Sacrificial Thanksgiving Lamb

At one point I was living in the pastors home for awhile after I was released from the hospital following being burned.

On Thanksgiving Day Cleo and Felix were also invited to eat Thanksgiving Dinner at their home.  They knew of the allegations.  It was particularly known concerning the allegations against Felix because he had also been accused of attempting to molest another little girl from the Christian school.

I was scared.  Why had Cleo and Felix been invited?

Not only was I afraid of Cleo,  but I knew Cleo would most likely be on her best behavior in front of Mrs. Pastor’s wife.

I was terrified of what Felix would do if he had any opportunity at all.

I was not only scared for myself, I was scared for the pastor and the pastors wife two daughters who were minors at the time.  I knew Felix would try to do something to myself and to those girls.

Felix is the ultimate predator.

I followed the two teenage pastors daughters around as if I were glued to their backs.  Being teenage girls they were more than a little annoyed that they couldn’t shake their tale.

During the middle of dinner Felix excused himself to the restroom.  A few moments later Felix calls out that there wasn’t any toilet paper.

I knew what he was planning.  He was planning to “accidentally” expose himself and worse to which ever unfortunate girl was chosen to fetch a roll of toilet paper.  

I volunteered.  I thought I would have a better chance at avoiding Felix since I had become accustomed to his tricks.

I retrieved a roll of toilet paper from the hall closet.  And I attempted to quickly toss the roll inside the bathroom door.

Felix was too quick for me.  He grabbed my wrist and pulled me into the bathroom with him.  He told me to perform oral sex and threatened me….if I said a word, the pastor would kick me out of his home right away.

Within about a week or so, I was back on the farm with Cleo and Felix. At the time, I thought the pastor had somehow found out, but that wasn’t the case.  It turns out the reason  Cleo and Felix were invited for Thanksgiving was so Cleo could “restore” her relationship with me as it was the plan all along I was to return to the farm.

The two daughters didn’t know until many years later that little Fifth-Grade me was hell-bent on protecting them.  Although they remember Cleo and Felix being invited for that Thanksgiving dinner, When I told them as an adult, their eyes glazed-over as I recounted what happened.  I tend to think they still do not believe or comprehend what happened that Thanksgiving Day 1976.

To be honest, considering what I know the pastor knew, it is a baffling mystery why Felix allowed to be within ten miles of the pastors own young daughters.

Psalm 56-8

 

We are nearing the end of Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

We currently have only a little over 2000 signatures.      

We can do better.  

Please sign and share the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address and deal appropriately with the subject of sexual abuse in faith communities.

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.).

 

 

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Does God Love Even ME?

This past weekend was Easter Sunday. I didn’t make it to church.  I wanted so badly to be able to go to church and not be filled with anxiety and literally break out in hives.  To have a “normal” church experience where I don’t need to find a seat on the end of the row and a direct escape route with nothing between myself and my exit.

As a child, my basic needs were not met.  Food was scarce, and what there was, was seldom prepared or served to me. The private Christian school did not offer breakfast and lunch, so I learned I needed to steal or horde food to quell the familiar hunger pangs.  As mentioned before there  was a pizza shop near the farm.  The stop owner had pity on me, and would  “treat” me to a pizza and soda. His gentle smile and kind words are one of the few positive memories from that time.

Clothes were old and worn. In anticipation of the regular spring and fall shopping sprees someone would give me black trash bags with second-hand clothes. The were a few times when I actually found an outfit I thought pretty enough to feel pleased about but my hopes were ruined by the glances of the girls in school who stared knowingly at my cast-off dresses. The humiliation caused a flush to spread on my cheeks..

My body was sold to child molesters. When I was very young one of them used to tell me that God had created me to be his concubine. The way he presented this  I believed this man was talking about a princess.  When I was old enough to learn what a concubine was,  my response was to feel deeply ashamed.

Both the Christian school and church were harsh places too.  Punishment was quick, sure and harsh

As a result I began developing an anxiety disorder. I became paranoid of breaking even the smallest rule.  I worked harder and harder to be good enough, but never could seem to meet it, no matter how hard I tried.

