Beauty Pageant Titleholder With a Forgiving Heart Breaks Away from Traumatic Past

Beauty Pageant Titleholder With a Forgiving Heart Breaks Away from Traumatic Past
PHOTOGRAPH: Jaime Garland | Miss York County Michelle Nelson during the pageant in 2016.

One of the difficult things most people can do is to forgive those who have been inflicted with great harm. Michelle Nelson, Miss York County 2016, had a traumatic childhood. She was molested at the age of five.

It was a very scary moment for her, and she did not understand why God the Protector would allow such situation to happen. She did not tell anyone for years.  She later expressed that she did feel “dirty” and “worthless.”

It took a while for Michelle to come to terms with what happened to her. Before long, she gave her heart to God at a Bible camp.   However,  the abuse that was perpetrated (it went on for several years) had become ingrained in her consciousness, and it made it difficult for her to understand God’s love.

Michelle, later on, confessed that there were moments when she would look in the mirror and feel suicidal thoughts creeping in.  Depression set in when she was growing up. She did not want to admit nor accept what had happened. She felt shackled.

Another Life Blow

While attending Bible college, Michelle opened up to her sister about the abuse.  It was a relief, but another blow struck.  Michelle’s healing was derailed when she was drugged and raped at 21.

Even after the second traumatic incident, she placed her faith and trust in God. She started to realize that she can rise and mend the broken pieces within her. She also learned how to forgive.

A Biblical passage, Romans 12:19 says: “ Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.  Finding solace and strength in God, Michelle put the broken pieces of her life together.

Back in June 2012, Michelle tweeted, “As Christians we need to forgive the inexcusable because God forgives the inexcusable in us.” It may be difficult, but it can be done.

In Between the Difficult Circumstances & Contentment

At certain points in her life, Michelle felt her dignity and identity ripped apart. She became a “lost” young lady who felt like she did not have any worth. She partied hard, drank alcohol a lot, and even became a stripper.

Michelle got a call from her mother, who learned how Michelle was living. Her mother reminded her that God would never give up on her. After two years of running from God, Michelle turned and ran hard towards the Lord. In a way that no man really could have saved me, God saved me,” Michelle said.

Crowning Glory

When Michelle was crowned Miss York County, Pennsylvania, 2016, she gave the glory back to God.  She considered it one of the many signs of God’s power and presence in her life.

After being bestowed the title, Michelle Nelson used her influence to help people “rise above” their harrowing past. She set out to work with a strip club outreach program and became involved with the women’s group “Unmask York .”   She is currently the ambassador of Shared Hope International.

Michelle also became an author, singer, and motivational speaker. With the passage of time, she found her way back to God, and basked in His loving presence. Michelle continued to grow through God’s word, wise counsel, and honest friendships.

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