I was finally able to find my self again; of course not completely, but the beginning of my destiny started the moment when I stopped living my life as a victim and stopped feeling sorry for myself.
The bible speaks on Mark 12:28-31 about two important commandments and if I was looking to give God glory with my life then first I needed to honor him by loving my self, taking care of my body, being good to my self because my body is his temple. GOD could not turn around what the enemy meant for bad (Rape) and turn it into good if I continued to hold on to the label and actions of my victimhood. This took time. But slowly I found myself loving myself more, loving life with no fear I found myself being the young woman I was before rape because I no longer allowed my experience to control my mind, emotions, or feelings. I had to understand that God's love was so real that what happened to me was of course a life experience I will never forget, but that I had a choice to use my voice to speak and to advocate to help those going through what I went through. Using my voice to encourage their voice.
I was a Victim but I'm Victorious now.
The second commandment speaks on loving your neighbor as you love your self. As my mentor/pastor Kadesh Jackson always says
"There is nothing bigger than LOVE." Yes sometimes it's hard to love when you have been hurt, but once you start seeing your experiences/ trials in a different way other then hurt, Gods love will concor all of your pain.
So choose LOVE. Love for others; and more importantly your love of SELF. INSPITE of everything you've gone through. That part wasn't your fault. But your life is your purpose. It's time to take control not your "now"; even if you couldn't prevent what happened then. Your pain and life experience WILL come to pass & in that moment, your future will shine bright ahead."
Like Cristal, one major thing I've had to sacrifice was letting go of a destructive label I'd been accustomed to for far too long...
When I filed the initial police report after the rape; I was automatically addressed by police, counselors, and any person of authority as a "victim". I was characterized as only being the person who could not vocalize her uncomfortability because she was drugged, the individual who could not muster the strength from her numb limbs under the weight of man twice her size. They painted the picture vividly so no one could make the mistake that He was the predator; and I his prey...
I was mangled in the labels and confused that a classmate could turn into the enemy by actions and now the perpetuation of a set of words.
The case was eventually dropped due to a "lack of sufficient evidence". And the only thing I could hold onto were the words, and the pain. I had to carry on with my life with the label I adopted of being a "victim" which I wore in future relationships that carried on after the assault.
The label I adopted made it impossible for me to trust, to love myself and others properly, and to feel safe within my own body.
I made a decision soon after I accepted JESUS Christ in my heart that I had to adopt this new identity that I was truly born again. That I was as 2 Corinthians 5:17 states that; " Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation; the old things have passed away; behold, new things have come."
In order for me to adopt these NEW things I had to let go of my past; aka my entire identity (at least so I thought). I had to also realize the difference in letting go and avoiding. Growing past pain and into PURPOSE required me to let go of my past and grab hold of my truest identity in Christ.
This has not been an easy journey, nor was it an instantaneous sense of freedom I felt come over me once I made the decision to grow from something I've buried my identity in.
From this continuous growth experience I've come to realize that relationships of any kind take work. And the lasting ones require patience, kindness, and love. The biggest help in growing from claiming my victimhood to claiming myself a survivor was recognizing the love I had to grow from within. No matter what the soil looked like or the drought I felt I was in, I used the resources that I could, I practiced my new identity and less of my old one daily by speaking affirmations God was well-pleased in hearing. Words and labels that I accept as truths today; "that I am fearfully and wonderfully made." "That God didn't make a single mistake in my life" "that I know my pain in validated in the torment felt long before I was born; through the crucifixion of sinless and perfect man I've accepted as my savior and healer."
Your pain doesn't have to be your daily occupation; you can grow, you CAN adapt; not because the world continues to move on without you; but because the world needs to know you've made it too...and your TRUEST self needs you to claim who you TRULY are; a SURVIVOR.
thank you for reading; and for continuing to GROW with us! We love youuu!
Stay tuned for a new series next month! ✍🏽🦋
In life, we experience trials that can make us feel stuck in one place where growth seams impossible; but as mentioned in Genesis 50:20, "God will turn what is meant for bad into good."
