Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

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Courtesy of The Kelly File

Courtesy of The Kelly File

Jessa Seewald and Jill Dillard, two of the victim sisters of Josh Duggar, broke their silence on The Kelly File Friday night. I watched, intently, to see how they spoke about their abuse, and how they reacted to personal questions regarding said abuse. And, do you know what I saw?

Grace.

Forgiveness.

Mercy.

I saw tears, too, but not where I expected them.

I expected the girls to break down when they were asked about what their brother did. I expected them to react like I did — like so many of us do when we recount our abuse — with tears, anger, and yes, some bitterness that Josh Duggar stole something precious from them — their innocence.

But, they didn’t.

Their body language was relaxed. They looked at ease through most of the interview. They smiled, laughed, and comfortably spoke about what took place in their home. It wasn’t until the subject of the media was brought up that, at least, Jill’s body language changed. She stiffened up and began to cry as she gave her personal feelings about the release of their sealed report. Jill recalled calling her husband on that day, over two weeks ago, when In Touch Magazine posted the police report for all the world to see.

“We’re victims,” Jill Duggar Dillard exclaimed. “How can they do that to us?”

Jill continued to fight back her emotions as she explained how they felt they were being re-victimized “a thousand times worse” than the original offense. She, and sister Jessa, both said multiple times, “We had already dealt with it, we moved on. Josh confessed to us, we forgave him; we moved on.”

So, why can’t America let it go?

Is it because we are disgusted with this kind of “sin”? As well we should be. As one who has endured years of childhood sexual abuse, I can say first hand that molestation is disgusting. It is vile. It is reprehensible. Repulsive. Repugnant. Vicious. Nasty. Shocking. Appalling. And, yes, contemptible. A lot of the posts I have seen over the past few weeks express those very words. Some would like nothing better than to take Josh Duggar out behind the woodshed and execute him. We have no problem understanding, or accepting, the words that express our disgust of Josh’s actions. We applaud those words. We exhort those words. But, there is another word we’ve heard that makes us just as mad as Josh Duggars actions against his sisters and baby sitter. A word that infuriates us and enrages us, and causes us to strike out in shock and disbelief that such a word could even be muttered over such a reprobate .

Forgiven.

WHAT? Forgiven? How could anyone forgive what he has done? He’s a pig. A worm. He doesn’t deserve to live. I’ve seen the words written all over the internet, newspaper sites, blog posts, Facebook statuses, Twitter feeds… they’ve all basically said the same thing. “Josh Duggar is a vile human being, and therefore must be punished in a manner that is acceptable to us.”

But, we don’t get to make that call, do we?

Josh didn’t molest us, he molested his sisters and baby sitter, and they are the only ones who get to determine whether or not he is forgiven. Period. And they chose to forgive him.

Deal with it, America.

I was very impressed by Jill and Jessa. They have given us a peek into something holy. A humble, beautiful example of Agape Love. True love that covers a multitude of sin (1 Peter 4:8). Along with a heart of love, they have given us a clear example of what true forgiveness looks like. A perfect example of how our LORD, Jesus Christ, treats every one of us who repent and turn from our sin to follow him.

The Duggar girls aren’t angry. The don’t exhibit signs of bitterness. They aren’t bashing their brother. Instead, their words toward him are seasoned with grace and mercy. They have said they have dealt with it, they have forgiven him, and they have moved on.

I believe them.

Is it possible, the reason we are so outraged is because we just expect the Duggar girls to feel the same way we do over our own abuses (or how we feel over a family member/friend who was abused)? And, because they don’t we think there must be something wrong with them?

I mean, who does that?

Victims forgive.

Why?

Because forgiveness doesn’t release the offender from the responsibility of his or her actions, rather, it releases the victim from the prison of emotional upheaval and life altering issues caused by the offenders actions.

The Duggar girls understand this.

They don’t need our help. No matter how much we think our two cents (even this blog post) is spot on, they don’t need our help. They’ve got it covered. And, they don’t need the internet counseling sessions. Their family dealt with Josh’s abuse. DCFS cleared the parents, and even complimented them on how they handled the situation. And, certainly, the girls don’t need our criticism for their right to forgive their brother.

These girls have suffered twice now.

It’s time to allow them the dignity to live their own lives with their own convictions.

I was 28 years old with two children, ages one and two, and five months pregnant with my third when I met with a counselor. I needed courage to leave my abusive husband and thought I could find some there.

Counselor: “Tell me about your childhood.”
Me: (Thinking what does my childhood have to do with anything?) “Well, it was a childhood. You know… normal.”
Counselor: “It was happy??
Me: “I don’t know. It was… norm… (a dam of memories breaks open in my mind)… wait, no, that’s not right.”
Counselor: “What isn’t right”?
Me: “My childhood. It wasn’t normal. I was mo… (there is a flood of emotions rising to the surface)… I was mol… (I am having trouble saying the word. My throat is closing off my words. Tears are choking me). I was molested”!

