Discovering how to be loved again

By 
  • April 4, 2008

{mosimage}CALGARY - Colette Martinez is the proud mother of baby girl Gemma, named after St. Gemma Galgani of Italy. Yet, the innocence and beauty that Martinez sees in the face of her newborn daughter is something that was abruptly taken away from her as a young girl.

“There was a time at about seven years old when someone slightly older than me touched me in inappropriate ways,” said Martinez, 26. This sexual abuse went on for a few years and contributed to Martinez’s negative self image as a teenager.

“I felt insecure about myself and about my body. I felt my body was bad. I felt that I was damaged goods. I thought who would want me if they knew that had happened. I struggled with feeling unlovable.”

Martinez ended up in a couple of relationships as a teenager that reinforced these negative thoughts about herself. She dated “guys that would say you need a boob job. Guys that didn’t care about me. In my search for love I lost myself in relationships and since I had given so much of my heart, emotionally I didn’t want to let it go even if it wasn’t healthy.

“It was a long road of healing, but God was patient with me and faithful,” said Martinez, the eldest of 13 kids who grew up in Medicine Hat, Alta.

Although Martinez had told a priest about the abuse in Confession when she was 16, the healing didn’t really start until she was 20, toward the end of her year at the John Paul II Bible School in Radway, Alta.

“There were people there that I could talk to about the sexual abuse; it was something that was blocking my relationship with Christ and with myself,” she said.

“Sometimes it was hard to trust God because you wonder where was He. He’s a God who can do anything and stop anything. Bringing it to Jesus and letting Him know how I felt and just being really honest helped. I even told Him I hate men. I didn’t hate all of them deep down, but that’s how I could express it best.”

Martinez said for a long time she felt more comfortable staying in her negative frame of mind rather than trying to change her thoughts.

She found peace through theophostic prayer, a ministry that encourages people to discover and expose a falsehood that they are living and then to have a personal encounter with Jesus through prayer, allowing God to reveal His truth to the wounded person’s heart and mind. Through this ministry Martinez learned how to turn her pain over to Jesus and ask Him to help deal with it.

Eventually, through counsel and prayer, Martinez found the freedom to love again. She met her future husband Javier Martinez at a mutual friend’s wedding. They dated for a year-and-a-half before they were married in 2007.

“Javier is such a blessing to me. He is a man of faith and a man of character,” said Martinez.

To ensure the relationship was a healthy one, right from the start the couple engaged in a chaste relationship. Chastity allows couples to show appropriate affection toward each other based on the maturity of their relationship.

“I felt blessed to have heard about living a life of chastity. I knew it was what God would want of me. I knew it was the right choice.”

They made a personal decision not to kiss until their wedding day. They would show affection by hand holding and using affectionate language. Later on in their courtship they would cuddle.

“I honestly feel so much happiness and joy,” said Martinez, who is grateful for remaining chaste even if it meant having to suffer at times.

“We just had our first baby. What a blessing to experience that with someone who loves me and who’s not going to leave me, who’s dedicated himself to us and to think this is God’s plan for everyone.

“God is faithful. If you just hold on and try your best He will bless you abundantly. The more that you give will be given back to you. God will not be outgiven.”

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