Personal Testimony: Kaylee Burns

Unthinkable Forgiveness

Overcoming the Trauma of Sexual Assault: God Can Heal

Testimony by Kaylee Burns
Kaylee attends Calvary Chapel Fredericksburg, VA

Kaylee[David said,] “I will not say anything while evil people are near.” I kept quiet, not saying a word … but my suffering only grew worse, and I was overcome with anxiety. The more I thought, the more troubled I became; I could not keep from asking “LORD, how long will I live? When will I die? Tell me how soon my life will end.” Psalm 39:1b-4 (GNT)

It is comforting to read Bible verses that speak to exactly what you are going through. David’s lament felt very raw and real to me the first time I read it. I knew how he felt. At an earlier time in my life, I was at my friend’s house for a sleepover, and her older brother had one of his friends over as well. We are told to watch out for strangers as a child, but what happens when your abuser is not a stranger? At my childhood friend’s home, I was sexually assaulted.

Hidden Anguish

I did not have a good grasp on what sex was at the time, so I did not have the vocabulary or understanding to express what had happened to me. I just wanted it to never happen again. I wanted the pain and the memory to go away. I asked God over and over, Why? Why did He allow this to happen to me? I put that memory in the back of my mind, far away from where it could hurt me, and I never spoke a word of it for eight years. However, all of the emotions I had left over from that experience still remained.

All the pain, anger, fear, and bitterness were still there. I shook my fist at God. I became extremely depressed, as my innocent view of the world had been shattered in one evening. I did not know how to cope with it and did not know how to tell someone. When I was assaulted, the view I had of myself changed. I saw myself as dirty, ugly, and broken. I tried to commit suicide at 13 years old. That seemed to be the theme in my life for the next few years—anger, depression, and suicidal thoughts. Over the course of those years I began to self-harm.

Beginning to Heal

At 15 years old, I prayed to God again. I asked Him to do something crazy in my life because I could no longer take it. Staying in the same place, with the same feelings, was taking a toll on my mental health. A week later my parents asked me if I would mind moving to a new state. My father had gotten a job offer, and in a year, we were on the way to our new home. God had answered me, and I finally felt that He was listening. I wasn’t ready to give Him full control, but I knew He was there working in my life nonetheless.

The first few years of living in a new place felt lonely; I had trouble making friends and trusting people. But while I was having trouble with people, my relationship with God began to take shape. I truly felt Him moving in my life. After years of wandering and loneliness, He finally won in my life, and I became a Christian. I prayed that all these horrible feelings and thoughts would go away. I prayed that God would wash away the rage that had been consuming me, and that He would fill me with His peace. The Lord, in His kindness, completely changed my life. Satan was telling me I was used up, damaged, ugly, worthless, and meaningless. But God was there telling me that I was priceless, beautiful. That through Jesus, I had immeasurable value, and although I was broken, that did not mean I was beyond His repair. He helped me start the process of healing.

The Lord, in His kindness, completely changed my life. Satan was telling me I was used up, damaged, ugly, worthless, and meaningless. But God was there telling me that I was priceless, beautiful.

I met my husband around that time, and he was the first clear example of unconditional love that I had ever really seen. He saw past the broken, angry, and damaged person I was. He held my hand through thehealing. God used him to show me how love was supposed to look, and that God loved me so much more.

Learning to Forgive

The hardest thing God has ever called me to do was forgive my abuser—I fought that for years. How could I forgive someone who had caused me so much anguish? How could God ask that of me? I begrudgingly started to pray for my abuser. And the craziest thing happened: God began to open my heart to real, incredible forgiveness. Even though I am still healing, I pray for the man who abused me. The world tells you to keep that anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, and hate. It says that you deserve to feel those things because of what happened to you, and the world encourages you to remain a victim.

You don’t have to remain a victim, though. When you commit your life to Jesus Christ, you are forgiven your sins, and you can conquer your past. God loves you so much that He sent His son Jesus to die on the cross for you, and He does not want you to be anguished. When you become obedient to Christ, you become God’s child. He wants you to lift your hurt, pain, anger, and abuse up to Him, and watch Him use it for His glory. Rejoice, for He has amazing plans for your life, no matter what Satan tries to do to interfere.

Satan will use others around you to hurt you, and he will take that hurt and run wild with it. He wants you to believe that you are worthless, meaningless, and damaged. He wants your pain and anger to consume you; he wants to slow you down and to distract you from the plans God has for your life. He wants to undermine your relationship with God and control you. And if you have not accepted God into your life, I can almost guarantee that Satan will succeed.

God: Defender of the Broken

But God sees you. He is a defender of the powerless and the broken. He will take you into His arms, and He will heal you, grow you, and change your life. He loves you more than you can imagine, and He is waiting with open arms for you to let Him into your life. Open your heart to Him and watch Him change your life. He wants to use you and your story. He wants to change you from a victim to a child of God. He wants to comfort you and use you to help others receive this freedom as well. What a wonderful Savior, that He will take your pain, your hurt, and use it for good.

Do you want this? Pray today and ask God to reveal Himself to you. That was my first step, and God changedmy life because of it. Maybe you are not ready to give Him full control. Just ask Him to start showing you He is there. He listens, and He is waiting for you.

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