Warning: The following story may be disturbing to some readers. Reader discretion is advised.
Praying daily is one of the steps on my ten steps to healing me list. My first thought was “this won’t be so painful,” but then I had a flashback of me so many years ago. A little, sweet-faced four-year old girl, following my mother down the stairs.
What had I done wrong? I didn’t want him to do those dirty things to me. I didn’t understand. Why was I such a bad girl? I was just so scared and couldn’t stop crying. What was wrong with me?
My brother was five and he could conquer the world. At least that’s how I felt a few days ago when we were lured in a box car on the railroad tracks where he was forced to hold me down and watch as my panties were yanked off and filthy, vile things were done to me. It’s the first time I saw fear on his face but oddly enough I felt safe because he was with me. He understood stuff. He was my very best friend.
He held my hand as we rushed home and he promised to tell mommy. I was glad that he could explain what I couldn’t yet comprehend. He was saving my life. He didn’t know it but the rapes started when I was two. I was surviving but often contemplated my own fate. I just didn’t understand enough to know how to tell and the fear was paralyzing.
We ran in the house and he did exactly what he said he would do, he told mom. She didn’t get mad. She didn’t seem upset or alarmed at all, unlike the two of us who stood before her in total panic, traumatized by what had just happened. She promised us both that she’d tell our father and that he’d take of care of things.
When our father got home, it was the normal routine of bath and bed for us. My brother wanted to sleep in my room and ask if she’d told Daddy. He was concerned that our father was mad but she said she’d talked to him and he wasn’t mad and that we weren’t in trouble of any kind. She assured us that he was going to handle it and that we didn’t need to worry about it anymore.
But then a few days later, it happened again. He tried to get my brother to do things to me and the other boys too. All of them feeding off me as though they’d caught their prey. We went to my mother again only this time I told her. I was in a lot of pain as I stood before her searching for the words. I tried to be nice, explaining what happened, the best I could. I pointed to where I hurt and explained how he got the others to do things to me and that he wanted my brother to hurt me too. We stood there side by side, crying and unsure of what to do. Then she got really mad and started yelling at us. “Damn it Kerri. You need to stop all of this nonsense, good little girls don’t behave this way. Now lay down here and let me have a look at you.”
She looked at my vagina. I’m not sure what she was looking for but walking down the stairway I thought she was taking me to the doctor because I hurt so badly. I followed her in the living room where she grabbed this big, white, photo album that was covered in dust. I wasn’t sure why she wanted to look at pictures but I didn’t dare leave her side.
She laid the book on the coffee table, wiped off the dust and opened it where she showed me big, colorful pictures. She explained that it was a bible and she pointed to a baby named Jesus and told me about God. She started to read and explained that she wanted me to learn about myself because I was a child of God and the bible was the book of life, where it all started and how things should be. As she read the stories, I learned that God was everywhere and he saw everything. There were no secrets from Him. He was a healer, a protector, and a provider to all that deserved. I recalled how she shamed me earlier and my heart sank. I was responsible for the things that were happening to me, for having my panties ripped off, for been touched, poked and prodded. I felt humiliated and disgraced and I knew then why God wasn’t protecting me. He did not approve of my improper behavior and my immoral acts. He saw me as the worst of the worst kind of sinners.
My brother and I never held hands after that. In fact, it’s the last time we were friends, the last time we got along. Being shamed made us angry and we weren’t taught any better so we blamed each other, spending the rest of our lives competing for our mothers love. Love, that in the end, only he received. We grew up with broken spirits, contrite hearts and wounded souls.
Today, I don’t know anything about praying, even though I’ve done it my whole life, always feeling as if I needed to correct the error of my ways, never understanding what it was I was doing wrong, blaming and shaming myself. Now I sit here looking at where I’ve been and what I’ve learned, knowing who’s to blame and I’m angry because I know that I need to pray for them, all of them, my brother and father too.
There are no words to express how much I despise the thought of doing this. They’re not deserving of my thoughts or my words. If they want to be in a conversation with God, let them talk to Him themselves. That is truly how I feel.
At this point it is really hard for me to wrap my mind around praying for a mother who didn’t put a stop to the rapes, a mother who knowing took part in an effort to destroy the lives of her own children. She never told our father. She never stopped the rapes and never gave him an opportunity too. She sacrificed the lives of her children for her own selfish wants and needs.
My own mother didn’t love me then and still does not love me today. The bunch of them, immoral, sexual deviants, thieves, drugs addicts and alcoholics committing crimes, raping others and wreaking havoc on society because my mother never put a stop to it or got them help. There were many options and opportunities but for her own selfish reasons, she never put a stop to it.
None of them are worth my prayers. They have taken so many things from me in life and because of that I have nothing whatsoever to give.
I read the story of Job. I remember that the Lord restored all of his fortunes because he prayed for his friends and the Lord provided him with twice as much as he had before. (Job 42:10). This is true and an awesome testimony of love but I still don’t want to pray for them.
My father told me once that his biggest regret in life was that he didn’t love enough. That was a powerful thing to hear him say especially since he was such a quiet, private man. He told me once that he forgave everyone that had ever hurt him and he was working on forgiving those that had hurt me. Remembering that and how much I worshipped and respected my father, I still loathe the idea of praying for them. They simply are not worth anything that I have to give.
But I see that I am terribly flawed and I know that God loved me when I was dead in my own trespasses, when I had nothing but hate for him, he loved me in return. (Ephesians 2:4-9) And his son Jesus – he loved me with such passion that he lived and died for me. Wow, a man that lived and died for me! They found me worthy.
A lot of people don’t believe in God or the story of Jesus but there is no other way to explain surviving what I’ve lived through and my being able to walk in the world the way in which I do. There is just no other explanation to my determination from the age of two to be a better person, to be above those that have hurt me so I will pray for them because I am worth it.
The reality is this: God loves them just as much as he loves me, regardless of how they are living so I will pray for their redemption as well as my own and hopefully, just hopefully they will be blessed enough to get through the gates of Heaven if only by hanging onto my coat tails.
Daily I will:
Give thanks for the person that I am today, for the strength He has sewn into my being, for my life, my health, my job; my finances, and for my friends and family.
Give thanks for all of my answered and unanswered prayers.
Give thanks for the insight and for the strength of discernment and ask Him for the clarity to understand that discernment, seeing and loving others has He does.
Ask for guidance and strength in my desire, my need to fully heal.
Ask for the continued insight and the ability to receive it in my effort to make good on all bad, in my desire to help others.
Ask for guidance and the wisdom to help others.
Ask God to be with those that have hurt me, and to heal them of whatever pain they’re carrying. Ask Him to give them the strength and wisdom to seek and pursue Him, that same strength and determination He bestowed upon me so many years ago.
From the personal journal of Kerri Bishop Reece
written March 15, 2003
© Kerri Bishop Reece | Kerri Chronicles