Before I had strange secrets.
Before I was splintered in violence.
Before my memories were lined with shattered glass.
Before my mouth tasted sour every time I heard my name, I was a girl who wanted nothing more than to be a pediatric neurosurgeon, despite having very clumsy hands. Who loved spinning around in the grass until she fell over and who jumped for joy when she saw flowers.
Abuse burns the only body you have–your home, your sense of self–to the ground. Fills your days with anxiety, depression, and fragmented memories. Wakes you up in the middle of the night with the feeling that you’re suffocating. Carves what happened to you into your bones so that you take it with you everywhere you go.
Over time, I learned the rules of the games I could never win. I became whoever I needed to be to feel loved for even just a moment. I clung to apologies of, “If you just didn’t do that, I wouldn’t have had to hurt you.” Stability came packaged as broken promises of “It won’t happen again,” and tethered with conditions that I could never meet.
I thought if I could be someone else, maybe I could be loved.
This is how I found myself at 17, sitting on the edge of a bluff in the mountains of Tennessee, contemplating what would happen if I jumped. My flesh had become an atlas of bruises and scars given to me after being wrapped in the words, “You know I’d never hurt you. You know I love you.”
Recently, I was marveling over God’s faithfulness in my life. I wept as I recounted the nights I spent awake suffering from suicidal thoughts, the intense anxiety that never went away, the seasons of relentless depression, and the moments when I felt so alone.
Still, Jesus didn’t leave me there.
Healing came in the form of handwritten notes, flowers, thoughtful texts, and prayers. It came in the way so many women mothered me and listened to my broken heart. It came in the way my church family so beautifully let me ease myself into socializing and let me learn my boundaries and what made me feel safe.
As I contemplated what it would mean to forgive someone for these deep wounds, I wrestled with the fact that it seemed unfair to have to consider such a thing. After all, these seasons of my life left tears on my face and robbed me of joy.
Deep down I knew that if I believed in Jesus’ resurrection, then I also needed to believe that abuse, in all of its twisted and horrible pain, can be redeemed and forgiven. More so, I needed to believe that God also loved and wanted the people who hurt me. Intellectually, I knew this was true, but my heart needed time for Jesus to work a miracle in it.
While I would have never chosen to bond over shared brokenness from generational trauma, I couldn’t help but to say, “God, because of what you’ve done in my life, I can pray for you to do the same in the life of others who have the same story as me.”
He’d taken a girl who was broken-hearted and loved her to wholeness.
He placed flowers in her path to make her heart smile on the dark days.
He made the waves at the beach touch her toes to remind her that He is in control.
He made the wind brush against her face as she sat in the sand and marveled at His sunsets.
He placed a relentless joy in her heart because she knows what Jesus has freed her from.
He will do the same for the generations before her.
Meaghan Malone is a writer, graphic designer, and programmer who resides in the Sunshine State with her husband and their spunky cocker spaniel. She is an INFJ and Enneagram 9. She writes about mental health, life as an Autistic person, and God’s faithfulness in her life. She is currently working on a memoir about identity after childhood trauma. Find her on Instagram @meaghanmalone or at meaghanmalone.com
I was scrolling on Facebook and saw your post. Wow, I am blown away by your transparency. It pulled me straight into your story. You are an amazing writer. I love it that you share God’s love and His forgiveness for others in your story. Thanks for sharing.
Beautifully written! I am blown away by your description of God’s saving grace and His love for us. I love how transparent you are about your life. It’s so real. You are a phenomenal writer.
So beautiful. I eagerly await reading more! Thank you!