Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Archive for November 2012

I don’t ever remember not being abused. The memories I do have are sporadic, with gulfs of darkness spanning the length from one memory to another.

However, I will never forget him.

He was supposed to be my father’s best friend. He was married with 3 daughters. I was friends with his oldest. Our families lived in Norfolk, VA. My father was stationed aboard the USS John King, just like he was.

I was afraid of him, *JP. Apparently he had already done something to me the night his daughter asked me to spend the night. They were eating dinner at my house. NP and I were upstairs playing Barbie wedding (Barbie married G.I. Joe since I didn’t have a Ken doll).

“My dad said I could ask you to spend the night.” NP casually told me.

Immediately I stiffened. “Oh, I don’t want to.” I told her.
She understood, “Okay.” NP said and we continued playing.
My father called up the stairs to tell NP her folks were ready to go. I followed my friend down the stairs to the living room.
“Cheryl,” my father looked at me. “Get your stuff to spend the night.”
Fear gripped my heart.
“Why?” I asked, petrified.
“Because you’re spending the night.” My father said.
“But, I don’t want to.” I said, silently pleading my father would take notice of the fear on my face, and forgive me for even thinking about disobeying what he told me to do.
“Why not?” He asked, already irritated that I would make a fuss in front of company.
“Because, I don’t want to.” I said. My heart was pounding in my throat. I couldn’t breathe. I’m sure the whole room could hear the fear running through my veins.
“Don’t be stupid.” My father said sternly, “go get your things to spend the night.”
Fear took over and I began to run from the living room, into the dining room and into the kitchen screaming and crying. “I don’t want to go, I want to stay home!” I pleaded with my father when he came to pull me back into the living room.

He was angry.

“Give me a good reason why you don’t want to go?” My father asked.

Did I tell him what his friend was like? Would he believe me? Would he protect me? Would he still make me go? So many questions went through my mind at that moment. I looked from my father into JP’s eyes. Was he afraid I would rat him out in front of everyone? Would he say it was my fault? Would my father believe JP over me?
“I just don’t want to go. I want to stay home.” I finally told my father with tear filled eyes.
My father swore.
“Cheryl Ann, stop acting like a @#*#@ baby, you’re going and that’s final, now, GO GET YOUR STUFF.”

There it was; I didn’t matter.

I walked up the stairs to get my nightgown. NP followed me. “NP, I want to sleep on the top bunk. Is that okay?” I asked my friend. Since my father wasn’t going to save me, I had to find a way to make it difficult for him to get me.

“I’m sure it will be okay,” NP told me. I felt a little better.

Walking to their car was like a death march. My heart continued to pound. I apologized to my friend for making a scene; she held my hand the whole way to her house.

By the time we were told to go to bed I began to climb to the top of the triple-decker bunk bed. NP stopped me. Her father said I was too big to sleep on top. I had to sleep on the bottom because he didn’t want my weight causing the bed to fall on top of his daughters and suffocate them. I was big for my size, but not that big… maybe this is where my weight struggle began?

I felt doomed. He was going to get me and he knew there was nothing I could do about it. He had won. “Maybe, just maybe, I could fall asleep really fast and he would leave me alone.” I thought. “Maybe I would be okay.”

I heard the soft sounds of sleep from the girls above me. I prayed he had fallen asleep too. “Please God, keep him away from me. Just make him fall asleep.” I prayed. “Please, don’t let him get me. Save me, God, please save me.”

I don’t know where I learned about God. Mom didn’t take us to church that I can remember. Although, there was one time, I can recall standing on the stairs of a Presbyterian Church mom wanted to check out. The Pastor, in his flowing robes, stood there and told me how much God loved me. I remember a hatred welling up in me, and thinking, “If God loves me so much, then why does he let men do bad things to me? Why won’t he protect me?” Other than that, I have no other memory of being anywhere near a church.

About an hour had passed by when I heard the creak of the floor coming from his bedroom directly across the hall. “Oh God.” I thought. “NO. God, please, let him just be going to the bathroom!” I was prepared to beg God, to promise God anything in order to save me from this man.

It didn’t matter. My prayers hit the ceiling and fell like lead around me.

His foot steps were now in the room. Fear choked my breath. My mind, screaming silent cries to a silent God, whirred: “What can I do? Where can I go? Who will save me from this horrible man?”

He sat on the bed. His weight causing my body to turn toward him. I pretended to be asleep. I felt my nightgown go up and my underwear come off. He spread my legs, I closed them. He opened them, I closed them. He cursed under his breath and opened them with more force.

He took my hand. I became frightened by what I felt. More prayers hit the ceiling.

Pain. Hot searing pain.

 
I cried out.

He ran out.

After a few minutes I went to the bathroom and locked the door. I checked to see if I was bleeding. I held myself as I sank to the floor in the corner. I wanted my mom, but I was too afraid of what my father would say. I didn’t think he would want to come and get me… no, I didn’t think I mattered to him.

