The Babysitters Club

It was early fall, 2004. I was 18 and babysitting for a family with two young kids. The little girl was a handful, and I was thankful that most of the time she was at kindergarten while I cared for her little brother, who was sweet as can be. I remember exactly what I was wearing the day it happened; dark jeans and a light blue zip-up jacket over a white t-shirt.

I remember being upstairs, right outside the bathroom, when I suddenly started feeling violently ill. I remember calling Mrs. H and telling her I needed to leave right away and having a very difficult 30-minute drive home. I remember lying face down on my kitchen floor in agony as my mom was anxiously calling the Dr trying to find out what to do with me. I remember going to the emergency room where it was discovered I had kidney stones, and I remember my then boyfriend, now husband, showing up with a sweet get well card.

For 17 years, that’s all I remembered of that day. Fast forward to February 2022, and flashbacks of this time had been occurring for about a month. I suddenly remembered how the dad of these children started carrying my senior picture in his wallet before I even started working for him. Sure, we all thought it was a little creepy, but not enough to be genuinely concerned. Then I remembered why they hired me. The babysitter before me was getting a little too close to the dad… they were spending a lot of time together, and their relationship seemed inappropriate. Why we didn’t see these as red flags before, I don’t know.

And then, like pieces of a puzzle coming together, more parts of this day started coming back to me. Upon arriving around 8 a.m. that morning, Mr. H offered me a chocolate cupcake that was leftover from some kind of party or family gathering they had just had. Then, like a slideshow, I see the next “scene,” and I’m knocked out on the bed of their master bedroom, but I’ve no idea how I got there.

I’m still unsure of what exactly he gave me (was it in the cupcake? A drink?) This was far from the first time I was drugged, but praise God, I’m quite certain it was the last. Either way, whatever he gave me fulfilled it’s purpose and he was able to accomplish what he intended. Were the kidney stones my body’s way of reacting to the terror it just endured? I don’t think that’s too far-fetched, especially after reading The Body Keeps the Score.

While processing this memory, I felt a lot of things; mainly disgust for me and sadness for his wife, but what I didn’t feel was surprised. And that surprised me! Is it because these “incidents” have happened so often that it all just seems par for the course? Was I born with some kind of sign on my head, signifying I was available to be used and abused at every pervert and pedophile’s disposal?

I feel like this is the part of the blog where I’m supposed to come up with some deep, spiritual insight to make sense of everything and prove God is still good even though things that happen can be anything but. I’m hoping the fact that I still have faith after going through all of this is enough because I don’t think I have anything else right now. No special “aha” moment, just the knowing that He’s been with me throughout all this tragedy. For that, I am thankful.

My Best Friend’s Brother

In middle school, Cara and I were inseparable. Whether it was hanging out on the weekends, walking home hand in hand from school singing Disney songs, going to her church’s youth group, shopping at the mall, pretty much anything and everything you do in those early teen years, we did it together. One thing that stands out to me now, is that even though we were together all the time, I never felt “at home” in her house, the way I did at other friends. I guess there was something subconscious going on, for me to never fully feel at ease in a place I spent so much time at.

Out of the blue one day, after two years of being the best of friends, Cara very suddenly and vehemently ended our friendship. Unfortunately, she didn’t stop there. Whatever she previously felt for me in friendship was now diametrically channeled into hatred. I had not only lost my best friend, but gained an enemy who was out to make my life miserable.

The worst part? I had no. idea. why. The more I racked my brain for a reason, the more confused I felt. We hadn’t been in any fights, there weren’t any signs of us drifting apart, nothing to even hint at what I might have done to cause my once best friend to have so much animosity towards me. It was brutally cruel, and when you’re already in an awkward and insecure time, it was devastating beyond words what I was feeling.

Fast forward 22 years. The pattern of flashbacks accompanied with ptsd episodes and fragmented memories surfacing is something that is all too familiar. As bits and pieces of this time of my life started rising, the question of why Cara awoke one day with so much hostility towards me permeated my mind. I just felt the Holy Spirit revealing something glaringly obvious that I just couldn’t put together before. It was no coincidence, something caused her to act this way.