As that realization tumbled to the forefront of my mind, I felt as though my life shattered into a million tiny pieces. Each shard stabbing me with it’s truth. As the details began spilling out, my soul felt like it was being ripped apart. The pain was excruciating. Unbearable.

I don’t know how long I cried, but when I calmed down he asked…

Counselor: “How have you handled all of that”?

The truth is, most of us don’t know how to “handle” what we’ve been through. We’ve turned to food, sex, drugs, alcohol, self harm — other avenues to dull the pain. We don’t want to feel that kind of pain so we stuff it further and further down by any other thing that makes us feel better.

The other part of the truth is, this: We can’t heal unless we allow the reality of abuse, and the pain, to rise to the surface. To be validated. To be known. To be released.

No matter how painful it is, facing our past needs to be done in order to heal. Mine pounced on me while looking for an ounce of courage. I’m glad it did because today, the pain is no more.

What God has done for me, he WILL do for you!

Many nights, throughout my life, were filled with deep sorrow, hours of shed tears, and my mouth open in silent screams. I didn’t know how to verbalize what I felt inside. Dead. Betrayed. Hurt. Shattered. Alone. Desperate. Needy. Just tears and silent screams. I don’t remember saying too much, except, “Oh, God.” But, God still heard me, and understood. It was during this time I wrote the following:

Whispers in the Dark
The darkest, quietness of night
In stillness as you lay;
The only sound or rhythm heard
Are words your mouth can’t say.

The tears that burn your sleepy eyes
A fist in anger clenched;
The cry that asks “Why me, Oh Lord?”
The soul, in anguish drenched.

And though it can’t be verbalized
Into a single word;
A whisper’s heard with every beat
Your heart is being heard.

God hears you, Beloved. Even though you think he has ignored you. Even when you think he doesn’t care. But wait, if you listen long enough, you can hear it. In the stillest, quietness of night, the heart will whisper the tale of its journey to its Creator. And, there in the darkness…God is whispering back.

Excerpt from, “Whispers From My Heart – Emotional and Spiritual Healing from Childhood Sexual Assault.

Do you think God speaks to us through dreams?

If he does, then why can’t we remember most of them?

Scientific research tells us why we can recall some of our dreams, but, it doesn’t clue us in to whether God uses dreams to speak to our hearts.

There are very few dreams I can remember with great detail. I recall bits and pieces of a few others, but most of my dreams are lost in oblivion once I wake up. However, there is one dream, even today, that I can recall as if I just dreamed it last night.

I had a bystander’s view of myself looking into a mirror.

Webworms—what I call Silk-worms—had nested in my hair. They had spun their silken webs; so much so, my hair was no longer visible.   I ran to the bathroom and hung my head over the tub. I grabbed a comb in one hand and the shower head in the other in an attempt to rake and rinse the worms, and their webs, out. But, as I combed, I smashed the worms.  I kept trying, and trying, but, the more I tried, the worse my hair became. The worms kept multiplying, and the more they multiplied, the nastier my hair became. I became frustrated with the sticky, gooey, matted mess that covered my beautiful blonde hair.  I couldn’t see it at all, just the nasty, dark smelly mess from the worms. I put down the comb and began to let the water run over my hair. As I rinsed, the water in the tub began to fill up. As I looked, the water began to turn dark and murky. Bits and pieces of Webworms and shreds of silken web floated on top of the water. I kept letting the water flow over my hair until all of the worms and their webs were gone from my hair, and the water became clear.

For a long time I did not know what this dream meant. It weighed on my heart for months. And then, late one summer day, as I walked along the Tunnel Hill Bike Trail in Vienna, Illinois, God ordained an object lesson for me.

I came across a young Oak tree web worms were just beginning to take over. There were several silken nests spread throughout the branches. I began to think about how destructive these insects were to a healthy tree. The caterpillars had spun their webs and enclosed the tips of the branches. Inside of the web, they feasted on the foliage of the tree. When they ran out of food in one web, they encased another branch and continued eating. Webworms have been known to cover an entire tree making it unsightly. The beauty of the tree can no longer be seen or appreciated because it is hidden. The worms have also been known to strip all the foliage off of a tree within a few weeks, and once they strip one tree, they move on to the next. According to the experts, while their attacks defoliate a tree, the damage is not significant, as the foliage will return the following year.

I pondered that little Oak as I walked. As I thought about it, God suddenly reminded me of the dream. Immediately, I understood the correlation between the assault of the silk worms on that young Oak and the spiritual assault that had taken place in my own life.

Just like the caterpillar’s webs covering the beauty of that little Oak tree, so, too, the lies of sexual assault covered me. There were webs of lust and confusion weaved throughout my childhood. A web of unworthiness embedded into my heart, and webs of emotional, and psychological, lies hiding my true identity. The real me—a redeemed, blood bought daughter of the Most High God—was there, but I was undetectable beneath the webs that had been so carefully woven to conceal me.

