Posts Tagged ‘Sexual Abuse’

Hesed & Meg

MEG…the Suburbanstein Girl

Written by: Anonymous in Testimonials

SHE – MEG

She was lost…but she didn’t know it… She, Meg, had never been found.  She survived but that’s it.  She was five when she first became aware of the fact that she was different.  That she didn’t wear monster-skin… that she didn’t need it to fit in with the Normals.  She became aware that “they” were not always trustworthy… that her “caregivers” “providers” and “spiritual guides” were all wearing monster-skin.  She assumed she was supposed to as well and figured God did too.

She wandered in and out of the years through the darkness that was seeping into her life. Though it was always present, the darkness slowly started creeping into her awareness like mist, at first barely noticeable. But it became more solid and started sticking to areas of her life and personality.   This darkness seemed to stick with every hurt whenever her reality did not match everyone else’s. People would come into her life and then leave especially once she got attached to them.  This was the monster way.  She had a family member who was a Normal but she abandoned Meg too when death took her away.  Then there was the time her unicorn lost its fragrance… when her father had monster claws but a nice voice…

What she didn’t know is that’s how the monsters make more monsters. She didn’t realize who she was.  That she was not alone.  Eventually the darkness became her friend.  Her security.  She knew it well and it was a constant companion.  It even talked to her.  It reminded her of her monsterness and how worthless she really was.

The darkness had left a shell of Meg by the time she started working in the “normal’s” world.  It became worse every year until her shell became so thin that she actually thought she would break.  To counteract this, more and more monsterness grew to protect her shell.  The razors in place of teeth became sharper…the tears of self- loathing became darker…the thoughts of suicide became stronger.

THEY – The Couple

They had experienced Great Change.  They had a love that was so strong it got them through anything; it radiated from their being because it came from THE GREAT SOURCE.  THE GREAT SOURCE… He is the beginning and the end… HE IS LOVE… and HE reigned in their life.  At the time, though, their Great Change didn’t seem like it was a positive thing. They were left isolated on an island amongst people.  They had and lost the very people they gave themselves to who didn’t seem to reciprocate in the time of Great Change.

They were Normals.  No people skin needed to hide their monsterness because there wasn’t any.  They were amazing. They had no dark mist around them.  They were people of light.  And even though they experienced Great Change they did not lose love.  Nor did they give up on THE GREAT SOURCE.  Their reality matched their lives.  Sure, they had flaws as all Normals do but their light and love seemed to make their flaws disappear. Even stranger, the light and love that radiated off of them seemed to make other people’s flaws disappear too.

They = a man and woman who were married and deeply in love.  They had grown children and many grandchildren and much love in their hearts for everyone.  They thought that THE GREAT SOURCE was done with building their family…

ALONE

At times, Meg could not stand life anymore she would cry out – watching the Normals…wanting to be one…wanting to belong and be known. She felt as though a piece of her dilapidated heart was missing.  She desperately wanted “family” people to love her unconditionally, darkness and all.  She would confer with the Normals she knew but she was told that was “impossible this side of heaven” and that her “expectations were too high.”  She believed in “God” but her God wore monster-skin and didn’t love her really.  Her God saw her needs but didn’t answer and if he did he answered her by allowing more hurt and people to abandon her either because of their monsterness, or because of death.  She was so conditioned to her perception of “God” that when THE GREAT SOURCE was working she didn’t even notice…not even when the evidence of this was right in front of her…

THE GREAT SOURCE

You know how when your heart skips a beat because of anticipation and excitement of something?  Maybe it’s going on your favorite ride, or watching a great movie, or spending time with a pet who loves you know matter what…  well, THE GREAT SOURCE — his love for us is like WAY MORE than all of the wonderful and exciting experiences you have had put together! He, although “he” is a relative term… he could be called “they in one”, “her and him”,  well, we should just stick with THE GREAT SOURCE… loved people very, very much.  Hesed was like a mist but instead of spreading darkness and pain… it wove itself through everything… Hesed was present everywhere and at all times because of THE GREAT SOURCE.  See, Hesed was THE GREAT SOURCE’s unfailing, all encompassing, palpable, permeating, penetrating, gentle, love.  And it began to weave this girl, now shell of a woman, and the couple who were Normals together…

THE MEETING PLACE

Some would say that “God” frequented it occasionally so they hoped to catch a glimpse of him and like rats trained to hit a button to receive food they would go in anticipation of this glimpse, often to be disappointed.