The first memory that started popping up was of New Years Eve 1999. Her parents were having a small party, and I remember her mom being nervous. Apparently some of the adults thought something bad, or big, or ominous was going to happen when the clock struck midnight and it was officially the year 2000, and Cara was joking that her mom thought the world would end. While nothing they feared took place, it wasn’t much longer before something bad, big, and ominous happened. To me. The world might not have ended, but a piece of mine sure did.

Flashbacks of Cara’s brother, Taylor, “Tay”, and his two friends Big AL & Donovan, who were three years older than us, and the pop I was drinking out of a red solo cup were immediately followed by an overwhelming sense of dread and disgust. I could see Tay’s room, his bed, his friends, and him behind the video camera. Even now writing this, the knots in my stomach are real as I see Big AL holding me up and sodomizing me, Donovan on the ground performing oral sex, and a night full of degradation and terror being filmed. And people wonder why I don’t let my kids go to sleepovers.

This particular memory took much longer to work through than some of the others, and it came with a lot of very unpleasant physical manifestations as well. Six months later, a very similar memory of the same 3 boys, and similar humiliating sexual acts, resurfaces, only this time we’re not at Cara’s house, but rather, her church’s youth camp. Yes, you read that correctly. I’m sure at the time, these parents thought it was so great their teen boys were going to a Bible camp. Ugh.

These memories took place roughly a year apart, at 13 and 14 years old. I kept going back to Cara’s treatment of me and can’t help but wonder if she saw or knew something and instead of doing the right thing, was afraid for her brother and so turned on me. I guess I’ll never know. Side note, this is only one of several memories of me being drugged and I can’t help but wonder how in the world so many teens have such easy access to these drugs. It’s mind boggling.

Once again, I’m thankful for the Truth that sets me free, for the One who sees me through all this turmoil and trauma, and for the healing and restoration that only He can bring. As for those involved in these wicked schemes, I hope you turn to Him too.

The Dance

In the fall of 2003, I got dressed up in a long black and burgundy strapless dress, had my hair done and went off to homecoming with my now husband. We were invited to a party after the dance, at a friend’s house who I rarely hung out with anymore, but for some reason, this is where we went. I only wish we hadn’t.

For years, the only thing I could remember about this night was the picture we took together before we left and small pieces of the following morning. I dismissed this as me likely having had too much to drink, as was quite common for me at that time in my life. When this memory started to rear it’s ugly head, I went to my husband with questions because I just couldn’t remember anything about even being there.

To my surprise, this was a really sore subject for my husband but I hadn’t the slightest idea why. I was fraught with worry, amidst some really disturbing flashbacks, wondering what in the world happened that night. What did I do? And what was done to me? Were questions I replayed in my head over and over.

I explained to my husband that I truly didn’t remember anything that took place, only asking my friend the next morning where he was, and her saying he left quite early the night before. I remember feeling concerned when she said that, contemplating why he might’ve gone while leaving me behind. At the time when I asked him, he really didn’t give me a reason and I just kind of forgot about it and moved on.

Fast forward 18 years later, and he finally opened up about what transpired. My drinking that night was so out of hand, I had been running around the party with a fifth of Bacardi Limon, drinking straight out of the bottle. As he started recalling the events of the night, I could hear the pain in his voice and began dreading what he would say next, as I could only imagine what I might’ve done to hurt him.

While this wasn’t the first time I had been flirtatious with other guys in front of him, I was apparently pretty out of control that night, to the point where he decided to leave, and who could blame him? Hearing how I behaved and how it hurt him was so upsetting that I started to not really care about what may have happened to me after he left, but rather that I deserved it. While that isn’t true, I felt such humiliation, shame, and regret for the person I used to be and choices I made. While I’m thankful he stuck it out with me in those early years, and we both know I’m now a completely different person, there isn’t any way for me to go back and change the hurt I caused.

Processing through this was difficult for us both, but I knew it was truly a good, healthy thing that he was no longer carrying that hurt around but made me aware of it. Unfortunately, after he left that night of the dance, I either continued to drink to the point of unconsciousness or something was slipped in my drink.

