“He heals the
brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
Psalm 147:3 (NIV)
From the time I was eight until I was twelve, my grandfather sexually abused me.
For a long time, I was angry with my mother for leaving me with him. As I got older and knew more about abuse, I learned that abusers don’t just pop out of nowhere. They’ve usually been abused themselves.
When my grandfather died, I thought, “Well, at last I don’t have to shiver trying to hold it together whenever he’s around. It’s finally over, and I don’t have to deal with it anymore,” but it wasn’t over, and I still had to deal with it.
For years, I took responsibility for my own abuse. Although I had no idea what I’d done to warrant such vileness, I believed the deadly lie: “I must have done something.”
Through years of therapy, the Lord brought me to a place of initial acceptance and forgiveness. When I finally forgave my grandfather, I went to his grave site to tell him. When I said that I was sorry for the abuse he must have gone through to become an abuser, I was sincere. I wondered if my Nan, buried beside him, knew that her husband, a revered citizen and upright role model, was an abuser. When I expressed my sadness for their brokenness that had led to mine, I thought my healing was complete.
But it wasn’t.
Years later, my mother gave all us kids pictures featuring our grandfather with his most-prized horse. He’d been an avid raiser of horses much of his adult life. Even then, as a mother with grown children, I didn’t know what to do with the picture. I certainly didn’t want it hanging on any wall in my home to serve as a daily reminder. Since Mom didn’t visit all that often, I decided to shove the picture under the bed in my spare bedroom and to try to forget all about it.
I began to have some really strange feelings. I didn’t feel at home in my own home anymore. When a friend recommended that I invite a spiritual discerner, woman known for healing spiritual unrest, to my house, I took his advice.
As the woman started going through the rooms of my house, she sensed something was wrong. When we reached the spare bedroom, her breathing quickened, and she fell to the floor in obvious distress. Quickly, we helped her out of the room, and her breathing returned to being normal.
“I don’t know what was in there, but it really hit me hard,” she said. All of a sudden, I remembered my grandfather’s picture under the bed. I took it outside and smashed it into tiny pieces. The strange feelings evaporated. I felt a big release and an incredible peace.
For the first time for as long as I could remember, neither I nor my house was at odds.
Even though it took years, I felt that God had finally finished the last chapter and closed the book on my abuse. Today, he is continuing to write a new bold story in my life, a story “which goes on forever in which every chapter is better than the one before (C.S. Lewis).” A Grateful Believer