By Eryka T. Johnson
We ALL have a story to tell. Depending on your life, it could be good, bad, funny, exciting, embarrassing, and the list goes on. The reality is…everyone you come into daily contact with has a story & desperately need to hear yours too. But, how many of you are really telling your story?
My story is ONE of pain, redemption, & FREEDOM!
And, it has truly flowed in that order. In fact, if it’s ok with you, I would like to share my story with you.
Life for me was like being on the set of a soap opera. You know, there’s ALWAYS conflict with the main character that often spins into MORE conflict before everything un-ravels and the pieces fit together.
As a kid, I was nearly raised by my older sister. I say “raised” because she was our caregiver, the one we saw most of the time. My Mom was a single considering she divorced Dad when I was just a baby. And, she often worked a lot to provide for me and my 2 siblings. She did all she knew to survive with 3 kids and very little support.
I truly felt abandoned by my Dad. Most of the time we did not hear from or see him, but a few summers we did get to spend 2 weeks with him. Nevertheless, these were the only times, I can remember him being present in my life. Although, he lived only 4 hours away, he made a conscious decision to NOT participate or truly be a part of my life. And, this left a void in my life which evolved into a deep feeling of rejection.
Also, I was sexually abused as a child, teenager, & young adult. From the ages of 8 -10, a half-brother (really my Mom’s boyfriend’s son) molested me nearly every weekend he came to stay at our house. I was so afraid to tell anyone particularly my Mom. As, she never made it easy to talk with her or even let me know the door was open.
When in middle school, I was attacked by my cousin’s boyfriend in my Mom’s room as he attempted to force himself on me. I fought him off & ran to get help.
As a senior in high school, I went for my 1st women’s appointment. During the examination, the doctor touched me inappropriately and the nurse agreed that the exam took much longer than usual. I felt so dirty. And by the time I got home, I just wanted to wash the touches from his nasty fondling hands off my body.
Then, in college, I experienced a horrific gang rape after a music concert as I enjoyed the company of some college alumni along with my cousin and her friend.
The enemy of my soul was out to destroy my mind, my worth, & my LIFE!
Every time I was taken advantage of I lost a little more of myself and slipped more into an isolated place. This was the one place I felt safe and protected. No one in my life had ever protected me from the pain or so I thought.
One day, I was introduced to a man who only wanted one thing from me… for me to trust him. Can you imagine me trusting a man? Really? But, I knew I needed help & this was my last chance because I was truly tired of living and experiencing ALL the pain alone.
Jesus rescued me out of depression, suicide, sexual trauma, rejection, selfishness, and low self-esteem.
It took me some time to understand ALL that I received from Him and how to access it fully in my life. But, I’ve gone through some HUGE cycles of personal change and it ALL has helped to shape me into what I see today.
Now, I’ve been married to the same man for nearly 12 years and he absolutely adores & supports my mission. I have three beautiful kids who admire me and want to be like me. I have a career that allows me to lead a team of people with diverse backgrounds and skills. And, I have a personal development business that allows me to connect with over 15,000 women and give each of them an opportunity to experience personal change in their lives.
The beauty in it ALL is that I get to offer this same FREEDOM to every woman I come into contact with and it’s so amazing! I get to tell my story by helping other women overcome low self-esteem, lack of confidence, rejection by friends and family, fear, and the list goes on.
So, what’s your story and have you committed to telling it? In fact, I challenge YOU to find someone you can begin touching by your story. In this I mean, share your experiences and wisdom and help another woman be her best self as she goes through the transition of personal change.