How do you forgive a sexual abuser? By writing a letter

letterboys

It’s been forty-one years since those bully boys stole my body, mind, and bits and pieces of my shattered soul. They posed as interested neighbors, ready to help my ancient babysitter. They’d take me off her hands, lessen her load. Which is strange if you knew me back then. I wasn’t a handful. I’d already learned the art of being invisible. And if I wasn’t occupying myself alone, I found ways to please people. I was a good little girl. Innocent, even.

Those friendly boys (brothers, boy scouts) took me into the woods. They invited friends to take turns. They violated me under too-tall evergreen trees. They took me home with them, stealing more of me in their bunk beds, a sheet draped over the bottom bunk so they could do it “privately,” all while their June Cleaver mom hummed pop tunes and made cookies just two rooms away. I wonder if she knew.

I escaped their clutches by sleeping all afternoon into the early evening. And later, we moved far, far away. But their haunting stayed with me. I felt dirty, violated, utterly alone with my secret story. I tucked it in a dark corner. The story didn’t resurface until I met Jesus. And then it leaked, then gushed from me in anguish.

How do you forgive that?

When I met Jesus, I learned that He forgave me. Growing up in a sexually charged culture like that, coupled with a father with a sexual addiction, I struggled with pornography as a teen. It’s stark and embarrassing to write it here, but there it is, ugly and real. I struggled to believe I’d been forgiven for reading those books, those magazines.

Choosing to forgive those boys didn’t happen overnight. In fact, there are still tendrils of unforgiveness living in my heart, evidenced by the sick feeling in my stomach right now. Because if I’d met boys like that now who DARED to touch my girls, my first thought would be murder.

Yet Jesus says even if we think murder, it’s sin.

I have so much that needs to be forgiven. But how do you forgive the boys violation?

You start by making a choice to forgive. You continue by walking the radical, nonsensical journey of forgiveness.

Today I’m taking another step toward forgiveness. Right here, right now, on this blog, I’m writing a letter to those boys whose first names I cannot recall, but whose last name has caused me to Google the heck out of it, wondering, wondering, wondering what they are doing today. Is he the teacher who had been suspended for inappropriate behavior? Is his brother the architect? Lawyer?

I do not know who these men are today. But, perchance, by God’s great mystery, if they ever, ever, ever stumble across this blog, this letter’s for them.

Dear Boys of the Last Name that Roils My Insides,

I am still angry.

What you did. Oh, what you did. Your choices dug scars the size of channels in my soul. You stole me. My innocence. My wide-eyed trust. My valiant view of life. My bravery. All kidnapped. In the aftermath of the sexual abuse, I hollowed. I believed lies about myself.

  • I am unworthy of being protected.
  • My self-worth = my sexuality, but in the most warped way.

Did you think of these things while you satisfied your base desires? Did you realize you’d destroy a little girl’s kindergarten life? Had you no shame to violate a five-year-old girl for your pleasure? You had so much bravery in your sin, violating me while your mom cooked. No fear. And yet, your actions made me run scared most of my life, always looking around corners, running, running, running afraid a villain would grab me.

You marked me. Ever since your violating act, a mark danced on my forehead for all abusers and violators to see, as if they were black light, and the mark fluorescent. It was a ticket for further predators.

I am still angry. Because when I watched my own daughters turn five years old, I could barely breathe. Such fear. Such sadness. All I wanted to do was protect my girls.

I was so small when you took me into the woods. So incapable of running away. And if I had tried, your hissed words would make me turn around and be re-violated. “We will kill your parents if you tell anyone.” To protect my parents, I kept my mouth shut tight. And I dared not run.

But if I stay camped in the land of vengeance my joy will emaciate. (Click to tweet this). You will have won the conquest.

You see, I met Jesus when I was fifteen years old, ten years after you scared the hell out of me, five years after my father died. Gentle Jesus found me just in time. Those suicide swirling thoughts had hypercharged my mind. I wondered what in the world I was doing here on this green, green tall-treed earth. Was my purpose to be violated? To be used by others like you two? Or did I have some other unknown purpose.

