Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Forgiving the Unforgivable

I've been reading Denise George's blog: "Encouragement for Wounded Women" ( and her latest posting deals with a new book she's written re: forgiveness.

That touched a deep cord with my heart.  You see, my adoptive mother had been one of the sexual offenders in my past.  Nobody knew about it.  This secret I buried so deeply in my unconsciousness that I had forgotten about it until my mid-30's, in 1986, when I'd been in counseling for major depression.  About eight months into my counseling I sat in my room, alone, praying and writing as I had for so many countless days during the black shroud which had descended upon my mind and heart after a major downsizing at my place of employment.  I had to step down from a nursing administrative position...back to a supervisory position.  I knew it was inevitable, but when it happened, my house of cards disintegrated....everything crashed. 

This was not just depression, I was also suicidal at the time.  Dreams had turned into nightmares of fires from which I could not escape....Daytime became no less comforting as voices in my head...hearing my father's voice...constantly telling me that I'd failed...over and over and over again.....relentless....I felt robotic.  Even driving became and exercise in "who would win"....Satan or God?  If I arrived at my destination unhurt, then God won...and if I didn't, then Satan won.  I felt in control of nothing.  I felt nothing...only as if a walking dead woman.  My new supervisor told me that I had to pull it together for my staff....Taking a long, sucking draw on her cigarette across the conference room table from me' squinting her eyes, she warned (meaning my staff), "They'll get you, you know.  They'll get you."  My paranoia jumped to a new level.

It was during this time that I began to journal....It was my lifeline to sanity.  Somehow, I felt that if I could write, I might find something within myself to be able to remain sane.  I desperately fought to "find me" by writing tirelessly in the middle of the night...seeking God....seeking myself.....I had two little boys and held a nursing management position in one of our local hospitals. I wanted to remain in touch with what little reality I had left for my sons.  I didn't care about my husband.....His support remained non-existent; even though he worked in law enforcement and dealt with family issues in his daily routine.

My mental state was fragile at best and the psychiatrist who I was seeing at the time (her specialty being children) had given me her cell phone number in case I needed to speak to her. She had decided not to use any medical treatment for me stating that the "side effects were worse than the depression".  (Anti-depressives were just not as safe in the 80's as they are today.)

And so it was that during one of my alone times of journaling that I began to remember.....Seeing myself on the floor in our bathroom when I was about 3 or 4.  My mother seemed obsessed with my private area.  Somehow at that age, I knew that I had "three holes down there".....Memories of my mother with me in indoor tents we'd constructed...age 4-5....Her graphic description to me of how babies were made....Other things I witnessed that I will not write publicly.....

Being trapped in the bathroom with her and my brother while she gave us both enemas and ordered us to "hold it".  I remember my brother and I screaming...and the consequences for my brother when he needed to relieve himself.....And then....her icy voice....commanding...."Cristy.  Come get in bed with me....."  I could feel her arm clamping down around my neck...ever tightening as she barked, "Lay still!  Lay still!".....My breathing felt as if I must have stopped....and my memory blacked out.  These times continued until I was in my early teens....There was just no saying no to my mother.  I remember telling her no once when I was 13 or 14...and she replied as a commanding officer, "I said, 'Get in bed with me'."......Still to this day I do not have total memory of those times.  I believe it is God's way of protecting me.

As these memories flooded back, I thought I was going to have a heart attack.  I prayed for God to kill me, because my pain and grief was so overwhelming.  Writhing on the floor in my room, I begged God to kill me....but He didn't....and years later, I actively planned to take my own life....Will write that at another time of how God turned that around.....

Meeting with my psychiatrist, she stated, "Crista, I have no doubt that your mother sexually abused you.  There is just no way that people make up the kinds of things you are telling me....."

Years of counseling followed.....By 1990, I began to actively plan taking my own life.  My husband locked his gun in a safe in the wall.  I knew the combination.... Our marriage had deteriorated to ashes....I felt worthless as a mother....and became convinced that everyone would be better off without me.  Of course this was a lie of Satan, but it made perfect sense at the time.

A local Christian radio station aired "The Minirth-Meyer Clinic" early in the afternoon.  They always included their help line number, and I had heard the voice of Dr. Verle Bell, MD many times over.
I decided to make the call.  They accepted me as an inpatient, and praise God, Dr. Bell was the director of the unit in Naperville, IL where I spent a month in a locked facility in July 1990.  Intense psychiatric evaluation and therapy ensued.  My psychiatric evaluation stated: "Crista's self-esteem is so non-existent that she will probably be successful in terminating her own life within the next 10 years."  There was no hope in my prognosis.  None.  Only Jesus.

It was during this time that the Lord led me to II Timothy 2:13 "For when we are faithless, He is faithful, for He cannot deny Himself."  ....You know the old saying, "When you want to let go, tie a knot and hang on."  Well, I had no strength left to hang on to anything.....I was free falling...."God, You're either there...or You're not.".....So when He led me to this verse, there was a flicker in my spirit that let me know that even though I didn't have the strength, He did. My black hole was so deep that I didn't know if I'd ever emerge...and I didn't even know if I wanted to.  So if I did get out of this endless chasm of total blackness, it would be because of Jesus and nothing else!

It was while at Minirth-Meier that Dr. Bell asked, "So why would God allow all of this to happen?"....He asked the same question I had pondered so many time.  This hurdle seemed impossible to jump.  Adoption....Abuse.....I didn't get it.

