COLUMN: A true story: Abuse victim overcomes her past

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By John Lapp

The author of the following wrote every word on her own with no assistance from me. She had sought counseling many years ago because of personal and marital problems and after several months of her own recognition that much of the current areas of difficulty related to things she had never told anyone about, not even her husband, namely a pattern of sexual abuse brought to her by her father, and mostly ignored by her mother.
When our program of therapy had been completed she presented this writing to me with this request: “Please make copies of this and let everyone know that recovery is possible with hard work and especially help from the Lord.”

When I Was Much Younger
(Author: anonymous 34-year-old mother of three)
When I was much younger, I would pray that God would take all of this confusion and guilt and sin away from me. I couldn’t understand how God could keep giving chances and life to someone who would keep me such a prisoner. How could a God in charge and in control of the universe let someone innocent suffer because of someone else’s sins?
He knew what great injustice was being done. Why did he let it continue? Didn’t he care?
It wasn’t until much later in life that I understood the full impact of what was actually happening in my life. Now I understand the full significance of the rules by which God intended us to live. We are creatures of free choice. He granted us the ability to choose the correct path.
He gave us 10 basic rules to follow, rules to protect the people around us from being hurt by us, and when broken we hurt others, we deceive, and we ruin relationships. I also understand that God is an impartial judge who protects this right to choose.
When I see him in heaven (looking down on me as a little girl praying that her Daddy would either stop doing those awful things or die in a car accident on the way home), I see him crying and trying to make me understand that he was doing his best to make my Daddy change.
I can see him at first gently trying to bring my father to the right side of the law. As the years passed, he would try to nudge him a little harder in the right direction. But as time went on, my father’s heart hardened and he chose not to listen to the Lord. Since God is just, he must uphold “the right” to free choice. His hands were tied. He could not stop my father’s actions. His only other recourse would have been to end my father’s life. But had he done that, I would not have been able to recover from the horror that was handed to me.
Even then, God knew that I had to give all of this guilt back to my father. It had to exchange hands in order for me to truly heal from the pain. Had my father been taken sooner, he would have died and left me not only with this awful secret, but with no way to overcome its insufferable effects on my life.
So now, through a slow-growing wisdom, I see a much clearer picture. I see an empathetic judge listening to the heart-rending cries of a 5, then 10, then 15, then 20-year-old girl. A judge who mourns the hardened heart of a parent who continually sins against his own daughter. And he cries. He cries, because his hands are tied by the law. His law. And he cries because he can’t alleviate the pain — not without imprisoning her for the rest of her life. So he does all he can. He cries. And through his tears and pain I find relief, and hope, and life, but most of all I secure all the love that he had for me then and now and it is enough.

1 Corinthians 13:12-13 says, “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
. . .

There have been many sexual abuse victims, which have been my privilege to assist in their recovery. The author of the above had, in my estimation, a complete recovery especially when she handed the guilt back to her father in a letter she wrote, along with one to her mother.
Her father, as usual in these cases, denied that anything happened, although he was also told by her that she had also witnessed the same pattern happening to her younger sister, which he also denied.
Did the author attempt to have him prosecuted? No, she did not. Some of the reason was due to her recovery, and the ultimate of recovery to her was that she harbored no bitterness.
She knew that God knew how to handle what needed to be done. Her sister chose not to talk about it, and did not receive any help to overcome her abuse.
If you or if anyone you know has been a victim, let that person know that she can get help.
I thank God for her recovery and being able to overcome the long-term effects it had on her life. For more information, call 502-477-2818.