My Life Would Be Forever Changed (Part 6): The Final Chapter

April’s Story

My Life Would be Forever Changed (Part 6)
The Final Chapter

In July 1997, I accepted the Lord into my life. I felt like I was a new person. I was alive in Christ. The same year I accepted the Lord into my life, I met my husband, and we were married three years later. I got pregnant right away, but sadly, lost the baby. This was ten years after my abortion. Of course, I thought God was punishing me. But I soon learned that it wasn’t God. It was actually my body holding onto the pain of the past. During that time, I had a lot of anxiety and fear in my heart. I knew God was near, but I didn’t really believe it. I was afraid in my own home and scared to drive my car on the freeway. I asked myself how I could possibly raise a baby with this hurt still inside me. I was holding onto everything. I walked around with a smile on, but deep down I was hurting.

Soon after this pregnancy, I became pregnant again. So, in 2002, we had our first child! Our second child followed a few years later in 2005. Unfortunately, right after the birth of our second child, I became really crazy about germs. I couldn’t do it; I felt helpless in my own body. I was so afraid I was going to die. I started to search my heart, and I realized that I was afraid of death for our children. Why was I afraid of death? Because I had faced death myself as a child. Later, I found out that death has NO sting!!!

Today, I have the honor and privilege of walking women through their abortion stories as well as mentoring women that have been through trauma, including sexual abuse. I get to see women be set free from the pain of their past and walk in their newfound freedom in Christ. My goal is to help lead women to freedom from the bondage that has been holding them back.

I now hold a Mental Health Coaching Certificate, and I am working on getting a Christian Counseling Certificate. I have been through the Making Life Disciples course and some trauma classes through church. But one of my favorite accomplishments to date is that I’ve completed one year of Bible College to be able to minister the Word to those who are lost and hurting. #SetFree

I share my whole story to tell you that our God is good, no matter what our circumstances. When I was around drugs and alcohol throughout my life, God was good. When I was kidnapped and raped at 12, God was good. When I had an abortion, God was good. When I was living in sin, God was good. When I felt shame, guilt, or fear, God was right there. When I was afraid, God was revealed. When death was around me, God saved me. When I was hopeless, God was full of hope for me. God is forgiveness and my help. What would I do without my Father? He saved me, forgave me, and redeemed me. It was only recently that I discovered that God has been with me all along. He has been pursuing me and chasing me since the day I was born.

I believe that Jesus takes all the hurt on Himself. I believe that I am the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. I believe I am reconciled to Him. Thank you, Jesus, that the old is gone and the new has come. Thank you, Jesus, that I am highly favored and deeply loved. Thank you that I am a called out, separated person for God’s Kingdom work. Thank you, Jesus, I am a New Creation. Thank you, Jesus, for Your Amazing Grace!!!

 

Restored

I became involved in My Ashes to Beauty ministry many years after my abortion. As I walked through the healing process of having an abortion, I realized how much of the decisions leading up to that very day had been affected by my childhood trauma, neglect and the sexual abuse I experienced. I knew in my heart I had to go all the way back, to allow God to start this healing process.

In the fall of 2020, I had an opportunity to join a group of warrior women in a sexual abuse bible study called “In the Wildflowers”, via Zoom. I did my part by watching the weekly videos, doing my homework and meeting every Monday night. I had never really done any work in this area of my life. I had shared my situations with others, including counselors but it had been dismissed. As I began my healing journey, I was able to recognize how the trauma of abuse had followed me into adolescence and adulthood. Prior to this study I had felt that worse things had happened to other girls and I needed to ‘suck it up ’and get over it. I felt that the abuse I had suffered was “normal” and, I had done something to cause it. I carried the shame and guilt of what others had done to me and owned their sickness for so many years!

In this study, I found help and encouragement from the ladies who I met with every week in my class. They gave me the strength I needed to get through this journey. When I did not have words or the ability to identify how I felt; they showed up with words to help me express my heart from the pain and grief. When I was angry and felt defeated, they prayed and spoke God’s truth into my life. We encouraged each other through text messages and email throughout the week and we loved on each other, helping each other through our painful journeys.

This bible study, the love and support I received allowed years of pain, shame and guilt to be washed away. I was able to surrender the burden of other people’s selfishness and God allowed me to be set free, from my past and He healed me.

Now I am sharing my redemption story so you can be set free and live a victorious life. God’s word promises to restore us. “So, I will restore to you the years that

the swarming locust has eaten, the crawling locust, the consuming locust, and the chewy locust, my great army which I sent among you.” (Joel 2:25 NKJV) And that is exactly what He did for me and He’s waiting for you to start your healing journey of restoration.

