I had the pleasure of meeting Megan a little over a year ago when I was referred to her by a friend. California was still fairly new to me and I was in dire need of a haircut, so I booked an appointment with Megan as soon as I got her number. I was immediately drawn to the genuine joy and effortless confidence she radiated, and our conversations quickly turned into deep discussions about the healing and hope we had both found in Jesus.
The salon was small, and oftentimes we would be the only two there when I would come in. Over the next several months we shared pieces of our pasts with one another and celebrated together the revolutionary love of God as she worked her magic on my hair. I would leave my time with Megan feeling inspired and uplifted, rushing home to tell my husband how incredible her story is and how amazing God is for bringing her into my life.
Megan is real and honest and beautiful, and her faith is deep and heartfelt. I continue to be moved by the ways God is using her to speak life and love into others through her own story, and it is an absolute blessing to introduce you to her now. I pray that Megan’s words magnify the goodness of God, and that any shame we are clinging to is removed and replaced with the love of Jesus.
You are loved,
Now the Lord is the Spirit,
and where the Spirit of the Lord is,
there is freedom.
– 2 Corinthians 3:17
You, Lord, are forgiving and good,
abounding in love to all who call to you.
– Psalm 86:5
It took me years to finally be in a place where I could share my story with people and not feel ashamed. I think sometimes we forget that God writes our stories so that we are able to share them with others in hopes of bringing them closer to Him.
My life has been a crazy roller coaster for as long as I can remember. My parents were divorced before my third birthday, and even though I don’t remember them ever being married, I can now see the affects the divorce had on my childhood and the ways it has impacted my adult life. After my parents separated, my mom, sister, and I moved to Oklahoma to be with my mom’s family. Shortly after we settled in Oklahoma, my mom met my soon-to-be stepfather and we moved to Illinois. That’s where my memories seem to start.
I think sometimes we forget that God writes our stories so that we are able to share them with others in hopes of bringing them closer to Him.
My father lived in Texas and we would only see him a few times a year. It was hard being away from my dad, but at the time my stepfather seemed to be a pretty good father figure. It wasn’t until I was about six years old that I realized something wasn’t quite right. My bedroom was just down the hall from my mom and stepdad’s room. I’m not really sure how it all happened, but I remember him coming down the hallway and into my room late at night thinking I was asleep. It started with him just giving me light back rubs but soon progressed into molestation. At six years old, I wasn’t really sure what exactly was happening, all I knew is that it wasn’t right. I was scared, confused, and already feeling shameful even though I had no idea what the word even meant. This lasted for about a year, then it just suddenly stopped. Even though the abuse had ended, my life and my life choices would never be the same.
I grew up in a very angry and abusive household. My mom and stepdad would fight, and not in a way that most parents fight. I remember there being screaming and crying that would usually end in some type of physical abuse, whether it was directed at my mom or one of us kids. I can very clearly picture my littler brother and I sitting on the steps in fear that my stepdad was going to hit our mother again. As the older sister, there were many times I would take my younger brother down into the basement and try to distract him from what was happening right above us. Sometimes my stepdad’s anger would be directed towards us. Whether it was telling us our clothes were too tight (I was barely 100 lbs in high school), or ripping us out of bed at six in the morning to scream at us for God knows what. We would try to talk to our mother about things, and I know she did her best to protect us, but she would often tell us that it was normal for parents to fight. I learned early what I thought “healthy fighting” looked like, even though I couldn’t shake the feeling that something was off.
I never told anyone about what my stepdad did. My biological father wasn’t really around since he lived in another state and we weren’t close enough for me to feel comfortable telling him. I was terrified about what would happen and how my stepdad would react if I told people the truth. Throughout high school he would talk to me and touch me in ways that made me uncomfortable but I was too afraid to say anything. I always wanted to protect my family from anything he might do if I spoke up. I would go to sleep each night counting down the days until I could get out of that house.
I was always pretty boy-crazy growing up. I could never just be single. I wasn’t sleeping with anyone, but I always had to have a boy. Looking back I can see that my constant need to be in a relationship was me filling some type of void; a void I now know no human can fill. We went to church when I was younger, but soon after the abuse started happening we stopped going. I grew up believing there was a God and our family would pray before meals, but there was never a relationship between Jesus and me. And to be completely honest, I was pretty angry with God for everything that was happening in my life.
Looking back I can see that my constant need to be in a relationship was me filling some type of void; a void I now know no human can fill.
I left home when I was 19 years old. Luckily for me, my parents soon moved to Virginia and my stepdad was far away. As happy as I was that he was nowhere near me, the distance made my siblings and I nervous for our mom. We knew that she had no one to protect her now, and that he could do what he wanted and continue to brain wash her into thinking their life was normal. My older sister had moved to California and my younger brother would soon be going away for college. I was in a relationship that was going nowhere and knew I needed a change. I had two options: Move to California, or move to Virginia. Two days before my 20th birthday I moved to California to be with my sister and her fiancé.
Right before the move I had been in contact with an old friend from high school. After seeing a Facebook post about me moving to California, he reached out and told me that he was stationed at the Marine Corps base in San Diego. We reconnected and soon began dating. I was at a pretty low point in my life. I loved being in California but I was homesick and had no one but my sister – and she was in the middle of planning her wedding. I clung to the guy I was dating and made him my everything. About a month after we started dating, and only a few months before he was set to deploy, he asked me to marry him. At first I said no. I knew deep down he wasn’t the one for me. Our relationship was extremely unhealthy and I knew I didn’t trust him. Despite my initial hesitation, we somehow found our way to the courthouse about a week later and got married.
