September 2, 2013

I AM A WARRIOR FOR CHRIST (Here's my story)

Hey there, my name's Amber Mauldin. I'm a Christian, wife, and mother to the most amazing 2 children EVER. I get the pleasure of staying home to raise my five-year-old and three-year-old and when I'm not wiping noses and playing make-believe, I'm in front of my laptop typing away. I wrote a memoir and am on the road to publication. I am a public speaker and eager to share my testimony in front of any group, small or large. If you're interested in having me speak at your next function (church, school, women's group, conference) please contact me.



Here's my story:

The story I’m going to share will be hard to read, but like so many stories in The Bible, it’s through my suffering God grew me closer to Him.

So here it goes....

When I was fifteen-years-old I was kidnapped, beaten, raped, and then tossed out on the side of the road. The last thing my attacker said to me was, "If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you."

The moment he let me go, I ran to the nearest house and told them to call 911.

A woman answered the door. She called the police, and shortly after that, I was taken to the police station. They put me in a shoebox of a room and interrogated me like a criminal. After hours of repeating the same, horrible story, I was taken to the hospital.

As if my body hadn’t been violated enough in one day, I was then prodded like a lab rat. The nurse treated me like I was contagious, like if she got too close, or looked too hard, she might catch my sorrow. She looked at me but didn’t see me.

By the time I got home, there was nothing left of me. My spirit was shattered.

Although I hadn’t been living like one, I was a Christian. Like any broken spirited Christian, I prayed. I laid the shattered pieces of my soul before God and cried out to Him. I didn’t know why He let this happen. I believed there was a reason and I knew I was supposed to trust that. I knew it was supposed to be enough, but it wasn't. I asked God to show me why He allowed that to happen to me. I needed to know why.

The next two days were complete torture.

I was lost inside my head. I didn’t know how to get back. It was like I was sealed up in a time capsule. The world still spun. The sun rose and set. People went on with life around me as if nothing happened. But I was frozen in this shell of a person, locked in my grief, forever trapped in a car with a monster, unable to escape my memories.

On the third day, my detective came to see me. He showed me six pictures—faces of men. He asked me if any of them was the man who attacked me.

Praise God, my rapist was one of the pictures. They had him in custody, but what next?

The detective assured me that man would remain behind bars until the trial. I was told a state appointed lawyer would contact me soon, and then he left.

And you know, there was some relief, knowing my rapist was behind bars, but it wasn’t what I hoped I would feel. Knowing he was locked away helped with the fear, but it didn’t touch all the other emotions. His arrest didn’t fix me. My wounds were too deep.

I met with my lawyer within a few weeks. We went through the details of my attack so she could prepare a case against my rapist.

She told me I was his third victim. She didn’t say much about it, because she was still sorting through the details and evidence of each case. She just told me he raped two women just a few weeks before me. She said she’d be back in touch when she needed me, and that was that.

Once again, I was left with this mess of feelings. I did my best to process my emotions, but it didn’t work. Anyone within a ten foot radius of me was subject to my wrath, which meant they were likely to get punched, kicked, or cussed out at any given moment. I was a field of landmines. Press any one of my buttons and I would explode.

I got in fights at school. I got in neighborhood fights. I just needed to hit something, all the time.

My mom, like any mother should, took my butt to church. I hadn't been since my rape and the last thing I wanted was to be around more people.

It was a Wednesday night which meant youth group.

After it was over, my youth pastor asked to speak to me alone. I really didn’t want to talk to him, but out of all the adults in my life, he was the only one I actually liked. I always respected him.

It was immediately obvious he’d been told about my situation, so I wasn’t surprised when he asked me how I was dealing with the aftermath.

Since I respected him, I didn't try to lie. I told him I was a complete mess. I hated everyone around me for being happy when I was so miserable. I didn’t even know how to have a basic conversation with the people in my life because none of them understood what I was going through. I hated all of my friends for being so shallow. And I felt like God just didn’t care. God gave me a load that was just too heavy for me to carry. I knew somewhere in The Bible it said He would never give us more than we could take. But I felt like that was a lie because this was more than I could take.

