The morning of November 12, 2013 is one that I used to try and block a thousand times over from my mind. Little did I know then that that day was the day my heart would be lit again and my soul would finally be alive.  I would begin to walk out of the darkness that I had unknowingly been in for thirteen years and I would finally walk into the light.

When I was sixteen years old, my innocence was sexually taken from me against my will, a trauma that was gripping my soul, holding me so tightly that I could hardly breathe at times. In college, the panic attacks began to rule my life. My soul was screaming for me to listen, but I didn’t. I trained myself to turn off everything around me and inside of me; I turned off the light in my heart so I would never have to feel any kind of emotional pain again. I lived in a “why me” state of mind and felt like I was trapped like there was no other way of living except to ignore it and have a good time and that’s just what I did.

My college days in Boston were carefree, and I was having the time of my life with my friends. The darkness in my heart was stuffed deep inside, ignoring it as I carried on going to school, working, interning, growing independent and exploring the wonderful city of Boston. Every now and then something would appear like an advertisement on the subway to “End Sexual Violence” or I heard of a group that had formed at college to support “date rape victims.” By then, I had trained my mind to completely overlook it and continue on.

How was God supposed to shine his almighty light back into my closed up heart that I had successfully wrapped a steel wall around?  I refused to let any emotion or person get my attention. The details of that horrible night extended beyond what my rapist did, the aftermath, the chaos at home and the endless self -punishment I gave myself began to unravel out of control. I punished myself and abused myself without consciously acknowledging what I was doing. The drinking, the drugs, the constant partying all kept me in my own world, hiding from the truth. To me at the time, I was just “living the college life.” The path I was on was leading me to nowhere, yet I did not realize there was another way to go until May 5, 2005 when I met my husband Jason.

Living in a large city and attending school there, I had met dozens of men. However, none of them interested me in the least, not even their personality or their good looks. None of them were able to connect to me with such a divine force as Jason did and it was impossible to even look away. The first time I looked into his eyes, our souls blended together and it was as if, we were reunited again. In fact, as my journey with Jason has blossomed these last eleven years together, I knew we are two souls that were always together on this physical plane. We are truly one soul in two bodies.

Our relationship took off as if we had been together for years already. We were inseparable and the love, oh the love that we felt was so powerful and so right. It was the first time my heart was given that kind of awakening. Jason fought hard to break open my closed heart, but the darkness was too deep. I found myself wanting to run after ten months and I almost did a few times.  Then one day we were both staring down at a positive pregnancy test, just ten months into our relationship.

Pregnant? At twenty-one years old, living a college life, I was certainly not prepared for that.  I was a complete mess but God had been knocking on my door since I was sixteen.  Then God sent Jason and even the love between us was met by a guarded heart. We decided to have this baby together.

Nine months later, the powerful soul of my first child, Lillian, was sent by God and my heart broke open when she was born.  Her birth grounded me as solidly as the earth grounds the plants. This tiny infant caused me to pause, to breathe, and to calm my restless mind and heart.   She literally stopped me in my tracks. She stabilized my mind and heart enough to start seeing more clearly, yet the healing had only just begun. October 1, 2006 my first born came into this world, beautiful and pink. That was the first time my feet began to anchor back down to earth and I dared to feel again.  I loved her, but I still didn’t feel love for myself