Under an evergreen tree, the memories of your violation stung my eyes. And yet there, in that sacred place, I met Jesus. He took my sin (oh so many sins, innumerable were/are they) and flung it eastward in a projectile one billions miles away from me. He cleaned me, scrubbed my aching heart, and started me down the painful/beautiful road of healing. He took on my sin and my pain.

He changed my I Was statements into I AM statements.

  • I was molested. I am cherished by God.
  • I was stolen from. I am given everlasting, joyful, abundant life.
  • I was less than.  I am more than I ever thought I’d be.

I am free to forgive you. I am free to look upon you with grace-graced eyes. I am made whole by a holy God. Alleluia!

I understand better now. I thank God that by the time I reached your age, I met Jesus. I could’ve been you. I could’ve given in to the vile urges inside, crossed over many a barrier, had I not been rescued. Without Jesus, I shudder to think of what I would’ve become. Which brings me to a vulnerable place, and a deep, deep sadness for you.

If statistics play out, you didn’t violate me for kicks. You did what had been done to you. You imitated the life you had. You acted out on the very thing that agonized you. The thing you hated is what you became. There came a day when you made a choice to give into the madness in your head, where you believed you deserved satisfaction. Someone stole from you, so you may as well steal from someone else.

I see Jesus, naked on the cross with labored breathing. He understands the vulnerability of nakedness. On that cross He could’ve crucified all the violators, all those who sent Him there, but He breathed wild forgiveness. He chose to do what you did not. He suffered for someone else’s sin. And instead of enacting vengeance, He ushered in an era of grace.

I wish this Jesus for you.

I worry about you. Maybe you’ve stuffed your memories of the little community near the salty water. Maybe you’ve scrubbed those woods from your mind. You’ve shoved it way, way down. Guilt riddles you, but you cannot articulate why. I’m proof, beautiful proof, that you can be set free. You can be scrubbed clean. You can be forgiven.

But you cannot heal in silence. An untold story never heals. (Click to tweet this). I challenge you, as that scab-kneed girl you sexually assaulted, to give it up. Tell the story. Ask Jesus to forgive you.

All I can do is pray you’ll find this letter through some beautiful God-breathed serendipity and finally want to be set free from what you did to me. I forgive you both, you brothers in crime. You brothers who ruined one year of my scared and scarred life. You brothers who most likely were violated too. Come to the fount of forgiveness, inaugurated by Jesus. Let my words serve as your entryway:

I forgive you.

My mountain of sins toward a holy God dwarfs the molehills you enacted against me. I read Jesus’ words about the unmerciful servant and understand: “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ (Matthew 18:32-33).

If I really, really believe in naked Jesus on the cross who bore all my shame and sin and muck, then I have to believe His sacrifice is sufficient for you too. His mercy sparks deep mercy in me toward you.

It’s odd this affection, this ache I have for you two. I long to see you free from those memories, from the abuse you enacted and the abuse you faced. I can’t offer clever solutions or pay for years of therapy to eradicate the pain. All I have is beautiful Jesus. All I have is my life made whole. All I have is my testimony. All I have is this: I am okay. I am wildly loved by my Creator. I am healed. I am living a life of truly impossible joy.

I am angry. But the anger redirects when I realize that Satan’s greatest weapon is sexual violation. I’m angry at the powers of darkness that ignite deep, awful, scary soul wounds through pornography, sex trafficking, sexual abuse, and sexual addiction. I’m flat out rage-filled because he has succeeded in stealing, killing and destroying so many lives.

This must stop. For my sake. For your sake. For our sake.

Satan, you cannot have these boys now turned men. Satan, you are not allowed victory in this arena. Jesus trumps your vile deeds. What you gleefully applauded in the darkness, Jesus heals audaciously in the light. (Click to tweet). You cannot and will not win. Light always, always, always pushes out darkness. Always. Your days are numbered, and those who follow Jesus are SICK to death of your sexual schemes against humanity.

We stand for healing. We stand in Jesus’ strength for the sake of future radically saved lives. We who know redemption are tired of miring ourselves in the painful past. Instead we will STAND. We will dance. We will give our healed lives to rescue souls from the darkness. (Click to tweet). What Satan intended (and even you, brothers) meant for evil, God makes a holy turnaround. We who desperately needed rescue are now agents of rescue, of reconciliation, of forgiveness.

