Marisa D. Slusarcyk
My name is Marisa, and I am a country girl born and raised in rural Canada. I am surrounded by a large group of people from different churches and have been blessed by all of them in many different ways.
You may be wondering why I chose the title of this essay to be “Raped for the ‘Glory of God’”, so I am going to tell you.
I was a teen mom before it was “cool”, the father of my children was raised in a strict Baptist church and his father was a pastor. I had been raised Catholic but considered myself a plain old Christian, someone who loved the Lord, nothing more, nothing less.
The title comes from the years I was held by this young man. The years I spent being raped, sold, beaten, and tortured in ways that I still haven’t managed to share with anyone but God, and the kicker was that his father, the church Pastor, was reciting scripture telling me that I wouldn’t need to be punished, raped, hurt, abused, etc., if I would only obey because “woman obeys man and man obey God.”
I was only 15 years old, and everything I knew about God was being twisted up in my head by this “leader” who was supposed to be guiding me right. I found out after I escaped with my children, at the age of 19, that this was what he was preaching to all the women who came to him with allegations of domestic violence.
I didn’t know what to do with my life. I sometimes still don’t. But one thing that I did the night I left and continued to do to this day is pray. I prayed that God would expose the truth, which He would protect the church and us. That he would keep my children and myself safe.
It took me YEARS to get myself to open up my Bible. I was terrified that what I would see would be the words that had been planted into my subconscious and fragile mind. Instead, I found that God is a loving God, not a God, who hurts or wishes anger or hurt. Not a God, who would allow his men to abuse the women, He created.
I found myself needing to read more and more to find the truth and the more I looked, the more I found and in a very cathartic way, I was well on the road to healing those old wounds, and more importantly, my fear of God was gone.
A priest I had talked to while on my journey told me, “even Satan can read and quote the Bible.” That was a moment I will never forget as we bowed our heads and prayed and not for what God could do for me, but for the protective shield He had placed around me and my children that allowed us to be free. I was praying my thanks.
So, in summary, I was raised knowing the Lord, my views were very much distorted through brainwashing as a young teen and my need to find the truth is how I came to the Lord the way I have.
I never expected myself to pursue ministry, after all, my church life was obviously not a good one, but I realized that through sharing of my stories, through my praying for others, my sharing of the Word, that I was in fact ministering. It hit me hard when a well known online ministry for women sent me a card in the mail thanking me for my ministry. I wept as I read those words because I had no clue that I was having an impact, never mind an impact in the fight for Christ.
I don’t attend church; I do attend youth group through the Mennonite church as my son attends each week and I enjoy the fellowship with the youth pastor and his family. It has been such an encouragement for me to be able to talk about the things the Lord has placed on my heart, get feedback and have people to pray with.
Most of my ministry is online. To groups of women who wear battle scars that are often worse than my own. I love being able to have a conversation with these people, pray for them, and let them know that they are not only loved and cared for by me, but by Christ.
I had rejoiced when a friend decided to be baptized, I have sent hundreds of letters to people in prison and have been so blessed by their stories and their words and of course their love for the Lord. It amazes me that in such a dark place these wonderful men and women focus solely on His Light!
Unique challenges I face in my geographic area aren’t exactly challenges at all; we have a population of about 15,000 people, half of the students in town go to the Christian schools, and there is an active church on nearly every street. I suppose the challenge is finding the right church home where I feel safe, accepted and free to share my testimony, though like I said previously, I have had the opportunity to do that with pastors and friends.
These are the people who have been my support, encouraging me to dive into the Bible, to look up the Hebrew and Greek, learn, ask questions, work hard, study harder and to keep my faith when I feel like burrowing my head in the sand.
Interestingly enough, my one child doesn’t believe in God, while my other child goes to youth group and participates very much in Christian activities, he has even won recognition badges for his eagerness to share and be a good Christian role model. The lack of faith my other child has doesn’t sway me; it makes me want to share more, pray more and show how much God works in everything, all the time. While there are struggles, I know that the seeds I am planting in her will eventually grow as she decides to start reading about God herself.
I would appreciate prayer for me because I don’t know what exactly I feel the most lead to do. I know I am lead to share the Word, but I do not know in what capacity. I would love to have the Lord hang a big neon sign telling me what I am going to be when I grow up, but I guess that is unlikely, though not impossible. I need prayers for strength, courage and direction. I also need prayers to continue to have positive role models in my life who I can go to when I am at a loss.
Thank you for this opportunity. It has been a wonderful journey so far. Please know that the staff, volunteers, and other students, are in my prayers. I may not know what you all need, but God knows exactly what is needed, and I trust that He not only hears my plea but will respond to His will!