My Story: How I Went From Desperation To Victory

Some Would Say I Am A Miracle

My Story_Rayna Piazza_Personal Growth Blogger

My goal in life is to stop the stigma of sexual abuse by telling my story. As a sexual abuse survivor I have learned that the abuse was not my fault. This seemingly obvious truth took me years to fully accept. For so long I felt responsible for not stopping the abuse. Now I know it truly was not my fault and it was certainly not my shame to carry. The shame belongs on each of my abusers. It was out of their pain that they took advantage of me. 

Statistics say that I should be an addict on the streets unable to recover from a childhood of substantial sexual, verbal, and emotional abuse. At least that is what was told to me when I shared my story with one of the counselors I’ve seen over the years. But, Father God has a different story for me. Father God says I’m His, that I was fearfully and wonderfully made, and that He loves me with an everlasting love. Jesus recently told me to watch the giants fall and I’m seeing miracle after miracle! 

Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” So we may boldly say: “The Lord is my helper;
I will not fear. What can man do to me?”

Hebrews 13:5, NKJV

Over the years different people have said to me, “How did you survive that?” And sometimes when I have told others my story of childhood sexual abuse they get more mad at my abusers than me. I have had to tell them to forgive in the areas I already have. I share this to express the level of deep pain that I took to Jesus when I started my emotional healing journey. 

Jesus says that we are created for a purpose in the Kingdom of God. Holy Spirit showed me that I can have any and all of God’s promises; I only have to believe. I read Isaiah 61 so many times and eventually I chose to pursue beauty for ashes. 

Making A Choice

There came a day where I had to make that hard choice. I had to choose whether or not I would believe God’s promises and if I would serve a God who I had assumed had let me down in the worst of ways. Would I serve a God who let me be abused my entire childhood? Would I trust a Father in heaven when my experience with my own father, who was one of my abusers, was everything but trustworthy? How could I?

After years of doing life my own way and failing miserably, I decided to take a chance on God. I didn’t put too much hope into my choice at the time but I had tried everything else and it had not worked, so why not this? Why not challenge Him on everything I had learned about God as a little girl? 

In my pursuit of Him I learned that God was good; then why was my life so bad? I found out that God had rescued His people; then why didn’t He rescue me? And I challenged Him with these questions. 

Father God Is Up For The Challenge

Well, let me tell you this! Father God was up for the challenge. He said, “Bring it on!” in no uncertain terms. So, in true Rayna fashion, I yelled and screamed at him. I cried my eyes out and accused Him of all the horrible things I thought He did. And, His response was unconditional love. 

Jesus began to speak to me. Yes, I hear the voice of God (and you can too!). And, He said, “I love you, Rayna. Why would I hurt you?” Then He said, “Do not judge Me based on man’s sin.” He also said, “I have ordained you as a pioneer to lead your family and your generational line out of the wilderness.”

Talk about some things to ponder! I took the leap…the leap of TRUST. I decided to serve God for all of my days. Jesus has become my best friend and Holy Spirit is always by my side. Father God has not failed me yet!! Insert all the heart emojis!!! I want you to feel this way too. 

Starting Counseling 

My road to Jesus was anything but easy. Initially, I started counseling in my early 20s. This particular counselor did not pick up on my survival skills (which were to appear strong and act like I had it all together) and she told me that I was fine. She said life was hard and I was doing a great job of tackling conflict. But the reality was that I was falling apart on the inside and I had no idea how to access my emotions much less deal with them. 

When you go to counseling you need to get ready to be honest and vulnerable. These were two things I did not do in my early 20s.

I also recommend seeking out a trauma counselor if you’re dealing with sexual abuse or rape. Trauma counselors are trained in looking for unhealthy coping mechanisms and calling them out. They will save you from yourself which is what you need (and definitely what I needed at that time) when you are in a state of trauma. 

Starting Again 

After another decade of heartbreak and stuffing my emotions, I decided to try counseling again. This time my counselor was not letting me off the hook. I was also in my early 30s now and I was so ready to be healed. My incredibly compassionate yet truthful counselor challenged me to identify my thinking, exercise deep forgiveness, and place healthy boundaries in my life. 

These challenges were a shock to my system to say the least. They were also exactly what I needed. My counselor Andrea at Anchor of Hope Counseling helped me in ways I can never repay her for. (Thank you, Andrea. I love you!) She was kind, empathetic, and relentless with the truth of God’s word. 

Uncovering Memories 

Andrea and I took a trip down memory lane and it was more eye-opening than I could have ever imagined. I had blocked SO MUCH of my life. She had me create a timeline of each year of my life starting with my first memory. Each year included 2-3 memories up until my present year of life. You have to try this!! 

My timeline was an amazing tool. Not only did it spark my old memories but the timeline put my life into context. I learned why I did the things I did. I started to see where my triggers and unhealthy behaviors started, and why I had changed, and I now knew all the reasons I had protected myself in the ways I did. We then used my timeline as the guide for my emotional healing

Changing My Life 

As we were trucking along in the process of dealing with the memories uncovered in my timeline, I became adamant about changing my life. I was on a personal growth marathon. I had a dream of having a husband and a family my entire life. However, when I started counseling in my early 30s I could not have been more single. I was so discouraged. 