My youth pastor sat and listened quietly. When I was done unloading he told me the smartest thing I’ve ever heard a person say. He said, “I wish I knew what to say to you. But I don’t. All I can tell you is, the answers you need in your life are in this book.” And he put his hand on his Bible.

Now you can imagine there was some eye rolling on my part. Like most teenagers, I thought, what on earth would some ancient book have to do with my situation?

I’m guessing he could tell I was hesitant because he asked me for a favor. He asked me to read just one book of The Bible. He said not to worry about the rest of The Bible just yet. All he wanted me to do was read the book of JOB, then he wanted to discuss it with me next week.

So fine, whatever. I had no idea what that book was about, but I agreed to read it just to get him off my back.

Now, for those of you who know what the book of JOB is about, you’re probably putting two and two together, but for those who might not know, I’ll break it down for you.

One day Satan goes to Heaven.

JOB 1:7 And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord and said, from going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down it.

Basically, he bragged about all the wickedness he did on earth.

JOB 1:8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil?

But Satan tells God, of course Job is faithful. You’ve given him a perfect life.

JOB 2:6 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hands; but save his life.

Job’s crops, all his masses of livestock, and even his children all die in a domino effect of tragedies, one after the other. Satan even covered Job in boils. Job’s wife told him to just curse God and die already.

JOB 2:10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

He longed for the past, and even prayed for death. He was confused and broken, and he wanted God to take him away from this world and all his suffering. But he never turned his back on God. And he refused to curse God. Job continued to love and praise God even in his grief. And at the end, God blessed Job twice as much as Job’s previous days.

I related to Job’s deep suffering, but I didn’t relate to his faith. He handled his pain with grace and honor; I hadn’t. It was like someone punched me in the gut. It was clear to me I needed to have faith like Job, but I just didn’t know how. It didn’t make sense to me why God allowed suffering like that.

I met with my youth pastor the following Wednesday and we talked about Job. One of my questions was, “Why would God allow that to happen to Job just to prove Satan wrong? Didn’t God love Job more than Satan?”

My youth pastor said, “God is omniscient. God is not affected by time. He knows everything, beginning and end.” He paused to think. “What if, in those moments of Job’s suffering, God was thinking of you? What if God knew one day you would need to read Job’s story? Job knew there was a purpose in it all. He knew he was a part of a bigger picture and he trusted God. What if you are a part of that same picture?”

I left that evening with my brain on fire. It was like trying to solve calculus. I couldn’t fully grasp what he said, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The God of Job was the same God watching me right then. God knew way back then what would happen to me thousands of years later???

Every time doubt crept in—Why would God care about me? I’m nobody? I’d hear Jason’s voice in my head, “But What if?”

What if?

I wanted to know more.

My Christian life was one-sided up until that point. I prayed when something was on my mind. God knew all about me and my problems, but I didn’t know Him. For the first time, I wanted to know Him—I mean really know Him in a one on one basis. I wanted to trust Him the way Job did.

I dove into The Bible. It became the food my soul had been starving for. I began to need the word of God in my life the way I needed oxygen. It was the only thing in this world that made sense to me.

It’s funny because before that, the world made sense and The Bible was this ancient, foreign thing that wasn’t relatable to my life. But after my rape the world became so confusing. My friends complained over clothes and boys. Those things were the furthest from my mind. The outside world was chaos. The Bible was the only thing that steadied me. It became my solid ground. It was my rock, but more than that, it was my shield. It was my safe house.

I needed to sit at Jesus’ feet daily. My soul longed for Him. I didn’t care what went on around me, I just needed to dwell with Him and listen.

I no longer cared if He fixed my problems. I just needed Him to fix me.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 TIMOTHY 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use and prepared unto every good work.

Without even realizing it, I began to heal. I trusted God because I needed to, because the alternative for me was death. I simply could not do any of it, alone, anymore.

And let me tell you, there is something so beautiful about being perfectly broken and rebuilt by God.

I met with my lawyer again. She filled me in on more of the details of my case. She told me she was very confident—because I reported it right away and went to the hospital, my case looked pretty solid. And she was counting on it, because she didn’t have as strong of a case for the other two victims.

He raped the three of us within weeks of each other. With each crime he grew more violent and more daring.

