From the ages of three to seven, Shelly was spiritually and sexually abused.
“I was told that I was put on Earth to perform in whatever way that man told me; I was unworthy of God’s love; and God would punish those I loved if I didn’t do what my abuser told me to do,” Shelly painfully describes.
“When I was seven and my abuser was done with me, his words were that God made a mistake in making me — I felt like my story was over.”
After the most tragic event of Shelly’s life, the passing of her husband, she knew it was time to purposely begin the healing process. She told a friend her story.
Shelly’s friend gave Shelly her first Bible, which sat unopened for seven months.
“One day I sat for five hours, paralyzed with fear, staring at that Bible until I finally got the courage to open it,” she recalls. “I was so sure I would hear God tell at me in a booming voice, ‘How dare you! What makes you think you’re worthy of me?’ I waited for the house to go up in flames or for thunder to come down on me … but nothing happened. Not even a ripple in the air.”
Tears started flowing and the words were blurry. Shelly understood nothing of what she read, but she began to understand that she could change that. That was five years ago. Since then, Shelly has slowly began to make progress.
“I started listening to Christian music until I could sing the songs out loud without fear or panic. Until I knew the words … felt them in my heart … until I could begin the day by thanking God for all the blessings in my life.”
Confident that she had grown, Shelly decided to listen to a sermon online.
“I hid under my kitchen table in total fear. I wasn’t ready,” she says. “For two more years, I told myself every day that God loved me.”
A friend told Shelly about Victory Church. Shelly wondered if she was ready, but Victory was several hours away from where she lived. Then Victory began online church.
“I decided to try again,” she says. “The first time, I didn’t end up under the table. The second time, I found myself enjoying the service. The third time, I realized I didn’t have any fear — just a wonderment of all I don’t know and how amazing Jesus is.”
Shelly’s journey isn’t over. Sometimes, we all take a few steps back.
“I’ve come to realize, even in the pain, God is with me and is always right beside me. I have found peace in knowing that God loves me.”
"When I was seven and my abuser was done with me, his words were that God made a mistake in making me — I felt like my story was over."
"I hid under my kitchen table in total fear. I wasn’t ready,” she says. “For two more years, I told myself every day that God loved me."