When I was 26 years old I asked Jesus to pick out my husband because, as I told Him, my picker was broken. Choosing to date the wrong guy over and over always resulted in heartbreak. I thought for sure I would have fallen in love and met the man of my dreams by the age of 30. I mean…I asked Jesus four years ago!!!

Well, at this point I had still not met anyone and I was approaching age 33. So there I sat in my counselor’s office crying about being single and feeling all alone. She gently showed me how I had put up walls around my heart that would never allow anyone in. 

Wait what?! I argued with her saying that all I wanted was to be married and there’s no way that could be true. Then we examined my behavior. 

Uncovering Unhealthy Behaviors 

While my heart wanted to be married my behavior was that of an immature girl scared to get hurt by another man. Where did this come from? Through the timeline, we uncovered that not only did my stepdad sexually abuse me, but my own father did too. I had suppressed the memory of my Dad to survive. My mother had a hand in the abuse as well in the respect that she never supported me and told me not to talk about the abuse.

This realization about my father sexually abusing me was shocking and very hard to accept. I had blocked all of it from my memory because I did not want it to be true. My counselor helped me to accept the truth. She also helped me to accept the truth of additional sexual assaults I had endured. As I got real with myself the memories started to flow. 

Unhealthy Vows

I uncovered that I had placed an unhealthy vow in my life. The vow was, “I will never trust a man.” So, every time I would get close to the guy I was dating my unhealthy vow would rear its ugly head. My subconscious thinking was telling me, “I can’t trust him. No matter what don’t let your guard down. You let your guard down before and you were sexually abused.” Then the action from my subconscious thinking was, “I will never trust a man.” With this script of my subconscious thinking playing in my head on repeat, I would always sabotage my relationship in one way or another. 

My counselor helped me to uncover my unhealthy thinking and convert it to healthy thinking. She showed me how I had made a vow and how it was wreaking havoc on my life. This was life-changing!!! Andrea taught me to think about what I was thinking about. If you haven’t done this I highly recommend it. You can read more about how to uncover your thinking here

I had to let myself know that it was safe to remember. The process became cathartic in that I was getting so much healing. No matter how horrific the memories became I kept going. Jesus was right by my side the entire time and He was exponentially healing my heart in ways I never thought possible. I also accepted the truth that remembering a trauma is never as bad as experiencing the trauma. I reassured myself that the trauma was over and it was safe to remember. 

My Healing Process

I experienced healing primarily through processing my memories, learning God’s promises for my life, activating His promises through prayer, lots and lots of journaling, and then learning to analyze my dreams. I never knew that God still spoke through dreams. It was an incredible realization. I have several posts on dreams

I also got through the hardest parts of my healing process with my sister and a solid network of Christian friends who were speaking truth into my life. We all need a support system. I had prayed and asked for friends and God answered. He will do the same for you! 

One of those friends is Ann. I named my daughter after Ann because we have become family and because of the incredible influence, she has had on my life. Ann spoke the truth to me in love and stood by my side through the worst of my memories. Ann is a woman of God and her faith has sparked my faith. She taught me so many truths about Jesus through scripture. She showed me how to apply God’s promises to my life so I could get set free from the chains of my past. 

Learning Scripture 

Learning scripture opened up my life to an entirely new realm of possibilities. I learned Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 41:10. After scouring the entire chapter of Isaiah 61, I decided I would become an oak of righteousness. I wanted to live my life in abundance and joy, as it says in John 10:10, instead of lack and depression. 

I wrote out these scriptures and several more on index cards and began to quote them over my life each day. This was powerful! My life began to change right before my eyes. 

Where I was weak before, like drinking too much alcohol or getting caught up in gossip, I became strong. No longer did I want to escape my life or talk ugly about someone else’s life. I grew a heart of empathy not only for the pain of others but for myself. I began to be kind to myself. Jesus and I became closer than ever and He has never let me down since. 

Going After My Dreams 

Jesus answered my prayers for a husband and a family. When I was 38 years old I met my husband. He is the man of my dreams and my best friend. We married nine months after we met and I became a stepmom to two of the most wonderful sons I could have ever asked for. My husband and I tried to have a baby together and ended up on a fertility journey of faith for five years. You can read more about that in my fertility posts

Our miracle baby girl arrived during Christmas last year and she is everything we ever dreamed she would be. My life started terribly but after learning to trust Jesus everything is different now. As I learned God’s plan for my life and His promises for me, my perspective changed. 

Encouragement for you

I share my story to help others and to stop the stigma of sexual abuse. It was not my fault that grown men decided to abuse me. And, if it happened to you, it’s not your fault either. When abuse happens it is not the victim’s shame to carry. When I learned that truth my life changed. 

And now I blog about my experience from desperation to victory. I want others to know they can be set free too!!! I also have created several writing therapy tools to help you in your personal growth journey. 

Personal Growth/ Self Help Journals 

I have created personal growth journals available on Amazon as resources for my readers seeking to find emotional healing through journaling. These journals give space for you to focus on your thoughts, feelings, and personal growth opportunities. You can read more about each of them here:

Be sure to also read:

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