Easter is one of the most important celebrations of the Christian faith and other faiths celebrate their own traditions and celebrations during this time too. If you are a Christian, Easter isn’t just a long weekend of special days but a season of religious traditions. The run-up to Easter is called Lent, which is 40 days and nights, ending at Palm Sunday at the beginning of the Holy Week. During Lent, Christians all over the world are re-evaluating their lives and thinking of others around them. It is a time for self-examination and re-discovery of how they can be better human beings, taking care of our world and everyone in it. This includes helping people with less, the sick, and the homeless through charity. There is also praying and listening to the traditional stories of Jesus wandering into the desert and being tempted by the devil. All stories from the bible are linked to Christian life in some way. Lent is the season of examining how we can change and be better human beings.

Have you ever felt stuck and in need of a change?

Have you ever thought about how you fit into this world?

What are your talents and gifts? Do you have a hobby that you enjoy?

Have you ever felt the need to help someone?

Whatever you believe and whatever path you are on, the core values of being a good person are explored in all religions.

After 40 days and nights of the Lenten season, Palm Sunday arrives. Christians celebrate this day because they believe Jesus returned to his people from the desert. Jesus is back. However, his stay is not long-lived until he celebrates “The Last Supper” on Maundy Thursday with his 12 disciples. Jesus is betrayed by one of his own disciples and arrested, tortured, and crucified, resulting in his death on Good Friday. Christians call these events “the Passion of the Lord”. It signifies how an innocent (Jesus) is punished and condemned to death, so that Christians can live, and all sins are forgiven. Jesus took all sins away by dying for us on the cross. Catholic Christians go to confession during Lent and all throughout the year to confess their sins, asking God for forgiveness.

Whether you are a Christian or an atheist, suffering and torture are always considered bad. No sane human being wants to allow others to suffer, and yet, this happens in our society today. People are hurting and there are wars. I have spent many hours contemplating why our world is so full of hatred. After having suffered unbearable sexual abuse, I know just how much it hurts to be on the brink of what a human being can take before death. I cannot understand how someone could inflict pain on another human being. It is incomprehensible.

As a child growing up in an abusive home, school became my refuge and I treasured the routine of religion and its special seasons. I enjoyed learning about what people believed in, and it opened the world to something other than abuse and trauma. It was familiar to hear the Easter stories in school even if it was not something I experienced at home. I knew that as soon as those school gates shut, I was back in my prison of a world where the adults around me ruled every breath I took. A world where there was only pain and no hope of freedom. Only time would release me from the shackles of abuse. The long Easter weekend of Good Friday and a week off school was never a fun week at home. I didn’t know how to pray but in my deepest despair, I found something profound within me. It was something fierce and so pure not even the worst abuse and pain could penetrate and destroy it. I found a determination and made a promise to myself. If I lived to the age of 18, I would go far away and live a good life. I would become the best person I could be and cancel out all the hurt and pain my parents and all the adults around me had caused. I switched from the dark to the light side. That is what I promised myself. I would live my life to the fullest because that was my revenge. I lived.

Easter is also a time for rebirth and new beginnings. Like Jesus rising from the dead, we experience the world waking up again after a long winter. Flowers and trees blossom, and the land grows abundantly green. Animals have their young and life starts again. It is a time for joy and celebrations even if you do not have a religion. Kids at school learn about the seasons and springtime is a time to think about new beginnings. When we think of spring, we often think of chickens and eggs as a symbol of rebirth.

For me, the Easter season now, as a mother, is just what I envisaged all those years ago. My children have had a wonderful childhood, and they were surrounded by love and support as they grew older. I have embraced Christian traditions and taught my children to become happy and loving human beings who look out for others and their world. We come together as a family over the Easter weekend, share a meal, and enjoy each other’s company. We play board games and everyone takes part, young and old. We go for hikes and share ice creams. It is so much fun to share precious time together. I never have experienced that until now and I appreciate everything my family has given me. I feel so grateful to be alive. To be given the chance of having a life after so much pain and abuse. 

My name is Elizabeth and I am a survivor.

Read my story here: Amazon.com: The Sex-Offender’s Daughter: A True Story of Survival Against All Odds eBook : Woods, Elizabeth: Kindle Store 


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