I remember the first time she told me those words. She said them with a fierceness so commanding, her confidence alone was more intriguing to me then anything and I wanted to possess it for myself. She looked fearless and brave. I wanted to be fearless and brave.
“Never let them see you cry, sweetheart. There’s nothing more weak and satisfying to a man than a woman in tears.” She looked down the hall and nodded at a group of teenage boys laughing in the hallway. “They’ll take one look at you and laugh. You think your tears will get their attention, no way. They don’t have any feelings. They’ll never know your pain. They’ll never know what it’s like to be a woman in this world.”
Lies. They start young. They pierce deep. They remain rooted. Until someone takes them out.
I remember as a young girl, hearing stories of other girls getting kissed behind the bleachers. They’d share their stories of sexual escapades and talk about how rough it felt. The first time they got felt up, gave oral sex, on the bus, in the hallway, behind the concessions on the football field, in so and so’s car. I was 13.
I’d come from a mostly private, Christian-schooled education. People seemed shocked I’d made it to the summer before my freshman year having never kissed a boy. Something was about to unlock that had been chained away in outer darkness.
Maybe it was all the new attention. Suddenly, boys I’d come to view as brothers looked at me with something darker in their eyes. Their teasing was no longer friendly, it took on an almost condescending tone. Their banter no longer funny or innocent. They talked more about girls and breasts and they knew names of ones who “put out.” If they knew me they dismissed me because I wasn’t one of those names, yet. And if they just met me, they were wondering if my name was on that list. My body had developed much more quickly than most of the other girls.
I remember hearing their stories and thinking, Lord, I don’t want that to happen to me. Their stories frightened me. I cried tears of angst the day I got my first period. I begged my mother to send it back. I used to pray to God to take my breasts away. I’d heard stories of waiting for true love, and saving one’s self for marriage and my heart longed for them to be true. But none of the girls I knew could tell me if it was true, and no one was talking about it at church either. If they were living out the fairy tale, I never saw them on Sundays.
Somewhere between the hailstorm of sorted details and lewd remarks, I started realizing boys wouldn’t talk to you unless you could keep their attention, and there was only one thing that would keep it. I would call it Beauty except these well-deceived boys wouldn’t know true beauty from the counterfeit. No it wasn’t True Beauty. Striking up a conversation with an adolescent boy was like taking a stroll through the woods on a dark night. One minute you could be walking next to each other laughing and enjoying the tranquility of the moon and the next they could be pouncing on you like a bear hiding in the woods. To engage with the opposite sex was to encounter a war. A battle of the body and will.
I needed reinforcements. I needed to get tough. I longed for true intimacy but in its absence my soul still yearned for connection. There was no option to disconnect or stay out of the woods, at least I was lead to believe there was no other way than to learn to dance with the devil in the pale moonlight. So I turned to those who were in the battlefield and asked them for advice. Turns out the cosmic joke would be on me: I would become the Joker, the devil incarnate.
“Make the first move, that way you’re always in control,” they said.
“Be prepared to go all the way, so they won’t get upset and hit you,” they warned. “Guys don’t like a tease.”
“Wear something sexy.”
It wasn’t too long before my visions of Prince Charming had vanished completely from hope’s view and I began to see only monsters, users, womanizers, and haters. War conditions the mind to survive in the battlefield. Win at all costs, it screams.
Did I receive unwanted advances? Did I find myself in scary situations feeling like there was no way out? Was I groped, molested, abused? Was I raped?
Some would argue that I had what was coming to me.
Does a prisoner have control of their body or will?
Captivity of the mind whether real or imagined is still all in the mind and a battle of wills. In a world built on sight, it has little tolerance for the blind.
I may not have the same stories of captivity as others but there’s no doubt that fear, real or perceived, can become a formidable foe, and once captured by the spirit of deception it matters not whether the body is male or female, it seeks to destroy the soul.
Fear. Lies. Deception, no matter how compelling should never be the bases for one’s fearlessness. Truth is the only weapon that makes one truly fearless. Truth that brings darkness into the Light. Truth that alone can bring true healing. Truth that can only be found in the arms of Jesus.
I am moved by the numerous stories of women stepping forward under the #MeToo movement that has broken out on social media. Those who have been willing to bravely expose the lies that were hidden in secret places of their lives. Sharing the untold stories of what happened in the darkness that perhaps in bringing it into the light it might help others find consolation in not being alone. You are not alone. We are never alone. I stand with them and admire their confidence and their bravery. But I also stand with my brothers, who’ve had to battle a deception all their own. For we know our battle is not against flesh and blood, but against the spirits, the principalities, and the powers of darkness that threaten to destroy our souls (Ephesians 6:12). I believe there are many more stories yet untold, both male and female, that will remain in the darkness forever, but in this hour, Truth is coming to Light and the Darkness is being exposed. And that Dear One, is something to be celebrated as a victory.
So as humanity moves into deeper truths, deeper unity, and deeper depths of mercy, let us bare this Truth with confidence, we are each created in the image of God, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them (Genesis 1:27). Let us make a new vow to seek the Truth in valuing the dignity of all persons, male and female. And let us break forever the vows we’ve made in our own hearts that have held us captive in fear, separating our hearts from one another.
Let us pray: Our Father who art in Heaven, holy is thy name, may we learn to forgive as you have forgiven us. May we learn to give mercy as you have been merciful to us. May your Holy Spirit come and fill the wounds of our hearts with an abiding love that can only come from Heaven’s Mercy Seat. May we continue to expand in wisdom and teach us how to love one another without condition as you have loved us. And, let our tears flow in the Truth that it’s okay to let you see us cry. We ask you these things, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
You keep track of all my sorrows
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.
My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help.
This I know: God is on my side!
– Psalm 56:8-9
By Kim Engel
Founder of Sheerah Ministries
Kim is mother of two children, Author, Speaker and lover of the Word. She has a heart for encouraging women to Awaken to their God-given gifts and callings and to see the Body of Christ come together in unity as it continues the mission of Jesus Christ to bring love to the world in the hope of salvation and by the power of the Holy Spirit. She is founder of Sheerah Ministries, a collaboration of women intent on sharing the good news and inspiration of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit through teachings, retreats, speaking engagements, writing, media and the arts. Follow Kim on her Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/WakingEve and on Instagram and Twitter @WakingEve or contact by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. SUBSCRIBE to our blog to keep updated on Sheerah Ministries blogs by contributing partners, news and events.