Whispersfrommyheart's Blog

Posts Tagged ‘fear

I have done it!

Today, because the state of Virginia no longer has a statute of limitations on childhood sexual assault, I have begun the process of bringing my rapist/molester to justice!!

I’m scared out of my mind. I don’t know what to expect — except the phone call from a Norfolk detective. I mean, I’ve seen television shows relating to this, but this is real life!! I have already spoken to a woman at NCIS (since my rapist was a military member when he assaulted me) who took down my information and story. I tried to remain matter of fact in my statement, but my nerves got the best of me and I broke down.

It’s been a long time since I’ve cried.

I hope to chronicle my journey here so that others, who wish to report their abusers in a non-statute of limitation state, will have the resources to do so.

This journey began with an article I read in Military Times (If I can find the article again, I will post it). The author of the article posted her email address and I contacted her. She, in turn, had the right people contact me.

One of the phone numbers given to me is for the RAINN organization. This organization can help you find your starting point if you so choose to bring your abuser to justice. They will also help you find resources in your area for counseling services.

Today, I begin a new journey. While I wait I ask for your prayers.

Thank you!

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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.

(Courtesy 123RF)
You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed
Psalm 139:16 (NIV).

It was a struggle for me to understand.
Before I was ever born, God knew what would take place in my life… and he let it happen. He knew what those men would do to me, even before they were ever born… and he allowed them to be born. He allowed them to grow into men who would sexually abuse little girls.

Why?

That question plagued me for years. It was the source of my discontent with God. The wall that separated us.

Why? God seemed distant. Cold. Uncaring.

Why became the reason of disbelief.

Why? You must not love me. If God loved me, he wouldn’t have let this happen. He would have protected me. He would have answered my pleas for help.

Why became my reason for rebellion.

Why? If you don’t love me enough to keep me safe, then I won’t love you. God doesn’t deserve my devotion. I will live my life for myself. I will do what I want to do. I will use men the way they used me.

Why became self preservation and protection.

Why? Since you don’t love me enough to protect me, then I will live for myself. No one will get close enough to hurt me that way, ever again. I will keep relationships at an arms length. I won’t be vulnerable again.

Why became the fuel for my anger.

Why? You don’t care! God doesn’t care, so why should I? God doesn’t protect people, he is a distant, angry, uncaring deity that doesn’t deserve me. In fact, I hate him! If I could, I would slap him in the face for tricking me into thinking he did care about me.

Funny, even in my anger I didn’t deny God existed…

It’s hard to reconcile a loving, caring, personal God with the bad taking place our lives. One who knew everything there is to know before we even existed. We associate love and protection together. We love our own children and we protect them… or, we love our brother, sister, spouse and we protect them. We do everything we can to make sure they do not suffer. So, when bad things happen to good people (especially) we can’t wrap our minds around it. It is almost unfathomable to us that an All-Powerful God, who certainly has the ability to stop bad things from taking place, doesn’t.

It’s taken me the majority of my life to come to terms with it. Why? no longer haunts me. Sure, I still have questions, but those questions don’t stand in a gulf between God and me. God really doesn’t mind the questions.

In all of the days God saw for me, before even one of them began, just as our verse states, some one else was making plans. Someone who did not have my best interest at heart. Someone whose plan was to destroy my life with God before that relationship ever had a chance to begin.

The scriptures tell us, in 2 Corinthians 4:4, Satan is the god of this world.

Look at what I John 3:7 & 8 says:

GOD’S WORD® Translation
Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you. Whoever does what God approves of has God’s approval as Christ has God’s approval. The person who lives a sinful life belongs to the devil, because the devil has been committing sin since the beginning. The reason that the Son of God appeared was to destroy what the devil does.

By his Word, we know those who are not following God — obeying his commands — follow Satan, whether they accept it or not. Those men and women under Satan’s power are influenced to behave as he would have them behave, to accomplish his end. He [Satan] used those men, in their sin, to create havoc in my life. The ultimate purpose was to destroy my relationship with God (See John 10:10). To thwart the good plans God had for me (See Jer. 29:11).

