I’ve been sharing this with a lot of our friends in recent weeks because I think this letter is so important. More than any words I could come up with to say, it shows what Shepherd’s Gate is all about: the joy of knowing Christ, and the tools to overcome the worst circumstances imaginable. Caring friends like you made this transformation possible. There are so many more moms who need hope and restoration. They need safe refuge, too! For some of these women, getting help is a matter of life and death, a brighter future or total disaster. Knowing what’s at stake, won’t you consider a gift today? But first, read Cheryl’s letter that she wrote to herself!
Dear Me: I want to give back what your molester took away: love, trust, innocence, self-image and your childhood. It’s not your fault. I want to take all of your pain and give you comfort, protection and relief. I want to talk to my preteen self, so you are not confused about the changes you are going through. I want to tell you to stop hating yourself, stop beating up on yourself and stop starving yourself. I want you to put the bottle of vodka you found back in the cabinet. Don’t smoke that cigarette. You are only 12! You are so young, yet so tired and depressed. I want you to know that you don’t have to have set in your search for love. You are only 14. I need you to know that you are not alone through this mess. Love is not pain, love is not abuse and love is not absent. I want you to know that in your young adult years, that the mess-ups that are so shameful and destructive are not completely your fault. You are a mess because you’ve held everything inside for so long. You can’t run away from the loneliness, hopelessness, regret and depression. Put down the drugs, put down the alcohol. Stop lying! Your children are watching you. As a sad, confused, vulnerable woman on her own, I want to tell you I am proud of your decision to keep the baby when everyone wanted you to have an abortion. You knew it would be hard, but you made the right choice. I want you to know – when your best friend killed herself, it wasn’t your fault. And just a year later, I want to take the heartache and gut-wrenching feeling you have over your boyfriend’s overdose. You loved him, but you couldn’t control him. Let go of the guilt. Now I want to say goodbye to that hurt, lost, tired, confused and shamed Cheryl. I want to thank God and Shepherd’s Gate for turning my life around. I will be ok. No, I will be great! I am no longer stuck in my past. I forgive my trespassers. I no longer stand for any kind of abuse. I am God’s daughter. He has worked a miracle to restore me. I would endure everything again to come to the Lord and be who I am today. Thank you, Lord, for saving me. My future is bright and I am excited. I love you and praise you, Lord! Signed, ME!