"Picking Up the Pieces"
---Eventually, *Pastor R and his wife divorced. He claimed their marriage was a mistake. He claims that he felt pressured by bishops and leadership to marry her; that she had mistreated him and turned on him etc. Later on he would also claim that she left him with financial problems and some debt. But I've come to realize that I don't really know the truth. I have a strong suspicion that he was lying. I feel so bad for his ex wife now. I'm so sorry for the part I played in the breakdown of their marriage. I can't imagine all that she went through.
---There have been a few times I thought I might be pregnant. *Pastor R would encourage me to keep praying for God's grace and mercy with him. The first time I thought I might be pregnant, he told me to take a Plan B pill. I freaked out and refused. I would never punish and kill my baby because of our sin. I told him he could leave and I would love and care for the baby myself. He said he was just freaking out. I asked if he would marry me if I had his baby. He said no, because he didn't believe he had to marry me just because he got me pregnant. He would be a part of his baby’s life and help support and provide for it. But he wouldn't marry me. That made me feel so incredibly low… I told him if I was pregnant, I didn't want him around. I told him I didn't need his help or money. I was so mad and hurt. But, thankfully, i never got pregnant.
---Throughout the years, I have tried to open my heart to other possibilities and leave *Pastor R. I tried to move on with a few different men. But I could never figure out why things never worked out. Why couldn't I make things work? What was wrong with me as a woman that I couldn't find a man who would stay with me and marry me? All of my love, commitment, devotion, support… it was never enough. I was never enough.But I have since been enlightened to the fact that *Pastor R was sabotaging my relationships. in order to hold onto me and keep me coming back to him.
---I don't doubt all of my experiences with God during this time. He was working and doing things in my heart and life. But I know now that those experiences happened in spite of *Pastor R.
---*Pastor R had a way of making me believe that he was helping, supporting and encouraging me; even as he was mistreating and using me. I’m starting to see that he just told me some things he knew I wanted to hear. He gave me enough to keep me coming back to him and sticking close. And I see that the times I thought were good with him, were all a part of the manipulation and deception. He just mimicked social norms.
---*Pastor R always seemed to be in financial need. He never seemed to have enough money, even though he claimed to work so many hours. But I loved and trusted him. He always said it’s because he is so generous and gives a lot. He claimed that financial problems were his “thorn in the flesh.” It was the area the Devil attacked. I've given and loaned him a lot of money throughout the years. I really wanted to be there for him and help him out. I also loaned him my car many many times when he needed it. I was always there when he needed anything. I helped him in whatever way I could. (He did help me on a few different occasions as well, with either his own funds or the church would vote to help me when I fell on hard times.) I helped him even if it inconvenienced or hurt me at times. I can see now how he took advantage of my heart to give and serve. He took advantage of my love for him and my trust in him.
---A few months ago, *Pastor R asked me to borrow money again. I felt something bad in my gut… he was asking to borrow money yet again. It rubbed me the wrong way. I felt used. I confronted him and asked him straight out if he was using me for money and sex. He denied it and convinced me otherwise. We had a long talk. I felt horrible for doubting him and thinking that of him. I dismissed my feelings and suspicions. I blamed things I was going through and experiencing. I blamed my own insecurities and being used in the past. I apologized profusely and loaned him the money.
---I went through 10 years of guilt, confusion, heartache. But I felt since *Pastor R was my Pastor and he was struggling with me in this...it couldn't be as wrong or as bad as it felt at times. I thought he really loved me and would never intentionally hurt me. But there I was… stuck. I couldn’t move forward. It all just became the norm... It was life for me. It's just how it was.
"When the Veil Fell"
---The fog finally began to clear. I started seeing clearly for the first time in 12 years. I felt this great urge to finally come clean and confess everything to my friends and immediate family. I went into detail about the nature of my relationship with *Pastor R. I let everything out. I felt horrible and guilty. I begged God’s forgiveness. I begged my friends and family’s forgiveness. I was met with forgiveness, understanding, support, and great love. They helped me understand that *Pastor R had been abusing his position as a youth pastor, pastor and spiritual leader in my life for years. He had targeted me at a young age, manipulated, deceived, and used me. He took advantage of my love, my trust, my generosity, my finances, my body, my emotions.
---A male friend of mine shared with me that me one time that he was teasing about *Pastor R and I being so close and how we should just get married already *Pastor R told him that I really really liked him and something like how it would be my wildest dream to marry him. That’s so degrading... it’s like a knife in my heart and back. Here I thought that *Pastor R would try to protect my feelings and image in front of others. I always came to his defense and tried desperately to protect him. But I guess he's been exploiting me and making me look bad. God knows all he's said to others about me.
---But I loved *Pastor R and thought he loved me. I thought he was a big-hearted, generous, loving guy. I didn’t want to tell anyone about what was going on between us… I didn't want to hurt him or ruin his reputation. I was also, admittedly, afraid of how people would react towards me as well. I feared losing the people I love. The Enemy was lying to me and really wanted me to keep quiet. He didn't want my wounds exposed and healed. But he is a liar and I refuse to listen to him any longer.
---People are coming forward and we are uncovering who the real *Pastor R is. He is a fraud and a con artist. I thought I knew him, but it’s all been a lie. My parents were right about the stealing. Turns out, many people in the community have been conned by him. He has stolen so much money from individuals, churches, and businesses. He's been fired from jobs for stealing. I don't know how he hasn't gone to prison yet.
