Have you ever felt rejected? I’m not talking about the kind of rejection you feel when you’re not invited somewhere, or if you ask someone out and they decline. I’m referring to a deeper and more persistent sense of rejection whereby you never feel desirable, good enough, or loveable.
I’ve realized that this is a wound I have carried with me since childhood. When someone hurts you when you’re most vulnerable and innocent, it robs you of so much. You absorb a crippling unspoken message: “You weren’t good enough to protect. You weren’t loveable enough to keep safe and you weren’t worth fighting for. You were not enough to deserve love, and you never will be.”
You see, that’s what the devil wants us to believe. Looking back at my own life, so much of it has been tainted from the sins of others. Because sexual abuse isn’t something you simply “get over,” its ripple effect impacted my high school dating relationships, my marriage, and even my motherhood. Without realizing it, I lived out of that wound for so long I that I let it define who I was and what I was going to become. It could have destroyed me and my family, had I not faced it. Granted, it was difficult to look in the face at all those skeletons in my closet. Some felt as if they were giants that I could never defeat . . . and I could not if I were fighting them on my own.
If you can relate to what I am saying, know that you are not alone. Sometimes the shame, despair, and grief feel unbearable. But the only one who can ultimately bring us out of the darkness is Jesus Christ. At first, it was difficult for me to relate him as a man because I had experienced so much hurt from men. But being able to approach him in Eucharistic adoration, I felt safe. He alone knew my pain and all the hurt I had carried for those many years. No matter how much I pulled away from him, he never rejected me or looked down upon me.
If you’re experiencing brokenness, regret, shame, and wounds of the past, you are not alone. Now is the time to show up to your own fight. Now is the time to decide that your past will no longer dictate your present or future happiness. But where do you begin healing?
Because of the recent terrible scandals within the Church, many people feel that the Church has lost all credibility and authority in her teachings on human sexuality. But this is precisely what the devil wants us to believe, to keep us away from the restoration that God wants us to experience in Him. In my case, my Catholic faith was my life-raft in the midst of the storm. In particular, I discovered four secrets to sexual healing that carried me through the darkest times: counseling, the sacraments, a spiritual director, and godly fellowship. Besides seeking out these true consolations, I also had to detach myself from the false consolations of toxic relationships and friendships that only brought out the worst in me. To this day, I still pray for those people, but that’s as far as it goes.
We need to remember that the rock and foundation of our Catholic faith is no one else but Jesus. If our faith is in fallen humanity, we are bound to be disappointed. But if we truly believe that the same God who was born of the Virgin Mary and died on the cross waits for us to visit Him in every tabernacle, then we have nothing to fear.
I can’t speak for every Catholic, but my faith will not be poisoned by what has happened in our Church. This painful purification should make each of us desire to rise above the mess and pray for the victims (and predators), so that God would have mercy on us all. The solution isn’t to walk away, or to use the sins of others as an excuse to dismiss the Church and indulge in our own sins.
No matter what you have done or what others have done to you, God has great things He wants to do in your life. You are never too far gone or out of the reach of His mercy. Be patient, though. I know I am still healing and have things to work on, but I no longer carry the shame of what happened to me. It no longer defines who I am because I don’t believe the lies anymore. Yes, we all have wounds, insecurities, fear and sin. Like I did, you might think you will never overcome these, but It’s never to late too start over. All that matters now is where you go from here. God promises: Behold I make all things new. Or, in the words of St. Therese, “God does not inspire us to do what cannot be done.”
Crystalina Evert is the founder of Women Made New Ministries and the co-founder of Chastity Project. She is a best-selling author of the books Pure Womanhood, and How to Find Your Soulmate without Losing Your Soul. Crystalina has spoken internationally to hundreds of thousands of people about the virtue of chastity, healing, and God’s plan for human sexuality. Women Made New encourages women in need of personal healing, empowering them to become the women God created them to be.