Others would say that THE GREAT SOURCE arranged this Meeting Place… and while Normals were flawed, despite their flaws THE GREAT SOURCE was present with them EVERYWHERE – even in The Meeting Place.  And The Meeting Place became a place of safety and family for Normals and for people trying to get help for their perceived monsterness.   HESED was great in this place.  And it was just this place that the girl now shell of a woman, Meg, turned to.

And they helped.  But they were not what her heart was begging for.   She was loved and accepted and cared for, monsterness and all.  But that was the problem, although she didn’t see it as one. Because she believed in her monsterness and the darkness that had become her friend…it showed to the Normals at The Meeting Place.   And they loved her.  But they saw it, too. Her monsterness and darkness had become stronger than the shell of who she was and it tended to be what people saw.

HESED at Work

Like a beautiful butterfly weaving its way through the world ~ HESED was at work weaving THE GREAT SOURCE’s love throughout Meg’s life.  The man from the couple approached The Meeting Place.  She ignored him.  Why connect?  Only to have yet another prove his monsterness and abandon her?  Meg chose to ignore him.   At The Meeting Place he sat across from her.  She was a bit less impressed with “God” thinking he was trying to set her up for something. (That’s the great thing about THE GREAT SOURCE and HESED, love wins despite people’s misconceptions and jaded interpretations of reality, including Meg’s.)

The man was gentle.  She didn’t see pride in his eyes or any monsterness.  He was nice.  He seemed to see in her what she secretly hoped hadn’t wilted when she adopted her monsterness.  She was intrigued by him.  He spoke openly.  They met over several occasions; each time he seemed to be a Normal.  And there was this light that permeated his being, so much so that his eyes sparkled when he spoke to her.  He introduced Meg to his wife.  Much to her astonishment, the woman was the same way.  When she spoke she was captivating.  Light would pour out of her smile and her eyes showed an acceptance that Meg found comforting.  Over time searing pain began to tear at the girl turned shell of a woman… it was the darkness…because darkness cannot exist in light and the shell of a woman only knew the darkness’ shelter.  The light that the woman and man exuded was inviting and felt so different than anything Meg had ever known…

The MIRROR

Meg saw the bright light, flow through the couple, a light she began to identify as THE GREAT SOURCE.  Every time they interacted with her she began to see herself differently.  Over time they helped her remove the darkness that clung to her life and memories…they helped her say good-bye to the darkness that was her friend, pointing out a true friend who would never tell her she was worthless.  And over time the HESED had woven them close, so close that Meg became who she never knew she could be. She became connected to THE GREAT SOURCE…

And the couple discovered something too.  They had a mirror that they wanted to show Meg one day, to show her what she looked like to them and, more importantly, to THE GREAT SOURCE.   They held it up…and in its reflection wasn’t her monsterness…nor was it the markings of hurt or the gouges that pain had left in her past.   No one saw any stains of self-loathing dripping down her face in her reflection.  Instead they saw something sparkling… something of great worth and beauty on the inside and out.  They saw a Gem… and in that moment THE GREAT SOURCE gave her to them and she went from wishing she was known and wanting to belong… to being THEIRS.  And at that same moment THE GREAT SOURCE filled a Gem shaped place in their hearts that only a daughter’s love could, and they became HERS.

 

When you discover that your wife or loved one is a survivor of past sexual abuse, your world will change. There is no turning back. Standing still is not an option. The unseen minefields ahead can harm rather than heal. How does one navigate those that await? How does one become a source of encouragement, and an agent of growth and healing? What can I do?’ is a valid question.