Oh that you would experience this new, new life Jesus offers you, brothers of the last name. I invite you on the journey. And if we ever meet under the evergreens, by God’s life-altering grace, I will hug you. I will pray for you. I will weep. I will say forgiveness words. I will welcome you to the family of the messy-yet-redeemed.

Standing in the glorious, sweet light of Jesus,

Mary, no longer five, wholly loved

P.S. If you’re reading this, and you have the same story as those brothers, please let this message seep deep into your heart. The God who hung naked offers you a way out. His scarred hands are the hands of victory and forgiveness and light. Extend your hand to Him. He who stoops to the earth is reaching out to you.

P.P.S. If you’re reading this and you are the child under the evergreens, consider writing a letter. In this moment, I can say catharsis blesses, and a kinship with Jesus erupts.

 

  • MJ Stripling

    Thank you.

  • Ann

    I am hoping my daughter will get to where you are. Want to share this with her, but anxious.

    • Mary DeMuth

      We all heal in our own us-shaped way. May more healing come her way in 2014.

  • JDoug

    I so appreciate your words because you are farther along in your journey than I.

    I feel such hated in heart and deep in my soul for my brother who molested me as a child. I feel even more hatred toward the mother who walked in and saw it AND DID NOTHING TO HELP ME.

    I know I can’t change the past but I wish Jesus would allow me to forget it all – the good the bad – everything – just give me a fresh slate so I don’t need to be consumed with such hate and violence towards myself. I wish I felt more value or that someone – anyone in this world even liked me a little. I go from day to day feeling the pain of my past. I am in an invisible jail as the little girl who wasn’t worthy of respect or self worth.

    I eat and eat and eat just to stop the pain. Please Jesus help me. And if you happen to be reading this please say a prayer for me today because I want more but can’t seem to get past this.

    • kat

      I just read your note, and I just prayed for you JDoug. I’m sorry for the pain you have.

  • Myra

    Thank you for sharing this. I was sexually abused as a child from the age of 6 until I turned 9 by a cousin. I have been able to go through life keeping it all in and thought i was ok but boy was i wrong. Now at the age of 26 it has re surfaced in my mind and is affecting me deeply. I am having such a hard time hiding my pain. I am afraid to share my story because I would hate for my parents to feel guilty for what happened to me. I would hate for them to feel like they failed to keep me safe. I will keep praying and asking the lord to give me that strength and wisdom to get through this. I trust in him and know his unconditional love will heal me. Again thank you for sharing your story it has helped me start with my healing process and hope to one day be set free of this guilt. God bless you.

    • Mary DeMuth

      You need to tell your story to a trusted person. This is very typical what you’re going through, having the memories interrupt your life in your twenties. If at all possible, consider finding a terrific counselor to process this.

  • felipemeneghim

    Recently I was REALLY low on cash and debts were eating me from all sides! That was UNTIL I decided to make money.. on the internet! I went to surveymoneymaker dot net, and started filling in surveys for cash, and surely I’ve been far more able to pay my bills! I’m so glad, I did this! With all the financial stress these years, I really hope all of you will give it a chance. – xWsd

  • Dawn R

    Thank you for sharing this and helping me find a way to forgive. I just found out 5 months ago my youngest son had been sexually molested 2 years ago, when he was 5. I have such contempt for the person who did this to him (his cousin). It has torn apart our family. With the counseling he is in, hopefully he can talk about it and start to heal. I pray he doesn’t live with the horror you had to for so many years, though I know he will probably never forget.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com/ Mary DeMuth

      You have done a good thing by getting him counseling. Keep in mind that I didn’t have counseling until I was in my thirties. You’ve blessed him. He will heal.

  • Jenn Doucette

    I love you, my Mary friend.

  • Jan

    Jan When in my 40’s I began counseling for having been a victim of incest as a girl. Part of that process involved writing a letter to my father, the perpetrator. Since he had already died, I could not confront him. I do believe that he was abused by someone sometime in his life and he continued that cycle. I thank God for you sharing your story. I now need to write a P.S. to the letter to my father.

