An Open Letter to the Duggar Victims

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Dear Josh Duggar Victims,

I am so sorry for your pain, the shame you feel, and your embarrassment. I’m sorry there are people in the world who are so bent on “exposing the truth” that they forgot (or are too stupid to know) that the truth re-victimizes you. I know the truth only serves to conjure up memories you’d rather forget, but can’t seem to, no matter how many months you put for the effort. You go to bed weeping, while others go to bed thinking they’ve somehow made the world a better place by exposing the sins of a Christian, but “hypocritical family.” For some of you, that family is your own, which only serves to hurt you further.

The media doesn’t love you. They love the juicy story that makes them “prosperous.”

Some have come out to defend Josh. Hardly  no one has come out to defend you. To love you. To assure you NONE OF THIS is your fault. But I am here to, as best as one can via social media, love you. To assure you that you did NOTHING to deserve any of this. Not the abuse. Not the unwanted resurfacing of the abuse. Not the hate that’s being spewed against Josh. Not the weak apology from Josh that barely mentioned you. NOTHING. You are a true victim who holds no culpability, and I weep, mourn, and pray with you. I pray that Jesus will turn your mourning into dancing, and the he will empower you to put off your sackcloth and be clothed with gladness (Ps. 30:11). And yet, at the same time, I want you to take the time to wear your sackcloth and heap ashes upon ashes on your head. There is a time for everything and grief over being sexually assaulted deserves time to work itself out. So take all the time you need. Weep. Mourn. Lament. Tell God you’re angry. And know that I am right there beside you in spirit, rooting for your physical, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing.

I know full well that desired gladness seems intangible. You just can’t … quite … reach it. But my admonition to you is to keep reaching, just like the woman who set out to touch the hem of Jesus’ garment. She, too, had to fight the crowd, the mob of people who looked at her as unclean, desolate, insignificant. But she had courage, didn’t she? And she stuck with her desperate desire to be healed by Jesus, no matter how difficult it was to wiggle her way through a mass of mad people who completely overlooked her shame, desolation, grief, sickness, pain … and her very person.

I hope and pray you have that resolve. That strength. That fight. That determination, like Jacob, to wrestle with the Lord until he blesses you. Stick with him and he will. You may come out limping on the outside, but on the inside, you will be established and settled, like a tree beside the waters: unmovable, steady, and strong.

If there’s one thing I want you and others who have suffered in a similar manner to know, it’s that there’s hope now, and hope for the future. Because regardless of the timing, God is going to set everything straight. All things are going to be new. Until then, his mercies are new every morning … and every mourning

Those ashes we heap on our heads when we grieve over our loss of innocence? God’s in the process of transforming them into something beautiful. What you suffered, what I have suffered, what our loved ones suffer with us, is not for naught. Only God can tell you what the purpose is, but until he sees fit to do that … I stand with you. I pray for you, your peace, and the peace of your loved ones who walk through this valley holding your hand, holding you up, and handing you more ashes until YOU decide you are able to move from mourning to dancing. May you, in spite of how you’ve been treated, prosper and flourish. May you be given the time to lament and heal. And may your hurt someday morph into singing.

Today, your voices are not being heard. But if I know God (and I do!), I know that someday, he’s going to heal you. And once you are whole, you will find your voice. Perhaps you will speak to set the record straight. We all welcome that, in whatever way you deem fitting, but in no way do we require it of you. Perhaps you will use your voice to stand by other victims. Whatever the case, my main prayer is that God will heal your hurts so thoroughly that there will be nothing that could possibly keep you from singing his praises – in spite of whatever scar or limp you are left with.

That’s what victory looks like. It’s not power that we somehow work up within ourselves. It’s weakness, made perfect in the power of Christ. It’s a long, treacherous road, but well worth the effort to be where our hearts long to be.

Perhaps you’re already experiencing some victory. If so, I stand there with you, also. The point of this letter is not to keep you in the pit of despair, but to let you know that wherever you are in the journey, I’m with you. From one who has been in the ashes and now sings praise to God but sometimes trips and falls and has to find her footing and voice once more … I’m forever yours and on your side. If you are in the trenches, I’m there. If you’ve found your way out of the trenches and into the valley, I’m also there. And when you make it to the top of the mountain, I’m. So. There. I’m even there when you trip, take a tumble off the mountain top, and land face down in the trenches. The point is: you’re not alone. So please, wherever you are in the quest for wholeness, know that there is at least one, and I’m betting a multitude of others, who understand, love, and are rooting for you

See you on the journey, sisters. I’ll be the one singing, and yet faltering here and there and sometimes everywhere because I’m carrying a bundle that is far too heavy to bear.

~Brenda

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