Flashbacks too graphic and degrading to write about publicly intruded me every night for a week straight. Three boys I had been going to school with for years didn’t let the opportunity of me being knocked out cold pass them by, but rather took pleasure in all sorts of evil. I could see myself being drug around outside with a black pillowcase over my head, as they took turns raping me in the darkness of the night. Now I understood why I’d been having dreams about waking up in that house, and taking a baseball bat to one of the boys’ truck, filled with so much anger I’d be shaking as I woke.

This was a longer one to process, as not only did I have to go through the normal emotions that accompany the memories such as fear, anger, disgust, and shame; I had in the added layer of hurting my husband, and knowing that I was always safe, protected, and loved while with him, but how I took that for granted, made terrible choices, and payed dearly for them.

“Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.” 1 Timothy 1:15


In February of this year my husband and I found out we were expecting our 5th blessing. There was a lot of joy and excitement in our family, though I struggled with trusting God’s timing. There were many things I thought needed to be fixed or reconciled before we could have another, one of them being that I was done reliving my nightmarish past, and for a couple months, I didn’t have anymore memories, though I knew in my heart there were more.

I was incredibly sick this time around, throwing up all the time and so exhausted I could hardly move from the couch. My “morning sickness” lasted until I was 18 weeks along, four weeks longer than what I was used to. I had plans on another amazing homebirth, but around 24 weeks my blood pressure started going up. My midwives and I monitored it closely and I had blood work done often, but at 31 weeks my care was transferred to an OB & I was admitted to the hospital for pre-eclampsia.

I spent the next 30 days on bedrest, separated from my family, my birth plans out the window, just trying my best to surrender everything and trust my Heavenly Father. This had previously been a “worst case scenario” for me, as I had a huge fear of hospitals and doctors, and of being away from my kids. This was the very first time I had ever even been one night away from my almost four year old, who was used to sleeping with me every night.

The blessing in this situation, aside from getting the much needed rest my pregnancy was demanding, was that I was able to bond with my baby. It was just us, and where before I was so busy with wife and mom duties with the other kids, now I was able to really connect with him. No longer juggling a million things but slowed completely down, hearing his heartbeat every day during non stress tests, weekly ultrasounds, finally being still enough to really notice every movement, it was special. While it was extremely emotional for me to be away from home, I was thankful to feel so close to my little guy.

Amidst the very huge blessing of expecting our son, and all the drama that goes along with being in the high risk pregnancy unit of the hospital, I was dealing with some pretty monumental memories. I had little pieces of these memories pop up prior to going on bedrest, but it was as though they were “stuck.” As I’ve been on this healing journey for almost five years now, I have found that the more traumatic a memory is the deeper it’s buried. There were some that seemed to be right at the surface, and others so hidden and locked away only the Holy Spirit has been able to bring them out.

I started to understand why maybe I needed to be there, with my only job being to rest, for these memories to surface. There were four in total, one each week I was there. It was excruciating to process, but I was thankful I wasn’t trying to deal with it while caring for my kids. I don’t think I could’ve managed any other responsibilities while going through those. I believe the Lord in His infinite wisdom knew that, and allowed these memories to surface at this precise time for that very reason.

The whole time I was in the hospital, I was being reminded that while this was a real fear for me, not being in control of my body, that HE was in control even when everything else felt out of control. He truly held me through the duration I was there, and I was constantly reminded of His presence. We had so much help from family and friends, all my nurses were kind, I even liked my Dr. And He told me that this child represented reconciliation, and he absolutely does.

I am so incredibly thankful for you Harrison. And I’m so thankful that despite walking a path infinitely more difficult than I could’ve ever imagined, He continues to bless me, remind me of His love, and show me no matter how painful, I don’t walk it alone.

“The Lord will fight for you, you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14

It’s Not Supposed to be This Way

Lysa TerKeurst’s newest book title pretty much sums it up. I haven’t even read the book yet, but I know I will love it and that it will deeply resonate with me. Just the few times I’ve listened to her story on how this book came about, I know that she understands the pain and grief that war against our faith in a Good God.

It’s 11:30pm and I couldn’t sleep because I was shaking with anxiety, feeling like I couldn’t breathe, tossing and turning, ugly crying in desperation, “why?” and “how much more?”. It’s not supposed to be this way.

