God is so faithful! Between praying for a miracle and getting one, you’ll be tested, you’ll grow, and you’ll learn to trust God more than you ever thought possible. He has brought me through so much and I am still here to say He is more than enough. Thanks for reading my story as it unfolds on this blog. Please, if you are new to the site, read the book from chapter one forward so that you will understand the sequence of events that unfolded in my life.
Chapter Nine: DROWNING IN SORROW
The door to her soul was left open.
Part of her wanted to see what was inside.
The other part of her, the victim,
didn’t want to see. Viewing the inner turmoil,
the coldness within, she felt nothing,
except a sort of demented hilarity.
It’s called “soul murder,” you know.
What’s left of her would always dance under
a cloak of raw fear.
So she loved to pretend she was someone else.
She’d float on the ceiling and play tag with the
The surreal stage below her made her cry for
the sad little girl,
but also made her feel relieved
that it wasn’t happening to her.
The darkness sometimes envelops her
like a shroud that won’t be removed.
Would she always be strumming her own tunes
to cover the vastness of emptiness in her inner being?
My past hit me with hurricane force. I thought I was ok and had no need of emotional healing because I had reached so many women for Christ. I slowly realized that I, too, must begin the journey of walking through what happened to me to reach the shores of deliverance. I had no idea where this journey would take me or how it would affect all of my ministries. I was desperately afraid of the pain of having to face my victimization and what that pain would do to me. I was convinced that I would surely die.
Through the many months that followed I was in torment as I made myself face every incident– the memories, the confusion, disgust, betrayal, and shame I felt when I was violated. I realized the pain was especially intensified because my abuser was a trusted, authority figure–a parent. I was a victim of incest, and so was my daughter. I needed to admit it and face it. Incest is such an ugly word. When it was just me I could stay in denial, or so I thought. But when it was my little girl I could no longer pretend that everything was normal.
Incest is called “soul murder”. A child’s soul, which is made up of the mind, will, and emotions totally shuts down when violated by the family member that is the authority in their life. At that point the precious child’s spirit is covered by shame and confusion that will affect her or him all the rest of their days unless they begin the arduous journey of healing through therapy, support groups, and allowing God to do the ultimate healing through the power of His spirit. For me to begin this journey it took the wake up call that my denial had only served to enable my perpetrator to victimize my own little girl. How could I bear the guilt and horror of it all?
Being a victim had been behind many of the decisions that were not God’s best for me. It pervaded my marriage where I was the one who had to hold it all together in our trials and keep up the illusion of the perfect family. All those feelings from the incest were shoved down and repressed resulting in many deceptions. It took all of my energy to carry the totality of my life and keep up the lie. I learned the hard way if the feelings aren’t dealt with and released through self-assessment, counseling, and prayer they will emerge in some other way. They would show up when I didn’t want them to; in poor health, wrong decisions shrouded by shame, or misplaced anger, and any of a thousand other malfunctions I had just learned to believe were a result of who I was. This, I also came to understand, was at the root of my dogmatism, control, and legalism.
I threw myself at the mercy of the Holy Spirit as my counselor. I was not financially able to afford professional counsel but the Lord put me in contact with a Christian psychologist, a survivor herself, who began to minister the steps to healing I would have to take to walk free from the past. In the months that followed, as I trusted Him to show me these steps, I slowly moved towards emotional health and was able to minister to my child. It was through this recovery process that I wrote and published the poem at the start of this chaper.
God is a God of miracles, not only in the physical realm, but also in the mental realm. I spent months walking through what happened to me at such a tender age. I was “there” again and allowed myself to feel all the horror and helplessness of the travesty against my whole being. Slowly I came to a place of rage and anger at the audacity of this person to not only violate me, but my daughter as well. I came to realize that even though I thought I was protecting Heather, because of my denial, I actually put her into the same unsafe areas I had been thinking would never happen to anyone else but me. It took me a while to realize that I was still operating as a victim at that time and wasn’t seeing clearly enough to actually protect her. I was blind to what that really meant. I thought there had been something wrong with me as a little girl to cause my father to do these horrible things to me, and this feeling remained intact as I grew to be a woman. Because of this thinking, it happened again to my own child. “After all”, my attacker quipped, “You turned out so good I thought it wouldn’t hurt her”. My father seemed to be unable to portray any remorse at the pain he caused us other than being caught. This filled me with the sickening reality of the pattern of victimization that existed in our family line.
I believed that I was the reason it happened to me; that I was the bad person. I was told I would destroy the family if I “told”. Thus, the power of my perpetrator was in the “secret”. Once I realized that, I became determined to not only expose this issue in the Christian community but would do all in my power to make sure it never happened again in my family. I became a fighter with determination to expose the enemy by shedding the light on all the dark areas. So this became my new ministry and it was with a transparency I never knew. It was difficult letting down my walls after so many years of being someone else but with the strength of God I would focus on healing from childhood victimization.
Incest and molestation is an insidious pattern that travels down through generations in families. The only way this pattern or “curse” can be broken is through exposure and bringing the darkness it instills into our souls to light. The power of the “secret” has to be broken. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. It took me many years to reach the point where I was willing to hear the voice of the Lord in this and then expose it.
Incest also affects not only the victims but the victim’s families as well. My precious son, Jason, who was a teenager at the time all of this was exposed was profoundly confused and hurt. His life changed that day as well. Our life would never hold the innocence that it originally had. In one moment he lost respect for both of his beloved Grandpas and was confused as to what had happened to his sister. I hurt so badly for him. He lost the close connection with his Dad as my husband also moved into denial at this point and convinced himself that this could not have happened to his family. I had never told even my husband about my own victimization. Twenty five years of marriage and he was totally in the dark about my past. My whole life was one of masks it seemed. All those years of ministry and family life and I had this “secret” inside of me the whole time.