I was severely abused starting when I was just a baby. I was so alone and I wanted to be loved so much, but I did not receive love from anyone in my life. In fact, I did not receive help for my abuse until I was 17. A lot of damage had been done by then and I need a lot of help.
I had a wonderful therapist who believed me and did not question me like everyone else. For the first time in my life, I began to trust. This man became my therapist, pastor, surrogate father, and very good friend. He helped me through a lot of pain, but I still felt very worthless – I still did not feel “loved.”
When I was 20 I married my best friend. He loved me with all his heart, but I was very damaged and I was not able to love him properly because I did not know how to love myself or appreciate any part of me. We had several problems and the word “divorce” came up often. Even with that, he still loved me and nothing I could do would stop him from loving me.
When I was 30 I heard about The Haven Retreat. I was skeptical at first, but my pastor, husband, and friends urged me to apply and I was accepted in a matter of two weeks. I drove from my home in the Bay Area to Salt Lake City, Utah. I learned so much about myself during the drive and was so ready to accept any and all the help that would be offered to me. I thought I knew what I was getting into, but I really had no idea what to expect.
At the retreat, I met so many ladies that soon became my “warrior sisters,” friends and women who I had this fantastic bond with. There was healing in every activity, session, and even meal. I attended as many classes as I could and, slowly, I began to love myself and view myself as someone who is strong and worth something. I opened up about things in my past to the ladies in my group and it scared me, but the women, therapists, case managers, and everyone involved in my healing journey helped me. I began to view myself as someone who deserved love and finally discovered I had hope in my life and I could get better just by applying the things I learned and letting people in and allowing myself to be loved. For the first time, I learned something very important:
I AM WORTH LOVE.
After the retreat, I went back home and I was welcomed with open arms. I have thrived. I have opened myself up to people I always held back from in the past. Every day I learn more things about myself and I try to be as positive as I can. I deserve and am worth love, and I truly believe that in my heart now. I praise God for The Haven Retreat and for everything that I experienced before, during, and after the retreat. But most of all, I’m thankful for learning about Love.