The first rape was a date rape. The second rape, he lured a woman out of a night club. Both of the women waited days to report it because they were so traumatized. By the time they did report it, they had no physical evidence. By the time he got to me, he’d escalated to kidnapping.

Since my case was the strongest, she wanted me to go to court first. She needed me to take the stand and tell a jury what he did to me. She needed me to fight for all three of us because she wasn’t sure if she would get justice for the other two women.

I left her office that day with my mind blown again. It was like God Himself came down from Heaven and smacked me upside my head. I finally understood. I was a part of a bigger picture. I was so wrapped up in myself, my grief, my pain. I never thought those other women might need my help. It was as if God whispered in my ear, “You asked me to show you why, and now you see; It’s because IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU!”

Please understand, I could never compare what I went through to what Jesus Christ went through, but as a Christian whose goal is to be like Christ, and as a person who is filled with the Holy Spirit, in that moment, I understood what it meant to take up the cross—I understood what it meant to suffer for someone else.

I took the stand and testified against my rapist a year after his crimes.

It was terrifying, but I knew somehow, someway, no matter what the verdict was, I would make it. I would be okay. I had no idea what God had in store. All I knew was I trusted Him.

God chose me to fight that particular battle and so I walked into that courtroom, armed with The Word of God in my heart and the Holy Spirit empowering me.

The man who kidnapped and raped me was found guilty on every charge and was sentenced by a jury to SIXTY-SIX years in prison.

It just so happens there are EXACTLY 66 books in the Bible. I don’t believe that’s a coincidence. God does everything on purpose.

I wasn’t a victim forgotten by God. I was a warrior chosen by God.

EPHESIANS 6:13-17 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;

15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;

16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, where-with ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

We’ve all been chosen to fight battles. God hand selects each and every one of us for a purpose.

All of us suffer and will suffer. The question is: Are you a victim or a warrior? Are you prepared to battle? Have you put on the armour of God? Or are you still trying to fight on your own?

When you come to the place where you realize YOUR LIFE isn’t about YOU, then your life has purpose.

It’s all about Him. All of it. Even your suffering. He’s trying to grow you, teach you, and rebuild you for a bigger purpose. He hasn’t forgotten you and He hasn’t abandoned you. He’s training you for battle. But you’ve got to suit up if you’re gonna make it in this life.

You don’t suffer just because—you suffer FOR the cause.

When you realize all these things, you suffer with purpose.

I’m not saying it won’t still hurt. Things will happen that will break your heart. It’s okay to feel those things. It doesn’t make you weak—it makes you human. Go there, scream, yell, cry. Allow yourself to be broken. Cry out to God and lay your shattered spirit at His feet, then allow Him to rebuild you in His image. Don’t get lost in your suffering. God gave you a road map to show you the way, but you’ve got to open The Bible and read it.

I still ask God questions, but it’s not the same questions.

I’ve stopped asking "why me, God?" when things don’t go my way. I’ve learned through everything that God ALWAYS has a reason and I truly trust Him.

Now I ask him, “What is it You want to teach me in this?” I don’t ever want to miss ‘the writing on the wall’. So I turn to the word of God and let Him speak to me.

PSALM 138:2-3 I WILL WORSHIP TOWARD THY Holy Temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

3. In the day when I cried thou answerest me, and strengthedst me with strength in my soul.

PSALM 138:7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thy right hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.

I am nothing special. I’ve made a million mistakes. It is only by the grace of God I’m here today, telling my story, and it was only by the power of God that man was found guilty. I mean, sixty-six-years! That wasn’t my doing. That was God.

God had a purpose in it all, and He still has a purpose for it. I just had to shut-up and listen. I had to trust in Him. I had to come to the place where I knew my suffering had meaning and it was for a bigger purpose.

I AM NOT A VICTIM IN LIFE. I AM A WARRIOR FOR CHRIST.

 

UPDATE: My memoir's been published since writing this post. You can find it on amazon at:







PERFECTLY BROKEN: A Memoir of Rape and Redemption



~~Amber Mauldin

6 comments:

Matthew MacNish said...

Congrats on representation, Amber!

Yousef Deiry said...