I froze when a soft knock came on the door. “Cheryl, it’s me.” NP whispered through the door. I unlocked it and let her in.

“I’m sorry my dad hurt you.” NP said. I cried as I told her how much he had hurt me. I told her I wanted to go home, but was afraid of my dad. NP told me not to worry, that her dad would probably leave me alone for the rest of the night.

We stayed in the bathroom for a good 15 minutes when JP knocked on the door. By that time she had been able to revive my spirits, but his knock and voice caused fear to well up in me.

“It’s time for you girls to quit playing around and go to sleep. N., your mother has to work tomorrow so go to bed.”
I think I flipped him off through the door. N.P. laughed.

The next morning, Saturday, was hot. I had brought my swimsuit so we could swim in their pool. NP’s mother was at work and her dad was inside. All three of the girls and I were splashing in the pool when they said to go ask their father if we could have some Pepsi.

“You ask, Cheryl. He’ll let you have it, he likes you.” They begged me.
After a half hour of begging, I gave in to their request. When he came out to check on us, I asked. They were right. He said only I could come in to get them. Once inside he made me open the Pepsi bottles and pour them into each glass. The whole time he fondled me under my swimsuit.An hour later I was allowed to go back outside.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
That took place in the summer of 67 or 68 (I thought it was the early 70’s, but I was informed my dates were wrong) but I remember it just as if it happened yesterday.

My whole life was affected by the abuse I suffered, not only at his hands, but also at the hands of four other friends of both of my parents during the same time period. One taught me how to masturbate so I could “think of him” anytime during the day or night. The other took pornography pictures of me.

I went from being a straight A student to struggling. Teachers sent notes home about my decline in school–those that dared to notice.

My parents never noticed my soul had died that night. I don’t blame them, they were broken and trying to survive with 6 kids in a hostile marriage.

We moved numerous times, but, I seemed to attract the pedophiles.

At the age of 14, I became a Christian. Too many issues associated with that to list, but, I struggled with “being good enough” for God.

After an abusive, short lived marriage I turned back to God, and eventually, in my late 30’s, sought counseling. I had wanted to just die, but I couldn’t take my own life. God seemed distant, harsh, uncaring, oblivious to my pain. I could barely be both mother and father to my three boys. Through a wonderful woman, God slowly began to peel back the layers upon layers of wounds in my soul.

Today, I still struggle with who I am and God’s love, and I continue to experience some depression, BUT, I am just about 100% healed. It took almost 5 years before I could talk about my past without breaking down, and another 5 before I begin writing about it.

Currently, my book “Whispers” (which was published in 2009) chronicles the issues I dealt with during my walk toward freedom from the past. The above story is found in chapter 8, “Dear Daddy Know You Know.”

I maintain a Facebook page under the same name, dedicated to helping survivors overcome the issues of abuse.

2 Corinthians 1:4 gives my suffering purpose.
“…who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” ESV

As well as, Romans 8:28, “All things work together for good for those who love him and are called according to his purposes.” I look at it this way; What Satan meant for my destruction, God is using to lift up other women (and men) whose souls are devastated because of what happened to them.

There is hope. That is my message.

Be Blessed and Walk in Truth today.
~Whispers
Cheryl A. Thompson
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           She watched the disgusting child molester as he stalked his next prey. He had been easy to find. All Grace had to do was hang around the park a few days a week and wait for him to show up. It only took a couple of weeks before Jacob Pine made his appearance. He made her stomach turn. She raked her arm with her fingernails in an attempt to quiet the crawling of her skin. Disgusting.  Grace waited patiently for Jacob to get back into his car to go home. She followed him at a safe distance to find out where he lived.

            Grace checked to see if she had all the tools she needed for when she went back to Jacob’s house. “He wouldn’t know what hit him! He was going to pay for his sins.” She would make sure of that. She had watched his house for several nights and knew Jacob would shut the lights off, and be in bed, by 10 p.m. She would wait until 11 p.m., just to make sure he was asleep before she broke in. She had waited for this day for so long, she was actually excited the day was finally here. She was feeling quite giddy.

            Scenes of her childhood played in the back of her mind. There he was. Jacob Pine. Sneaking across the hallway. She could still hear the sound of the floor creaking. The fear that threatened to choke her breath off. “Oh God! Help me. I shouldn’t be here! Why did daddy make me go”? Grace shook her head to clear the images threatening to overtake her. She had to keep her wits about her. She had a job to do. She couldn’t let memories distract her now. “I wonder if he will even remember me.” Grace checked her watch, eleven o’clock. Time to go.

