Our first story is about a daughter, mother and wife named Chelsea.* She is a people-pleasing caretaker. You know the kind…always worried about everyone else’s comfort and problems. Not ever wanting to make anyone mad at her or disappointed in her. Sound familiar? It sure does for me! I can totally relate to her on many levels. For years, I struggled with trying to make everyone in my life happy and afraid of saying, “No,” to anyone. Why and how does this happen? Life circumstances, as well as our God-given personalities frequently create a host of “issues” in our lives. We’re going to spend the next week reading about Chelsea’s life and understanding why and how she is where she is in her life today and how God has radically changed her life. Maybe you’ll see yourself in her story, as well.
Chelsea’s story begins even before she was conceived. After two very hard labor and deliveries, doctors told her mother she would never conceive again. But God’s plans and doctors plans don’t always agree. Aren’t you so glad for that? Five and a half years later, Chelsea was born. As the first girl, she was the pride and joy of the family. Her dad, who had struggled with alcoholism, suddenly became a “family” man and never drank again. God even blessed her family with another precious little princess 18 months later. Though they had little money, Chelsea remembers her early childhood as happy and content.
Because of the family’s limited resources, both parents needed to work outside the home during Chelsea’s elementary years. By the time she was 8 years old, she was waking herself up in the morning and getting she and her little sister ready for school…all by herself. After school, she was required to come home and get dinner started for the family. She happily performed these duties for her family…here’s where the role of caretaker entered into her life. She remembers feeling happy and didn’t mind these responsibilities…except for when her sister didn’t listen to her! Imagine that…she was only in second grade!
Life was going great for Chelsea when she finished up her 2nd grade year. Then, the unspeakable began to happen. It pains me to even write it. My heart breaks for her and every other girl this has ever happened to. There was a friend of the family, a friend of her brother’s. He spent every day of the summer at their house. One day, he tells Chelsea, “Let’s play hide and go seek.” He convinced her to hide under her brother’s bed with him.
In her own words, she writes, “That’s when the molestation began. He would touch me daily, then tell me that I couldn’t tell anybody because he would get in trouble and he knows that I wouldn’t want him to be in trouble.“
It wasn’t long before this trusted family friend began having full-on sex with little Chelsea. She was confused. She knew it didn’t seem right, but he was family to her…why would he do something that was bad or hurtful to her?
“Some days, he would want to touch my sister. I know he got to her a few times, but most of the time, I would tell her to go do something or distract him so he wouldn’t hurt her. At the time, I felt like that was all I could do to protect her.”
Let me reiterate what’s being said here. Chelsea absorbed daily sexual abuse to protect her sister…at the age of 8…for an entire summer. Once school started, it happened only on the weekends and then eventually stopped. The damage was done.
As I write this, I think about my own daughters. Imagine Lily trying to protect Emma…it’s too much. It saddens me. It sickens me. It angers me. Where were the adults who were supposed to be protecting my precious friend and her sister? Let this serve as a notice and warning to all parents reading this story. Protect your children, no matter what it takes. They were given to you by God to love and protect. Don’t be a lazy or preoccupied parent! Know where you kid is and who they’re with AT ALL TIMES!
Chelsea closed herself off to everyone around her. She didn’t feel like she could go to anyone about what had happened to she and her sister. Food became her coping mechanism and comfort. She began to eat and eat and eat.
She says, “I ate to drown my sorrow and confusion.”
By fourth grade, she was the biggest girl in her class. Other kids made fun of her all the time. Can you see how Satan was heaping the oppression and condemnation on this little girl? Her happy disposition disappeared and she loathed going to school. Another sign that something is wrong with your child!!! Pay attention to your child!
Chelsea eventually confided in a friend who lived close to her and the friend told her mom. The friend’s mother convinced Chelsea to tell her mom. She was so afraid of what would happen to she and her sister when she told the truth of the rape. The process of speaking to the police over and over, painful, embarrassing doctor’s visits and counseling began. Chelsea didn’t want to open up to anyone.
“By that time, I was so embarrassed and ashamed that I would let that happen and that I didn’t protect my sister better.”
These words are the thought process of a person who has suffered abuse. Deep down in her heart, she thought it was all her fault. Deep down in her heart, she felt like she had not taken care of her sister like she should have. Anyone can see that she and her sister were preyed upon by a disturbed teenage boy, left unsupervised by absent parents.
Chelsea had a breakthrough with one of her counselors, finally, after several sessions. Her counselor was a kind middle aged woman who was soft spoken and allowed her to talk when she was ready. Chelsea really loved her and began to completely open up to her. Then one day, a new counselor was there. She was devastated. That was it. She never spoke to another person about it again until she was an adult..she continued to stuff her pain and shame. She was required to go to court and identify her abuser.
“It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”
Are you identifying with Chelsea’s story? Do you feel her heartache as you read her story? Have you been sexually abused? If you have been, please know that YOU are not to blame. You do not deserve what has been done to you. You are not a bad person. How are you coping with the wounds from your past? Have you, like Chelsea, found comfort in food? Or maybe it’s drugs, alcohol or men? It does not have to be like this. You are meant for more!
Chelsea has found complete healing in her life with the help of trusted, Godly mentors, friends and pastors. And of course through the restoring, redeeming, cleansing power of Jesus Christ. As you continue to read her story over the next few days, you will hear how God has transformed her life into a truly beautiful masterpiece for His glory.
Now it’s your turn. Seek out a trusted friend, counselor or pastor to talk to. Begin your healing process. Cry out to Jesus. He will hear you and meet you where you are. Cry out to Jesus today and receive healing and restoration for your broken heart.
Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah
The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.
And if you do nothing else, please, listen to this song. It will minister to your heart.
If you’ve been touched by this story, please tell me. It matters to the women who are being so brave in sharing their precious lives with you. YOU matter to Chelsea. She wants you to find hope and healing through her story. So please, contact me at the email address below. All correspondences are confidential.
*Name has been changed for privacy.