My Testimony

Hello! For my first blog post, I’d like to start with a few things about myself before jumping right into my testimony. My name is Mikayla and I am a born again Christian along with my wonderful husband and our amazing son who sings “10,000 Reasons” 24/7 at the top of his lungs. I’m from Eastern North Carolina where snow was rarely how we spent our winters (cue my love for all things winter). I enjoy crocheting, knitting, singing and writing my own music. (Even if I’m a little off key. “Worship: where the Lord doesn’t care about the quality of our voice, but the condition of our hearts” – Chris Tomlin).

Fleet Week NY

I’d like to clarify that I was not truly born again until I held my newborn son for the first time. It was solely my responsibility to care for, cherish, protect and raise this precious, delicate, wonderful creation. Through all the overwhelming emotions, I thought to myself, how could anyone harm a child? For the last seven years, I thought I was free from my past. For those of you who know or have heard of Joyce Meyer and her testimony, mine is very similar. From as early as I can remember until I was sixteen years old, I was sexually abused by my biological father. I didn’t know what love was. I have memories as early as three that try to haunt me today. (I rebuke it!) I was raised in a “Christian” home where my mother claimed to be Christian and my father was Catholic. Though, I never fully understood Christianity or Jesus until I was eighteen when I met my husband’s family. There, I heard the phrase “born again” for the first time. I thought they were all religious fanatics.

When my sister and I were about thirteen years old (we’re twins), my mother asked to speak with us alone for a few minutes in the driveway. She asked if our father had ever touched us inappropriately. I was embarrassed and ashamed that my mother had to ask something like that. For thirteen years, she didn’t know where her husband was at night when he wasn’t sleeping with her? Please. My sister stayed with her and told her everything. Unfortunately, my mother stayed with the man she now KNEW was abusing her children. She stayed with him for three more years. I know there are people who are easily frustrated with victims of abuse: Why didn’t you tell anyone? Nobody can do anything if you don’t speak up! As a child, you want to please your parents. You want them to be proud of you, to love you, support you. You want to trust your parents. You want to love them, learn from them, create memories with them. As a child and former victim of abuse, I was confused and conflicted. I knew it was wrong what he was doing. But I also wanted to love my father the way a little girl should love her daddy. I wanted to trust he was a good man, even behind closed doors. I wanted to remember the good things about a bad man.

When you’re being raised a Christian but live in an abusive environment, you begin to see where the two lifestyles clash. You start to wonder, how could God let anything like this happen? Or where is God to save me from all of these evil, unmentionable things? Why me, Lord? I mentioned earlier that I wasn’t truly born again until I held my son for the first time. From 13-16 years old, I was a lukewarm Christian. I couldn’t believe a loving, just, and merciful God would allow me, Christian, to be abused for YEARS. Even though I didn’t take Christianity seriously, I questioned God. I never read my Bible. But I was still a good person because at least I went to church every Sunday, right? Here’s what the Bible says about being lukewarm: “I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot, I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:15-16). That didn’t hit me until I was much older than thirteen.

For the first time in my life, I was able to go on a mission’s trip to Brazil with my younger brother when I was sixteen. We were there for about two weeks. Two weeks of freedom from my nightmare of a life. One of the most profound experiences of my life took place in the last few days of our trip. We all received a pen and paper and were instructed to write down whatever we wanted to tell the Lord. Whatever was on our hearts. Whatever we needed help with. When we were finished, we were paired with someone in the group and had to share what we wrote. Luckily, my partner could hardly understand English but I still choked up when I got to the worst part of my paper. She knew she had to get my youth leader and from there, I finally told someone what was happening. For the first time, someone not only saw the signs but wanted to listen. On our way home, I thought I was a changed woman but I knew the feeling wouldn’t last if I went back to my home.

When we finally landed and made it to the church, I was informed that my sister attempted suicide and was sent to a mental hospital. My father killed himself because she told the hospital staff what was really going on. At sixteen, my life was completely turned around. My twin sister almost took her own life and my biological father was no longer alive. Again, I found myself confused and conflicted. The only “father figure” I knew was gone. My closest relative was in a mental hospital and wanted to end her life. I felt alone. I was alone.

We had our son in (Bethlehem, HA!) Pennsylvania. My husband surprised me and was able to come home for the birth. He was in the military and was on deployment at the time but the Lord allowed him to be home with me during the 25 hour labor and birth of our son. There were so many emotions that day. I wanted to cry every minute, knowing my husband would soon be leaving to go back on his deployment, but I tried so hard to enjoy the first day of this new life.

The next two years, I knew I was born again. There was something about the church we attended, the anointed pastor, and my new family. Even though I knew I was different and that I was born again, I felt distanced from the Lord. I couldn’t figure it out. I started going to church every Sunday and Wednesday, I only listened to worship music, I even studied my Bible frequently and started reading devotionals. It was almost like I wasn’t fully born again. I wasn’t fully His. I started cleaning my husband’s grandmother’s house twice a week. She’s a fun, quirky old lady and always has a lot to say about being born again. Every time I went over, she had this note plastered in a different location: “Unforgiveness is unforgivable.” A few weeks later, I had a dream about my father:

I was walking on the beach with Jared and Jacob in the distance. You could hardly hear their laughter over the ocean’s waves and the summer wind. There was a cool breeze and I felt the mist of the sea spray lightly on my face. My father appeared alongside me. He started talking about my family and how proud he was of me. He didn’t say it, but I could see it all over his face. The guilt…regret…knowing if he were alive today he would be missing out on everything in my life. I gave him a hug and said, “I forgive you.” As tears were forming in his eyes, I knew I was finally free from the abuse. 