God gave those men in my past a choice. They chose to sin against God by disobeying his command. And, they chose to sin against me by giving into their sin. Their choices had no bearing whatsoever on God’s intention for me and my life. Not then, and not ever.

Does that make sense?

One of the greatest things God gave us, other than his Son dying for our salvation, is the ability to make choices. We aren’t robots. We have a conscience that should help control our actions. But, when sin has such a grip on us — and child molesters are definitely held in the grip of that sin — personal control may or may not be that easy.

In my opinion — and this is just my opinion, I haven’t done any research to back this up… yet — Sexual sins are harder to control because of the physical pleasures they produce. The chemicals exploding in our bodies during sexual pleasures are very intimate and personal, and once they begin, are hard to get back under control. This is how I view my rapist, and my molesters. Men, so deeply trapped in their sexual sin, unable to resist the urges that plague their minds and their bodies.

Even though I understand what happened back then, it neither excuses their behavior, nor does it absolve them. I believe, with every fiber of my being they will be held accountable, and if the blood of Jesus has not covered their sin, that particular sin of rape and molestation will be the nails securing the lids on their coffins. They will have to stand before the Living God and answer to him.

Yes, God saw every one of my days, including the ones where terror and pain existed, before even one of them ever came into being. He saw them and provided the way in which those days could be overcome.

Isaiah 61:1 Jubilee Bible 2000
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to preach good tidings unto those who are cast down; to bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound;

That is the message today. God saw every one of your days, before they ever began. He knew the pain and terror that would fill some of those days, and he provided the way for you to overcome. He provided Jesus, not only as salvation for your soul, but as healer for your heart.

Be Blessed and #WalkInTruthToday

Psalm 119:107
I have suffered so much. Give me a new life, O LORD, as you promised. God’s Word ® Translation

I read Psalm 119:107 during morning devotions a couple of days ago. I was struck, in particular, over the sufferings of several friends and families. So many postings on Facebook about the death of loved ones. Personal trials. Heartache. Medical issues. Hurts. Pain. Suffering.

I also was taken back to my own personal sufferings. The life of sexual abuse I endured as a child. The fear suffered through adolescence and early adulthood. They abuse I suffered at the hands of my husband. The heartache of my divorce. Raising my three sons without a godly man in their lives. The sufferings of a single parent: not enough of anything. Loneliness. Depression. Heartache. And, as an adult, suffering through the memory of my childhood. The struggle to become free from the past. Suffering. And, surveying the landscape surrounding me in this space and time, suffering from the loss of my job over two years ago. Running out of savings. Uncertainty of the future. Suffering the loss of my mother — who lived with me for the past 18 years — and the loss of my car, and the loss of my house — all three within six months time.

Pain. Heartache. Suffering.

My life isn’t that much different from anyone else. The whole world suffers. Turn on the nightly news and the suffering of mankind is right in front of us. Well-dressed men and women recite the turmoil, heartache, and debasement of mankind at six, twelve and ten.

Some people suffer for no other reason than pure evil.

There is no rhyme or reason to the suffering of innocent children. Abuse. Abandonment. Starvation. Trafficking.

There is so much suffering!

I won’t lie to you. I don’t have all of the answers. I think I have a tiny piece of understanding that helps me make sense of it. I address the subject in my book Whispers From My Heart more in-depth, but I’ll try to give you the shorter version without compromising the heart of the answer.

Did you know Jesus, the Son of God, had to learn obedience?

It’s shocking to think of, isn’t it?
Wasn’t Jesus the only sinless person who ever walked the face of the earth? He was. Yet, we are told, Jesus learned how to be obedient. Look at the first part of Hebrews 5:8

Hebrews 5:8 GOD’S WORD® Translation
Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient…
Other translations say the same thing.

Why would the Son of God need to learn how to be obedient? Didn’t he already know perfect obedience?

The Perfection of God took on the imperfection of humanity: Human Flesh. Flesh in its fallen state. Drawn toward the propensity to sin. Not only did Jesus fight temptation in the desert for forty days after his baptism, he had to fight against the daily lure of sin in his flesh just like we do. His body was 100% human, and his flesh waged a war against his spirit just as the bible says it does against our own flesh (See Heb 4:15, Gal 5:17, James 4:1 & 1 Peter 2:11). We learn through scripture that He was tempted in every way, just like us, but he did not sin. The one thing we haven’t seen yet is how he learned.

