My Father's Daughter

Cold, sweaty hands on an eighty degree, humid morning. Surely my body thinks something's wrong with me. I sit on them to warm them, to calm me. Ten minutes early. Better than late I suppose. I step inside. The Caribou is just like any other I've seena calming yet jittery atmosphere. At least that's what I tell myself. But maybe the only jitters are inside of me.

A man behind the counter calls, "Coffee for Scott," which gives him away. I introduce myself and grab a seat across the table from him. The interview begins with a description of the story he'd like to write and a quick click of a recording device. That's when it hits me. Have I ever sat down with a gentleman and talked about my story, my past?

I tell him of my story, of my history with abuse. I tell him how I reacted and share with him how I found God again. How I started writing. Why I started writing. How I believe churches should handle these kinds of topics. What I'd like readers to know. My thoughts on healing. My new book.

Twelve years ago my secret was made known. But my secret being spelled out for the world―not just family or a few close friends but everyone―to see wasn't something I sought after. It was something I dreaded. There was too much shame in sharing something so personal, so complex and so painful and so deep.

Twelve years ago, the abuse I endured was described in detail in the local newspaper. My name wasn't used, not my first name anyway, but it's no secret that I am my father's daughter.

My father's daughter was sexually abused. My father's daughter was anything but treated right. These facts and the associated details were printed in the local newspaper where everyone knew that my father's daughter was me.

My father's daughter couldn't get out of bed that day. She lay in pain as she anticipated experiencing the reactions of readers. She became even more ashamed. After all, her secret was not willingly shared. It was stolen. It was used as a media sensation apart from her twelve-year-old permission.

It didn't matter if anyone actually deemed me dirty and defiled; my secret made known was enough to make me perceive that the entire world...and maybe even God Himself believed that I was.

To think that my father's daughter would one day tell her secret on not man's but God's terms, that she would tell it willingly in light of God's grace. To think that she would tell it and share of her shame, her shame in the light having power no more.

I'm sure God knew all along the irony I'd face on this day. When I was twelve, my secret was shared for me, fueling my life with more feelings of shame and inadequacy. Twelve years later, I opt to share my secret. I share my secret for God, freeing many of those same feelings.

I praise God today for this sweet piece of pie that has made this portion of my story come full circle. A big thank you to the newspaper who wrote about my story in an adequate and thorough manner. And finally, may God bless the stories that I willingly share to help those in need, to help those who feel or have felt at one time or another mistreated, used, and anything but free.

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