A tear slowly slid down my
cheek as I waited for the funeral to begin. My tears were not tears of grief
for my Uncle who lay in the coffin, but tears of relief. After forty years, it
was finally over or so I thought.
The deep sadness I felt that day was for a little girl of long ago that had had her childhood stolen by this man. He had taken from me treasures far more valuable than silver or gold. He had destroyed my self-confidence, shattered my trust of people, and silenced my laughter. That's a great deal to lose when you are only four years old.
The days that followed the funeral were busy with cleaning out Uncle's house. I was uncomfortable being there but it wasn't until we came across pictures from those early childhood days that problems arose. The memories they brought back were accompanied by horrible nightmares.
Night after night these dreams plagued me. I would wake crying and shaking in fear as I relived those terrible times. As the nightmares grew worse it was more difficult to function during the day. My prayer life began to suffer greatly and soon I found no comfort in God's Word. I became depressed and lonely as I retreated from everyone I loved. My Uncle's death had unearthed the darkest secrets in my life.
Questions haunted me day after day. How could he have done such unspeakable things to a little girl? Why did God let this happen? Why couldn't I put this behind me after all this time? It was over. I was safe. He was dead! Uncle ruined my childhood now was he going to ruin the rest of my life? I felt as though I was losing my mind.
Sexual abuse is a nightmare in itself. It leaves you with a dark place in your life that you can't share. You tuck away those memories hoping they never resurface but now they had.
In desperation I started to share with my husband the "dark secrets" that had been part of my life for so long. As story after story unfolded I realized that I couldn't even remember when he began sexually abusing me but I could remember clearly the day that it ended.
On that day he found me playing alone and told me he wanted to show me something in the cellar. I didn't want to go with him but, as always, he reminded me that I had to obey him. When we got to the cellar he told me that I must never tell anyone about "our secrets" or there would be trouble. Then I knew what he wanted. Even to this day I can remember the fear I felt. (Some fears you never forget!)
As he pulled me closer to him he asked me a question he had never asked before. "How would you like to see how babies are made? You like babies don't you?" I began to cry as I became more and more frightened. "I'm too little to take care of a baby", I told him. Suddenly, with all the strength I could find I pulled away from him and ran as fast as I could to find my Mom. I wanted to tell her what had happened but I was afraid so I just stayed very close to her the rest of the day.
That night after Mom tucked me in and everyone was sleeping I woke up to find Uncle in my room sitting on my bed. Mom quickly responded to my cries of fear. She sent Uncle away and held me until I stopped crying. Sleep did not come easily that night!
I could hear my parents' voices far into the night. Mom was crying and Dad was angry. Dad kept saying that he was going to call the police. Uncle was right, I had made TROUBLE, just like he said I would. I must really be bad if my own Dad wanted the police to take me away.
The next morning I took my favorite doll, sat on the step, and waited for the police to come for me. Day after day I waited for the police but they never came. Uncle never touched me again and no one ever mentioned the events that had taken place. When Uncle moved out I could put all the unpleasant memories of the past behind me.
As a child I never regained my trust of adults. I felt that I was bad and no one really loved me. But one summer something happened that changed my life.
Mom let us attend D.V.B.S. and I heard the Gospel for the first time. I was sure Romans 3:23 had been written just for me. No one had to convince me that I was sinner. It was harder for me to believe that Jesus would forgive me, love me and be my best friend but I did accept Christ as my Savior. And for the first time in years I felt loved!
I ran home to tell Mom that I had asked Jesus to come into my heart. She told me to stop being so silly and go out and play. Yet, in the next four years both of my parents came to know the Lord. What wonderful changes took place in our home and our lives!
Now after all these years my childhood memories were destroying everything that I held dear. My husband continually encouraged me to give the problem to the Lord. Finally, I poured out my pain and agony to my heavenly Father and He began to heal the wounds. Who else can heal the broken hearted?
Without Christ my life would be in shambles. It only takes a news report of sexual abuse for the painful memories to return. Now I run back to my Savior and He gives me peace. The joy of my childhood was destroyed by my Uncle's sinful actions but they could not take away the joy of my salvation!
I've written of these painful events for you who understand my nightmare only too well. Let me encourage you to surrender your pain to the Lord. He will heal the deep wounds you have hidden all these years. Then together we will Praise God that our "dark secrets" are at the foot of the Cross!