Tag Archives: trust

Forgiveness And Healing – Even After Rape

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First, I will start by simply mentioning that this is part two of a two part blog post, centering around rape – and even forgiveness that is possible. I recognize that this is an incredibly sensitive topic, and you may not feel comfortable reading further. No harm in this.

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To everyone reading these words, know this – forgiveness is possible after something as horrible as rape. However, before I go any further, I want you to know that just because I was able to come to a point (years later) that I was able to forgive – I do not expect you to be in that same place — and that’s okay. My prayer for you is that you find peace, whatever you are. If you’re tormented, having nightmares, thinking about ending your life to escape the pain – know that you aren’t alone. However, PLEASE DON’T! Your life matters, and what was done to you does NOT define who you are. Or may have been able to sculpt parts of your life – but it doesn’t have to maintain that hold on your heart.

Recently, I was listening to a message from a pastor (Craig Groeschel – sorry, Craig, if I butchered your name) of a church I’ve never been to. It was a message online. This topic was about forgiveness. He had a little or graph and talked about when we forgive people – it’s not for their sake, it’s for ours. The age old saying that mentions “when you forgive a person, the prisoner it sets free is you” rings so true. In this message, Craig also mentioned taking forgiveness a step further and pardoning people. To recognize that they don’t deserve our forgiveness, and they can’t realistically repay the things they’ve stolen.  That wasn’t all there was to the message – but that was the main part(s) that stuck out and grabbed my heart.

Later that evening, I continued the thought process a lot. The very next day,  I made the conscious decision to write this. A crazy thing happened. I actually also began to pray for these people – that, somehow they’d come to know Him.

Did I send these letters? Nope. Not a chance. Not yet. Plus, I don’t actually have an address to physically send TO anyway. All said, these were written for me. To allow my heart peace. To give my heart freedom.

This is what I had to say:

I’d like to bring up the inappropriate sexual contact. Okay, sugar coating this isn’t going to get us anywhere. You went from inappropriate touches, and advanced to sexual assault, attempted rape and rape. Sure, over time. It was wrong in every way. You stole things incapable of being replaced. You physically hurt me. You broke my heart. You took innocence. As much as you do not deserve it, I am choosing forgiveness. That’s the thing. You DON’T deserve it. But, I didn’t deserve forgiveness of my sins either, but Jesus died a death He didn’t deserve so my sins, and your sins would be washed away – as far as the east is from the west. So, I do not want fear, disgust or hatred to color my vision of you. I want to see you through eyes of grace. I mean it when I say words I never thought I’d be able to utter – you are forgiven. Though I recognize that you took far more than you could ever repay, I want you to forgive yourself for this too. You owe me nothing, and what you did will no longer have that hold on me. I choose to no longer give it power. I know you may not think you need forgiveness, or that you need to forgive yourself, but you should. You deserve joy in your life. You deserve to be loved. You need to know that you are, by virtue of being a human being, loved. Even when/if you’re seemingly undeserving. Walk in freedom today moving forward. I am. Be free to love and be loved. Understand that grace is a free gift, and I want you to have it. Please take care of yourself. Please love and cherish your family. Be a father. Know how much your words have power. Ask yourself if you want your child to only see pain and anger – or if you want him to know love. It’s a choice. It’s a decision. He’ll grow up before you know it. I don’t have to tell you that none of us are promised tomorrow. Love today. Start with yourself.

Okay, and then we have you. You hurt me. You learned from him how to do it. How to essentially hurt me. You learned how to rob my innocence. You knew how to cause fear and self hatred in that way. You should have been able to be trusted. You violated all levels of trust. To feel what you forced me to feel isn’t right. With what you, did you could never repay me. It isn’t realistic to think there is or ever can be justification for sexual trauma or rape. In any form. You took things from me that can never be returned. I am tired of holding onto the hatred, hurt and anger. It’s not fair, and I’m done. I don’t allow this to maintain it’s grasp on my heart. Even though you did terrible wrongs, more than once, I want you to hear the words “you are forgiven” and know that they are yours. Let them free you, as they are freeing me. No, I am not the same person I once was, but I am stronger now. With God’s help, I am able to see you through eyes of grace. Grace, backed with love. You are also loved. I want you to know that God loves you, and wants you to come to Him. Just as you are. Allow your past to remain there. Allow forgiveness to permeate your heart. You don’t deserve it, but not one of us do. I truly hope you cry out to Him and allow Him to give you the same grace, love and hope. You are God’s creation, and thus beautiful. Smile. Know that you are forgiven. I am free of the hold this had on me. I want you to be too.

