Milk and Honey Magazine describes advice on how to overcome child abuse, sexual assault, and an abusive childhood in Jesus Christ alone

Healing from Abuse in Christ

Karla Monterrosa, MPA

My childhood was not the joyful and carefree beginning in life a mother dreams of for her child.

I was born into an abusive family; my father was an alcoholic and a violent man. I witnessed him hitting my mother many times. I was five years old the first time a neighbor molested me. I was seven years old when we escaped my father. My mother found the courage to leave my father with the help of a neighbor. He became my stepfather overnight; we moved into a small two-bedroom apartment across town.

Our mother, stepfather, my little brother, and I shared one bedroom, and my mother's cousin rented the second room. He was my favorite uncle. He bought me gifts, played with us, and gave me so much individual attention. He also fondled me when no-one was looking and played odd games that I didn't understand. My lack of awareness, coupled with my fear of my mother (she was also violent toward us), led me to keep the abuse secret for years. These early experiences turned my childhood into a set of dark memories that haunted me most of my life.

Once I became an adult, I chose to use the pain I felt over those experiences as fuel to propel me forward in life. I was determined to create a life that was entirely different from the one I had growing up. I accomplished educational and professional successes, thanks to that drive. Eventually, I arrived at a season when I could no longer ignore my past. My scars became utterly exposed within the stresses and pressures of marriage and motherhood.

The day my first daughter was born, I knew I was wounded profoundly, and motherhood was going to be hard. I felt ashamed when I cleaned and cared for her. I recognized how vulnerable she was. The memories intruded incessantly. I struggled with this with both of my daughters for years. Too afraid to put this into words, I struggled with the memories and the shame in secret. I couldn't understand why the memories intruded on my most intimate moments and closest relationships and didn't know how to make it stop. Over time, what began to materialize was an awful fear that I could be a danger to my children.

I also struggled with my relationship with my husband. I was critical, condescending, and on guard all of the time. Under intense pressure, fear, frustration, and anger dominated our interactions. I desperately wanted to be the woman, wife, and mother they deserved but didn't know how to change, no matter how hard I tried.

One night, exhausted from the war that raged on in my mind and the emotionally tense environment I was creating in my home, I decided to confess my struggles in detail to my husband. I told him about the memories, the shame, and anger that I couldn't control. I also asked him to forgive me for mistreating him.

He held me in his arms, wiped my tears away, and told me that what happened to me was not my fault. I knew this, but hearing it from someone else helped to take that knowledge from my head into my heart. What happened next surprised me. I began to cry out to God.

"It's not fair that I cannot look at my daughters without feeling ashamedIt's not right that I remember the abuse when I bathe them and cuddle them. It's not fair, and it's not right. I'm exhausted! God promised to cleanse us, heal us, and set us free! Where is that for me? I can't do this anymore! I need him to take this from me."

When everyone went to bed that night, I made my way to the living room, intent on watching some television. I wanted to clear my mind before going to bed. As I walked toward the sofa, I heard the still small voice of God in an obvious way. I heard him say, "Don't turn on the TV; open your bible."

I hesitated, I was exhausted from the intense and emotional day I had had. Again I heard, "Don't miss this opportunity; your father has something to say." Reluctantly, I agreed and reasoned that wherever the Bible application on my phone landed, that was what I was going to read and nothing else.

I opened my Bible app and found it in Hebrews 10:10. I began to read it and knew that God had sent me there for a reason. In it, the scripture speaks of Jesus as the perfect sacrifice for sin. His body was the ultimate offering, and the only sacrifice that can remove our feelings of guilt. He cleansed our sin once for all time through His death on the cross.

For God's will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice
of the body of Jesus Christ,
once for all time.
– Hebrews 10:10 (NLT)

I read it and was shocked. He was speaking to me directly and clearly, giving me exactly what I needed to know. "Once for all time" were the words that stood out to me the most. "Once for all time." I read it over and over again. Wait that means . . . He has already taken this from me.

I needed to arrive at the point where I understood and embraced that truth. Crying out to God fully honest and proclaiming His biblical promises over my life changed everything. God began walking me down a path toward healing. I experienced miracle after miracle. As I took steps toward Him, He came near to me, and transformed me from the inside-out. He uprooted my pain and destroyed the power it had over me. He made me new. True healing can only come from the one true God, and the grace and redemption offered us through His son Jesus.

For years, I wondered: Who would I be if I weren't afraid or angry all the time? Who would I be if I could trust people? Who would I be if none of this had happened to me?

I had not yet understood the power and permanence of what Jesus Christ did for us when he gave His life for us on the cross. The truth is that while I identified as a Christian for most of my life, I wasn't living like it, and I had not surrendered my life to Him fully. What was radically different for me in the season in which my life was transformed was developing a lifestyle of obedience. I began to spend time with him consistently. I prayed bold prayers and for the first time, became a student of His word. I started walking in my true identity as a child of God-forgiven and free.

If you continue to struggle with the scars of your past, as I did, I want to remind you, He has made you new. You no longer have to walk around life carrying the burden of your past abuse or sins. He has already taken them from you.

Karla Monterrosa, M.P.A. is an author, keynote speaker, and women’s empowerment coach who has dedicated her life to improving the lives of women and families. Her book, Unbraided: Transform Your Pain to Power and Purpose is available for purchase today. Visit to learn more, join her community, and read her blog!