Charity’s Story: Being able to forgive her abuser

When the abuse began

When I was 2 my father re-married. I can’t quite recall when the abuse started, but I remember just about every time it happened. I was young and couldn’t understand why my stepmother just didn’t like me. I can remember the love that came from my father each night as I’d kiss my parent’s goodnight; then the fear and coldness that came from her. She was filled with hatred and anger no matter how much my little heart tried to love her. She would beat me senseless and apologize afterwards; I forgave her.

I can still remember the bloody noses she tried to hide, the fear of my siblings being hurt, and their screams and cries as she would do the same to them. I couldn’t take it. She would make them go hungry. I would sneak them food so that they could eat and taking the blame so they wouldn’t get hurt. The abuse went on for years and yet I still loved her. Perhaps I wanted a mother’s love; perhaps it went on so long I thought I was being a horrible child.

I remember my father being gone a lot and the fear that came with his goodbyes. I can remember a specific time when my father was going on a trip of some sort. He tucked us into bed, kissed us goodnight, said our prayers and sang some songs. As he hugged me I cried so hard I thought my heart was literally breaking. Being at the age of around 6-7 I shouldn’t have known that fear.
I begged him to stay, held onto him for dear life, not knowing if I would be alive when he came back. Not many children know this fear, but trust me I knew more than I should have at a very young age. My father said, “it won’t be long, and papa loves you so much.” I watched and heard him go down the stairs and out the front door. I cried so hard, but ever so quietly as not to bother my step mother. I saw my father get into the car and drive off into the night. I laid in bed crying and begging God to protect us.

Never Good Enough

The next morning I woke up later than the rest of my siblings. As I walked downstairs my step-mother immediately started “why are you still sleeping? Were you playing all night? You have dark circles! You want to play all night then you can stay up all night!” And I did that very night, cleaning everything she asked me to. Then before going to bed exhausted she called me into her room. Screaming at me I didn’t fold the laundry right, she pulled out the belt, pulled all my clothes off and began to beat me.

As she knocked me on the floor with her fists she began kicking me. Out of breath and feeling pain all over my body, I didn’t want to survive. I can remember so clearly closing my eyes and asking God to take me. The next thing I knew I woke up. My step mother was in bed, or more likely passed out, I could barely move. I rose up and hurried out of the room before she could wake up. Crawling up the stairs and very quietly taking toilet paper and cleaning the blood from my face. I put on long sleeved pajamas and pants to hide it, as if that made it better.

I walked in the room to my younger siblings, kissed them while they still slept and crawled in bed with one of my younger sisters. The comfort of her body next to mine was all I needed.

The abuse lasted 8 long years.

Why no one could tell what was going on I don’t know. Maybe I was so good at hiding it by that point. At one point we were living with my step-mother and my father called and said, “I’m coming to get you and your sister to live with me.” A rush of relief came over me, but not for long. The fear then soon followed.

“What about my other brother and sister,” I thought. “Why couldn’t he take them?” I didn’t want to leave them; I couldn’t take them being alone. Who would protect them? The next few days my teacher stopped me before I went to play on the playground. I was 10 years old by this time. She asked me if anyone hurt me. I told her no, maybe I said it too fast but she knew. How she knew didn’t matter, but she hugged me ever so tightly and told me it was okay. I was going to see the school counselor on that following Monday. However, I never went back because my father did as he said and came to get my sister and me. I cried the entire way to his house and then some. I didn’t want to leave my siblings.

That was only beginning of my new life. We lived with my father for a short time. The love we felt, the safeness, but never a moment went by that I didn’t ask my father to get my other siblings and make them come here with us; He couldn’t.

Going Home

My birth mother soon found my sister and I. She came to get us to live with her in Texas. I will never forget that day at the court. The judge took my sister and I into his office, sat us down and told us that we were going to go to Texas to live with our mother. I loved my mother. I didn’t know who she was too much, but I knew I loved her. My heart broke once again.

I didn’t want to leave my father, my younger sister and brother. I wanted them to go with me and my other sister. Telling them goodbye was the hardest thing I ever did. For years I hated God. Didn’t understand why the one that was supposed to love me unconditionally would hurt me so much in life. I understand now.

Present Day

I’m now 27 years old with 3 biological children and 1 step child. I can’t even describe how much I love all 4 of my children. Each smile I know I bring them, and I’m sure to hug and kiss and tell them that each and every day that I love them.  I went through so much in my life, and it still hurts to look back, but it made me a stronger person. It taught me to be a better person than those around me; taught me to love people and protect them. God saved me. He taught me what it was like to hurt as a child, taught me to be strong and stand up for those who are weak.

Take action, don’t put up with it and to look forward. My step-mother has been forgiven. Why you may ask would I forgive her? Because I was taught by the Lord that we all wrong in our life, but we are forgiven. She got the help she needed. I have forgiven but not forgotten and I’ll tell you why. When I look back at the pain I went through, the hurt, the feelings of loss, abandonment, the anger, and the upset, my heart hurts just a little and I cry.

But then I know God is reminding me to be strong and take another step forward in life and to love my children, and other children all over the world who went through what I went through. And I do. God was my real savior in this story.  And if you’re someone like me, then God will be in yours too, you just have to find him.