I understood my feeble attempts to “fix” what was wrong in my life—represented by the comb in my hand—added to the gunk that was already there. Each time I tried to comb the Silkworms out, I made a bigger mess. The moment I applied just water—representing the work of the Holy Spirit—the worms washed out, and the webs were gone.

The difference between real life and my dream is that the foliage eaten by the Silkworms will return the next year (unless disease hits the tree), but when the true beauty of a life, redeemed by Christ, is hidden beneath the tangled webs of the enemy’s assault, sometimes it can take a lifetime before the beauty of that life can emerge.

Be blessed and walk in truth today!

You knew him once upon a time, so many years ago; He offered you his friendship but, Dear Daddy, did you know?

One night he led me into hell, with terror to bestow; And stole your daughter’s innocence, Dear Daddy, did you know?

That night I pleaded, terrified, ‘Oh please, don’t make me go’; You said ‘Enough! It’s settled now.’ Dear Daddy, did you know?

I didn’t want to go there but, I went there any way; Endured the pain and agony, Afraid of what you’d say.

I didn’t call when he was done, nor think that you would come; Or want to save your little girl, now broken and undone.

I’ve often wondered through the years, why Daddy didn’t see; The fear that was so obvious, and cries that came from me.

And, how could Daddy never see, His daughter’s soul had died; Behavior, attitudes that changed, was evidence denied?

I’ve held this anger in my heart, since I was only eight; I’ve blamed you dad for everything, and given in to hate.

Realities of what you said that echoed through my mind; Became the ache of memories transcending years of time.

But Daddy there is something else, I want for you to know; Despite the pain and suffering, compassion’s seed has grown.

My Daddy’s Who’s in heaven has redeemed my ruined past; He taught me how to love; forgive, and walk through life at last.

There’s one more thing that you must know, straight from your daughter’s heart; if I’m to bridge this gap at all, today’s the day to start.

I’ve chosen to release you from, responsibilities; That once demanded justice for the shame inside of me.

And with release I now forgive your words from long ago; The secret of my troubled past, Dear Daddy, now you know.

Copyright Oct 2009 ‘Whispers From My Heart‘ By: Cheryl A. Thompson

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When God created the human race, He included the fact that men would one day become the shepherds of little girls.  That relationship, between father and daughter, is an important one.  A father is supposed to be both the provider and protector to his daughter(s).  By his example, he teaches his little girl what the manly value and worth is that is placed on her life.  His actions, as well as, his re-actions to her become the perceptions of the life lessons she will carry into adulthood.    His life is a reflection, an earthly representation, of how her Father in Heaven loves and accepts her.  What she learns from her father here on earth becomes what she will believe about her Heavenly Father.

A little girl trusts her daddy implicitly from the moment she wraps her little fingers around his and understands the concept that he is with her.  To a little girl, her daddy is strong.  She isn’t afraid when he is near.  And, when she does become afraid, he is able to calm her.  When she is sad, he comforts her.  A daughter looks to her father with trusting eyes because she has faith that her daddy loves her, and would do anything within his power to help her.  A father not only represents God as his daughter’s Heavenly Father, but this earthly man also becomes the representation of what kind of a man his little girl will eventually marry.  Interestingly enough, daughters learn a lot from the relationship they have with their father…

In the summer of 1970, my father invited a friend, his wife and their daughters over to our house for dinner.  Somewhere during the course of the evening the oldest daughter asked me to spend the night with her.  I immediately replied that I didn’t want to, and thinking the matter settled, never gave it another thought.  Little did I know, but arrangements had already been made for me to spend the night, and when they were ready to leave my father told me to get my stuff.  I can still recall the look I gave him and the absolute terror that filled my heart.

I don’t want to, I want to stay home.”

I’m not sure what transpired between that statement and what I remember next, but the next scene that plays through my mind is one of me running through the house screaming and crying, begging my father not to make me go.  I assume my behavior embarrassed and angered my father, but the words he said to me that evening became the sentence of a prison term that would last for 35 years.

Stop acting like a baby; you’re going”.

There it was.

I didn’t matter…

That night, while his daughters slept in the bunk above me and his wife asleep across the hall, this so-called friend of my father’s raped me…

The message my little girl heart received that night was, “Cheryl, you don’t count”…

Satan accomplished what he set out to do; he convinced that little girl she wasn’t good enough for her father to care about, much less God.  He succeeded in his attempt to twist her perception of her earthly father, and ultimately, skew the perception of her Heavenly Father.  Satan had successfully separated her from God…

Every one of us needs to have an understanding of who our enemy is and what he is trying to do.  The scriptures tell us that Satan’s main purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy (see John 10:10), and that is exactly what he did in my heart…

From ‘Whispers From My Heart’ Chapter 5