Friday, April 5, 2013

Beloved Child?

She was only four years old when her father's friend asked her to come watch cartoons with him. She hesitated. She didn't want to. She knew what he really wanted. But, her father had always taught her to obey her elders. She closed her eyes, escaping to that perfect world within in her mind, blocking out the touch of his hands, and what he was forcing her to do.

She was only eight years old the first time her step mother got truly angry with her. She hadn't washed her hands as thoroughly as the mother had wanted. The little girl stood there against the wall as the mother grabbed her hair and slammed her head into the wall.

She was only 10 years old the day her father caved to the wishes of mother. Mother had gotten angry, believing the girl was hiding something...that she had a secret. She backhanded the girl across the face. Then did it again. She grabbed her roughly by the shoulders, slamming her into the wall, then tossing her to the floor like a rag doll. Mother's foot connected with her ribs, her legs. Father stepped in at that point... tried to stop the woman. "Fine. She's your daughter. You deal with her." is all she said. Father hesitated, then proceeded to kick the child.

She was only 12 years old when her mother made sure she understood that the only way she'd survive in the world was to  have sex with men... she had nothing else going for her. No brains. No looks. No personality. No talent.

There were many more incidents. At least four years of sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted family friend. Ten years of severe physical and emotional abuse at the hands of her parents.

Where was God?

For years, I asked this question. My parents made me go to church every Sunday. I went to Sunday School as a child, then 3 years of pre-confirmation and 3 years of confirmation classes. I taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School. I helped old ladies clean their houses and plant their gardens. And how was I rewarded for my service? With scars and bruises - the worst of which could not be seen.

After the horrible school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, I asked the question - why does God allow this stuff to happen? Where is he in all this? And I received a relatively decent answer.... God doesn't do these acts. Shootings and other tragedies in life are the work of Satan/man. But, I was told that God was there holding the lifeless bodies of the lost children, and holding close the family and friends of the lost. This is all well and good.

It's also good to know that for the several years of abuse, God was there with me. Every punch and kick. Every time I was drug down the stairs by my hair. Every time I was molested and raped. God was there.

And God did nothing.

A few months ago, I was told I am a beloved child of God. How can I be a beloved child and yet he still allows this abuse to happen? How can he claim to be a loving Father if he allows this abuse to happen? How can any parent claim to be a loving parent if they allow this? If my children were being abused, would I not step in to stop it? Would I not do whatever was needed to end their suffering?

But, God didn't.

This was part of what drew me away from God for many years. I couldn't believe He existed, because if he WAS real, he wouldn't have made me suffer so much. Now, I do believe. And I do love and praise Him. No, I don't have the answers of why he would allow these horrific acts. But I do know he was there beside me throughout the pain and suffering.

And, most days, I do believe I'm a beloved child of God. Tonight is just not one of those times.

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