Sleep has been eluding me lately as it seems every night new memories are pushing their way to the surface as I wrestle against them, willing them to stay locked away and let me be, though I’m powerless to stop them. I can’t stop them from coming, I can’t stop the triggers that reveal them, the physical pain my body goes through after they come, the emotional turmoil that’s finally released after being hidden so long. It’s not supposed to be this way.

It’s been four years. 110 memories. Multiple abusers, starting from age 3 through 17. Four years of wondering when this nightmare will end. Four years of trying to live my life as normal as possible while recounting, remembering, and reliving a past more traumatic than anything I ever thought possible. It’s not supposed to be this way.

Two uncle’s. An aunt. Her “friends”. An extended family member. A friend’s dad. A guy from the gym my parents worked out at. “Friend’s” of the family, including one from church. A seventh grade science teacher. Camp counselors. Boys I went to school with. Isn’t pedophilia “supposed” to be rare? How is it actually possible that so many different people could hurt me in the same unthinkable and evil manner? Memories so incredibly disturbing, perverse, and shameful I could never write them online. Not even just the acts themselves, but the psychological brainwashing, manipulation, and confusion that ensued to keep me quiet, which wasn’t even necessary because I dissociated every.single.trauma anyway. It’s not supposed to be this way.

I’m still here, sometimes so overwhelmed by the fact that I’ve even survived the memories, let alone it happening in the first place. I’m still clinging to my faith, still hoping, still believing, still declaring He is good…even though it’s not supposed to be this way.

And I can only hope that somehow, someway, someone out there will see all that Jesus has healed me from. How most people with a past like mine are not living a blessed life like I am. That even though it’s been incredibly difficult, HE has brought me through… strengthening me, putting my pieces back together, reconciling my soul back to Him. That though SO many people in my life failed me, hurt me, abused me, tortured me, took advantage of me…He has never let me go. Every single memory I’ve faced, He’s been there, holding me, comforting me, catching every tear. It’s really not supposed to be this way. But maybe, the beauty from this devastation is that I know Him more fully. My roots have been planted so deep that NOTHING can pull them up. My house has been built on the solid rock, my faith on the firm foundation.

But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31

The Popular Boyfriend

I haven’t written in so long, but after a night of awful dreams, flashbacks, tossing and turning, I knew it was time to face this memory I’ve been absolutely dreading. And what better way to do that than to write about it? The “boyfriend” that I am writing about passed away a couple years ago; and while I don’t feel I owe it to him to be confidential about his identity, for the sake of any family or friends who might see this I will change his name.

March 2003

I had been out of school all week with a mild case of Mono; I think I slept more that month than I normally do all year. Towards the end of the week one of my good friends called me; “guess who likes you?!?? TIM! He’s been asking about you all week!” Though I’d never really considered him as someone I liked or wanted to date, he was really popular, and at 16, I was definitely flattered.

Shortly after returning to school, this was all confirmed as Tim asked me to go out with him. It was a strange situation, as I really didn’t feel like I liked him very much, but rather enjoyed having all the popular senior girls come up to me and tell me how they were so jealous. If all these other girls thought I was so lucky, maybe I was, and should just give Tim a chance.

A few weeks went by, my 17th birthday passing, and I was enjoying this new “status”, especially to rub it in my ex’s face. Kind of a “ha! you didn’t want me but look who does!” mindset. While this was most definitely in my “wild party girl” stage of life, and I was used to drinking with Tim most weekends, I was not prepared for the party that he invited me to just over a month into our “relationship”.

While we usually stuck around town, one of Tim’s good friends had a place up north that their group of friends partied at frequently. Though I wasn’t very familiar with this group, I decided to accept his invitation as it seemed rather exciting to be able to hang out with people I normally wouldn’t have. It was a pretty long drive, going from Grandville to Whitehall, and once there I found it strange that there wasn’t very many other girls there, in fact I really only remember one. I wish I could ask her questions, to see what she remembers, but I haven’t talked to her in several years.

For the last 18 years, my memories of this night stop upon arriving and don’t pick up again until the next morning when two older girls offered to drive Tim and I home, singing the whole way. I never thought much about it, just figured I had a lot to drink.