It finally dawned on me. For the last seven years, I had been bottling up a lot of hate and anger from my past. Since my father committed suicide, he never apologized for anything he had done. He never acknowledged that what he did was wrong. There was no closure. At this point in my life, I can’t hide the truth behind the few things he did right. Sure, he provided for his family…but he ruined me. He used me in ways no father should use their daughter. He manipulated his children for sexual favors. He made us feel guilty if we told him “no.” And so on… But that wasn’t the problem. The problem was me. Something I wasn’t doing. I never fully committed to the Lord. There are many verses in the Bible that say to “commit” to the Lord, “trust” in the Lord, “obey” the Lord, et cetera. All of which I did NOT do. A few verses that came to mind as I was being mended into who I am today:

“He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:29-31)

“For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others of their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” (Matthew 6:14-15).

While my father’s sin was great, His love was greater.

I get this a lot from non-Christians: So where was your God in all of this? They don’t understand that He was there through it all. And when they hear “He was there through it all,” they think PSSSHHH. What kind of God sits and watches you get raped or molested as a child? He heard my prayers as a young child and He hears my prayers now. At a very young age, I wanted to end my life. I wanted to die at ten years old when my family forgot me on my own birthday. At seven years old, I carved “I hate Mikayla” in our window sill and framed my sister. I hated myself. I was ashamed of myself. At five years old, I was raped for the first time. I stayed up all night thinking what is this? Do all the kids do this? Even as a child, I heard that “still, small voice” always comforting me. I know what you’re thinking: that’s your conscience. Yes, everybody has it. But where does that knowledge come from? How do humans know right from wrong? Was it my “conscience” telling me comforting verses from the Bible when I was only five years old, convincing me not to take my own life? The Lord knew what He was doing. My childhood was not His will, but so far, He has taken the evil that was done to me and turned it into something good. I am now a wife to my amazing husband. I married into a wonderful family whose faith has inspired me tremendously. And now I’m a mother to the most amazing young boy who makes me strive to be a better person every single day.

I look at women like Joyce and think: Wow. God is going to use me like that one day. No, I don’t think I’ll have my own mega-ministry, or speak in front of millions of people. But one day, I’ll be sharing my testimony with the courage and strength she received from the Lord. But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).

Currently, my favorite verse is “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” (Luke 1:45). The Lord promised me a kind husband, a new Christ-centered family, and my wonderful son. If you’ve made it through my testimony, I pray the Lord uses it to encourage you to trust in Him with all your heart. He has renewed me in His Spirit and through those trials, strengthened me and gave me the courage to share my testimony publicly. One day, I’ll be able to stand before a crowd (no, not millions) and tell it like it is the way Joyce does.

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My Interview with Modern Witnesses

Today, Mikayla takes us on an intimate journey to a trip that changed her life and was the first step in her powerful and supernatural journey to forgiveness, and healing after abuse.

Mikayla H.

Inspiring biblical passage of the moment: A few come to mind as there are way too many to choose from but my blog is named after this one:

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” Luke 1:45.

I’m truly blessed by His love and mercy to be able to share my testimony with the world.

Spiritual growth focus at the moment: I’m learning to trust in the Lord and patiently waiting for His perfect timing (in everything). We’ve been looking for a house for our little family and every time we put an offer in, I’d get my hopes up just to find out it wasn’t accepted (probably for reasons the Lord will only know!). The Lord has been teaching me a lot about patience and what it really means. It’s defined as being able to accept or tolerate delays, problems, or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious.

Profession: I am currently a homemaker and stay home with our wonderful two year old. Every morning he asks to dance, and we’ll have Pandora on the Worship station. His favorite song is 10,000 Reasons.

A one sentence bio of yourself: I’m a blessed wife, mom, sister and friend.

When did you first encounter God and how did you encounter Him? My first, true encounter with God was during my first missions trip to Brazil, when I was 16 years old. My twin sister and I were sexually abused by our biological father, and I was finally able to “escape” the abuse by convincing my mother to let me go with my younger brother. It was overwhelming. We were instructed to write down whatever we wanted to tell the Lord; our worries, expectations, things we felt were holding us back, prayers, etc. My partner only spoke Portuguese so there was a language barrier. I still tried to share my darkest secret but couldn’t. After regrouping, I finally shared with my youth leader. After that, we all nailed those papers to a cross and marched to a field where the cross was burned. Every piece of paper on that cross burned, and it represented Jesus carrying the weight of all our sins, doubts, worries… all being burned at the cross. Truly amazing. It was the very first step in my healing.

