There are two caveats that I would like to make. The first is that Korie chose to reconcile with someone who abused her and this has been a positive experience for her. However, it may not be for everybody and you should definitely talk to your counselor before doing such things. Second, Korie’s story shows how the church should function and how it can be a place that can help the mentally ill and bring about restoration. Here’s her story.
“Love finds a need and meets it.” As I toggled with this phrase in my mind from a recent church service I attended, I felt a message that God wanted me to share. My testimony is similar to most. I have loved, I have lost, I have felt completely hopeless, and God has delivered me every step of the way. For most of my life, I have struggled with depression. In my worst, most fearful moments I have contemplated suicide. At the time, no one knew how deeply I was struggling or even knew how depressed I was. Not many understood the severity of my home situation. Not many understood the abuse that I was suffering. And the only reason I am still here is because of my blessed Redeemer.
Coming into my freshman year of college, both my depression and the severity of abuse had reached an all time high. Luckily, God had put on my heart to seek a campus ministry organization, and I found Chi Alpha. Within the first few weeks of service, bible studies, and simply getting to know the community I was becoming a part of, I felt very untrusting towards this community. This makes me laugh now, but then I was fearful to become so close to more people that may hurt me later on. In the middle of the first semester, they convinced me to attend a retreat. By now, I was a member of a girls core group. At this retreat, was when my true walk with Christ commenced.
I began opening up to the other girls of my core group and they were there to cry with me and lay hands on me to pray. To me, that is the definition of true community. “Love finds a need and meets it.” These girls constantly poured into my life, and I grew in my spiritual walk with Christ tremendously. Of course I had set backs with my own mental health. I was still depressed and even began having PTSD-like symptoms (as my therapist would describe). These girls, who I consider some of my life-long friends, were there with me every step of the way. They encouraged and motivated me, and most importantly, loved me when I didn’t love myself. They showed me God’s compassion. John 15: 16-17 says “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another.” As I was working through my depression among other mental health matters, I felt God calling me to be a light in my previous abuser’s life. My immediate reaction was, as to be expected, “they do not deserve it.” Here is where I was wrong. When God sent his Son to die on the cross for our sins, he died for everyone’s sins. Jesus humbled Himself to save a broken people. My abuser was broken, and I had the opportunity to show him God’s compassion.
My therapist encouraged me to really focus of myself and even stay away from my abuser. For months, I contemplated not returning home for the summer in order to stay away from them. However, God was showing me how I could overcome this and use my story to further drive my passion and help others. He revealed another passage of scripture to me around this time which was Matthew 7:3. “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”. In my worldly views, I definitely see that what my abuser has done to me is terrible, to the point of traumatizing. Thus my first reaction to this message was a huge, singular “HA.” Yet I came to the realization that Jesus died for ALL sin. To argue that someone is worse than I, is implicitly arguing that Jesus’ death was not enough to cover this person. Jesus recognizes that we are all broken sinners, yet he STILL chose to die for us. There is nothing more powerful than this. God was telling me that I had the opportunity to show the Gospel to my abuser, and I finally saw the light in such a dark situation.
I continued to struggle many times and found myself forgetting God’s will in my life. God gave me hope and life in such a dark situation, and he provided me with a community that was there to love me. How could I keep this kind of love to myself? In John 15: 17, God commands us to “love one another” because He first loved us. It is selfish to keep this precious faith to ourselves. God put the opportunity right in front of me, and it was still one of the hardest concepts I have ever had to grasp. However, Jesus found our needs, and met them by giving us eternal life and salvation. As a follower of Christ, I felt that I needed to show love and kindness to someone that had never shown me in return. As my story continues to develop, I want to emphasize that there is immense power in prayer. God has delivered me from depression, and I finally feel happy and joyful because I have found my identity in Christ, not the abuse or depression I have suffered.