On Getting Tested for HIV

Editor’s Note: Alece Ronzino is an incredibly honest writer, with an incredible story. This is an element of her story that has never shared before. We are honored that she would choose to share it with us.

I was the all-American good girl growing up.

I turned my homework in on time, studied for tests, and got straight A’s. I never drank or smoke or did drugs. I went on mission trips. I never dated. (I was, after all, part of the “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” generation.)

And I saved myself for marriage…

I never even kissed a guy till I met my husband.

We fell in love as missionaries in his home country of South Africa. We got married and pioneered a ministry in the poorest region of the country.

It was the thing of fairy-tales…

So I never in a million years expected I’d ever have to get tested for HIV.

But I did.

Because my husband was unfaithful. And because we lived in the country with the highest AIDS-infection rate in the world.

He was with her for over a year-and-a-half before the truth came out. And when it did, he chose her. Over me. Over the ministry. He walked away from it all, in pursuit of a new fairy-tale all his own.

With my life crumbling all around me, I was forced to face things I’d never imagined.

Like an HIV test.

I couldn’t hold back the tears as vial after vial of blood was taken.

My heart hurt far more than my arm did. I sobbed over the fact that I even needed to get tested. And I wished I had someone there with me. To hold my hand, literally and metaphorically.

My HIV test came back negative (for which I was—and am—overwhelmingly grateful), and I was given some heavy-duty antibiotics to kick any possibility of STD’s. So all is well.

Physically.

But, even two years later

–I’m still trying to process the reality that someone who professed for-life love put me in this vulnerable position.

And I wrestle with feeling that saving myself for him was a waste. (Even when I know it wasn’t.)

I wish there was a pill that could cure my heart of distrust, fear, and insecurities. But there’s no quick remedy for broken trust, a violated heart, and a deep-seated fear of rejection.

All I can do is trust the Healer…

Even when it still hurts.

  • http://www.accordingtoaletheia.com Aletheia

    Alece! It’s hard to even find words to say how powerful this sharing of this part of your story is. (Even now I am pausing…) So please know this: Thank you and yes–to a healing God and to more and more and MORE of trusting this healing God. Oh my yes. May we continue to trust this healing God together. Much love to you this day–

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      “more and more of trusting”… story of my life and journey! thank you, aletheia!

  • http://jcloveslynie.wordpress.com lyn

    Hey,
    i am so lost for words. However, i join with u in giving thanks to the Lord for His faithfulness and mercy and grace, for keeping you safe from HIV.
    Now if the father could do that, He will heal your heart my dear friend..give it to Him one day at a time….He never breaks bruised reeds…as for the Ministry…you are His ministry right now..let him minister to you my friend…..and then it will flow…open up your heart and let his healing flow into your innermost being..He’s faithful and true…one step at a time..he’s not in a rush..He heals completely thats why he went to that cross….He loves you so much….and He’s for you..blessings

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      “you are His ministry right now”… WOAH. i needed to hear that.

  • http://shewritesandrights.blogspot.com bethany

    I’m totally speechless, Alece. My heart aches for your experiences, and yet I praise God that He has taken your broken heart and is using your story to touch the lives of others, and through that is bringing about healing in so many different ways. Thank you for so boldly sharing your story.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      thank you for the amazing encouragement, bethany.

  • http://connienoellewrites.wordpress.com connienoelle

    Alece, you are beautiful and a gifted writer. This piece digs deep into my heart – thank you for sharing this deeply personal and painful story. I resonate so much with the “All I can do is trust the Healer… even when it still hurts” because it’s a daily struggle to trust Him with the whirlwind around me. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      trust is my achilles heel… such a struggle for me in so many ways… praying for BOTH of us today, that we would see His trustworthiness.

  • Jessi

    Alece: thank you for having the strength to share your story. I have traveled down a similar road and after years of struggle without the God I knew from my childhood. I am now thanking the true God I have discovered in my early adulthood, for saving me from a similar fate of disease and pain. In all truth, it will take time but, the true healer will take your heart and make it something new, something that will love in a way that can only be understood after such pain and heart ache. I pray that God continues to soothe your heart and soul from such an ache.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      your words mean so much, jessi. thank you for your prayers for me.

  • http://jeremystatton.com Jeremy Statton

    Thanks for sharing your story, Alece. A preacher reminded me yesterday that by his wounds we are healed. I am thankful that he was wounded so that all of us can be healed.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      by His wounds we are healed… and also, amazingly, by OUR wounds He brings healing to others as well…

      • Anita MW

        I have never heard this perspective before – or at least not phrased in this way. It makes sense that if we are to be imitators of Him, our wounds may have the same results as His. Though this healing and the ultimate the conquering of death and anything else good we are able to accomplish is only because He did it first and shares with us His very nature. We love because He first loved us.
        I will be contemplating this for some time to come.

  • http://everydayawe.com Stephanie Spencer

    So powerful, Alece. Thank you so much for having the courage to share. Thank you for showing that trust in the midst of hurt is possible.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      i have had an anxious few days over this post, so your words mean a whole lot. thank you, stephanie!

  • http://www.spiritualglasses.posterous.com Jennifer Upton

    Love your courage and transparency to share your story. If like me, you are a bit bitter that this is the story you now must tell. I grieved for a very long time that the story I once told could never be spoken again. The once story that I loved so dearly was false. I knew I could not be a teller of lies any longer. When I found out about my husbands affair it was 8 years after it happened. My own affair was 7 years earlier. I contemplated being tested, but to this day never have been. I cringed at the thought of it and through research found the answer I was looking for. The answer that said I would see some sort of sign by this time. I pray my findings are true. But just in case I am going to make a visit to my doctor. You went through this and I should be so wise as to do the same thing. Thank you for sharing.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      wow, jennifer. hearing your decision to now go get tested made my breath catch in my throat. that is huge, i know. i’m proud of you for making that choice and taking that step.

      do your heart a favor and have a trusted, close friend go with you.

      praying for you.

