I would have lost heart….

My husband and I decided to get me a new Bible this past week.  The one I was using now was one I got the same night I was first molested.  My rapist would tell me stories and say to always have my bible with me when I was scared.  That it would protect me.  I lost faith because I brought my brand new Bible with me, in hopes I would be protected, but I wasn’t.

Through all the pain and suffering I had to face, I kept my love for God.  I was confused and I was mad that God would make me go through this stuff.  However, I had a grandfather who would sit me down and read me from the Bible.  I had a grandfather that taught me the love of God.

I got a new Bible and can’t wait for my husband to write a message in me. It is purple, my favorite color.  The first thing I read was Psalm 27.  It is one of my favorite chapter of the Bible.

I got to the part where it said, “I would have lost heart, if I had not believed.” That just touched my heart so much.  I connected with it.  I am taking it as my anthem or life saying.  I would have lost heart, if I had not believed.

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Renewed, Remade, and Restrengthened

This past week, I spent at my church camp meeting.  I stayed, in what someone termed as a “Canvas house.” Basically, we all called them tents.  I taught the kids Arts and Crafts, and Art Gallery.  We had a blast.

I felt the tug of God wanting to talk to me.  After I got done teaching, I would go back to my tent and read.  I could feel God wanting to talk to me.  The first book I read was Battered to Blessed, by Brenda Walsh (Here is a link on Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Battered-Blessed-My-Personal-Journey/dp/0816320675)  This woman’s story touched me so much.  Her strength and faith was just so profound for me.  What touched me the most was that her family stood up for her when she couldn’t.  They were like a wall between her and her abusive husband.  They were her champions when her husband wasn’t.  It made me sad that my family couldn’t, well WOULDN’T, do that for me.

Still, I felt the Call of God to go deeper.  So I read God was There by Martin Weber. (Here is a link on Amazon.  http://www.amazon.com/God-Was-There-Martin-Weber/dp/0816323488/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1403547824&sr=8-1&keywords=God+was+there+by+martin+weber)  I was touched by some of the stories about people who had been sexually abused and how they feel guilty after it.  This man wrote of how he was used by God to teach them that the guilt wasn’t theirs.  I cried as tears of guilt ran down my face.  I prayed that God would help me let go of the guilt.  It literately felt like a weight was gone.

I felt like God was calling me even CLOSER.  So I read another book called, Let It Go, by Yvonne Rodney.  (Here is the link: http://www.amazon.com/Let-It-Go-Story-Forgiveness/dp/0812704940/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1403548457&sr=8-2&keywords=Let+it+go+by+Yvonne)  I am pretty sure it is fictional, but I could relate to each character.  That book spoke to my heart so much. 

Here is what I got from all of the time I prayed and spent time reading.  I felt like God was telling me that instead of being bitter and wanting them to basically pay for what they did.  He wanted me to pray for them.  God was calling me to pray for my enemies, well, my family.  So, I spent a whole day asking God if that was what He really wanted me to do.  I was not happy.  I didn’t want to pray for them.  I didn’t feel like they were worthy of my prayers.  However, God taught me a wonderful lesson.

God is a holy.  God is a judge.  HE says that He loves us so much that He will cover our sins with a robe of righteousness.  I gritted my teeth because I didn’t feel like a family that would turn away from their kid, deserves forgiveness from God.  However, God doesn’t want any of us to perish.  Even the person that raped me, God is relentlessly calling them to confess their sins and repent. 

This made me cry.  I didn’t want God to forgive them.  I wanted Him to take vengeance on them for me.  Except, God is a God of love.  God is a God of forgiveness.  He wants to raise us up and dust us off and help us keep going.  I am not trying to excuse what they did to me, even God says that we reap what we sow.  However, I shouldn’t be concerned with how or when they pay.  I should be concerned with praying for their souls.  I should be praying that God will open their eyes to the path that they are on. 

As I uttered the prayer, I felt like God was smiling down on me.  I felt so peaceful and happy.  I felt like the last of the chains they put on me had crumbled into dust.  All I wanted to do was spend time praying and reading my bible to see what the next thing God wanted to talk to me about.

I know that some may find this weird, perhaps even crazy.  This is my journey and I am trying to do as God tells me.  He may tell you to do something else.  I don’t know.  All I know is that I made the right choice in following what I felt God told me to do.