Fast forward to this past summer, and flashbacks of the house, and the car ride, and the other girl that was there, keep popping up. Along with the fact that in the morning, there had been a lot of dried blood in my underwear; you would think that would’ve been a red flag but for some reason it didn’t register in my mind at all. As these bits and pieces started popping up, I had that familiar, awful, nagging, feeling in the pit of my stomach. Why don’t I remember anything after getting there, until the next morning?

One night while sleeping I had terrifying visions of being surrounded by three people wearing scary masks; the ones that are like in the movie Scream. All I know is I’m laying down, these three masked people standing over me; I can’t move, or yell for help, and I know they’re about to do something awful, but I’m powerless to stop it. Where is Tim? Does he know this is happening? Slowly, over the course of a couple months, this vision repeats itself. A little more revealed each time. I am able to identify one of the guys that puts a mask on, somehow I see him before he’s concealed. It is the “friend” whose house we’re at up north. As I consider the guys who were there, all of the possibilities seem crazy to me. These are boys I went to school with all my life. Sat next to in class. Most of them quite popular, who likely wouldn’t have had any trouble getting a girl to sleep with them if I’m being honest…so why?

As more bits and pieces come in, I keep hearing parts of a conversation talking about “initiation”. I am unable to understand this at first, and I still don’t know if I voluntarily took some type of drug or it something was slipped in my drink, but it becomes clearer as the night goes on just what initiation means and that I am the sacrificial lamb. Anger and disgust threaten to overwhelm me as I realize the betrayal my “boyfriend” committed that night. As they had whatever drug needed to keep me paralyzed and essentially block out this entire night I understand that this was indeed planned.

In my dreams (nightmares?) I’m often trying to escape this one boy in particular, but I can never get away, and he always wins. Thankfully in real life, Jesus always wins and this boy along with the others are going to have answer for what they did. I shudder to think of how many girls they did this to, girls I likely know from school.

So many questions fill my mind I feel it could explode. What kind of guy WILLINGLY allows his friends to GANG RAPE his girlfriend?? What kind of sick cult was this that this was the “initiation” into their group of friends? The frustration that Tim is no longer here and I cannot yell at him and find answers to this unbelievable night is immensely overwhelming.

I didn’t really like you that much. I just liked the attention. I wish I could go back and not care about being popular. It was incredibly short lived and it wasn’t worth it.

Dealing with this memory has been painful. As the trauma that’s been stored in my body and brain for eighteen years is released, it takes a significant toll on my body. Once again I am left with no choice but to relinquish every feeling (anger…how could anyone do such a thing?, guilt…I shouldn’t have been at that party, fear…I don’t think you can even fathom being a 115lb girl, completely powerless and unable to move or speak, while three guys wearing scream masks take turns raping, degrading, and defiling your body, and despair…how, yet AGAIN, is something like this happening to me? Is this all that I was made for? Basically just a hole for perverts to take advantage of?) yes, these very real and intense feelings, and surrender them all to Jesus. Asking Him to make me clean because I feel so, so dirty.

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The Man with the Shiny Tooth

The man with the shiny tooth is at a lot of family get togethers. He acts pretty nice, always joking around and laughing. But there’s another side. Does anyone else know? Is it only me?

The man with the shiny tooth always has a drink in his hand. His breath always wreaks of alcohol. I’ve never seen him without a drink, that is one of the things I remember most about this not quite family, not quite stranger, shiny tooth man.

The man with the shiny tooth likes to hold me in the hot tub. One hand with a drink, the other where I don’t want it. There’s so many people here, can’t I sit with someone else?

The man with the shiny tooth says he likes my fashion show, with all my new Christmas clothes I modeled for everyone. I always get a lot of new clothes at this Christmas party. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to show everyone the cute new undies I got, I am only six. They all laughed but the man with the shiny tooth changed after that. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to show them.

The man with the shiny tooth has a sharp knife. He shows me upstairs when no one else is around. He tells me what to do, and what not to say, and I guess that’s why he showed me his knife. I am little and I don’t like this. He should do this with his wife I think. Not me.

