The past week in our house there has been a focus on the Dove House and their annual fundraiser. My husband and I became involved 3 years ago with the Dove House and each year we feel our hearts pulled more and more to become involved with this organization. This year I spent the week really looking over myself again and the decision I made or really didn’t make many years ago. Many people know that my husband was a victim of a sexual predator. When he was in the 4th grade, his teacher earned his trust and that of his parents and changed his life forever. He wasn’t his only victim there were many others, little did we know how many till it all came out. As he grappled with realizing the truth of what happened as he matured and believing that no one would believe him, as the teacher had earned so much trust from his parents and the community, he hid this secret away.
One day while we were dating and soon to be married a door opened where he had the opportunity and chose to give me some insight into this part of his past. Just a little piece of what had happened to him. I chose to listen, question little, and to also never bring it up again. Did I do the right thing? Even with this decision I know God answers prayers, because I have spent our entire marriage not just praying for our marriage, or just for him, but praying for God to heal him. Deep down I always knew that he was suffering and prayed for God to heal this pain. Over those 22 years of pain, I was blessed to watch a slow healing process that prepared him for the time when he would really heal and get the opportunity to tell his story, face his abuser, and feel the relief of a conviction. This alone does not end his healing or my prayers, but God has answered my prayers in helping him find healing. As always I pray knowing that God answers prayers his way as Isaiah 55:8 reads, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” This verse brings me comfort that God was working in my decision.
Now as I look back, I have to ask myself did I do the right thing? Did I make the right choice? Should I have prodded for more back when he first confided in me? Although the answer is yes every time I ask myself, I am thankful that God is in control and in his timing was able to provide my husband with the healing even so many years later in his life. His blessings in our lives reminds me that I am not in control and that he is as Romans 8:28 states, ” And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” and for this I am thankful. I believe that the Lord has been fighting for him all these years even while he was silent.
His silence struck me again this past week while listening to the radio when I heard the song “Still“. The singer, Hillary Scott, spoke about how she wrote this song about the verse Exodus 14:14, “The LORD will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” As I was driving to work, tears just welled up in my eyes, I immediately thought of how my husband had been silent, but then was reminded that the Lord had been fighting for him all these years. He had prepared him for this time. The Lord has been fighting for me as well in my silence. God is Good!
Although, God has blessed us through this healing process by putting great friends around us, new friends who have suffered and understand his pain, and the great people of the Dove House, my heart tells me that I should have done more. I feel it every time I have to tell his story and then my role and feel the guilt for not helping him sooner. I feel the guilt that I know my husband has carried all these years for not speaking up sooner to protect other future victims. I feel it when I think about the demons that have tormented him for so many years. I feel it when I look in his eyes and see a new man now that has been freed of this terrible secret. God gave him a voice at the time appointed, and he would want me to tell you that as he went through this process of court, jury selection, and sharing his story with strangers; he has been struck and moved by how many victims of child sexual abuse have been silently hurting. He shares his story now empowered by God to bring darkness to light and let others know they are not alone.
Our blessing now from God is that forgiveness is real. The promise of John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” is God’s provision through the sacrifice of his Son that causes us to realize that we not only have to forgive easily each other but those who hurt us. It seems so hard, but it is so fulfilling to release the pain and hurt to God and let him be the final judge.
Moving forward we support the Dove House because they do the work that is so desperately needed in our community and so many communities. They support children as they move through the court system and finally recovery. They make it safe to tell the truth and stop the abuse. They save children. I read this verse this week and it reminded me of the Dove House, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.” 1 Corinthians 16:13. The Dove House watches over, stands firm and is strong for those who aren’t. May God continue to bless their work as they help others heal.
My constant prayer now is that God continues to heal those affected by child sexual abuse and, as my husband reminds me, there are many layers of victims even those that don’t think they are victims. Family and others in the community today still do not believe that his abuser was guilty and he continues to have their trust. May God show us the best way to use the truth to help others now that this secret is finally free, and that we will learn to be still while God is fighting.
Closing Verse: Romans 8:38-39 – “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Challenge: Romans 12:12 – “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Be constant in prayer for God is always fighting and working for your good.