A couple of profound thoughts from therapy

In my therapy, we are talking about things that I lost when I was raped and the way that my parents responded.  A few of the recurring themes of things that I lost were: love, family, respect, self worth, self esteem, protection and freedom.  Then I had a very profound thought.  I thought that if my uncle could have had such a negative impact on me, what kind of positive impact could he have had?  I counted him as a friend and trusted him.  Going through this therapy, I see that I had seen him as a father figure.  So, if he had not molested and raped me, what kind of impact could he have had on me?  It was a very sobering thought. One that is sad because he will have to go before God and answer for that.

Another part of my therapy was that I had to write my responses to my rape.  These were subconscious and conscious things that I did as survival responses to try to protect myself.  A few of those were: I started avoiding him, I started sleeping lighter, I felt that if he didn’t molest me he would do it to my sisters, I struggled with hating him, and I was confused about why he would do this.  Admittedly, I have about six pages of these responses.  Once I got to writing, I didn’t stop for a long time.  It was only then that I realized how bad I truly felt about myself.

Both of these parts of therapy went together.  My response and what I lost were just so profound to me.  I started sleeping lighter meant that I lost protection and safety.  So many of my responses led to the loss of self worth and self respect.  I lost so much of my self image from what he and my parents did to me.  He raped me and my parents took his side, so why did I even matter?  I didn’t even know that I felt like that about myself.  It made me cry because I learned that in the 22 years on this planet, I never once loved myself.

Looking at what I lost and how I felt myself, just shows me just how much God loved me.  When I started college, a few weeks after being raped, I was confused and hated myself.  I blamed myself for a married man’s, my uncle’s, indiscretion, as my parents called it.  I met someone and fell in love.  Turns out that even though I hated myself and felt like I didn’t truly deserve happiness, God was working to put this man and I together.  We elope and he is my hero.  He doesn’t know it, but he is showing me how to love myself.  People say that you can’t love others without loving yourself, not so for me.  I love others and learn to love myself. God placed us together because He knew we belonged together.

I lost my family, but I gained great in-laws.  Not many women can say they love their mother-in-laws, but I LOVE mine.  This past Christmas she and I had a heart to heart.  It was an amazing experience for me because she listened to me and cried with me.  I had a mother that cared about how I felt and that desired to pray with me.  I treasure that memory in my heart.  That is just a tidbit of the relationship we have.  I often tell my husband that I am jealous that he grew up in such a loving family.  Then I remember that I am part of that family now and it makes me feel good.  I know that God orchestrated that, because she very well could have hated me.  She didn’t, and I think it was because of God.

I have a biological mother and for reasons beyond her control, we were separated after 8 years.  Then I was put in a foster home and adopted after 3 years.  That mother was really hard to live under.  I made the joke the other day that if I could survive my adoptive mother, I could survive anything.  Then it struck me that that was just what I have been doing, surviving.  I don’t want to just survive, I want to thrive.  There is a woman that became my mentor in college.  I consider her to be my mom even though she isn’t.  I love her like she was my mother.  We talk all the time and she is such an encouragement to me.  I know that God had a hand in putting us together because I made the joke once that she couldn’t have birthed a girl more like her than I am.  We just clicked and for 4 years now, I am crying so much I can barely write it, she has been like a mom to me.  Today she told me something that made me cry for hours, she said, “My husband and I wish we had been blessed with you as a daughter.” Even writing that makes me cry happy tears.  After living in a family for ten years feeling like I wasn’t really wanted or fit in for a woman that I love to say that just boosted my self confidence so high.

It just humbled me that even though I felt so bad about myself and was blinded by the veil of betrayal, God was looking out for me.  He was placing special people in my life that would show me that even though my family threw me aside like last night’s was cloth, He was putting a loving, caring family in my life that would support and love me.   I had to grieve what I lost to be able to appreciate what I have now even more.  So, the tears I cry now are not for what I lost, but for what I gained.

I am not what they did to me- I am me and that is wonderful.

Today while driving through a state park, I had a sobering thought. I was thinking of everything that had happened to me as I watched the bare trees pass by me.  The feeling of sadness just made me quiet.  I could feel myself sinking back into despair, but I refused to go back.  I refused to drown in sadness. 

Hours later after taking a nap and reading an email, I had this wonderful revelation about myself as I replied to an email.  It was so wonderful I just started crying.  I was so happy to finally see what I have been in therapy to see.  I am copying what I wrote in the email that made me cry. 