What follows are some thoughts I’ve shared with those who have found themselves in this very situation. One confession. I did not do everything right. I had no idea of how I would be affected. Nor did I know what to say or do at times. Neither will you. Often when I most wanted to ‘fix’ she simply needed my presence and support. Yet somehow, despite my often fumbling efforts, God brought healing that placed us on a path toward helping others caught in the same trap. That is what God does.

Accept that you are the most important person in her life.

Your loved one needs you to draw near and not pull away. She does not need you to “fix” her or even view her as needing fixing. Instead she needs to be affirmed, held, and loved.

Understand that it will be very difficult to share the details of her abuse with you.

Apart from, or including her counselor, you are the most important one she will ever share with.  Secrets cause distance and isolation. Sharing with you and finding acceptance will result in a deep and intimate bonding. Despite this fact, talking about what happened may bring shame, embarrassment and fear of what you may think or of how you might react. Numbness, fear of having the experience minimized or disbelieved will be huge for her as she reveals her past. Other times when memories surface she may want to know how any of it could be of help to you as her lover, or to the two of you as a couple. The answer is that to be loved and accepted in the face of the unspeakable breaks down the false belief that have held her captive. Beliefs that she was/is dirty, defiled, worthless, and unlovable.

Encourage her to share the specifics of what happened but do not pressure her.

Listen slowly and do not be afraid to cry with her. At times she may be unable to cry even though you will. Do not be surprised if at this. When abused, people often detach or dissociate from the event in order to survive

Be careful of your questions and do not make judgments about her.

If you focus on how the abuse made her feel or has affected her even in your own relationship, she will be able to express even more. As you enter into her sufferings, they will become part of your own.

Pray with her and for her.

Ask God to speak to her as you pray together. Let her hear your voice interceding on her behalf. If you’re not comfortable praying aloud together, then hold hands and pray silently.

Put ego aside and talk about your own sexual life together.

Some abused women may wish sex would disappear but fear telling their husbands. As your loved one remembers and recovers realize that her physical body has memories that get triggered from touch, weight, smells, and certain sexual activities. Remember that none of these reactions are about you. God has an intimacy He desires for your marriage that is beyond words. It exists at the other end of healing…hers and your own. Do not take her inability to respond or the sudden panic she may experience during a moment of intimacy as a rejection of you. It is not.

Deal correctly with your own resentments, anger, and judgments.

If you don’t experience hate, judgment or rage at her abuser(s) you have probably not heard or felt the injustice and the pain of what’s happened to your loved one. Even if you experience an initial time of forgiveness, at some point it will need to become more specific and more personal even for you. As your wife recovers from her PTSD you may be acquiring your own. Don’t handle this alone. Seek help.

Deal with your own conscience.

If you were ever guilty of coercing, intimidating, or forcing someone to comply sexually in any way, then admit it to God and if appropriate, to someone who can help you deal with it. In time you may, with the help of a counselor, share it with your loved one. If you encouraged or coerced pre-marital sex with your wife, then seek her forgiveness.

Educate yourself by reading informative materials or books.

Read what your loved one is reading or what a counselor recommends. Reading will help you understand more of what she has endured and survived, that her healing is not an event but a long process, one of which you are a major part of. Diane Langberg’s, On The Threshold Of Hope and Dan Allender’s The Wounded Heart are excellent resources

Don’t handle this stuff alone.

Talk with those who understand what you are going through and who can help you face your own struggles in a biblical and meaningful way. Seek out those who have walked through sexual abuse and are willing to handle pain in order to help others.

The Pay-Off

Although the journey is demanding, emotionally painful, and at times exhausting, it is worth every minute. Your loved one is worth it, and so are you.

photo credit: ikarl67 via photopin cc

BOB:  Sitting here in this room are many women young and older who have a secret, feel ashamed and blame themselves for what has happened to them perhaps because they were drinking, shouldn’t have been there, didn’t listen to a parent, etc. and are functioning but deep down feel guilty and ashamed even though they were coerced.  What would you say to them?