  • http://www.leighkramer.com HopefulLeigh

    Oh, friend. I have no words other than that I love you. Thank you for sharing this.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      that means more than you know, leigh. thank you. love you too.

  • http://www.joyinthisjourney.com Joy @ Joy In This Journey

    Aching. thankful for the negative test, but aching for you.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      i feel your hug, joy. thank you.

  • http://kingsdaughters21.blogspot.com/ Angela De Souza

    I had to have an HIV test too – it was quite frightening. I am so sorry for your pain. God is faithful, He turns everything around for good – I know as I have recieved so much bad turned into good. :)
    xxx

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      it IS frightening… i’m so sorry you had to walk that road as well.

      and thankful for the ways He reaps good from a crop of evil…

  • Yeller

    You’re an amazing woman. You’re “doing it afraidness” and trusting God, not because you FEEL like it but, because He IS for you is…inspiring, challenging. I’m thankful for the goodness of God and for your perseverance that your feet are where they are today. I love that as you’ve grown as a writer through your journey God has opened new doors for you to serve and love and promote His work in the nations!

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      thank you, yeller. i love you.

  • Russ

    You’re beautiful. Your heart is beautiful. Your story is beautiful.

    HE makes beautiful things out of the dust, out of us.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      grateful He does…

  • http://www.prudychick.com Prudence

    Love you friend. Praying for you & your beautiful, tender heart.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      that means more than you know…

  • Colleen

    Alece, everytime you write I marvel at how similar our stories are and I am thankful for the reminder that we NEVER walk alone…in the Spirit (because Christ lives IN us), or in the flesh (because for each of us there is a sister, somewhere, who can and does share our pain, and our growing, and can provide the spark of hope that we so desperately need). Thank you.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      i’m so thankful for the ways He lets us know we aren’t alone as well…

  • http://lindseyvanniekerk.blogspot.com Lindsey van Niekerk

    Would you believe me if I said that, if only partially, I actually understand this too…from personal experiences??

    My heart is hugging you across the ocean today, longing for the day when we will meet face to face and talk through the night with coffee and Rooibos.

    Is it possible to MISS someone you haven’t met? #SillyMe

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      it absolutely IS possible… i feel ya, girl. miss you too.

  • fiona lynne

    I had to get tested for HIV after discovering that my South African boyfriend (ahem, we hadn’t waited until marriage…) had been cheating for six months. It was scary, even more so because I felt very alone. My closest friends were Christians and didn’t know I’d been sleeping with him, so it was one too many confessions in the same month. It came back negative, I was lucky.
    But it does leave a scar. One that is certainly fading as I’ve let the Healer do his work, but I’ll never forget the week I waited for the result.
    Thank you for sharing, Alece. I so appreciate your openness.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      oh my heart… i am so sorry…

      hugging your heart.

  • annie

    I am SO sorry you had to be there alone. I would have gone withyou, had I been available. No one should ever be alone in moments like that.

    You are not the only friend of mine who has had to get tested. Such a scary thing. And you are brave for the sharing.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      sigh…

      thank you, anneth. love you.

  • http://paulinesthoughts.wordpress.com Eva Pauline Scott

    Heavenly Father, hold Alece close to your heart, so close she can feel its beat. Bring healing to her heart as she brings healing to others who needed to hear her story so they wouldn’t feel alone as she had.

    Through Jesus, who knew the feeling of betrayal of a close friend.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      AMEN.

  • http://www.jeremykwalker.wordpress.com Jeremy Walker

    Alece, I don’t even know what to say…thank you for sharing this, I know it will provide even more healing for you.

    I’m so thankful I’ve found what I call, “my little blog community”. Reading yours and so many others words stir so much emotion and passion in me…reading your entry made me realize just how connected we are too God…and how connected He has made each one of us to each other. I honestly hurt for what you experienced, but I’m so very happy and proud that you didn’t let your experiences rob you of what God has so obviously planned for you…that you’ve allowed God to be your first love and let Him lead you. I believe you’re so much stronger than you may even realize.

    Thank you again for sharing this…it means a lot. I’m praying for you…

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      thanks for your prayers, jeremy. i appreciate it!

  • http://justinfalls.com Justin

    Alece – you brave warrioress! God is totally blessing you and others through this sharing. thankful for you and your mighty heart.

    • http://gritandglory.com alece

      thank you, friend!!

  • Morgan

    Your honesty is beautiful! Thank your for your willingness to share this story and wrestle out loud with your journey! You are a world changer!

    • http://Www.Gritandglory.Com Alece

      Wow, Morgan. Thank you.

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  • http://ashleywb.blogspot.com Ashley

    The book of Joel has been oddly comforting to me in times when all is not right in my world. The shocking calamity and oppressiveness of the beginning of the book and stark contrast of the beauty of the promise of repayment “for the years the locusts have eaten.” Thank you for sharing your journey honestly — I pray that you begin to see and feel the promised restoration and faithfulness.

    • http://www.gritandglory.com alece

      “for the years the locusts have eaten”… clinging to that.

      thank you for your heartfelt prayers, ashley.

  • http://twitter.com/ChristianNoob The Christian Noob

    i wish i had something worth saying.
    for now enjoy your time in Ethiopia.

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