After my experience with sexual assult, I chose to be silent because I feared the man who raped me, and I feared the response of my family; who newly committed their lives to Christ. Although, my experience took me through a roller-coaster of emotions, the biggest obstacle that kept me from my own personal-growth in healing, was my own silence.
Everyday when stepped out of my house whether I was going out to eat or shopping, I intentionally hid my fear behind a smile. In that time I had learned that as often as I lied to the outside world about my internally sufferings, I couldn't approach God the same. So in the process, I learned to trust God in order to grow and heal from the experiences I endured. In all honesty, trusting God did NOT happen over night but I often reference Psalms 11:5 which says How "God does not like the wickedness of this world," therefore I understood God never approved of the pain I was going through.
But then there is always the "why did it have to happen to me, why must I go through all of this? ***Skkrrrrt. 🚫🚫 Here, yet again, another road block in my healing growth scale...***
So how did I get past my growing pains?... Ultimately, I owe a lot of growth to prayer.
Of course there were times when I didn't want to pray, and would rather feel sorry for myself, because I was hurting in my own silence.
Romans 12:2 talks about the renewing of your mind; which I had to actively do daily in order to not fall short into my own understanding that would lead to bad actions. In reality, the beginning of my real growth and healing was when I forgave the man who raped me in my heart.
Exactly ..... were my thoughts when I thought the only way to heal was to forgive. But I've learned through these numerous road blocks to self-healing and growth that we forgive others so we may have self peace--not so much because they deserve it, but because without it we leave no room to grow. We need to heal,we need to love, and WE deserve to truly smile again.
I couldn't agree more with a Cristal and how there IS healing power in forgiveness. Her experience brought me back to a time I read in scripture (Mark 2 1:12) of a man who was paralyzed and brought to Jesus to help him. And I can recall in that passage saying " When Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Child, your sins are forgiven!”
Everyone around looked puzzled and confused. Like... "homie, we came for healing not to figure out what was wrong with ourselves..." but not long after did the same paralytic walked away from the crowed on his own two feet fully healed.
From personal experience I can attest that unforgiveness and healing (whether physical, emotional, mental...etc.) are very much interconnected.
When I wanted to sit in self-pity for my invalidated pain I made the best effort to insert forgiveness in my thought life(even if I didn't believe it at the time)
Gradually, the weight of my pain lifted along with the bitterness attached to the man who inflicted that pain in my life.
But I think one of the hardest parts of walking in my healing was knowing that once I left my pain, I wouldn't have anything to hold on to...as CRAZY as it sounds...I found comfort in misery.
Okay....so maybe that doesn't sound THAT crazy. But looking back, I can't help but shake my head at the perpetuation of self-Sabatoge and poor decisions I made from me not cutting ties from what wasn't growing me anymore (my dependence on drugs and alcohol, on lust and physical connections that ultimately led to a dead-end street of regret)
It came a point in time, when these "things" were no longer satisfying my deepest hope of genuinely healing from an experience like rape; of having no control over my body, or agency in my decision to leave an unsafe place, or a voice that was heard and respected.
No longer was I satisfied with dysfunctional, co-dependent relationships.
No longer was I content with self-loathing and hate.
No longer was I okay with me not being vocal about my yes's and No's in day-to-day decisions.
No longer was I going to numb a scarring past to the point I ignored the repercussions of MY choices and actions.
I'll never lie and say every day was smooth-sailing.
Like "oh soo you chose JESUS, and your pain and life's unfortunate events makes sense now, right?"
And I SO wish I could better
contextualize with all my background in the field of sexuality and gender, and religion why pain and suffering happen. And as much as you try to rationalize the origins of it through culture or religion... one thing remains true; that trauma, that experience, was REAL. And I finally found a light through the life of Jesus Christ that made my healing REAL too.
To close, Cristal and I realize there are steps in this process and perhaps even different ways one can discover their healing. We also acknowledge not everyone we one across is at the same level of healing or growth, but if we can help by simply sharing what consistently worked for us; maybe it might help someone else along the way
Till next week as we move forward from our growth series..
Love & solidarity,
Cristal Lowe & Devin Marie 👑💗
Once I took responsibility of my future I began to grow from my past. These phases of growth were not easy, or instantaneous...but they WERE worth it...because as much as my story mattered, so did my response to it...
