Abortions, rape, and wrecked relationships no longer define me
Becca Garvin's story is proof that you can't go back, but you can start over. Watch her short video above, and read the story behind the story ...
College spelled a brutal end to Becca’s carefree life.
Like so many freshmen, she found herself quickly in a relationship. But the joy of new love was soon eclipsed by pain, as her boyfriend turned more violent and abusive in the months that followed.
When she broke free of the relationship, the scars on her heart were so deep, and the trauma was so intense, she was left empty, broken, and scared.
“I basically felt completely worthless,” Becca says.
Becca’s response was to dive into the college party lifestyle head first as an escape — chasing every thrill and experience offered up by the unholy trinity of sex, drugs, and alcohol.
My identity became who wanted me and how much they wanted me.
A Dark Escape
Hookups were an ordinary part of her life.
She knew men only wanted sex, but she was desperate for any kind of affirmation she could find. Anyone to care about her.
“It was delusional. ‘Maybe this one will want me for something else or maybe this one will see something inside of me that's worth holding onto and not just physical stuff,’” she recalls thinking about the men she’d hookup with. “I hurt too much to be able to stop to figure out if there was another way to fix it.”
It was a vicious cycle that only made her feel more empty, more worthless, more broken.
“My identity became who wanted me and how much they wanted me, and that was all physical in the crowd I hung out with.”
She didn’t — she wouldn’t — stop to think about what she was doing. She pretended that the abortions didn’t even happen.
“If I didn't process it, then I could just keep going — just push it back, bury it, put it in some dark corner where I didn't have to face it,” she says. “If I stopped, I'd have to face all of these things that I had done.”
I didn’t realize how fragile I was.
A Tug of War Inside
At one point, a college friend from high school saw what was happening and kept inviting Becca to NewSpring until she agreed to go.
Becca asked Jesus into her life on her first visit, but the small seed of hope planted in Becca’s heart that day was watered with many tears. Tears of regret. Tears of guilt. Tears of shame.
Becca wanted a new life, and she responded to conviction over her sinful past with more obedience to God’s Word. But progress was slow, halting, incomplete.
The past and the future were in a tug of war within her. If the brightness of what was possible in Jesus shone in one season, it was soon eclipsed in the darkness of the brokenness and insecurity she felt in another.
She went to church and went through phases where she read her Bible and she found herself in “a better place.” But the chains of Becca’s old life forged in the continuous need for affirmation were still strong. She continued the pattern of wrecked relationship after wrecked relationship and devastating decisions.
The cycle continued after the first abortion. And the second.
She didn’t know that she needed healing, let alone that it was really possible for her.
“I didn’t realize how fragile I was.”
My self-image, trust, view of love, and hope for life were shattered.
A Final Blow
Then, one night in 2014, while at a Christmas party with friends, a man slipped a drug into her drink. He put her in a cab, took her to his home, and raped her. She remembers almost nothing — only that she ended up dirtied and bruised at a neighbor’s door.
She chose not to pursue charges. She was scared of the turmoil, especially when the prosecutor told her she likely wouldn't win the case, despite the evidence against her attacker.
The rape was a final, devastating blow.
“It was like a sledgehammer,” Becca says. “I completely crumbled and there was no hope. I had to face the realization of how broken I really was.”
Becca was swallowed up by hopelessness.
All the broken pieces of her life could never be put back together again, she thought. She was damaged goods, permanently.
The rape only added to the the shame she continued to feel over her abortions.
“My self-image, trust, view of love, and hope for life were shattered. There was no way I could start over,” Becca says. “Psychologically, I could not repress anything else. I knew that I couldn't bounce back from it.”
In the aftermath of the rape, she tried to take her life with an overdose of sleeping pills and alcohol. A roommate discovered her before it was too late.
I was no longer somebody who was defined by everything I had done or what had been done to me.
Putting The Pieces Back Together
In the months after that failed suicide attempt, she recognized that she had asked Jesus to be her savior, and she was forgiven of all her sin, but she had never surrendered her baggage to Him.
It was now that she finally and fully began to claim the promise that, in Christ, she could be new — brand new.
That all the broken pieces of her life would be made whole in Jesus. That her purity was already restored in His eyes.
“I was no longer damaged goods, and I was no longer somebody who was defined by everything I had done or what had been done to me,” Becca says. “I was now defined by what Jesus had done and who he was.”
Slowly, she let Jesus erase different things from her past she never thought she could leave behind.
I am free to be who Jesus made me to be.
Proof of Life
Like many of the changes in our lives, the daily, unseen, barely noticed traces of transformation only became visible from a distance.
As a room leader during Gauntlet 2016, NewSpring’s student summer camp, she had an opportunity to share her story with eight young women.
With every sentence spoken that night, it was like snapping every last chain that needed to be broken to help her experience true freedom.
The hope for her life she had always believed was possible had become a firm reality she was now standing in.
“I have never felt more free and open-handed in my whole life,” she says. “I really do feel like I've started over.”
Becca’s experience showed her God could bring good things out of even the darkest, most ruined lives.
“I am free to be who Jesus made me to be,” Becca says.