Recently I sat in a Relief Society lesson where a sister read a quotation regarding the effects of physical and sexual abuse on children. My first thought was, “How sad.” Then I was filled with the Spirit, who bore witness to me of the miracle of the Savior’s Atonement. I had been a victim of sexual abuse at a young age. During that Relief Society lesson, I realized that I no longer felt pain and fear attached to something that had consumed and frightened me for years. It was a miracle. In my heart I thanked the Savior for healing me.
As a child I struggled and felt shame for years before deciding to tell someone that I had been abused. When I was 13, I felt an impression that it was time to talk about it. After a service activity at Mutual, I went to a trusted leader, who spoke with me tenderly and took me to see the bishop the same evening. I was relieved by the bishop’s warm countenance as he invited me into his office. I remember feeling the weight of years of secrets lift as my bishop listened. I recall his pure tears as he heard my story. I felt the love of Heavenly Father, and I felt reassured that the abuse was not my fault and that I was still pure and virtuous. This was the beginning of my path to healing, a path that would continue for many years.
There wasn’t just one moment of healing—it was a process of peace, understanding, and answers that came as I studied my scriptures, prayed daily, and became more acquainted with Jesus Christ. As I studied the Savior’s life, I felt increasing love for Him. The Spirit testified truths to me, including my own worth as a daughter of God. As I submitted my heart to the Lord, obeyed His commandments, and sought His will, I was filled with comfort and peace. As I came to know Him, I began to know myself. Eventually, my past didn’t hurt anymore. The burden was removed. The Savior had healed me.
I have an eternal family now with a wonderful husband and three beautiful daughters. I am blessed to work with youth and to testify that the Atonement of Jesus Christ can heal us from sin, physical pain, and broken hearts. I know this because of the mercy that was extended to me—because I was “encircled about eternally in the arms of his love” (2 Nephi 1:15).