Everyone thinks I’m sleeping, because it’s so late. But do they know he’s here too? Did they notice him follow me upstairs? Do they know about his knife? What are they doing? Are they opening presents without me? I would rather be with them. I feel safe with them.

The man with the shiny tooth likes to take me for golf cart rides. I don’t like where he takes me. I didn’t want to leave with him. Everyone else is always laughing and having a good time, do they not know?

Why does he have his hand over my mouth? Doesn’t he know I won’t scream? He showed me his knife, I won’t scream. I’m a good girl, I do what I’m told. But listening doesn’t make me feel so good. It makes me feel bad. It’s confusing. I am little. But he makes me do big things.

The man with the shiny tooth died recently. I suppose that’s why I felt it was safe enough to remember. He can’t hurt me with his knife now.

Years later I will struggle with the smell of alcohol, and having something cover my face. It all reminds me of the man with the shiny tooth.

The Drive

Somewhere around 2015 I started having terrible panic attacks whenever I had to drive on the express way. I would find alternate routes no matter how much longer it took me, just to avoid it. If someone else was driving and there was no way around it, I’d try to distract myself in any way possible, but it didn’t typically help much. As soon as we’d pull onto the exit ramp I would instantly start to settle down and the fear would dissipate. I never even thought about why this was happening, I just knew one thing for sure; I hated the express way.

This fear led me to skip out on many things. When friends wanted to get together with our kids at a place 45 minutes away. When I was on my way to a cousin’s wedding but the fear was so paralyzing that 25 minutes into my drive I pulled off the express way and headed home on a different route. My focus was so intent on avoiding the trigger, (though at the time I didn’t know it was a trigger…just a fear) that I never tried to figure out this phenomenon but just accepted it.

Since there wasn’t any explanation or reasoning, it caused tension in my marriage when we would take trips to the other side of the state or up north and I never wanted to share the driving. Or when my dad would want me to come visit but I didn’t want to make the drive. I couldn’t explain what I didn’t understand. How do you find the words to communicate that as soon as you merge, you feel completely out of control, like you could die at any moment, but that it would go away just as quickly as it came on. I didn’t know how to verbalize what was inside: terror, especially when there appeared to be no plausible cause for it.

All the while, I also had this one memory stick out as being really strange, but I never could figure out why it was so odd to me or why it would come to mind so often. I typically just dismissed it as, “yeah, that was weird. I wonder why…” but quickly moved on and didn’t dwell on it.

I had always remembered part of what happened, and maybe that’s why it seemed to bizarre. Something was missing.

What I did remember was being at my dad’s apartment, though I’m not sure if I was 16 or 17 at the time. It was a Sunday afternoon, and I was ready to go home to my mom’s as I had school and friends to get back to the next day. My dad’s friend “Trent” was over, he wasn’t much older than I was. My dad often teased and made fun of Trent for being unattractive, saying he could never get a girl as cute as me. Not that I was stunning or anything, but I certainly had zero interest in Trent, and if I am being completely honest, though I thought he was nice, he kind of repulsed me.

I was eager to get home, however my dad was expressing how tired he was and asking if he could just take me straight to school the next morning. Trent offered to take me home instead, to which we both agreed and were thankful for. He said he just had to stop home for something and then he’d be back to pick me up. Here is the first red flag, that neither my dad or I noticed.

He lived really close by so I wasn’t sure what was taking so long, but around a half hour later we were on our way. He told me while he was at home he grabbed some pop, and he offered me a can. I didn’t think to ask why it was already open. So that afternoon we drove off headed south on 131 in his little black car while I drank my pop and we listened to rap on the radio.

Hours later, I woke up really confused.I struggled to make sense of how I’d been asleep so long, why we were about a half hour north from where we started when we had been headed south, why it felt like it had been hours since we left, and it must have been as it was starting to get dark, and it was only supposed to be about a 40 minute drive. I was feeling disoriented but thought I must’ve just been really out of it. I asked where we were and why it was taking so long, and how long I’d been sleeping for. Trent was acting really strange. He seemed so nervous as he tried to explain that he’d taken a wrong turn somewhere and then just wanted to let me sleep. Nothing was adding up, and it always stuck out to me as being off, but I never put the pieces together.