So he answered for me.  "Crista, God never desired this to happen to you.  But God gives everyone their free will.  He wanted your parents to follow Him, but they chose not to.  It was not His desire that you be hurt, but it is His desire now to heal you."  I could handle that.

The end of July, I went a pitifully empty marriage...and my wonderful sons...ages 11 and 8.
After my discharge, God led me to a new psychologist....a Spirit-filled woman who knew how to pray.  Joan would spend a half hour discussing issues with me and then we'd go to prayer.

I do not remember the exact moment that I forgave my mother....because it was a process and a choice; having to deal with the betrayal and anger...but the Lord's healing and forgiveness came as a result of His healing inside my soul.

By this time in the mid 90's, my mother had gone through a mastectomy for breast cancer, and I was now in my early 40's.  The cancer had spread into her bones.  (In 1972 at age 53, she spent the following 18 mos. in a rehab hospital as a result of a major head injury following a head on collision which left her with right sided paralysis and an inability to speak appropriately.  Her memory of past events escaped her now...only wispy glimpses of days gone by remained.)

She had fallen as a result of the bone cancer and had broken her shoulder.  Walking had become more difficult for her.  She needed a hospital bed and someone to care for her 24/7.  Dad, who had just been diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer and faced his own surgery, secured the services of a home healthcare professionals.  One of mom's RNs, Nancy, was a Christian and had been praying for my mother's salvation.  And one evening, with Nancy in the kitchen praying....I met with my mother while she lay in her hospital bed in the dining room of their home.

At this point, I need to tell you that my mother was a tough old bird.  She'd grown up on a farm during the depression.  Nobody was going to tell her what to do.  She was as determined as Scarlett O'Hara in "Gone with the Wind" that, "As God is my witness, I shall never go hungry again!"

Her family had gone through prohibition times...extremely tough times of dire poverty.  They bootlegged beer and whiskey; selling to the elites of their town.  Living on a high hill with no water pump close by, my mother and her sisters hauled water up the hill for laundry, dishes, weekly baths and  for their distillery. 

Mom and her sisters not only served as the barmaids, but as the entertainment, dancing on table tops for the men to enjoy.  One of their regulars was the mayor of Lowell; my mother's future father-in-law.

Nobody talked about the "secret" events which took place in their home as a child.....I only heard whispers alluding to things that happened with her cousins in the barn.  My aunt took her secrets with her to her grave; only stating that she'd "never tell".  Mom's "secrets" manifested in her abusive behavior towards me, explosive rage and her binge eating and purging.  Nobody ever talked about the demons inside of them.....All we ever did was sweep our "stuff" under the rug and keep buying bigger rugs....and pretending that everything was "normal".

My mother's primary goal in life was to be a millionaire.  I'm not sure, but I think their long career in Tupperware put them pretty close to achieving this goal....However, by this time in 1995, she'd spent 23 years of her life as permanently handicapped...mentally and physically.

I can't tell you the exact point when I forgave my mother, because I spent much time in a depressive fog.  But I can tell you that there was a day when I was able to say to the Lord, "I choose to forgive my mother through and by the Blood of Christ.  What I am unable to do, You are able, Lord."  I realized the enemy had come to destroy her own life as well.  She had been victimized in her childhood, too.

So here it was: September 1995.  I was 42 years old and my mother was 74.  Her body still paralyzed on her right side and now her shoulder broken.  She lay in her hospital bed....completely spent.  No longer would her bones heal - the cancer had stolen this capacity from her body.  The was in pain.  My mother who could always do what she wanted....couldn't.

"Mom....Do you know that by accepting Jesus into your heart that one day, you will be able to go Home to Him in Heaven and you will be perfectly healed and be able to walk just fine and not have any pain?  Do you know that right now, without Jesus, you will go to hell when you die....and your pain will be worse than it is now....and it will go on forever.....Mom, Jesus wants you to ask Him into your heart.
If He were to walk into this room right now, would you take His hand."

"Yes", she softly replied.

Then mom, "All you have to do is ask Him into your heart.  He will be there for you."

It was at this time a miracle occurred.  My mother who never needed anyone her entire life, bent her heart and asked, "Jesus, please come into my heart.  I need You."

My mother went Home when the Lord came to get her seven months later.  That's another testimony for another time. 

It was two years ago that I met with a precious woman of God and a friend who led me in more deep, healing prayer....asking Jesus to take me back to the times He wanted to show me and heal me even further....The question: "Crista, where is Jesus?"....I will tell you that in my spirit, I saw Jesus.  He was right there with me when each event occurred....And I will tell you that it is true when scripture says, "Whatever you do unto the least of these...You've done it unto Me," (Matt. 25:40)....He literally meant it.  Everything done to us to hurt us by the enemy, is done unto Him.  And I knew in my spirit that what my mother had done to me had been done to her. My forgiveness for my mother had turned to sorrow for her past....and my forgiveness went even deeper than before.

Forgiveness.....What we are unable to do....He will.
Hope has a Name....and His Name is Jesus Christ.
Be blessed.~

Ever yours in Christ,

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Welcome ~

The purpose of this blog is to encourage our walk in Christ; together in Him; for as we develop our relationship with the Lord, we ARE more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! Praise God! My writings are mostly from an experiential standpoint; however sometimes this includes dreams and visions. (Comments are reviewed prior to posting.)