DEBBY:  It wasn’t until I was able to look back at what happened and picture someone else at that age (innocent, naïve, untouched and ill-equipped) or in that circumstance and the condition I was in could I see that I was not responsible.  Picturing someone else helped me see that the person I was picturing was not responsible and neither was I.  To answer your question: They should talk to someone who will accept them and who can help them… as you have done with me. Also, if there are men who have coerced and used women as was done to me, they need to know that God wants to forgive them and deal with their guilt as they acknowledge it.

BOB: What would you say to parents?

DEBBY: Be the parent and protect your children and teens. Do not be naïve or stupid or live in denial.  Bob, you asked me where my parents were during those three awful years and the answer was that they often left me alone with this “Christian guy” while they were in a different part of the house.  They thought they were doing me a favor, but they weren’t.

BOB:  What would you say to husbands whose wives have been sexually abused or raped?

DEBBY:  They need to do what you did with me.  You chose to enter into my suffering as completely as you could.  You needed to know all that was done to me, not out of curiosity, but to feel my pain.  In order for you to forgive you needed to know specifically what to forgive others for.  Also, what has helped and still is helping me heal is your unconditional love and acceptance and the choice to talk with me on an intimate feeling level about the events instead of sweeping it under the rug.


DEBBY:
Maybe you should share about your pain and how you have had to struggle to forgive.

BOB:  You were taken back at the intense emotional battle that both I and your counselor experienced at learning of what was done to you.  But for us … for me it was as if this had just happened to you and it ripped my heart out…still does.  IT is like fear and intense grief all at once. Fear at what might never have been and grief at the horror and brutality. So I experienced intense anger at the injustice done to you… and awful sadness at how you were treated so disrespectfully as if you had no value at all.  Here is what I shared with our kids when we told them of this. This was after I had already spent a week of anger and trying to forgive, but struggled with it.

One morning my son and I spent about an hour in heart wrenching prayer together as I worked through the forgiveness of all that was done to Deb.  I have a real peace about the forgiveness and at least for now am praying God’s blessing upon those who have brutalized the one I love more than anything.  I was deeply moved when Keith cried out to God thanking Him for sending me into his Mom’s life.  I cry when I think what I might have lost if we had not met when we did. Deb tried to tell me that her life with me has made up for her suffering and mistreatment, but that is not true.  Nothing in all the world could make up for it, but the blood of Jesus has covered it.  That is why I can forgive and so can she. Hatred it too big a burden for me/us to bear.

Genesis 50:20 says “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, saving many lives…” (Restoring…bringing new life to, etc.)

Isaiah 43:18-21 (NIV) “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. … I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.

CAN GOD RESTORE Broken hurting people? The answer is a resounding YES!

DEBBY: Bob, people might be thinking that you knew all about these years of trauma and rape, but you didn’t. Why don’t you tell them what you knew and how we both discovered the truth of what had happened to me.

BOB: I knew of the 3-year relationship (but not its abusive nature) and of a relationship or two during the time in between that and our meeting, but I did not know anything of the trauma or the rapes.

Over the past couple of years I have received some specific counseling training and also encountered a number of women in counseling in and outside the church, who either had been raped, date or acquaintance raped, child raped, and many more who had been molested in many ways.  I began to see some similarities in what some life histories with your life history.  At the same time you had entered the Genesis Counseling Program simply to learn and grow in your faith.  I did not talk to you about it, but alerted your counselor to the possibility of a date rape in your past…to check it out.  She did and all this began to unfold.

DEBBY:  Until recently, I was unable to speak of this period of my life with the freedom and full understanding that I now have.  But on February 10th I began to learn of the true nature of what had happened to me. As I was working through resentments from the past God showed me that I still had some resentment toward the Christian guy who had hurt me so deeply.  As the story unfolded my counselor began to see the reality of what had happened and how what I had blamed myself for was sexual abuse and rape.

I have since learned and understand that those who have been abused as I was for three years and those who have been date raped as I was come out of those experiences believing they were responsible for what happened either because of bad choices (shouldn’t have been there, didn’t fight back, drinking, and more).  Most date rape victims believe they were not raped and were in fact responsible for the event (and I was no exception); Thus the silence for the past 30 plus years.

