Right under her parents’ nose, 4-year-old Cornelia Jude (nee Wolf) was sexually abused by a family friend. The “man with the yellow teeth,” as she remembers him, gave her 5 Deutschmark (about $3 US) to keep his secret and tells her all of the candy she could buy with her hush money. She keeps quiet. What she didn’t know then that she learned painfully years later as a teenager is that perverse men would continue to violate her and demand that she maintain their secrets at the cost of her brokenness.
Following years of sexual abuse by her mother’s much younger boyfriend, Cornelia loses any hope that she can have a good life, “I had no goals or dreams,” she remembers. She succumbs to drug and alcohol abuse, truancy, couch surfing to escape a difficult home life, a hard and bitter relationship with her mother, and bouts of depression and self-mutilation. All in an attempt to mask the pain and keep the secrets.
Jaded by her trauma, Cornelia bounces through relationships, numb. As she unconsciously models her mother’s relationship patterns, she wrestles with self-esteem issues that cause her to accept further abuses and infidelity. When she finally meets and marries her husband, Lawrence Jude, a member of the United States Air Force stationed in California, Cornelia continues her pattern of accepting low commitment in exchange for companionship.
When the couple moves to Virginia, a gentle impression that she couldn’t explain led Cornelia to church, a place that she had no regard for previously despite having a believing husband. She decides to visit the church to the disbelief of her husband. What she doesn’t know is that all of the heartbreak, brokenness, and lack of dreams for her life are about to be fulfilled during an unexpected encounter with Jesus Christ.
Mended Faith tells the story of Cornelia Jude through her personal testimony as she shares how the love of Jesus was ever-present with her even when she didn’t know, acknowledge, or understand it. Her message is one of hope for women trapped in a perpetual cycle of secret keeping and self-trauma management.