Carla Matmati: Until the Pain Went Away
By MaryRuth Goochee
The 700 Club
I’m Carla Matmati, and you’d never believe how much life I’ve lived in 24 years.
When I was 14, I was molested at school. It made me feel like I was nothing. It made me feel dirty. I was just hurting so badly. I didn’t care what kind of friends I had, just as long as I was accepted.
I really, really love music. I started playing the viola. I think I started singing later. I started playing professionally when I was 14. If I was first chair in the symphony or did well in competitions, then I felt I was something. That’s the only time I felt special.
I went away to college. I did pretty well at first, but I started partying. We had had a party in our apartment, and I ended up getting date raped.
I honestly thought my life was over. I didn’t know how to walk through it. I was living in a nightmare. I would’ve done anything at that point to escape what I was feeling.
I had started drinking a lot, really heavily. Anything I could get my hands on, I would do. I had tried marijuana and cocaine. At night, if I wasn’t at a party, then I would be up or I would pace.
One night I was in the hallway, just by myself. I heard a voice say, “I still want you.” Every time I say it, I feel it all over again. I had an instant realization that Jesus, God, the God who created everything in the whole world, wanted me. He was telling me that He wanted me. So I knelt down and said to Him, “Jesus, I don’t want to die anymore. I want to live.”
I woke up the next morning, and I was happy. I had never felt happiness before like that in my life. I was changed, and it was because of Jesus. He wanted me. I had completely stopped doing drugs, sleeping around, drinking and everything.
I met somebody that I thought was a really good Christian. He pursued me for a really long time and wanted to date me. We had gotten in a relationship, and then we had gotten engaged. Then, just out of nowhere, in his house, he actually ended up raping me. My initial way of dealing with it was to pretend that it never happened. I didn’t know how to be that woman that it happened to a second time.
For a little while I really questioned God, because it would have been really easy to go back to drugs and drinking after being raped a second time by somebody who was supposed to love me. It had crossed my mind, but immediately I just knew that none of those things had ever worked. The only thing that ever worked was Jesus. I would pray. I would say, “Jesus, I need You,” until the pain would go away. Eventually, probably about a year or so later, someone pointed out that I wasn’t the same. I had realized that He had started healing me, healing my heart.
I had a friend at the time who was traveling with Eddie James. They needed a singer, and Eddie heard a little bit about what I had gone through and wanted to help me out. So I went to audition to sing with Eddie James, and I ended up traveling on the road with him for four years. After he heard my testimony, he had me share my testimony at different churches, conferences and places.
I love the way Jesus loves me in my weaknesses. We give Him all of our junk. We give Him all of our pain, and He gives us joy and peace.
When it’s all said and done, when everything has happened, as bad as it is, as rough as it is, that was the path the led me ultimately to Jesus and to knowing Him and feeling His love.
I just have everything I thought I never could have. I have a wonderful husband. I have a five-month-old little girl. I lead worship for children. Some of my best memories in life are when I can put my arms around somebody, and I was able to pray for them and start them on the process of their own healing and restoration in their own walk with Jesus.
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