April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, to honor this occasion we have asked Courtney O’Steen, a child abuse survivor, and Mrs. California 2019 to share a few words with our readers.
As always these opinions are the writer’s and do not necessarily reflect our own; at David & Margaret Youth and Family Services we believe it is important to share stories, even if the content material is sensitive in nature, as such we are happy to share this post and grateful to the author for sharing her story!
From the outside looking in, my family could have been considered “perfect”. I grew up on a horse ranch in Chino with 23 horses, five dogs, seven cats and a goat. When it came to wanting anything material we really didn’t have to. What people didn’t know was, my mother suffered from domestic violence and I suffered from child abuse at the hands of my father. 15 years was the amount of time it took my Mom to find her voice and say no more. We lost everything when my parents divorced. I went from living a very comfortable lifestyle to my mom barely being able to afford to pay our bills. I was angry, confused, lost and uncertain where my future would take me.
I always knew in the back of my head that God created me for so much more and it was my job to figure out what that was. It was after reading a series of books by an author named David Pelzer that my life changed. He was a survivor of child abuse and, like me, he knew we was created for something larger. I started making changes in my life because I did not like the girl that was looking back at me in the mirror and I knew only I could control the outcome of what her future would be.
I was tired of fighting for no reason, tired of taking offense about things that weren’t meant to be offensive. People were simply trying to help me grow and I was furious they were wanting to help because I thought it meant I was weak if I couldn’t fix my problems myself. I was tired of being angry for things that were out of my control. I found my peace in knowing that I am the daughter of the One True King and I started listening to God‘s voice. I’m always looking for ways to grow and improve myself, I’m always challenging myself to learn more about who I am and I can say with 100% confidence I am proud of the woman I have become. I’m glad I didn’t give up on the little girl that had big dreams. I share this with you so you can dream big, ask for help and take the help offered to you. God doesn’t call us to do life alone.
You are worth it. You are loved.
Xo, Courtney O’Steen your Mrs. California United States 2019
For help and other resources:
National Child Abuse Hotline (1800) 4-A-CHILD or (1800) 422-4453