Fast forward to December 2019. I’d been having flashbacks of traumatic experiences for almost three years, but all of them had taken place when I was a little girl. When this memory started popping up, I remember thinking, “yeah that was really weird, but wasn’t I about 17? I would remember if something happened to me at that age!” But it just kept coming back up, like a fly that you keep swatting away but it won’t leave you alone.

The Holy Spirit kept bringing up the fact that he went home to get something before we left. The pop he gave me. The fact that I woke up hours later no where near where we should’ve been. How strange he was acting. And then it came one night, just like all my other memories. I could not only see what had happened, but I could feel it. I was drugged and raped. The next morning my whole body hurt so badly as though I’d been hit by a bus.

In my anger, after finding out what his last name was from my dad, I looked him up. I couldn’t find him on Facebook, but I sent him a follow request on Instagram. He did not accept. I just wanted to tell him that I knew. I’m sure he would deny it, but I didn’t care. I wanted him to know that I know.

This memory was a little different for me to process than the others. I knew that feeling angry was normal, and appropriate. But I wasn’t some innocent little child this time. While I never led him on to any degree, it was well known that I was a promiscuous party girl. It made navigating through the emotions of it a little different than what I’d grown accustom to. I might have been a wild child at this time in my life, but I was still victimized by Trent. He used deception to take something from me that he wanted. I may not have been an innocent little girl, but something was still stolen from me that day. Feelings of dirtiness and disgust were very prevalent with this memory.

I am happy to report that over the last several months, with the healing power that only Jesus brings, my fear of driving has significantly decreased. Even though inviting Him into these dark places causes me the discomfort of having to recall painful events, it ultimately leads to healing every time. And that’s the only reason He wants to address these things I’d often rather keep hidden, because He loves me and wants to occupy all of my heart.

The Band-Aid

In April 2019, it had been a little over two years since the truth about my childhood had been unleashed with a ravaging fury, threatening to overtake me in the process. I’d been seeing Sophia for a couple of months, which was facilitating healing by helping me develop something I’d thus far been lacking; self compassion. Though I was learning to have peace about where I was in my healing journey, that didn’t mean the torment had stopped.

For the most part, my husband remained unaware of the terrors I faced in the night from flashbacks because he’s an extremely heavy sleeper. That changed one night that spring. Whether he wasn’t sleeping well, or my distress was worse than normal, or likely a combination of both, he witnessed what happens when my traumatic past invades my sleep. The crying out, the tossing and turning as though trying to escape some invisible force that refuses to be silent, the sporadic jumps as self preservation kicks in full force, it all made for quite an alarming sight, I’m sure. I vaguely remember him looking at me with concern, asking me if I was okay.

The next morning he was surprised to learn that this is actually a pretty common occurrence, he’s just typically asleep through it. Though I hadn’t shared every disturbing dark detail of my memories, he knew enough of what I’d been going through lately, and I guess witnessing me firsthand relive my trauma was the last straw for him to stay quiet. He contacted my cousin under the pretense that he needed my uncle’s number for a question about our dog, since he’s a veterinarian.

Up to this point, I remember having conversations with my friend wondering when my Charles Ingalls would stand up for me. My daughter and I had been watching a lot of Little House on the Prairie lately, and I noticed that Charles quickly and passionately stood up for his family when he felt there was some type of violation or injustice. I knew my family cared, but thus far, no one had dared to confront my uncle, I tried to not let that bother me, but it hurt.

As much as I craved a knight in shining armor standing up for me, I also feared the repercussions of a confrontation. For 30 years, the subconscious belief that something terrible would happen to me if I told had been brewing under the surface. It sounds so silly and irrational, but when you’re three-seven years old and a grown up tells you that everyone will be mad at you and know how bad you are, that something devastating will happen if you open your mouth, those things get ingrained in you and you believe them. And it takes a lot of learning to trust Jesus to untangle those lies. Aside from this, wondering how it would impact my mom and her relationship with her sister made me want to keep up this false peace we had going on in our family, trying to protect everyone else but myself.

