I walk into the room, hardly making a noise, but she
jolts out of a deep sleep at stares at me with enlarged, terrified white eyes.
The first time it happened, I laughed because she looked so funny being scared
awake like that. The second and third time, I gasped because her reaction
scared me. I thought she was having bad dreams. But now… now I want to cry when
it happens. Now I know.
She’s staring at me, frozen. I can see her heartbeat in
her throat but she barely breathes. A silent scream.
“It’s okay,” I soothe. “It’s just me. I didn’t mean to
wake you up.”
I still cannot imagine the nightmares this girl has lived
through. It took her a long time to talk about her first rape. It took her
several more years to tell me about the multiple rapes, the break-ins that
would jolt her from her sleep. Sometimes the men would come in numbers,
sometimes only one. Sometimes the men would rape her and leave. Sometimes the
men would sleep next to her all night and leave in the morning. Those nights
she never slept. She never moved. She never lived.
I asked if she ever screamed for help.
Her eyes narrowed and she pulled down her shirt to point
to several scars near her breast. “They told me they’d kill me if I screamed.
You don’t scream when the knife cuts you here.”
If I stopped to process this during our conversation, I
would’ve been paralyzed with pain. Perhaps that’s why I’m so immersed in going
at life here 90 mph 90% of the time. If I give myself moments of quiet, like
right now as I type this, the tears will come. I weep for them. Years ago I prayed
a prayer I didn’t understand at the time. Oh, but I understand it now. I said,
“God, break my heart for what breaks yours.” And I’ve learned that sexual abuse
is perhaps one of the biggest heartbreaks our Father experiences. He weeps.


But the story doesn’t end there. Because then He redeems.
He rebuilds. He restores. And I’ve seen it in this girl’s life. Her remarkable
faith, her unabashed hope, her unexplainable compassion. She has horrid
memories of night, but she refuses to let the scars define her. Perhaps I can
learn a thing or two from this incredible young woman in my charge.

Recent Comments

  • Peg Martin

    Tuesday, 03 Jan, 2017

    As usual, you bring me to tears. Tears for what the girls have and continue to go through. Tears for your mother's heart, tears of Hope as I see God's faithfulness and Restoration for a future with Him.


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