    • Mary DeMuth

      That’s very very hard, Jan. I’m so sorry. :( May God continue to heal.

  • Kim

    I was sexually assaulted as a teenager by a bf. He stole my virginity in an awful way. It happen again and I remember not having the words to tell him to stop. i blamed myself for not being strong enough enough and seeing myself as weak. I blocked it for over 10 years not realizing what an impact it had on my life. Shame kept me quiet for years and years, and I even tried to kill myself. I felt dirty inside and not worthy of anyone else. Well today, I am seeing a therapist and trying to process it all. I know that I too have to forgive this person in order to be set free of the past. This event doesn’t define me. So many woman like me have had the same path. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by the feelings, but i know in order to move it I must feel. I pray for God to release me of the shame I felts and come to an understanding that it wasn’t my fault. I also pray to be released of the angry because the only person it is harming is me. I lastly pray for forgiveness. Now i am seeing myself as an incredibly strong individual who survived a sexual assault and a love for that young girl who was so frightened.

    • Mary DeMuth

      I’m so sorry this happened to you. Wow. So painful.

  • Tedd

    Four abusers, father, two neighbors, female relative, all adults, lasting from age 4 to 13(?). Forgiveness came when I read Mathew 18 and Psalm 28. I was reading Matthew 18:6:

    “But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”

    I thought, “That’s pathetic. He’s getting off too easy.”

    Then I continued reading.

    Verse 12 says, “See that you do not look down on one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.” It struck me that the abusers had placed themselves in an extremely dangerous place. My guarding angel was standing there calling to God, “See what they are doing?!” I know my dad paid a horrible price for standing in that place. I don’t know about the others. I don’t know why my angel didn’t stop the abuse. But i do know God himself was watching.

    The reading plan I was following that same day sent me next to the Psalms. Psalm 28:5 said, “Because they show no regard for the works of the hands of the LORD,”

    I felt a tap on my shoulder. I heard, “The works of my hands…works like YOU.”

    Suddenly I was reading this verse in a completely new context and I was not prepared for the rest of the sentence: “Because he showed no regard for the works of the hands of the LORD, I will tear him down and never build them up again.”

    I was shocked. “Nobody deserves that!” He responded, “Everybody deserves that.” And, in a moment of clarity I have rarely experienced, I knew that there was nothing anybody could do to repay me for the losses, the damage. Even if my dad became “father of the year” and deserved it. He could not undo the damage. Even Jesus could not undo the damage. He can heal but that is not the same thing…healing is beautiful and I am grateful for all my life, every part. But he cannot undo those years.

    The damage was mine alone and I needed to receive that, incorporate that—take it literally into my body. It was just like the king in the parable of the unforgiving servant accepted a personal loss (200,000 years’ wages) in forgiving the servant.

    So I forgave. My dad wasn’t interested and died saying he had never sinned against God or anybody else. I offered him forgiveness and life and he preferred ashes.

    Forgiveness is beautiful and flows into unexpected places. I now train volunteers at the local sexual assault agency (a secular organization). I get to hand out three illustrations of forgiveness that are Bible stories or Christian in their perspective.

    And it is so important for the church to understand that sexual abuse and assault are the enemy’s most powerful weapons. He seeks to break that image of God (male and female) in us. Maybe then the church will begin taking action…

    May I have your permission to use this in the groups I help lead for abuse survivors?

  • http://www.ipaintiwrite.com/ Pamela Hodges

    Mary, pedophiles often continue to molest. I am curious why you didn’t try and find them and take them to court. Had the statue of limitations expired?
    I was molested by a family “friend” who we called Uncle, when I was eight. I tried to find him was I was 36, but he had committed suicide.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      I agree. The Statute of Limitations was way past by the time I was able to even process it, and I didn’t know their names until thirty years later.