 

Rhonda Bouchlas

 

 

From Shame to Victory (Part 5): Then Jesus Came to My Rescue

When I was a kid, my mom would take me and my brother to church where I heard about a man named Jesus. From what I was taught about Him, I thought he was supposed to protect me. But with everything that happened to me, I thought He had abandoned me like my parents did. I remember lying in bed, telling Jesus that if I was a good girl, could He make my daddy stop drinking and my mommy happy? It didn’t happen so; I gave up on Him.

After I left my husband, I kept coming back to that moment that I was willing to take his life and something stopped me. What stopped me? Who stopped me? I kept coming back to Jesus, ‘did You stop me Jesus?’ I began to seek and find out more about who Jesus really is.

I began listening to Moody Radio and all their programs. I needed a safe place to start. I listened faithfully and one-night Dr. James Dobson who I listened to regularly, once again, gave an invitation to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. I got on my knees, prayed and received Jesus Christ as MY Lord and Savior. He loved me enough to die on the cross for me and He loved me enough to stop me from making the biggest mistake of my life. I am eternally grateful to Him.

—Rhonda

 

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From Shame to Victory (Part 4): The Abuse Intensified in My Adulthood

Rhonda’s Story

Life carried on, I graduated high school and went to college. After I graduated, I met a man that I thought I was so in love with. He made me feel special, wanted, loved and beautiful. He seemed to be everything I had been looking for in a man. We got engaged after a short courtship and a year later we got married. Very shortly after that his demeanor changed. He started acting jealous, trying to control what I wore and getting in between my relationships with friends and family.

I don’t remember the first time he beat me; I just remember it didn’t stop after that. Every day he would get upset about something and beat me. He was a tall man and would grab me by my throat hold me off the ground until I passed out while punching me in the head. In the beginning, I would run into the bathroom and lock the door and hide in the shower. But he kicked the door open, and beat me in the shower. He then removed the bathroom door so I couldn’t hide in there again.

I remember running out of the of the house one freezing winter night in just my clothes and socks. It was so cold outside but I didn’t care! I ran and ran until I found a building to hide behind. I sat behind an Arby’s restaurant shaking and crying, thinking about what to do, who to call. Since I had cut off all ties with friends and family, there was no one. As I sat there shaking and crying, I realized I had no place to go so I got up and walked back to the house. He beat me and raped me that night, telling me it was my fault and that I made him do it.

The beatings and rapes continued until one night I stood chopping carrots in the kitchen getting dinner ready and he walked in. He was in a bad mood. I knew what was coming as his voice started escalating. I remember thinking what kind of life is this? I wanted to get married, be loved, have kids and a beautiful home. But here I was. I remember thinking, I would rather spend the rest of my life in jail for murder than live like this. It was like I had left my body and I was watching in slow motion; I took the knife I had in my hand raised my arm and spun around. I screamed at him ready to stab him and something stopped me, I came back to reality thinking I had just stabbed him, but something stopped me. I saw fear in his eyes for the first time. He never touched me again and it wasn’t long after that I left for good.

Part 5 Click Here.

 

From Shame to Victory (Part 3): My Miserable Teens

Rhonda’s Story

In my mid-teens, my view of myself became more distorted. I wanted to be wanted and I wanted to be loved. I turned to relationships, alcohol and drugs, and this left me feeling even more empty than I did before. I became very boisterous, very opinionated and I projected a false sense of security to hide how I really felt.

When I was 16 years old, I was intimately involved with an 18-year-old. We dated for over a year. When I tried to break up with him, he threatened to kill himself. Out of guilt, I remained in the relationship for a little while longer until I could figure out a way to break it off. I told him again I didn’t want to see him anymore, and he pulled a shotgun out and put it to his mouth and said if I broke up with him, he would kill himself. I took off running down the stairs of his apartment and he proceeded to chase me down the main street of the small town where I lived. As I ran down the street, I saw people I knew and screamed for help! I thought he was going to shoot me in the back. In fear, they turned and fled. I ran into the restaurant where I worked. I was hysterical and my boss grabbed and took me to the back of the restaurant. I told him what happened and he called my house and my brother came and got me.

A few weeks later when I was biking home after work, the boyfriend that I tried to break up with, grabbed me off my bike and chocked me as he told me he loved me and couldn’t live without me. I somehow broke free, grabbed my bike and raced home as fast as I could. I told my parents, and at first they seemed upset, but then they just dismissed it. And the ex-boyfriend that had frightened me so badly would call my mom and she would tell me he was sorry and to give him another chance. But I didn’t want anything to do with him. A few weeks later, I came home from work one night and saw him sitting in the basement drinking a beer with my dad. I was shocked! My dad looked at me and said, “Tony’s going teach me to play guitar!”

 

Part 4 Click Here.