Forgiving the haunting memories

It was something I crammed into a corner of my subconscious, willing to believe it wasn’t true. Decades passed and it remained neatly tucked away, an array of flowers hiding the veracity. That is, until Thursday when the doctor came in to talk to us after my surgery.

Though I was at a pain level of 8, it was nothing compared to the triple digit agony of coming face-to-face with the truth. 
The egg-sized lump sawed off and shaved to the bone marrow of my 12th rib revealed a startling fact that I could no longer hide from anyone, especially myself. Evidence of fractures haphazardly healed, bone growing on top to protect the secret until finally, the pain was so great, it had to be removed.  
“Do you remember breaking your rib?” asked the doctor. 
“Well, I remember breaking two in the front, but nothing in the back,” I said, eyes welling with tears. 
I did remember. 
Like a Typhoon, the memories crashed overtop me, sucking the air from my lungs. Flashing like neon were hideous pictures of a life that never measured up to expectations. 
Years of denigrating language, pernicious looks, cuffs across my cheeks, beatings, and punches to my back revealed as if it were happening that very moment. My heart galloped with terror as the sense of worthlessness resurfaced, and I wept for the loss of my childhood, the paralyzation I felt, lack of security, and for the shame and embarrassment of the many masks I had to wear to survive.
The past two days I wept, screamed, cowered and felt stinging agony as if hundreds of glass shards plunged into my heart. 
I begged God to let me understand why I was forced to succumb to so many heinous acts for the mere crime of being born. How could a child be rejected by those who they should so naturally love?
Wrestling with these nightmares and subsequent losses invading my sleep, I turned to Scripture. With it and the comfort and solace of the Holy Spirit, I resumed my path to forgiveness. 
My fingers traced Colossians 3:21 “Fathers do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged,” and I cried.
I knew that in order to be free of the anger and resentments that reared its ugly head this week, I had to follow Romans 12:19 “Never avenge yourself. Leave that to God, for he has said that he will repay those who deserve it.”  While it is impossible for me to extract justice because most of my abusers are long gone, I cannot entertain those thoughts. Instead, I must forgive and allow God to be the impartial judge.

Rather than gripping my past, I must  focus on my future, and once again, open my heart to God rather than allowing those from my past to control my life. And honestly, if I don’t release them, I will become like them…and I prefer to be a child of the light, rather than one cloaked in darkness.

Granted, this new knowledge was another haunting chapter of my life, but it did put a few more puzzle pieces together. Another opportunity to know who I am and why I do what I do.

With God’s help, I can rejoin my spot in the world, not withdraw into myself or hide in the closet. Though I rebel against vulnerability, it is a necessary gift for love.

And while there was evil perpetrated on me, I cannot repay evil with evil. Romans 12:21 says, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” There are those still living in darkness, but I cannot worry about that. It is my job to allow His Light to shine through me and only in that way, will I be truly healed.

As I meander this life, the lessons seems to increase allowing me more opportunities to open my heart.

13 thoughts on “Forgiving the haunting memories

  1. Thank you for being courageous enough to post this, Karen. There are others who. like you, suffer from a difficult childhood. Not all of them can face it as bravely and uplifting as you.


  2. Karen, there are, sadly, many who have suffered lost childhoods as you have. Thank you for having the courage to write about it and inspire others to forgiveness.


  3. Dearest Karen, You are a courageous child of God! God loves you so much and is surely working powerfully in your life. Prayers for you as you heal and continue to be a shining light to others. I have no doubt that you will be instrumental in the healing of others too. God bless you!


  4. Thank you Donna–most of the time, I do not feel courageous, but merely attempt to rise every morning and to thank God that I made it anther day. Thank you for your prayers and the thought that perhaps I could help others. I pray that it is true.


  5. I had no idea, KAREN. That ANYONE, most importantly a child, would be subjected to such abhorrent behaviour from a person who is supposed to love and shield them from pain and trauma, is beyond my understanding. I am so sorry that you had this horrific history. It makes the person you are…..faithful, loving and kind, all the more impressive. We never know why WE are chosen to experience these things, but in the end, perhaps they make us more receptive to other people's pains and sufferings and certainly, to our Lord's. Sending SO much love. You amaze me…..and move me.


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