I prayed for two things ever since I was a little kid. I prayed that I would never have to suffer the pain of losing a child. I watched my parents change before my very eyes when my young sister Carmella died, and I prayed to God that would never happen to me. And, I prayed for a Christian husband. I wanted to be joined in marriage to a man who honored God above all else. I witnessed physical and mental abuse in my home between my parents and I wanted a home centered around loving and honoring God above all else.
I was blessed with children, but….I also suffered the unthinkable pain of six miscarriages, one stillborn baby boy and more recently the death of my young adult son, Mike. And, I’ve cried out thousands of times, “God, where are you? Did you hear my prayers? You promised if we were faithful to You our prayers would be answered!”
My heart has ached a desperate, lonely ache for these losses, and my heart will forever feel the hole that remains in the very center of my heart.
I gave up thousands of dollars in college scholarships so I could go to a private Christian college in hopes of finding a Christian husband. I believed God would answer my sincere, earnest prayer. I did get married, but unknown to me I married a man who was living a life of deceit and lies. He was a child molester and by his own admission had been abusing children sexually since he was fourteen. His life was a mockery to God, and his life was a blatant, black pack of lies to me and to his children and to all who know him.
“How, God? How could you not hear my prayers? Why did you allow me to marry a man whose life was committed to raping children? God, where are you? Are you a liar, God?”
I’ve spent hours upon hours wrestling with my thoughts about God and His word. I’ve gone through a period of total resignation from God and prayer. Why pray? What’s the sense? Is there really a God? Does God enjoy seeing His followers anguished and in pain?
Grief and healing take time, and so does reconciliation with God take time. In fact, time in and of itself brings a certain amount of healing and comfort.
Let me explain where I am in my life right now.
I will never, ever be able to say that I’m okay that I’ve experienced the death of children. Never! God forbid! I wouldn’t wish this heartache on anyone!
But, I have learned lessons of love and faith and humility because of my pain. In fact, I’ve been led to start a grief support group online that now has a quarter million daily followers. Yes, that’s right! Every day God has given me the responsibility and the blessing of speaking to that many precious ones who have experienced the gut-wrenching heartbreak of child loss. **If you are part of Facebook, please look up Silent Grief Support. And, God has also given me the words to write books to those who are grief-stricken by child loss.
It has been said there is meaning in pain. I believe God has shown me meaning in my pain. He was with me through every one of my losses. I simply needed time to process how involved God has truly been in my life.
And, my marriage. Well, this is a really, really hard one, too. It is now six years since I’ve found out that the man I married is a pedophile. He now serves a life sentence in prison. I’m divorced and living alone. This is a far, far cry from my prayers that I prayed every day since the day I was twelve!
“Why? Why, God? Why did you allow this? Why have my children had to suffer through this pain, too? Why has our family ended up so broken? Why have so many precious children been abused by the man I married?”
The passage of time is helping me to see why my life was the one chosen to be married to such a person. Since John’s arrest, countless people have been helped. My son Jimmy has devoted much of the past six years to fighting hard for the abused. He has begun a ministry that cannot and will not be stopped. I’ve written countless articles on abuse and this blog has now been visited by nearly a million people! Not to mention the podcast that was recently started and the books in progress.
God was here all the time. In His infinite wisdom He knew who would carry on this work that needs to be done.
Am I saying I’m okay with what has happened in my life?
In all truthfulness, I haven’t grown to that point yet. I’d love to be married to a fine Christian man, and be part of a thriving ministry with my husband. I’d love for my children to have a dad who is involved in each of their lives every day. I’d love for my grandchildren to be near a loving grandfather who spends time with them teaching them about life and God.
But, those things just aren’t part of the picture.
I’ve come to a place of trusting God again. I know He is here. I know He is mightily part of my life. I know He is guiding and directing Jimmy in this work.
I am humbled as I say, “God is a God of truth. God is love and always has been. My God is a mighty God.”
If you are struggling with abuse in your life right now, please know that you’re not alone. Please visit jimmy’s blog and listen to our podcasts. Please don’t give up on prayer. And, please, please don’t give up on God. I know we’re at a critical turning point in the fight against abuse and I also know that we will win this battle!