  • Ellayne Shaw

    Like you, I was molested as a little girl. Like you, I struggled with pornography because I didn’t know what to do with my broken sexuality. Like you, I lived most of my life in fear. It wasn’t until halfway through college that I even admitted that had happened to me, and it took years to process and work through. Praise God for his faithfulness and steadfast love. I could not have done it without him. I eventually forgave my abuser as well, but it was a hard, painful road. Thank you for sharing your story. Hearing about these stories makes a big difference for victims. For the longest time, I thought I was alone.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      I think so many of us think we’re the only one in the world with issues or pains from the past. Satan loves to keep us in that place of isolation. I’m so glad you’ve found healing.

  • Talita Marsola

    Hi Mary!

    Powerful words are these. I am from S. Paulo, Brazil, and my pastor’s wife asked me to translate your post into Portuguese so that she can use with women she counsels. I did the translation and was wondering if you would give me permission to post it on my blog about maternity. This is the link to the website: http://www.maternidadeproativa.blogspot.com

    Thank you!

    Talita

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Yes, of course! Feel free. :)

      • Talita Marsola

        Thanks so much!! = )

  • Sue Badeau

    Powerful, powerful, powerful. This is such a needed word today. As the mother of children who have been sexually, this truly spoke to me and I plan to share it with them. Thank you!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      I’m proof (as are others) that you can heal from sexual abuse. It doesn’t have to define you or your choices.

  • Julie

    I was touched by your letter too. I was molested by a family member when I was little. I have blocked it so much that I don’t remember all of the details, but I will say it hauts me and infulences my choices. 5 years ago I had coffee with this person they confessed their wrong doing and explained some things that happened to them. They asked for my forgiveness and I did forgive but this has had a huge affect on my life. I pray every day to be healed and that this would no longer haunt or define me. Keep talking about this and keep healing. It was very helpful to read your book and your letter of forgiveness. Both times I just sobbed. I know God see the hurt and want to make it better. He loves me with an everlasting love and he continues to show me faithful love. I need that to sink deep in me. Again thanks.

    • http://twitter.com/MaryDeMuth Mary DeMuth

      I’m so thankful you’re finding healing, but I’m so sorry this happened to you. How rare that the perpetrator repented! Still, the damage happened, and now Jesus picks up the pieces. Hang in there.

  • Nadia Kilrick

    Your strength and courage amazes me. The ability you’ve shown to allow the healing power of Jesus to take away the pain and shame seems out of reach for many. Further, the strength it takes, that that you’ve shown to others, to trust and stand wholly on His promises of grace and love – I am amazed.
    Thank you, Mary, for sharing.

    • http://twitter.com/MaryDeMuth Mary DeMuth

      I am amazed too. Jesus has done so much in my heart.

  • Emily B

    I’ve never read someone’s story that I feel such a connection to. For the past 2 years I have be slugging through processing haunting wounds that were given to me by the hands of my biological father. Thank you so much for sharing, you have given a sister some great comfort today. Only by God’s grace I will be married in 3 months to a loving, Godly man that delights to serve. I SO appreciate you “sexy wife” post. It really helped me feel not so alone in my trek toward sexual wholeness in Christ….that I don’t have to have it all together the day we get married. Grace and Peace.

    • http://twitter.com/MaryDeMuth Mary DeMuth

      I’m so sorry that happened to you, Emily. Ouch. So so hard.

  • http://www.girlwithblog.com/ Anna R

    Tears brimming and also a desire to stand and clap, this has left me quiet. The only words I have left in me are thank you. Thank you for allowing God to do what only He does – heal, speak, redeem – in your heart, and thank you for then sharing it here. Eshet chayil, brave and beautiful Mary.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Thank you Anna! So nice to recive an Eschet chayil. :)

  • Tara

    I was four,and it was a teenaged neighbor next door, who took me into a shed in their back yard. I didn’t remember until I was 19, just a few months after I had come to know Jesus. Oh, the grace. I’ve been on a journey ever since…to forgive…to understand why this was my story…to believe that I am worth protecting and defending.

    It keeps coming up everywhere I turn. There are always opportunities..everyday..to protect and defend myself because I don’t think anyone else will do it for me. I’ve been on a twenty year journey of learning how to trust that God will take care of me…God will protect me..he will fight my battles. We have two sons and a daughter. When she turned 4, my world cracked, and the fears overwhelmed me. It was an entire year of feeling overwhelmed and paranoid. I am DETERMINED that this will not be her story.