We all know we learn through lessons. Hands on experience. So did Jesus.

Let’s read the entire verse of Hebrews 5:8 Although Jesus was the Son [of God], he learned to be obedient through his sufferings.

So, through suffering, Jesus Christ learned to be obedient.

Hebrews 2:10 GOD’S WORD® Translation
God is the one for whom and through whom everything exists. Therefore, while God was bringing many sons and daughters to glory, it was the right time to bring Jesus, the source of their salvation, to the end of his work through suffering.

The word suffering in the Greek is

:pathéma: that which befalls one, i.e. a suffering, a passion. In particular for verse 10: 1. that which one suffers or has suffered; a. externally, a suffering, misfortune, calamity, evil, affliction

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary says this:

Whatever the proud, carnal, and unbelieving may imagine or object, the spiritual mind will see peculiar glory in the cross of Christ, and be satisfied that it became Him, who in all things displays his own perfections in bringing many sons to glory, to make the Author of their salvation perfect through sufferings. His way to the crown was by the cross, and so must that of his people be.

If Jesus did, and we are to follow his example, then we, too, learn obedience through the things we suffer.

1 Peter 4:13 GOD’S WORD® Translation
but be happy as you share Christ’s sufferings. Then you will also be full of joy when he appears again in his glory.

It’s not pretty.
We, as his followers, are to share in the sufferings of Christ. Just take a look at the way the new church in Acts was treated. Look at the way Christians in third world countries are treated. Martyred. We are greeted with words like, “Love not your life until death,” “He who endures to the end,” and “Pick up your cross.” Those are not words of comfort and ease, my friend. They are words of hardship and trials.

Here in the United States, most of us suffer from the things we bring on to ourselves. We disobey God and suffer the consequences of our own decisions, then get mad at God because he is allowing us to suffer. But suffer we should. That suffering, even if it is of our own doing will be our teacher. We will learn.

Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary has this to say:

1 Peter 4:12-19 By patience and fortitude in suffering, by dependence on the promises of God, and keeping to the word the Holy Spirit hath revealed, the Holy Spirit is glorified; but by the contempt and reproaches cast upon believers, he is evil spoken of, and is blasphemed. One would think such cautions as these were needless to Christians. But their enemies falsely charged them with foul crimes. And even the best of men need to be warned against the worst of sins. There is no comfort in sufferings, when we bring them upon ourselves by our own sin and folly. A time of universal calamity was at hand, as foretold by our Savior, Mt 24:9,10. And if such things befall in this life, how awful will the day of judgment be! It is true that the righteous are scarcely saved; even those who endeavor to walk uprightly in the ways of God. This does not mean that the purpose and performance of God are uncertain, but only the great difficulties and hard encounters in the way; that they go through so many temptations and tribulations, so many fightings without and fears within. Yet all outward difficulties would be as nothing, were it not for lusts and corruptions within. These are the worst clogs and troubles. And if the way of the righteous be so hard, then how hard shall be the end of the ungodly sinner, who walks in sin with delight, and thinks the righteous is a fool for all his pains! The only way to keep the soul well, is, to commit it to God by prayer, and patient perseverance in well-doing. He will overrule all to the final advantage of the believer.

We’ve all suffered. Here on this earth, in this fallen state, we will continue to suffer. And, by those things, we too, like Jesus, will learn how to be obedient to our Father, even to the point of death. Once this life is over, our reward is eternity spent in God’s presence.

This is the life God has promised to those who follow him.

The Apostle Paul tells us the glory waiting for us far outweighs the suffering. I like how the Aramaic Bible in Plain English says it:

2 Corinthians 4:17
For the suffering of this time, while very small and swift, prepares us great glory without limits for the eternity of eternities.

If you would like to do a more in-depth study, you can find more scriptures on suffering here.

