I started writing more than two years ago. In my books and my blogs, I am always trying to be transparent and authentic. For two reasons, one, I’ve realized if you can’t be authentic, there isn’t much point in writing. And two, I’ve realized someone can learn more from my mistakes than my successes. And, there have been plenty of mistakes.
So in all transparency, my world has been rocked over the past few weeks. My faith has been, and still is, tested.
It started with a routine baseline mammogram – that turned out to be not so routine. In fact, I had to go back for a follow up and some other tests last week, only to hear that it’s “Probably benign. Come back in four months, and we may have to biopsy then.”
What? I’m 36, as of last Saturday. This was supposed to be a baseline for comparison, they weren’t supposed to find anything!
And then yesterday, I hear that my dad wants to visit my grandparents for Thanksgiving. The same dad who sexually abused me for more than seven years, molested me, photographed me naked, raped me, and essentially trafficked me to other men. The same dad who condemned me to hell for leaving home to escape that situation, the same dad who hasn’t been in touch with anyone in our family for 15 years because he left with my mom and brother and moved away, bitter because my grandparents wouldn’t ostracize me. (Ostracize – I had to look that up to make sure what it meant) The same dad who raised me to think that health or car insurance was from Satan, that paying taxes was a choice, that social security numbers are the “Mark of the Beast” and that women shouldn’t cut their hair or work outside the home. That dad. The one whom I decided not to to press charges against, thinking that the best course of action for me and my family was to simply move on, forgive, and try to heal. And pray he didn’t abuse someone else. I’ve lived with that decision – right or wrong – for more than 16 years.
Now, he wants to walk back in to my family’s life for Thanksgiving like nothing happened? (And you thought YOUR family holiday dinner was going to be stressful!) No apology, no remorse, no contrition, just “Oh, by the way I’m coming to visit.”
In all transparency, when I heard that yesterday, I just wanted to ask God, “Hasn’t that man caused enough pain to me and my family?” My next thought was, “Could I please have a different problem? I don’t want to deal with this one.”
I know that’s silly – as if we could choose how we will be tested. God didn’t promise life would be fair or easy, simply that His grace would be enough.
“…and He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ …Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities…in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ~2 Corinthians 12:19
So in all transparency, I’m asking for an extra dose today. An extra dose of peace, and strength today. I’ve shared my scars with you – from the battle I fought before. And though Him, I am victorious. I am healed. I have forgiven. But, that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten about the past. We all make mistakes. I’ve made mistakes – and I share many of them in my books and blogs. I’m certainly not saying I’m perfect. We all make mistakes. And, we can ask forgiveness for those mistakes. But, there are consequences, earthly and heavenly, for those mistakes.
Maybe my mistake was not going to the authorities 16 years ago because, honestly, selfishly, I knew I didn’t want to go through the questions, the legal stuff, the complete stripping of privacy that an investigation of sexual abuse and child molestation by my dad would have caused. I’m not making excuses – I was desperately clinging to shreds of who I should have been without years of shame, abuse, and hurt. But, if I had gone to the authorities then, I wouldn’t today be changing my Thanksgiving plans to avoid an ugly family scene. I wouldn’t be writing a 700+ word blog on how we make choices each day that determine our future. And, I wouldn’t be realizing the price of my choice back then was the sacrifice of some peace today.
What’s worse is, I don’t know if I’m making the same mistake or a different one now.