    How have I NEVER read your blog before now? I found it from Chatting at the Sky, and I’m so grateful this morning.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      I’m so glad you found me, Tara, and I’m so sorry for what happened to you.

  • http://myfreshlybrewedlife.com/ Barbie

    Your words, truly powerful. I pray that many will find the strength to put aside their shame and walk in forgiveness and freedom in Christ.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      I pray that too Barbie.

  • Stephanie

    Goosebumps. There is so much power in forgiveness.

    It made my heart ache to read about that violence to your body and soul as a child.

    So proud of who you are today – brave, kind, strong, and living intentionally in grace.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Yes, yes, all because of Jesus.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tameka-Mullins/690195359 Tameka Mullins

    Mary, thanks so much for sharing your experience. What powerful words are these: You cannot heal in silence. An untold story never heals. Wow. I got chills reading that. A friend sent me this after they read a piece I had published today on the same theme. Sometimes as the abused we feel so alone but when we share our stories we find solidarity in togetherness. Thank you! – http://venusblogs.com/the-white-stuff-of-nightmares/

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Thanks for sharing that link (warning to others; triggers). Yes, keep telling your story.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Tameka-Mullins/690195359 Tameka Mullins

        You’re quite welcome. I’m now connected to you on Facebook. Your site is inspirational. Thanks for all you do!

  • FromHisPresence

    Hi Mary, what a powerful article. I so admire your transparency. It was hard for me to read – I don’t have any personal experience with this, by the grace of God, but my friend who is in the process of healing from a similar situation asked me to read it. I guess it’s hard to think about at all, and easy to bury my head in the sand. But I want to be a good friend to my friend. All I can do to help her is pray for her and love her through it. Thanks for being a light in the middle of so much darkness.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      I love that you want to be a good friend to her. You will be part of her healing!

  • http://lmbartelt.wordpress.com/ Lisa Bartelt

    Oh, Mary, your heart, your faith, your healing shines through this, a testimony of life changed by a radical, scandalous God. I know it cannot have come easily and the memories may fade but never disappear. Thank you for sharing. For forgiving. For pressing “publish.” You give me courage.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Hooray for courage! I’m glad the post blessed you, Lisa

  • stacey

    Thank you for this. I read this with tears streaming down my face. In fact, it brought back so much for me that I had to read it in two parts. I was abused. I never talk about it to anyone. Only a very small group of people who knew me then and my husband know the secret I carry. I have tried in a million ways to hide it. I still carry shame.I have become so good at hiding it that sometimes I wonder if it was real. (I was very young when my abuse occurred.)God is healing that. He is showing me that I am not defined by what happened to me or the choices I made after the abuse. The hurt, guilt, anger that led me down a dark road. I am emerging from the shadows of my story a healed woman.
    Your story is inspiring to me. It takes such courage to say what you have said. I hope one day I can share my heart with someone so that they can see the love and redemption of an awesome God. That is exactly what you have one for me this morning.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      You don’t need to carry the shame. Jesus bore all that on the cross. You’re not designed to bear it.

  • http://twitter.com/rrt_angie Angie/Shane Woodward

    This post could not have came at a better time for me. I’ve been struggling a lot lately with issues from my past and trying to come to the point of forgiving the person that hurt me. I keep trying to poor myself into His word and by reading your post I can see how my feelings are perfectly normal and natural but that I have to forgive him for myself and not for him. Thanks so much for such a wonderful blog. I look forward to reading more and I just downloaded a couple of your books on kindle as well! Angie

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Thanks for the downloads, Angie, and blessings to you on your healing journey. Forgiveness is just plain hard.

  • http://www.facebook.com/angiekay.webb Angie Kay Webb

    Beautiful and so, so deep into your heart as always. God knows the pain that you suffered and you are so good with words, that now the past is laid on the cross and done with. I know that this is still part of my struggle so I am thankful for the post you wrote from your heart.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Hang in there, Angie. God sees you as beautiful.

