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Thursday, August 28, 2008

I don't want to call him Father...

“I don’t want to call him Father.” The following contains adult content related to childhood sexual abuse.

I’m an adult survivor of childhood sexual abuse. As a child my father abused me sexually, physically and emotionally. While the bruises were quick to heal, the emotional scars remain with me to this day. I have struggled with drug abuse, promiscuity and a profound lack of self esteem. The drugs helped create a false reality that was easier to live within than the true reality within myself. I confused sex with love for many years. I used my body as a token and found worth only in physical expression. Because of the experience and the choices I made following I have found self worth difficult to come by.

I confess it was only the grace of God that saved me from myself. But His grace was not accepted easily. A dear friend of mine invited me to church. I remember the preacher talking about God the “Father” and if I would just submit to the “Father” I would be saved. I trusted no one and certainly not someone called “Father”. “Father” to me meant deception and pain. I had submitted to my father for years and the results were devastating.

I went to the next service and the preacher spoke about love, particularly the “Father’s” love. I dearly wanted to be loved. But my last experience with my father revolved around him repeatedly pounding my head into our kitchen floor while he screamed, “I love you.” I didn’t want this kind of love.

The next service was pivotal. The preacher spoke about grace and forgiveness. I had blamed myself for what happened to me. I felt dirty and profane. As the preacher explained that true forgiveness could not be received from anyone other than God, and that God was not a man, something clicked. He spoke about God’s son and the trials, the abuses he suffered. The preacher said the son had done this for me. At first, I thought “what’s the catch?” But then the preacher mentioned unconditional love. The son didn’t have to suffer, he chose to. The son didn’t have to die, he chose to. The son didn’t have to love me, he chose to. At that moment, I decided to believe in this son even though I was still on the fence about his “Father”.

If you are raising a child who has suffered from abuse know this. They need your unconditional love. I’m not recommending a lack of boundaries or rules. I am suggesting that even when they act out, dislike their actions but always love them. Abused children are mistrustful with good reason. Love is something they crave but have a warped sense of receiving. If they push you away, step back but hold on. Keep your faith as they struggle with theirs.

3 comments:

Ruby Nakka - Admin. said...

Dear Shannon, that was very powerful. You couldn't have written that post without the deep sense of peace and courage.

I live in a country today where it is reported that more than 60% of children below the age of 14 are subjected to abuse of some kind including sexual abuse by their own family members.

I am sure your post will be a source of strength to some. I am so glad that you write on our blog and please continue to be our guide in your own ways.

Ruby

Lynda said...

Shannon,

I am so sorry you went through all of this. I am glad though that you have found a peace and hope. I can’t say that I had endured the abuse that you have, but I do want to encourage you to get to know this heavenly Father better. He will not harm you. Look at the book of Job, he did no wrong and it wasn’t his fault and still lots of terrible things happened to him,it was not God who hurt him, but the enemy. Look at how God lavished his love on Job when the enemy was through with him. God did not allow him to be destroyed because He loved him. God wants to shower His love on you too.
It is not your fault what happened to you. God allows humans free will because He loves us and doesn’t want us to go around being robots for Him, making us do things. He wants relationship with us, thus letting us choose what we do and don’t do. Sometimes what people do can cause great harm to another. This is a broken world full of free wills that can,and some do,go around hurting each other. It does grieve God’s heart that you were hurt, you are a wonderful creation that He made and He definitely cares.
I encourage you to grasp hold of him and keep hanging on no matter what has happened or may happen in the future. Trust that He is for you and loves you like no man can. I hope you have a support group of Christian brothers and sisters that can help you to see God clearly as He really is, a true loving Father.
Sadly lots of earthly fathers do not realize that whatever image their kids have of them will pass off on how their children will view God. If the father has been abusive or has abandoned their child then the child sees God as willing of doing that to them as well. But if the child grows and realizes this it can help bring them healing as they know that God is not what human fathers are. He is much greater than any good father on earth could ever be.
I want to thank you for being open and brave enough to write this on the blog to help some parents and kids know how to deal with this hard circumstance.

God Bless,

Lynda

Nimmi said...

Hi Shannon,

I am glad you brought this up. Else I would have done it very soon.

Well, being a victim of CSA my self I can relate to your pain very well.I know how it affected my relationship with my father, brother, friends (male) and husband and all the men who cared for me. We recently saw a therapist and I am a better person now.

In my case it was bloody relative and I was only seven years old that time. It took me less time to heal (once I visited therapist) as it is someone out side (though a relative). It happens all the time in India. I can very well understand your emotions when you said "I dont want to call him father". Yes, This is the first time I am sharing this with someone I have not seen/met. I will definately start working on this issue very soon.

Thanks for writing about this topic.