We're back with more from our "GROWTH Series" and we hope our testimonies here at HERSTORY inspire you to build your own. We're here in the process!
As mention many times before, overcoming sexual assault is never an easy route, but we must remember as mentioned in Romans 8:15 that we have not received a spirit of bondage in fear. When I was raped, I was attending Las Vegas Fashion Week, an event I would attend every six months. Although I was going through so many emotional and personal issues due to the experience I had endured, I had to make a choice to continue to live my life or live in fear. Everywhere I would look, I imagined the person who raped me being close by me. The thought of him seeing me shook me to my core, so I was never fully present in my day to day activities. In the back of my mind I felt he knew my every step; and I was no longer living any life for myself anymore.
BUT...I chose to live past the fear. Yes, I was overwhelmed with a lot of fear at first, but as some people would say “you have to fake it till you make it” I would pretend as if seeing him was seeing a complete stranger...although inside my heart would be racing, feeling like I would have a heart attack at any time, but I had to stay in prayer and trust GOD every step of the way. Deuteronomy 5:5-6 really helped me during my trial because that scripture would remind me of how God stood in-between my fight and took me out of fear and out of the bondage I thought I could never escape.
Someone might say “if your God is so good, why would you have to go through that?” and I would pray and ask why me? While I feel God would say “why not you?” Although this situation was one of the hardest trials in my life to overcome I say today...my God is so good, I’m still alive, I was blessed enough to not get pregnant or attract an STD. Had it not been for God’s love I know I would have not been here today to share my story and healing process. Although this does not share my complete struggle before my healing I promise you that prayer and leaving my frustration, fear, stress, panic attacks etc. in God's hands was the best decision I could have made. I encourage you to choose a scripture pertaining to your situation/trial pray on it and you will see that in time, healing, growth and love is there. And that pain too...shall come to pass.
From Devin Marie:
Experiencing trauma of any kind is a lot to process. There are a lot of stages of healing I wish I could say happened as instantly as the moment that painful moment crept in out lives. I don't know if there is a "perfect" way to heal...but I have found the perfect healer. After I have exhausted allll options in growing past my trauma of sexual abuse, I met JESUS Christ. I found my faith through one of the most painful moments of my life's existence. Only this time, I found love that required me to come as broken and as unsure as I was to be mended by a spirit brought from my Heavenly Father who let me know "My ways are not your ways, and the plans I have for you are to prosper you.." (Jeremiah 29:11).
For the longest, I didn't want to accept this believe that "A perfect God" could allow such sinful and terribly unjust things occur in this world.
I've had many talks to with my God. I held so much anger, so many opened questions...I searched for answers in drugs (becoming dependent on alcohol and marijuana to numb the pain), I began to accept ONLY disfunctional relationships. I couldn't get past the notion that God created sex to be an expression of love, but under sin, it was used for hate through the act of rape and sexual assault. I lived in this constant manipulation of the enemy, which made loving myself that much harder. I began to self-blame...for just about...EVERYTHING. But that was me still living in a victimized-state of mind.
I didn't grow out of my pain the moment I met Christ, I did not grow in my faith or find any anwser to why bad things happen to people, nor did I believe in a higher power to make sense of this trauma...
In contrast, my faith in Jesus Christ was tested even more so. My faith in a living God who ALLOWED this painful moment to occur was a choice I made everyday to believe that my purpose in life was more than what happens to me.
I have since grown past staying a victim of circumstance. As a result, I stopped abusing drugs, and turned to scripture, prayer, fasting for peace. I made the difficult choice to leave a four year relationship where I accepted love, but also, a lot of inconsistencies from a lag of a true commitment, lust, mistrust, and a lot of unnecessary tears...I stopped accepting attention from guys who were also after those very things I listed above. I than grew past the terrible thought that I might actually deserve the bad I had experienced, that there was something wrong with me.
Once I took responsibility of my future I began to grow from my past. These phases of growth were not easy, or instantaneous...but they WERE worth it.