Dear Amber, my sister in Christ, my friend.

Reading Chapter 2 of your Memoir was indeed very difficult. I was numb to the core and bitterly wept with deep sorrow, conscious of the evil in this world. I am a Christian man, saved by grace in the blood of Christ, and although it wasn't me who suffered, and for all I knew at that point, was still suffering, yet I found myself battling with God; Why God! Why?

But then I read your testimony and here I found a revelation in the Holy Spirit as God spoke to me through your faith. You see, right at that very moment of being guided to find each other on Twitter, God had put a message in my heart about our God-given purpose according to His grace and I was meditating on 2 Corinthians, pondering over Paul's affliction and his battle for the cause for Christ. Your story suddenly opened my heart to God's Word and I was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Although incomparable circumstances, I was moved by your record of a fundamental truth of our faith, common in your testimony and mine; 'it's not about us.' You speak of no longer caring whether God fixed your problems, rather of an absolute necessity for God to fix you. Thank you for this truth.

For me, my life simply fell apart. I battled with God, over and over to give me my life back, but He didn't answer. I sank deeper and deeper into the darkness of depression and a nervous breakdown to the point of ending my life. Finally, I cried out to Jesus; "Save me Lord," and God answered.

Amber, I feel ashamed of my situation when I contemplate the evil terror you endured, but I do share how you describe God healing you without you realising, and that the life given to us by God's love, is not for us, but for God and His divine and perfect plan, which as Paul teaches us includes others (2 Cor 10:13). Your devotion regarding being chosen by God, not forgotten epitomises knowledge, understanding and faith, and such wisdom in the truth and life of the Spirit.

But your story goes further for me than my own spiritual understanding. God knows my heart remains troubled because my wife isn't saved and it fills me with such sorrow. She is so angry with God, blaming Him for the debilitating life of misery that her mother suffered, followed by anguish in death. She demands to know "Why! Why!" and she just refuses to let go. I am now praying for God's council, as I believe I am now meant to share your story with her. May God's will be done.

I feel I could talk to you forever. You have touched my life and I know God has brought us together in fellowship for a reason. How mysterious and wonderful are His ways.

You truly are a worrier for Christ. I now understand what that means and I dedicate my life, as you my dear sister, to the cause of Christ. May God bless you and your family. May His unfailing love and perfect peace be upon you now and forever more. In Jesus name.

My love in Christ Jesus,

Yousef
(known to my friends as Yogi)
Truth Life Mission

p.s. my personal email is yousefdeiry&aol.com or truthandlifemission@aol.co.uk

Jean Ann Williams said...

Amber, I cannot begin to understand what you suffered, but I sure can get how we are warriors of Christ.

I suffered and have come through by God's grace another kind of sorrow. I held my son moments after he shot himself in the head and died.

I too have a memoir, but it is not quite finished.

May I ask a question? I am getting differing opinions on how to shop around my memoir to agents/editors. Some say as a book propsal and most say as you would fiction. Any suggestions you may have I'd appreciate.

God bless you, Amber and keep up God's work.

Amber said...

Thank you everyone for your support! @Jean Ann, will you email me? It'd be easier to chat that way. My email is amberkmauldin (@) gmail (.)com

Marilyn said...

I just sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. Your obedience to the holy spirit is changing life, healing wounds and helping people confront the pain that keeps them from being set free.
I've been writing my story for months now and healing as I process it on paper. I'm a pastors wife and long to see others set free. I can see now, thanks to your words, that I still need to grieve and let God enter into all that pain. There was so much damage done to me even before the rape. It's taken years to overcome but I believe because of people like you who share their stories and hope and strength in God that this is my year.
I look forward to reading your book and connecting on line and one day maybe meeting you if you come to Seattle. Much Love, Marilyn

Hazel Moon said...

Thank you for sharing your pain and your healing with us here at Tell me a True Story. Praise God for a wise Youth Pastor who directed you to read the book of Job and then discuss it with him. The answers are in the Word of God. The key to deliverance is often in forgiving the person who abused you. (Not necessarily to their face, but in prayer as you walk through the pain and release it to Jesus.)
May God continue to bring peace to you and others who have suffered abuse of any kind.