 ~*~                              ~*~                              ~*~

            Jacob Pine snuggled down under the cover. A smile crossed his lips as he replayed the day. His granddaughter was getting so big. Watching her play at the park brought him so much joy. Because of his past, Jacob was not allowed to make any kind of contact with his grand daughter, but his daughter gave permission for him to watch her from a distance.

            He had grievously sinned in his life. So many children he had damaged. Sometimes, the guilt was so much he thought he would suffocate. Still. He has spent a little over 10 years in jail. He found forgiveness and eternal life, yet, to him, forgiveness had been given too easily. He didn’t deserve it so freely. He needed to grovel; to beg.

            He should have to crawl a mile on broken glass.

~*~                              ~*~                              ~*~

           Grace imagined how the scene would play out once she was inside Jacob’s house. Terrorizing him. Hurting him. Making him scream. Tape. Rope. A knife. A gun was too humane. Jacob didn’t deserve humane…

~*~                              ~*~                              ~*~

Although the names have been changed, the above scenario is based on a true story.

Mine.

Hate. This extreme emotion nearly consumed the majority of my young life. Every day I fantasized about finding the man—the so-called friend of my father’s—who raped me when I was 7 years old. I dreamt of being able to torment him; to exact my revenge on his pathetic life. I yearned for just one moment of revenge when I could expose him for the pedophile he was. My turn to use him for my enjoyment while I ruined his entire life… just as he did mine.

I wanted him to be miserable because I was miserable. I was a mess; his life should be a wreck. I was lost in a dark hole of depression; he didn’t deserve to be happy. He deserved to suffer. I existed in circumstance; he shouldn’t be allowed to flourish.

I imagined searching for this man and inflicting so much pain on him that he would have to beg for his life. Of course, I would have to laugh at such a request. “An eye for an eye,” right? I wanted this man to fully understand that his pain brought me enjoyment. I wanted him to see that his fear and pain was not enough to deter me from what I planned to do. After all, the fear and pain he invoked in me wasn’t enough to deter him from the evil things he did to me. My tears never stopped him from exposing my nakedness, and my innocence, to his vile enjoyment. No, he didn’t deserve mercy.

The hate I felt for this man was real. It was a murderous spirit whispering in my ear. He doesn’t deserve to breathe. I wanted him dead, and I wanted to be the one who killed him. I spent so many years hating this man that plotting his demise is what kept me alive. It gave me a reason to keep marching forward in life. I didn’t think of killing and torturing him every day, but that hatred was always at the ready.

Counseling helped. I learned how to forgive. But letting go of my hatred wasn’t easy. It wasn’t easy to let go of my hatred because that meant retribution was out of my hands. Letting go meant that my rapist’s punishment no longer up to me. The world said I had the right to carry my hatred.

Romans 12:19 says, “Dear friends, don’t try to get even. Let God take revenge. In the Scriptures the Lord says, ‘I am the one to take revenge and pay them back.’”

Is that something I really wanted to do, to put my need for revenge into God’s hands? To trust heaven’s King with the right of repayment I felt I was owed.

Would you?

Could you?

Hate has the ability to color your whole perception. It deadens your heart and poisons your soul. I remember the day God asked me to let go of my hate. I fought him. My heart continued to hurt until I obeyed. Oh, it didn’t happen overnight, but the process brought healing to my heart and peace to my mind

To this day, I do not know if my rapist has ever been caught. I don’t know if he has ever felt remorse, or if he has asked God to forgive him for the sins committed against me. That is between him and God. J.P. will have to answer for what he did.

I encourage you, though, if you are struggling with letting go of hate, obey God’s word and let vengeance remain with him. You will be glad you did.

Be Blessed and Walk In Truth Today.

~Whispers

Thanksgiving brings about cherished memories of families and friends gathered together to celebrate the day set aside to give thanks.  Taste buds are tempted as the smell of turkey fills the kitchen, and stomachs growl in anticipation of the savory treats usually reserved for special occasions.    Relatives arrive with hugs, kisses, and cheek pinches, and happy hearts begin to catch up on each others lives.  No Thanksgiving Day is complete without the laughter shared around the table, and words of thanks each grateful heart gives.

When you think about Thanksgiving, the images I described above enter your mind.   But, as I pondered this topic, I began to wonder what thanksgiving really means.  As I searched my memory, I thought about the birth of my children, but had difficulty finding more expressions of gratitude.  On the way to Church, I asked God why I was having so much trouble coming up with a story on thanksgiving, and I am ashamed to admit what I discovered;  a prevailing attitude of a lack of gratitude.

An attitude of thanksgiving should be the one thing every Christians possess, in spite of their circumstances in this life.  So, as I continued to ponder the meaning of thanksgiving, I had to look at what it means to be thankful.

