Trent: Theme songs are an important part of our world. As individuals, I feel that we each have a personal theme song for our life. My name is Trent, and I am 19 years old. By no fault of my own, I was born into a family filled with extreme dysfunction. My earliest years were filled with domestic violence, extreme neglect, and extensive sexual abuse. I truly struggle to find the words to adequately describe the daily pain and suffering that I endured during my earliest years. I was hurt in every way imaginable. My theme song was one of fear.
I feared for my safety.
I feared that I would starve.
I feared that I could not protect my younger brother.
I feared that the pain would never end.
I feared that I would never have anyone to love me.
After a few traumatic years with those who gave birth to me, I was taken into the foster care system. I spent my early childhood traveling from one foster home to another. My theme song of fear amplified as I cried myself to sleep each night fearing that I would never have a family to call my own.
I would like for you to think for just a moment about how difficult it is each time you experience a change in life. Now imagine that you are asked to gather your few pathetic belongings, place them in a trash bag, and get in a car to be taken to the home of a complete and total stranger. This happened to me not once, but 5 times over the course of my first 8 years. Fear was the theme that dominated my existence. Although my foster placements were not exactly ideal, I was introduced to God very early on and was able to cling to the hope that He had a plan for my life. I was young, but I kept hearing about this God who loved me no matter what. I was given a dog tag with Jeremiah 29:11 engraved on the front. There were many times in my early years that I began to doubt that I would ever have a family of my own, but I pressed into God and prayed as I repeated Jeremiah 29:11 as a reminder that He was in control, despite the fact that my theme song of fear resonated loudly.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
That verse is still my favorite and served as a constant reminder that God was in control despite the fact that my world was filled with uncontrollable chaos and uncertainty. My only hope was found in God as I prayed each night that I would somehow find a family to love me and keep me safe.
By the grace of God, my life that had been consumed by fear and uncertainty changed in 2010. My prayers were answered and my younger brother and I were adopted by two amazing people who are now my Mom and Dad in every sense of the word. After being adopted I am so happy to say that my theme song began to change. I no longer spent every day in fear; instead I had HOPE for the first time in my life. If you asked me how those changes came about, I can answer in one single but very powerful word. LOVE. It sounds like such a simple concept, but being in a place where I knew I was loved by my family, and most importantly, by God was the key to healing. My new theme song became one of love.
The Lord delivered me to a forever family who never once wavered in their unconditional love and support as they walked my healing journey by my side and led me to the healing that can only be found in God. They cried with me as I mourned the loss of my siblings, held me as I exposed details of my sexual abuse, and allowed me to mourn the loss of my childhood. Over time, I began to trust that they were going to stand by me no matter what. That feeling of safety and security opened the doors to healing. The truth is, early trauma changes who you are and you can either let it take you, or decide to fight… and I was determined to fight. We pressed into the pain as a family unit and asked God each and every day to help heal me from my past trauma. I was not going to allow my traumatic start define my future. My self esteem was restored and I began to realize that God had a purpose for my life. Jeremiah 29:11 repeatedly entered my mind as I watched my life unfold. It may sound crazy, but I thank God for the pain and suffering I endured.
Every painful moment provided a learning experience that I can now use to help others. I am not a victim. I am not damaged goods! I am a strong Christian young man who has found his way home to a family who will love me unconditionally. Healing from my past trauma was the most painful experience of my life, but I am now able to see that God used my pain for His purpose. I began sharing my story at the age of 10 and published my autobiography “Shattered No More” at the age of 14. I do not share these accomplishments to boast in any way, but to break misconceptions about those who have experienced trauma. At the age of 17 I started a speaking and support ministry to provide hope to others who have experienced trauma (watchmerise919.org). I have had the true honor of walking this healing journey with others through mentoring, Bible study, support groups, and specialized trainings. In addition, I share my story of hope to others through our Watch Me Rise podcast. I am currently in college and on my way to becoming a licensed Clinical Counselor. Over time I was able to see the beauty that is found in the ashes. The Lord has transformed me and made me new. I strive each day to be more like Jesus and to bring others to the true healing that is only found in Him. I give God all the glory for my journey! That is HIS story.
Please reach out through our website if we can encourage you in any way, pray for you, support you in your healing journey or share our story. Thank you to popwe for allowing those who have experienced pain to use our pain for a purpose!