This is very important: The result for me (understanding rape and what happened to me for what it is) has been freedom and relief from an awful weight I had borne alone and unjustly for decades. I am doing very well, except for the difficulty in sharing this. I have good days and more difficult days, but God is healing my wounds.

BOB:  Deb, What about the memories?

DEBBY: Memories don’t go away, but the sting and the hurtful part of those memories can go away. The hurt and the pain were in what I believed about myself as the result of those awful events (dirty, worthless, unlovable, damaged, etc.).  When those false beliefs are replaced by God with God’s truth then the sting and the hurt of the memory is erased… and as Jesus said, we are made free.

BOB:  Most, women who have gone through this healing process you just described, choose to then never share this with anyone and try to shut it away.  What would you say to them and why?

DEBBY:  Secrecy breeds shame and shame is Satan’s tool to keep you from real and complete freedom.  Real healing is helped along by helping others with what has happened to you.  You have encouraged me all along not to waste the suffering I have gone through. Someone asked me “What is the difference between being able to function really well even as a Christian as I have for the last 30 years and real healing as I am now experiencing?”  If I had not taken the risk of seeking to grow and change… and had not chosen to share this with others, I would never have been able to reach the potential God has for me. Satan was perfectly content for me to stay as I was and function well, but never find full healing and reach the potential God has for me.  If are content with the way we are, Satan wins.  If I were to keep silent about my suffering and abuse all that suffering and pain would be wasted. The goal of my heart and the purpose of my scars that do remain are to help bring healing to others; and that can only happen by sharing my experience and talking about it.

“The hurt and the pain were in what I believed about myself as the result of those awful events…”

Do Debby’s words resonate with you? Do you find yourself caught in a web of lies about who you are because of something that has been done to you? Tune in next week to read more of how God used Debby’s experience for good, in her life and those of others. 

Recently we shared Debby’s heartbreaking story of sexual abuse. It may have struck a chord with you. This week we will reveal the first of a 3-part interview in which her rescue and redemption to healing and wholeness is revealed. Our prayer is that wherever you find yourself on the continuum of abuse and recovery, you will know that God is there waiting, just for you.

BOB: Deb, we have been married for 31+ years; have 4 grown sons with wonderful families of their own, 13 Grandkids with one on the way…and by any standard of measurement we have a great marriage physically, emotionally and spiritually. Would you have thought this possible at any time between your 15th and 19th birthday? What future did you foresee?

DEBBY: On my 19th birthday, just two months before I met you, all I could see in my future was extreme loneliness . . .  Why? Because I believed I was only good for one thing, being used.

BOB: Where was God during all of this?

DEBBY: God was there all the time protecting me from worse harm; from being physically hurt or beaten. I was aware He was there, but I pushed Him away because of how I felt and came to believe about myself (dirty, worthless, unlovable, and damaged forever). I couldn’t believe that God could love me like that. But instead of condemning me God treated me with compassion, reached down and arranged the circumstances in my life that got me out of all this.

BOB: How did all this abuse, this path to destruction come to and end? What was the turn around point or events that allowed you to step out of that and recover?

DEB: The short answer is that it ended when I met you, fell in love and we got married. But there is more to it than that. People have heard our romantic story of you not being able to leave me, turning your car around and asking me to marry you…and us marrying after only 3 weeks of dating. Truth: He brought you into my life at critical points in both our lives and used each of us to bring about a change in the others lives. You were very reckless with your life, thrill seeking, not caring if you lived or died and told me that your life started the day you met me. After we married I recovered my faith and you then came to Christ. I was living without hope headed for ruin, but you pulled me out of that and loved me.

BOB: Deb, at age 19 God reached into your life and gave you a future and real hope. What occurred that enabled you to function so well as a wife and mother in all areas of your life after all that happened to you?

DEBBY: God began to touch my heart as a result of you challenging my Christianity even though it was not evident in my life. I realized how far away I had pushed God and I began to realize that God wanted to forgive me and for me to forgive myself, which I did. Then I chose to live a forgiven life. That enabled me to function well, yet God had more to come: complete restoration and healing from the past.

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