At seventeen, married, pregnant, and miserable, I added God to the snake-like list of offenders. Soon we divorced and I raised my son, Chris, alone. Years later, I remarried. Despite my college degree, name-brand clothes, and nice house, I remained a broken little girl.

 

Three months after the wedding, a drunk driver killed Chris. My only reason to live. I died too, leaving arms and legs, a blank face without a spirit. I didn’t eat, sleep, talk, or glance in a mirror.

 

God hates me. I can’t trust Him.

 

But out of my only son’s death, the holy sledgehammer of truth begin to chip away at my dead unforgiving heart. Miraculously over time, God resurrected me and changed my stony heart to a heart of flesh. He ministered healing through professional counselors, transparent women, and the Bible.

 

Numbly, I’d memorized scripture as a child. One morning pieces of Isaiah 53 returned to me like forgotten friends:

 

              He was despised and forsaken…

            “He was pierced for our transgression…

            “He was oppressed and afflicted …

            “Like a lamb led to slaughter…

            “By His stripes we are healed…”

 

“Jesus, oh sweet Jesus. You understand. You were abused. God, Your only son died, too.” Kneeling in the den, I began to forgive those who’d hurt me — everybody from Patrol Girl to the drunk driver who killed Chris. Palms open and high, I released rage and cried, “I need You.”

 

Women everywhere, in malls, grocery stores, and at PTA meetings, appeared almost spotlighted. See her eyes? She needs My love. Those long sleeves hide bruises. That prostitute by the stop sign? She’s a child abuse victim. Smell the alcohol on your friend’s breath? She’s trying to escape.

 

Show them your scars.

 

Compelled by my ongoing healing, I wrote Set Free: God’s Healing Power for Abuse Survivors and Those Who Love Them. The book reveals the pain of six women. A part of me, of every abused child, lies in each one.

 

Meet Elaine, the daughter of evil; Liz, the keeper of shameful secrets; Debi, the prostitute; Gayle, the daughter of condemnation; Karissa, the party girl; and Gloria, the hardened heart. You might discover yourself or someone you know.

 

The child abuse statistics are harrowing:

 

·        Every two minutes a child is sexually assaulted.