By MICHELLE NASH
From abuse to hope
By the time I reached the age of 5, my father had stolen my innocence and left me staring out of a picture window as he backed out of my grandmother’s driveway. I never saw him again. My father had left me with the scars of abuse and poured a dangerous concoction of guilt, shame and abandonment into my soul. The weight of the burden that he left on that 5-year-old little girl became so great it almost consumed me.
As the years passed by, I felt like I was treading quicksand. Each day seemed like a heavier burden than the day before. My father had heaped not only shame and guilt on me, but he’d also left me feeling like someone’s leftover damaged goods.
I was angry at my earthly father but I was angrier with God. I couldn’t understand how He could let a 5-year-old little girl go through such a terrible thing.
In my mid-30s, I was at a point where treading quicksand was no longer an option. I was hanging onto the cliff of life by less than a fingertip, and I wondered how much longer I was going to be able to hold on. There were times I seriously considered letting go. But I had two children and a husband to consider. What damage would I leave them with?
I sought professional help with a Christian therapist, Hope Reagan. It was her persistence and God’s guidance that lead me to a road of redemption. I had been blinded by the anger, guilt, shame and rejection that my father had etched into my young being. During a therapy session, God opened my eyes to how He had covered me and filled every gap in my life.
One of my favorite verses that God has given me since coming out of the bondage of abuse is Matthew 11:28-30 (the 21st-century King James Version), “Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your soul. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.” This verse made it clear to me that Jesus was willing and able to take my heavy yoke and burden. Jesus is willing to take the burdens of our heart and carry them for us.
I don’t have to bear the consequences of my father’s sin any longer. Jesus did that for me when He died on the cross. When I finally decided to trust Jesus and take His yoke and His burden, my life changed. I was no longer angry but I found how to forgive my father. I found freedom in carrying the burden of Jesus. Most of all I found rest for my soul in Jesus. I left all the pain of abuse at the cross. The sin of my father no longer defines who I am because now it is the blood of Jesus and His death on the cross that defines who I am.
God allowed me to suffer the hand of abuse, but I have also seen the face of God. I have experienced devastation, but I have also experienced His glory and grace. God found me in my pit. God met me in Hope’s office and restored a broken little girl. He took that broken little girl and made the woman whole.
As years have gone by, I look in the rearview mirror of life and barely recognize the broken woman and the shattered little girl. I say this with all sincerity: I would not change one moment in my life because I have seen what the hand of God can do. I know how the blood of Jesus and the Cross of Calvary can change a person’s life.
My prayer is that those who have experienced the hands of abuse and suffer in silence will find the same hope in Jesus that I have found.
Michelle Nash is a recently published author of “A Road to Redemption.” She lives in Bentonia with her husband, Rusty, and their two children, Taylor and Kaitlyn.