  • http://twitter.com/SarahMalcangi Sarah Malcangi

    Thank you for sharing your true emotions. I am so inspired by your courageous voice!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Thank you Sarah. :)

  • Marion Ueckermann

    Mary, this is one of the most powerful things I’ve ever read and I cannot wait to meet you in person in May.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Yes, yes, to South Africa friendship!

  • http://juliesunne.com/ Julie Sunne

    Thank you, dear Mary, for laying down vengeance and embracing the forgiveness that can only … can only … be found in Jesus Christ. May your willingness to give up your right to be exact payment for what you lost those many years ago be a catalyst for others to do the same.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Yes, only in Jesus.

  • http://www.CleverColleen.com/ Clever Colleen

    Wow. What an amazing letter. What a wonderful example you are for all of us that have abuse in our past. Thank you for your transparency.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      It’s my pleasure…

  • Tracey Michae’l Lewis-Giggetts

    *tears* Mary, you wrote what I feel. The desire to forgive has often eluded me. Yet, it hurts more to hold onto my anger. Thank you for being courageous.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Yes, it eats you up.

  • Michele Martin

    This is an amazing story of grace! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. God bless.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Well said, a story of grace.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lynne.dearmeydickey Lynne DeArmey Dickey

    Thank you, Mary. Couple of beautiful songs I just downloaded yesterday. “All Things New” by New Man and “Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Thanks for the song recommendations.

  • Lynn Shoemate

    Thank you for your honesty Mary. Powerful words!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      You are most welcome, Lynn.

  • TammieT

    I had tears the whole time I read this. I was able to face my abuser and forgive him so I know this power of grace. It’s been 30 years since that day but it has never lost its power.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Wow, Tammy. Wow.

  • http://twitter.com/Stephraquel Stephanie Raquel

    Powerful post today. Thank you for sharing your heart. Praying for continued healing! This was in my devo today … verses 1-4 & 10-12 especially applicable here.

    Psalm 36

    The Message (MSG)

    A David Psalm

    36 1-4 The God-rebel tunes in to sedition—
    all ears, eager to sin.
    He has no regard for God,
    he stands insolent before him.
    He has smooth-talked himself
    into believing
    That his evil
    will never be noticed.
    Words gutter from his mouth,
    dishwater dirty.
    Can’t remember when he
    did anything decent.
    Every time he goes to bed,
    he fathers another evil plot.
    When he’s loose on the streets,
    nobody’s safe.
    He plays with fire
    and doesn’t care who gets burned.

    5-6 God’s love is meteoric,
    his loyalty astronomic,
    His purpose titanic,
    his verdicts oceanic.
    Yet in his largeness
    nothing gets lost;
    Not a man, not a mouse,
    slips through the cracks.

    7-9 How exquisite your love, O God!
    How eager we are to run under your wings,
    To eat our fill at the banquet you spread
    as you fill our tankards with Eden spring water.
    You’re a fountain of cascading light,
    and you open our eyes to light.

    10-12 Keep on loving your friends;
    do your work in welcoming hearts.
    Don’t let the bullies kick me around,
    the moral midgets slap me down.
    Send the upstarts sprawling
    flat on their faces in the mud.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Such a beautiful, beautiful scripture, thank you.

  • abbysnews

    Thanks for sharing, this is very powerful!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      You are welcome, Abby.

  • rita schulte

    So powerful Mary. From the ash heap of loss Christ resurrected your broken heart and chose you to birth a ministry of hope and healing for the wounded. Your words act as a healing balm to so many. Press on precious one. He who promised is faithful and will continue to sustain you.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      I so hope that, Rita, that my words are healing.

  • Kacinpoint

    So, so proud of you!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Thank you.

  • http://www.gritandglory.com/ Alece Ronzino

    grace and healing abounds…

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Oh yes, yes it does.

  • http://twitter.com/susanizwright Susan Wright

    Thanks, Mary, for being so brave. Your example will not only further your healing, but it will help others too. What a miraculous, loving God we have.

    I will also pray for the brothers as I pray for those who stole my innocence too. I LOVE this image and truth: “We who desperately needed rescue are now agents of rescue, of reconciliation, of forgiveness.”