Although in some ways I grew up very quickly, understanding early on that I had to fend for myself, a part of me remained frightened even when I couldn’t show it.  This has extended into my adult life too. 

Success was because I am too darn stubborn for my own good.  I wasn’t going to quit and be the miserable failure some people had informed me I was destined to become.  I’d show them!


After an assault in my early 20’s, I pressed charges and saw a successful prosecution for the crime committed against me.  Shortly after all of it was over my life began to unravel.  I couldn’t keep it together like I had once been able to do.  All of the pain came to the surface. I mentioned before I was hemorrhaging emotional pain from years of abuse, just as if I would have hemorrhaged literal blood if I had severed my femoral artery.  I was a suffering mess.   The abysmal Christian counseling I received made my suffering worse.  Fortunately, I began seeing an exceptional licensed therapist and we began unpacking all the pain in a safe environment.  I still remember staring at her business card the first time I anxiously dialed her number.

The compassionate voice on the other end answered and within a few days I was sitting in her office where  the dam broke of my emotions, and I sobbed out my story to her. The next few months are a blur, as I treated with professionalism and compassion.  She has never broken my confidence.

After a several months had gone by my therapist recommended that I attend a support group for survivors of human trafficking. Sharing my innermost thoughts and feelings in a group setting was something I did not believe I would ever be able to do. However, after listening to the members tell their stories, I realized that my deepest secrets had been experienced by others. Though some of the details were different, the underlying issues were amazingly similar. The looks of understanding that passed between us gave us all strength to move forward as we were restructuring our lives.

 My coping skills were weak, but as usual, my stubborn streak was a mile long. I devoured the information from the human trafficking support group and completed my writing assignments assigned by my therapist with zeal — much to my therapists delight.

But, my therapist continued to point out that the little girl inside of myself also needed tender loving care.

Gradually I learned how I could stop being a doormat. Slowly, I began to make decisions which reflected my own strengths and desires instead of worrying so much about what others thought of me.    I stopped worrying so much about the future. I took it one day at a time.

I am still a care-taker.  Often still tend to second and third guess myself.  I remain somewhat of a people-pleaser at heart but I now realize that the difficulties which I endured have enabled me to see past the mundane chores of daily life, and to appreciate the need to also care for myself.

The thing I lack and desire with all my heart is to feel secure in the knowledge that God really does love me even as a result of my many physical and also emotional scars. Since God is perfect, I was left with believing that I am not worthy of being loved and protected by Him.  I want to rest and be able to truly believe He’s not disappointed nor mad at me.  That I can come to Him just as I am with all of my shameful scars.  With the pain I still hold in my heart….

Maybe someday…

 

Psalm 56-8

Can You Hear Me Now?

Coming to terms with the abuse is one of the most horrific and confusing things I’ve ever done.  For many years I worked hard to avoid thinking about it because of intense emotions – shame, guilt, sadness, anger, isolation, and complete and utter despair.

Why did I remain silent for so many years?

First of all, I was never completely silent. There were times I had attempted to tell what happened.  Every time I opened up–even a little–I was blamed.  I tried to tell one of my elementary school teachers.  She told me she was going to take me to the pastor.  I knew I would be in trouble for telling those secrets, so I tried to take back what I said, and then was severely punished for lying. As a young teen I tried to open up to a male Christian Counselor to whom I was taken. I had just gotten out I was ‘touched’ when he asked if I’d ever taken part in the sin of masturbation.

So, I shut down.  

Silence became the only “solution,” the only “safe-place”- even though there is nothing further from the truth. The silence turned into the worst tormentor and filled me with pain of the utmost intensity.  But mostly I hated myself.  I believed I was unworthy of love as a result I became a magnet for abusive relationships.  Abuse was what I deserved.

I shut down to up to the point my body and mind could no longer contain the secrets they were holding.