We didn’t tell anyone about our marriage. We wanted to keep it a secret until he got back from deployment, and then have a big “traditional” wedding. I was living in a fantasyland. My heart felt full for the first time in a long time (at least I thought it was full). About a month into our secret marriage I had no doubt that I had made a mistake. He was cheating and lying, and I soon realized he married me simply because he would earn more money while he was gone. I was heartbroken. I thought marriage was forever, and since divorce seemed to run in my family, I wanted to be different. I never wanted to have to tell people that I was divorced. I was once again faced with two choices: Stay and work it out, or leave. I decided to stay.
In the middle of finding out my husband (who no one knew I was married to) was cheating, my sister sat me down one night to talk. She had somehow found out that I had gotten married, and she was devastated for so many reasons. She knew he wasn’t a good guy and that I had been lying to her for months about my relationship with him. I was completely broken. Disappointing someone close to me is one of the hardest things for me to deal with, but now I thank God she found out and loved me enough to confront me. In the midst of every secret I had been keeping coming to the surface, I finally told her about our stepdad and the sexual abuse. I’m not sure how it came out or what exactly I said. It was honestly one of those moments where I sort of blacked-out for a second. When I came to I felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted off of my chest. We cried together and I was able to share my whole story with someone for the first time in my life.
Now I thank God she found out and loved me enough to confront me.
The following year was a whirlwind. My husband deployed, and when he came back we tried counseling and to work on our marriage, but then he would cheat again and I would decide to walk away. I tried to make it work despite everything, but I could feel something tugging at my heart and telling me it was okay to walk away. Was it Jesus? My sister and I finally told our mother and family about the abuse that year. My sister stood by my side each time it was time to tell a new family member. Everyone supported me – everyone but the one person I thought would come to my rescue: My mother.
She did not handle the news well. I’m sure most parents who find out their child has been sexually abused do not handle it well. At the time, she completely stood by his side. She tried to put the blame on others and didn’t want to believe it was true. How could my own mother not believe me and take his side? How could she make him the victim in this? Her denial shattered me and sent me off the deep end. Right after my 21st birthday and telling my family everything, I filed for divorce. I started partying a lot. I drank most nights of the week and would occasionally use drugs. I wanted to numb the pain I felt and forget about everything that was going on in my life. I also started sleeping around. I had been with boys in the past who I had dated, but at this point I was not looking for any type of relationship. I wanted to feel good but not get attached. I was hiding all of my pain behind a facade of being carefree, but the truth was that I refused to feel any type of emotion. I was existing instead of living. Everything changed when my sister dragged me to church with her one day.
I was hiding all of my pain behind a facade of being carefree, but the truth was that I refused to feel any type of emotion. I was existing instead of living.
I had been avoiding going to church with her and her now husband for quite some time. I think deep down I knew what would happen if I went; I would feel things I didn’t want to feel and I knew the life I was living was not the way a Christian should be living. Before I knew it, I found myself going with her almost every Sunday. I was still partying but it started to slowly come to an end. I could feel my heart start to come alive again. The messages would hit me in places that I didn’t know were possible. Worship songs would make me weep and I couldn’t get enough of them. I was starting to see the big picture and realized that the void I had been trying to fill could only be filled by the One who created me.
Easter of 2013 I was baptized and recommitted my life to Jesus. I moved in with my sister and was able to completely take myself out of the party scene. I started sharing my story with others without feeling dirty or shameful about my past – not only what was done to me, but the choices I had made as well. Now I am by no means perfect in my faith, and I still have made mistakes and have struggled with things, but knowing I have a Savior who gave His life for my sins and who loves me no matter what gets me through the hard times. We are all lost and we all have things in our past that have shaped us into the people we are today. Jesus wrote our stories for a reason. He wanted us to show the world what He has done for us in our darkest time. The tugs on our hearts, the whispers in our ears, and the goosebumps on our arms are Him longing for us to find Him and be with Him. Jesus is the only one who can heal our wounds and make us a whole again.
Jesus wrote our stories for a reason…He is the only one who can heal our wounds and make us whole again.
It’s been almost seven years since I told my family about what happened. My relationship with my parents has been a challenge but I see God working in ways I never thought were possible. My biological father has been very supportive and is more involved in my life now than when I was growing up. My mother has finally divorced my stepdad and is starting to see and come to terms with all the things he did. I can see now that she was a victim in her own way and has her own wounds that are in need of healing. My stepdad is no longer in my life and hasn’t been for over a year now. I was able to call him and forgive him (thanks to some help from the Big Man upstairs) and am now trying to move on with my life. I started counseling this year and have started to find some healing in all that has happened. None of this would be possible without Jesus. He has been by my side through it all even when I couldn’t see Him, and I know that He will be there for me everyday no matter what. Our God is a good, good Father. He fulfills my heart.
If you are currently in an abusive situation, please use the resources provided below (they are available to call 24/7, they are 100% confidential, they are free):
- National Sexual Assault Hotline 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
- National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)