Patricia was brought up in a home with loving parents and siblings. She would never have imagined the path her life has taken over the last 60 years Here is her story.
Her life as a child and young adult was pretty much what you would expect for a normal kid. School, good times, fights with her siblings but joyful and happy times too. However, like too many places in this world Patricia had a neighbor who was a pedophile. She was drawn in as a small child to “come and see the chickens”. These repeated incidences started a life of self-hatred and self-abuse. As a teenager she began cutting herself thinking that it was what she deserved.
As a Young Woman
After she graduated high school Patricia began working and made friends with her supervisor. It was then she found out a dark secret. Her supervisor was sleeping with the boss. Then the pressure began. The supervisor pressed the other women on the job to sleep with him too. He could make their life difficult. He could fire them. With jobs hard to come by, Patricia was afraid she might not find another job. So she, and a couple of the other women relented and began to sleep with the boss too.
After some time, the boss pressed Patricia to marry him. At first, she said no. Then the threats began. He threatened her job, then her life. He said he could choke her and no one would say anything against him. Patricia was terrified, so she said yes.
Things got worse once they were married. He continued to sleep with other women and when she said something, he made sure she never said anything about it again. The money disappeared. If anything went wrong, it was always her fault, and that had consequences.
Several years went by and Patricia found out she had cancer. That was when she knew she had to get out. After he went to work, she packed what few things she had and called her sister to come and pick her up. It was difficult at first. She was terrified of him for a long time. He eventually stopped calling, and she could get on with her life.
Patricia thought she deserved cancer. The self-hatred had never been far away. She was resigned to give in and just die, but God had a plan.
Patricia’s family had always been religious. She had heard the stories, listened to the sermons, but nothing ever really “clicked” for her as a kid and young person. When she found out she had cancer, and her family was so upset, it gave God the opportunity to speak to her, and she listened. Patricia told me “Jesus just came to me. There was no mistaking who He was. I was filled with His peace. …And then He showed me what He had done for me. I saw myself bathed in a glowing white light and felt release from all my pain, shame and despair.” She finally realized how much God loved her and wanted to free her of the self-hatred that had plagued her since childhood. She realized that what had been done to her was not about her at all. She didn’t deserve it. It was a terrible evil that had been forced on her. She was loved, Jesus had died for her. It was a revelation that Patricia is still in awe of.
Patricia survived the cancer and she is convinced that it was all God’s intervention. How does she know? After the first cancer, cancer struck her again, two more times. The most recent bout of cancer brought her so close to death, her family and friends were all trying to prepare themselves to say goodbye, but God had other ideas. I asked Patricia if she felt any fear with a repeated diagnosis. She said “No fear. I didn’t even flinch. I am just here for the ride, and I know who is driving.” Patricia is still here, still rejoicing in everything God has done for her since leaving her self-hatred behind and clinging to His forgiveness and love. She has been able to talk to other cancer victims and give them hope. She has been able to reach out to other abuse survivors and show them the love that God has shown her.
Patricia has also been able to rejoice in her current marriage to a very loving and supportive man. His kindness is one way that Patricia sees the love of Christ every day.
Why Tell Her Story
I asked Patricia why she wanted me to help tell her story. She said “I want people to know they aren’t alone. I want survivors to know there is comfort and healing. I want those who are fighting to get their lives back to be encouraged that it is possible.”