This was difficult to write in so many ways. However, the freedom I’ve found and the grace and love I truly feel in this moment is like nothing else I can put into words. I genuinely feel the call to prayer for these individuals. I want them to know the freely given grace and love that I know. Though they once caused unbearable pain – I have decided today to not allow that to maintain any form of control in my heart. They are forgiven. Not only forgiven, they are pardoned. They are free. I am free. Blessed by grace, covered with love and filled with hope.

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With God As My GPS

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Last night, I had an enjoyable night out with a group of very special friends. It was an evening of some great food and priceless fellowship. (It’s different when you have no kids present, and to sit and talk with just adults…clearly, I need to get out more!)

After our dinner concluded, we all said our goodbyes. As I went to my car, I sat there momentarily – just trying to get my phone to work (the battery had died at the beginning of dinner) or my GPS to function. Neither was working well.  I find that I should mention that this was a place I’d never been before, and I was not familiar with the area – at all. So, I get my phone temporarily charging long enough to enable maps and get directions. It told me to go north on the street I was on. Great. Head north, then my phone dies again, this time – the charger not even pretending to be going to work.

Thinking I know where I’m going, I go on what became a pretty frustrating (but also amusing) quest just to find the highway again.  I’m glad I wasn’t familiar with the area, or I might have been more concerned to be traveling alone, lost at night.  But, whether you believe in them or not, God’s angels were all around. As I watched police swarming to a blocked up from where I was, I didn’t feel like sticking around to figure out what drama was unfolding.  So, I decided it was time to depart. (This wasn’t the first time I’d pulled over, realizing that I was lost and didn’t need to keep going in random directions…so I’d stop, in hopes of convincing my phone to charge.)

I asked for God’s help. I jokingly (but was serious) told God that if my phone nor GPS were going to work, I needed Him to be my GPS. It was with that, that I felt the strong urge to pull out of where I was parked and leave my current location.  Not only was I supposed to leave, but as I began, I knew I had to do a u-turn just then.  So, I did exactly that. As I did, there were more emergency personnel showing up. I just wonder what has out was going on. But, not curious enough to stick around, I left. With God as my GPS, I felt at peace. I relied on Him, and fairly quickly after that, I found my way, as if is never gotten off track.  I’d already wasted enough time going too far in the wrong direction. I thanked God for keeping me safe, and for leading the way. Our God is faithful -in the big and little things alike.

Just as this situation unfolded and made my evening somewhat unpredictable, this entire experience draws many parallels to life.  How many times have we set out on whatever journey we’re on, heading down the street we believe to be correct, only to find that, in reality, we’re lost – beyond what we can hope to get out of one our own?  As you (collective “you” as I include myself in this) travel down this path, you look around and realize that you’re in unfamiliar (and potentially dangerous) territory.  For you, this “path” might be following a particular dream, goal, job opportunity, etc. – Just sure that you, in your own strength, are capable of getting to your final destination.  Whatever the case may be, you may find that things aren’t turning out as you envision. Sometimes we have very different visions than those that God has for us.  What’s sad is that you could save yourself tears, time and confusion if you’d learn that God is there, forever willing to help. He is faithful in the small and large things alike. He gives us free will though. We can choose to either listen to his directives, or go on about life in our own strength. If, however, we humble ourselves and ask for His direction – to get us back on the proper track – He is, and will remain faithful.

I hope you’ll read the little story of my eventful evening and maybe laugh a little.  More than that, though, I pray you’ll heed my little life lesson. I hope you’ll take away from it how very loved you are, and how much God cares about even the small details of your life. It’s up to you to invite Him in -to be a part of the path you’re on, and to be a part of your life in general.  When He leads, He will not ever steer you wrong.

Have peace today – knowing that it’s never too late to call out to God. He’s listening.