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Welcome to Belovedgems, a blog about building a bridge between faith and mental health. The author rooted in her faith , her old-soul leads her into adventures to seek spreading hope into the world through a couple of written words.

Filthy Rags

By: Shaniqua Brown

I was raised in a Christian home. I’d like to say I had a great balance between church life and just enjoying my childhood. I had my share of moments of maturity as well as rebellion. At an early age, I endured acts of molestation by both male and female relatives. I was also exposed to pornography around the same time; resulting in my perverted view of the world by the time I was a pre-teen. Because I kept those experiences hidden for so long, I found myself in a very dark place when I went off to college. I surely didn’t know that it would all catch up to me someday. Thankfully, there was a light at the end of that tunnel. God planted the right people in my life to deter me from the path I was headed down and helped me turn my eyes back toward Christ. In this post, I want to share with you a specific part of my story that changed my life forever.

When I entered college, I of course immediately found a church to attend, as was my custom. However, I lived as though I was already ‘saved enough’ since I’d been in church all of my life. But after years of having never addressing my exposure to pornography and molestation when I was a child, I found myself exploring the evils of this world with the newfound freedom I’d gained. I became addicted to pornography and masturbation. I would frequent adult stores that were far away from the town I lived in. It was such an overwhelming stronghold and, at the time, I did not know why or how it came to be. One thing I do know now is that I was not the only person in my family to struggle with those things. Unfortunately, since no one ever talked about it, I never heard much teaching about it in church, and I was too afraid to just ask someone for fear I’d be in trouble, this sin took root and grew inside of me.

One evening, some young men approached me on campus and invited me to a house party. It was my first semester and I was flattered that some college boys wanted me at their party. I accepted the invitation, had them pick me up from my dorm, and off to the party I went. After being there for over an hour, it dawned on me that I was the only female there. They guys insisted there would be more women coming, so they convinced me to start a game with them and the other women would join in when they arrived. To my surprise, no other women showed. I’d been set up, but I didn’t know that yet.

After a few rounds of a board game, I had also had a few drinks. I began to feel dizzy and lightheaded. Much after that point is a blur, but I do remember at some point being on my back, with nothing but my undergarments on, and a bunch of men crowding over me. When I overheard one of the guys say they wanted to “run a train” on me, I became scared. I was alert enough to know what a train was and I did not want that to happen to me. (Disclaimer: Running a train is when multiple men have sex with one woman, or visa versa.) Struggling to get off of the floor, I begged them to take me home. The only person willing to do so was the guy who drove me to the place initially, and he was as drunk as I believe I was. I vaguely remember us swerving in the wrong lane, but somehow we made it to my dorm. I saw those same guys around campus quite often during my undergraduate career. I was so afraid they would tell people about that night. I wondered if they had taken pictures and would make me out to be promiscuous. That night could have gone so many different ways, but I’m glad it didn’t.

It was hard to look myself in the mirror. I did not want to believe that night actually happened, but it did. I felt like a whore. I felt dirty. I felt like God surely would not want anything to do with me now. I couldn’t even open my mouth to talk to God for some time, because I truly felt so unworthy to even say His name. I wanted so much to just repent and move forward, but the guilt and shame that I felt was overwhelming, especially with me not opening up to anyone about it. I secretly hated myself for a very, very long time.

We all have something in our lives, whether past or present, that we feel shameful about. I went years before I spoke to anyone about what happened to me as a child and what I had gotten myself into as a young adult. I didn’t want to cause tension within my family. I never wanted anyone to look at me with contempt. Silence appeared to be the best solution all the way around. What silence really did was give Satan the upper hand. When we choose to take things to our grave, withhold information, lie, and keep secrets, we allow Satan to manipulate us. We start to believe that what someone doesn’t know won’t hurt him or her, which is a lie. Truthfully, what we choose not to share can actually do more harm than good, to ourselves and to others. A vital step in pointing someone to Christ could be hearing how you overcame the struggles in your life. When you know what the problem is, you know what to specifically pray for and against. Generational curses carry on for so long mainly because no one talks, thus no one takes action. That’s exactly what Satan wants.

The point where I was finally able to pour my heart out to God and repent was when He sent someone into my life that could relate to my past. After that person listened to me and shared their testimony, I went straight to the Word. God led me to the story of the man with leprosy. In that time, leprosy was a repulsive disease that everyone despised. No one would lay a fingernail on you. This man, knowing the state of his condition, knew Jesus could heal him. Without a second thought, “Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him (Matthew 8:3)” and the man was healed. When I read that story, even after the many times I’d heard it, I was humbled. God let me know that even if no one ever looked at me the same way after knowing my past, He still would, because He created me in His image (Genesis 1:27). When I accepted God’s forgiveness, I also accepted His view of me and began to see myself the way He sees me.

Sometimes we don’t know why we do the things we do. That’s when we go to God and ask Him to show us where the root is. My root was planted when I was only nine and it took over ten years for me to begin to face it. For so long, I was disgusted with my past and with the choices I made as a result. That’s how sin can make us feel: like a useless, filthy rag. I didn’t believe God saw good in me anymore, that I could never be Holy, that it was too late for a fresh start, that He despised me. Fortunately, God let me know through His word that He does not view me as some useless rag. Instead, God views me as one of His many imperfect children in desperate need of His unfailing love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness.

There are so many of us with secrets that we are too afraid or ashamed to share. While we think we are just holding on to a secret, we don’t realize the secret is also holding on to us. The longer we live with it, the more of a stronghold it becomes in our lives, and even in the lives of those connected to us, which can cause generational curses. We never know just what God can do with the mess in our lives, or whom our testimonies can save and bring to Christ, so let’s break the silence.



 Shaniqua was born and raised in Texas and is currently residing in Houston with her husband.  Shaniqua began writing at a young age without knowing God would use this talent in ministry.  Shaniqua is on a mission to encourage women and men to Speak Up & Out.  She empowers them to Speak out on those things that have help them captive and allow God to turn it into their ministry. Shaniqua has her own blog over at Shaniqua Brown(dot)com.



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