Today I received a message from a friend. I just recently had breakfast with this friend who told more than 2 years ago he had a story to tell me about his life. We met and after two and a half hours he finished telling his story to me. He told me he had never sat down with anyone and communicated the full story. The story takes place over 10 years of time.
He told me that recently he had put his story into a condensed version for his pastor. I will not reveal his name because he wants to protect his family. I am honored to have such a friend that has withstood the forces of Satan on his life and family. I have heard many stories over my lifetime but I can’t remember hearing one that had so many twists and attacks. What you are about to read is only a portion of his story. It has some powerful messages of God’s plan and how relationships can speak into our lives.
Below is his story:
God began preparing me for the trial I was going to face long before I was aware that trouble was even on the horizon. A virtual “Perfect Storm” of trouble. A satanic attack of still incomprehensible proportions. I can’t tell the whole story, only a small sliver of it as I still need to protect the privacy of my family. I can say that the sky and waters were black and cold, the waves were huge, the wind was howling and I often didn’t know which way was up or where God was. I felt as though I was swimming as hard as I could, but I was drowning.
I had grown up in the church and was still friends with several of the people from my church’s high school youth group. My wife and I attended church with the kids, as well as a couple’s Bible study regularly. I thought my faith was strong, but God knew I was going to need more. In my early 40′s I decided that I wanted to be surrounded by men of God. It never occurred to me that God might have put this on my heart. I just figured it was another one of those things that happens to men in their 40′s. When I finally stopped thinking about it and actually prayed about it, low and behold I heard about a brand new men’s Bible study group forming and that their first meeting was less than a week away. It was to be led by a guy I knew, but had never known we both attended the same church as we went to different services. As the group grew, I became more and more involved, eventually taking over leadership when my friend stepped down. During this time I formed a deep friendship with one of the group members, Matt. Matt and I came from very different backgrounds, but somehow we clicked. We met with each other regularly, called each other daily, and understood that God had formed the friendship, we just didn’t know why.
My youngest daughter had been in therapy for about a year and a half when I saw the book. I had taken her to her therapist and we were waiting in the waiting room at the time. She was hiding the cover of the book under her school notebook, but I saw the title on the book’s spine. It read, “Outgrowing the Pain: A Book For and About Adults Abused as Children”. For her sake I pretended not to see it, but inside I felt as though I’d been kicked in the stomach. I wanted to throw up. I called my wife and she said she knew nothing about the book. When my daughter’s appointment was over, I spoke to her therapist. Although due to confidentiality she couldn’t say much, the therapist did say that she believed that my daughter had been sexually molested but had not actually told her that yet. She added that, “All the pieces of the puzzle are there. She just hasn’t said it yet.” A second kick to the gut and now I wanted to throw up even more. The Twin Towers fell on 9/11/2001. The date was again 9/11 but this time the attack was on my family.
My daughter continued on with her therapy sessions but did not come forward with any disclosures. Despite my daughter’s inability to disclose anything, my wife and I were sure of the therapist’s diagnosis and we wracked our brains trying to figure out who, when, where, why and how. None of us were sleeping much at night and my wife and daughter were becoming more and more depressed. I remained calm and tried to be the Rock of Gibraltar my family could cling to, but the dark stormy waters were growing more violent and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.
The storm waters came crashing down when my daughter was raped at a high school football game by another student. She didn’t immediately give up who her attacker was that night, but instead told the police who had molested her as a very young girl. I was so proud of her for finally working up the courage to name the man who had molested her. I was sure the healing process had begun, but the stormy waters got worse. The police investigation went nowhere. My wife and daughter were now both suicidal. I had never witnessed such intense emotional pain.
My only rest from being the Rock of Gibraltar for my family was my men’s Bible study group on Tuesday nights. They would listen to me, pray for me and my family, and lay hands on me.
They are some of the best men I will ever meet, true soldiers for God. They did their very best in spiritual warfare for me, above and beyond anything I can ever repay, but we were in a losing battle. Surviving on 2-3 hours of sleep per night, I was exhausted. I can remember being at home alone one evening, knowing my family was falling apart and sure that my wife and youngest daughter would die soon. My best efforts to save my family would be in vain. I felt horribly guilty that I had not only failed to prevent something I didn’t know was happening, but that maybe both my wife and daughter would be better off dead. I finally cried. I cried harder than I ever had in my life. The Rock of Gibraltar that I had felt I was crumbled into sand and I laid prone on the bedroom floor and came to God. I told God that I didn’t even know what I needed but that He did, and to please give me lots of whatever it was.
God released me that night and let me know that I didn’t need to be the Rock of Gibraltar for my family; that He was in charge of their well-being. He was my Rock of Gibraltar and theirs too. I remember the feeling of the heaviest weight I had ever held being lifted off my shoulders. Not having to worry about my family every hour of the day was immensely freeing. What would I do with all that extra time to think about things?
It crept in slowly, unassumingly. The anger I had put off for so long was now seeping in. It wasn’t ever directed toward my family. It was laser-like focused on the man that did this to my daughter. I had never experienced anger this way before, but it felt good physically. The only thing I can really compare it to is feeling the same way as when I was on the narcotic pain-killer Demorol when in the hospital. It was like a warm blanket surrounded me. Fantasies of hurting him eventually became fantasies of torturing him and killing him. I “Googled” his address so I could see street views and satellite maps of his house. I played it over and over in my mind never realizing that I had taken a fantasy and formed it into a plan of action. Then, it happened. Something in me shut off.
I was heading north on the 57 freeway going up the hill toward San Dimas. I was on my way to pick up my eldest daughter and take her to dinner and a counseling session. I was fantasizing as I drove to get her when I thought, “I can go west on the 210 and get her, or I can go east on the 210 and get him.” I decided to get him. My wife and youngest daughter were still struggling with thoughts of suicide and were probably going to do it, so why not? At least my daughter would know I loved her before she died. I was done thinking about it. I was done with the pain. I had a plan. Now was the time for him to die. I shut off the Christian radio station I was listening to so as to not be spoken to and stopped by God on the radio.
It didn’t take God long to respond to that; only about 5 seconds. My cell phone rang and I saw on the Caller ID that it was Matt. As tears welled in my eyes I said out loud, “God’s calling me”. I hesitated and let it ring a few times but answered the phone and Matt said words I will never forget.
“God told me to call you NOW. He told me you were in trouble. He told me to tell you to STOP.”
I drove for several seconds in stunned silence before Matt asked, “Are you alright?”
Matt then asked, “Are you going to STOP?” and I said, “Yes”. Matt then prayed over the phone for me. After hanging up with Matt, God spoke to my heart and said, “She doesn’t need her father in jail. She needs her daddy.”
I will forever be indebted to Matt for his lesson in obedience. If you think about someone, call them. If they don’t answer, leave a message and let them know you are thinking of them. If you can’t call, pray for them and try again later.
The storm waters are subsiding. Most days I can see land. The sun is out and my family now swims with me. I don’t feel like I’m drowning. The healing process has been long and slow, but continuous. It will take years and maybe even a lifetime. My daughter wouldn’t, or maybe couldn’t touch me, or me her, for over 2 years. Just recently I got a kiss on the cheek along with, “I love you daddy.” It was the sweetest kiss I’ve ever received. I know it came from God.