07 Apr House of Secrets
Have you ever been so honest that it scared you? When I began writing my first song called “House of Secrets,” I scared myself. Even though my family and I had agreed to share our story of transformation, it dawned on me, “Are we revealing our dark past to everyone? Are we exposing our family’s secrets to the world?”
At first, I thought, this topic is “too heavy.” Can we turn the spotlight on family dysfunctionality and sexual abuse? A sense of vulnerability gripped my soul as I began to write the song. For so long, fake smiles had shrouded our family’s dark secrets, that speaking the truth out loud felt unfamiliar. But I believe what God did in my life in the midst of my suffering shouldn’t be kept a secret.
At 2lbs. 11oz. I was born fighting for my life. My identical twin won first place in our first race, beating me by one whole minute. From the moment I entered the world, I fought long and hard to survive. A month-long stay in the hospital would be the first of many battles ahead of me. A house of secrets meant that externally, we were a picture-perfect family but internally, we were all trying to find ways to survive the trauma and abuse. My grandfather sexually abused me at the age of 7. I told my father what happened but it was of no help, as he himself was an abuser. I watched my father rape my twin sister and my younger sister would be his next victim—she was only 11 years old.
My older brother was victim of my father’s death brutal physical abuse, to the point of almost taking his life. Paralyzed by fear, my mother closed the door to our suffering. Her unresolved childhood trauma kept her captive. She became numb, and lost sight of her identity and self-worth. We were a house full of pain, lies, and abuse, all while going to the house of God. Both of my parents served as leaders in the church. I found it hard to understand God’s love and purpose for my life. My image of all good and God was tainted. I would hear how good God was and how He had a purpose for each and every one of us. How could this be? How can a God who is love, who is good, allow all this pain to happen in my family?
At the age of 15, I sat at youth camp and listened very intently to a preacher’s sermon. I remember him saying, “if you don’t forgive, you can’t be free!” I wanted to be free! I wanted to feel alive! I truly wanted to experience God’s goodness for myself. It would require me to start tearing down the walls I built up along the way, shutting everyone out, so they couldn’t hurt me. I wanted to be done with pain—even the pain I was causing myself. By the end of that service, I asked God to help start the renovation of my mind and my heart. Right then and there, I let go and chose forgiveness. I began journaling, journaling turned into songwriting, and songwriting gave me a voice to share my story through music. I didn’t realize it then, but as I was writing, I found my healing and my purpose. I believe one person’s story is someone else’s hope. Spreading hope is my mission. Hope can turn the mess into a message and I know that first hand.