I am living in freedom, I am genuinely the happiest I have ever been in my life, I still choose Christ every day; that's probably the most rewarding relationship I have ever been in! As a result, God has led me to the one relationship I get to rediscover and appreciate everyday, the relationship of I've always wanted with learning to love and accept my truest self.
Till next week Kings and Queens!
And as always, with love & Solidarity,
Cristal Lowe and Devin Marie 💕👑
✨Welcome new and returning readers! ✨
We couldn't be more thrilled to usher in this new year with you. Cristal and myself are keeping GOD first, and allowing Him to continue to use us for greater purposes than our own carnal minds can even fathom. We have a LOT of promises that we are believing to be fulfilled including the growth and evolution of this here blog forum.
Whether you are new or returning to our page, know we are praying for you, and loving the beautiful souls that you already are! So as our IG account has specified (@write2herstory), every month we will be introducing a new theme. This month's is all about GROWTH! Continue to follow this month's topic as we unravel together, learn and discover our strengths, perhaps even weaknesses and everything in between!
Often we set goals to start something new; perhaps a new goal or dream you've been meaning pursue for sometime? But then...life happens! That killer diet and workout routine you created stops being so consistent...or that budget you promised to stick to got a reality check when unexpected car maintenance bills sets you back...Although we are into our first week of the new year “2017” it’s not too late to get on track, so what's hindering you from letting your today be your beginning!?
Often people like to judge one another when talking about dreams and goals whether it is to start a new business or change personal habits to improve your health etc. Let's always remember we are in the beginning as mentioned in Genesis 1:27. God created us in HIS image so don’t put any more time invested into what people have to say...we are meant to be fruitful and multiply as mentioned on Genesis 1:28. Multiply your thought patterns to positive action. Let your "can't" be your "can do" let your tomorrow's be your TODAY. Make the intentional decision every moment you are given, to live in your fruitful season!
"While I was in college, I had a really difficult time battling with social anxiety. I was still going to same school as the man who raped me and I couldn't help but internalize my anxiety that he had spread rumors of our sexual encounter being MY idea, or that I asked for it and instead
chose to rat him out. So for months, I became an avoider, and walked my campus in fear...I took the long way to get to my classes to avoid walking through the quad where all of the football players and the man who assaulted me hung out daily. This often led me to be late to multiple classes of because of my commute. As a result, my anxiety increased over-thinking assumptions of my peers and professors questioning my tardiness. So instead of being questioned I simply didn't go to class. I couldn't stand the feeling of walking into a lecture or room all eyes piercing at me for interrupting class discussion or the flow of the lesson being taught. Some may ask, why I didn't change schools, or why hadn't I arranged something with my professors to explain my fear of harassment?
Truth was...I HAD spoken to administration about getting escorted by security but it was unrealistic having to wait even longer to have someone walk with me every day between my classes. In addition, leaving to go to another school stopped being an option when I saw myself 5 years from the year of my assault.
I had made the decision that my new beginning was going to be earned, I was going to fight for my degree to prove that I could, and also, that I couldn't live with the fact that Pain and embarrassment forced me out of my destiny, my goal, MY dream of obtaining a college degree.
I made a decision 6 years ago to continue even if I failed multiple times, even if it hurt me. No one forced me to stay. I was actually encouraged to leave by multiple counselors and adminstration...but like healing, it became a daily choice I slowly became okay with being late some classes, I became okay with people staring , I was never okay with the harassment, the fear, the PTSD, but I treated EACH day like a NEW YEAR. I made new goals, and encouraged myself to continue to pursue my goals while keeping my peace.
I had the support of many, and I wish I had something like Herstory then, to let me know I'm not making these decisions alone in the process of healing. "- Devin Marie
Which is why we are here...no matter what goals you have...big or small; if it's bettering the woman or man of God, God has called you to be; we are here for you. Every day is YOUR New Year, with consistency your better-you and greatest achievement is ALREADY yours!
So, gather that information for that new business model you've been sitting on, Maybe you need to get licenses for something, start the process today even if you are not 100 % ready to open the business. In other words, stay in position to receive your blessings!
Till next week, and with love and solidarity,
💗Devin Marie and Cristal Lowe
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.