Writing a memoir is not easy. Over the past several weeks I have learned a great deal about the little girl who endured so much at the hand of those who should have loved and cared for her. The chapters of the memoir are told through the eyes of a child, but as the adult on the other side of the trauma, I feel compelled to write short reflections to that little girl to encourage and uplift her.

This short essay was originally posted in December 2018. Since then, I began writing my memoir. Last week I wrote a chapter about the experience in the epigram. Doing so reminded me of this piece. As I write my memoir I am even more convinced that God can turn what seems to be senseless evil into a powerful testimony of redemption and hope. 

Writing the first few chapters of my memoir, What Kind of Love is This?-Finding God in the Darkness, was hard, much harder than I anticipated. I am exhausted physically, spiritually, and emotionally. While the memoir focuses more on hope, redemption, and faith rather than detailed descriptions of the abuse that I endured, it sometimes left me raw.

When I recognize the inner voice that tells me to sabotage a relationship, or warns me to run away from a friendship, I stop the thought and replace it with scripture. Part of the process is identifying when I felt the same emotions or physical sensations

as I embark on the task of telling my story in the form of a memoir, I wrote a letter to my younger self, Charlie. Charlie is the nickname given to me in the 7th grade. For some reason, I felt she needed reassurance that she is safe. Writing the letter eased my anxiety about starting the memoir and allowed me to voice my fears about the project.

Although my tormentors inflicted unspeakable acts of violence, sexual and emotional abuse upon me as a child, they could not destroy my soul. Each time that I cried out to Jesus, I felt His presence. Sometimes I did not completely understand that it was Him, but I felt Him. I “knew” He was there.

A 9-year old girl lay sobbing on soiled sheets trying desperately to escape her fate. “You failed again; you are worthless! Get back down there! Maybe you’ll get it right after a few days in the cellar!” Uncle Ray shouted as the child covered her face to avoid his fist.

Between my Junior and Senior year of college, George, my childhood mentor, and father figure became my lover. I still had no idea how I understood how to react and how to please but being with him felt familiar and, in a distorted way, safe.