The “Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary” defines thankful as…

1 : conscious of benefit received

2 : expressive of thanks

3 : well pleased : GLAD

1.         Because of our inability to be pure and holy, in and of ourselves, we deserve death.  Instead, we have a Redeemer, who took our place; took our punishment upon Himself, and spilled His own Blood for our sakes.  It is only because of what Jesus Christ did that we stand before God, holy and without blame.   Are we truly conscious of the benefits we have received through Jesus Christ, the One who gave His all for us?

2.         Matthew 7:11-17 tells about 10 lepers who wanted to be healed.  Jesus told them to go show themselves to the priest, and along their way, they were healed.  Yet only one, when he saw he was healed, returned to express thanksgiving.

Are we just as guilty of failing to express our thanks as the other nine?  Our gratitude is represented by the attitudes of our hearts.  Our outward actions demonstrate the inner intentions, thus signifying to God what we hold inside.

King David prayed in Psalm 139:23-24,   Search me, O God, and know my heart; Try me, and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting. (NKJ)

3.         Satisfied, happy, content, joyful, cheerful, and delighted.  Do any of those words describe your attitude?  Sadly, as long as things are going fine, they described mine, but…

I noticed when the pressure is on, and the stress is mounting, I lost that joyful, contented, and satisfied feeling in my heart.  My first thoughts always seem to be “Why do I always have to struggle through things?”

I came across Isaiah 30: 20-21 just the other day.  Needless to say, it hit me right between the eyes.   “Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. 21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” (NKJ)

Okay, so adversity and afflictions are teachers?  What have I learned from them?  Apparently not enough, as I continue to meet with them; part of my lessons from adversity, and afflictions have shown me what I am lacking in my heart.  The attitude of gratitude for what my Lord has done for me. I had been so busy keeping track of what was wrong, I had allowed circumstances to rule the attitude of my heart. Isn’t that why God allows adversity?  To teach us?

As we think on thanksgiving, we can remember the joyful times of gathering with family and friends, but let each one of us check the attitude of our heart.  Are we expressing a grateful heart with the intent of offering thanksgiving to God?  If not, we can pray as King David did, “Search me O God and know my heart.

Every little girl dreams of the day, when she will walk down the aisle to say, “I do.” Each year, when April rolls around, I remember my day as if it happened yesterday; instead of 25 years ago.

The sky was overcast on the morning of April 12th, 1986. I jumped out of bed and ran over to the window.

“Please let it be sunny!” I prayed, and pulled back the shade.

I was slightly disappointed to see rain falling to the ground, but I wasn’t going to let that dampen the excitement in my heart. Today was the day I had waited for my whole life…I was getting married.

As a little girl, I used to dress up in my mothers wedding gown.  I would stand in front of the mirror, admiring the dress, and how grown up I felt, and daydream about my “Prince Charming” riding up, and sweeping me off of my feet. We would be so in love, and we, along with a house full of children, would live happily ever after.

I was the last one, in my family of 4 girls, and two boys, to tie the knot. I hadn’t planned on waiting until I was 25 to marry; life just happened that way.  But today, I was overjoyed to be getting married. My romantic, childhood fantasies blended with the reality of the day as the clock continued to tick the minutes away. I busied myself getting ready; making sure everything was perfect. As I looked into the mirror, all my fears vanished because I knew “who” I would soon be; I would be his wife. My heart overflowed as I pulled my gown from its protective bag and stepped into my very own wedding dress. Butterflies filled my stomach when the Best Man pulled up to escort me to the church and, on the way, I breathed a prayer of thanksgiving that God had given me this day.  My memories of that day have not faded with time; my special day, filled with well wishers, food, gifts, and festivities; each moment is forever imprinted on my mind.

No one ever plans to fail. When I married, I thought it would be forever, but the life I had imagined was not meant to be. Three and a half years after my wedding, I walked away with two small boys, and one on the way.

As I stand, looking out of the window, on this 12th day of April, 2005, I am amazed at the similarities of these two days, so many years apart. The sky is overcast; rain has drizzled throughout most of the day, and the wind is cold.

“Next year would be 25 years together.” I think to myself.

Every year that passes marks another year for what might have been, and every year, I wonder, did I make the right choice?  Thankfully,  all I need to do is look at my three boys to see the answer. “Yes, you did the right thing.”

God did not call me to live the life of an abused wife. Most women, in abusive relationships, never find the strength to leave. Their children grow up witnessing the devastation and their daughters grow up to marry abusers. My children did not grow up watching their father abuse their mother. They didn’t endure his anger. I took them away from fear and raised them in an atmosphere of love. Together, with the help of our Father in heaven, we broke the cycle of abuse.

Next year, I know the same thoughts and feelings will invade my memory. I’ll fondly recall the anticipation I had all those years ago. But as the day wears on, I’ll hear the heart of Father God whisper,

“This is the Anniversary to remember My child; the day I led you out from the Land of Egypt” and my heart will be assured once again; the journey I have chosen for my boys and me has been well worth the cost.

Proverbs 22:6
“Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” (NKJ)