2007 STORY #23: TO SEE THE FACE OF GOD
“Thank you miss and God Bless.” I was startled back to reality with these words from the older woman I was helping at our local outreach center in one of our local churches. I had been thinking about my life and remembering past thoughts. I never dreamed I would ever be even near another church again after my past experiences… I don’t trust churches…especially clergy. So I know I am finally healing.
My abuser was a friend of the family. Very charismatic and very willing to help me out with my anorexia. I trusted him. His name is Father X. And I thought he could walk on water. The abuse continued over 2 years, with me accepting the guilt he would put upon me…you know…it is YOUR fault. HE is a man of God. But when I finally let the truth be known as to what he was doing to me, he lied: to the church, the bishop…. everyone. He had a history of abusing, but every time he got caught the diocese would just move him to another parish.
I became suicidal; I lost everyone and everything. I wanted him put into treatment immediately, but all the diocese was going to do is move him to another, bigger parish. I wanted to die. I had been abused; lost all trust in anyone or anything. The next 3 years I didn’t really live. It is just a massive blur to me now. But late one evening, while on the phone with a friend I have never met face-to-face, she said the words that saved me. She said, “If Jesus was here, which side of the table do you think he would be sitting on?” As I endured those 3 years I kept thinking of those words.
I wasn’t the wrong one, he was. As time went by, I continued to hang onto those words told to me by my friend, and somehow, through the power of Jesus, and support from many new friends and supporters in Snap, I survived. I made it. The church, after 3 years settled with me. And I knew I had to be the one to start trusting myself and go on with my life.
So now, here I am. After all this time. Stronger, more empathetic, understanding and blessed because God has taught me to use my experiences as a journey. I work with the poor, the isolated and the abused. Do I trust completely? No, no one. That seems to be forever stripped from me. My abuser is now back functioning as a pastor in our diocese. I don’t attend church, but amazingly my faith is stronger than it has ever been. I am not a victim, I am a survivor.
“You are welcome, Madame”, I said to the older woman in front of me. Who would have ever known, that I could be working in a place like this..And healing.