Hello again SUM family, it’s Tiffany here!
Today I want us to continue on this freedom journey. Let’s pick up where I left off last time. My mom had met Joseph and he was the “knight in shining armor.” We all got along and things seemed to be looking up. At one point we found out my mom was pregnant. FINALLY! At last a sibling…I had been asking my mom for YEARS at this point and now, at the age of 11 I found out I am going to have what I have always wanted – a companion!
My sister Shelbie was born September 14, 1998. I was almost 12 when she was born. I remember that night almost like it was yesterday. My mom started having contractions late in the night and we went to the hospital – mom, Joseph and I. I paced back and forth between the waiting room and the hallway outside of my mom’s room. I waited for what seemed like an eternity! FINALLY at 1:24 in the morning (I remember because I was born 1:24 in the afternoon – so cool) my sister’s cries could be heard down the hall. I was so excited to meet her! I couldn’t help the tears from flowing.
Once my mom got settled into her room at the hospital, my excitement and joy turned to anxiety, panic, and desperation. My mom said we all needed sleep and so Joseph was going to take me home so we could rest. I did everything I could to beg and plead with her to let me stay with her – I’ll be quiet, I’ll sleep on the couch…I’ll sleep on the FLOOR! Just let me stay! What she may have taken as excitement and desire to spend time with Shelbie was really me not wanting to spend time with Joseph…alone.
Forgive me for the following blunt statement: when my mom was later in her pregnancy, Joseph decided to travel down the hall to meet his needs. I am going to spare you on the details of these encounters because no-one should have to be exposed to such things. Most if not all of my memories of this season of life with Joseph are negative and sometimes traumatic.
That day on September 14, 1998, I could not convice my mother to let me stay at the hospital with her. I honestly contemplated getting Joseph out of the room so I could whisper my months long secret to try and convince her to change her mind. Even at that young age, I thought, I can’t ruin this moment for her. I can’t take away her joy – so I stayed quiet.
I rode home: heart pounding, trying not to hyperventilate, don’t let your tears show.
Keep quiet, cling to the door as far as you can.
Run to your room, keep watch.
Don’t you dare go to sleep.
There is no lock on the door.
Don’t allow yourself to become vulnerable.
Even though it is light outside, you are alone…darkness has nothing to do with it this time.
How could a day that I had been waiting for YEARS to come be ruined so badly? I honestly don’t know how long I actually had to endure sexual abuse. I have various memories and as hard as I try I can’t seem to put a time frame together. Regardless of how long or how many times – even ONE time is too many.
For years, I struggled with anger toward God. The question that people tend to ask is if God is so good, why did___ happen to me? Or why does ___ happen? One day in my teenage years a little bit of comfort came to me by His still small voice: Tiffany, that night – the first time Joseph violated your trust and your body – I heard the loud and painful screams in your head: ‘God, please, make it STOP! God, help me, this hurts!’ And I was right there with you. I felt your pain. I cried with you. It was one of my angriest moments. What happened to you is not okay. It was never a part of my plan for a father – daughter relationship. Don’t compare him to Me. I am NOTHING like this. I will never take advantage of you. I will never violate you in ANY way.
This word has been a comfort over the years but without allowing God to change the labels I had made for myself (throw-away kid, toy/object, usable but not valuable, etc) I still allowed myself compromise and do whatever I needed to do to FEEL safe. This brought on years of sexual promiscuity, lying, putting on an act that I was more spiritual and “Christian” than what I really was. I was able to fool people for years but God knew my heart. He was drawing me to something more. Jesus did not come to Earth so we could survive but so we could have abundance and THRIVE (John 10:10)!
This time I have gone a little long so I want to talk next time about how the trauma affected my adult-life. Remember that hurt people, hurt people; healed people heal. It wasn’t until the end of this last year that I moved from the first category to the second. Hang tight…there is light at the end of the tunnel!
Sometimes when we see darkness all around, we need a reminder of Who is in control. Can you share in the comments some words of light and comfort that the Lord gave YOU in times of trauma in your life? Scripture He gave you? I would love to rejoice with you in our Good Good Father. Let’s remind each other how much God loves us!
In His Marvelous Grace,