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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

Image

Photo Courtesy of 123RF          

           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

(Photo courtesy of Larry Wilson)

I’d never seen Mom so sick in my entire life.  Somehow she had contracted meningitis and strep pneumonia in her blood, and the doctors at John Cochran’s V.A. hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, delivered the grim news to my three sisters and me.   We sat there in stunned silence as the doctor told us that mom was only the twelfth person in the United States to contract these two infections together, and so far, no one had survived.  The doctor didn’t expect mom to regain consciousness, but said she would more than likely slip into a coma and without actually saying it, it was understood that he expected mom to die.

I was devastated.

How could God allow this to happen when He knew how much I needed mom to stay here with me?   She had become more than just the woman who gave birth to me; she was my companion, my confidant, and my best friend.  She had given me support after my divorce, and became a surrogate parent to my three boys.  Because of mom, I had been able to return to work and not have worry about where my children would stay, and how I would pay for it.

It was more than I could bear.

After the doctor left, we began discussing the prognosis.  We were scared, but we disguised our fear with jokes.  Late one night, when my sisters went to the ICU waiting room to sleep, I went into my mother’s room to sit with her.  Mom had been unconscious and thrashing around in bed for three days, and as I sat there watching her; I began to cry and pray; “God, please don’t take her.  I don’t know if I’m strong enough to make it without her.  God, help me to be strong enough to handle your answer.”

Thy Will be done.

When I finished, I remembered I had brought my bible to the hospital and the thought, “I need to read to mom,” popped into my head.  I told the ICU nurse that I was going to read the bible to mom, and she gently warned me, “Don’t get your hopes up, honey.”  I looked at the nurse and told her, “But, I believe in the power of prayer,” and walked through the doors to the lobby.

After I got my bible, I went back into mom’s room and opened it up to Ephesians 1 and whispered the entire chapter to her.  When I was done, I began to quietly sing, and before I finished the first song, mom opened up her eyes and looked right at me!

“Oh my God she’s awake!” I screamed in my head.  At first I couldn’t believe it! She was supposed to die!  I controlled my voice–trying to remember all the other ICU patients–and squeaked out a high-pitched, but soft “Hello!”  I wanted to run and jump, and scream and shout; I was ecstatic, God answered my prayer-and  quickly.  I went to get the nurse and told her mom was awake–but by the time we got back to the room, mom was back asleep.

I felt so good, and after three days of little sleep, little food, and high strung emotions, I felt it was safe enough to sleep.

I was awakened an hour later by the same ICU nurse.  “Is your name Cheri?”  She asked.  “Yes,” I said. (Mom always called me Cheri.)  “Well,” the nurse told me, “your mother is awake, and she is asking for you by name.”  I jumped up from the chair I was sleeping in and ran into mom’s room, but she was asleep again.  So, I went back to the waiting room to lay down again.

I don’t know how long I had been asleep, but the sun was shining when another nurse came into the waiting room to wake me.  “Your mother is asking for all her girls.”  She said.  I got up, smoothed my hair as best I could, and ran to mom’s room.  I’ll never forget the sight that greeted me when I walked in her room.  Mom was sitting up in bed, smiling and talking to my sisters. I knew mom was going to be okay when she looked at me with wide eyes, laughed and said, “Oh, poor Cheri.”  (Making a joke about the way I looked– usually don’t appear in public without perfect hair and makeup.)

Mom left the ICU ward that very same day. Her story circulated the hospital; the hallways, the nurses stations, and even the cafeteria; everyone was talking about the miracle woman, and asking if she was our mom.  Not only did God cause her to survive two deadly infections, her recovery was without side effects from the meningitis!   God miraculously healed her completely, and ten days later, I took her  home.

I remembered to say one more prayer as we drove away from the hospital that day… “Thank you God, you are able to do so much more than I could hope or imagine.” Ephesians 3:20

God sized faith comes in all shapes and sizes. God took my faith, smaller than a tiny mustard seed, and worked a mighty miracle for His glory.  Through that miracle I had the opportunity to speak to an entire hospital about God’s love.

I continue to tell the story of God’s mercy toward my family, and His miraculous power of healing today.