“Every piece of paper on that cross burned, and it represented Jesus carrying the weight of all our sins, doubts, worries… all being burned at the cross.”

What has helped you grow spiritually in this season? My husband and his family have been the backbone of my own faith. I always say, “you know you married into the right family when they bring you closer to Christ.” I’ve watched my new brothers and sisters in-love (we don’t like in-law) grow spiritually and even my new mother and father. It really is an answer to prayer to get to have and share spiritual talks with someone and having the conversation flow gracefully to and from both ends.

“My husband and his family have been the backbone of my own faith.”

Just read/currently reading (and what has it taught you?): I’m currently reading A Heart Like His, a 3-year bible study plan, and Redeeming Love. (If you know me, you know I’m quite possibly the slowest reader in the world). Redeeming Love is a very powerful story based off the book of Hosea. The 3-year bible study is from the 40s (I think) and has very deep, intriguing questions. A Heart Like His has to be my favorite. It shows the love David had for the Lord and the love the Lord had for David. It encourages me to be more like David, to constantly seek God in everything.

Top three essentials: My top three essentials are my Bible (or Bible app), my blog post because I’ve published my official testimony there and recently started writing more, and makeup. I love doing my makeup and having my makeup done. It’s the few moments every day I get (almost) completely to myself to feel pampered after caring for my little one.

How did God speak to you recently? It’s not the most recent but it was a dream I had back in February of this year:

I was walking on the beach with Jared and Jacob in the distance. You could hardly hear their laughter over the ocean’s waves and the summer wind. There was a cool breeze and I felt the mist of the sea spray lightly on my face. My father appeared alongside me. He started talking about my family and how proud he was of me. He didn’t say it, but I could see it all over his face. The guilt…regret…knowing if he were alive today he would be missing out on everything in my life. I gave him a hug and said, “I forgive you.” As tears were forming in his eyes, I knew I was finally free from the abuse.

I mentioned earlier that I was sexually abused until I was 16 years old. The Lord was letting me know through this dream and my part-time job as a “visiting angel” that I was missing out on a true relationship with Him because I couldn’t forgive my father for the things he had done. The Lord said in Matthew 6:14-15 to forgive others just as your Father forgives you. If you don’t forgive, your Father will not forgive you. In Ephesians 4:31-32, we’re told to let go of all bitterness, rage and anger, etc. Because of what my father did, I bottled up a lot of anger that was damaging to not only my faith, but my marriage and new relationships.

“If you don’t forgive, your Father will not forgive you.”

Hobby: I have many hobbies and love learning new things. I play the piano, write music, crochet, knit, sew, and drink multiple cups of coffee to get me through the days. I love going on walks with my little guy and showing him the beautiful works of the greatest Artist.

“I love going on walks with my little guy and showing him the beautiful works of the greatest Artist.”

Top three practical tips for staying spiritually strong: 1) Prayer. Pray without ceasing. 2) Study. Study the Word. Know the Word. 3) Surround yourself with like-minded people who practice what they preach. I’ve grown a lot and I’d hate to see myself fall back to where I was weeks, months or years ago.

Favorite person in scripture? Jesus is such an easy answer because of the ultimate sacrifice He made. I’m going with the Shunammite woman. It is well.

What do you want people to learn about God when they look at you? I want people to learn who He is. I want people to see the good God has brought into my life through the evils of this world.

Favorite season? Fall and winter are my favorite seasons. Fall (very new meme making its way around social media) – teaches us how lovely it is to let things go. Winter – I’m from the good ole south where snow rarely made an appearance.

Favorite holiday? My favorite holiday is Christmas. It’s the most wonderful time of the year with a blanket of white and a beautiful time to celebrate our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, all while spending time with loved ones.

A dream you have? I hope to reach other young women with my testimony to show them there is hope in Jesus. There is healing.

“There is healing.”

A special tradition you and your family engage in or keep: My husband and I haven’t started any traditions of our own but he has a large Italian family so we all go to mom and dad’s house every holiday, try to go over after church every Sunday. Just spend time together.

Question you will ask when you get to heaven? I have so many questions… is this real?! (Obviously, but I’m at a loss for words).

Thing you want to raise awareness about: Sexual, physical and mental abuse within families. It is way more common now than ever, or just that we know of. You’re reading from a former victim, right now.

What do you usually do before 9 a.m.? Before 9 a.m. I’m usually up before my husband, preparing his clothes for work, making his lunch and getting his coffee nice and hot for his long commute. After he leaves, I’m all eyes and ears for our little man!

What is on your nightstand? My night table has a small, one-drawer cabinet that is filled with my secret stash of candies (which Jacob has found and pulled out the good pieces). A lamp and a baby monitor. It’s also a small cabinet where I store my Bible and study books, notebooks, pens, etc.

Define Christianity in a sentence: Christianity is overcoming the flesh by turning from our worldly, sinful ways and turning into God’s open, loving arms.

For more Mikayla:

Blog: https://blessedisshe2015.wordpress.com/

IG: @mikaylamhamlet

Until next time, keep witnessing!

XOXO

You can find more of her amazing interviews here:

https://modernwitnesses.com

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