It’s funny how a glance in a photo, the scent of an old shoe, or the touch of a wool jacket will bring back a memory or two from a far distant world. To see faces from long ago, only to feel the joy, laughter, and the pain once again. In the recesses of the mind, dark cellars were left untouched.
My feet brush soft grass.
Stillness fills damp air.
Bones lie six feet under.
No hope for a prayer.
Waters rage in life’s sin.
Innocent dreams are dead.
Wrongs are silent within.
The passion for love
is lost in life’s yesterday.
The gravedigger rests
as dreams and hope decay.
A child wistfully played. With innocence she laughed through each day. Her holidays were filled with anticipation and wonder. Each day began with sunshine breaking through her window. With her siblings she romped and played, growing with promises of happiness.
At daylight she realized Heaven was not on this Earth.
Her family moved as often as the military gave orders. But that didn’t bother her. She just took life as it came. With each move came a new room, new school, and new friends.
The day finally came when their military life ended and home became the region of their relatives. The first year or so was thrilling as she reconnected with cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents; relationships that she was not able to develop while abroad.
Her tenth birthday approached with great anticipation. Her aunt made a cake with a Cinderella carriage on top, complete with her name written in sweet icing. Her new-found friends from houses up and down the street, along with siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents came to celebrate with her.
The details of the actual party faded as memories do with time. Nothing extraordinary occurred. The guests arrived, visited, played games, blew out candles, and ate cake…nothing noteworthy. Only it was her day.
As with every event, all things eventually come to an end. The guests leave full of sweets, and happy to have enjoyed her party. The gifts were opened and the wrapping paper found its way to the trash. A few family members lingered, the men lazily chatted in lawn chairs, and the women cleared and cleaned up the birthday residue in the warm July back yard. As she carried her treasured presents to her room, she noticed Grandpa sitting at the kitchen table sneaking one last piece of cake. He sheepishly grins and asked her if she wanted just one more bite. She supposed since her mom was in the back yard cleaning up, she won’t discover he spoiled her dinner with all the sweets. He pulled her on his lap with one arm while scraping a big spoon full of cake with the other. With her mouth full of sweetness, she felt him…pulsing under her lap. Instantly, she knew in her spirit something was not quite right. The cake in her mouth suddenly tasted like sponge. When she tried to climb down off his lap, he held her waist tighter, pulling her to him, sliding his hand – that seconds ago held her cake – between her panties and her…
The above is all I can stomach writing. Oh, the family secrets we keep. Oh, the lives destroyed by those who take innocence for their own pleasure. Her childhood is gone when the joy of being a treasured present is replaced with the worthlessness of discarded wrapping paper. The worst part of the offense is not just the offense itself, but in the reaction and rejection of those close by when the horrors are revealed. Most family members are more worried about their own reputation, especially amongst their religious church mates, so they set out to silence the drama. They hush when she enters the room, like she would not know where their conversation dwelt. Then there are those who cannot let anyone else have more focus than they, countering with their own exaggerated stories purposed to minimize all others. “Oh, that’s nothing, why when I…” Her pain was irrelevant. The path is set through rejection and bitterness, walls of self-protection go up, and thus the victim becomes the villain. Hurt people, hurt people.
I could state all the stats, all the end results, all the laws, but that would be a waste of time. Most intelligent people inherently know the consequences of molestation on its victim, on the families, and on their future relationships. Most perpetrators, rarely a stranger, are fully aware of the damage they cause innocent victims. Yet, it is like a cigarette, once addicted, they just do not have the capabilities of putting that smoke down. Their addiction rules their conscience, even when their exhale is damaging those around them. Their conscience is seared by their physical desires. And the victim is powerless, with no recourse, with no justice. A cancer of bitterness from a life lost burns deep inside.
Where is love?
Where is justice?
Where is freedom?
While the victim hides the hurt, masks the pain, the locked-up memory turns into bitterness. That bitterness evolves into anger, an anger that rages inside. The victim tries to escape the memories, the snide remarks from those closest to her, and the lie of worthlessness given to her by the negative voices in her head. Vengeance and revenge sets in the heart. Self-destruction becomes her way of life. The victim becomes the villain, striking first to avoid being struck. Alcohol, drugs, sex, etc. only leave an empty hole. All she wants is acceptance, to be innocent again, and to be loved…proper. Turning to people to fill her needs and heal her wounds inadvertently causes all the more heartache…so the walls are built, high, never to let anyone emotionally touch her…ever again.
Some stories need to be locked up…imprisoned in the deep recesses of the mind. Evil is a hard pill to stomach, unless one is evil. Once the door is opened, evil will slither its tentacles through your soul. Though we are warned to guard our hearts and minds, our curiosity temps us toward the dark pit.
Some stories need to be told. In 2 Corinthians 1:4 we are encouraged to give encouragement. God comforts us and in turn we comfort others. We read for one of two reasons…for self-help or to escape. God wants to use a tale to benefit others. Countless lives have been changed through the testimony of those who have been through the fire and back.
This…is one such story…
Oh, but the longing…the spirit that won’t rest…the Spirit that gently pulls at her heart…
“Let it go.” he says.
“Oh, but you don’t understand!” she says.
“Yes, I do. I know your hurting heart…for I created you. You are my child and you are beautiful.” he says.
“Then why did you create me to live through this very ugly life?” she cries.
“The world was born with beauty, but sin painted dark black paint over earth’s canvas. While you are in the world, I have provided a resting place in me. Because of my love for you, I sent my son to experience the same sin known to man. He was able to shed blood to break through the bondage of sin, of pain, of oppression, so that you, through him, will have access to Me.” he said.
Forgiveness? But why should God forgive someone so disgusting? Why would He in his perfection accept someone so imperfect? Oh, but the longing, the longing for beauty, the longing for wholeness.
“OK Lord, what do I need to do? I need you to take away this pain. I want you to fill the hole in my heart. Will you even accept me?” she asked.
“Yes, I accept and love you just as I created you. But…you need to forgive.” he said firmly.
“Oh, no. Not in a million years! Do you know what they did to me?” she screamed.
“Yes, I saw. And I saw what they did to my son. And to those who asked and believed in him, I forgave.” he quietly explained.
“But why? How could you?” she cried in exasperation.
His reply was strong, firm, yet compassionate; “Forgiveness is the only way to heal your heart. Let go of your longing for retribution. Leave your vengeance to me. All will one day be held accountable. But, as long as you hold on to your bitterness you prevent my spirit from filling your soul. Unforgiveness, bitterness, and hatred, are rooted in sin, and I am unable to dwell where sin abides. No matter how small the sin; sin is sin. How can I forgive you if you cannot forgive others? Do you want others to treat you with unforgiveness? If you believe I am truth, then trust. Release to me every painful memory, every guilt, and every wrong path you took. Let me wash through you with my pure Holy Spirit, giving you a new life, with a clean heart. I will be your peace, your source of love.” he proclaimed, he promised, he purposed.
Quietly, his light pierced through my dark heart, releasing me from my own oppression.
Joy…such a small and simple word…and yet, so full. Thank you Lord.
Forgive me my complacency
Release my life from apathy.
To you I come on bended knee
Lord consecrate my soul to thee.
Forgive the heart that aches for you
Your mercy left my soul brand new.
I lift the heart you cleansed from sin
Restore to me the Joy within.
I cry, My God I long for you!
Your spirit come as morning dew.
Lord cover me with endless grace
I find my strength in your embrace.
Forgive me my complacency
Your burning fire embrace in me.
In your pure love I will enjoy
Your promised hope and perfect Joy.