A precious friend of mine is sharing her walk with us here at humble & Bold. She impresses me with her love for others, and bravery in opening up her life to bring awareness, help and hope to those in need. She wrote the following letter to me in a language not her first. Because of the delicate nature and details of her story, she is going by the cover name of Grace.
I grew up with my grandparents. I never understood why I lived with my grandparents, even though my parents lived across from them. In my young age, every time I saw my mom doing laundry by hands, there's something inside of me that wanted to help her, but my grandfather wouldn't allow me. I was the only granddaughter and their first grandchild.
Then around 1980, my dad decided to work in Saudi Arabia to support our family. During that time, my parents moved to the next town. It wasn't far from my grandparents house. When I turned 14 years of age, I decided to move in with my mom so that I could be with her and my two younger brothers.
My mom decided to ask her youngest brother to live with us for our protection. During that time, my mom and my brothers were usually out somewhere with their friends, so it was usually just me and my uncle. I was very close to him, since him and my mom had a very close relationship. Little did I know that the person supposed to protect us was the one I need protection from. One day he asked me if I would like to get a massage. With my innocent mind, I said yes. And next thing I know, he was touching parts of my body that he was not supposed to touch. I was young and scared and didn't know what to do. It happened repeatedly. Now I understand that victims were the ones who were protecting their abusers. I never said anything to anyone because I was afraid that no one would believe me, and it would create problems in our family.
"I was young and scared and didn't know what to do."
I decided to date someone in my second year of high school. I guess there was a part of me looking for love. But even though I was dating someone, that didn't stop my uncle from what he was doing to me. In fact, he disapproved that I had a boyfriend; he was against that.
Back then my mom usually allowed my brother's friends to stay with us for the night. There were nights that I will woke up feeling someone's hands on my body. For a time, I didn't allow anyone else to do anything to me, but I continued to be quiet. Another two of my uncles had touched me in areas of my body that they had no right to touch. One of my friend's brother tried to kiss me and go on top of me while I was in their house; I fought and threaten that I will tell his sister what he was doing, so he stopped. At that time, there was something inside of me where I was mad at guys. I felt like every time they see girls, they just see us as sex objects. When I was in college, I saw the news about the women in Olongapo being sold by their parents to have sex with Americans. I remember being so mad at Americans and I made a comment that "I will never marry a foreigner".
Fast forward, I got pregnant with my boyfriend. At that time, both if us were unemployed and having financial problems in supporting our son. I went to Hong Kong to work as a domestic helper. I never imagined and it never came across in my mind to look for another man. My heart totally belonged to the father of my son. In my heart, I only wanted to be with him. Someone shared something with me that hurt me so much. During this time, I hardly went to church; I grew up as a Catholic, but didn't really know who God was. I hardly prayed, and if I prayed, it was because I needed something from God. I treated God like genie in the bottle. I was 23 years old at that time, and didn't have a close relationship with my own family, I didn't share what was going on in my life with anyone. I was hurting so much that I felt like heaven and earth were crushing me. So much hurt that I lost respect for myself. I lost hope. I felt like no one loved me, no one cared about me, so what the heck, I will just do whatever. I started going to clubs with my friends. Till one guy was courting me, and since I felt like I was free, I decided to sleep with him. And every time we go out partying, I would end up in a bed with a guy, as a one night stand. Instead of using drugs to numb the pain, having a one night stand, kind of filled the gap I had in my heart . . . temporarily.
"I was hurting so much that I felt like heaven and earth were crushing me."
One night, I was not in the mood to go out. But my friends told me we will dance for a little bit then we will go home before midnight. As soon as I walked in the club, a navy guy started walking towards me. It seemed like he was hypnotized. We started dancing and I ended up with him for the entire night. We met the second night and before he left, he gave me his address. (Note, I was not looking for a relationship at that time.) He asked for my address and said that he would send letters to me. He captured part of my heart that night. He asked me when I was with him, if he could make love with me; when I said no, he didn't ask again.
For the first time in my life, I felt respected. I was surprised! I didn't know that there could be a man who would not take advantage of me. We started exchanging letters and phone calls. Eleven months later he proposed to me, and he came back to Hong Kong by himself. I've been happily married with him now for over 22 years.
Fast forward, we have two boys of our own. So many things have happened between 1994 to 2011. We moved to Georgia in 2006. It was not planned, Georgia was not on my list of where I would consider to live. But my thoughts are not God's thoughts, my ways are not His ways. In 2010, one of our friends invited us to go to Free Chapel. I turned her down several times. But it didn't stop her, she continuously kept inviting me and my family to go with her. December 2010 was the very first time we came to Free Chapel. It took us seven (number of completion) months to finally go to church every Sunday. After I got born again, that's when I saw God's hands were upon my life and my family's life. God was the one who orchestrated moving us here to Georgia. Isaiah 65:1 says, "I revealed Myself to those who did not ask for Me; I was found by those who did not seek Me." I was not looking for God when God found us. There was a hole in my life, but I didn't know what could fill that hole. I got born again and baptized on January 18, 2012. I started reading the Word of God.
"There was a hole in my life, but I didn't know what could fill that hole."
The year 2012 is when the change in our lives took place. After our family was born again, everything made sense looking back at what had happened in the past. And I strongly believe that what the enemy meant for evil, God meant it for good. God turned my ashes to beauty. I thank God that we are a brand new creation and that old things have passed away. I thank God that He didn't keep records of our wrong. I thank God that He had chosen us and pluck us out of the world. If not for His mercy, His love and His grace, we would not be where we are. And I thank God that He is a Faithful God; faithful to finished what He started in my life, my spouse's life, my children's lives and all the generations to come until the coming back of His Son, Jesus Christ . . . to God be the glory!
To encourage someone who is facing hard times, never give up. God does not sleep. He knows our beginning and our end. He knows our name even before He formed us in our mother's womb.
Matthew 5:3-11 NKJV
3 Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For they shall inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.
I would like to thank Grace for Sharing Her Walk here at humble & BOLD. And to you, the reader, thank you for visiting!
I hope Grace's story has spoken to your heart!
Also, I want to invite you to church, especially if you have never been invited. You are welcome to visit Free Chapel at one of their four locations or attend online from anywhere in the world.
If interested in helping stop the sexual exploitation of children, please check out, Street Grace.org. The following is from their website.
Street Grace is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that works to bring together nonprofits, businesses, churches, and individuals with one purpose - ending domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST).
MISSION To end the demand for domestic minor sex trafficking (DMST) in the U.S.
VISION To see a world where all children are free from sexual exploitation.
Thanks for stopping by,
Stay humble & BOLD!
"Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path." Psalm 119:105
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