---I'm so sorry that I didn’t trust my family’s judgment nor the stories of *Pastor R stealing or conning people. I didn't believe what they were trying to tell me. I chose to be in willful ignorance because I thought that I knew him. I am very strong-willed and I can be very stubborn. I trusted *Pastor R. I know now I really should have trusted my family, who know and truly love me so much. I'm so sorry I never trusted my friends/church family with what I was going through. They truly love me and I know I can trust them. If I had told them a long time ago, things wouldn't have gone this far. We could’ve shut down the ministry, left together, and turned *Pastor R in. I’m sorry that we didn't communicate more and figure out what was really going on with him.
---I've had to battle lust and sexual sin for 10 years. But it was never just about sex. My heart and emotions were very wrapped up in all of it. I thought it was love. *Pastor R punched a hole in me all those years ago, and I've been desperately trying to fill it ever since. But now I'm finally letting God fill it. I really understand now why God created sex to be enjoyed within the walls of a marriage. Outside of marriage, sex is destructive and causes so many problems. I'm so so grateful for God’s grace, love, and forgiveness. I'm undeserving.
---I've been researching a lot about Narcissism and other personality disorders because my sister’s abusive ex-husband is a narcissist. I've been supporting her and trying to help her through all of it. All the while, I was being abused too. I just couldn't see it. God had been trying to open my eyes and speak to me. But it's a slow fade, when you give yourself away. It’s taken a lot to finally see reality and truth. I honestly feel really guilty, stupid, and naive. I honestly feel like I’m struggling with PTSD…
"Facing the Truth"
---I began hearing from people that *Pastor R was pursuing/abusing/raping them as youth... it both enraged me and broke my heart. I had no idea this was happening... I’m disgusted and furious. It broke my heart that these kids have been hurt by him in such a horrific way...He was caught possessing and distributing child pornography. He was arrested and charged with 13 counts.
---To know, on top of everything else, that I was in love and giving myself to a child molester/monster all those years... it makes me sick. I’m beyond disgusted. I’m praying that justice is served and that he will be put behind bars for the rest of his life- where he can’t hurt anyone else.
"The Healing Begins"
---I spilled my guts out, up there. I started writing this less than 2 months after everything came to light, and I “woke up.”
Being raw and vulnerable is scary and intimidating. But I feel like this kind of honesty and transparency is really important. And if I can help even just one person, it’s all worth it.
---Pastor R is currently out on bail, I’m confident that justice will be served and that he will be spending many years in prison. I pray for the sake of his soul, that he sincerely turns to God and repents. Before it’s too late and he has to face the consequences of his evil deeds in the fires of Hell.
---I’m doing really well and I feel like I’ve come such a long way. I’ve been really motivated and intent on continuing to move forward in my life. I feel a lot of peace, hope and joy. But, I also want to be real. It hasn’t been easy. I experience ups and downs… light days and dark days.
---I do have flashbacks. When I feel my mind wander to *Pastor R, I usually feel numb and move quickly away from those thoughts and memories.
However, sometimes I do find myself lingering in thoughts of him and what happened. I find myself becoming angry and disgusted all over again. But, as I pray and give my thoughts and feelings to God, I find I’m able to turn my mind in a different direction. And I start thinking of other things.
---I also find myself struggling at times with the repercussions of what I’ve been through. Sometimes I find myself triggered by something someone says or does. I find myself shutting down and retreating into myself in the face of conflict or when experiencing extreme emotions like sadness, anger, or anxiety… it’s a defense and coping mechanism. And sometimes, if I don’t deal with it in a healthy manner, I end up blowing up or lashing out later.
But I am learning as I go, how to better handle these these situations in a healthier way.
---I definitely have my weaknesses and struggles. When I find myself tempted, falling back into old ways and sin- I cry out for His forgiveness and grace. My Heavenly Father is so patient and forgiving. He picks me back up, sets me on my feet again, and we walk forward- together.
---I have thought about seeking professional counseling. I know therapists help so many people, every day. Maybe someday, I’ll take that step.
---I now go to my family’s church home. It’s like a breath of fresh air. I feel edified, encouraged and challenged. I’m a part of a Bible study with a group of young women, whom I love and trust. The faith based support group Celebrate Recovery is also a blessing, when I attend or help out there.
---I’m so thankful for my close friends and family.
I’m blessed with their love, support, encouragement and accountability.
---I’m experiencing a lot of healing and growth, glory to God!
My self esteem is now higher than it's ever been. I’m feeling so much more confident in who I am and who God had created me to be. I’m learning to truly embrace who I am. There’s so much freedom in being myself and learning to love my personality, abilities, gifts, quirks and my physical body. When I’m struggling and start to hear the Enemy whisper his lies and try to drag me down again… I reach out to a Jesus, and remember the truth and who He says I am.
---I'm currently working as a CNA/caretaker.
But I’m going back to college this summer for Nursing! God is already moving and making a way. I would love to be married some day- to a man who sincerely loves Jesus and loves, cherishes and respects me. I know that I am worthy of this!
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11
---I’m so incredibly grateful for freedom and new beginnings. The more time that passes, the better I feel. Taking life one day at a time. Trying to enjoy every moment and not take my days on this Earth for granted.
---I’m feeling so much hope because of what Jesus is doing in my life. I feel His love, compassion, strength, grace, and forgiveness flowing in my life.❤️
Note from your Apostolic Fly Girl,
I sincerely pray that walking through these diary entries was enlightening, healing, and that it would empower victims to seek help.
To The Survivor-
There is healing in Jesus, he loves us, and wants us to lead healthy lives. God's thoughts toward us are loving, kind, and his motives concerning our walk with him is pure. Often times we believe that our sins have pushed us too far away from Him. But He is a good Father, and while our sin may cause us to run away from Him, He is yet chasing us. While we were yet His enemy, He still laid down His life for us. Let God catch you, allow him to bathe you in his love...be healed.
Darkness To Light
Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Sexual Violence Resource Center