Amidst all the conflicting emotions, my husband contacted my uncle, saying he knew what he had done. I had this moment of thinking I would surely have a severe panic attack, the apprehension and uncertainty of what to expect being too much for me. The truth finally being out, he would know that I remember and that I’m not keeping quiet. I didn’t know how to feel, it was scary but it was something else at the same time…liberating.

For years, I allowed a flimsy band-aid of silence to try to cover up a gushing, infected wound, somehow believing this could stop me from bleeding out. My husband unknowingly ripped off this band aid, exposing my wound to the light, giving it what it needed all along to finally begin to heal; acknowledgement. Though I feared I would suffer terrible anxiety from this, I felt the peace of Jesus permeate my being, and I slept better that night than I had since the whole journey to heal started. And you know what? I got my Charles Ingalls. All of the silence from the rest of the family seemed to make sense, Jesus knew it needed it to be my husband all along. I needed it to be husband.

Burn the Ships, For King and Country

How did we get here?
All castaway on a lonely shore
I can see in your eyes, dear
It’s hard to take for a moment more
We’ve got to Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye

Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back

Don’t let it arrest you
This fear is fear of fallin’ again
And if you need a refuge
I will be right here until the end
Oh, it’s time to

Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye


In February of 2019 it had been two long, wearisome, years since my flashbacks of childhood trauma had come crashing down on my life like a tidal wave. I had felt utterly hopeless at the beginning of the new year, because it didn’t feel new at all; rather, every horror of healing seemed to be unrelenting, with no end in sight. After a few conversations with close friends and family, and much prayer, I decided it was time to see a counselor.

That may seem strange, that I had been going through such intense turmoil for two whole years before deciding to go to counseling. It may sound even stranger when I say it honestly didn’t occur to me. From the very beginning, from the very first “episode”, I had relied on the Lord to guide me through this journey, surrendering every excruciating part to His hands. For whatever reason, it wasn’t until this time that counseling was even on my radar. Not because I was trying to be super spiritual about it, just because I had come to a place of complete dependency on Him, and with every memory, every twist and turn in the process, I followed His leading. When He brought it up two years in, I nervously obeyed.

I did feel a glimmer of hope break through the dark pit of despair, that somehow a counselor was going to “fix” me. I sat anxiously in the waiting room that first appointment; having never seen a counselor before in my life, I had no idea what to expect, only a mix of emotions at the thought of a stranger knowing every intimate detail of my shameful past. She was young and beautiful, and the epitome of compassion. My time was spent giving her a rundown of what I’d experienced the last couple years, while shifting in my seat, smiling nervously, and fidgeting often. Thoughts of can I actually say this? Will she think I’m crazy? raced through my mind, but the only thing I felt from her was complete understanding.

My good friend and I marveled at the way the Lord worked out so many details in putting this together, from the fact that I went from being wait-listed for months out on a Monday morning, only to miraculously have my first appointment a few days later; to the fact that her name, Sophia, means wisdom. For the next couple months I looked forward to my Thursday afternoons. It was a set aside time in my busy life that I could just focus on what was going on in my heart, no distractions, just having to face it all. It was a little scary, but it was freeing.

For so long I had wrestled though so much on my own, because I didn’t want to burden anyone with what I was dealing with. Somehow, I had been trying to protect those closest to me from the brutal reality of what I was going through. I didn’t want my parents to feel guilty or suffer through broken relationships with their families, I didn’t want to “bother” my husband, fearing he would think I was dirty, or at the very least, wish he’d married someone without these complex issues. I just didn’t want those closest to me to suffer because I was suffering. They would never see it this way, but I couldn’t help but try to shield them from it.

Sophia gave me what I needed most at this point in my journey, a completely safe place to tell the truth. The truth about what had happened, and the truth about just how much it was impacting my life. As it turns out, that’s one of the most powerful tools of healing; to be able to spill it all without any fear of what the reaction will be or worry of consequences for someone knowing.

It’s not as though she didn’t ever give me advice on how to manage my triggers, or give book suggestions, or practical tips to navigate it all. She did, but the most helpful thing she offered was a listening ear. That little girl, she just needed to tell someone. Jesus knew that.