(Cover art courtesy of Amanda Zarate, Christine Schick, and Mariah Tauger)
WARNING: THIS ARTICLE CONTAINS CONTENT FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY
Taken from Fighting For Me by Amanda Zarate. Copyright © 2019 by Amanda Zarate. Used by permission of Independent publisher. www.fightingforme.org.
My journey to Jesus has been a bumpy one. I am so glad I kept seeking truth and didn’t settle. It’s clear from my story that even when I wanted to do better, I was powerless to accomplish it on my own. Now I have the Holy Spirit living inside me who enables me to do the impossible over and over again, all to celebrate the goodness of God and point people to Him.
For me, having Jesus as my Lord means freedom. I’m free from the bondage of alcohol. I’m free to live my life. I’m free to forgive those who have hurt me—not because I don’t feel pain or because I condone what they have done or still do—but because I know that God loves them, too. I submit to His authority and choose to follow in Jesus’ footsteps of love.
I’m free to dream and walk by faith. I get to teach my four boys to listen to the desires God puts on their hearts and encourage them to go for their dreams. This is one of the greatest joys I have experienced. I tell them all the time, “Living your life for Jesus is the most exciting life you could ever live.” As a family, we take leaps of faith together. We encourage each other to listen to the voice which whispers God’s will.
I have learned that knowing God is not about looking, walking, and talking the same as anyone else. It’s not even about going to church every Sunday. It’s about getting into God’s Word and asking to hear from Him every day. No rules, but real relationship. Not just confession of sins, but conversations with God. No shame, but salvation through the blood of Jesus Christ. No resentment, but appreciation for this incredible life He has blessed us with.
My life is not without trials, but now I have everything I need to get through anything that comes my way. Now that I know Jesus is with me, I have a peace which is hard to explain. I don’t always get my prayers answered the way I want, but He always provides a way for me to keep going.
The fears which once gripped me have melted away. I walk with confidence knowing He has given me the courage and strength to step out in faith time and time again. I am no longer alone or confused about my purpose on this earth.
Jesus has always been there for me and now I can see it clearly. I know He protected my mind and heart as a child enduring years of my father’s sexual abuse. I know He gave me the desire to move to California and led me to my husband, Lucho. I also know He spoke it into my heart to help other men, women, and children affected by sexual abuse so they can have peace in their lives to hear when God is calling them to do something great.
It is my sincerest wish that everyone who has been sexually abused or knows someone who has been sexually abused will find peace, healing, and acceptance through Fighting For Me. But, ultimately, I hope they find Jesus as their Savior because He is the only One who can bring about complete healing and happiness.
Some people believe words are not powerful enough to heal, and I would probably agree if I did not have firsthand experience of a person’s words changing the course of my life. I often think about that medical doctor who knew I didn’t need happy pills and instead told me, “You deserve to be the woman you were meant to be,” as she sent me to a psychologist.
I believe psychologists do God’s work and help people feel as wonderful as they truly are in His eyes. I know this was the case for me.
When I first started counseling, I thought I would end up as the woman I would’ve been if I had never been sexually abused. After years of healing, I’m pretty sure I am not the same woman I would have turned out to be if I had never been sexually abused.
I am a better woman.
I am stronger. I am more compassionate. I am more caring. I am more fearless. I am more lovable. I am more beautiful.
And I know I am the woman I was meant to be.