“My therapist has been helping me understand the depth of what happened to me.  I was betrayed by all the adults in my life that claimed to love me.  I was shunned by my family for being a victim of a serial rapist that they claim is a good man.  The ‘good man’ that confessed to raping me to my parents. I lost so many parts of me because of them, but I am discovering something beautiful about myself.  I think for the first time in my life, I am falling in love with me!!!  I am learning that I don’t hate myself, I hate what happened to me.  I hate what their actions made me think about myself.  I thought I was worthless because my parents who chose me to be part of their family wouldn’t even protect me.  However, I do have value.  Using that value is going to be so wonderful.”

What I am discovering about myself is that I can be the one that reaches into the depths of ugliness and pull out other survivors.  I can walk into the flame of things people run away from and carry out the hurt.  I can be the person I prayed for when I was younger. I can use what was done to me to help others and to call out the abusers.  I can use my experience to educate others.  I can because I love people and want to help them. 

My beloved Brother

One of my earliest memories was of my biological mother taking a pregnancy test.  I was standing at the bathroom sink with my little toddler hands laced and prayed for a brother.  I got a sister.  I desired a brother so bad when I was younger that when he came along, I took care of him. 

I can clearly remember making him bottles and changing his diapers.  When he was 2, he would hum everything he wanted and I was his translator.  I guess being 6 years older than him, I kind of thought of him as my son in a weird way. 

Dean and I were really close.  We could look at each other and start giggling.  I could never lie to him and he knew that.  We took up for each other as much as we could without getting in too much trouble.  

When he was really little, I would wrestle him.  It was our favorite game.  As we got older, we started playing video games together.  I treasure those memories. 

One time I was reading Dean and Moses the story of Tom Sawyer.  We would play out the book in the yard and pretend we were on an expedition like they were. 

I read a book about a navy seal and told Dean all about it.  He was 8 years old when he decided to become a navy seal.  I helped him with research and encouraged him along the way.  As far as I know, he still wants to be a navy seal. 

When I left to go to school, I missed him so much.  He was the main reason I went home for visits.  Actually, he was the only reason.  I couldn’t imagine a day without him in my life.  He was my June-bug.  A nickname I dubbed him with when he was a tot.  

When I got married and moved away, he called me and told me that I really hurt him when I left and that I needed to get my life on track.  He was spewing out the same vile doctrines that I was taught.  That God would only wait a little while for me to come back to the truth.  I chuckled because I knew he just loved me and missed me.  The next thing he said struck me to my core.  He told me he got on drugs when I left.  He went on to tell me about the role he was playing in the youth group and that he was off the drugs, but he just wanted me to know that I hurt him really bad.  Later I found out that it was just smokeless tobacco that he was calling a drug.  I desired that day to tell him why I left and never looked back, but I couldn’t.

On July 23, I set a text message to my mom and the woman that is married to my Uncle.  I will post it later because it is really awesome.  Basically, I said that I couldn’t allow them in my life because they were protecting a rapist.  I asked them to tell my siblings the truth of why I left, but they are too coward to do that.

They told my beloved brother that I was making up a lie and doing everything I could to protect it.  In reality, I am doing everything I can to make the truth be known of this really sick family. He is so trusting and has such a good heart that I hate to think of him being manipulated by my adopted parents.  I don’t blame him, he doesn’t have a choice but to believe them, he never got to hear my side.

I called him for his 16th birthday in December.  It was all I could think about for a week.  I couldn’t wait to tell him happy birthday.  I called the house first and got my dad.  I basically kept the conversation really short because the last thing I heard him say was he wanted to un-adopt me.  I want to be un-adopted by them.  I remembered that I had my brother’s cellphone number, so I tried that next.

He didn’t answer, but he called back less than 5 minutes later.  I said, “Hi, it’s me, Morgan.”  The next thing I heard was click.  That sound resounded in my heart.  It was like yelling across a canyon and hearing the echos.  It was like a shot to my heart.  It was like electricity pounded through my veins.  All I could do was cry.  The one person I thought in the world that would have my back wouldn’t even let me tell him happy birthday.

The heartbreak that I faced from that was heart wrenching.  I just was dazed.  My beloved brother whom I basically raised, turned his back on me.  It hurt, well hurts, more than I can say.  

I think it is just a side effect of speaking out against the abuse that they made us face.  They are horrible people and that need help.  They have brain washed their kids into believing that I am a horrible person when I did what I had to do to survive.  I know one day that the truth will be known, but until then I know that all I could do was keep loving my brother.