In my twenties something triggered it all and the fact I was molested and sexually abused as a child, not once, but several times, by several different people came pouring out like I was hemorrhaging emotional pain much like if I were to hemorrhage literal blood from a severed artery. I was a suffering mess. I begged for help. One of the things the Christian Counselor did was ask me if I’d enjoyed any part of the sexual abuse that I needed to ask God to forgive me for those feelings.

I was quite young when I was first molested and was completely horrified, shocked and confused.  I was left with guilt on top of guilt– I was responsible for what happened.  

One of the most shocking aspects of my abuse are the identities of the abusers, because they were all those people believe “could never” abuse. They were well-respected married, fathers, and the two farm hands. These were not only people I should have been able to trust, these were the ones who, due to their positions as Christian leaders, had others trust.  As a result when I divulged most of their names, speaking of it would damage the cause of Christ was flung in my face.   I was labeled and rejected and it was incredibly painful for me. I was treated as the cause of the problem.  I was the one destroying their blissful reality that these things just didn’t happen in this corner of Christianity.  The abusers walked away unscathed and scot-free, their sick behavior was defended – while the child I was who had been so brutally violated was accused and left to suffer.  I am the one, even today, many Christians attempt to shut me up by screaming that I’m “just”….bitter, angry, an unbeliever and a laundry list of other labels because I am at last telling of these unholy acts.

It matters not if you dislike my ‘tone’; nor how I respond to your accusations of anger and bitterness.  It matters not if you think I’m doing this because I ‘hate’ the Church or Christianity.  Although those accusations are false there isn’t much I can do or say to change your opinion.  If you truly believe these things, isn’t it best you grant that same love, forgiveness, grace and mercy toward me that you are so keen on granting abusers and those who covered for my abusers?

The facts are; there are no excuses for defending the abusers. Yes, maybe they are ‘nice’ guys, kind fathers, or the all-too-familiar attempt Christians use as justification “he is a man of God” – but this is not an answer and in no way changed the situation. The facts remain that they were my abusers. They are accountable for their actions. The little girl I once was and whom they chose to abuse could not and should not – in any way – be held guilty.

Psalm 56-8

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.).

Angel at the Train Station

One freezing winter morning, probably about zero degrees Fahrenheit, I remember walking to the bus stop.  Upon arriving, I realized no one else who caught the same bus was present.  It was then I realized I had missed the school bus. There was a cold light rain falling.

I was consumed with fear. I couldn’t go home. The train station was nearly empty. So I sat down inside the station on a cold metal bench with my ragged coat and cried.

After awhile, a man approached me, knelt in front of me and asked me what was wrong. I told him, through sobs, of how I walked to the bus stop this morning, and how frightened I felt to go home because I just knew I would get in trouble. He told me that he would walk me home and explained school had been cancelled because sleet was falling

He held out his hand and he walked me home.

When we arrived at the farmhouse, Cleo was still asleep.  Lou met us at the door. Lou was still hung-over from drinking the night before.  The man explained about how school was cancelled and he made sure I arrived home safely.
Later that day the police paid a visit.  Lou put me in the basement and told me to not make a sound as he locked the basement door. I could hear the officer asking if there was a little girl who lived there.  Lou denied it.  The officer asked if he could look around.  I could hear footsteps above me.  Soon, however, the officer thanked Lou for his time and drove away.

I do not know how long I would have sat there at the train station if that man hadn’t approached me.  I was terrified of being punished for missing the bus.   I don’t remember if he ever told me his name.  I don’t even remember what he looked like. What I do know is, he was kind and he attempted to get help.  He was an Angel at the Train Station to a freezing, cold, abused, neglected, terrified little 7 year-old-girl. So many others passed me by … but my angel saw a need and reached out a hand to help.

Do angels call the police?  I don’t know.

Even so, I don’t blame the cop. If you didn’t know to look for the basement door tucked under the stairs, you wouldn’t have found them … or me either.

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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.

Would you please be so kind and sign the following petition asking all professing Christians to better address the subject of sexual abuse?

A Public Statement Concerning Sexual Abuse in the Church of Jesus Christ by Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment (G.R.A.C.E.).

Psalm 56-8