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Yes, keep praying for them. They all need Jesus.

  • http://twitter.com/TanyaDennis Tanya Dennis

    I couldn’t read the whole thing. I’m not ready. But I can tell you that the year my daughter turned seven was one of the most difficult years of her life for me. I didn’t know what to do. I struggled to separate my childhood from hers. How could I parent while facing, recongizing the vast contrast between our two lives? She turned 9 this weekend and my breath still catches. My heart still stutters. And then I praise God that she doesn’t have to live the life I did. That His grace and mercies are sufficient to give her — and me! — a completely different life. HE IS life and I AM His. My daughter and I, thankfully, do not share the same childhood, but we have been granted, secured, the same future. How awesome is our God?

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Amen to that. Well done, good and faithful and protective mommy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666555285 Elisa Pulliam

    Beautiful and necessary, for a multitude of reasons. Thank you!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Thank you, Elisa.

  • http://www.MarcAlanSchelske.com/ Marc Alan Schelske

    Mary, oh you courageous, beautiful, powerful person, so full of grace and truth. Thank you.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Love those words. So many days I feel utterly small.

      • http://www.MarcAlanSchelske.com/ Marc Alan Schelske

        I know. Me too. It’s the flaw of our broken identity. But that is why, in God’s grace, we have community to speak to our hearts the words that God says, the ones we often cannot say for ourselves.

        • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

          Yes, that’s the importance of authentic community. We’re all flawed, but we share those flaws anyway.

  • Sheena

    Wow! Thanks for sharing God’s grace in you!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Oh yes, yes. It’s so much God’s grace.

  • Sharon O

    Powerful strong words. It is so important for the ‘one’ who is emerging from wounded to healed, stop and SEE the little girl who was hurt. To really understand the power of a child taken against her will and used. Only then can healing begin as the adult speaks love and kindness to the wounded little girl inside, through the healing of the Holy Spirit. It can happen. In small steps. GOOD JOB. Keep sharing for others need to hear your story.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      So well said, Sharon. And I also think it’s good for those who perpetrated to realize the full extent of what they did. Grace extends to truth, not unreality.

  • http://twitter.com/kfdpcom kfd&p

    I never went through anything like this, thank goodness, but in reading your words I KNOW I must have been right beside other girls (and even boys) who were dealing with this, and it just breaks my heart. The gift of naivety for one is a curse to another who is experiencing something terrible and hiding it. I will share this with others, hoping either they or someone they know might be able to sort through their forgiveness.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      There are so many of us. I wish there weren’t.

  • http://twitter.com/LesliePWilson Leslie P. Wilson

    May God get your message to the eyes and hearts of those who need healing–and surrender. Thank you for this powerful post!

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Amen, amen, Leslie. Yes, let it be so.

  • http://twitter.com/CPConfessions Joy B. Rudolph

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing your pain. You are brave and your bravery fuels ours. You help us find freedom to share our own pain.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      I’m grateful for that, Joy. What a pretty name you have.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    Your willingness to write this WILL change lives. I had the opportunity to stand in a circle and take communion with one of the three men who sexually abused me, last year. It was powerful for me, knowing he is now a brother in Christ, but it took some intense therapy and time with Jesus to get there.

  • Ro elliott

    I read with tears…beautiful…brave…full of God amazing redemption. Grace and peace to you today…

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Thank you, Ro.

  • annepeterson

    How grace-filled this was. A true picture of God’s forgiveness, something not possible without the Father’s love, without the Son’s obedience, without the Holy Spirit. Thank you for letting God work through you so others might see Jesus.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Thanks Anne.

  • http://lauriewallin.com/ Laurie Wallin

    You’ve just posted this, and I read, teary-eyed, blessed beyond words, in this quiet moment. Such courage, Mary. So grateful for your lead in ripping the sheet away to see what’s there trying to hide… in me, in each of us. Praying this gift you give here would bring healing to thousands and thousands. As one who just spent time last weekend working at a home for 12-17 year old girls saved from sex trafficking, I pray that your words would speak life into broken girls across the world.

    • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

      Oh I do so pray that, Laurie. That many, many would be set free.