I have wrestled with my faith in the past.
Once again I am wrestling with my faith.
Cleo my abuser started me in Upper Bucks Christian School, an Independent Baptist church school when I was in Kindergarten. But even before that, the pastor of this church and school said Cleo showed up at his church with me in her car when I was three years old. She claimed she had found me abandoned in one of her apartments or rental properties in Philadelphia.
Years later, when I was 17, this pastor … this man and his wife … adopted me into their family.
I became a Christian as a 16 year-old teenager in this man’s home. I embraced that faith. I took it so seriously by age 17 that I read the entire Bible from cover to cover because I wanted to understand – to fully understand – my Christian faith.
Fast-forward a few years later when I started having flashbacks. By that time in my life, I knew that facing a painful time would be easier with a faith than without it. However, I had the same question that many other child abuse survivors have: “Where was God when I was being abused?” It took me a while to work through this question, with lots of prayer, Bible study, and other forms of reaching out to God for the answers.
Yet here I am decades later, back to wondering “Where was God?”
Recently I’ve been looking over some old documents and pictures from that time. I may discuss the documents I’ve found at some point, but in this post I’m just going to stick with those old black and white photographs. These are pictures of Cow Pasture Rallies thatwere held on Cleo’s farm by the evangelist, Carl McIntire.
In one of these black and white photographs, the barn looms large in background.
The barn where she made me sleep many nights. Hot summer nights or freezing cold winter nights; it was of no matter to her. Once she and Lou finished abusing me and selling my very young body to men for money …
Men who stole my innocence
Cleo would have no more use for me after the ‘customers’ left late at night.
Lou was either already drunk or well on the way there.
Cleo would banish me either to the barn or throw me into the dark basement – barn or basement depended only on her whim.
Recently I was looking at these old black and white photographs. I thought out loud to myself with my adoptive father sitting across the
He laughed as if I had just told a funny joke at a party. I, of course, missed the humor as I see nothing funny about being made to sleep in the barn.
I asked, “Why is it you laugh when I say things like that after I’ve shown you these pictures?” His answer was, “I didn’t know.” [about me being made to sleep in the barn.]
I’m really confused. He claims he didn’t know. I’ve just told him I was made to sleep in the barn, and he laughs? Here is the man who adopted me as a teenager, laughing as I mused out loud about being made to sleep in a barn with farm animals when I was a little girl?
A pastor … a “man of God” … He preaches in the Word of God from his pulpit. Many go to him for advice on spiritual but often for personal matters too.
Why did God allow Cleo to pierce hat pins all the way through the fleshy parts of my upper arms for no other reason than to torture me? Where was God when she beat, cut and burned me because one of the men didn’t pay her the money she wanted as he stole my soul along with my innocence? Where was God when Cleo and Lou sold my little body to men to use for their perverse pleasures?
….Some of the men she sold me to where “men of God” too.
Did God laugh when he looked down and saw me suffering?
Did … God … Laugh?
I think God did not laugh. I think He was pretty angry as he heard someone who preaches in His name laugh about such a thing while the day before this same “man of God” opened the Word. And God did not laugh when I was a child either. In fact, I think God cried …and He still does when I remember all these things.
Added Note: I have chosen to share my story to get the truth out there and to encourage other survivors of abuse, not to create a debate. I will not be accepting negative or abusive comments to protect myself and other victims from additional trauma.
Thanks for understanding.